[Corpora-List] how many subscribers are there on corpora-list?

Krishnamurthy, Ramesh r.krishnamurthy at aston.ac.uk
Thu Aug 22 11:05:31 CEST 2013

Hi all :) - again... :(

Well, blow me down, strike me pink, shiver my timbers... and any other relevant or irrelevant expressions! :) I ask a simple question of the admin people on corpora-list (how many subscribers are there?), and unwittingly initiate a heated debate (quite interesting, but not the simple answer I was expecting)... :)

Here is the sequence of Facebook posts: #1 "I've read a couple of papers that draw on corpora of pop music lyrics (GBoP, ACC, and BCC). Do you know of any similar corpora (or those very same corpora) and how to get access to them? I figured I'd like to use them in my teaching." #2 "I assume these people compiled their own corpora for their research, and that there would be copyright issues in releasing the corpora to others? In many cases, there might also be problems of textual accuracy? As this FB group has only 959 members, you might get more answers by asking this question on corpora-list?" #3 "do you know how many members the Corpora list has?" #4 "you should be able to get that info from the mailman interface, but the list admin (Knut Hofland) seems to have disabled it. You can always ask him." #5 "you can't get it from the web interface, and the email one returns the terse message “You are not allowed to retrieve the list membership.”

I therefore sent my original email to corpora-list: "Date: Wed, 21 Aug 2013 07:34:45 +0000; From: "Krishnamurthy, Ramesh" <r.krishnamurthy at aston.ac.uk>; Subject: [Corpora-List] how many subscribers are there on corpora-list?; To: "corpora at uib.no" <corpora at uib.no>; Dear Knut (or other responsible admin person); I believe it would be of benefit to existing subscribers, as well as to prospective subscribers, to know how many subscribers corpora-list has at any given time; Could this information be displayed on the corpora-list website, and updated on some regular basis (eg once a month?) or just automatically updated each time someone subscribes or unsubscribes? This came up in a discussion on the Corpus Linguistics group page in Facebook. I failed to discover the answer at the corpora-list website, but I discovered via Google that it was asked on 03/04/13 at http://permalink.gmane.org/gmane.science.linguistics.corpora/17723 and (by the same person, i think) on 04/04/13 at http://listarc.com/showthread.php?4688872-Anyone+know+how+many+subscribers+the+CORPORA+list+has%253F; many thanks, best, Ramesh Krishnamurthy

Since then, I have received 2 off-list responses: "the supervisor of Linguist List said there were around 20,000+ readers" and "I remember Knut telling me it was something like 6000 several years ago". Thank you to both responders! :)

Date: Wed, 21 Aug 2013 09:29:39 +0100; From: Trevor Jenkins <trevor.jenkins at suneidesis.com>; "Mean that /any/ published estimate is wrong. Interested parties can access the archives whether official or unofficial making them a a reader of the list without their ever being a formal subscriber. To publish any number would be as misleading as not publishing it. "

I think membership of the Corpus Linguistics group page on Facebook is 'closed', ie you have to ask to join it. I don't know whether this only limits who can post to the group, or also limits who can read the posts. I think subscribership to corpora-list also limits who can email to the list. I don't know whether the readership of corpora-list emails is larger or smaller than the readership of Facebook posts. If corpora-list emails can be read by more people than Facebook posts, that seems to confirm my original intuition that emailing a question to corpora-list is likely to reach more people than a Facebook post...

I don't see why displaying the *number* of subscribers to corpora-list will affect their privacy in any way. As the archives are open to non-subscribers, email addresses can easily be obtained by trawling the archives anyway?

best wishes Ramesh

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