Tuesday, May 14, 2002

The WV-Bird Listserv 2001: A Content Analysis

My curiosity sometimes leads me down strange paths. On this particular occasion, it led me to analyze the contents of messages posted to the bird listserv for West Virginia (WV-Bird) in 2001. I am a subscriber and major contributor to the listserv, hence my interest. WV-Bird is a birding communications network covering the entire State of West Virginia in which subscribers can report and receive rare bird sighting information; share timely information about bird sightings and field trips; and interact with members of the National Audubon Society, Partners in Flight, and other bird-related organizations.

Referring to the archives, I found that approximately 1260 messages were posted, or just over 100 per month on average. April was the busiest month with 246 mesages posted, while July was the slowest with 59.

TOPICS OF DISCUSSION:

Ignorning capitalization, prepositions, and minor discrepancies in spelling, I tabulated the number of times a given topic appeared in the subject line of messages. The distribution was as follows:

13 times - 1 message(s)
12 times - 0
11 times - 1
10 times - 3
9 times - 5
8 times - 1
7 times - 4
6 times - 10
5 times - 10
4 times - 25
3 times - 47
2 times - 127
1 time - 518

The 25 most popular topics discussed on the WV-Bird listserv in 2001 were (in decreasing order):

Birds at Home (13 messages)
Pics of Swans on New River (11)
Eagles (10)
Snowy Owl (10)
White-crowned Goldfinch (10)
Binoculars (9)
Core Arboretum (9)
Request for Bird Sightings (9)
Swans on the New River (9)
White Park (9)
Northern Lights (8)
[No Subject] (7)
PDAs (7)
Spring Migration Notes (7)
Tree Sparrows (7)
Barred Owl Killed on Road (6)
Brown Creepers (6)
Collision-Killed N. Waterthrush (6)
Do Hummingbirds Remember? (6)
Hardy County (6)
Leonid Great Horned Owl (6)
Migration (6)
RFI: Parkersburg Snowy Owl (6)
Ruffed Grouse (6)
Stuff (6)

In the first 3 months of 2002, traffic on the WV-Bird listserv was a whopping 56 percent heavier than for the same period in 2001. Long live the WV-Bird listserv!

CONTRIBUTORS TO THE LISTSERV:

Eighty-seven people posted messages to the WV-Bird listserv in 2001, but the 10 most frequent contributors accounted for 52 percent of all traffic. The top 10 contributors in 2001 were (in decreasing order):

Gary L. Felton - 213 messages
Judy [=Jim] Phillips - 110
Jean Neely - 61
Mike Forman - 60
Ronald L. Canterbury - 50
Jon Cassidy - 40
John L. Trapp - 39
Cindy Ellis - 36
Keith Peters - 33
Wendell Argabrite - 32

Another 10 people each contributed more than 20, but fewer than 30, messages: Susan M. Schneider (29), Wendy Perrone (28), Gary Rankin (26), Tom Fox (25), Russ McClain (25), Janet Fout (24), Wil Hershberger (23), Bob Dean (21), Greg Eddy (21), and Scott Shalaway (21). The majority of contributors (52) posted fewer than 10 messages each.

As an aside, only 3 of 87 contributors posted messages to the listserv that lacked a Last Name in either the signature line or the "From" line, accounting for just 0.8 percent of all messages; and just 1 contributor posted messages that were totally anonymous (i.e., no First or Last Name), accounting for a mere 0.2 percent of all messages.

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