By Deane Barker on July 31, 2003

BumpList: An email community for the determined: I can’t figure out the point of this.

“BumpList is a mailing list aiming to re-examine the culture and rules of online email lists. BumpList only allows for a minimum amount of subscribers so that when a new person subscribes, the first person to subscribe is ‘bumped,’ or unsubscribed from the list. Once subscribed, you can only be unsubscribed if someone else subscribes and ‘bumps’ you off.”



  1. This sounds like an idea I heard about a while back. The theory was that communities degrade as they get larger e.g. Slashdot :-) So as a group gets larger, you kick people out to try keep the size down.

    IIRC, there was a band from around the 70’s (Grateful Dead or something like that) that used to have open spa parties. But they found that they were getting too big and all kinds of people were showing up. So they put a security code on the gate and gave the code to only their closest friends with the request that they only give the code to their closest friends who would be suitable for such a party. And so on. Once the number of people who had the code got too large, they just changed the code and started again.

    With BumpList, it seems that you only get to stay on the list if you really want to be on the list. But why? :-)

  2. I think of it as a game. Its pretty fun to try to stay on the list for long periods of time. I find myself going to the computer to see if I’ve been bumped.

  3. Think it through in an advocacy context. How many lists are “dead” anyway. How much time do campaigns spend cleaning lists and how much spam do you get for stuff you are no longer interested in.

    It is a brilliant concept that needs to be a bit more dynamic to be very useful for local grassroots political organizers. If it could grow with activity (ie. for each two actions taken create one new “seat” and for each week of inactivity decrease by one “seat”.) People could join issue campaigns and know no one will sell their name and that they will be removed when the campaign becomes irrelevant.

  4. the point is just that it’s an interesting idea

    the internet couldn’t be everything in the universe until this idea was explored

    next, other variations should be explored

    & many interesting things will come to pass


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