Quick followup to my “standing in line for democracy” post: I had complained to Steven Clift of e-democracy.org about the message restrictions on the United States Issues Forum. He followed up with a couple of thoughtful emails. “The goal,” he says, “is to produce a more thoughtful, civil exchange.” He acknowledges that it’s an experiment that might not work. He notes that, in effect, message overwhelm turns potential participants off. This is an old issue with email lists, often a cause for moderation, less often handled with arbitrary constraints like this. I appreciate what they’re trying to do, and I’ve rejoined the list. I’ve been pretty silent on this stuff for a while, preoccupied with other issues, but I’m hoping to find ways to promote more and better conversational environments. What we’re calling “social media” often isn’t as social as we need to be.