Invariably on lawprof listserves, certain people, many of whom aren’t even lawprofs, monopolize conversations. They send way too many messages that few people seem to care about, and frequently reply with threads that seldom lead anywhere–often amongst themselves. If you follow these listserves, you know who they are. And it gets really annoying.
How do I fix this? GMail, like most mail clients, allows you to set up filters. I set up a filter to automatically mark unread any message from said senders to the listserve. If, for whatever reason someone else responds to their messages, and the response is interesting, you can go back and read the ignored email. You can also set Google to automatically archive the messages, or delete them. (I personally do not delete any message–I have over 113,000 messages, all read in my Inbox.) But this makes it harder to follow the thread.
Another tip, when a conversation jumps the shark (I find this happens after about 6 or 7 posts), you can “Mute” it in Gmail. This won’t delete the thread. Rather, so long as the subject remains the same, you will not receive any notifications of new messages on the thread. Invariably, someone responds to that thread with a different topic, so you can mute that too.
Try it. It will make your life, and inbox, easier.
The listserves are very helpful, and offer ways for scholar to communicate with each other about emerging topics in the law. But, it’s the internet. And you know the internet.