Internet co-operation

Joseph Zorzin redoak at
Thu Jun 18 08:51:25 EST 1998

Nick Ananin wrote:
> Dear fellow forestnetters,
> For once I make no apology for cross-posting to many of the Forestry sites
> on the Net as I think this is an important issue.
> Over the recent few months it has struck me how many web sites are
> replicating the information that they hold with varying degrees of success.
> I refer to information which is in the public domain and is of general
> interest but as far as I am concerned is not well organised. This applies in
> particular to the following:

One possible solution which may not go as far as you'd like would be to
have a newsgroup FAQ.

The FAQ would be posted, say, once each week. It would list all known
forestry web sites. For each web site, the author could write a
paragraph describing his/her web's focus and intent. I think, maybe Don
Staples has one, or is working on it. Don? Don? where are you?

>   1) Calendars/diaries of events which includes seminars, conferences,
> meetings etc.
>   2) Jobs
>   3) Links to main reference sites
>   4) Points of contact for mailing lists, Newsgroups etc.
> My point is that I think it is time that we sorted out some method of
> compiling this information. The benefits as I see it would be:

Unfortunately there is no "we". Forestry is even more heterogeneous than
most "professions". What you would like would be easier if there was
some International Forestry Association, that could take on this BIG
responsibility. It would take a lot of work. And many of the authors of
forestry type web pages don't come here so they won't even know about
your concerns.

>  1) One central point for submitting information (seminars, jobs etc.) for
> onward distribution
>   2) Efficient use of resources
>   3) Help people find the relevant information and ensure that ALL the
> information is current

Maybe you could volunteer for this major effort? <G>

> If these are the potential benefits why is it not already happening? The
> reason is that webmasters (myself included) use this sort of information for
> competitive advantage to attract surfers back to their sites thus promoting
> their organisation or for commercial gain. The snag is that often you have
> to search several web sites to find the relevant information.

The web sure is a disorganized mess. A central depository would be nice,
but not with any restrictions on what others could put up. That won't
happen. Somebody simply has to put up a web page, so authoritative, that
it wins respect from the world forestry community as the King Kong of
forestry web info.

> Perhaps this is just me being altruistic but I believe we all would benefit
> by some sort of co-operative arrangement. The important key would be to
> ensure that all the information was available to anyone. The way I see it
> working is that all the information would in a central repository which
> would be distributed (e-mail) or available to download. Each webmaster could
> select the level of information to have on their web site, some have an
> international coverage, some have national or regional interest. All
> webmasters would be required to forward any information they hold to the
> central repository for use by the others.

That word "required" won't get us far. As one esteemed US Senator once
said, "that dog won't hunt". Unless the various web sites are considered
"officially affiliated" with the King Kong web page.

> So why bother? I believe that if we want forestry to be seen as being a
> dynamic industry we need to promote it efficiently and we can achieve this
> by co-operative action.

Unfortunately, it's not a dynamic industry. It's overloaded with
bureaucracy, industrial practices too often outdated, and constant
fighting over environmental issues. It's one of the most "atomized"
industries on the planet; so getting everyone to agree isn't likely.
It's like the way Microsoft got to dominate the software industry.
Nobody ever gave Gates permission to be the King Kong. He just plowed
ahead until he was unstoppable.

Joe Zorzin

More information about the Ag-forst mailing list