Why Do We Need a Newsgroup?

JAMES BLAKE jablake at ix.netcom.com
Sun Nov 19 11:27:24 EST 1995

Dear Annelid enthusiasts, 

I have been wondering who would be the first to follow Geoff Read's 
introductory remarks, and because no one has, I decided to do it.  

I would like to solicit comments from the membership as to how they 
anticipate using this medium of communication.  Geoff has gone to a 
great deal of effort in getting this e-mail discussion group started.  
At present it functions more like a ListServe than a NewsGroup, but 
that will presumeably change after 6 months if there is sufficient 

I am presently subscribed to a variety of ListServes and Newsgroup 
discussions, some of which are merely sources of information and 
gossip, others are very active.  Tbey range in topics from 
Biodiversity, Marine Biology, Taxonomy, Deep-Sea Biology, Ecology, 
Evolution, and Systematics (and Bowling; I am active in the sport).  
One very active List at the present is one that deals with assessing 
the proposed changes to appear in the next revision of the 
International Code of Zoological Nomenclature.  At any rate, between 
all these various sources of communication and information, not to 
mention a deluge of back and forth private e-mail traffic and the 
occasional appearance of CHAETOZONE, I raise the question to the 
membership of what we do here that is not already out there to some 
extent.  Is there enough information on polychaetes and related annelid 
groups to warrant still another internet site?  

This is a crucial question, because unless there is some real interest 
among the membership, the activity will be very minimal.  I am seeing 
this happen to some of the ListServs on Biodiversity and Deep-Sea, 
where communication has essentially ceased; and for some of those, the 
membership is far larger than this one.  

I have learned that subscribers of such list tend to fall into two 
categories: lurkers and chatters.  Lurkers tend to read all the news 
and gossip, but not say much; chatters have something to say about 
everything.  Here, I hope the lurkers will come forth more openly.

So, I ask the membership to come forth with some ideas as to how they 
want to use this opportunity.  

I would envision that there might be announcements of meetings, 
appearance of books, requests for specimens to address research 
problems, requests for information about species or topics, and 
discussions about various topics such as sibling species, cosmopolitan 
species, long-standing taxonomic problems such as the number of genera 
of hesionids and ampharetids, how many polychaete families do we really 
have?, or whatever.  The use of this List for Discussion topics is 
probably where the list could fill a niche not already covered.  

I look forward to some response.

Jim Blake
ENSR Consulting and Engineering
89 Water Street
Woods Hole, MA 02543
(508) 457-7900
FAX: 457-7595
(jablake at ix.netcom.com)


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