Don & bashford at
Thu Dec 12 14:34:13 EST 1991

>>>>> On 11 Dec 91 17:03:39 GMT, kristoff at (David Kristofferson) said:

DK> Why does it takE SOMEONE WHO IS NOT EVEN IN OUR FIELD to ask a
DK> provocative question that then necessitates an exchange of ten or more
DK> messages over whether the question is really serious or not AND THEN

Because there is insufficient coupling between the bionet groups
and hard scientific sources, such as journals.  What we need are
newsgroups that are fully equivalent in rigor and prestige to journal
articles -- newsgroups that are not merely moderated, but edited and
refereed.  Then there could be unmoderated newsgroups for discussion
of articles appearing in the associated refereed groups -- kind of
like letters to the editor, except that everyone's letters get published.

DK> some interesting questions for debate???  Even if you are afraid of
DK> spilling your lastest hot hypothesis, surely there must be
DK> interpretations of results in the already published literature with
DK> which you might disagree or ask the authors to clarify, etc.???  This
DK> kind of discussion goes on at poster sessions all the time.  It could

The poster session example illustrates my point.  The informal discussion
is rooted in a more rigorous and formal presentation, the poster
and the paper or draft manuscript that often accompanies it. But
this example also shows the limitations of any electronic forum.
Poster discussions allow scientists the opportunity to ask dumb
questions and offer half-baked hypotheses in their own specialties,
something they would be reluctant to do in a forum in which every
word is recorded electronically on thousands of mag-disks in universities
around the world.

Don Bashford
bashford at

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