Readership Report

Una Smith smith-una at
Thu Feb 18 15:53:40 EST 1993

kristoff at NET.BIO.NET (Dave Kristofferson) writes:

>Currently there is still a large number of users that need e-mail
>access, and I have no intention of leaving these people in the lurch.

Having linked mailing lists is not incompatible with being a full
Usenet group.  Comp.infosystems.gis (aka GIS-L) and
are examples of this.  Now that Usenet has so much traffic, there
are good reasons of economy to have individual e-mail subscription
as an option.  I expect linked mailing lists to become much more common
in Usenet than they are now, even though Usenet was originally a
"solution" to mailing lists.

>[...]  It is my belief that opening up BIOSCI to a flood of laymen
>questions from intelligent non-biologists would doom the system

Dave may be right (I would rather not find out!), but there's really
nothing to stop this from happening now, except our behavior.  Good 
strategies include absolutely no public response to inappropriate
behavior and civil e-mail asking the offending party to cease.  If
necessary, complaints to the offender's postmaster are often effective.

But please, let's not indulge in sterotyping all non-biologists as
ignorant and/or incapable of asking intelligent questions.  That
just offends people.  And let's not label those of us who do use
computers a lot as "computer jocks" rather than "professional research
biologists", as though the two were somehow incompatible.  Since I
first began using computer networking I've earned two degrees in
biology and spent an average of 4 months a year doing field work in
the neotropics.  And I don't think that's unusual;  I've introduced
quite a few field biologists to the Internet, although most prefer
to "lurk". 

The thing about Usenet is, you never know who might be listening.


      Una Smith      Biology Department       smith-una at
                     Yale University
                     New Haven, CT  06511

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