What's MOO

David Steffen steffen at mbcr.bcm.tmc.edu
Mon Mar 1 13:11:19 EST 1993

I (steffen at mbcr.bcm.tmc.edu aka David Steffen) wrote:

>I would like, if at all possible to move MOO discussions to biomatrix.

simonb at extro.ucc.su.OZ.AU (Simon Blomberg) responded:

>WHOA! mol.biologists hijack J'sHMOO?! :-)
>I believe that MOO technology has potential for _all_ biologists, not just
>molecular biologists. 

There are a myriad of issues raised here and in the remainder of the
response, but I think one is key and needs resolution:


I welcome the response of Dan Davison (father of the group) and Dave
Kristofferson on this, but there is nothing about what I understand
the charter of the group that should limit it to molecular biologists.
My understanding of this group is that it is for the discussion of the
organization and dissemination of knowledge about ALL parts of biology.

If I understand what Simon Blomberg (and Daniel Promislow who made the
same point to me by email) are saying, they are concluding that
biomatrix is for molecular biologists because of its position within
the bionet heirachy; e.g. bionet.MOLBIO.biomatrix.

I don't know why the heirarchy was set up this way, but it has been my
experience that it is a mistake to make too much from such heirarchy
positionings.  It is also my impression that it is very difficult to
move a group in the heirarchy once it is created should it later
appear that the location is sub-optimal.  (On mainline usenet, these
kinds of discussions are referred to pejoratively as 'namespace
purity' arguments.)

>The bioMOOers tend to
>be mostly molecular/cell biology types at the moment (I have lamented this
>during conversations on the MOO). And most of the projects in the bioECC
>basement have a mol.biol./genetics angle.
>What we need (IMHO) is _more_ participation by all sorts of biologists,
>not to sit back and wait until David Steffen (or whoever) dishes out the
>"New, Improved, bioMOO", because not only may it not be to our taste, but
>some may find that the offering is inedible. 

Points of clarification:
(1) I have nothing to say about what does or does not go on on
    JaysHouseMOO - that is up to Jay.
(2) Specifically, none of the projects in the basement are mine.
(3) I am not working on a "New, Improved, bioMOO" but rather one use
    of the MOO.  What I do will not in any way change or limit what other
    people do.
(4) What I am doing has nothing to do with molecular biology and
    should be equally useful to all biologists.
(5) I have been preparing a description of what it is that I am doing
    and planned to post it today to biomatrix.  Instead, I will wait a day
    or so to think about this issue of molbio-centrism of biomatrix
    and to see what Dan, Dave, or anyone else has to say about this.

>It's not
>as if the discussion of the MOO has taken up lots of space on bionet.general
>in the past few weeks, anyway.

This is not my reason for wanting to move to biomatrix.
My reasons for wanting to move to biomatrix are twofold:
(1) The relatively high volume of bionet.general negatively affects
    MOO discussions (rather than the vice versa proposed above.)
(2) I am very interested in the biomatrix concept, I would like to see
    more discussion of it, MOO seems to be on topic, thus bringing
    this relatively fashionable topic onto biomatrix might help get
    these kinds of discussions going.

>Just my $0.02 worth. Flame away...I don't care! :-)
>Simon (grad student aka "time waster" ;-)  )

Don't get me wrong - I like a joke as much (or more) than the next
guy as anyone who knows me will attest.  I got a chuckle out of your
post and thought it was lots of fun.  However, lest we forget, flames
can get in the way of important conversation, should they get out of
hand, and the life of a grad student can be short, brutish, and
miserable.  I have witnessed too much grad student agony recently to
avoid at least some pain mixed with the laughter at your signature.

David "Ebeneezer Scrooge" Steffen

David Steffen
Department of Cell Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston TX 77030
Telephone = (713) 798-6655, FAX = (713) 790-0545
Internet = steffen at bcm.tmc.edu

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