"Normally create without a vote"?

Una Smith una at doliolum.biology.yale.edu
Thu Aug 18 16:12:02 EST 1994

David Kristofferson, aka BIOSCI Administrator
(biosci-help at NET.BIO.NET), wrote:

>: I'm not about to reopen an issue that has been resolved by the
>: readership simply in response to an objection by someone who is always
>: in a small minority (sometimes of only 2 or 3) on virtually all BIOSCI
>: votes where they venture to stake out a "position."  I note, for
>: example, that the bionet.microbiology vote was 359 YES to 2 NO despite
>: the fact that you jumped into the discussion about bionet.microbiology
>: and argued strenuously to move the group to sci.bio.microbiology.
>: After a while, this kind of opposition amounts to nothing more than
>: pure and simple harrassment for motives which only you know for
>: certain.  Messages such as the above become exceedingly tiresome.
>: I have work to do.


1.  How people vote on bionet.* proposals is private information,
which you have special access to.  Informing bionet.general readers
that I am "always" in a minority and suggesting that I "always"
vote NO is both an abuse of your role as administrator, and a lie.

2.  Given the treatment you inflict on me on a routine basis (such
as the above quote), is it any wonder that others keep their mouths
shut?  Your self-indulgent, offensive, ad hominem attacks on me
reflect badly on you and on all of bionet.*.  I don't care how bad
you make yourself look, but I do care about bionet.*, so:  Stop it!

3.  I made a simple request for a repost of the results of the vote
on whether to vote on all proposals in the bionet.prof-society.*
hierarchy.  I missed it while away doing field work, and I can't
find it in the archive, since I don't know what keywords to search
on.  Is it such a hardship for you to repost it?

4.  As you brought up the totally unrelated microbiology proposal,
as an example of some sort of implied bad behavior on my part,
I'll just say this:  The bionet.microbiology proposal came *after*
I had begun a similar proposal for sci.bio.microbiology, thus I
had every right to argue for sci.bio.microbiology.  That is, after
all, what the discussion period is for.

James Mahaffy <mahaffy at dordt.edu> wrote:

>	I agree that Una can be annoying, especially to a hard
>working and effective administrator and I have even had a couple
>exchanges but ... in all fairness.

Is it a crime to have an opinion that doesn't follow the party
line here?  

>1. Although at times I think she likes to take the negative just so it
>is represented, she does sometimes present some good arguments and that
>can be helpful. But maybe you shouldn't do it all the time.

I don't always oppose proposals made in bionet.general.  And I have
personally initiated more proposals than any other bionet.* reader.

However, given the climate of this newsgroup, it seems to me that if
I don't brave the wrath of David and mention the down-side to any
proposal, no one else will do it.

I have never wasted my own precious time arguing a point of view
just to be contrary.  I have many better things to do.

>2. Even though she make your life more difficult, I think it was
>her biologists Guide to the Internet that helped me find the right
>newsgroups ... I also see her active in starting new groups and you
>need someone to do that.

I'm glad the Guide has been useful to you, Jim.  But just how
much difficulty do you really think I cause David?  After all,
he's free to ignore my comments.  In fact, unless he posts some
rejoinder like the one above, he usually does ignore them.  For
years now I have occasionally suggested that it would be really 
wonderful if the cross-posting mechanism worked properly across
bionet.* newsgroups and the associated mailing lists.  Now, if
an article is cross-posted to more than one bionet.* newsgroup,
it is distributed to only one mailing list;  the one attached 
to the first newsgroup listed.  That's why David re-posts things
like the RFD and CFV and RESULTS articles.

>3. I do think she has a bit of a cynicism that administrators would be
>out there to help folks, but then that is not atypical. 

I'm not sure I understand this sentence.  If it means that I seem
to believe all administrators are malicious control freaks, then
it is way off the mark.  As I've mentioned before, I am myself an
administrator, and moreover I do it all as a public service.  I
maintain a little gopher archive on sunsite.unc.edu, keep several
FAQ files (including "A Biologist's Guide to Internet Resources"),
run a mailing list (scifaq-l at yalevm.cis.yale.edu), and serve on a
committee that oversees the creation of new newsgroups in the
Usenet "mainstream" (including sci.*).

David has in the past explicitly accused me of trying to steal
bionet.* from him.  That is simply not true.  I think I have
done far more over the years for bionet.* than what he sees as
being against it.  My criticisms are offered in what I believe
to be the best interests of bionet.*, and they are invariably
constructive.  Perhaps David believes it is not my business to
have an opinion about what's best for bionet.*.  But I believe
that bionet.* is a community endeavor, and I have been part of
that community since the beginning.

>Almost makes me wonder when she gets time to do research.  

This is a very common remark.  The only answer I can give is
that I type fast, I use a program to pre-process my e-mail, I
use a top-notch "threaded" newsreader, I work very efficiently,
I've had years of practice at it, and I don't get emotionally
involved in anything to do with bionet.*.  It isn't worth it.

Oh yes, and I do get my research done at a normal pace.  Last
week I gave a paper on my current work at the annual meeting
of the Botanical Society of America.  The abstract is in the
June supplement of the American Journal of Botany.

>No need to respond Dave. What you said is largely true - but I
>thought a bit of the other side should be out there two.

Thanks for the defense, Jim.  However, what David said is *not*
largely true.  It is grotesquely distorted, unjust, and abusive.
Some of it is simply false.

	Una Smith			smith-una at yale.edu

Department of Biology, Yale University, New Haven, CT  06520-8104  USA

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