"Normally create without a vote"?

Una Smith una at doliolum.biology.yale.edu
Fri Aug 19 12:00:27 EST 1994

David Kristofferson wrote:

> The thing that annoys me is simply the continual attacks on how
> BIOSCI/bionet is run.

I did not attack how BIOSCI is run.  I did not attack you, David.
I made a relevant, critical comment about a specific proposal,
and asked a simple question, both of which you took as a personal

> I could speculate on the motives for doing this but will not do
> so here.

Then why stack the deck against me with sentences like this?

> Suffice it to say that no one in the BIOSCI organization
> interferes with initiatives of hers in the sci.bio hierarchy.

David, you have had the same reaction to me since long before
I had any administrative role in Usenet.  You seem to hold the
position that "I don't play with your toys, so don't you play
with mine", but you're playing the role of Daddy at the same

I consider my role as a Usenet administrator to be entirely
separate and independent of my role as a biologist and user
of Usenet.  My efforts to build sci.bio.* and also bionet.*
are those of a user with no more authority than anyone else. 

I don't use my authority as a Usenet administrator in the
service of my activities as a user.  My sci.bio.* proposals
get the same treatment as everyone else's do.  I am *not*
an administrator of sci.bio.*.  I do not control any of the
groups, and I do not suppress opposition to my proposals.

David, can't you see the distinction I make here?  I wear
two hats, but not both at the same time.  With regard to
bionet.* proposals, you seem be wearing both hats at once
more often than not.

> Of course, if she has a good idea, such as the bionet.organisms
> subdivision, we will adopt it.

Why, thank you.  But it was the people who voted on the proposal
who adopted it, not BIOSCI.

> I suggest that the way to proceed is to present ideas, and, if
> they are not accepted, let it drop.

This sounds fine in principle.  However, David, when you use your
role as administrator to announce that the idea is dead, I feel
that you have exerted undue influence.  And I think you tend to
cut off discussion of good ideas prematurely when you do this.

> Unfortunately, all too often, our failure to agree leads to
> public recriminations or attempts to marshall the troops on
> opposing sides.

The goal of public debate is to persuade the audience to take 
one side over another.  That's a normal part of running Usenet
newsgroups.  And I try to participate fairly and honestly.

David, it is not fair when you use your position as administrator
to pull stunts like trying to discredit me by exposing selective
parts of my voting record.  Or when you hint (as you did today)
that I have hidden malicious motives. 

> Some of these have been my fault, I'll admit that, but not all
> by any means.

Admitting it isn't really enough, especially when you repeat
these unworthy acts.

> I would suggest that if an idea is not accepted, the diplomatic
> thing to do would be to implement it in sci.bio.* and let the
> results speak for themselves (and I do mean let the *results*
> speak for themselves).

Be nice and go play elsewhere, eh?  This discussion has nothing
to do with sci.bio.*, it has to do with bionet.*, and here in
bionet.general is where it should stay.

	Una Smith			smith-una at yale.edu

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

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