Ooooops!...knee jerking

S. A. Modena samodena at csemail.cropsci.ncsu.edu
Wed Mar 2 21:08:50 EST 1994


I've appended your brazen posting...excellent work with the
electronic cut-and-paste sissors plus blustering...isn't it
exactly the type of thing you yourself are railing against?

Haven't I heard you threatening ultimate police power before?
Maybe you just had a long day...sometimes I do.  ;^)  Gosh, in
a way, your tone is so similar to the that of the original
"Ooooops!" posting...can you see the similarity?

I look forward to you recanting what you've done...

And, further, on the topic of provocation and libel, I look
forward to your august remonstrations on the "Mike" thread
that played recently in bionet.women-in-bio: perhaps you
will give us your take on the sociological, legal and professionalism
aspects of it??  Now that you've got your WAIS running, you 
could pull up that full exchange for the World enjoy: all
within the "charter" of that newsgroup, right?

I've posted two other commentaries from the same place that the
original "Ooooops!" came from...they are compelling, sunstantive, 
persuasive, and--may I say--mature in their perspectives on the
full sweep of the issues riding behind the "Ooooops!" posting...
and perhaps even your snippet job.  :^)

( see "rBST, Biotechnology and electronic Free Speech -- I & II )


Steve Modena    nmodena at unity.ncsu.edu


In article <2l294j$1kd at net.bio.net> kristoff at net.bio.net (David Kristofferson) writes:
>In article <1994Feb24.125023.27511 at ncsu.edu>,
>S.A. Modena maildrop <maildrop at csemail.cropsci.ncsu.edu> wrote:
>>
>>During the latter part of November and again in early February Lara
>>Wiggert, a graduate assistant working at the National Agricultural
>>Library, posted several messages to this discussion group responding to
>>messages regarding the safety and efficacy of recombinant bovine
>>somatotropin (bST/bGH).  The content of these postings was inappropriate
>>to be coming from an institution whose purpose is to disseminate
>>information in an impartial and unprejudiced manner.  
>
>Not being a frequent reader of this group I will have to investigate
>this further before commenting on this particular case.  I also
>caution others to avoid knee-jerk reactions.
>
>This group was created by the readership a year or so ago to assist
>women in their research careers.  As such it was a sociological
>departure from the purpose of the rest of the BIOSCI/bionet groups and
>was bothersome to some readers.  I found it disturbing initially that
>a few male readers tried their best to shut the group down by
>promoting controversy here through the posting of inflammatory
>comments at that time.  As usually happens on the network, however,
>most people learned to ignore them.
>
>The BIOSCI/bionet newsgroups are for the use of researchers in biology
>for professional purposes.  While unmoderated newsgroups are open
>discussion forums, they are not without rules.  One of the most
>obvious and long-standing is that discussions must conform to the the
>charter of the group.  As manager of these groups, I will take action
>on cases of repeated abuse that are brought to my attention at
>biosci-help at net.bio.net (more on this below).
>
>
>>The distribution of information by electronic means remains in its
>>infancy, and standards for the ethical use of this medium are still
>>developing.  It holds great promise to facilitate the exchange of ideas
>>and information. However, this powerful medium can be used improperly to
>>disseminate unsupported claims to a global audience.  In some respects the
>>medium functions as an immediate global newspaper, and as such the
>>"stories" that it contains need to be as accurate and truthful as
>>possible. By neglecting this responsibility, we run the risk of
>>diminishing the role that electronic communication will have in the
>>future.  We regret that this incident occurred and have taken actions to
>>prevent future lapses in objectivity and professionalism. 
>
>This analogy with a global newspaper does not hold.  All contents of a
>newspaper go through an editorial process.  Even the "Letters to the
>Editor" section in newspapers is reviewed.  Unmoderated newsgroups are
>not edited.  Everyone who uses the network realizes this and treats
>inflammatory postings accordingly.  All legal precedents to date hold
>that the legal responsibility for postings lies with the person who
>posts the article, and they are responsible in cases of libel.  If
>bionet.women-in-bio was a moderated group and the postings in question
>were approved by a moderator, then the analogy made above might have
>some validity.  Unmoderated groups are "self-regulating" in the sense
>that, if a group degenerates into nothing but dribble, people stop
>reading it.  BIOSCI/bionet strives to maintain a higher standard than
>the rest of USENET through a more formal management structure than in
>most other USENET hierarchies, but the increasing number of posts
>makes that increasingly difficult in light of staff limitations.
>
>*** I CAUTION READERS*** that libel laws *do* apply to anything that
>you decide to post, so those who feel that they can say anything with
>impunity on the newsgroups are seriously deluding themselves.
>
>The volume on BIOSCI/bionet has grown to the point where I personally
>can no longer read and monitor every flame war on the net (nor should
>I have to - each newsgroup has a discussion leader), but I will take
>action on cases of improper use that are called to my attention (mail
>to biosci-help at net.bio.net).
>
>Finally, it is sad that this kind of rare incident is what attracts
>attention and what people tend to remember about the network.  The
>fact that we are sending out thousands of messages daily to scientists
>who are using them for constructive research purposes never seems to
>be worthy of note; instead one person making unsubstantiated claims
>can make themselves "newsworthy" and jeopardize the use of the network
>for others.
>
>When one complains about the ethics of USENET, we should all remember
>that what constitutes news in the regular press is not always
>sweet-smelling 8-).  In theory, journalism is supposed to be balanced
>in the, by implication, more ethical traditional media; in practice,
>it often focuses on the sensational to sell newspapers.  At least on
>the network the accused has equal access to reply immediately in their
>own words.  This is a tremendously valuable freedom which should not
>be jeopardized.
>
>				Sincerely,
>
>				Dave Kristofferson
>				BIOSCI/bionet Manager
>
>				biosci-help at net.bio.net

Newsgroups: bionet.women-in-bio
Subject: Re: Ooooops!...and jerking one's knee
Summary: 
Expires: 
References: <1994Feb24.125023.27511 at ncsu.edu> <2l294j$1kd at net.bio.net>
Sender: 
Followup-To: 
Distribution: bionet
Organization: Crop Science Dept., NCSU, Raleigh, NC 27695-7620
Keywords: 

Dave, I'd like you to look over what you did in your posting...and
perhaps reconsider your position.

I posted two other extended commentaries that boiled up because of the
SANET-L "discussion"...I think they are impressive, persuasive and...
shall I say, mature in outlook. ( rBST, Biotechnology, electronic
Free Speech -- I & II )

My original "Ooooops!" posting was a forwarding from a mailing list
that I have previously picked items-of-interest.

I invite you to look into *all* aspects of potential libel, especially
those involving "Mike"...I am certain your august public pronouncement
will be illuminating.

You might even self-critique to see if the way you used your electronic
sissors was intellectually honest...or just bad inadvertance after a
long day.

Steve Modena    nmodena at unity.ncsu.edu

In article <2l294j$1kd at net.bio.net> kristoff at net.bio.net (David Kristofferson) writes:
>In article <1994Feb24.125023.27511 at ncsu.edu>,
>S.A. Modena maildrop <maildrop at csemail.cropsci.ncsu.edu> wrote:
>>
>>During the latter part of November and again in early February Lara
>>Wiggert, a graduate assistant working at the National Agricultural
>>Library, posted several messages to this discussion group responding to
>>messages regarding the safety and efficacy of recombinant bovine
>>somatotropin (bST/bGH).  The content of these postings was inappropriate
>>to be coming from an institution whose purpose is to disseminate
>>information in an impartial and unprejudiced manner.  
>
>Not being a frequent reader of this group I will have to investigate
>this further before commenting on this particular case.  I also
>caution others to avoid knee-jerk reactions.
>
>This group was created by the readership a year or so ago to assist
>women in their research careers.  As such it was a sociological
>departure from the purpose of the rest of the BIOSCI/bionet groups and
>was bothersome to some readers.  I found it disturbing initially that
>a few male readers tried their best to shut the group down by
>promoting controversy here through the posting of inflammatory
>comments at that time.  As usually happens on the network, however,
>most people learned to ignore them.
>
>The BIOSCI/bionet newsgroups are for the use of researchers in biology
>for professional purposes.  While unmoderated newsgroups are open
>discussion forums, they are not without rules.  One of the most
>obvious and long-standing is that discussions must conform to the the
>charter of the group.  As manager of these groups, I will take action
>on cases of repeated abuse that are brought to my attention at
>biosci-help at net.bio.net (more on this below).
>
>
>>The distribution of information by electronic means remains in its
>>infancy, and standards for the ethical use of this medium are still
>>developing.  It holds great promise to facilitate the exchange of ideas
>>and information. However, this powerful medium can be used improperly to
>>disseminate unsupported claims to a global audience.  In some respects the
>>medium functions as an immediate global newspaper, and as such the
>>"stories" that it contains need to be as accurate and truthful as
>>possible. By neglecting this responsibility, we run the risk of
>>diminishing the role that electronic communication will have in the
>>future.  We regret that this incident occurred and have taken actions to
>>prevent future lapses in objectivity and professionalism. 
>
>This analogy with a global newspaper does not hold.  All contents of a
>newspaper go through an editorial process.  Even the "Letters to the
>Editor" section in newspapers is reviewed.  Unmoderated newsgroups are
>not edited.  Everyone who uses the network realizes this and treats
>inflammatory postings accordingly.  All legal precedents to date hold
>that the legal responsibility for postings lies with the person who
>posts the article, and they are responsible in cases of libel.  If
>bionet.women-in-bio was a moderated group and the postings in question
>were approved by a moderator, then the analogy made above might have
>some validity.  Unmoderated groups are "self-regulating" in the sense
>that, if a group degenerates into nothing but dribble, people stop
>reading it.  BIOSCI/bionet strives to maintain a higher standard than
>the rest of USENET through a more formal management structure than in
>most other USENET hierarchies, but the increasing number of posts
>makes that increasingly difficult in light of staff limitations.
>
>*** I CAUTION READERS*** that libel laws *do* apply to anything that
>you decide to post, so those who feel that they can say anything with
>impunity on the newsgroups are seriously deluding themselves.
>
>The volume on BIOSCI/bionet has grown to the point where I personally
>can no longer read and monitor every flame war on the net (nor should
>I have to - each newsgroup has a discussion leader), but I will take
>action on cases of improper use that are called to my attention (mail
>to biosci-help at net.bio.net).
>
>Finally, it is sad that this kind of rare incident is what attracts
>attention and what people tend to remember about the network.  The
>fact that we are sending out thousands of messages daily to scientists
>who are using them for constructive research purposes never seems to
>be worthy of note; instead one person making unsubstantiated claims
>can make themselves "newsworthy" and jeopardize the use of the network
>for others.
>
>When one complains about the ethics of USENET, we should all remember
>that what constitutes news in the regular press is not always
>sweet-smelling 8-).  In theory, journalism is supposed to be balanced
>in the, by implication, more ethical traditional media; in practice,
>it often focuses on the sensational to sell newspapers.  At least on
>the network the accused has equal access to reply immediately in their
>own words.  This is a tremendously valuable freedom which should not
>be jeopardized.
>
>				Sincerely,
>
>				Dave Kristofferson
>				BIOSCI/bionet Manager
>
>				biosci-help at net.bio.net





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