[Bionews] Bionet public archives and removal requests revisited

Don Gilbert via bionews%40net.bio.net (by gilbertd from kalo.bio.indiana.edu)
Tue Oct 31 17:27:52 EST 2006

Dear readers of Bionet,

A prior contributor to Bionet.virology asked
> Please permantely delete this reference link which is being stored  
> by your servers.

In the message in question from 1995, the student asked for science
information on the virology topic of HPV.  Reasons for removal now are
that Google searches by the author's name return this message, on a
topic the author is not now interested in being associated with.

Should Bionet change it's policy, stated in public notices since 1991,
of maintaining public archives of these newsgroups, to remove
messages from those want to erase their past public questions, answers
and discussions?

Bionet public archives and similar venues of public discussion
now have to deal with many people changing their minds about their
prior public discussions, mostly in response to Google name searches.
This is having a chilling effect on the continuation of these open and
free science and scholarly discussions.

Our society needs to learn to come to grips with public discussion and
personal accountability in electronic media.   Historically, when one speaks
out in a public forum, having one's words recorded, via newspapers,
broadcast media or even common recollections by our neighbors
listening to us, is part of our society.  Moving this into electronic
media means in part that our neighborhood has expanded, but it doesn't
mean we should try to hide our past public speech.   Free speech has
always had its responsibilities to the individual.

On this topic see details of Bionet's policy

My advice to new and past contributors to Bionet:  

* You likely are aware your discussions are being read by 1,000s of
people around the world.  Be aware they also are part of a
continuing record of science discussion.

* Please do be civil and thoughtful, and limit yourself to
biology science discussion among professionals, and to particular
group topics (see these at http://www.bio.net).

* Please step up to share your views in these public commons.  No
society nor individual gains by keeping silent on topics of public

* Please also share your changing and revised views, as history of
science has shown it is the best way to improve our understanding of
science, and the growth in our ideas.

* Please don't let others use against you, behind the scenes, your
public discussions.  Those are unhealthy parts of our society that
should be eliminated. Ask them to join us in open discussion.  People
who misuse or misconstrue one's contributions to science
should be publicly accountable for their negative effects. 

-- Don Gilbert, Bionet caretaker 
(now dealing with many such requests to edit the archives)

-- d.gilbert--bioinformatics--indiana-u--bloomington-in-47405
-- gilbertd from indiana.edu--http://marmot.bio.indiana.edu/

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