Bionet.microbiology and/vs/or/

EWEN E.F.Mcpherson at
Wed Sep 7 02:53:58 EST 1994

Dear Colleagues,

I am reminded of what Henry VIII had to say about Thomas More;-

Una, I am alarmed at your comments regarding the alleged "unfriendly" 
reception of many of your colleagues in the bionet.*. Although I'm 
not an active poster to many groups, I have receieved nothing but 
courtesy, friendliness and good humour in the posts that I have made.

It may have escaped your attention, It may not, but my general 
impression of the vast majority of people who post to the net in 
these groups is one of ,perhaps anarchism would be the wrong word, 
but a wariness of authority, actual or assumed, and a thorough 
dislike of being told what is best for us. If an unfriendly reception 
is dished out, IMHO, it is probably well deserved, particulary if the 
people involved come in with an attitude of being one of the "great 
and the good". The good thing about the net is that in the eyes of 
the users, we are all equal, all of our opinions are valued, 
considered and discussed.

Your point about strengthening the research community in the Usenet 
is a very valid one, but, if you do that in an attempt to isolate 
what I would call the more "casual" user of the net, for example, a 
student who would like some more detailed information on something 
not taught on their course, or just somebody who has a general but 
non-specific interest in microbiology, like a high school teacher, 
then you're doing it for all the wrong reasons. 

The net is growing day by day, and the people who use the net are 
changing, from We The Scientists to We The People. I wouldn't say 
that we have a moral duty to bring "Science to the People" but 
perhaps that we should be there to inform and dissemminate when and 
if neccessary, and we cannot do that by walling ourselves away in 
cyber-rooms dedicated to our Lofty Thoughts.

Una, please keep participating in the discussions. I know that you're 
a frequent poster to the net, sometimes even putting out some "good" 
science. Bionet.* needs you, so don't fly off to 
in a fit of pique, but on the other hand, can we please KNOCK THIS 
DISCUSSION ON THE HEAD NOW and get back to some real science. I'll 
vote YES for, I'm happy for it to exist and I'll 
be happy to post to both it and bionet.microbiology. 

I don't want to see a split in the microbiology community on the net, 
with some hoisting their flags behind the hierarchy and 
others behind bionet, and I'll do everything that I can to work 
against that. The RFD has, in usual fashion, appeared to generate 
more friction than actually exists. It's time to lay down the poison 
pens, and kiss and make up.

Now, hopefully, that's the end to it. I promise faithfully that my 
next post will be scientific and possibly even microbiological in 

Have a good one,

*         "Beam Me Up, Scotty,                    *
*               This Planet Sucks !"              *
* Ewen McPherson, Research Assistant              *
* e-Mail: EWEN at                   *
* Voice : +44 81 590 7722 extn 4076               *              
* snail:  Department of Environmental Sciences    *
*         University of East London               *
*         Romford Road, Stratford,                *
*         London E15 4LZ                          *
*         United Kingdom                          *

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