[Molecular-evolution] Bionet evolution discussion removals: please comment

Don Gilbert via mol-evol%40net.bio.net (by gilbertd from cricket.bio.indiana.edu)
Wed Nov 21 17:16:59 EST 2007



Dear bionet.molbio.evolution readers,

One of the contributors to this topic on
"evolutionary advantages of homosexual inclinations"
has asked that the public discussion identifying him be removed
or edited to anonymity, including others' messages.
http://www.bio.net/bionet/mm/mol-evol/1997-March/thread.html

Please comment on whether you feel it appropriate to
remove parts of this discussion from the http://www.bio.net/
archives at the request of a contributor.

To me, this looks like appropriate content for
bionet.molbio.evolution  and suitable to the public archives. As
current caretaker of the BIOSCI/Bionet public discussion forums,
it is one of my responsibilities to handle requests from people
who have privacy concerns about the discussion they and others
have contributed over the years.  I also know that Bionet
archives are read at the rate of 50,000/day, and are helping
many people learn of biosciences including areas with
controversy.

Please refer to this document,
http://www.bio.net/bionet/docs/biosci-termsofuse.html and the
related linked discussion of others, for the policy on Bionet's
public discussions that I've arrived at, and why.

In this same 1997-March archive, and prior dates, find the post
"BIOSCI/bionet miniFAQ & Fundraiser"   BIOSCI Administrator
that introduces readers to BIOSCI/Bionet including
its public nature and the existence of public archives.  
This information has been widely available since 1992.

In this same month, see a thread that I contributed
"How to draw portions of a phylogenetic tree?"
I would disagree with requests to remove or edit
messages in this discussion, though of course it doesn't
touch on controversial areas.

It is troubling to me that contributors to areas of
possible science controversy are asking to edit this public
record.  You all have the possibility that discussion in
areas of science or social controversy will disappear.

One of the contributors to the above discussion wrote
"Recently it has been brought to the
publics attention that information involving violent behavior of
primates has been squelched and supressed to some degree."

You have at hand one reason for suppression of science discussion,
and can help decide if it will occur.

This and similar requests to Bionet are happening in part to
address privacy concerns.
In this case it appears that a commercial pornography website
borrowed from Bionet archives the name of a contributor and the
"homosexual" key word.  This is rather nasty commercial
activity, at the same level as all those spams I get purporting
to be sent by myself or people I know.  However, I do not believe
that hiding Bionet discussions are an appropriate answer to
such misuse of Internet archives.

Note the same articles exist for public use at
google.com, archive.org and other Internet archives of Bionet.
I can only edit the archives at www.bio.net

-- Don Gilbert, BIOSCI/Bionet caretaker
-- e-mail: biosci-help from net.bio.net



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