Bionet Snooze

Tony Travis ajt at
Thu Aug 27 12:19:34 EST 1992

In article <92727171305.MIN-LZJBa26691.bionet-news at> you write:
: Tony comments that the bionet group seems to "wake up" when discussing
: e-mail policies rather than plant topics. I disagree. I think that members
: of bionet POST their responses about e-mail policies to the general list, but
: that specific plant-oriented discussions tend to occur between individual
: users. 

I agree with you, George!

I meant that the bionet *news* groups/mailing list "wakes up" then. 
I've had lots of e-mail in response to messages I've posted to

However, on Usenet it is considered 'rude' to post a personal e-mail
reply without the sender's consent (I have posted e-mail replies *with*
people's consent to bionet.plants).  This is something of an obstacle
to getting a discussion going at times!!

: When I type in the "reply" command, the 'puter automatically provides the
: specific address of the sender, NOT the general address.
: Thus, my most animated discussions have been entre deux, and I suspect
: others have shared this experience.

Well, I certainly have and I frequently suggest that people who mail me
post something rather than restrict the conversation to e-mail between
the two of us.

One thing that surprises me is that many people are reluctant to commit
their views to a statement in a public forum like this, but would not
hesitate to make controversial statements at a meeting etc.

The Q+A style of bionet (discussed in the thread about restricting
distribution of messages) is only one aspect of the way in which we can
use this medium.

My principal motivation in proposing bionet.plants was to make contact
with other botanists who are using image analysis to investigate plant
anatomy.  The important word here is *contact* and by that I mean I
want to use bionet to discuss issues of mutual interest.

I started the thread about energy crops because it is a matter of great
interest to me to know what we (plant biologists) can contribute to
reducing the burden of pollution that our way of life imposes on the
planet.  I've learn't quite a lot reading people's e-mail replies, and
there was some discussion here in bionet.plants too :->

The knee-jerk reflex that forces some people to criticise anything and
everything that other people post to the net needs to be contained.

This, in my opinion, is the greatest single factor that makes people
reluctant to post.  We have a quite remarkable facility here that our
predecessors couldn't even imagine having at their disposal, so let's
make use of it.

If anyone thinks it is difficult to use the technology, it is not.  The
decision to make is if the time invested in learning to use news/e-mail
is repaid in the benefit of _global_ conversations.  Don't underestimate
the value of that aspect of bionet.

What we get out of bionet is not unrelated to what we put in.  It is
not a passive medium, and it is NOT an alternative to visiting the
library.  It is primarily a communication medium.


Dr. A.J.Travis,                       |  Tony Travis
Rowett Research Institute,            |  JANET: <ajt at>
Greenburn Road, Bucksburn,            |  other: <ajt at>
Aberdeen, AB2 9SB. UK.                |  phone: 0224-712751

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