Lachlan Cranswick lachlan at
Sun Aug 15 18:17:46 EST 1993

Groups posted to :-

In theory, follow-ups to this post should go to sci.chem.
I hope the readers at sci.chem don't mind but some of
the following may be of general interest.  Sci.chem also
seems to have a very diverse readership and is
most likely to contain people interested by the following. If you
don't normally post to the newsgroups, feel free to email me with
comments.  Also remember that I do not "own" this discussion!
People are free and welcome to participate by simply
pressing the follow-on button of their newsreader or
emailing me.

Disclaimer: Please forgive the bad grammar :-)

Lachlan (lachlan at .


Apologies to people who were expecting to see an official
RFD follow the 1st SUMMARY of interest in a crystallographic
newsgroup - as it was rejected by Usenet administrators who
stated several concerns.  Renaming the group to sci.misc.xtallography
fixes two of these concerns - usenet "hierarchy" and the 14 character
per word limit.

The other main concern was the possible lack of readership once
this group was created.  There seems to be good interest 
in this proposed newsgroup and the aims of this 
proposed group are consistent with the internet being an international
academic and research network.  Whether this group
"works" in the long-term depends on the interest of the scientific
crystallographic community and those who would like to apply and
use its techniques.  It also depends on the enthusiasm of people
to "spread the word" down the line to get other people interested.


Much gratitude and thanks must go to the excellent
support and advice provided by our CSIRO site librarian 
(Jean Deacon) and her colleagues.  They are "wise" and 
"wonderful" beyond their years!  As sounds typical of using 
such organisational resources, I only sought their help after I 
had struck snags in getting the RFD accepted - which 
they were able to advise on a solution in a very positive way.

I would hope scientists who are interested in creating
other specialist science newsgroups have such equivalent 
support staff in their respective organisations.


The term "specialist" should not imply this proposed
group is intended to be "elitist" or 
sustain a "clique".  It's aim is to provide an "open" forum
for anyone interested in using the power of the internet newsgroups
to discuss (in "near real time"!) issues, results, problems 
and applications in crystallography that would take months and 
years in conventional paper journals.



Thankyou very much to the 33 people who sent
email with suggestions and comments, as well as the two
people who posted their support on sci.chem.  This was 3
times the amount compared to the previous summary
The following "overall" opinions were given on the creation
of sci.misc.xtallography :-

33 varied from supportive to extremely supportive
1  was supportive but was concerned the group would only have a
       very small volume of news
1  was negative stating this should go through a mailing list first

This is a good percentage result for creating this group and 
people mentioned they were already forwarding information on this
proposed group to colleagues and friends.



Of the above 35 messages :-

There was one request to include "crystallographic texture determination"
under "topics for discussion" in the RFD which has been done.


One message specifically stated an interested in seeing
how this group progresses so as to get an indication what "hints"
might be given to help create other specialist science groups.


One person, stated that lack of news on this proposed
crystallographic newsgroup should not occur 
as there seems to be a decent amount of news in
bionet.xtallography.  Two other people gave an opposite view.  One
implied that as bionet.xtallography does not have much "news",
neither will this group.  The other asked
to have Biological crystallography as part of the RFD as 
bionet.crystallography does not seem to attract much news.
This has been accepted but should not imply that this group
is intended to replace bionet.xtallography.  It would be
expected that if this general crystallography group
could attract enough interest, there would be a flow on to groups
such as bionet.xtallography as well as possible creation of other
newsgroups.  I have already had one powder-XRD colleague verbally
state that "sci.misc.xtallography" already sounds to broad a 
group and that "sci.misc.diffraction" would be a better group to
start.  This was my initial suggestion on a sci.chem post 
(I am mainly a Powder X-ray Diffraction person) but
replies from newsreaders stated crystallography newsgroup
would be "better".


A number of messages specifically stated or implied people find the
present "general" science newsgroups such as sci.chem and sci.materials
too broad to be "useable" for specialist fields of science.
While not meaning to be a slur on these groups, it 
implies that there are people who want or need "specialised" 
groups such as this that are "directly" relevant to them.  If you
extrapolate up, it could also imply that there is a need and desire
for many other specialist newsgroups.  However, the present 
newsgroup creation "guidelines" (in practise) don't seem to favour 
the formation of specialist science groups such as 
this without determined effort
and access to people who can advise on solutions when problems arise.


One person asked if this group could be a "catch-all"
for techniques "slightly" related to crystallography until
more appropriate newsgroups are created.  Given I don't
want to define what crystallography is and "artificially"
limit the scope of potential posts to this group, I 
think this is OK.


The range of people who gave support to this group includes
post-grad students, university professors and scientists in both
government and private industry.  The range of techniques and
applications that were stated range from AFM to 
X-ray diffraction; fundamental studies to industrial applications.
The countries of respondents ranged from North America, Europe,
Southern Africa and Australasia.


Conclusions :-

1.   This implies a sci.misc.xtallography has enough support to
justify a internet newsgroup.

2.   While the statistics are not that great, it implies
there is also a desire amongst the scientific community who use 
the internet to have more specialised science newsgroups.


As stated in the last summary, only a small proportion of
people reading the internet newsgroups would be expected to 
"follow-on" or email support.  (It also only takes 100 votes to 
form a new newsgroup - most optimistic scenario.).  Thus it is 
important to email your vote when the time comes.  If you rely
on other people to do the voting - this group will never happen.

As part of this post, I would like people to either
post or email me whether they would like this new
sci.misc.xtallography group to occur.  If you would like this
group to happen, please also mention via email if you want to have
your name and email address added to the RFD which is to be submitted to
announce-newgroups at around a few days after this post.

I would again recommend that if people want a "very good"
chance of this group succeeding, you should  discuss 
this proposed newsgroup with colleagues and also draw up an email
list of people who could benefit from this
group - and ask them to vote when the time comes.  Even if
they do not presently have time or need to get involved with 
the scientific newsgroups --- sci.misc.xtallography 
will be there when/if they get the chance to take part.

Lachlan (lachlan at


Following is a copy of the RFD (request for discussion)
for sci.misc.xtallography that is to be "submitted" around seven
days from now to announce-newgroups at  This RFD is for people
who may want to mail it off to colleagues now to get
further interest and support.  Feel
free to email me with any queries but please don't
post any discussion to news.groups until the RFD is
"officially" posted sometime in the next seven days.

Please note that my above opinions are "separate"
from the RFD for sci.misc.xtallography.


Groups posted to :-

Followup-To: news.groups

   Request for Discussion (RFD) of sci.misc.xtallography (unmoderated).    
I propose a new unmoderated newsgroup called sci.misc.xtallography.
The mai

More information about the Xtal-log mailing list