RFD : sci.misc.xtallography

Ian Jackson ijackson at nyx.cs.du.edu
Wed Sep 1 08:33:16 EST 1993

In article <1993Sep1.004721.2785 at dmp.csiro.au> lachlan at dmp.csiro.au (Lachlan Cranswick) writes:
>I will cross-post this to bionet.xtallography and sci.materials,
>and this discussion overlaps with both these newsgroups.

I don't see the crossposting in your article header - I suppose you
must have done it the `idiot's way', by posting separate copies to
each group, though I haven't checked.  Apologies to readers of those
two groups if in fact they never saw Lachlan's article.

In any case, discussion regarding newsgroup proposals belongs in
news.groups and nowhere else.  Followups are directed there.

>ijackson at nyx.cs.du.edu (Ian Jackson) writes:
>>In article <1993Aug29.225543.7126 at dmp.csiro.au> lachlan at dmp.csiro.au (Lachlan Cranswick) writes:
>>>- it looks like the suggested name
>>>will be sci.xtallography.  I hope this is not a problem for 
>>>people as this is a semi-accepted abrieviation of the word crystallography.
>>>The 2nd RFD will hopefully be out in the next few days.
>>Please use the hierarchy that already exists: sci.materials.*.
>>That way you can choose either sci.materials.xtallography or
>>sci.materials.crystals with less chance of having the loony new-age
>>crystals types invading your group.
>>Using sci.materials will make your group easier to find and put it
>>closer to related groups.  I can see no cogent argument against that
>>Unless you convince me otherwise I shall vote against it if you put it
>>in the root level of sci, and advise others to do so.
>[.misc suggested 
>The initial reason for suggesting a crystallography newsgroup
>by the name of sci.misc.xtallography was a request by the Usenet
>administrators to try and help restrict the number of second
>level newsgroups.  The implication being that I (inadvertantly)
>implied crystallography was a "major" field of science like physics or chemistry
>by suggesting a second level hierarchy name (which was originally
>While sober, I (and most other crystallographers?)
>would not regard this discipline of science "more" or "less" 
>important than other fields of science.  So, given crystallography
>goes over many convential "labels" of science such as physics,
>chemistry, biology, materials science, the misc was put
>in so as not to suggest that discussion was to be artificially limited
>to a conventional "label" of science such as physics or chemistry, etc.

I see.

>However, as we all know, the misc was not appreciated - which was
>why the name was changed to sci.xtallography.

People tend to dislike gratuitous use of `misc' as much as they
dislike lack of proper hierarchy resulting in lots of top-level

> Newsgroup creation is a democratic process.

Nonsense - go and read `What is Usenet' in news.announce.newusers.
However I'm glad to see that you're willing to accept comment.

>For those who think that crystallography is limited to
>materials science - I would ask the question whether these
>people are either materials scientists or crystallographers?

I never said that it was limited to materials science; I said that I
thought it was related to it more closely than to other disciplines.

What my background is is irrelevant.

However if you're absolutely convinced that crystallography is an
interdisciplinary subject, perhaps we need a new division in sci.*:
sci.interdisc (suggestions for a better name, anyone?).  The recent
sci.polymers debacle has demonstrated the need, IMHO.

>Also, am I (and a couple of email replies) the only ones who have
>noticed that the main criticism of this proposed newsgroup
>is coming from non-crystallographers and non-scientific users
>of the internet newsgroups.  Is this an accurate observation?

I'm not sure what you mean by `non-scientific', but it's true that I'm
not a crystallographer.  I'm just trying to help keep the net
namespace manageable for everyone to use.

>If so, no wonder there are so few science groups on the Usenet if
>creating them is so intimidating for scientists
>who are not part of the present Usenet "culture".

I'm afraid I can't answer that, other than to say that any medium has
its culture.  If someone not used to refereed journals were to try to
publish a paper no doubt they'd find it intimidating too.

>Again, as stated in a previous post, this "anti (indifferent)? 
>science" attitude

That's the first time I've ever been described as `anti science'.  I
suppose there has to be a first time for everything ...

>Perhaps people might like to compare this with the number of popular
>alt.* and rec.* newsgroups such as alt.sex.bondage or alt.sex which
>are much easier to create.  <sigh> If only I had suggested
>creating an sci.sex.bondage.xtallography (that matches what
>the present Usenet "culture" expects out of a newsgroup) - then it
>would have been created by now.  :-) :-) :-)

Groups in rec.* are no easier to create than in sci.*.  Alt is a mess,
and suffers from very low propagation as a result.  Sci and comp enjoy
the best propagation, precisely because they are perceived by the
bill-payers as most useful.
Ian Jackson  iwj at cam-orl.co.uk ..!uknet!cam-orl!iwj  These opinions are my own.
Olivetti Research Ltd, Old Addenbrookes Site, Trumpington St, Cambridge, UK;
Home: 35 Molewood Close, Cambridge, CB4 3SR; +44 223 327029.     +44 223 343333
Email also via: ijackson at nyx.cs.du.edu   PGP2 public key available on request

More information about the Xtal-log mailing list