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discussion on the neuroscience news group

Thomas Chimento chimento at ursa.arc.nasa.gov
Thu Nov 10 11:41:44 EST 1994

In article <94Nov9.230555est.18 at psych.psych.toronto.edu>, scott at PSYCH.TORONTO.EDU (Brian Scott) writes:
|>  >Hear, Hear!! You would think the readers of the group are junior
|>  >highschoolers in a one room school house the way they ask for references.
|>  >Dont come to the net asking for references until youve done a thourough
|>  >search either in the library by hand or using the computer data bases. 
|>  >Thomas
|>  >
|>  >********************************************************************
|>  >*Thomas C. Chimento Ph.D.  Internet: chimento at neuron.arc.nasa.gov  *
|>  >*NASA, Ames                   Phone: 415-604-0376 (and Voice Mail) *
|>  >*Biocomputation Center          Fax: 415-604-3954                  *
|>  >*MS 239-11                                                         *
|>  >*Moffett Field, CA  94035-1000                                     *
|>  >*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+**
|>  >*   My thoughts, only my thoughts, and nothing but my thoughts.    *
|>  >********************************************************************
|> Yes sir!  Yes sir!  I'm sorry for being out of line!  [sarcasm]
|> I've seen so much of this type of flaming of people for asking questions 
|> over the net and this sort of childish response really irks me.  I 
|> remember asking a basic question about gravity and the planets (or 
|> something like that) on what I thought was an appropriate physics 
|> newsgroup and the flaming about how "stupid" I was went on for a week.  I 
|> don't think it was a stupid question and I wasn't sure where to get the 
|> answer.  That newsgroup looked appropriate so I asked my question. 
|> Sure library research is important!  So is direct questioning of the 
|> "experts" and I see absolutely nothing wrong with going to them _first_, 
|> before I spend hours of fruitless searching on a topic I'm not familiar 
|> with.  It makes perfect sense to me to ask those "in the know" first so 
|> that I may be able to carry out my later searching more efficiently, and 
|> perhapse be able to understand all the jargon I'll eventually have to 
|> wade through.
|> In my opinion, lay-people and students don't ask enough questions as it 
|> is, without having to be discouraged from doing so by this kind of 
|> moronic response.
|> scott at psych.toronto.edu       | "They are in you and in me; they created us,
|> Brian Scott                   |  body and mind; and their preservation is 
|> Department of Psychology      |  the ultimate rationale for our existence."
|> University of Toronto, Canada |         - Richard Dawkins (The Selfish Gene)

Sorry Scott, but I'll stick to my original statement. If you are able to
search out an appropriate newsgroup to post a question, then you should at
least take the time to use an encyclopedia, or basic library search to find
out something about the topic before asking a question. The worst offenders
IMNHO are the grad students  asking for information on topics they are
investigating for class or as possible dissertation topics. Questions like
"does anyone have any references on the somatosensory cortex" can be
answered in 15 minutes in the library. AFter reading a few of those
references and realizing that there are particular areas of interest they
would like to persue, they should be able to pose a more precise question
or ask for guidance in selecting appropriate key words or author references
or whether one of two opposing theories is more respected than the other
and why. 

I guess I just dont see why a newsgroup dedicated to a topic like
Neuroscience needs to be a source of the most basic information that is
available almost anywhere. Perhaps I'm missing the point of the newsgroup,
but if it's 'charter' is to provide sources for basic information, fine.
But I expect compter  literate scientists and "pre-scientist" to be able to
do that on their on own. If they pose basic questions on a subject that is
new to them and find the terminology confusing, that's fine. I enjoy
teaching the material in which  I conduct research. 

To quote the youngest member of the Fantastic Four, "Flame On!"

*Thomas C. Chimento        Internet: chimento at neuron.arc.nasa.gov  *
*   My thoughts, only my thoughts, and nothing but my thoughts.    *

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