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why do we want bionet.plants? [was: Re: Reapeting messages]

Martin Hughes Biochem mjgh at mbfs.bio.cam.ac.uk
Wed Aug 25 11:50:14 EST 1993

An apology - I am about to hack up the articles Tony and I have
written, so as to include as little quoting as possible.
Hopefully those of you following the discussion will know
what I am on about.

In article <1993Aug25.152514.19436 at gserv1.dl.ac.uk> ajt at uk.ac.sari.rri writes:
>Martin Hughes (Biochem) (mjgh at uk.ac.cam.bio.mbfs) wrote:

>: (b) are in a competative
>: field, and so there is a reluctance to talk about our results, and/
>Ok, but what is the difference between talking here and, say, at a

and then Tony says, later

>Yes, it would be nice but no-one is going to discuss the real ins and
>outs of their work in a public forum in case they expose their own
>weaknesses and insecurity to competitors.

Somehow, I think, as Tony implies, there IS a difference between
talking at a forum, or posting on the Net.  The Net type conversation
is more the informal sort of thing you do in the bar after the
talks.  In that case, you know exactly who your audience are, and
if you know the are competitors you can modify your comments
accordingly (depending on how many beers you have had).  
Tony posted a very nice description of the work he is involved
in, which read like an introduction to a paper.  In other words,
there was not a great deal in there which (if interested) one
could not have found out for ones self.  In other words, what
sort of feedback is Tony expecting from such a post?  This is
really asking the articles header question again, but...

>The most important aspect, in my opinion, is making criticism
>constructive.  I think this group is already quite good from that point
>of view and very little of the character assassination that occurs from
>time to time in other groups goes on in bionet plants (I'm leaving
>myself wide open here ...).

Oh, agreed.  I think it is a nice and useful group as it stands.
The point I am taking issue with is whether or not any attempt 
should be made to change its' nature, and if so, in what direction
can anyone see it realistically taking?
As pointed out by both Tony and myself, I don't think people
will discuss their work on a personal level (OK - I can see
where there may be exceptions to this, eg. lack of communication
in a lab).  So, if others agree (as I do) with Tony, that there
are a lot of lurkers out there, who undoubtably have interesting
things to say, how do we go about it, and what format can anyone
see it taking?

>Quality, not quantity on bionet.plants :-)

So long as its not quantity of reposts, eh Tony? BIG :-)

>my view is that it is a
>good way of making informal contacts without using up the travel

Yes, and one reaches a much more catholic
audience than one would do at any meeting.  The down side of this is
that one wonders of how much value it is to ask a specific question.
As I mentioned, I asked one about 3 weeks ago, and got a single reply

>Some of the discussions here have been quite interesting, and I think
>bionet.plants is worth continuing, but then I'm easily pleased.  So,
>what do *we* want bionet.plants to become?

Oh, undoubtably it should continue.  Do you have details of the
original charter, Tony? As I recall you are the groups creator.
What exactly did you have in mind when you first contacted
Dr. Kristofferson? (sp?)
>	Tony.
>Dr. A.J.Travis,                       |  JANET: <ajt at uk.ac.sari.rri>
>Rowett Research Institute,            |  other: <ajt at rri.sari.ac.uk>
>Greenburn Road, Bucksburn,            |  phone: +44 (0)224 712751
>Aberdeen, AB2 9SB. UK.                |    fax: +44 (0)224 715349

Martin J. G. Hughes
Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.
Email: mjgh at mbfs.bio.cam.ac.uk

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