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

Tony Travis ajt at uk.ac.sari.rri
Sun Aug 29 18:20:48 EST 1993

Martin Hughes (Biochem) (mjgh at uk.ac.cam.bio.mbfs) wrote:

: [...]
: 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).  

This is quite true, Martin, and I do modify my comments according to
the audience reading bionet.plants just as I would to any other. 
However, I admit that I judge the audience to be those people
participating actively by posting here, or emailing in response to
someone's article.  This leaves out passive participants who are just
reading the articles.  Without going to far with the bar analogy, the
silent participants are the people in the bar who hear your informal
discussion but do not say anything - it's just the same on the net.

: 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 sort of feedback I want is for people to introduce themselves by
briefly describing their area of interest and explain why _they_ think
it is worth the effort posting something here.  I'm interested in
finding out what we can do with the opportunity of using an unmoderated
newsgroup/mailing list to promote contact between plant biologists.

: >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?

I think bionet.plants *should* change - constantly, to reflect the
needs and interests of everyone using it.  I particularly welcome the
use of bionet.plants for 'serious' conference announcements and other
'main stream' plant biology events.  I was active in the bar at a
recent AAB (Association of Applied Biologists) meeting in Nottingham
(UK) advocating the use of bionet.plants :-)

: [...]
: 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?)

The original charter was "discussions of all aspects of plant.biology"
which we arrived at after discussion on bionet.general.  Personally, I
wanted to make contact with other computer-literate plant biologists
and I proposed the creation of bionet.plants to achieve this when I
found no other 'academic' news group that catered specifically for us.

The model I had in mind was to emulate the excellent example of how
information technology can be used in scientific research that has been
set by the molecular biologists.  I think the technophobe stereotype
of plant biologists is both inaccurate and misleading.

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

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