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Civility on the net

Megan Brown mbrown at fred
Wed Jun 19 12:58:42 EST 1996

DK (dkat at psych1.psy.sunysb.edu) wrote:
: I believe in a
: constrained, civil and old-fashion discussion, I was. Is that type of
: group normal on the Net?  In my opinion, no.  In fact it is contrary
: to the nature of the Net.  So the question comes down to why is this
: group so different with such different criterion and is it a group
: that a "non-member" would want to be part of?

I participate in a number of USENET newsgroups (OK, I admit it, I'm a
junkie), and this group really is not that unusual. All of the groups I
participate in are quite civil. There are occasional flame wars in all the
groups, and women-in-bio is no exception (in fact, it is definitely less
civil than some groups). I don't know what you mean by a
"non-member." As far as I know, there is no official membership for this
group. Like any USENET group, you tune in when you want to, and tune out
when you're not interested. I know there are a subset of people who
receive the posts to this group as e-mail, but I think these LISTSERV
"members" are in the minority. If there is a membership list, I am not on
it, but yet I am permitted to lurk and post here at will. If you have been
censored, I would like to know by whom. I believe that is wrong.

: I think part of the answer to  why this group is so different from
: most groups on the net is that this group is in general a rather
: closed community where the individuals are likely to know one another
: or to meet in some future time and yet are not necessarily close
: friends. 

I know only one other person who participates here. I have never met any
of the others and probably never will. Biology is a huge field and chances
are that my subspecialty (signal transduction in mammalian systems)
overlaps with that of very few other people who post here. There is little
chance that I would ever run into people who post here at a professional
meeting. There are other, more specialized groups on the net that are
better for making relevant, professional contacts.

I find your comment about this group being a closed community difficult to
understand. In what way is it closed? Anyone is free to post or lurk here.
It is not moderated; no one screens your posts for relevance or political
correctness. I was not "screened" in any way in order to be allowed to
post here.

: What  I had  hoped to find
: in this group was common ground with females in science.   When I ask
: myself why I want this I cannot come up with an answer. 

There is another group, broader than this one, for women in science. You
might want to check it out--it's called info.wisenet.

: Since I see little
: difference between men's and women's issues professionally,  why do I
: have a need to speak specifically with women on  issues at all?

Actually, I have found some differences between men's and women's issues
professionally, as my previous overlong posts on the "moving" threads have
indicated. Through follow-ups to these posts and e-mail responses to me, I
know that I am not the only professional scientist out there limited to
one geographical area because of her husband's job. It is really helpful
to me to hear other people's stories and how they have dealt with the
"facts of life" and created alternative careers for themselves so as to
remain somehow allied with science but yet preserve their marriages.
Comments such as "grow up" I do not find very helpful or inspiring. Trying
hard to keep both one's marriage and career intact is not an effort borne
of immaturity.

: I would prefer it if this group were
: something.women-in-science and personal identities were not publically
: flashed as badges of identiy.

Again, check out info.wisenet. Also, if you feel uncomfortable flashing
your identity about, there are numerous services available for anonymous
posting. I don't intentionally include my name and the origin of my post 
with each post I make as a badge of identity. It simply appears
automatically whenever I post. Since I don't make posts that are not 
acceptable for public viewing, I don't have the problem with needing to
hide behind an anonymous label. When I have something to say not meant for
public viewing, I send it as private e-mail. However, I recognize
anonymous posting can have its uses. Over in sci.research.careers, there
seem to be a lot of anonymous posts. Some are anonymous because they are
inflammatory and the poster doesn't want to be flamed. Some are anonymous
because the poster is afraid his content might reflect negatively on
his job search.

: College graduates expect to
: have to move when they go to Graduate School.  The process continues
: and the option of being in academia and remaining in a given place
: does not occur until one has tenure.  Why do you need a female
: "mentor" to tell you this?

You don't. If male mentors can talk about this issue, then great. When I
was a grad student, my male mentor (someone with whom I got along
tremendously) was married to a woman who had dropped out of
college in order to support him through grad school. She then followed him
about the country several times as he moveded from one postdoc to the next
to a final academic position. (Later he divorced her once their children
were out of the house.) He simply had no point of reference in his own
life to cull relevant experience from when it came to a student who might
have a mate who could not just up and follow her (or him) wherever he or
she might choose to go. Anyway, whether rightly or not, I felt he would
look down on me if it were the case that I had a mate who would not follow
me about in the quest for the most prestigious career possible.

: Perhaps there is something about the bio
: field that I am not aware of.  If you simply want to teach, should you
: not be going to a school of education?

In Biology, if you want to teach at the undergraduate level, you must have
a PhD in the discipline you study (not Education). Even at the community
college level, many instructors now have PhDs, or at least Masters. I'm
curious, what field do you work in, that a PhD is not required to teach at
the college level?

: If you choose to marry a man or a woman
: that will not or cannot move to where you have to move, again is that
: not  a choice made with it's own consequences?  These are adult
: choices.

Sometimes things change in a marriage, that you could not have predicted
when you first got married. You may not know that you will not be able to
move because of the spouse, or the spouse will change his mind (even
though you haven't changed yours), or the job market will change, etc. We
make the best choices we can at any one time in our lives given the
available data. Despite much forethought, and all the good intentions
in the world, the "consequences" of an action often do not become
apparent until many years down the road.

mbrown at fred.fhcrc.org

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