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Regarding Iris Meier's recent message. A postscript.

David Alan Walker d.a.walker at sheffield.ac.uk
Sun Nov 2 11:55:25 EST 2003

Please excuse me for a few more words about this. First of all I have
absolutely no wish to make life even more difficult for our moderator or
encourage advertising of a nature which we all deplore. However, I think
it would be entirely possible to come up a simple rule. I have read and
re-read the Plant ed. Charter. It states

“The purpose of the PLANT-EDUCATION newsgroup is to function as a means
for communication among all educators, including faculty, instructors,
lab preparators, and graduate assistants, involved in courses on any
aspect of plant biology”

So where does that leave people like myself?. O.K I am a publisher
(albeit a very small publisher) but, as a university academic, I hope I
am also still qualified to contribute to

“A forum for the exchange of information about textbooks, internet
resources, visual materials, and interactive computer programs.”

I understand why Janice Grime implies that advertising  might be O.K,
for “non-profit” reasons but not otherwise.  However, putting aside the
fact that my own puny excursions into publishing have run at a net loss
for many years, I believe, that  using profit  as a criterion might blur
things even more. Regularly, readers of Plant Ed are asked to  recommend
books etc. Such enquiries invariably lead to a wealth of suggestions.
Accordingly, all of the publishers of such books get gratuitous
advertising and no doubt their authors are happy enough to profit from
any additional royalties that might flow in consequence?

The  heart of the matter is this. I publish some of my own stuff myself
because this allows me degrees of freedom of content, style and
expression that I cannot enjoy with big publishers.  But how to bring
what I write to the attention of Plant.Ed?  Yes, I have a Web site and
yes I have been known to append its address to an Email or two,
conscious as (Bill Williams so nicely put it) that this might gently
point to a commercial product. That, if it succeeds, would encourage me
to continue writing but it’s not why I Email  Plant.Ed. On the contrary,
I would much prefer to be able to clearly identify and separate the
‘educator’ from the ‘publisher’. This, after all. is why I raised this matter.

And my solution?  Emails from ‘educators’ are readily identified, not
least because they come tagged as ‘edu’ or ‘ac’ or whatever. Surely
non-intrusive ’advertising’ from such sources (e.g occasionally pointing
to what is available and from where) will not offend Plant Ed’s readers
or its charter.?

With many thanks to everyone who has responded about this,


>From David Walker, FRS., Emeritus Professor of Photosynthesis,
University of Sheffield, UK.


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