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More on moderation....

Dr. Ulrich Schroeder Ulrich.Schroeder at IfN-Magdeburg.DE
Thu Jan 4 18:39:36 EST 1996

On 4 Jan 1996 09:29:42 -0800, 
Chuck Miller  <rellim at MAILHOST.TCS.TULANE.EDU> wrote:

More on moderation.....

:The examples of the junk mail that would not be acceptable for posting to
:the tox. group are the recent "Oracle of Man", "Free Sex Pictures And
:Videos" and "MDs can get $50,000 on their signature" posts.

I absolutely agree. There is too much of that stuff in the newsgroups.

:Several students (asking for help with homework or papers) and other lay
:persons have posted to the group and requested general information that is
:normally available in a library or on MEDLINE. The tox group should not be
:used as a substitute for a trip to the library. On the other hand,
:toxicologists have a duty to disseminate knowledge. I favor allowing these
:posts to continue -- at least for now. Some of them are even fun to read!

I also favor allowing these posts to continue. I think the tox group can 
not be used as a substitute for a trip to the library. I guess that most of 
us are not willing to do somebody elses homework. I can imagine though 
that the newsgroup can help beginners and people that normally have 
nothing to do with toxicology at all. For beginner it is sometimes 
extremely difficult to choose the appropriate literature or they have 
difficulties to understand terms or ideas they read. Especially for 
students the wealth of publications that appear every year is confusing 
whilst for a specialist it might be easy to recommend a review or a book 
regarding the topic the person is interested in. MEDLINE is a good source 
for people that know exactly what they are looking for and who are able to 
decide what might be important for them and what is unimportant. Do you 
really think that MEDLINE is useful for somebody on highschool (if 
available, which may not be the case worldwide)? Sometimes it may be more 
efficient to post a question and get a correct answer than to look through 
libraries which may not have a book where you can find it. One has to know 
that such a book, article or whatever exists.

To my opinion the newsgroup should also be open for people that are worried 
about toxic effects of a substance and who normally have nothing to do with 
medicine, toxicology, biosciences etc. since many of these persons just 
don't know an expert they could ask. If you have a legal problem you 
probably see a lawyer and I believe you won't go to a library and study law 
books. So why shouldn't we help these people?

:I welcome such debates as the recent/current discussion on Hg, amalgams,
:composite fillings and their toxicities. The tox group was formed just for
:this type of scientific discussion. I would hardly characterize the
:discussion as a "flame war".  I think all parties have behaved
:professionally so far. I appreciate discussions that stick to the
:literature/data to support various points of view. 


Best regards


Dr. Ulrich Schroeder
BL-Institut fuer Neurobiologie
Dept. of Neurophysiology
PO.Box 1860
39008 Magdeburg
e-mail: schroede at jupiter.ifn-magdeburg.de

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