Mailing List vs Newsgroup (fwd)--NOT FOR FLAME

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From: Kevin Anderson (anderson@ncrsun1.ncr.usace.army.mil)
Date: Fri Oct 07 1994 - 11:45:39 EDT


QRPers,

I don't mean to start again the thread we've hashed and
rehashed, but I'm just forwarding a very good (in my
opinion) assessment of current affairs on Usenet (and
maybe in our society). Jim Kearman, KR1S, provided
this post to the boatanchor list; I'm just forwarding.
Let's just each read and reflect, and not flame.

BTW, I've discovered that you can read (but not post)
Usenet groups via gopher service at a couple of places.
That is nice, as my new employer doesn't provide news
directly.

72 de Kevin, KB9IUA

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Kevin L. Anderson, CENCR-PD-W, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Rock Island District Office, Planning Div.-Waterway Systems
Rock Island, Illinois 61204-2004, USA phone:(309) 794-5605
      e-mail: anderson@ncrsun1.ncr.usace.army.mil
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the
  U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or the Federal Government.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 07 Oct 94 09:57:00 EDT
>From: Kearman, Jim, KR1S <jkearman@arrl.org>
To: boatanchors <boatanchors@gnu.ai.mit.edu>
Subject: Mailing List vs Newsgroup

Rec.radio.shortwave is a Usenet newsgroup. I kind of like it, because the
flame content is low. Lately, that has been changing. I've taken the liberty
of including this long posting to that newsgroup, because I know the poster
to be a reasonable, normally calm individual. In that we have sometimes
discussed turning this mailing list into a newsgroup, I think it's worth
everyone's while to read it.

73

Jim, KR1S
jkearman@arrl.org

 -------------------------------

In article <4BC8460A79@tmu1.mcrest.edu> Don Moore writes:

>There is an unfortunate tendency of a small vocal minority of
>participants to this discussion group to tear down anything they have
>a disagreement with or dislike of, no matter how slight. It's even

>outdated or incorrect information. But unjustified viscious attacks
>do not make this list a very pleasant one to read. I suspect if we

I have to agree with Don on this, and not just in regard to the
recent flame-fest in regard to Gilfer. I see numerous postings in
this group in recent times that contain gratuitous inflammatory
comments on topics wholly unrelated to the topic of this group. If
you have an opinion on politics, for example, that's wonderful. I'm
glad you're an informed active participant in the civic life of your
locality and country. But I don't want to hear about it here unless
it's related to radio. There are something like 10,000 newsgroups
these days. Take it somewhere appropriate.

In the past few weeks, I've seen comments like "the President must
have his head up his ass" and "we all want a conservative
government" inserted into postings on unrelated topics. Fine, Usenet
is an anarchy, believe whatever you want, I don't care. But the
arrogance of inflicting your opinions on the readership of a forum
has had a bad effect on the civility and tone of the newsgroup, to
the point where personally, I'm about ready to give up on the
cesspool this group (and others) are threatening to become.

I've long been an advocate of extending access to the net to as many
people as possible, but at this point I'm about ready to go off and
find some quiet corner of "cyberspace" to colonize and to hell with it.
You used to be able to count on most areas of the net being civil,
and if you wanted flame-fests, you could go somewhere where they
were accepted and promoted, like alt.flame or news.groups. In the
past couple of years, though, the flame-mentality has spread like a
cancer through the rest of the net. It's even being promoted as a
feature, not the bug that it is. I recently read a catalog from a
book publisher prominent in the Macintosh market, for example, that
promoed its new Internet offerings by telling people they could
"join the unfettered, uncensored, no-holds-barred forums known as
'newsgroups' and engage in 'flaming'." The publisher included his
e-mail address in the catalog, so I sent him mail taking him to task
for promoting what is essentially a negative behavior and something
about the net that needs to be discouraged, not promoted. My best
net experiences have nothing to do with flames, I assure you. I got a
nice note back apologizing and thanking me for pointing out the
inappropriateness of the tone. I'm assured that the next catalog
will take a different approach.

There's a long-standing joke on the net about "Imminent Death of the
Net Predicted." I've been here long enough to know better, but it
seems to me that it's in danger of living on in a form I personally
don't want to have anything to do with.

>could this group a little more civilized and cooperative we might get
>more participation in it, including useful participation from the

Our local newspaper recently had an article about flaming and how
people liked to do it because they weren't hurting anyone. I'd like
to remind people that, despite the "faceless" nature of this form of
computer-mediated communication, the people on the other end of your
missives are in fact people, not computers. If you wouldn't go up
to 30,000 strangers on the street and tell them that the President
has his head up his ass or that so-and-so is a jerk ripping off
people and about to go out of business, don't do it here.

It's possible to be civil while disagreeing about things. To use
an example that hits close to home, I was probably the strongest
opponent of the creation of this newsgroup when it was proposed. I
felt very strongly that the existing SWL-L mailing list worked fine,
and that there was no need for a shortwave newsgroup. Richard
Shapiro, who proposed the newsgroup, felt otherwise. It went to a
vote, the group succeeded, and here we are. Richard and I are still
friends, because the tone of the discussion was kept civil, and on
topic.

Tom Sundstrom writes:

>I can't stand it any more.

Okay, he was referring mostly to the flap over Gilfer, but that
about sums up how I feel about the turn this group has taken in
general lately.

Everyone here posseses the motor skills to use a computer keyboard
or some other alternate means of entering text, so I assume we've
all got brains. Use them. Think before you post. If you're
particularly hot about something, go away for a while until you can
respond in a rational, civil manner. This post, for example, would
have had a much nastier tone if I had posted it a few days ago.
Consider if what you're posting is appropriate for the group.
Focus. Re-read what you write before you post it, and the more
potentially inflammatory, the more times you should re-read. Edit
out unrelated material. The only impression we get of you comes
from the tone of the text you write.

Civility counts. Without it, this "community" becomes less
inhabitable, and productive "citizens" will move elsewhere. (That's
what I get for playing SimCity before logging on tonight....)

Soapbox mode off.
 --
Ralph Brandi ralph@mtunp.att.com att!mtunp!ralph

Stay idiot-proof. --Log, "Idiot Proof"


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