archiv~1: SETI Hoax and Fringe off topic

SETI Hoax and Fringe off topic

Peter 'Marcus' Krause ( (no email) )
Fri, 13 Nov 1998 10:18:47 -0500


I agree that all of the UFO and hoax traffic that has buried this list
lately is off topic and unwanted. Perhaps those posters felt they were
insulted when it seemed they would not get the hint that they were off
topic, that is unfortunate, but the fact remains that the posting of
such information and the scores of 'my good name has been besmirched,
how shall I cope?' messages is off topic. If someone has taken a
pot-shot, then that someone may be an a**hole, but ranting and raving
about it off topic is just as rude (if not more so for subjecting the
rest of us 'innocent bystanders' to more regurgitated crap).

This list, from its description and content, seems to have been designed
for the purpose of SETI in a limited, narrow sense -- the search as it
relates to EM scientific techniques, with the occasional related branch
of another discipline where it may relate to the original topic. No one
is saying this is the only way to find out if we are alone in the
universe, though many may feel it is the best way. However, this list's
focus is related to this hard scientific branch of it, and anything
other than the occasional digression is off topic. There are many other
lists where such other disciplines are merrily argued ad nauseum -- this
is not the only forum on the Internet.

There may be many members and lurkers of this list who have not made up
their minds about UFO's and alien visitation. However, the fact remains
that posts of such are off topic. There may be many members and lurkers
who do not believe that hard science is the end-all solution of
describing the universe. However, the fact remains that posts of such
subjects are off topic. There may be members of this list who are
musicians, or Christians, or artists, or anarchists who don't feel that
their world-views are being correctly represented here, and that their
exceptions to on-topic politeness is warranted in their particular
limited case, but that is untrue because such posts are off-topic, which
again has been generally agreed as being the scientific search for ET
life using one particular scientific field.

I'm not trying to advocate some sort of blind acceptance of
netiquette-to-the-letter. Off topic posts happen, people ramble, the
Internet is still occasionally a free forum of ideas and sometimes these
posts break up a stale period in an otherwise decent list. However,
continued off topic posts and flame wars, no matter how restrained, long
past the point of the original destraction, are indeed rude and unwanted
and a disservice to everyone on the list. Pretending otherwise just
advertises your rudeness in neon, something most of us don't need.

I would hope that the next round of childish, 'I'm not rude, I just want
the last word!' messages that will inevitably follow will be the last
for a while.