SETI Helping outsiders learn, while focussing ourselves.


MarcusJohn@aol.com
Sun, 25 Jul 1999 00:19:21 EDT


In a message dated 7/24/99 10:12:07 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
jebush@ridgecrest.ca.us writes:

> I don't understand the question. What are the goals of the SETI League? If
> we really want 5000 Argus stations anytime in the near future, seems
obvious
> to me we must recruit from outside the current ~1000 SETI League membership
> base. Am I missing something? Those nearly 1 million folks running
> > SETI@home seem like a natural target audience.
>
> __jeb

I have read the several replies to Paul's request for members input on the
issue. The way I see it is this.

1. We need to _focus_ our club on doing real science, with real results.
(Real results don't mean positive results, just results with some statistical
power, plus and minus). Focussing is _hard_. Like studying for a final exam.
And focussing is _time consuming_.
2. We need to defucus our efforts just enough to recognize other applications
for our kind of science. Nobody is doing this science exactly as we are doing
it, and therefore there will be unintended information and technology
developed. We need the creativity to recognize these benefits and capitalize
on them. A prime example is Dan Fox's radio map of the Milky Way galaxy.
Another prime example is the development of RAOOS, the finest radio astronomy
program yet. There are and will be many more of these spin off's if we can
just keep working together and stimulating each other to be productive.
3. We need to support our members as best we can. This means that Paul needs
to primarily support the members.
4. We need to explain what we do to nonmembers. We need to respond to outside
inquiries one way or the other. Just imagine the consequences if we close off
responses to outsiders. We will have less recruitment, less real
understanding of what we do. There will be anger amongst outsiders. And some
media request may be unrecognized and lead to unfavorable publicity. Of
course there are annoying requests for information from uneducated people who
don't read the site. On the other hand, the site is not the most user
friendly in the world. There is no search function. And the FAQ is old and
hard to find.

The search function may be hard to implement. But the FAQ should be fairly
easy.

I propose that we explicitly remove the "outside email response" function
from Paul's job. I propose that we set up another email list just for this
function, and allow volunteers to subscribe to the list. Whenever someone has
a question, let us have it forward onto this list, and let the list
volunteers answer. This should take a big load off of Paul's shoulders. Of
course Paul could monitor it.

I also propose that we put the FAQ on the home page, and work on filling it
in more. Basically every pertinent question asked by anybody should be put
into the FAQ. Questions that have been asked and answered could be put in
there.

John Marcus.



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