Re: SETI Helping outsiders learn, while focussing ourselves.
Sun, 25 Jul 1999 16:44:40 EDT

In a message dated 7/25/99 1:40:13 PM Eastern Daylight Time, writes:

> > 1. We need to _focus_ our club on doing real science, with real results.
> But I thought that was not a private club list, but one
> for the general discussion of SETI, primarily amongst non-professionals.

I am not imagining any change to the list. I was just thinking
of some way that some volunteers could help Paul with his numerous emails.
This wouldn't change this list at all. Some people are emailing Paul with
questions that may not need to get posted on the seti list, but nevertheless
need answering. That is the purpose I contemplated. Anyway, Paul doesn't like
the idea, so it doesn't matter.
> While the question can be validly asked about Paul's contributions,
> I don't want the list to become just a project Argus list, although,
> as pointed out elsewhere, I think it may have to move upmarket to
> differentiate it from the newsgroups, which will otherwise drain it of
> new members.

This is a separate issue. How to charter the list is not
something I was addressing. That thread was ongoing, but it seems to have
died down now. I don't know the result.

> I was going to post the URL of the list description in response to an
> announcement, on alt.sci.seti, of a new list with a charter that seems
> the same as that I thought applied to this list; but I think I need to
> hold off until I have the charter confirmed. (I've already emailed the
> creator of the new list, but suspect that the list was partially created
> so that he can be the creator of the list!)
> Although I disagree with his tactics, it seems fairly clear that Larry
> doesn't consider the list to be a project Argus one.

Perhaps you could start a new thread with this subject?

> > on them. A prime example is Dan Fox's radio map of the Milky Way galaxy.
> There is a tendency in this sort of organisation (Argus, not the list now)
> to not know what the professionals have done; I strongly suspect that the
> equivalent information has been available for decades in the professional
> sphere, if you know where to look. All this self congratulation can be
> dangerous in that it can lead to a false sense of complacency.

Relax Dave. We are allowed to say, "good job", to someone if the job is good,
without appearing overly congratulatory, complacent, or dangerous.

And to say that he has duplicated a professional job is not something to look
down upon. (And I think that your suspicions of duplication are incorrect
anyway). No science is considered confirmed until it is independently
duplicated. Just remember Pons and Fleischmann. There are infinite other

> > media request may be unrecognized and lead to unfavorable publicity. Of
> > course there are annoying requests for information from uneducated
> who
> > don't read the site. On the other hand, the site is not the most user
> Remember the site is not related to the list, if I understand the charter
> properly.

Again, my only point was to get some volunteers to help Paul answer his
emails, to find a middle ground between those who would not respond to simple
requests for information, and those who would have Paul sit at the computer
all day answering questions like "what is the Drake equation?".

> I would say that was that list already; otherwise we should
> surrender to the new list whose annoucement I posted.

I don't think that Paul is forwarding all of his emailed requests for
information to the seti list. That wouldn't be an appropriate use of his
inbox, as he could just link the list to the web site, and not bother with
it. What I was suggesting was something different. A new, small list, just
for these little requests.
> Removing it from Paul's job will leave a vacuum in terms of communicating
> between the professionals and the sophisticated general public.

Well, I was only hoping to improve communication by allowing some volunteers
to do a better job. I don't think Paul's extensive skills are wisely
utililized by answering tons of email from teenagers, about easily answered
subjects. Paul's responses are with URL's. Someone with more time may make a
response more personal.

I doesn't matter anyway because Paul doesn't like the idea. I just want to
make sure that my idea is understood correctly.

John Marcus.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0b3 on Sun Aug 01 1999 - 16:28:46 PDT