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Subject: Re: Replies Policy: Algae-L
From: "T.J. Evens" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:T.J. Evens
Date:Fri, 2 Feb 1996 13:32:54 -0700

text/plain (90 lines)

        I like the idea of posting responses to queries, but not all of
them (address requests and other trivial matters can become annoying if
everyone has to receive all the postings related to these).
       What if we tried using a synthesis of the summary-digest options
(see Johns' email below) in which the receiver of the replies just put them
on to one email.  The time involved in this would be trivial, you wouldn't
have to bother with trying to summarize 10 disparate points of view, and
the rest of us could see ALL of the information received.
        This requires very little adjustment except on the part of the
person(s) receiving answers to questions posed to this list.
        T.J. Evens
>Dear Phyconetters (Cybophycoids? Phycocyboids?) :^)
>        I initiated a dialogue with Mike Guiry about the way we are using
>the list.  Here's the problem: I'm often frustrated with Algae-L these days
>because I only get to see people's _questions_, not the experts' answers!  I
>read Algae-L because I am interested in more than just the topics for which
>I post my own questions.  A while back when we would _Reply_ to a post, the
>reply went out to the entire list.  Because some subscribers felt that
>Algae-L was creating too much traffic into their mailboxes, Mike altered the
>list operation such that a Reply went only to the posting address, not the
>whole list (unless the replying person explicitly directed it to algae-l,
>the list).  For _me_ (and I speak only for myself) this meant that one of
>the main functions of algae-L was excised: discussion.  Certainly I still
>like the announcements, and once in a while someone takes it upon themselves
>to summarize the excellent responses they receive to their question.  But I
>really like seeing my esteemed colleagues' commments, answers, arguments,
>agreements, discussions, even their spelling errors.
>        Anyway, Mike graciously accepted my comments and has encouraged me
>to open a dialogue with all of you to see if there is some general
>concensus.  I personally would prefer too much mail to too little content.
>I've gotten pretty ruthless about trashing messages with headers I can tell
>I won't be interested in reading.  Actually, however, there are some other
>        Mike suggested that we try to coerce participants to always post
>summaries of the responses they receive.  This would be great if it were
>universally adhered to, but I am skeptical.  I would predict that summaries
>would be rare.  In my own case, I know that I have good intentions, but when
>the grant proposals are due, the lectures have to be written, the kids need
>to be picked up from daycare, etc., etc., a summary might seem a luxury.  Of
>course universal condemnation by my colleagues might be a factor, but...
>        Another possibility, especially for those who want the reduced email
>clutter, is the "digest" option.  I subscribe to other lists and use this
>function.  It is one of the commands you can send to most list servers
>(though perhaps not yet to listserv@irlearn based on one of Mike's
>comments).  The result is that you receive a single email mailing with
>several to many messages appended together.  This works really well in my
>view.  For one busy list, Tandem@Hobbes (check it out if you ride a tandem
>bike!), I get about one or at most two posts per day, with 3-10 messages
>contained therein.  I open the message and scroll quickly looking for
>subject headers of interest.  Replying to a specific message requires a bit
>more effort since the "Reply" button on your email program will simply reply
>to the _digest_ message, not the individual one.  I propose that this would
>be a good compromise to satisfy both the info-greedy lurkers like myself, as
>well as those with more refined tastes in "in-boxes".  In effect, we would
>go back to replying to the list, thus creating more traffic (but also more
>content), but those desiring would be encouraged to subscribe in "digest" mode.
>        A third option, though I don't think much of it (and it isn't my
>list to begin with), would be to convert the list over to a UseNet
>Newsgroup.  Current newsreader programs are good at screening, sorting,
>etc., so each participant can read whatever catches their fancy.  As an
>example, you could tell the newsreader to ignore all messages with "Merrill"
>in the "from" header!  For really busy topics I think a newsgroup is the
>only effective way to manage the traffic, but I don't think algae-l is that
>        Well, I tried to be careful, but I'm sure I've been unfair to Mike
>here, so: Sorry Mike!  Please post your thoughts on this to the list and
>let's see what we think.
>********  [log in to unmask]  ********
>John Merrill
>Microbiology Department
>178 Giltner Hall
>Michigan State University
>East Lansing, MI  48824
                                    t.j. evens
       department of ecology, evolution and marine biology
                            university of california
                           santa barbara, ca 93106
                                (805) 893-4319
                            [log in to unmask]

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