View Full Version : WDYT message

Ton Van Den Bogert
11-29-1999, 01:34 AM
Dear Biomch-L subscribers,

You may have seen the posting by Johannes Reich, on November 18th,
with the subject "WDYT about classification of postural strategies ...".
Before this posting, Johannes also posted his ideas for this type
of discussion on Biomch-L. That message did not get posted
at that time, so I am including it at the end of this message. Briefly,
Johannes proposes that a controversial idea is posted with a "WDYT" (what
do you think?) title, which starts a public discussion of this idea.

As co-moderator of Biomch-L I fully support this initiative. The
subject tag "WDYT" should be used for such discussions, as proposed
by Johannes. After the initial posting, reactions should be posted to
the list with the same subject line, preceded by "Re:". The moderators
will only approve well written reactions under this subject tag.
We are seeing too many "chatroom style" postings these days and this
is not really what I would like to see. After a suitable time, the
originator of the topic will close the discussion and post a summary
(which is *not* just a copy of all responses!). I think it is
important that responses are posted directly to the list rather than
sent to the originator, to stimulate further discussion.

Another initiative was taken at the same time by another Biomch-L
subscriber, Andrew Slifkin, for a similar, but more formal type of
exchange on Biomch-L. We are working on the details right now. This
new format will take the form of a "target article" and responses
submitted to an editor who will format and post to Biomch-L. These
postings will be almost like a journal publication. All articles
and (if needed) illustrations will be archived on the ISB web site.

Ton van den Bogert, Biomch-L co-moderator


Date: Sun, 28 Nov 1999 12:55:28 +0100 (MET)
From: Johannes Reich
Subject: What do you think about this idea?

Dear fellownetters,

newsgroups of the internet seem to be an almost ideal forum to discuss
controversial subjects. They are selective, reaching beginners as well as
experts in the respective field. They are inexpensive and they allow for
an exchange of the most recent ideas and informations.

In reality these kind of discussions seem to be quite rare not so much in
news groups about computer themes but in scientific news groups like this
one. Most postings are of the kind: "Hi, I am a student, working on this
project and want to spare the way to the library. Is anybody out there who
would like to waste his time instead? ..." (Although - since I have to
take care of our twins my difficulties to access the library have
increased enormously and I currently change my mind about these postings
;), "Does anybody has experience with...", job postings or conference
announcements. The last discussion of this sort on the list I do remember
is that about the equilibrium point hypothesis - although I do not know
whether it is still considered a most recent idea ;)

I think all of us could profit from a more open treatment of our ideas as
is illustrated in a famous article by Eric S. Raymond (1997) "The
cathedral and the bazar" (WWW-address:

For that reason I would like to propose a new type of email: a "What Do
You Think" (WDYT)-message.
It should have the WDYT-tag in its subject line (so that it is easily
searchable in the archives) and should start with a short, well posed
thesis or question, which is followed by a text that gives the basic
reasoning with the most important citations from the literature.
After an appropriate time an edited summary should be published with the
"WDYT-Summary"-tag in the subject line of the email.

Now folks, WDYT about this idea?

Johannes Reich

Johannes Reich | Email reich@uni-duesseldorf.de
Neurolog. Therapiecentrum | Tel. ++49 (0)211 7816 159
Hohensandweg 37 | Fax. ++49 (0)211 576152
D - 40591 Duesseldorf |

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