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FORUM: Biomch-L Quality (Summary)

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  • FORUM: Biomch-L Quality (Summary)

    Thanks to the Biomch-L community for contributing to the discussion of list
    quality. Receiving 48 replies, both public and private, shows that the list
    subscribers value the list enough to ensure its continued development.

    >>>>> "Ton" == Ton van den Bogert addresed the
    biomch-l community on serveral issues related to the list. Below is a
    summary of the replies the this call.

    Ton> Dear Biomch-L subscribers, In private communications with the
    Ton> Biomch-L moderators, several subscribers have expressed
    Ton> concern about the decreasing quality of Biomch-L postings.

    Ton> Please take a minute to consider the following things. It is
    Ton> in everybody's interest to maintain a good quality.

    Ton> 1. Don't waste someone else's time
    Ton> It seems that, as more students subscribe, we see more trivial
    Ton> questions being posted. Also, Biomch-L seems to be used increasingly
    Ton> as a substitute for a trip to the library. This is abusing the
    Ton> group. Consider this: if it takes 2000 subscribers 2 seconds
    Ton> each to read your message and kill it, 4000 seconds are
    Ton> wasted. If it takes you less time to do it yourself, DON'T
    Ton> POST TO BIOMCH-L. Thanks to Rodger Kram
    Ton> for pointing this out. And always use the Subject: line!

    Literature requests are perceived valuable by most of the list memebers
    who took part in this discussion. The negative opinions expressed center
    mostly around the assumption that no prior effort was made into identifying
    reference sources before posting to the list. Several members made clear
    that this premise was indeed false.

    Providing some indication of what research has been accomplished prior
    to soliciting further references from the list can be helpful in several
    ways. First, it prevents duplicating effort. Second, it may provide
    a different (unique?) perspective on the subject. Third, it helps expand
    the knowledge base of all those participating in the science.

    To facilitate both those who value and those who do not value the requests
    for literature all subscribers should make use of the subject heading in
    their posts to the list. Make it absolutely clear that the message seeks
    references on a topic:

    Subject: LIT_REQUEST (Localized Muscle Fatigue) James Ashton-Miller
    Ton> proposed splitting Biomch-L into two groups: a student group
    Ton> and an 'expert' group. Subscribing and posting priviliges
    Ton> for the expert group would be restricted to those who
    Ton> 'earned' it. My first reaction is no, because it is nice
    Ton> that students have access to the experts. However, if
    Ton> decreasing quality leads to experts leaving the list (which
    Ton> is happening), we clearly have to do something about it.

    There was overwhelming support to *not* split the list into separate lists
    along any line (student/non-student, commercial/non-commercial, etc.).

    Robert Neal (NEAL@HMS01.HMS.UQ.OZ.AU) summed the issue up concisly:
    "... I think that the splitting of the list would be absurd since one of
    the principle tenets of lists is to allow interested parties access to

    There is nothing to stop an interested party from initiating a mailing
    list to discuss their own favourite biomchanics topic.

    Ton> 7. List moderation
    Ton> One way to solve these problems is to start truly moderating the
    Ton> list, i.e. every posting would be read by a moderator before being
    Ton> distributed. This is technically possible, but would lead to
    Ton> some loss of speed. Realistically, a moderator would examine
    Ton> postings once every day, so every posting could be delayed by
    Ton> as much as 24 hours, not including transmission delays.

    There was also very little interest in actively moderating the list. Most
    respondants appreciated the open forum and were satisfied with the way
    that problems are currently resolved. All members of the list are
    responsible for the quality of its content, and in this interest we
    must continually provide positive guidance to new subscribers. Hopefully,
    this discussion has resolved what material is deemed acceptable by the
    list (for the meantime at least).

    The moderators will be assembling a mini-FAQ for distribution to the
    list on a monthly basis to inform both new and old subscribers of general
    list netiquette and where to go for more detailed information.

    Ton> 8. Usenet News
    Ton> At the other extreme, we could start a Usenet newsgroup. News reader
    Ton> software has the feature that it can follow 'threads', i.e.
    Ton> discussions abouct certain topics. It can also delete an entire
    Ton> thread with one keystroke. I realize that not everyone has access to
    Ton> Usenet, but it is possible to have a bi-directional gateway between
    Ton> Usenet and LISTSERV. Usenet will lead to more garbage, but
    Ton> will make it easier to sort through it. Unless you are still
    Ton> a LISTSERV user.

    There was very little interest shown in feeding biomch-l to a USENET
    newsgroup. This topic has been discussed previously amongst the
    moderators, and in the general, we were not in favour of a usenet
    newsgroup because their 'noise' level is generally higher than the present
    'noise' level of biomch-l.

    Thanks again to all who contributed to this discussion in one form or


    M. F. Young.
    Co-Moderator, Biomch-L

    On behalf of the Biomch-L moderator team:
    Christoph Reinschmidt
    Michael Young
    Pierre Baudin
    Ton van den Bogert
    Krystyna Gielo-Perczak

    Michael Young, Instructor | Voice: (906)-487-3357
    Mech. Eng. - Eng. Mech. Dept. | E-mail: (Internet)
    Michigan Tech Univ. |
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