Topicality, TLEs desired, vulgar names, Top 10

Walter Nissen (dk058@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Tue, 4 Jun 1996 16:17:12 -0400

Recently there have been casual mentions of flaming and off-topic posting, 
which might be misinterpreted to suggest that they might somehow be 
acceptable.  Just so there is no confusion, both of these are unacceptable 
on SeeSat-L.  Flaming is, as far as I can tell, primarily a Usenet 
phenomenon.  Here on SeeSat-L, the virtues of earnestness and productive 
affect, striving toward a visual observing goal, are the hallmarks of 
acceptability.  There are other fora on the net for anger and 
Topicality is a constant problem, at least for me.  Off-topic posting has 
to be unacceptable, like the camel's nose, because, once it starts, who is 
to say where it will end.  First someone asks for a hint for a crossword 
puzzle clue, a five-letter word for satellite.  Next thing you know, 
somebody is organizing and operating and discussing disagreements about a 
5000-entrant worldwide "Clu-by-Net" crossword puzzle championship, with a 
traffic of 800 messages per day, complete with self-righteous whining 
that "this is a really good place to sponsor a contest, who are you to 
decide which crossword puzzle posts are appropriate?".  I focus on the 
                visual,  observing,  Earth satellite 
when I have some doubt.  Topics here should relate to all of these.  This 
isn't, nor sci.astro, nor, nor, 
nor biz.profit, and certainly not talk.politics.misc.  Not even the 
Shuttle elements mailing list nor Jonathan's mailing list nor HearSat-L. 
But some topics that belong in those places, and others, will sometimes 
infringe on topics here.  If it is concise, has some relevance, 
(hopefully, is newsy and informative), and fades away rapidly, then it has 
a much better chance of being viewed as a contribution, rather than a 
nuisance.  Often the appropriate way to handle a marginal topic is to post 
a brief item announcing another resource, such as an ongoing discussion in 
another forum. 
Many Seesat-L participants deserve thanks for their forbearance in staying 
on topic.  By-and-large, the topicality here is excellent, and many of the 
marginal contributions have had a good bit of merit.  Also, a really good 
discussion, especially one that has no other comfortable home, productive 
all the way, can occasionally render a strict interpretation of topicality 
irrelevant.  Jim Scotti talking here about observing asteroids is in a 
completely different league from the cranks who regularly express their 
incontinent egos upon the canvas of sci.astro. 
Two nuisances I've noticed occasionally on SeeSat-L are over-quoting and 
.sig files with much contentless content.  This is a mailing list, not a 
newsgroup.  Recipients can be assumed to have received earlier messages. 
Two lines is often the ideal length for a quote.  We even have a real-time 
archive so anyone who really wants a previous message can readily obtain 
it.  Four lines is the netiquette maximum for .sig files.  I don't pretend 
that longer ones are never appropriate, but it has to be pretty good stuff 
to justify sending out hundreds of copies every time you make a post, 
especially if you do so frequently.  All these bytes, wonderful and empty 
alike, have to be transmitted, stored, forwarded and archived. 
Jim Varney writes: 
> I QuickSat all night and I sleep all day 
Pretty darn funny. 
Elements for objects of special interest are among the most interesting 
and eagerly sought kinds of information that appear on SeeSat-L.  I am 
sure I speak for many when I thank those of you who occasionally post 
them.  I hope also that you will keep in mind that the most useful format 
for elements seems to be the TLE.  Big lumps of TLEs (or anything else) 
should go to the FTP site or the Web.  Neil Clifford has been very 
co-operative in this regard.  I appreciate that. 
Jay Respler writes: 
> >Comments: Sputnik 29 (also known as Sputnik 22) 
> How can it be both? 
I noticed long ago that people seem to spend a great deal of energy 
chasing down vulgar names (I call them vulgar, rather than common, in 
hopes of discouraging newbies from expecting too much from them). 
Myself, I've all but given up trying to sort them out. 
These names all describe the same object: 
10820   78  42A    AMS 3 = DMSP B5D1-3 = DMSP F3 
So do these: 78042A, 78- 42 A, 1978-042A, etc., etc. 
Kosmos is Cosmos is C. is Cos is C* is K.  Intercosmos 24 is Activnya. 
Copernicus is OAO 3.  ISIS-X is Explorer 31 is Direct Measurement Explorer 
is DME A.  And don't you forget it.  Early Bird is Intelsat-1.  Aureole is 
Oreol, or something like that.  GRIDSPHERE 1 is LCS 4.  Sich is the same 
as Okean.  But don't you dare get the numbers confused.  Ditto for Tiros 
and NOAA.  EGP is Ajisai.  Unfulfilled expectation is the greatest cause 
of unhappiness. 
I continue to support the notion that at least the SPACECOM catalog #, the 
COSPAR ID and the most popular vulgar name should be provided whenever 
Phil Chien writes: 
> here's my [list of] top ten visual satellites 
> Mir 
> DoD-1 
> Hubble 
> Shuttle 
> Intelsat 6-3 (of course only visible to the naked eye while it was in its 
> "parking" orbit) 
> Eureca - one rare case where I've seen a satellite on the ground, in orbit, 
> and after it was retrieved. 
> SEDS-2 
> Lacrosee 1 
> TSS-1R 
Speaking of vulgar names, is DoD-1 the same as USA 89?  Or an earlier one? 
Aren't LDEF, Eureca, SEDS-2 and TSS-1R a bit difficult to spy these days? 
Walter Nissen                  
Power corrupts.  Absolute power corrupts absolutely.   Lord Acton