Read this BEFORE you vote, please

Walter Nissen (dk058@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Thu, 28 Mar 1996 18:59:26 -0500

There are some more important cons than the ones formerly enumerated.  I 
am posting this item to SeeSat-L, because I don't think the cons of a 
proposal should be put together by the proponents. 
I add these IMPORTANT new cons: 
7.  The newsgroup might cannibalize the activity in SeeSat-L, resulting in 
SeeSat-L becoming a weak sister to the newsgroup and forcing everyone who 
feels well satisfied by SeeSat-L either to live with the deficiencies of a 
newsgroup or retire from the main forum of activity. 
8.  Usenet is filled with a variety of forms of trash which at their most 
virulent, e.g., in some of the* and sci.astro.* newsgroups, 
drive away nearly all potential readers. 
9.  SeeSat-L is a mom-'n-pop neighborhood operation.  Usenet is a 
Washington bureaucracy, or United Nations bureaucracy, or EU bureaucracy. 
We are vulnerable to the loss of key support, but we don't have to live 
with decisions the powerful may make for reasons that have nothing to do 
with SeeSat-L or satellite observing.  And we are nowhere near as likely 
to draw unwanted legal or administrative attention. 
10.  The alleged advantage of broader discussion of satellite interests 
than presently found on SeeSat-L could be a huge disadvantage.  I sense 
that some people want a forum for more detailed and extensive discussion 
of satellite hardware and telemetry operation.  I think this should go to 
Hearsat-L, and, or to some new forum, as 
appropriate.  While I would gladly participate in some of this discussion, 
and some of it would be at least marginally appropriate in SeeSat-L, I 
greatly fear being overwhelmed by a mass of postings I will never have 
time to get to. 
11.  I'd swear there are more I can't think of right now. 
And, because some were not very specific,  I substitute my own rewording 
of the enumerated cons: 
5.  Uncertain news delivery; a few percent of all articles are never 
delivered.  If you don't believe this, compare the articles received at 
two different sites or use AltaVista or DejaNews.  I have had the 
experience of surprise initial receipt of replies to my correspondence via 
DejaNews months after the posting of the replies.  (I welcome 
quantification of this aspect). 
1.  Even when delivered, lags in news distribution can be up to several 
2.  No central archive (as a part of this proposal, though someone could 
step forward). 
3.  Newsgroup will be unavailable at some sites and to e-mail only 
4.  SeeSat-L vs. SeeSat-P decision has to be made with sending of every 
6.  Name should be sci.astro.observe-sats. 
I am in the modestly uncomfortable position of being one whose initial 
thought has become a proposal which he does not pretend to understand.  I 
apologize for the untimeliness of this post, especially because it is 
obvious that when I should have been doing this a week or so back, I was 
still only begging for more time.  I attribute to comet madness the fact 
that the call for votes was posted on the very day The Great Comet of 1996 
was closest to Earth. 
A mailing list has the advantage of offering very timely, reliable 
delivery of a relatively trash-free stream of information to people who 
are interested enough to receive it as part of their daily stream of 
A newsgroup attempts to build additional benefit based on wider outreach 
to a less involved, but larger (even though it excludes the e-mail only 
readers), body of interest. 
As I have said on UseSat-L, I find this a murky proposition, and think it 
requires further consideration rather than precipitate implementation.  I 
could be wrong about that. 


Walter Nissen         


Astronomy is lights in the sky.