You can change your vote if you want

Bart De Pontieu (BDP@MPEPL)
Fri, 29 Mar 1996 15:05:22 +0100 (CET)

Well, it looks like I will have to retract what I wrote earlier this week,
when announcing the vote:

>For all of us at UseSat-L,
>    Bart De Pontieu 

It seems I wasn't writing for Walter Nissen, without knowing it. The
proposed vote and the pro/cons were discussed for about a week on UseSat-L,
during which time no-one expressed opposition to the formulation.

I think it's a pity that Walter's reaction comes so late in the voting 
process. So I think it's only fair to allow you to *change your vote*, in
case Walter's message has changed your opinion. Send your changed vote to
Jim Varney at

Having said the above, I am going to react to Walter's message, since I feel
a lot of Walter's worries have already been addressed on UseSat-L. Call
it a second round for the 'pros', now that Walter sent in a second round of

I know all of this is horribly off-topic, and I apologize in advance.
But the circumstances demand it, I think. If one SeeSat-L maintainer (Walter)
is  allowed an off-topic post, then so is the other :-)

Here are my replies to what Walter writes:

>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. 
This might be misunderstood, since it implies that you were not given a
chance to add to the list of cons. You were given that chance, of course.
You just didn't take it.

>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. 
Show me one *moderated* newsgroup that suffers from the problems you've
mentioned in the above. In other words, this 'con' hardly applies to the

>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. 
But SeeSat-L stays around, so I don't see the problem. It's not a change we're
proposing, but a coexistence. As to the 'bureaucracy' having power over 
Usenet, that really seems like a stretch to me. Usenet is self-organized 
anarchy. :-)

>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. 

But the newsgroup will basically have the same 'charter' as SeeSat-L has.
This is implicit in our proposal, since the proposal links SeeSat-L with
the newsgroup. The 'charter' of SeeSat-L has never been written down, but
it is dayly demonstrated by the posts on SeeSat-L.
The charter of the new newsgroup has not yet been written, but will be
written with the seeSat-L one in the back of our minds. For example, I
think the messages on Hyakutake belong on SeeSat-L, all kidding of
'heliocentric satellites' aside. 

And please mark that there will be a future vote for the 'real' Usenet
proposal where you can still vote NO.

>5.  Uncertain news delivery; a few percent of all articles are never 
>delivered.  (I welcome quantification of this aspect). 
>1.  Even when delivered, lags in news distribution can be up to several 

It's probably more than a few percent of the Usenet messages that don't get
delivered, but since Seesat-L stays around, you will still get your SeeSat-L 
messages a few minutes after the author sent it.
Mind you, at least 'a few percent' of the Seesat-L messages never get to
the recipients because of bounces.

>2.  No central archive (as a part of this proposal, though someone could 
>step forward). 

Well, we've never discussed this, but since the newsgroup would be moderated,
it would be really easy to set up a central archive in the process of
>3.  Newsgroup will be unavailable at some sites and to e-mail only 
This is a problem for 'alt.*' groups, not 'sci.*' groups, I thought.
E-mail only readers can send e-mail to the SeeSat-L address, or the
moderation address. 
>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.  

It sure wasn't obvious to me.

>Astronomy is lights in the sky.

What about airplanes, Walter? No, I disagree, astronomy isn't just lights
in the sky [see the discussion on the name of the newsgroup]

I hope this ends this discussion on SeeSat-L. All follow-up should go to
UseSat-L. I, for one, promise not to reply to any future messages on this topic
on SeeSat-L.