Re: Lookups Public or Private? - DICKMATT
Subject: Re: Lookups Public or Private?
Date: February 06, 1998

Steve/Lucy,  was cranking up to respond to Lucy's message-response and see
that Steve's reply consumed mine!  I would agree, I believe.  Not to
support one over another but rather to say that I feel I have seen both
ways operate and find nothing of interest in "restrained" lists with
private cliques being preferred.  Not to say that some cousinly cliques
wouldn't make sense on highly specific data about a small line.  One
doesn't always know what others want to see or browse through, so I would
hope we opt for all member messages with obvious sub groups forming freely.
Before I retired in 1988, my department in the local Univ. wanted to change
their ways in handling students and visitors and set up a severe "branching
" inquiry system which would spare staff and faculty from being in on a lot
of talking and sharing and interchange - all of which is often unrewarded
in raises and promotions.  Now when one goes in to visit he or she can
easily get lost in the system and no one feels they should "bail you out"! 
Much research may be going on but who could ever find out without a Special
Prosecutor!    Dick Matteson  

From: Steve Coker 
To: Lucy Moye 
Subject: Lookups Public or Private?
Date: Thursday, February 05, 1998 8:07 PM


Let me start by apologizing for what I suspect may be perceived as a
tone in my response.  I do not mean this personally.  Since we've never
met, I
have no concept about who you are or what you are like.  I do intend this
as a
discussion about the benefits and functions of a mailing list like this
And, as you requested, I forgive you for what you said.  However, my
and yours don't agree.  If the discussion seems hostile in parts, its
toward the idea, not the person.  So, please allow me to explain my
thoughts on
this subject.  I don't consider this discussion "personal" but about the
nature of the list and its operation, so I'm posting it to the list.

1. In my opinion it is flawed logic to assume that only one person on the
would ever have the time and ability to respond to a lookup request.  If
requests are posted to the list, then any reader could and might respond. 
Thereby sharing the workload.  500+ potential responders is better than
just one
person who might have other things occupying his time on any given day.

2. In my opinion the whole point of a list like this is to have a public
of information and ideas.  If declarations of available or needed
are done privately, rather than publicly, then the purpose of the list is
defeated and far less information will be shared.

3. In my opinion, if a member of the list isn't interested in seeing what
are looking for or what others are reporting, then, that person shouldn't
be on
the list.  They should be using private messages rather than using a
list.  The purpose of a list is see what others want and find.

4. In my opinion, if responses to information requests aren't posted to the
list, then less information will be shared.  Again defeating the purpose of

5. In my opinion, lookup requests and responses to same are not "personal"
correspondence when its between strangers and there is the potential that
on the list might benefit from the information.  It seems such would be the
in most circumstances since the very nature of genealogy is that most
have many descendants.

6. In my opinion, if the only purpose of the service were just to discover
to send private messages to for a particular topic, then the email method
be a poor way to accomplish that purpose.  A much better way would be to
setup a
Yahoo like site with email address links categorized by research topic. 
Then a
person could just click through the menu pages until they found the
topic they wanted to research and then select someone to email who is
under that topic.  However, my opinion is an open email service provides
more and has purposes beyond finding the "right" contact to ask for
help. The open exchange of ideas and questions can serve as a catalyst to
readers stimulating their thought processes and giving them hints and ideas
they might be far less likely to develop otherwise.

7. In my opinion, a member using a reasonably adequate computer, email
and net connection, should not have to wade through messages in their list
folder.  About a 2-3 second glance at the subject header usually can tell
an L-
member if its a message they even want to bother opening.  And, D- Members
an index they can examine to see if the Digest has a subject that looks
interesting to them. This list, and the other two Rootsweb lists I belong
usually have only about a dozen messages a day.  Never a huge number to
through from what I've seen.

8. Your suggestion on how I should manage my email is appreciated and well
made.  However, adding more folders is not something I'm desirous of doing
I see other solutions which better meet my needs.  I currently have over
active email folders setup now on my home computer and several dozen more
at the
office.  When possible, I prefer not to create more.  Often I spend more
4-5 hours a day about 5 days a week doing email.  Some times I spend twice
much or more.  So, like I said in the beginning.  I'm not offering to do
lookups.  But, I may well do some when I find time and haven't "burned out"
too many hours at the keyboard.  If nobody else on the list has any desire
help out, then frankly, I think that would speak ill of the participants. 
suspect many are of a generous and giving nature and thus will join in
responding to requests from time to time.  If only 10% did so just once a
then that would more than cover all the requests being made.

9. I've been on a variety of different types of mailing lists over the
including computer topics, environmental issues, genealogy, poetry, and
My preference is to keep the list email within the list and not let the
overflow and become mixed with my other email.  Thats the policy I find
best for me.  I've done it the other way in the past and always found my
inevitably becomes comingled and unorganized.  I'd rather not volunteer my
and services than change devolve into chaos, again.

In conclusion, if the list owner, or a majority of those interested enough
have read this far (which I expect is few) disagree with me and feel that
requests and responses to lookup requests are not appropriate for posting
to the
list, then I will abide with that decision.  However, in such case I will
not do
lookups, except possibly for persons in my personal direct lineages.

Again, sorry if I offended in any way.  That wasn't my intent.  I just
write in
"strong" tones sometimes.

In my humble opinion,

Steven J. Coker

Lucy Moye wrote:
> Subject:RE Steve's lookups
> > No, I didn't "offer" to do lookups.  But, if the mood stikes, and the
> > time allows, I sometimes will. But, PLEASE folks, send any requests for
> > such research assistance to the mailing list, and NOT directly to me. 
> > get more than enough email in my inbox now.  I have mailing lists
> > automatically routed into special folders. It annoys me when my inbox
> > gets filled with stuff that I have to manually move to the appropriate
> > subfolder.
> Dear Steve,
> Please forgive me for saying this, but your request is singularly
> inconsiderate for those of us who don't want to have to wade through
> correspondence between you and other people.  The answer to your problem
is to
> set up a folder labeled LOOKUP, and then ask people to put LOOKUP in the
> subject line.  Then both their requests and your replies may be sent
> privately.
> Thanks much.
> Lucy
> [email protected]

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