OT: But who's to question the relevance? - long

From:Todd Sherman <t-sherman@home.com>

Dear 'Netters,

I'm on the soap box for a moment so if you are looking for strictly
histological information, please read no further and hit the delete key.
However, this editorial is meant to inform and not inflame and to serve as a
semi-professional correspondence rather than a soap opera script.

I've been a subscriber to the group from its inception and read thousands of
emails over the years.  What a terrific collection of personalities and
knowledge we have the privilege of visiting whenever we have a histological
problem.  I have not met anyone personally (well, I have met one but do not
want to implicate him/her because this posting is my position exclusively)
but I feel like I know some of you.

I have followed the recent threads regarding what should or should not be
posted to this newsgroup and feel responsible for the most recent OT-thread
even though Dr. Montgomery has already "taken the bullet" for me.  No doubt
that I will refrain from posting a simple, off-topic comment to acknowledge
another subscriber's statement.  In this particular case I wanted to extend
my appreciation to Dr. Montgomery on his humorous description and to
enlighten others on what I perceived to be a relatively obscure British
comedy reference.  It was my response and not Dr. Montgomery's on-topic
posting that started the brouhaha.  I should have responded personally
instead of publicly.

However, there is a consequence to the restraint of written conversation -
the impeded sharing of knowledge.  This topic has been debated before so
I'll try not to waste bytes rehashing old news...sorry new subscribers,
you'll have to consult the archives.  I think a recent example might
encapsulate the dilemma.

A question by JHoffpa464@aol.com concerning the future use of CDROM and DVD
technology was posted.  I was skeptical of the source because of the
phrasing of the question and proceeded to disregard it.  A few responses
ensued and indicated that some subscribers were interested in archiving;
consequently, I responded to address specific issues regarding a particular
storage device that were pertinent to that topic.  Now I realize that
methods of archiving are not strictly related to histology in that it won't
make your H&E look better, help identify the proper billing code for a lab
procedure, or aid in the removal of wax from carpeting; but archiving can
(should) be incorporated into laboratory operating procedures and will
become routine as we progress in the digital-information age.

So a posting that seemed initially unusual and irrelevant became relevant
and directly applicable to another subscriber.  A strict level of email
filtering would have impeded this exchange of information.  Personally, I
have tried to assist other subscribers where I feel my level of experience
or expertise is appropriate; I have an obligation to contribute because I
have voyeuristically gleaned so much histo-info from the Histonet.  While my
response was not directly related to histology, I was able to assist others
in an area where I have some expertise.  Could this information been
acquired from another source? Absolutely.  Would it have been as timely?
Probably not.  I would rather post a slightly off-topic question or comment
to people I "know" and trust than just any-ol'-newsgroup.

I believe some cross-pollination of ideas and professions is warranted and
desirable in these discussion groups - but who is to say what is relevant?
Researching solutions often takes you on a tangent and leads to other
ideas...that is its nature.  If you want your information cut-and-dried,
check out the text or consult a journal.  In this alternate, digital arena,
let the subject line, delete key, and killfile be your gatekeeper/censor.

If you feel reticent or would rather not sully the Histonet with responses,
please feel free to respond to me directly.  No opinion shall be filtered or
divulged without responder's permission...you may even get a response. ;)

Sincerely, Todd

Todd Sherman
IT student

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