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Topic: Rules of etiquette on this newsgroup
Replies: 11   Last Post: Mar 20, 2013 9:50 AM

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Posts: 2,465
Registered: 2/15/09
Re: Rules of etiquette on this newsgroup
Posted: Mar 19, 2013 1:29 AM
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On Mar 18, 9:16 pm, fom <> wrote:
> On 3/18/2013 1:49 PM, Paul wrote:

> > On Monday, March 18, 2013 6:42:21 PM UTC, fom wrote:
> >> On 3/18/2013 11:08 AM, Paul wrote:
> >>> I'm genuinely a bit confused about the rules of etiquette on this newsgroup.
> >> Right or wrong, you just wrote elsewhere
> >> that you appreciated David Ullrich's
> >> contributions.
> >> There is no question that the number
> >> of professional mathematicians actively
> >> participating on these newsgroups is
> >> less than in the past.  Shall that be
> >> made one fewer by a public reprimand?
> >> People have personalities.  People sometimes
> >> say things they later would prefer to have
> >> not said.  Some people find it easy to
> >> apologize whereas others do not.  Some
> >> people do not see a need for apology
> >> whereas others do.
> >> I am not going to disagree with you
> >> on the particulars here.  I am just
> >> going to ask if this is what you
> >> really want to do?
> > No, it's not at all what I want to do.
> > That's why I tried to retract it immediately afterwards.
> > I did another posting saying that I retracted what I was saying.
> > "Public reprimand" retracted.

> > Paul
> I know.  I saw it after I posted.
> Same considerations apply to your "mistake".
> I have been in that position myself.
> Have a good day.

"Philosopher Paul Grice accounts for such inferences by treating talk
as rational (inter)action. Thus we can draw conclusions not only from
the views people actually express, but also from the way they conduct
themselves as participants in this joint communicative venture. More
specifically, Grice proposes four "maxims" of _conversational
cooperation_, by which we can expect one another to abide:
1, Provide as much information as will be useful and appropriate.
2. Take care not to say false things.
3. Be relevant (stick to the topic, etc.).
4. Be perspicuous (clear, orderly, brief, and so on).
These are meant as general guidelines for the practice of
-- Haugeland, "Artificial Intelligence: The Very Idea", MIT 1985,

Then, sci.math is a poor medium for mathematical development, but it
does have a variety of features: universal access, redundant storage,
protocol support. That said, it's been a long time since usenet was
the best bulletin-board system on the Internet (though presumably
alt.binaries is still quite active). These days, for mathematical
questions of research intent, there is,
and StackExchange is the de facto source of many software engineers,
if they can be called that, in their daily dilemmas, and has a math
section. Blogs abound, and technical publishing electronically has
made the ArXiv and related portals relevant to the academic
So, is usenet dead, again? (Usenet dead, news on usenet at 11.) It,
varies. The ratio of readers to writers is quite high, (lurkers, I'm
not looking at you), but still much less than the daily pandering of
mass media, but surely much more than a collaboration. There is
little glamour posting to usenet, compared to FOM or the higher
echelons of real, as it were, publishing, though FOM is a bit stuffy.
It seems MathOverflow is premier in the course, of uncontroversial
statement on questions, and of course let of give thanks to Wikipedia,
which from early multi-media and online encyclopedias has grown into a
remarkable source for gentle introduction to fields.
Then, consider an example: Jay R. Yablon over on
sci.physics.foundations and sci.physics.research (moderated).


His description of computing atomic mass from first principles and
particularly the magnetic monopole which is into singularities in
physics, where validated is an advance of physics. Of course, he
posted _about_ it on usenet, and claims to be _publishing_ it via
"Journal of Modern Physics, Special Issue on High Energy Physics". An
advance in physics is an advance for the entire human race.

Now, I've posted on sci.math.moderated and proclaimed the Identity
Expression Statement with infinity a constant, i.e. sci.math.moderated
exists, then there's the notion that yes, posting to usenet _is_
publishing, self-publishing, vanity press as it were, to a vicious
fishbowl with universal access, redundant storage, and protocol.

Then, fom, you're an example of an important component for the
community, as it were, of sci.math, with your prodigious output. And
what's relevant to that is that there _are_ controversial opinions on
sci.math, that MathOverflow can't have as they're dogmatic (and not of
the dogma of more and different), and that Wikipedia variously
entertains and educates, but not in the discutative extent of a
globally available messaging system with dedicated infrastructure and
simple archival.

Then, for etiquette's sake, should we vary the discussion from
foundations, and, the very controversy of the paradoxes of the
foundations, more for cliques of real analysts and statistical sorties
and number-theoretic huddles? There are trolls, of a sort, and ignore
them, so, for those interested in a simple discussion, there's just
not enough time in the day for simple.

So, usenet etiquette is: post. It's there for you to write on it.
And of course, there are almost certainly better uses of your time:
you don't owe it anything.

Read the charter.


Ross Finlayson

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