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Re: We need an editor

Dennis' concerns are valid and I hope that people won't take offense.  I
recall another list where a similar suggestion prompted withering (and even
obscene) responses from some subscribers.

I already unsubscribed once from this list because of the VAST number of
irrelevant postings--birthday greetings, jokes, etc.  I resubscribed
because I felt that I was missing those messages which had real substance.
But I am also sure that these so-called irrelevant messages are important
to those who sent them and that many subscribers enjoy the warmth they

As you know from my signature line, I'm a biology prof at a small southern
college.  As a part of my professional commitment, I also subscribe to
several other lists (paleontology, arachnology, etc.).  Every morning when
I get to the office the iris list messages alone are as much as four times
all the other lists combined.  And, sad to say, many of these have little
to do with irises but are more or less personal messages that would best be
sent direct to the recipient.

I would be the last person to deny anyone their right to have a friendly
chat.  But there are other mechanisms on the internet that provide for
this.  One, of course, is the direct exchange of messages between
individuals.  Another is the "chat room" in which any number can be
involved.  Perhaps a third alternative would be to split off an "intense"
list for real iris fanatics who want to discuss and learn about plants.
I'm not sure how these last two could be accomplished.

I've noticed that lists tend to have a life cycle.  There is an initial
period of enthusiam which results in many, many "dittos" and irrelevant
postings.  This is often followed by a difficult period in which the
subscribers sort themselves out and many leave the list, either discouraged
by the irrelevant messages or intimidated by the serious ones.  Finally,
the list settles down to a modest rate of postings, nearly all of which are
valuable and on-subject.

Maybe we just need to wait and let this happen naturally.  Meantime I would
urge everyone to stick with the list but try REALLY HARD to keep their
messages relevant to the plants we enjoy so much.

Best wishes, Bill
William A. Shear
Department of Biology
Hampden-Sydney College
Hampden-Sydney VA 23943 USA
phone (804) 223-6172
FAX (804) 223-6374

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