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Re: ROBIN Discussion


I thank Carolyn and the committee for these six days in which the AHS Hosta
Robin will be an open forum for all issues that might involve hostadom. This
is a positive step and I hope is future trend.

How do you feel when you read Carolyn's announcement that the committee has
decided that we can have six days of free speech on the AHS robin? As a
co-owner of another Robin named Hosta-Open, I can state that we dedicate 365
days a year to "an open forum for all issues that might involve hostadom". I
don't believe such control need be exercised over adults.  What we are
seeing is a battle line that has been drawn for some time and both sides are
deeply entrenched. Just this past week I expressed my opinion on some
policies and was met head on by three defenders of the status quo who
mistook me for an enemy of the AHS.  I believe this is why so many folks are
timid and are so afraid of rocking the boat that they keep their idea's to
themselves. Just one opinion and you will find yourself on one side or the
other. Fortunally or unfortunately, depending on which side of this line
your are on, I am not easily intimidated.

I have become the co-owner of Hosta-Open in the past week but I have been on
Hosta-Open since it's inception. I was also on the old AHS Robin but not at
it's very beginning. Hosta-Open was started to fill the void when the old
AHS robin was shut down for six months with no notice. The new AHS hosta
robin was born with Carolyn Schaffner as listowner and a secret committee of
three that judged our postings and decided if we needed to be issued gentle
reminders, warnings with no time limits or complete removal from the AHS
Hosta Robin. This placement of a secret committee was extremely offensive to
some of the AHS Robin members and resulted in behind the scene motives for
postings from members on both sides of this battle line.

 I asked to be a co-owner of the Hosta-open Robin so I could assist  a
listserve that would not be under the control of the AHS because of the
above mentioned policies. I have no intention of trying to destroy or damage
the AHS robin, it is the first listserve to which I ever belonged. At this
point none of my suggestions to improve the AHS robin or the AHS in general
have even been acknowledged. It has been suggested that I send my comments
to the officers in private. I can't get a response when I send comments
publicly. I believe if they are sent privately they will only be easier to

My goal is to help Joanne Pyszczek  manage Hosta-Open which she bravely
started all on her own. I was an early supporter when the old AHS robin was
closed and wrote all of it's members and asked if they wanted to join a new
listserve to talk about hostas. Many folks joined Hosta-Open. We were the
only game in town for six months. It seemed it was not good enough for the
officers of the AHS to have an independent Robin so the new AHS Robin was

My take is that part of the current battle is over the availability of hosta
information via the internet. We have newsletter editors in an exchange
group that snail mail copies of their newsletters to 49(?) other members of
their group. I  suggested that they share information over the internet in
an earlier post to Judy Burns. This is being fought. Time will show who ends
up being right. If you read many other local hosta group's newsletters you
will see that they contain many copies of the same articles. The editors of
these newsletters are good folks but there is a lot of expense and time
involved in their effort that could be eliminated by use of the internet. I
have not pursued this line of thought in public and have only commented once
and that was in a public post to Judy Burns in response to her response to a
post of mine. Judy called me paranoid in her post. She also said we need to
"quit bitching and moaning and do something for the AHS". Judy just turned
over the job of organizer for the newsletter group and is now the recording
secretary for the AHS. I am trying to help the AHS and I resent being call
paranoid. Paranoia is a mental condition. I may not be normal, but I am not
paranoid.  I plan to follow this debate to it's logical end sometime in the
future. I know this will result in my making enemies. I feel this is
important work that I am doing. Others think I am a pain in the neck. There
are other things more important at the moment and believe it or not I am not
trying to tear down old structures as much as I am trying to help build new
ones. I must scare the hell out of the old schoolers.

Kevin Walk is collecting questions for the officers of the AHS to answer at
the Winter Scientific Meeting in Chicago on the twenty third of January
1999. There will also be questions submitted in writing from the four
hundred or so participants at the WSM. The officers of the AHS will chose
which questions they want to answer and which ones they don't. This gives
them a chance to put their heads together and present a united front. There
will be no questions allowed from the floor. This gives the appearance of an
interactive Q and A session but in reality is very much controlled. I hope
we won't have to prepare questions in advance for the scientific and other
speakers at the WSM. I hope this is not part of a larger plan to stifle

The last Silver Book was printed in 1991 and is seriously outdated. It
appears that an attempt is going to be made to sell all of these outdated
copies before a new edition is printed. The AHS stands to lose the cost of
printing the leftovers of the 1991 edition if they are not all sold. The
irony of the situation is that almost all of this information is available
on line for free in a much more useful format. It is also easily updated and
edited in an electronic format. Registrations are now being published in the
AHS Journal twice a year and I believe there were 90 in the last Journal.
This results in any hardcopy being outdated before it is even printed. It is
my understand that the AHS in the last week has had an offer from a member
to place all of this information on the web and do it at no cost to the AHS.
He was turned down and told that this is not sanctioned by the AHS and
therefore would not be possible.

My take is that there is a fear that those on the internet which only number
about 200 are going to have an influence on the AHS which far out weighs
their numbers. I believe there are about 3,500 members of the AHS at
present. We on the robins are a small minority but we are extremely
influential because of our interconnectedness. We did not plan it this way.
It's just the way things are working out. Our world is a rapidly changing
place. The age of electronic information exchange is in it's infancy. I have
no doubt that the AHS will fully take advantage of this new technology
sooner or later. I am just trying to make it happen sooner rather than

I feel that the officers of the AHS have a moral obligation to answer the
subjects raised on the AHS Robin. I also feel that officers that have e-mail
have a moral obligation to include themselves in this Robin. This will cause
some problems in the AHS I am sure. It's going to be rough on non-robin
members when the people on the internet are the first to know about most

The AHS should take advantage of the low cost of the internet to get as much
information about hostas to as many people as possible. It is my
understanding that this is in keeping with the charter of the American Hosta

Dan Nelson   (At the WSM, I will be the one in the Kevlar suit)
Bridgeville DE
zone 7

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