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Re: how many professionals here?
My thanks to Sally Shelton and all of the others who helped answer the
question regarding SVP Outreach and professional participation on this board.
A couple comments:
1) My question about SVP Outreach and professional participation on this list-
server was general in nature. It was prompted primarily by
a cursory scan of the S.V.P. membership directory, which shows that, except for
a few cases, nearly all "dino-people" are members. When the SVP Outreach
committee and the Executive Committee voted unanimously for the language of
the Outreach statement, the membership also agreed to the
language of the statement. The Outreach program is a valuable asset to the
Society; however, individual members also have the mandate of the Outreach
statement to "go it alone", and do what Dr. Tom Holtz has done,
independent of the present limitations of the Society, but still
upholding the spirit of the program.
2) A cursory scan of the "dino-people" in the SVP membership directory did
indeed show (sadly) that some do not have e-mail addresses (or don't want
to have them), implying that they also have no way of participating on
listservers. Hopefully, this lack of Internet access will not be the case
in the future. I suspect that many of these Internet-less professionals
would gladly join in the discussions if they had the resouces.
3) PaleoNet is another listserver that serves mainly the professional
paleontological community (although anyone can presently subscribe).
Recently, when the call-for-votes was posted on the Paleonet asking the
subscribers whether they wanted posts from other paleolistservers to be included
on PaleoNet, most of the mail-traffic seemed to be against it. Although
there was a mixture of responses, the dominant one was that there was a lot
of "amateur clutter" or "amateur noise" on the other paleo-listservers. While I
agree that noise does exist, the professional threads on PaleoNet can get a bit
long-winded, themselves, _without_ any input from curious amateurs. PaleoNet
probably should be free from listserver-overload, but it would be better to
refrain from self-imposed cloistering, particularly in light of the goals of
the SVP Outreach Statement. On the other hand, dinosaur@lepomis is
admirably achieving these goals, with little inconvenience to the professionals
who participate, either as lurkers who respond privately, or those who post
openly on the server (IMHO).
4) An example of the usefulness of the U.S. Geological Survey as a "producer"
for the American taxpayer should be readily apparent from the valuable
contributions of Tom Holtz to this dinosaur listserver, even though he is
doing this in a capacity as a private citizen (I assume). Other professionals
and "semi-professionals" on this listserver clearly do it for the love of
sharing; including those "lurker" dino-professionals, who understandably
prefer to keep a lower profile.