4.0803 Hum: Discussion Invited; Repetition; Splitting (3/93)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Tue, 4 Dec 90 00:02:09 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 4, No. 0803. Monday, 3 Dec 1990.

(1) Date: Mon, 03 Dec 90 23:17:26 EST (51 lines)
From: "Allen Renear" <ALLEN@BROWNVM>
Subject: Humanists on Humanist

(2) Date: 24 Nov 90 00:07:18 EST (25 lines)
From: James O'Donnell <JODONNEL@PENNSAS>
Subject: *NOT* Greek WP

(3) Date: Sun, 25 Nov 1990 9:54:43 GMT+0300 (17 lines)
From: LBJUDY@VMSA.technion.ac.il
Subject: Greek fonts (in Word Perfect or elsewhere).

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Mon, 03 Dec 90 23:17:26 EST
From: "Allen Renear, CIS, Brown Univ." <ALLEN@BROWNVM>
Subject: Humanists on Humanist

Periodically the Humanist discussion turns to ... Humanist.

Which is just as it should be: we encourage Humanists to discuss, debate,
and otherwise comment on the format and editing of the list. Although
the basic procedures (moderation, topic digests, latitudinarian editing
&c.) have been in effect a long time, and have been now and then the
subject of lengthy debates on the list, Humanist editorial policies
are always open to revision and refinement.

Up until now Elaine and I have been busy simply learning the ropes and
trying to figure out how to cope with the steady growth in both traffic
and membership. Although we have made many changes in the the software
and the procedures behind the scenes, we have not made many that would
be noticed by the readership -- other than perhaps some regularization
of the topic digest system.

But now that we have things somewhat under control we will probably be
considering further changes this winter and welcome your suggestions.
However I expect that we will be fairly conservative both in the changes
we make and the rate at which we make them. We will also take
instruction from the many preceding discussions of Humanist procedures
that have occurred since the first Humanist mailing on 12 May 1987
23:50:02 EDT. Finally, of course, we take note of the extraordinary
success of the list in its present form. (And we once again take the
opportunity to thank Willard for his wise guidance in those crucial
early days of the list.)

The two notes below raise good problems -- and familiar problems. The
editorial board has indeed been thinking about how to improve the
accessibility of accumulated Humanist wisdom -- making repetitive
postings less likely -- for some time now. We hope to have some
proposals for you soon. (Rest assured that "splitting" the list is not
an option, having been unequivocally rejected by the membership in the

For those of you who do wish to avoid discussions _about_ Humanist
entirely, please note that all digests containing discussions about
Humanist will have a subject line beginning with "Hum:".

Finally: Although the notes below arrived a week ago I have waited until
after the backlog was discharged before posting them. My apologies to
the authors.

-- Allen
for Elaine Brennan and Allen Renear, Humanist Editors

(2) --------------------------------------------------------------30----
Date: 24 Nov 90 00:07:18 EST
From: James O'Donnell <JODONNEL@PENNSAS>
Subject: *NOT* Greek WP

The size and continuing expansion of the HUMANIST community have brought
us a situation which some notice more than others: the same topics
coming up, the same questions asked. Sometimes the answers bring some
novelty (tonight on Greek WP and fonts to use with TeX), but more often
not. Some queries I imagine just go unanswered because no one has the
energy to answer them for the umpteenth time.

But this is natural, given the form of HUMANIST: a continual flow of
messages, never-ending, rarely interrupted, always bubbling along. What
was written here a month ago exists no more -- oh, to be sure, the back
numbers are all archived on the LISTSERV and may be searched and found,
but how many (1) really know how to do this [I don't], and (2) find it
*easier* to investigate the archive than simply to throw the question up
again? Further, new members have no way of knowing which fresh and
vital query they put up on the screen will evoke sighs of weariness from
grizzled veterans.

Is there a next stage of life for a group like this that we are ready
for but have not yet found? Some way to organize and pass on the wisdom
of last week or last month accurately and usefully and *easily*? Any

(3) --------------------------------------------------------------23----
Date: Sun, 25 Nov 1990 9:54:43 GMT+0300
From: LBJUDY@VMSA.technion.ac.il

A cry from the heart to counter Peter Robinson's: let's not have everyone
split off into super-tiny discussion groups delving deeply into almost
nothing. I prefer the Renaissance approach: find out a little about
almost everything. If the soft-font people are all talking to
themselves somewhere else, how do I know who to turn to when I find that
I, too, need them (e.g. for Arabic in any other word processor... add
any other examples you care to!) How do I even know what's going on??
How do I know what might interest me if I knew about it, or what might
solve a problem I scarcely knew I had or didn't know was even solvable?

Judy Koren