Re: RE: NANFA-L-- topics for discussion ..... off topic?

Subject: Re: RE: NANFA-L-- topics for discussion ..... off topic?
From: Peter Unmack (peter.lists at)
Date: Tue Aug 31 2004 - 17:32:10 CDT

On Tue, 31 Aug 2004 wrote:

Firstly, let me clarify one remark Bob Sinclair made, I am not on the
NANFA BOD (although I was for the last few years prior to 2004). Any
opinions offerred are my own and not NANFA's.

Secondly, I fully understand your points and frustration and I think that
we probably think very similarly about the importance of politics and the
environment etc etc. Hopefully this post will clarify things a little bit
(at least as I see them).

> Well, Can we continue this discussion, or is it too far "off topic"?

I think you raise good valid points that are relevant to the daily
operation of this list. I'm sure folks will tolerate this distraction a
little longer (I hope). Especially if it helps to clarify what things are
ok to discuss on this list.

> I'll take a chance, and venture a few more thoughts. I did as Peter
> suggested, and took a look-in-an archived discussion, dealing with "The
> Ugliest Fish in America," (I think I got the heading of the thread
> right). The discussion was in January 2004, and it was started by Jan

That was a rather unusual discussion in that everyone was a) largely in
agreeance and b) no one got personal. So yes, it was an excellent

> Now -- is this thread about the pallid sturgeon the sort of thing that
> is now supposed to be "off topic," and therefore, "not acceptable"? I
> would hope that anyone who answers my question will have carefully read
> the thread and the guidelines first.

No, as long as everyone was nice about it that, that type of discussion
would not be cut off. It is directly relevant to native fishes
(especially since they are being percieved negatively). However, it is a
very fine line between sticking to the topic versus getting into a fight
with someone. For the most part I doubt the board will intervene in any
discussion unless it becomes obvious that things are out of control.
Most lists get pretty good-in-self policing. But if the BOD has to step
in then-in-least it has the guidelines established as a basis for asking
people to halt a discussion on the list.

> Dave in Okieland, where thanks to a lot of attitude like that expressed
> in the article to which Jan referred us, sturgeon are almost certainly a
> thing of the past. But that comment risks being political, right?

As some have mentioned before it is nearly impossible to exclude politics
from any discussion. The key point is what and how views get expressed.
There is a difference between saying I think this administration should do
more to ... versus this administration are a bunch of idiots.

> Anyone who loves fish in this day and age, but who avoids controversy,
> is likely to have less to love in the future. Anyone who hopes to
> accomplish any restoration or conservaton without being involved in
> politics is naive-in-best.

I fully agree. NANFA has changed over the years in part because of
changing attitudes of those in the club. In the past American Currents
was almost exclusively aquarium articles, today the journal is far more
natural history orientated, with quite a bit of conservation orientated
information. Some members have left because of this, which there isn't
much we can do about (especially since few people will write aquarium
based articles for AC). But, I suspect we have gained a few other members
who are less interested in solely reading about aquarium care. NANFA has
also established conservation and education grants too.

I'm not sure if that has helped clarify things or not. Someone from the
BOD can correct me I am off on any of my interpretations.

Peter Unmack
Canadian River, Oklahoma
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: Wed Sep 29 2004 - 12:24:26 CDT