Re: NANFA-- No net-nannies please

Christopher Scharpf (
Tue, 23 Mar 2004 21:51:44 -0400

> If off-topic list content is a major bother to NANFA officers and
> members, then the NANFA Board of Directors should discuss this
> issue and produce a solution.

Off-topic list content -- and content that maligns NANFA's mission and Code
of Ethics -- is a major concern and is being discussed among NANFA's Board
of Directors. So far we have not produced a solution that pleases everybody,
but we are still hashing it out. We do not want to turn the list into a
Police State in which people are afraid to speak their minds. But we also do
not want it to be the anything-goes free-for-all in which non-fish content
outweighs instructive and enlightening discussion about the one topic the
list was created to serve, and which presumably brings us all together:
native fishes of North America.

Any and all NANFA members are encouraged to join the BOD list discussion and
let us know what you think.

> Todd, I am afraid that you are over-reacting. You are also
> imposing your personal sense of right/wrong on the list.
> That will not work - not on the Internet and not in the United
> States of America. Please take this issue to the NANFA BOD and
> let the Board members sort it out.

Todd *is* a member of the NANFA BOD and his post, over-reactive or not,
pretty much represented a consensus opinion -- that egregious off-topic
postings have no place on this list and are ultimately detrimental.

I know for a fact that several knowledgeable fish people -- people who
otherwise would contribute mightily to the list -- refuse to join because of
the proliferation of off-topic postings, personal political rants, casual
chit-chat best left to personal emails, and the tolerance and advocacy of
certain questionable environmental values and practices that do not
represent NANFA or reflect its Code of Ethics.

I also know that some people join the list in order to "feel NANFA out." It
doesn't make NANFA look very good when the hot topics are movie reviews (at
least those of a non-killer snakehead variety), redneck jokes, and lengthy
political tracts.

> I suggest adding a "Please restrict discussion to North American
> Native Fishes as much as possible" (or similar clause) to the
> list signature. Alternatives are to restrict the mailing list
> to members only and/or moderate the list.

These and other possibilities are being discussed.

On the possibility of moderation, are the any NANFA members on this list who
would be willing to moderate -- and by moderate we mean gently stop
off-topics threads before they turn big and ugly? If so, please contact we
off list.

List guidelines are being drafted and discussed. I, or someone else, will
post a draft to the list when complete.

And now for an obligatory reference to fish:

In the study of neurobiology, lampreys are useful as experimental animals
because of their nerve cells are large enough to be seen with the naked eye,
and for the ability of their brain and spinal cord to remain alive when cut
from the body and placed in a saline solution. In one bizarre experiment,
researchers inserted lamprey brains into small robots to help the robots
move towards light; it is hoped that such an animal-machine may be used to
develop high-tech protheses for stroke victims and others who suffer nerve
damage. Researchers in human paralysis are especially interested in the sea
lamprey, which is the only known vertebrate that can repair its spinal cord
when it is severed.

Chris Scharpf
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