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RE: Ad Hoc SEAint Web Tracking Committee - Subject Coding

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All of your comments come down to a couple of answers. First, nothing will
be implemented without proper discussion on this List. The coded headings I
posted were simply suggestions as a start to discuss the prospects of what
we should do.
You are correct that there are many posts that have not specific category -
worse yet, there are many subject lines that do not reflect what is in the
body of the post. Often a subject becomes the launching point for an
entirely different topic.
The board of SEAOSC and I do believe that we need some cooperation from the
users of the list to help archive messages. Consider that in each day we
receive approximately 10 messages on the average. This goes on 365 days a
year and has been in action for almost four years. This is close to 15,000
messages. The majority may be non-technical issues, but we need to be able
to extract those.
Assuming that this is the beginning of a long relationship, how will we, or
should we archive messages for those who might find it useful to search out
opinions about "Radius GLB design" or any other topic that is not clearly
defined in the code. How about all of those great posts by Frank Lew, or Ron
Hamburger and many others? Should we strip out and delete non-engineering
posts - i.e., jokes, political opinions, etc?

Mark, let's assume we are building roads - do we want everyone to adopt an
understanding of road signs, drive on the same side of the road etc? Granted
that these are life safety issues, but the bottom line is that we provided
the tools but should expect the users to help govern their actions for the
benefit of others who may get use of the system. Otherwise, this leads to
wasted space, higher cost of maintenance and slow retrieval of information.

Yes, we did consider this four years ago - I think that if you look back in
the archives you might find a post or two from me. The problem is that at
the time, we were considered by SEA as a thoughtful "gift" to the community
for our pleasure. SEA did not fully understand where this platform was
evolving. Some of us did but at the time did not have the support of board
members who were not technically literate enough to see past a "fade".
We are fortunate enough now to have the support of the majority of board
members from SEAOSC and at least 50% of the state board who understand the
important role that SEAint can play in the future of IBC. This goes beyond
the Listservice.
I suggest that you download and read the first copy of SEAINT Online which
will be published on January 10, 1999 and will be released to the SEAINT
Website at the same time. There will be much explained as to the intention
and the role that SEAint is believed to play in the assistance of promoting
unity among all professional organizations. It is not intended to replace
committee work as I originally hoped. Some very wise members of this list
made excellent arguments why this is not entirely possible. However, it was
generally agreed that SEAint will play a role in accomplishing a great deal
of work before face-to-face meetings are held.

Soooooo! This comes down to trying to be responsible members of this List
and biting a few bullets prevent a bigger problem down the road. If we threw
out every post, we would not need to discuss this issue, but for the sake of
expedience and economy we need to create standards for the use of the tools.

Once again, nothing is to be implemented until this issue is beaten into the
ground. We may wish to try different methods to see how difficult they are
to conform to. Remember, not every post needs to be coded - only the

Thanks for your comments.

-----Original Message-----
From: Mark K Gilligan [mailto:MarkKGilligan(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Sunday, December 13, 1998 9:29 AM
To: INTERNET:seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: RE: Ad Hoc SEAint Web Tracking Committee - Subject Coding


I see several difficulties:

1)  The categories proposed do not  map well to what is discussed.  For
example, the wide range of practice and liability issues is not reflected.

2)   It is not clear how these categories will be utilized.  You need a
clear statement as to how these categories will be used if there is to be
consistency in classification.

Would you not be better served by a system of key words considering the
fact that many messages address multiple topics?

3)  The system should be automated as much as possible.  If the system
cannot be automated individuals will only add the classifiers if they see
it as having real benefit and if they understand the system of
classification.  I think this will be a problem for most of the users.
What became of the previous proposals that people consistently classify
their messages?

4)  Is there going to be a policeman who will force all correspondents to
follow the system.  If so, do you have an enthusiastic volunteer?  Will
this process cause a number of people not to post messages?  Why put up
with the hassle?

5)  Do you have somebody who will regularly audit the messages to make sure
they were appropriately classified?  Without this, you will quickly find
that the number of miss-classified messages will make it difficult to use
the system as envisioned.  What does the volunteer get out of auditing and
classifying these messages?

6)  Will more time be spent implementing and maintaining this system than
it will save?  In addition assuming that there are only a limited number of
volunteers would their time be better spent on other projects?

It is not clear what problems have occurred or what opportunities have been
missed as a result of the current system.  I fear that what we have here is
somebody thought of an idea of a system without thinking through what was
involved.  I suggest that the Board Member who proposed this idea be asked
to help implement it.

I would suggest that you not proceed until you can clearly answer the above

Mark Gilligan