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Special message for Lurker's

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It happened to come up in conversation with an engineer I ran into that he 
was a Lurker on our SEAINT List. He was interested in the conversations that 
have been taking place regarding the new 1997 Code changes related to Rigid 
Diaphragm Analysis and to the discussions related to FEMA 273.
The gentleman told me that he appreciated all of the discussions that were 
taking place and complimented me on making the List available for intellegent 
discussion. He indicated that supported a popular view of the members of the 
list. I asked why he did not participate in the discussion and he replied 
that he could not add to what had been well stated.
As much as I appreciate the compliments (and I'm sure I speak for all of us 
who are participating in this Thread), this "lurker" has an opinion that is 
not "counted" and may be counterproductive to the goals that those who are 
passionate enough to speak out expect to achieve.  It isn't so much to agree 
or disagree as to have your opinion tabulated by those in a position to make 
We live a political society where the number of voices often speaks louder 
than the issues. SEA chairpersons and board members are inclined to identify 
the volume of input over the relevancy of the argument. Most want to know how 
strong is the following for any issue debated.  This is not to say that the 
validity of the argument is less important, but that we live in a society 
that moves with the masses.

I can't be more clear than to simply say "If you agree or disagree you need 
to state it so that those in a position to make change can see strength in 

Consider that there are 15,000 subsribers on this list (Shafat's latest 
tally). Less than one hundred regularly voice their opinions. That is less 
than 1% of the total subscribers. What if SEAINT believed that we should shut 
the List down because only 0.75% of the subscribers utilize the services and 
little change is occuring in our profession?  Would this motivate you to 
speak up and say "Hey, I'm here and interested?"

Appreciation of the services does not justify its existence. Using the 
service to constitute change for the better, to open up channels of 
information, to solve problems for the sake of the public and to maintain the 
ethics of safe buildings through structural engineering is what this service 
is all about. The service does nothing - the subscribers do everything. 0.75% 
of the total voice is barely a whisper and requires a lot more shouting by a 
few than the whispers of 15,000 voices.

I disagree with any of you that feel that your opinion or support does not 
count. I beg each of you to simply submit your support or rejection of a 
topic - preferably with some comment but acceptable without - so that we can 
start training every professional organizations that services the building 
industry to recognize the direction and the strength of the voices they 

Please spend a moment to show solidarity to the opinions that you strongly 
agree with for the sake of our future.  The SEAINT structural engineering 
Virtual Community has more "members" than almost all of the SEA chapters in 
the World - think about it for a moment. Your here and now. You get the news 
and have a chance to respond. There is no more convenient way to participate 
in the workings of the Structural Engineering Profession than with a short 
E-mail expressing your support or rejection of an opinion.

Dennis S. Wish PE
Editor SEAINT Online