I won't say that starting a forum is not an alternative. From my experience,
the steam dies down very quickly and unless messages are delived to your
mailbox, most tend to become disinterested in message forums very quickly.
Case in point are the message forums that were created for SEA committees -
my Virtual Committee included. There was a great deal of interest at the
start. Over time the interest waned (mine included).
In my opiinion, it is simply too much bother for an engineer to voluntarily
long on each day or week to a message forum. I think the sucess of a list is
predicated on bringing the information directly to your home or office.
In a message dated 6/14/99 10:09:26 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
<< Dennis and the list,
In addition to creating a survey at the web site to cover specific topics
that we as engineers should take a stand on for change, a web based message
board could also be created. While I don't support it's creation as a
replacement to the list, it would provide a tool for everyone who cares to
express an opinion on a particular "issue of change" to freely do so and
those opinions are duly recorded for other viewers and can be easily
formatted to present to the powers to be on any given issue. This would
provide for the opportunity to show support without flooding the list with
"me too" responses. An index page could be created that would link to the
various topics that we as a community want to be heard on.
If discussion on a topic on the list appears that it is becoming something
we as engineers want changed, it can easily be moved to the message board
with an appropriate announcement. This should be done with the commitment
that depending on the consensus of the group, the discussions and opinions
will be forwarded in an effort to make change. This would require someone
committed to the issue enough to follow through. If the follow through is
not there, then the efforts of everyone are a waste of our valuable time.
I have been a subscriber to this list for several years, and provide little
input. But I like the ability to raise questions that my peers can respond
to that help me in my day to day business. Discussions about code
interpretations and implementation, diaphragm deflections, and the like are
how I stay current with the thinkings of other engineers while still
running a one man operation. I don't want to see the volume increase with
a number of "amens" that don't contribute to the discussion. A discussion
of the issues is just that, a discussion with views and opinions.... "Me
too"s are votes. Keep the votes to another forum such as a survey or web
based message board and leave the list for quality substance not quantity.