Private lists like CRSnet

James Mahaffy (
Wed, 12 May 1999 08:08:19 -0500

Allen Roy wrote:

> > From: Steven H. Schimmrich <>

[snip]To which roy responded:

> CRSnet is hardly a secret mailing list. It is for those who hold to
> the same philosophy to share and discuss ideas without antagonists.
> All who join, agree not to re-post to any other list or person the
> material from CRSnet without the permission of the author/s. Someone
> lied his/her way onto the list and began re-posting the conversations
> without permission from the authors to an assortment of friends --
> including our dear Professor Schimmrich -- with his hearty approval.
> Those on CRSnet can't figure why anyone would feel so threatened by
> our 'secret?' discussions that they would have to stoop to such
> underhanded dealings.
> From time to time I have posted to CRSnet some interesting ideas and
> statements I have found on the ASAnet (and other lists) always
> removing all indications of authorship so those on CRSnet could not
> identify the author/s. It was the ideas and statements that were
> interesting, not who said them. Since I am the only one from CRSnet
> to also be on the ASAnet (except, apparently, for the 'mole'), I could
> use pseudonyms to identify a series of exchanges and no one would know
> who was who. Our Prof recognized some of his statements in some of
> the articles smuggled to him and got all hot and bothered.

There are some advantages to having a list private or semiprivate. It
allow a lot more focus for a group and there is a lot to be said for an
internos exchange to make progress in exchanges. Among other things it
will allow for a much franker exchange of views. I often wish that the
archives of ASA were not public. It makes me pause (maybe I am the only
the only one), knowing that in a little bit a search engines will pick
up what I have to say and it can be read by the whole world - who typed
Mahaffy into Alta Vista. If I knew I were just speaking to the
community of christian scholars, I would share sometimes in a slightly
different way. I especially hesitated the last couple of years when I
was close to defending a thesis and had computer literate people on the
committee [one question on my second prelim was based on something I had
placed on our web site]. On the other hand it would be good for some
of the scientific community to read our archives and not be able to
dismiss all evangelicals as YEC. Sorry Roy, but that is the category
many Christians are placed in.

As I indicated before ASA should be broadly inclusive of Christian
scholars and if there is any group that should be in dialog with YEC it
is us (and as John B. would say not all of us are TE's). There have
been times when this group appears to be hard enough on folks who are
not TE's that I thought it would be in danger of making it appear that
those would be the only folks welcome to post. Fortunately chaps like
John B., Moorad, Arthur Chadwick are not intimidated and we get better
discussion. And even if some of the mavericks (maybe myself included)
disagree with Roy, we need to know what he and those folks think.

But and this comes around to the main reason for the post, I am not sure
that I like the way Roy posts back to CRSnet. While ASA is really a
public list, I think it would be better to still ask permission or
inform the poster that you are sharing his post. Generally I do exactly
that if I want to share a post (say from bionet.parasitology) with a
class. Another option would be to refer the members of the list to the
ASA archives and have them read the public post there themselves. I know
I thought Phil Johnson and some of the ID's should be aware of some of
the "Life in the lab posts [I am more on the Moorad side on this one]
posts. While not an ID, I am on a semiprivate list with some of them.
It really wouldn't work to ask everyone's permission on ASA who posted
on the topic, so I thought the best way of doing it would be to alert
that group to the posts via the archives and let them read them

And of course the downside of a private list is the rest of the world
will wonder why it is private and what you are saying and it makes it
much easier to not deal with stronger arguments against your position if
those folks are not on your list. On the other hand, the evolution list
was originally started by the ID movement and had its focus completely
changed by non ID folks, which would likely happen if a lot of us were
on CRSnet.

> He didn't like the way he was portrayed, but no one but himself and
> myself knew the source of the statements, deliberately obscured to
> protect his reputation; not that anyone on CRSnet would care to know
> who he was anyway, not to mention his reputation.

Maybe it would have helped to have checked back with Steve to see if you
were still interpreting him right after you internal discussion. A bet
he might have had a different reaction if you had asked if you were
representing him right. I suspect your mole (whomever he may be)
thought that Steve needed to be able to defend his position or should
know what you were syaing about him and it would have been much better
if he was aware of that directly from you Roy rather than learning about
it from someone else.

> Allen

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