Recent meetings in Washington, DC (ES-USDA, CSRS-USDA,
Congressional Staff, etc.) and Atlanta (ECOP) have convinced me
that we have some severe problems with the acceptance of SAN and
the SANET-MG. Much of it revolves around the plethora of
messages re:BST, etc. that have centered more on emotionalism and
science/corporation-bashing, than providing reliable, tested
and/or peer-reviewed information. I have personally been
contacted by a number of people, not a large number -- but very
influential, who said they no longer pay any attention to SANET-
MG because of the numbers of emotionally-charged messages.
As one of the very first supporters of SANET-MG, I do not want to
stifle the interchange of IMPORTANT and TIMELY information.
However, I think that we may "win the battle and loose the war",
if we continue the status quo. I also realize that many might
not agree with these suggestions -- but, please consider them
seriously, as suggestions, and not as demands.
Perhaps, one of the problems is that many have been treating
SANET-MG as an INTERNET NEWSGROUP (such as alt-sustag) which
posts all comments to a list that readers can choose to read or
not, depending on if the title appeals to them. SANET-MG is not
this -- but operates as a MAIL REFLECTOR through Kevin Gamble's
well-engineered system. Hence, any traffic is reflected-out as
EMAIL to all -- regardless of whether or not they want to read
it. This creates A LOT of mail traffic that many of us are not
set-up to handle. (Yes, we could use several public-domain
programs as "filters" -- but many SANET-MG users do not have
ready access to them or know how to use them...)
So, part of the problem is that we are treating a MAIL REFLECTOR
more like a BBS posting system or NEWSGROUP. These operate much
better for an environment of free-flowing ideas and OPINIONS --
like we have seen lately. THOSE WHO REALLY KNOW ME KNOW THAT I
AM TOTALLY COMMITTED TO THE "INFORMATION HIGHWAY" CYBERSPACE AS A
NEW MEDIUM FOR TECHNOLOGY-TRANSFER and "TRUE" DEMOCRACY IN THE
JEFFERSONIAN IDEAL. I DO NOT BELIEVE WE SHOULD CENSOR
ACTIVITIES....ONLY THAT WE SHOULD USE WISDOM IN HOW & WHERE WE
POST THINGS -- IF WE REALLY WANT SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE TO
However, as I see more people, people that I know and respect,
logging-off; and, even more telling me, informally, that they
think SANET-MG is broken and cannot be fixed, I become concerned.
MANY OF THOSE "UNSUBSCRIBING" ARE FROM THE SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY .
IF THIS TREND CONTINUES, MUCH OF THE STRENGTH OF DIVERSITY THAT
SANET-MG HAS ENJOYED WILL BE LOST, AND WE WILL BE TALKING TO
OURSELVES. I would suggest that SANET-MG be used:
1. To ask and answer immediate needs for
2. To relay important events, calendars, etc.
3. To find and access SOURCES of information and
reliable, proven data.
4. To encourage county agents, USDA-SCS, crop-
consultants, etc. in their transition to a
more sustainable agriculture.
5. To INITIATE discussions of policies, etc.
that could IMMEDIATELY BE MOVED to a more
appropriate media (NEWSGROUP, etc. that could
more easily be read, at one's choosing, BY
In this way, I hope we could PRESERVE most of the HOLISTIC nature
of the SANET-MG, without continuing to loose those we want to
include most, those who are just "testing" the waters of
I am concerned that if we do not use prudence, we will loose much
of what we have worked so hard to gain over the last four years.
There are many who are waiting to declare sustainable agriculture
"broken beyond repair." I, for one, do not want to be the excuse
for someone to sabotage the program...in this or any other
<---V. Philip Rasmussen, Ph.D. - "The future success of -->
<--- Professor and Head - agriculture & our nation -->
<--- AG. SYSTEMS DEPARTMENT - lies not in innovation -->
<--- & Ext. Sust. Ag. Spclst. - alone, but in speedy, -->
<--- UTAH STATE UNIVERSITY - unencumbered access to -->
<--- Logan, UT 84322-2300 - reliable, tested, & -->
<--- PHONE:801-750-2230 - accurate INFORMATION. -->
<--- FAX: 801-750-4002 - True democracies can only -->
<--- - flourish where information -->
<--- - is freely and speedily -->
< INTERNET:firstname.lastname@example.org - available to all." -->
* From: "No-Till" Phil Rasmussen (philr on SUN)