Date: Wed, 24 Dec 2003 11:45:51 -0800
Reply-To: Dale McLerran <stringplayer_2@YAHOO.COM>
Sender: "SAS(r) Discussion" <SAS-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
From: Dale McLerran <stringplayer_2@YAHOO.COM>
Subject: Re: SAS-L Panel / Kind and Gentle, or Not
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
--- Howard Schreier <Howard_Schreier@ITA.DOC.GOV> wrote:
> An audience member recalled a recent episode in which somebody
> launching a SAS discussion similar in purpose to SAS-L, but using
> instant messaging as the platform. This person thought the responses
> SAS-L were defensive and disrespectful.
Ah, yes, I remember this thread. I believe that I was one who
wrote against this idea. I hope that I was not defensive or
disrespectful. However, there are a number of reasons why I
felt this would not be viable:
1) I for one want to read messages on my own schedule, not
have something intrude into my workday. I believe that
I am not alone in this regard.
2) Instant messaging is more a forum for conversation rather
than technical exchange. If there is some burning issue
about future direction or such, then instant messaging
might be a valid forum. Note, though, that instant
messaging rather restricts the delivery of content to
participants of the exchange. SAS-L is also a forum in
which such burning issues can (and have) been brought
forward. While SAS-L is not instant messaging, it is
a near-time service. Responses generally arise within
a very short time after a post has been made. And when
posted to SAS-L, anyone who desires can follow the topic
in their own schedule (see 1) and even resurrect the topic
from the archives.
3) Instant messaging is not a forum for delivery of technical
content. OK, it could work for "How can I change the
order of variables in a dataset?" and other common
questions which have rather trivial solutions. I would
note that such questions are good candidates for a FAQ.
But questions about technical contents which require any
considered response are not good questions for an
instant messaging environment. Such questions require
considerable time for a proper reply. That is, needless
to say, in contradiction with the spirit of instant
If someone wants to set up a SAS instant messaging service, let
them. By all means, don't allow the comments of one or even a
handful of people stop anyone from taking initiative in something
that they believe will be a valuable service. I just don't see
any utility in it myself, only bother. We have a near-time
service as it is that suits all my needs just fine!
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Ph: (206) 667-2926
Fax: (206) 667-5977
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