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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
In-Reply-To:  <sfe956a9.055@hchb.ita.doc.gov>
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 > proposed > launching a SAS discussion similar in purpose to SAS-L, but using > instant messaging as the platform. This person thought the responses > in > 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 messaging.

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!

Dale

===== --------------------------------------- Dale McLerran Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center mailto: dmclerra@fhcrc.org Ph: (206) 667-2926 Fax: (206) 667-5977 ---------------------------------------

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