Cross-Posting and Quote/Commentary

From: Stevan Harnad <amsciforum_at_GMAIL.COM>
Date: Thu, 9 Oct 2008 17:41:50 -0400

On Thu, Oct 9, 2008 at 10:16 AM, Dan Brickley <> wrote:

> I've every confidence in Steven's ability to moderate here, in his
> energy, enthusiasm and contribution to the cause. We have a lot to be
> grateful for.
> Reading this thread, it does seem that editorial-style annotations on
> postings are better handled separately. Spam-filtering, editorialising,
> and leading/steering of discussions are separable tasks. Excerpting,
> summarising and commenting on posts would perhaps work better in a blog,
> rather than as part of the function of email filtering/forwarding.

I appreciate the vote of confidence as well as the suggestion, butlet
me clarify two important points. I hope this will help resolve some

(1) My role as moderator, filtering out spam, off-topic discussion and
ad-hominem postings to the AmSci Forum is *completely independent* of
my role as poster to the AmSci and the other Fora in which I post text
of my own and quote/comment other postings.

The two have nothing whatsoever to do with one another. As a poster, I
have the same rights as any other poster: to post on-topic,
non-ad-hominem text, including quote/commentary and summaries. These
postings are not made, or portrayed, or intended to have any special
authority (other than what their own substance may win them) simply
because I also happen to be the moderator of the AmSci Forum. Except
when specifically tagged as "Moderator's Note" (usually when I am
making an announcement or invoking cloture on a topic that has become
too repetitive), my postings are simply postings, like any other

(2) When I do quote/commentary on AmSci Forum postings, those are
*always* postings that have first appeared in full in the Forum.

It is simply not the case that I quote/comment AmSci postings without
first letting them appear in full on AmSci. However, I do sometimes do
*cross-postings* of quote/commentary on postings that have appeared in
full on *other* lists (such as SOAF, liblicense, JISC-REPOSITORIES or

I think it is those cross-postings that have given some readers the
erroneous impression that I sometimes do quote/commentary without
first posting the full text on AmSci: I do, but never on *AmSci*
postings. When I cross-post, I do so because I feel that my
quote/commentary is relevant to AmSci, self-contained, and does not
require having seen the full text I am critiquing in order to be fully
understood the quote/commentary. However, it is always possible to go
to the original list and read the original full-text posting, if a
reader is interested.

It is also possible to skip quote/commentaries, if one is not
interested in them. I have been doing these quote/commentaries since
the very beginning of the Forum, in 1998 (and much earlier, on other
lists). Moreover, it is my belief that quote/commentary is an
important new form of scholarly/scientific discourse, and will come
into its own after OA itself has first come into its own.

I appreciate the votes of confidence in my role as moderator, but the
recommendations about my quote/commentaries are not relevant to the
role of moderator. I quote/comment on other lists in *exactly* the
same way I do in the AmSci Forum. Those quote/commentaries will have
to be weighed on their own merits; they have nothing to do with the
question of moderatorship. If someone has incorrectly inferred that my
quote/commentaries on the AmSci Forum have some especial editorial
force or function, this is simply an error. They do not. They stand or
fall on their own intrinsic substance and have no ex officio status at

> Moving such activities to a blog could also serve to better spread ideas
> and discussion beyond the confines of this list. If a more collective
> voice is preferred, it wouldn't be too hard to set up a "Planet" blog
> aggregator that included posts from any list participants.

I do have a blog, "Open Access Archivangelism,"
and I do cross-post some of my AmSci postings there and vice versa,
but blogs are better suited for straight postings ("editorializing")
and not for the interactive quote/commentary that is the (potential)
power of discussion fora.

   Harnad, S. (1990) Scholarly Skywriting and the Prepublication
Continuum of Scientific Inquiry Psychological Science 1: 342 - 343
(reprinted in Current Contents 45: 9-13, November 11 1991).

   Harnad, S. (1992) Interactive Publication: Extending American
Physical Society's Discipline-Specific Model for Electronic
Publishing. Serials Review, Special Issue on Economics Models for
Electronic Publishing, pp. 58 - 61.

   Harnad, S. (1995) Interactive Cognition: Exploring the Potential
of Electronic Quote/Commenting. In: B. Gorayska & J.L. Mey (Eds.)
Cognitive Technology: In Search of a Humane Interface. Elsevier. Pp.

   Harnad, S. (2003/2004) Back to the Oral Tradition Through
Skywriting at the Speed of Thought. Interdisciplines. Retour a la
tradition orale: ecrire dans le ciel a la vitesse de la pensee. Dans:
Salaun, Jean-Michel & Vendendorpe, Christian (dir). Le deis de la
publication sur le web: hyperlectures, cybertextes et meta-editions.
Presses de l'enssib.

Stevan Harnad
Received on Fri Oct 10 2008 - 03:53:04 BST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Dec 10 2010 - 19:49:32 GMT