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Subject: Communication of conservation information

Communication of conservation information

From: Bryan Owen <Bryan_Owen>
Date: Wednesday, May 6, 1998
Lisa Mibach's letter has wrought many interesting replies.  The
replies from Caldararo, Thompson, and Deller have many similarities,
and can be summarized as followed: People should have some basic
information before asking questions, but if they don't, that's OK
too. Isn't that how the world works anyway?  You never want to
promote an environment where ridicule outpaces curiosity.  If it
becomes a burden to anyone, either visit the DistList on a less
regular basis or visit

The best tidbit of wisdom reads:

   "There are few mysteries in this business, but there are many who
    would supply ignorance or indolence." - Jack C. Thompson

Our profession's purpose is to supply information to anyone who asks
for it. It becomes the responder's obligation to provide the best
information possible and follow up with the inquirer to ask for more
specific information, provide more acute facts, and the like.  It's
probably best to moan on about the deficiencies of some authors on
private channels and not on the list we hope people will use to ask
for assistance.  Many people call us for advice and I always
recommend that they write to the DistList for opinions.

    **** Moderator's comments: I feel I should step in here for a
    moment just to comment on this last point. The list, which is
    intended for professionals in fields concerned with conservation
    and is not as a rule open to the public--exceptions are made
    case-by-case and rather carefully--, is not meant to be a first
    or only source of information. When people write in with
    questions that are better answered in the literature (or past
    DistList discussions, for that matter), I usually try point them
    in the right direction, but do not post their questions;
    frequently I fail in this because of demands on my time. In
    principle at least (and despite all evidence to the contrary),
    you are all expected to do your homework before you post; that
    done, I won't consider it a "stupid question" any longer.

Many don't because they fear they might ask a stupid question. One
of the great dangers--responsibilities--of possessing in-depth
information on a subject, is how to dispense it and to whom.  The
adage, " a little knowledge is dangerous..." is empirically valid,
but does one hold back information because one doesn't know the
receiver of such information? No.

In the end I don't really disagree with Mibach on the overall
content or scope of her letter.  Mr. Thompson has some AIC/JAIC
related comments that I would like to learn more about.  The
question for N. Caldararo is whether--for him--AIC membership
carries an implication of ability?  Perhaps Lisa Mibach can start a
driven discussion of this at the AIC meeting? I'll be there.  And
finally; Thanks to Jack Thompson for the use of his fine words.

Bryan Owen
Frederick Law Olmsted NHS
99 Warren St.
Brookline, MA 02445

                  Conservation DistList Instance 11:90
                  Distributed: Wednesday, May 6, 1998
                       Message Id: cdl-11-90-004
Received on Wednesday, 6 May, 1998

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