Sunday, May 19, 2013
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"It is the recurring Theme that a sense of 'local community' flows out of the sciences and humanities .. that seem so tenuous .. but appealing" - the-cave
Mission: "Taos-Telecommunity" is a web service that would act as "broker" to create Themes that are beneficial to participants within our local Community and across the Sciences and the Humanities, globally.
By a "Theme" we mean a restricted topic created and managed by a member of Taos-Telecommunity who has an "passion" for this topic and wishes to communicate with others who seriously share the same interest.
An example of an existing Theme is the "Ecology Picture of the Week," or EPOW page which has been developed by Cave member, Dr. Bruce Marcot, an Ecologist living in the Pacific Northwest but who also travels around the World visiting various Ecological sensitive areas such as sites in India, Russia as well as in the Pacific Northwest. This theme has become a global resource available to both the serious scholar and the casual observer. In addition, this theme has been provided a user-friendly (eMail) discussion list, called "Ecotalk," so that serious Ecological discussions can take place between participants.
To this end, Taos-Telecommunity seeks senior, professional and experienced people at both local and global levels who can provide a sense of "community" and global awareness for the participants. Web space, and a Theme eMail-discussion list are freely offered to Theme managers --professional or amateur experts-- who are able to participate .. and feel that they can represent their chosen Theme, globally.
Taos-Telecommunity is meant to be different. It is an activity that provides access to expert knowledge in a theme area. The Themes of Taos-Telecommunity provide a web resource that can be used by others to enhance community activities and educational processes. It is meant to be grounded in local experiences and in the Senior and Professionals experiences in the Humanities and Sciences. It is meant to become an environment for all participants to develop their own passion for a particular Theme.
Taos-Telecommunity is non-commercial and not meant to be competitive with existing community organizations and foundations. (and .. concurrently it is not meant to be competitive with existing educational methods or programs in community schools and colleges). Rather it will seek out knowledgeable professionals from these groups to create and support programs beneficial to the participants and, by using the Web, to other communities at large.
Several years ago, a group of Taos residents --later to become known as "The Cave"-- began meeting informally to discuss a wide variety of topics in the sciences and humanities. These topics have ranged from "Missing Matter in the Universe," and "Harmonics in Science" to "Ascetics" and "The Philosophy C.S. Pierce." The participants have been retired senior Scientists, Creative Artists, Business people from the Town of Taos, Fellows from the Wurlitzer Foundation and visitors from Santa Fe, New Mexico. Each participant brought with them strong interests in other areas of the Sciences and Humanities and provided deep insight in their own profession to others.
Although Cave members gained insights into other disciplines by listening to expert speakers in their areas (or Themes), members began to appreciate the wide range of views, values, and priorities held by each participants and they discovered that there were "community values" derived from these personal contacts .. values that went beyond the topic and content, alone.
At times, some Cave members expressed a desire to start an activity that would facilitate communication between seniors and professionals who, meeting with people in various disciplines (from serious school students to adults), discuss, perhaps even to mentor or otherwise share their life and community experiences, value systems and professional points-of view.
A simple example of this would be to invite the local Schools to sponsor and design a "class" which would let students attend Cave meetings for credit. Another obvious example would be to "broker" a recurring public lecture series and seek out visiting senior professionals to talk to the community. Although, similar programs have been tried before and they do not seem to become a lasting part of any general community.
Taos is a small, rural mountain community situated at 7,000 feet altitude along the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Northern-Central New Mexico. Taos has always been a place of meeting between cultures and people. Our Anglo, Hispanic and Indian population is about 25,000 people. Although it's traditions come out of the cultures of Hispanic ranching and farming and Indian Pueblos, it is also a recreation area with five Ski Resorts in the Winter; Mountain recreations and Music Schools in the Summer; and a Habitat for musicians, artists and writers year-round.
All materials appearing within Taos-Telecommunity service are property of the original creator of that property and cannot be used without permission from the owner.
Communications are important to all of us and E-mail is one of our most valuable tools - but we sometimes tend to take it for granted.
The following steps can help us to communicate better and enjoy this relatively new medium. The steps are guidelines - there will be exceptions. We are all knowledge workers who can make intelligent choices.
1. Keep replies short and to the point. After you have answered key points, delete the original lines. People do not need their own memo sent back to them: it ties up expensive disk space on the servers - not to mention the tedium of re-reading one's own message, and the cost to those who pay character rates for their messages.
2. Reply ONLY to the original sender unless you are POSITIVE that the others are interested in your response and that it will not cause harm or embarrassment to the sender.
3. Take care with distribution lists. Privacy is especially important if you are responding to a "LIST". This is easy to do. When reading the original message, copy the address of the sender. Then, when in reply mode, delete the reply address (TO LIST) and paste in the sender's address.
4. Personal congratulations and kudos: If you wish to thank, encourage, or congratulate someone on a good posting or particularly helpful comment, do it in private. It's OK to tell Harry or Alice that you liked their comment on the Z-104 Laser Project, but chances are, not everyone wants to read your laudatory comment.
5. Don't tie up bandwidth. If you and another person wish to discuss the details of a multi-person posting or enumerate test results at length, do it OFF-LINE. Don't fire dozens of messages back and forth while copying others. If you are knowledgeable, they'll think you're showing off and if you are not an expert on the subject, you will be waving the red flag of ignorance at the same time that you are "SPAMMING" a lot of in-boxes.
6. Do the 3-question test:
a. Is it necessary? If not, why tie up bandwidth and others' time.
Remember: Assume that EVERYTHING you say on E-mail is stored on non-secure servers, is kept in others' in boxes and is available to come back and haunt you! (BYITA)
7. Don't hog the system. Think through your comments and responses before sending them. It is most disconcerting to see 6 or 7 E-mail messages from the same person on the same day - often 2nd and 3rd thoughts on the same subject!
If a reply is really important, don't shoot from the hip! Copy the original message into your word processor, go through it point by point, spell check it, then copy it into your new outgoing E-mail message to the person who needs it - and MAYBE - after lots of consideration, copy it to those who really need and want to know. Important: Triple check the address.
If you are upset with a posting, cool off for 24 hours. Ask yourself why you are upset. Go through all the things you would normally consider. Back when you had to write a note, put it in an envelope and mail it, you had time to reconsider. (Remember when you'd go out and grab back that inter-departmental mail envelope (Yes - the one with the holes in it) so you could burn your earlier note which was witten in anger?) Harry Truman used to vent his spleen by writing angry letters, then he would give them to his secretary to type and mail. They would be held (usually for a day or two) until he came in and asked for them back. Very few were actually mailed.
Technology is a two-edged sword. With E-mail, it's possible to burn bridges in seconds. It's kind of like borrowing Darth Vader's Light Sword when we're angry and seeing red. In seconds, we're knee-deep in decimated egos and we don't have the Re-Assembler Module to put them back together once we cool off.
E-mail is a wonderful thing. It saves us lots of time and effort and thousands of dollars every month. It makes it easier for us and our friends. It makes our lives better. Please use it wisely so we can all continue to enjoy the benefits and ease of instant communications.
-- from John Shuler (with permission)
Rules of participation
Each member is trusted and respected for his or her views. We may all assume that we are "here" to carefully discuss content without fear of personal attacks, attacks on our belief system, that this service is free from spamming, and that our privacy is protected.
However, abuses do occur. If this happens then the following rules of participation, apply:
Participation in "Taos-Telecommunity" is both voluntary and a privilege. Membership comes with the implied trust that each member agrees to participate in a way that respects other members and their work.
In many areas, "flaming" and personal attacks have become an acceptable practice .. This is not the case here.
"Flaming, " personal attacks and forms of disrespect shown to members, Themes and Theme Mentors will not be tolerated.
Members who engage in "flaming" or personal attacks will be removed from participating in all Taos-Telecommunity services, immediately -- without notice. In some mild cases, a warning notice will be given, first, when the intent is not clear.
Taos-Telecommunity is non-commercial, non-political, and without a social, racial, or religious agenda. Members who are judged by their Theme Mentor to exceed acceptable Theme bounds or who cannot stick to the point of the Theme .. then they will be removed, as described above.
A former member can negotiate with a Theme Mentor for reinstatement. However if the "flaming," personal attacks or other issues mentioned, above, continues, removal will be permanent.
Open Letter to Members of Taos-Telecommunity,
In order to foster more responsible communications between members of Taos Telecommunity the following an "Appropriate Use policy has been establish. The details and significant artifacts appear elsewhere. In outline:
The purpose of Taos-Telecommunity is to provide a forum for members of Taos-Telecommunity to have open dialog on content, issues, concerns and comments members have about Taos-Telecommunity.
In addition, a Theme Mentor has been selected to insure that this policy will be observed by members of this list. His/her name is _____________.
Taos-Telecommunity hopes that by taking this action, more members will join in these important discussions with the assurance that their contributions will be recognized and valued by members of this list as well as the Taos-Telecommunity Organization.
The following letter will be sent to a member of this list who has been identified, by the moderator, to be in violation of the acceptable use policy of this list. Concurrently, the La Plaza Board will be notified of this post.
Dear (Name Here),