Cambridge Conference 1/29/99 Survey Results:


THE CCNet SURVEY RESULTS
------------------------

1) Do you wish to continue your subscription

[237] yes
[  6] no, please unsubcribe me from the CCNet

2) Do you wish to receive all CCNet messages

[196] yes
[ 41] no, I don’t wish to receive the “Letters to the Moderator”

3) How long have you been subscribed to the CCNet?

[ 40] (17%) 1-3 months
[ 87] (37%) 4-12 months
[107] (56%) 1-2 years

4) I read the CCNet messages

[162] (70%) every day
[ 66] (29%) from time to time
[  3] ( 1%) rarely
[  ]        never

5) Please rate the following CCNet features in terms of how
   relevant they are to you
   (1= unimportant, 2 = quite interesting, 3 = very important)

CCNet DIGEST

[  3] ( 1%) unimportant
[ 94] (42%) quite interesting
[127] (57%) very important

CCNet DEBATE

[ 10] ( 4%) unimportant
[161] (72%) quite interesting
[ 52] (24%) very important

LETTERS TO THE MODERATOR

[ 74] (33%) unimportant
[125] (57%) quite interesting
[ 22] (10%) very important
 

6) How often would you like to receive CCNet messages?

[166] (76%) whenever they are posted
[ 28] (13%) every other day
[ 24] (11%) once per week


7) Which are your main research areas/interests?
   (tick all appropriate boxes)

[162] (67%)  SOLAR SYSTEM ASTRONOMY
[180] (74%)  NEO research, etc.
[121] (50%)  GEOLOGY, impact craters, etc
[ 67] (28%)  BIOLOGY, evolution, origins of life, etc.
[ 96] (40%)  PALEONTOLOGY, mass extinctions, etc.
[ 98] (40%)  ARCHAEOLOGY, CLIMATOLOGY, societal evolution, etc.
[132] (54%)  SPACE SCIENCE, space exploration, etc.
[ 43] (17%)  OTHERS: Interstellar & interplanetary dust -  public
             understanding and Astronomy and Space Science Education -
             astrophysics - meteoritics - international law - education
             - science journalism - space craft engineering - social
             sciences - media production - press agency - 


8) With view of your scientific interests, how would you
   categorise the CCNet?
   (tick all appropriate boxes)

[170] (72%) very informative 
[ 14] (6%)  too much popular, too little hard science
[ 78] (33%) very useful for my research
[ 10] (4%)  not really useful for my research
[113] (48%) I find the ‘abstracts service’ very helpful
[135] (57%) quite interesting for its news and information
[ 26] (11%) I don’t like the news items from the mass media
[  9] (4%)  should be strictly limited to NEO research
[ 25] (11%) too much chit-chat 
[ 22] (10%) there could be more scientific debate
[ 13] (5%)  Less posting of controversies.
[  3] (1%)  other comments…..


9) Are there any CCNet features which you find particularly useful
   and beneficial?

  Features I find particularly useful and beneficial:
  (a selection of responses from the questionnaires)

* When I read CCNet, I feel to be part of a scientific community.

* Puts me in contact with scientists around the world on an informal
  but very productive basis. Informs me about the latest research.
  The archive service is also very useful.

* Watching and learning from others' thought processes. I guess that
  means I like the debates best.

* unconventional (in the sense of not blindly following mainstream
  thinking), non compartmentalized (interdisciplinary), open
  scientific debate
  
* As a planetarium director, I find "cutting edge" up to the moment
  postings most useful, particularly in hearing from those with a
  view that differs from the establishment

* the listing of titles & contributors at the head of the mail.

* Hard scientific solar system news

* Abstracts service is particularly useful

* UPDATES ON IMPACTS, BOLIDES, ARCHEOLOGICAL CONNECTION

* All items that relate directly or indirectly to NEO research

* Discussion of issues of NEO science and policy

* Daily run-down of what is being done (and major issues in solar
  system astronomy).

* postings of relevant fieldtrips/conferences/papers/abstracts

* notification of impact/sighting news. Topics on climatological
  records and association to impacts. ALL NEO news/discussions.

* It is the only list that I am aware of that covers ancient impact
  records and showers from a scientific and anthropological /
  archaeological point of view.

* I find the discussions related to the rationale for calculating
  NEO impact probabilities very interesting, you know, the ones
  that started after XF11.   The thinking of the individuals
  involved provides insight into the NEO impact problems, both
  scientific and from a policy standpoint.

* I enjoy reading about other academic fields (non-planetary science) and
  their take on the "cosmic connection".

* I am unfortunately not active in asteroid research as a vocation.
  It is still an active avocation and I do keep in touch, but CCNet
  thus is not of "professional use" to me.



10) Are there any CCNet features which you find particularly
    inappropriate or unimportant?
 
Features I find particularly inappropriate or unimportant:
(a selection of responses from the questionnaires)

* Flame wars.

* TRASHING THE MPC

* Playground style arguments: oh no he didn't oh yes he did...as in the
  debate about public notification last year.

* Often too much material to digest. Many items that I am not
  particularly interested in mixed with other items which are of
  great interest to me.

* There seem to be a lot of esoteric or catastrophistic messages of
  limited interest to most people.

* Mythology, archaeology, wild speculation, personal criticisms

* Marginal issues relating to press releases, though they are
  occasionally useful
 
* Comments from narrow-minded folk wanting to narrow down the
  discussion too finely.


11) How long does it take you to read the CCNet messages on
    average?

[ 25]  (10%) 3 minutes
[103]  (44%) 5 minutes
[ 92]  (41%) 10 minutes
[ 12]  (5%) 10+ minutes


12) Would you like to see any changes to the CCNet format? 
    (tick all appropriate boxes)

[118] (53%)  no, I like it just as it is
[ 12] (6%)   yes, information should be limited to NEO research
[ 23] (10%)  yes, information should be limited to the published list
             of CCNet topics
[  5] (2%)   yes, I am only interested in scientific abstracts and new
             publications
[ 10] (4%)   yes, I am not interested in the views of individual list
             members
[ 14] (6%)   yes, it should include broad information about all aspects
             of neo-catastrophist research and space exploration
[ 41] (18%)  yes, I do not wish to receive the LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
[  2] (1%)   yes, in addition to the DIGEST and the LETTERS, new
             features could be added to the CCNet service such as:


13) Have you got any practical suggestions which you feel might
    help improving the quality and structure of the CCNet?
    (a selection of responses from the questionnaires)


* Encourage rapid reporting summaries/abstracts of up-to-date
  pre-publication, observations and research - as is actually
  occurring.


* You could be a little more consistent in deciding what is a "digest"
  and what is a "debate". Maybe the communications could be numbered in
  some way, so that recipients would know if they had missed one.


* I can't really see why people can't use the one-line descriptors up
  front to simply decide what they want to read, but perhaps more
  categorizing of topics and titles at the beginning of each message
  would help alleviate e-mail reading stress.


* Reports of a widely speculative nature should be limited in length.
  Let's hear those ideas, but make them concise.


* I am happy with the format, but I believe that the topics should
  stay as close as possible to neo-catastophic topics.


* I find some of the commentary highly speculative.  Supporting
  evidence should be sited and used extensively, or the e-mails should
  not be placed in the digest.


* IT COMES OUT WAY TOO OFTEN. I AM BUSY WITH ME RESEARCH AND I CAN'T
  AFFORD THE TIME IT TAKES TO SCAN THROUGH THE MANY, MANY, MANY
  MESSAGES I GET FROM THE CCNet SERVICE EVERY WEEK. AS A RESULT, I TEND
  TO DELETE MANY OF THEM WITHOUT LOOKING AT THEM. TO BE TRUELY USEFUL
  TO ME THE CCNet WILL HAVE TO DISTILL ITSELF DOWN TO A MANAGABLE
  FREQUENCY OF MAILINGS.


* Less frequent e-mails, better focused to the main topics


* The scope of the CCNet (e.g.neocatastrophism) is multidisciplinary by
  definition. We should learn to carry the weight of breaking
  conventional barriers.


* IF THE PURPOSE IS TO PROMOTE SCIENCE, THEN THE CHOICE OF MATERIALS
  SHOULD BE MORE SELECTIVE. IF THE PURPOSE IS TO PROMOOTE CONTROVERSY,
  THEN THE PRESENT APPROACH IS PROBABLY ABOUT RIGHT.


* This is a technical complaint.  I continue to receive CCNet email
  with all kinds of strange characters like =85=85  =20  =91 etc.,
  that appears to be an artifact of your email agent.
  [MODERATOR'S NOTE: I am currently trying to find out how to solve
  this technical problem]


* Perhaps it would be better to send just one mail per day, divided
  into sections, with a good index (as in the main letter) up front so
  one knows if one wants to scroll down to a particular topic.
  Receiving 3 or 4 mailings per day can get intimidating.


* YES, YOU MIGHT MAKE IT A LITTLE MORE LIKE A REFEREED JOURNAL,
  ELIMINATING SOME CHAFF.  MOST OF SUCH REFEREEING YOU'D DO
  YOURSELF ON THE FLY.  DONT HESITATE TAKING SOME AUTHORITY.
  THIS IS YOUR INITIATIVE, YOUR THING.  RUN WITH IT.


* I would like to see the CCNet be more limited to NEO research topics,
  but I wouldn't say that it should be "strictly" limited.  The *types*
  of things that are are currently being posted are good, but I would
  like to see the number of non-NEO postings decreased.


* I like the broad scope that the CCNet has taken on. I disagree with
  the premise that it should focus only on its original narrow list of
  topics. I suggest that different sections be created...all of which
  are distributed...with the specific topic specified on the subject
  line.


* One expects the MODERATOR's job is to MODERATE: filter out
  inappropriate articles/comments.


* IT IS VERY EASY TO SCAN THROUGH AND FIND WHAT IS USEFUL. I LIKE
  RECEIVING EVERYTHING, BECAUSE I OFTEN FIND THINGS OF INTEREST IN MANY
  DIFFERENT FIELDS. SOMETIMES I FIND AN INTERESTING ARTICLE ON
  ARCHAELOGY; WHICH I READ SIMPLY BECAUSE I AM CURIOUS. OTHER TIMES I
  FIND REFERENCES ETC; USEFUL IN MY RESEARCH ON METEORITES.  IT TAKES
  JUST THIRTY SECONDS TO LOOK EVERYTHING THROUGH AND DELETE WHAT IS NOT
  OF INTEREST. IT IS GOOD THAT YOU HAVE A TABLE OF CONTENT AT THE TOP
  THE MESSAGES. PERHAPS YOU SHOULD ADD A MINIABSTRACT (TWO-THREE LINES)
  FOR EACH SUBJECT WHICH WOULD MAKE IT EVEN QUICKER TO DETERMINE WHAT
  IS OF INTEREST OR NOT.


* Please do not narrow the scope. Aside from your communications help
  with my research, I believe the CCNet could be a critical nexus for
  an early, international, grass-roots alternative to military &
  big-industry approaches to understanding and advancing interests in
  space. You are not simply reporting on these topics, you are helping
  giving shape to their progress.


14) Would you be interested in reading in-depth interviews with
scholars and researchers on the CCNet?

[ 75] (34%) no
[144] (66%) yes


15) Do you sometimes use the CCNet internet archive at ……?

[ 16] (6%)  frequently
[ 50] (19%) sometimes
[ 48] (18%) seldom
[151] (57%) never


16) Do you find the CCNet archive helpful for your research?
    (a selection of responses)

* Yes, if the e-mail copy has gone astray!  The new indexing
  system is an improvement.

* Not as a researcher per se, but as a public presenter of astronomy
  and space science, CCNet is very valuable

* I tend to keep things I am interested in here and ditch the rest--i
  could use the archive more

* Didn't know about it, like to learn more.


17) What is your general view about this network? (Personal
    comments are very welcome and will be posted together with the
    results of this survey)

* individul comments of list members can be accessed on the web at
  http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/ccwlmt99.html


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