On the purose of Telusa

Ramakrishna S. Pillalamarri (pkrishna@ARL.MIL)
Mon, 21 Apr 97 13:14:47 EDT


Looks like Savitri Machiraju put a curse on Telusa. My (and anybody else's)
posts are going into a blackhole. I posted the following on Saturday
and (not finding it the next morning), Sunday. Hope Ratnakar can
exorcise the system.

ES for PMM: The Purpose of Telusa "stays the course", even if many (most) 
of the members do not.
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We owe a great debt of gratitude to Savitri Machiraju for having pointed
out to us that some (or many, if not most) of our posts in this forum are
contrary to the charter of it. It is fitting that SM, who of her own
acknowledgment has never posted here (do I remember a post from her during
the "how long can a short story be" thread? May be I am wrong), to take us
to task, because, the usual set of (im)posters knows each other too well to
chide the astray; for at one time or another they all have sinned. The
temptations are many, the pen is weak, and it is all too easy to post an
irrelevant mail, knowing all the while that it is so. The usual caveat,
"I know that it doesn't belong here ..." is supposed to take the sting out
of it, which it does only to some extent. For, as Sadananda has said,
you are not punished for the sin, but by it. The secure knowledge of one's
transgressions itself punishes the perpetrator to no end. What does the
poet say? "raat bhar karwaT mai badloo, dard dil kaa sah nahi jaaye!"

>What exactly is the purpose of Telusa?

That must have been a rhetorical question. 'Cos SM indeed knows the purpose,
at least as much of it as the launchers cared to divulge, or understood it
to be. The group has been free from 'spamming' for the most part, other than
an occasional hot stock tip. It was because of a certain skittishness for
'flaming' that the group was formed to spare the discussants of SCIT-tish
flames. Reasoned, deliberate articles and essays were expected, not point-by-
point instantaneous replies, with first and second order quotes.  That
occasionally that indeed was what happened attests more to the fraility
of human nature than to the cold, written charter, posted infrequently, and
forgotten for the most part. The fault, dear madam, lies not in our charter,
but in ourselves, the frequent posters. The purpose of Telusa stays the
same, even if all the members flout it occasionally. To borrow from
Shailendra,  "yE charter hai insaanOnkA, kuch aur naheen insaan hai ham!"

There is a tremendous intersection between the set of SCIT-ters and the set
of Telusa members. As such, it is far too easy to cross boundaries and not
know it. Or not notice it on purpose. By all concerned. Out of a (perhaps
mistaken) sense of camaradarie. Light needling is done at times; but no
one has complained yet of a "bad taste in the mouth" by a torrent of
inappropriate posts. Perhaps none of us take these posts as seriously as
does SM. It might be the inverse application of a vEmana-aphorism; "tama
tappu lerigina vAru tappu lennaru!"

As pointed out by K.V. Bapa Rao, a group of the members of Telusa undertook
the issues of auto-moderation of SCIT, and cross-posting selected topics to
SCIT. Telusa as a group did not pursue this. Personally, I never had access
to SCIT, so the first issue didn't matter to me. As to the second, I thought
it presumptious of Telusa to undertake to "improve" SCIT by posting its
articles to SCIT. I may have said as much during these discussions.

While Telusa was "supposed" to be a member-by-invitation group, it was
never operated in that fashion. It is true that in the beginning names were
referred to me, and I included them in the group. But even at that time,
and certainly more so now, it was anybody's right to join the group, by
sending a one line mail to the list server. In fact this information was
occasionally posted on the group. I also found out that one could send mail
to the group, without being a member of the group.

It is not true that everything in Telusa is automatically posted to SCIT.
Far from it. In fact, very recently Paruchuri Srinivas bemoaned the lack
of cross-posting of articles on topics he thought were clearly relevant
to SCIT. That presumes the fact that some are clearly not!

When someone (such as adiyan) says "I don't know how to post to SCIT", or
more appropriately "I can't directly post to SCIT", many times it is true!
If I posted to SCIT for a couple of years before the formation of Telusa,
it was through one or the other nntp servers provided by U-Texas, or big
daddy of BGSU and Seetamraju UB Sarma, who provided the Daily Digest of
SCIT, and sent it by e-mail to subscribers such as adiyan. There were a
few occasions when I managed to post to SCIT, when I used someone else's
account, and accessed SCIT in their name. There were even times when I sent
the post to someone, and asked them to post it to SCIT on my behalf. One
occasionally finds such posts in SCIT still; doesn't one?

Not having followed SCIT ever since SUBS succumbed to the gRhasthASramam
and retired WETD I am not aware of the protests and questions in SCIT as
to the unwarranted hostile takeover of it by Telusa. If that indeed is their
perception, they do have a legitimate gripe. RMIC and RMIM have their own
unique mandates. The former doesn't (and shouldn't) attempt to "elevate" the
latter by cross-posting, and the latter doesn't (and shouldn't) attempt
to "lighten up" or "give a life to" the former by doing the same. In fact,
to do so would be tantamount to "getting skinned alive", as was relayed
to me by Dev Mannemala, who is seen frequently in the latter group, and
who was for a time (may be now) in Telusa.

I think that people who are members of both Telusa and SCIT do exhibit an
amazing amount of restraint in keeping the two fora distinct. Occasionally
when I manage my semi-annual peeks into SCIT, I am surprised at the dual
personalities of the same people in the two groups. One should see Tata
Prasad here, and then in SCIT. The topics are different; and so is the tone.
Probably that is the case with Jampala, Bapa Rao, and others.

A comment on KVBR's comment on the formation of Telusa: there was the
explicit motivation of providing a forum for discussing Telugu literature.
There was the less explicitly stated motivation of avoiding the flaming
nature of SCIT. But there was no intention, real or imagined, clear or hidden
of redeeming SCIT through this group. It was felt that SCIT served the
purpose of those who liked the decibel level there. Perhaps SM remembers the
time when SCIT was riddled with vulgar/obscene posts by anonymous posters
with self-styled titles, and some discussion then as to how to get rid of
such filth infiltrating the group. Do these pests still fester SCIT?

Many a time when a topic is irrelevant to Telusa, but is of interest to
some members of it, discussions pretty soon went off the net among those few
people. I remember the discussions with about a dozen people around the
last TANA Conference, some during the auto-moderation, and Telusa-SCIT
gateway creation, some right now about a directory of accomplished telugu
people outside AP/India, some on another topic.  I am not a member in all
these discussions, but know about them. I don't know how many other such
discussions are going on among small groups of members.

It is not members of Telusa who pursued auto-moderation. It is members of
SCIT, using the forum of Telusa, who pursued it. Because of the large
common subset of these groups, it is not easy to separate them.

I know little about CFV's and Usenet procedures to make any comment.

I wonder who are considered here as the "originators" of Telusa. There are
a group of invited members at the beginnning, about 21 if I remember right.
Now the group is about 85 in size. There have been some who have dropped out,
including an "originator". How is this designation applied by SM?

The idea for the group materialized thus. Let me use initials. They know
who they are. KGM wanted to quote a telugu poem in the preface to a book on
OR, and wanted some info on the poet. ASR refered the question to me, and I
in turn referred it to VVR and SNS. Eventually, he had enough material. Out
of this incident germinated a desire to have a "garden variety network" in
the words of VVR, to collect information, have questions answered, and pool
our bits of information into byte size chunks, and even perform some error
detection and correction. When I mentioned this to SR who operates a music-
interest group, he offered to set up a group, and take care of the technical
aspects of it. Thanks to him, and the U of Wisc we are in business. And at
loggerheads at times.

KVBR hit the proverbial nail on its head. As a list-owner, do I adhere
rigidly to the charter and risk offending the occasional transgressor, or
be lenient and risk offending the general membership! I plead guilty to the
latter. Other than on two occasions when I requested for a moratorium on the
discussion of a topic, and one occasion when I lost my cool, I have been
lenient to a fault. And I have been at fault myself on occasion, though not
as much as next T-G/G.

Did Holmes say something about confusing the improbable with the impossible?
I remember him to say that when you rule out all things impossible, then what
is left, however improbable, must be the truth. Or words to that effect.

Yes, I too made several "daal lO kaal" mistakes, hitting the 'send' button a
little too carelessly, sending a private mail to the whole group, sending a
Telusa mail also to SCIT,... Though on the whole, the mistakes were of the
other kind; that of not sending to SCIT, when it would have been considered
"proper" to do so.

Perhaps it is not feasible to have a discussion of this "problem" during
the upcoming TAGDV (yes it is mainly cultural, but has a smattering of
literary association to it - can one surgically separate the two, always?),
but perhaps it can be continued at the Eleventh TANA Conferece in LA,
where I expect many of the personalities in this discussion to be. Should
we ask for metal detectrs by the door?

Ramakrishna

PS: There were times when I thought that we should be permit an occasional
irrelevant post for every so many relevant ones. An entitlement of sorts.

PPS: If SM is a member of another listserve group, I would like to know
how irrelevant/inappropriate posts are treated there. Collective shunning
or ridicule? Or is there a more effective way?
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I posted the above, with minor variations on Friday evening, and Saturday 
morning. They seem to be outthere somewhere, hopelessly lost. If and when 
they happen to find their destination, and appear in your mailbag, dump them 
straight-away into the trash can. Sorry for the triplicate posting.