*HCS* Re: [HCS]Announce for wk of 10/29/01 (fwd)

Marshall D. Perrin mperrin at hcs.harvard.edu
Mon Oct 29 16:04:48 EST 2001


Scott, 

My message was actually intended to be read by the hcs membership at
large, so I'm re-sending it now to -discuss.

On Mon, 29 Oct 2001, Scott A. Golder wrote:
> HASCS has recently revealed that they plan to do away with the fas news
> server, news.fas.  If you read usenet -- if you ever read usenet -- if you
> think maintining usenet is a good idea, please email suggest at fas and tell them
> so.  Better, post your dismay to harvard.hascs.

You know, that's *not* what they said. Let me quote from Kevin Davis's
post to harvard.hascs: (more commentary by me follows) 
---------------begin quoted text-------------
                                                                                
At this time, FAS Computer Services is strongly considering retiring the        
news.fas server and eliminating news service on the FAS Network.  We're         
evaluating the benefits of the service versus the cost to the department        
to provide it.  It's no secret that the newsgroups are used by many
fewer       
students, faculty, and staff than they were just a few years ago; we're         
trying to decide whether it still makes sense to offer this as a service        
to the community.                                                               
                                                                                
As part of this decision, we've been gathering statistics on usage of
the service.  In addition, we're researching what other colleges and
universities are doing with respect to newsgroups.
                                                                                
I don't have a firm answer on whether we'll be eliminating news.fas at          
this time.  I can say that all the feedback on harvard.hascs and to             
suggest at fas will be an important factor in reaching a decision.                 
                                                                                
I don't have a timeframe for when a decision will be made and a decision        
reached.  However, I can say that, even if we decide to end the service,        
there are no plans to eliminate news.fas before the end of the academic         
year.                                                                           
                
---------------end quoted text---------------------

The point is, they are *considering* retiring the server. No decisions
have been made yet. Don't put words in their mouths which they did not
say. Responses of "I have heard you are thinking about this; I
respectfully suggest that you keep the server because of X, Y, Z" will
be *much* more useful than "I heard you're killing usenet you bastards!"
Seek to understand all the information available before speaking.

> A community forum sponsored by HCS and HASCS will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 13
> at 5 PM in the Science Center.  Topics will include new help systems (like the
> HASCS help knowledge base, which is really spiffy -- try it out) and VPN
> solutions for wireless (which may conspicuously lack linux support) and, of
> course, sacrificing usenet.
> 
> If you support usenet, please attend.   If you support OSes that are not
> Windows nor MacOS, please attend.

You *really* need to work on making this meeting be as
non-confrontational as possible. If you head in there guns blazing and
all "HASCS is letting computer service go to hell!", they're not going
to want to listen to you. If you go in complaining about a decision that
they *haven't actually made yet*, you just make yourself look bad
because you haven't taken the time to find all the facts out.

Speaking as someone with the perspective of comparing Harvard's services
to, say, UC Berkeley's, I can state with great confidence that HASCS is
doing a hell of a good job. Yes, they *should* be - Harvard is one of
the best universities in this nation, and *ought* to have the best
network service of anywhere. The people who work for HASCS are doing
their best to serve 30,000 users with limited resources. Listen to them
and try to understand their side of the story before making any
judgements. There may well be compromise solutions that keep everybody
happy - for instance, there does exist a UIS news.harvard.edu server,
though FAS affiliates can't currently use it. Perhaps if news.fas is
retired, permission for FAS affiliates to use that server instead could
be obtained.

I'm not trying to be a HASCS apologist; I fully grant that sometimes
they do things wrong. I'm just saying, if you want them to listen to
your concerns and opinions, you need to honestly listen to theirs, with
an open mind.

 - Marshall





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