Should we be more strict about keeping on topic? SYSOPs want to know.... : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

From time to time we have modified the posting guidelines to accommodate the concerns of our participants. We have not been too vigilant in enforcing these guidelines however. In fact, we have been giving a lot of slack on posts that are not clearly Y2K related. We now want to ask if we should be a little stricter with this.

Our guidelines call for posting only "Y2K-related or possibly Y2K-related issues or incidents. And, we ask that you "Please do not post stories with no likely Y2K connection". However, recent posts have been primarily about events that have no clear or even suspected Y2K relationship.

We want to know what you think. Please respond to this thread with you thoughts about being heavier handed in deleting these non-y2k incidents from the GICC.

Here are the current guidelines as shown on the "ask a question" page:

Volunteers are asked to report any Y2K-related or possibly Y2K-related issues or incidents that are of interest, including human behavior and community impact. Please do not post stories with no likely Y2K connection. If you suspect a Y2K connection but are not sure, please take extra care to give investigation leads for follow-up by GICC analysts.

Only verifiable information should be posted. Anonymous reports by whistleblowers with first-hand information are permissible. In all cases contact information must be given to permit analysis. Moderators will delete any inappropriate postings. Rumors will only be published when clearly described as such as must be posted to the rumor category (these will be confirmed or debunked as appropriate). All posts are to include as much information as possible about the incident. When possible a source should be given.

Let us know what you think.

-- GICC Team (, January 24, 2000


Here are two responses that we have gotten directly by e-mail.

"I would rather have just y2k posts."

"Agree with the guidelines."

Keep those cards and letters coming! We will figure out what direction to go in soon.

-- GICC Team (, January 25, 2000.

Respective of the statement of mission, it may prove wise not to veer off the meaning of the name itself.

Are Year 2000 preparations and efforts relative to anything that is happening now? Whether ice storm or water pipes bursting, or troubles in refineries all around the globe, etc., etc.?

Of which events have we seen more of? Are we missing the point?

Would it be unwelcome if one posted news on a computer virus that shut down a major DOD system, or a utility? In which situtations would "grassroots information coordination" be necessary, and which would it be unnecessary? Where does one draw the line?

-- Antoine (, January 24, 2000.

What is y2k or not y2k? I have been posting a lot of articles but I am not always sure if it appropriate to the topic. I try to be selective but sometimes it is very hard to discern what may just be a happening or a y2k problem. For example how often do we have refinery fires and oil spells in "normal" times. I look at an article and if there is a possibity that it might be y2k related I post it for the record. Maybe later it will fit in with the big picture.

Just my 2 cents worth


-- Martin Thompson (, January 24, 2000.

Better to go off topic a bit than overlook an important datum because it did not fit one's preconceptions or perceptive capacity. I'd like to see more first-hand posting and less gleaning from media sources but it does save doing the searches and is providing some sort of historical record.

Be a little slack now, its still early in the year.

-- david porter (, January 25, 2000.

I agree that a lot of postings don't seem to have any Y2K relationship at all. The credibility of this bulletin board gets pretty thin if no recognition is given to the reality that things broke everyday before Y2K came along. Throwing everything up that comes along as a possible Y2K event makes this a much less interesting place to visit for Y2K info.

-- Dave Redman (, January 25, 2000.

Help. There seems to be only a few posters to this forum. Maybe if more people would post it would't be so thin. It takes considerable time to dig out this stuff from the media. If the information being posted by so few is irrelevant then maybe the GICC team should close this site down.

Regards Martin

-- Martin Thompson (, January 25, 2000.

I tried to alert people to the possibility of problems through our church newsletter and website. When it was clear there was no immediate problem I determined to follow for a year on a separate page on our site. I do think everything is not yet settled and this site is one I use for valid information. I come less and less frequently because so much doesn't seem to apply.

-- Edith Beal (, January 25, 2000.

I think you should be more strict about postings. If that means deleting some I've made, no problem. It's better to have a small but credible forum. On other Y2k discussion boards, I find it tiresome wading through pages of non-relevant material and flame wars just to get one tidbit of new information.

You already have the "Non-Y2k category." How about changing its name or adding a new category: "Possibly Y2k"? Thanks for asking our opinions.

-- Lee Maloney (, January 26, 2000.

Stick with the Y2K subject for now. Create another discussion group for other national and world crises. Make very short announcements to see *possible* Y2K problems on the other list.

-- Kenton Johnson (, January 26, 2000.

I think, rather than delete posts that have been determined to be non- Y2K-related, it would be better to post a follow-up that tells that the issue has been determined to have been non-Y2k-related. Our readiness to jump to a Y2K conclusion is, itself, a valuable datum; we need to know how many times we erred on the side of caution.

J. Michael Rowland Nashville, Tennessee

-- J. Michael Rowland (, January 26, 2000.

We are posting one last comment that we have gotten directly. While there was no clear consensus, the majority opinion was to keep it on topic. The vast majority of the GICC team support this as well. So, please keep to the posting guidelines and lets focus on the Y2K incidents. There seem to be plent of them BTW!

------- I depend on your site for the best collection of Y2K related or possibly Y2K related incidents. But lately, it has become a major time-consuming hassle, sorting through those that have absolutely nothing to do with even computer glitches of unknown derivation. Please get back to the topic.

Perhaps start a separate area for these other areas of concern which are important but not y2k related. Thanks for asking! The site was becoming tremendously bogged down.

Michele in Oklahoma

-- GICC Team (, January 29, 2000.

The connection between Y2K and embedded systems and a wide range of problems that have become evident both before and after the January 1 rollover may become clearer in the next two months. Lawsuits and insurance claims will give us some major clues as to what has been happening. Here and there clear connections are already being made, but a variety of factors have been serving as barriers to uncovering what the full story concerning IT and embedded problems and getting that full story reported to the public, not to mention to individuals in roles of public and private sector responsibility.

February 29 could well trigger additional problems with IT and embedded systems.

It would seem important to have a place on the web where people can go for quality reporting on these matters. Time Bomb 2000 provides an extremely rich and invaluable source of material at the present time. GICC, however, is able to be more selective and focussed and could well become the most valuable information resource for the public, the media and other in roles of public or private sector responsibility.

My recommendation would be to keep things as they are until around the second week in April and then raise the question concerning the focus of the website again at that time. In the meantime, GICC may become the most valuable site of record concerning unfolding developments relating to IT systems, embedded systems, the Century Date Change and February 29.

I would urge a lenient policy at the present time concerning what is allowed on the site. An easy way of guiding users of the site might be to liberally use mini-indicators before titles. For instance, OT (Off Topic) can be used with questions marks, such as OT? OT?? or OT???. Then the reader can determine for him or herself the relevance to IT systems, embedded systems, the Century Date Change and February 29. If there is no doubt of relevance, then, the "OT" can be left off.

Some people may be inclined to use "OT" when it comes to possible socioeconomic impacts that could be related to IT systems, embedded systems, etc. It appears, for instance, that the interdependencies may be a factor that is moving the world in the direction of fuel shortages. Indeed, the Department of Energy has made the connection to refinery problems and fuel shortages. During the past several years a number of Y2K analysts had predicted such impacts. Since with Y2K, socioeconomic impacts were always among the impacts that were expected, it would seem important to include threads that could shed light on these specific kinds of impacts.

There are any number of other problems that may well be related at least in part to IT system or embedded system failures. People are tending to differ greatly about which if any of these problems may be related. In looking through the threads on Time Bomb 2000, one sees that discussions are going on concerning airplane and train problems, nuclear power plant problems, pipeline and refinery problems, fuel contamination problems, and e-mail server problems to name but some of a wide range of problems. Since the mainstream media is not picking up on the possible connections between IT and embedded systems failures and these problems, it is imperative that there be a place to go on the Web to get the best information and analysis concerning reports on these issues and ongoing discussions concerning them. The reporting on GICC may well be a factor in helping clarify whether or not any or all of these problems are related in someway to IT and embedded systems failures. A major reason that such clarification is needed, is that it is essential to understand the root cause of a problem if it is to be corrected and if further impacts are to be prevented or minimized.

So, my suggestion would be wait until the second week of April. And then revisit the questions concerning focus at that time.

-- Paula Gordon (, February 14, 2000.

Patience, Patience and more Patience may be in order. I don't think the volume is so high that it is unmanageable. I vote for waiting until April as Paula Gordon suggested.

-- Jeanette Thomas (, February 15, 2000.

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