Proper Use of the ASPB Yahoo Group on the Internet                               

     It has often been stated, “the pen is mightier than the sword.”  As the club president, it is incumbent upon me to express my views on circumstances that I believe have affected the very fabric of our club and threatens to weaken the camaraderie we have nurtured for many years.  This is a factor of the age we live in, an age where communication is instantaneous and irretrievable.  I am writing, of course, about our club members’ use of the ASPB Yahoo Group to stay in touch with each other and club events.  The proper use of our Yahoo Group has been invaluable in keeping everyone in our club up-to-date on club news and club events.  I cannot imagine having to keep everyone informed without this valuable communication tool.  Like using any tool, the user must accept the responsibility of using the tool wisely and safely, in order to get the most out of it.  From time to time, we must be reminded that we all possess the ability to use words as lethal weapons, even when we don’t intend to do so.  The problem is, once you press that “send” button, the deed is done!

     I have asked Diana for some space in our “Stars and Scopes” newsletter, in order to remind all of our valued club members to be especially careful when using the ASPB Yahoo Group to express your feelings about current issues of the day.  Our ASPB Board agrees that the proper use of the ASPB Yahoo Group is to announce and provide information about club events, to coordinate club activities, to announce interesting astronomical events, new discoveries and the like.  The ASPB Yahoo Group is not the place for posting suggestions related to the overall operation of our club, for the discussion of controversial topics such as politics and religion, or for other matters that are the proper consideration by our club’s officers and elected Board members.  Also, please remember that whether using the Yahoo Group or communicating with the Board, members should “reply to sender,” unless they truly intend to “reply via web post,” or “reply to group.”  Our club seeks growth and enjoyment in astronomy, and we choose to reject unrelated topics that divide or offend individuals.  In addition, we can and must remember to always treat one another with the highest degree of civility and respect.  Questions and problems about club issues should be directed to the Club President, or any of our Board Members and not first discussed on the ASPB Yahoo Group.  Each of our Board Member’s phone numbers and e-mail addresses are printed on the last page of our newsletter each month.  Please feel free to contact any Board Member about your club concerns.

     I invite all of our members to recommit themselves to participating in club activities and events.  It is truly wonderful when thirty-three of us braved the elements to gather for a club picnic, as we did last month.  The proper use of the internet is an important tool to make our club better.  Please keep this in mind as we enjoy our interest in astronomy together. 

Stephen M. Schiff, Ed.D.
President, ASP