Re: Why do you read sci.anthro?

Michael Bauser (
26 May 1995 00:28:01 -0400

In article <3p7s70$>, wrote:
> I have been reading this group for a while now and have seen many people post here.
> I am curious why most read it though.

Actually, you should be careful about equating the "people seen" (posters)
and readers. I suspect many of the people posting here don't *really*
read sci.anthropology so much as they cross-post here. People who start
threads about the Big Bang and cross-post here are likely doing it only to

Ask for why I'm here: I'm an anthropology major. It just sorta seemed
like I *should* be at least skimming the group. (I do ignore large
portions of it, especially now that I've figured out killfiles.)

> I see that it is an excellent place for the exchange of ideas but
> rarely do I see "conversations"; mostly they are really informed people
> (very few in number) responding to a litany of simple questions. I am

If by "conversations" you mean protracted discussions of anthropology, I
suppose there are two factors involved here. First, anthropology lends
itself to such narrow specializations (often geographical) that it's rare
to find too many conversant experts in one place or newsgroup. (Academic
anthropologists are more use to answering & lecturing than conversing, I

On the other hand, I suppose most anthropologists still prefer
face-to-face discussion and debate when they can get it. Funny thing
about them social scientists; they're always wanting to hang around with
people. Go figure.

> glad that the people are asking them but there seems to be two classes
> here - the very informed and the hardly informed at all. First I wish
> that people would stop considering their questions as silly or dumb
> and listing _Really Dumb Question_ as their topic because the questions

I wish people would stop listing "question" as their topic so that I have
an idea what the question is before I read the article. That way I could
skip the ones on subjects that I know I don't know enough about.

> are worth asking if they don't know the answer, and second, I wonder
> what most people expect from the group (why read it?). Thanks, This is
> not a poll...I am just asking out of curiousity Keith Dever -

I expect to see a lot of non-anthropologists by virtue of the fact that
Usenet is an open forum and anthropologists are in the minority (just as
I would expect the American Anthropological Association to be mostly
anthropologists, because people have to pay to get in, which convinces
most amateurs it's not worth it. Yay capitalism.) I help out the
sincere ones, flame the ones who won't behave, and killfile the ones I
can't stand anymore.

Actually, a writer from CompuServe Magazine once asked me about which
newsgroups I read, and I wrote "to keep track of what the religious
fundamentalists and the undergraduates think of the field", and that was
only half-joking. I wonder if they printed that?

Michael Bauser <>