LINGUIST List 6.1471

Sat Oct 21 1995

Disc: Self-censorship: Moderators' Response

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. "Helen Dry", moderators' response on self-censorship

Message 1: moderators' response on self-censorship

Date: Sat, 21 Oct 1995 14:22:02 moderators' response on self-censorship
From: "Helen Dry" <>
Subject: moderators' response on self-censorship

 Moderators' note:

 On Wed, Oct 11, Lynn Murphy wrote:

 >i contacted the moderators last year about the issue of unresearched
 >calls for references. at their encouragement, i wrote a FAQ (which
 >i seem to no longer have), which i assumed was going to be sent in
 >response to reference questions. i don't know if this proved to be
 >feasible or not (moderators?), but certainly the problem has not gone
 >away. . . .
 >the FAQ i wrote suggested that any request for references be as
 >specific as possible, explaining why you are looking for that
 >information. it also suggested that the requester make clear what
 >part of the literature or what bibliographies they've already
 >consulted. adherence to these guidelines would ensure that
 >responders wouldn't be wasting their time in giving the requester
 >info that s/he doesn't need.

 >the FAQ also gave an annotated bibliography of bibliographic
 >resources in linguistics (LLBA, ERIC, etc.), to encourage footwork at
 >the library.

 >so, there is (or was) a mechanism for encouraging library work prior
 >to linguist queries, but i don't know whether the FAQ is used.

 >perhaps the moderators can comment?

 Indeed, Lynn wrote us an excellent FAQ on this topic (appended below
 for your information); it's clear, helpful, and kind. Our student editors
 are instructed to send this out to posters whose queries are rejected.
 To the best of our knowledge, this practice is consistently followed.

 But, in fact, LINGUIST returns very few queries--perhaps only 10 per
 year. We would like to emphasize this fact, because we do agree with
 those of you who, in commenting on the self-censorship discussion, say
 that one purpose of the list is to help people gather information.
 Also, it is impossible for us to know what other informational
 resources are available to a given poster, so we don't want to
 arbitrarily deprive anyone of this one.

 The reason we do return some queries is simply that we want to keep
 the list focused on academic linguistics and useful as a _professional_
 resource. On a list this size, we always have to be aware that
 one posting of a certain kind is likely to encourage 50 more.
 One 10 year-old asking if reindeers can talk may be charming; but 50
 such questions will detract from LINGUIST's ability to serve its
 primary audience.

 It seems to us that the best ways of dealing with this problem are
 those that have been suggested by subscribers in this discussion:
 1) self-censorship, where appropriate, 2) ignoring queries that
 you feel are time-wasting, or 3) responding but also nudging
 the poster toward independent research. In other words, the most
 effective means of controlling this problem are really in the hands
 of subscribers.

 And, in fact, subscribers have been doing an excellent job. When we
 reflect on the fact that there are now over 6800 individual subscribers,
 150 redistribution lists, and countless people who read LINGUIST via
 the Web, the number of problematic queries we receive seems very, very
 small indeed. We at LINGUIST are grateful for the professionalism
 of our subscribers, and their consistent cooperation.

 --Helen and Anthony

	----------FAQ on references follows ---------------


Due to the increased burden on LINGUIST caused by queries regarding
references, it has become necessary to limit reference queries to
those which cannot be handled by an ordinary library search.
Some bibliographic sources for linguistics have been appended to this
message. Others may be found by contacting a reference librarian.

If a thorough search of bibliographic sources has left you with
unsatisfactory results, please resubmit your query, noting:
(1) what specific research question you are seeking to answer,
(2) what references you are already aware of, and
(3) what bibliographic sources you have consulted.

Thank you for your consideration and good luck in your research.



General Bibliographic Sources for Linguistics

NOTE: Specific bibliographies are available for particular disciplines
in linguistics, applications of linguistics, specific languages, and
some specific formats (e.g., bibliographies of book reviews). It
is not possible to list all such materials here. Please consult
your library's catalogue or reference librarian.

Published annually by Kluwer.

Available in print or CD-ROM.

Produced by ERIC Clearinghouse on Language and Linguistics. Computer
database of articles on microfiche. Applied linguistics focus.

Updated quarterly.

Produced by the Modern Languages Association. Available in print or CD-ROM.


Electronic Access to Bibliographies

The catalogs of many libraries around the world are accessible through
the Internet. A list of these can be found with Gopher or Hytelnet.
Ask your systems person how you can access one of these search utilities.

	There is also a file called LOGIN.COM that will allow you to
access libraries by typing LIBS. This can be obtained from the following
FTP sites:

Host (
Last updated 23:08 14 Mar 1994

 Location: /antiques/sec1/scheme/microcode
 FILE -rw-r--r-- 465 bytes 01:00 6 Oct 1986

Host (
Last updated 08:28 19 Mar 1994

 Location: /pub/unix/MFS/obsolete/
 FILE -rwxr-xr-x 300 bytes 23:00 31 Jul 1989

Host (
Last updated 19:46 14 Mar 1994

 Location: /pub/wuarchive/decus/idx93a-files
 FILE -rw-r--r-- 1318 bytes 23:00 22 Jul 1993

Host (
Last updated 14:19 5 Feb 1994

 Location: /decus/idx93a-files
 FILE -rw-r--r-- 1318 bytes 02:53 23 Jul 1993

Host (
Last updated 11:07 19 Mar 1994

 Location: /VAX92A.DIR;1/BULLETIN.DIR;1
 FILE -rw-r-x-w- 3 bytes 05:57 15 Jun 1992 LOGIN.COM;1

 FILE -rw-r-x-w- 1 bytes 11:27 8 Apr 1992 LOGIN.COM;1

Host (
Last updated 21:55 3 Mar 1994

 Location: /
 FILE -rw-r-x-w- 1 bytes 14:06 14 Mar 1991 LOGIN.COM;1

Host (
Last updated 11:07 19 Mar 1994

 Location: /92AVAXLT.DIR;1
 FILE -rw-r-x-w- 3 bytes 18:26 28 Apr 1987 LOGIN.COM;2

 Location: /92BVAXLT.DIR;1
 FILE --w-r-x-w- 3 bytes 18:26 28 Apr 1987 LOGIN.COM;2

 Location: /93AVMSLT.DIR;1
 FILE --w-r-x-w- 3 bytes 18:26 28 Apr 1987 LOGIN.COM;2

Host (
Last updated 23:50 18 Mar 1994

 Location: /
 FILE ---------- 1 bytes 14:38 18 Feb 1994 LOGIN.COM;2

Host (
Last updated 11:07 19 Mar 1994

 Location: /LT93A.DIR;1/NEWSRDR.DIR;1
 FILE -rw-r-x-w- 3 bytes 12:58 25 Feb 1991 NEWSRDR_LOGIN.COM;2

 Location: /VAX92A.DIR;1/RPI.DIR;1/NEWSRDR.DIR;1
 FILE -rw-r-x-w- 3 bytes 12:58 25 Feb 1991 NEWSRDR_LOGIN.COM;2

 Location: /VAX92A.DIR;1/MUNIC_S92.DIR;1/SMALL.DIR;1
 FILE -rw-r-x-w- 5 bytes 09:33 8 Jul 1991 TWA_LOGIN.COM;2

 Location: /VAX92A.DIR;1/RPI.DIR;1/WATCHER.DIR;1
 FILE -rw-r-x-w- 1 bytes 10:07 5 Jul 1990 DECW_STARTLOGIN.COM;

 Location: /VMS92B.DIR;1/BAISLEY.DIR;1/COM.DIR;1
 FILE --w-r-x-w- 18 bytes 16:41 4 Dec 1992 SYLOGIN.COM;1

 FILE --w-r-x-w- 2 bytes 09:58 31 Oct 1989 LOGIN.COM;4

 FILE -rw-r-x-w- 3 bytes 12:58 25 Feb 1991 NEWSRDR_LOGIN.COM;1

 FILE -rw-r-x-w- 1 bytes 10:07 5 Jul 1990 DECW_STARTLOGIN.COM;1

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