Iddo Friedberg
Wow. Biophotons for signalling. Anyone knows anything about this? How credible is this?
"Mutual exposure of cell populations occurred under conditions of darkness and separation with cuvettes (vials) allowing photon but not molecule transfer. The cell populations were separated either with glass allowing photon transmission from 340 nm to longer waves, or quartz being transmittable from 150 nm, i.e. from UV-light to longer waves. Even through glass, the cells affected cell division and energy uptake in neighboring cell populations. Depending on the cuvette material and the number of cells involved, these effects were positive or negative. Also, while paired populations with lower growth rates grew uncorrelated, growth of the better growing populations was correlated. As there were significant differences when separating the populations with glass or quartz, it is suggested that the cell populations use two (or more) frequencies for cellular information transfer, which influences at least energy uptake, cell division rate and growth correlation. Altogether the study strongly supports a cellular communication system, which is different from a molecule-receptor-based system and hints that photon-triggering is a fine tuning principle in cell chemistry." - Iddo Friedberg
I think the key line is, "Depending on the cuvette material and the number of cells involved, these effects were positive or negative." In other words, "we saw fluctuations and, after the fact, declared that whatever we saw supported our prediction." I don't think the finding is impossible, but I'm not going to spend any mental energy on it until it's replicated by several independent labs. - Ian York
@Ian. You should read the paper. It dosnt' seem like they drew the circles after throwing the darts. - Iddo Friedberg
The description of the setup does not make sense. How does a 2.3 x 2.3 x 40 mm cuvette (volume ~211mm^3) contain 1ml of medium -- particularly when we are told it also contains a second cuvette 1.5 x 1.5 x 45 mm (vol 101 mm^3), which in turn is supposed to contain 1ml of medium? Given that the author probably has a telephone which would take an adequate picture of the setup with a ruler for scale, why was such a photo not included? Those are odd sized "cuvettes" even if it's a simple s/mm/cm error -- for what machine are they intended? Where were they purchased? Such information should be provided for all nonstandard equipment. At this point I only continue reading because of the "wow" factor... - Bill Hooker
Why don't you guys discuss this article at the journal comments section? The whole idea of PlosOne is about this. Your discussion at FF will be buried by other posts in several days, while comments associated with the article at the journal's site might help someone even several years later... I would really appreciate to know the arguments, why people are safely discussing articles at FF, and afraid to post comments at the journal web site. - genereg
I'm more comfortable making a fool of myself here than on the journal site. I figured if any substantive issues arose in discussion here we could cut and paste 'em easy enough. - Bill Hooker
... and I hit the results section and there are no data -- not that I can analyse for myself, just a bunch of pre-digested info in tables and figures. At this point I no longer trust the author, plus I'm pretty sure I have the flu, so that's it for me for now. Gonna go sleep. - Bill Hooker
"I'm more comfortable making a fool of myself here than on the journal site" - well, that is one of the reasons why online commenting does not work properly. In fact, as long as you use your real name at FF, you already kind of expose your opinion to the whole world. On the other hand, if you write these comments on the journal web site under a nickname, you are not damaging your real name, and can say honestly what you think about the article. That is the only way I can see it. The comments on the journal web site should be anonymous. - genereg
@genereg, why not add a link to this FF discussion on the PLoSOne site? It seems like that would solve the issue you're referring to. Using an iframe as Iddo has done here would make it almost seamless, but that may not be possible for you. - Ruchira S. Datta
@genereg: People also tend to post where the reward (comment views and responses) is perceived to be the highest. Too bad FF doesn't do pingbacks to the original article (I believe PLoS ONE would make use of that)? - Eric Jain
True, a discussion probably belongs on the article's site. But things happened differently. Anyhow, i'd rather we discuss the actual idea of photonic signal transduction than discuss where to discuss it. - Iddo Friedberg
"why not add a link to this FF discussion on the PLoSOne site?" - I thought about this. Indeed, that would work. However, I suppose, after doing this, some people would remove/edit their comments here. Indeed, what was posted in FF under real names was not supposed to be shown to the whole world by these people. I am sorry for interfering with the discussion of this concrete article, I am just interested to learn how online article commenting should work in general. It seems that being afraid of expressing your opinion publicly is one of the main reasons why people do not comment online articles. It seems to me, that the only option to solve this problem would be to allow and encourage anonymous commenting (people may choose whether to use their real name or not, but there should be some system so that the computer IP would not be tracked by the journal site owners). - genereg
Better go and edit your comments: I've linked this thread at the paper. I think the authors deserve an easy way to find out that they're talked about :-) Now go ahead, shoot me :-) - Björn Brembs
Bjoern, egosearching on Google is pretty damn easy. But I don't mind -- I guess genereg's "some people" means me above, but I'm not going to edit or delete anything and I'm not afraid of public comments. I was even wrong in my first reply to him, since if you look at my online presence I'm quite happy to make a fool of myself anywhere. :-) I was, and am, much happier to talk here than in the comments at P1, and "why?" is a damn good question. - Bill Hooker
[an aside: FF should have a "comment" button at the bottom as well as the top of each thread longer than about ten replies...] - Bill Hooker
I had, as I said, every intention of passing on any substantive criticisms. I have no hesitation in doing so under my real name (though I agree with genereg that strong anonymity should be available to those who want/need it). I'm a diehard OA supporter and have made no secret of my very high opinion of PLoS ONE. So -- what is my problem?! Apart from the fact that I do indeed have the fucking flu, I guess it's sheer laziness. - Bill Hooker
There's a community here of people I like and trust and respect, where I am confident that I'll be corrected when I get something wrong (and even patted on the back a little if I do something right -- I think that matters too, to most of us). It's *comfortable* here. Whereas at PLoS ONE, much as I esteem the journal, it's... nothing. Just another website, with no community. And given the range of science published there, I am not sure they are going to develop a community of their own. Perhaps it would be better to play nice with FF and tap into the LS and related rooms? - Bill Hooker
Finally, I disagree with genereg about the "point" of PLoS ONE. To me, the community aspect (if one ever forms) is icing on the cake. The *point* is to publish good science in an OA vehicle without paying any attention to whether it's "hot" or "significant" or any of that crap that the Prestige Journals trade on. - Bill Hooker
@Bill, I wanted to make some general comments, which were probably misinterpreted. My comment was not about these particular comments in this FF thread, not about this particular article, and not about this particular journal which published this article. I agree with you that this FF room is very nice for community building. However, I believe that reviewing, whether it is a peer-review or online commenting, whether it is a grant-review or a manuscript-review, it has nothing to do with community building. Honest reviews in most cases represent a critique, which can only damage personal relations. IMHO online commenting should be anonymous and should be separated from collaborative projects. PS. I wish you a fast recovery from flu! - genereg
@Bill, "The *point* is to publish good science in an OA vehicle without paying any attention to whether it's "hot" or "significant" or any of that crap that the Prestige Journals trade on" -- I absolutely agree with this, and don't see how this contradicts to what I said previously. The *point* is, then, that the articles are judged by the community after the publication, and feedback should be provided by these comments, and in fact most interesting things may happen in the comments sections of online journals. - genereg
My point is that I don't think feedback by comment is working, and may never work. Even if we had this entire conversation in the article comments (minus of course the off-topic stuff about where to have the conversation!), it would be a little island on the web, a separate enclosed destination -- whereas this thread is part of an ongoing FF community conversation. I'm even a little surprised to discover this, but I don't think I *want* to play journal club with random strangers at random intervals by commenting on papers; I'd rather have a conversation here. What post-pub review may require is "harvesting" -- a way to link articles to blogs, FriendFeed and other conversations, along the lines of PostGenomic. - Bill Hooker
Also, even in the absence of a "harvesting" method or feedback-by-comment, I think citation analysis should be an adequate mechanism whereby the community can render its collective judgement. Get the work out there, easily findable, and then decide in retrospect (rather than trying to guess in advance) which of it was most useful to other researchers. - Bill Hooker
@genereg, sorry, missed your comment there about your points being general (man, we really need numbers or anchors on these comments!). I think this specific case serves as a reasonable test-bed for your general ideas though. Mostly I think we agree, but I don't believe that honest critique "can only damage personal relations". Are we not supposed to be scientists? We can't be Vulcans/Saints-of-Logic-and-Reason, but we can couch our critiques in constructive terms and try in good faith to accept others' in the same fashion. That's another reason I prefer to hash things out here, then comment on the article (*kicks Bjoern in the shins*) -- so that I can word my direct criticism carefully. Upthread I said "I no longer trust the author" -- that might well offend anyone who didn't know my passion for the death of "data not shown" and the rise of Open Data. Since these are issues most researchers haven't thought about, it's kind of a shitty thing to say to someone without providing background (arguments for Open Data etc). - Bill Hooker
P.S. Thanks for the well-wishes. I'm full of drugs right now and feel pretty good. :-) - Bill Hooker
A couple comments, Bill. 1) - bottom comment link userscript 2)You're dead right, IMO about the community for comments. No one wants to be the first to show up to a party, and no one wants to be the only one to comment on something. Humans are social animals. 3) I think technological problems deserve technological solutions. Couldn't PLoS spider the web for links to their articles, and pull in comments thereby? Most blogs have comment feeds, Disqus and friendfeed and twitter have APIs. - Mr. Gunn
@Mr.Gunn "No one wants to be the first to show up to a party, and no one wants to be the only one to comment on something" -- unless this is an anonymous comment, in which case I would not care, whether I am the first one to comment on something. And, as I said, I believe that most of the comments on the journal articles should be anonymous. Completely anonymous - hiding not only the name, but also the computer IP from tracking. - genereg
I understand the idea behind anonymous comments, but I think that doesn't take into consideration the psychology behind why people comment, and why communities form in the first place. It's not so much about altruistically setting the record straight or adding interpretive commentary, but rather to interact and be interacted with. If you post something here that you think is really interesting and you want the input from the community, but no one comments on it, it's disappointing, right? If you leave an insightful comment on something here in an attempt to spark a discussion and it gets ignored, that's also disappointing, at least it is to me. Conversely, I feel pleased if I get a bunch of comments on a blog posting or something else shared here. That's the motivating factor for many commenters. It's about being noticed and interacted with, and that's why community is important. It's less likely that commenting on an article here will be ignored and "wasted", relative to a comment there which, for all the followup response, might as well been never seen. - Mr. Gunn
Sorry, Iddo, BTW, for the thread hijacking. I was originally hoping for more comments on the science itself too. This is one reason why the "related items" feature is good, because it allows you to get differently initialized discussions on the same object. - Mr. Gunn
"It's not so much about altruistically setting the record straight or adding interpretive commentary, but rather to interact and be interacted with" -- well, then why people anonymously participate in the internet forums? Why questions are being asked and answered by anonymous people in all kinds of internet communities? Why, from the beginning of Internet (which was for scientists from the very beginning), people tend to hide their real names online? Also, the "interaction" at the article comments sections of online journals and the interaction at FF have a *slightly* different dynamics: The first one expects interaction between the nearest comments at the timescale of weeks, months, years and decades, while FF expects interaction at the timescale of minutes. - genereg
Whoa, interesting discussion, but way off topic for what I originally intended for it. I guess no one has anything interesting to say about the study itself... - Iddo Friedberg
Maybe you should try posting the article again, Iddo, since we derailed the conversation on this item? Ian and Bill did have science-related comments at the beginning. - Mr. Gunn
genereg - It's not about using your real name, it's about having an identity. Whether you're kewlscientist2010 or Dr. Bob Jones, PhD, you still want interaction with other people who share your interests, and leaving an isolated comment on a low traffic page isn't interaction. regarding your other point, certainly friendfeed can be many things to many people, but the real-time discussion isn't really happening for me. The discussions I've been part of have occurred over the span of a couple days. - Mr. Gunn
Mr. Gunn - Science is not about interaction and having fun actually. When several years will pass, what is important is that someone finds this Biophotonics article on the journal web site, and the comments left by the others will help him to identify the problems associated with this study. It is not important who has left these comments and when. Obviously, most people will not want their name under their comments. That is why I personally would not submit the link to this FF thread to PLoS. But I don't think that Björn Brembs should have asked for a permission to submit a link to whatever site he wants, since this a public web site anyway. - genereg
I'm not going to remove my throwaway comment, but I do think it was pretty rude to repost without asking permission. I realize it's public already, searchable and so on, and so it doesn't make a technical difference, but the fact remains you've dragged other people along for your personal ideology. What if people have a specific reason for not posting at PLoS? - Ian York
... You've overridden their preferences for your ideology. Would you feel just as smug about reposting this thread on a porn site? Or conservativopedia? It's not wrong, but it's really impolite. Ask for permission next time. - Ian York
Ian, can I ask a question about this because I'm interested in your perspective which seems a little different to mine. Would it be ok if e.g. PLoS started to automatically harvest these comments? Doesn't seem likely that they would be able to ask permission on each thread and it is publically accessible and searchable. Is your objection that _someone_ republished, or that it was re-published? - Cameron Neylon
+1 Cameron: what if the author had linked to the thread? I've linked to other papers on my PLoS One paper, I could also link to a thread on FF. Indeed, I have linked to all activity I could find anywhere on my blog which connects paper and discussions. Should I have personally asked all the hundreds and hundreds of commenters on the various sites who have commented on my paper? - Björn Brembs
I agree Neil, but I think this is part of the education process - people tend not to be aware that something is as "public" as it is and there are issues with people wanting to control the way their content is re-shared (or shared at all). Both technical and social issues here. Hence the reason I am interested in unpacking Ian's view - otherwise we just end up reinforcing our own. - Cameron Neylon
I'd say that any of those possibilities are rude. I'm well aware that everything is public nowadays (I've been online since 1988, I have probably thousands of comments and posts that are easily found), but there's still an issue of courtesy. I frame comments in the context of an audience. The things I say about a paper, when sitting around chatting with a friend, are not the same things I say to the author's face at a conference. If you tell a friend "Smith's latest paper sucks golfballs through a garden hose", and your friend phones up Smith and tells him that you said his paper sucks-- even if you believe it, even if you'd tell Smith at a conference that his paper failed to control for the confounding effect of lunar rays in the upper paleozoic -- wouldn't you resent it? You've done exactly the same thing here. Just because you can do something, doesn't mean it's not rude. - Ian York
And Neil, thanks for your pronouncement that "if you don't want to be reshared, don't share". I'm unsubscribing from friendfeed now. - Ian York
Ian, so the idea of for instance someone writing up an article on a conference presentation would be similar? Or is it more that you think the context of a comment should be carried with it? I guess I am failing to understand the distinction you make between "possible" - clearly it is easy to push stuff around, "wrong" and "impolite" - I don't quite understand how something can be "not wrong" but still be "impolite". In my view linking things up is the fabric that makes the web functional rather than just a collection of random sites - it is what makes Google work so linking always adds value and raises the value of my contribution. - Cameron Neylon
Bah, one last comment before I follow Neil's suggestion and stop sharing. Do you really not understand how something can be "not wrong" but "impolite"? That's the fundamental point of society. You don't tell a new mother how ugly her baby is, not matter how accurate the description is. If you don't understand the difference, then you don't belong in society. If that's the friendfeed attitude -- that everyone is a mere tool for their particular ideology, and that someone's wishes and preferences are irrelevant -- then how is friendfeed going to be a society? Again, this isn't new to me. I've seen dozens of online fora over the 20 years I've been online, from BBSes to Usenet to proto-Web to web and web 2.0. I've seen a few survive and I've seen more wither and die, and the ones that wither and die are the ones with no social compact, where people don't treat others with courtesy. I used to try save the ones I enjoy, but I'm too old and tired for that now. It's your choice; you can treat people as tools and demand they follow your own requirements, or you can treat people as people and use courtesy and respect. You can figure out which is most likely to lead to a useful forum. - Ian York
Perhaps I completely misunderstood your point but I thought you were saying that linking from an external site into a conversation without asking first was "not wrong" but "impolite". Not an issue of factual correctness but one of ethics. I personally don't see any particular ideology in creating a link, merely a wish to provide a connection between related pieces of information. I really am interested in unpacking why you find it objectionable because I think it will help me to understand your thinking and help us to build, as you say, a better society. - Cameron Neylon from twhirl
It's not technically "wrong", because obviously it's already a public conversation. It is rude to do it without asking permission. It's technically trivial for someone to unilaterally move the conversation. You may not agree with someone's reasons for preferring the move isn't made, but it's impolite to ignore those preferences. If you want a specific reason -- as I've already explained -- the comments were made in one context (that by its nature encourages short throwaway comments) and was moved to a different context (that by its nature encourages long technical comments). My comments are now pretty much by definition being taken out of context, without my permission. That's rude. I'm dismayed that this really obvious and basic concept seems to be so baffling to so many people here. - Ian York
I get the point you're making about context, Ian. There's a strong tendency online to co-opt communities and spread stuff around, but that does work against context. The particular tack I've taken is just to never say anything I wouldn't want to come up in a search, and correspondingly to not get offended by a throwaway comment regarding me that someone else makes, but I understand there's a tradeoff. - Mr. Gunn
Ian, speaking for myself, I'm not baffled, I just don't agree with you. By your standards (which aren't in any case consistent -- you're all bent out of shape about Neil's "pronouncement", then you go and tell us that if we don't understand your point we "don't belong in society") -- I need to ask permission for every link I make. You claim that FF "encourages short throwaway comments"; I disagree strenously. FF in and of itself doesn't do much but set a word limit (now essentially lifted by the "more..." attribute), and the reason I like it here so much is precisely because the community is focused on substantive comments and high level conversation. - Bill Hooker
Bill, you're more than welcome to disagree with me, that's certainly your privilege. I'm not particularly "bent out of shape", but it's pretty clear that you and others aren't interested in respecting my wishes, and that you and others think if I'm not willing to abide by your wishes I'm not welcome here, so the simplest thing is for me not to share here. - Ian York
Posting a comment is more public than shouting the comment on the market square with a big posterboard and all. On a market square, ow many people are going to be able to see and hear you? If you're lucky, maybe a few hundred. On FF and any other unprotected part of the net, it's millions. The quotient gets even worse for an offhand remark at a conference, where maybe only one person can hear you. To claim that a comment on FF is as private as a remark to a single person is just ludicrous. - Björn Brembs
If you post on the innerwebz for millions to see, don't be surprised if millions actually do see what you posted. - Björn Brembs
Ian, you are welcome here, at least on my account; I'm just not going to ask your permission to make links to FF threads, or include the FF widget on my blog, or whatever else might put your comments somewhere you haven't pre-authorized. Is that refusal on my part really so unreasonable? - Bill Hooker
Are we dealing with evolving etiquette here? When I was a kid, keeping one earphone in and only removing one while you talk to a teacher would have got you physically beaten; now I see kids doing it all the time. And they're not being rude, it's how they talk to each other as well. And teachers, even the semi-fossilized ones my age, seem to have understood that and adapted. Perhaps at one time it was widely considered rude to link without asking, but it does not seem rude to me (I've been online since about 1993). Maybe that's just a dying more? - Bill Hooker
OK, so as much as I agree with Bill Bjorn, et al, I think they're wrong to take that attitude. While I certainly don't care what someone does with my comments, Ian does. We can go two ways with this: Ask Ian to change his feelings because the technology suggests he should, or make the technology adapt to different people's ways of sharing. While I agree with Bjorn and Bill that online stuff pretty much is open for the taking whether anyone likes it or not, asking someone to change their opinion to suit the technology is totally going the wrong way around. The technology should suit us, not the other way around. It's much harder, but essential, to figure out a way to accomodate everyone, even people who feel as Ian does. Just as a initial idea, perhaps simply separating comments pulled in from other places into a sidebar, marking the material as aggregated content, would satisfy everyone? Ian(if you haven't been run off already), would you feel differently if the articles had their on-site comments displayed below but a sidebar containing "aggregated content"? - Mr. Gunn
Mr. Gunn -- this has turned more interesting than I'd expected, I had to give that some thought ... (I have to transfect cells, split others, and fix liquid nitrogen storage, so this is a quick response): I have no issue at all with most of the uses of links, because they retain context. I see the PLoS comments as a fundamentally different context than the conversation that's part of a social forum. When someone links from one social forum (including a blog or what have you) to another, there's no change in context and there's no need to ask permission. It's the change in context that bothers me. I don't think of the comments section of PLoS, or Nature or other technical journals, as part of the free-floating conversation off the web, and linking the one with the other is a significant enough change that it can actively change interpretation. So it's no linking per se, it's linking in such a way as to change context that needs some thought. - Ian York
*whew* You're still here! ;-) I have a blog post coming up where I'm trying to dissect out some of these issues, because this is exactly the sort of thing that's not easily handled in real-time. I'm interested in how we can make it clear that aggregated content is from a distinctly different context than the actual comment sections of the journals. - Mr. Gunn
@Mr. Gunn: "asking someone to change their opinion to suit the technology is totally going the wrong way around". Interesting comment. We use technology to change behavior all the time (cameras in UK anyone?). Technology also inadvertently changes behavior (basically since the invention of weapons). New technology always forces us to consider carefully of the old ways of behaving will fit them. This is what we're doing right here. And it becomes clear that only because we type something here which is intended for the 8 people attending this thread, it doesn't mean that tomorrow there won't be 8 million reading it. Kain may also not have intended for Abel to be slain when he hit him over the head with his stick...(ok, slightly awkward analogy, lol :-) - Björn Brembs
It's absolutely logically correct that people should understand that anything they post publicly is free for the taking, but that doesn't mean that everyone does feel this way. Are you going to wait around for those people to change their mind or are you going to try to find a way to include everyone and respect the context in which things are said? - Mr. Gunn
I think I understand what you're getting at here, Mr Gunn, but I don't know how far you can go with it. I'm not sure that a technical fix is possible that will suit Ian's requirements; and if we can find one, what do we do about the next person to be offended by a standard online behaviour like creating a hyperlink? How far backwards do we bend to accomodate people's feelings, and when do we simply say "the world has changed, this is now standard"? For instance: I like the idea of preserving context, but how far do you take that? For biogangers, an icon next to a comment is enough: we recognise the FF, Twitter, Blogger etc logos and understand what kind of conversation is happening at each of those places. Is that enough marking of context, or do we need to explain things to someone who thinks AOL is the Internet? If somewhere in between, where? - Bill Hooker
That's not quite right, Bill. I don't think anyone here is complaining about links, because when you follow the link, you see the comment in its original context. The issue was keeping things in context. For example, it might preserve context better to have a sidebar on the article containing snippets and links to aggregated content, while leaving the comment thread under the article only for comments directly left at the site. - Mr. Gunn
That's what I was struggling to understand I think. I can see an objection to cutting and pasting the whole thread across, or worse, parts of it out of context, but if we accept the idea of requiring permission to link then the whole web will collapse. Like I said on the other thread there is a point to think about which is comment licensing - I guess Ian would want a "no derivatives" type? Another way of thinking about the design issues is imagining a world in which every single piece of content is controlled by the author and people syndicate that content to other places with appropriate permissions. It's not the way things work at the moment but it would be technically feasible and Jon Udell has argued that it maps better onto the way people actually think about the content so should lead to less disagreements of this type. - Cameron Neylon
I think the complaint was about a link - follow through to the article comment itself and Bjorn has simple placed a link saying "this paper is being discussed elsewhere" so the context is maintained. This is the root of my difficulty. At one level I feel it would be rude _not_ to make that link (ignoring for the moment the fact that we are still not talking about photons (-: ). That is a difference of perspective and I am ok with that - we can discuss that separately. But I don't get how you can for instance, object to that link being made, and accept the way Google indexes the web for instance. Should Google seek permission for every page they index/link to? That is the distinction that I was failing to understand in Ian's position and why I wanted to pick apart "not wrong" which I took to mean "not illegal" or "not unethical" (and the difference is obviously important) versus "rude". - Cameron Neylon
Wait a second. Ian said he was "reposted". I took that to mean that the text of his comments were in fact reposted, and I didn't even check - it's obvious to me what "reposting" means and that it would certainly be rude. When I look now, I see the source of the confusion - there is only a link to this whole discussion. I do still understand how someone could object to that, however, so let me explain. If we took a vote of the commenters here, I think the vote would be that the link stands, so it's not like anyone was trying to be malicious or shine a light on a snarky "hidden" discussion or anything. genereg is having the same issues, I think, feeling like he's wrapped himself in low-profile anonymity here when he really hasn't. So the larger point, that there needs to be a distinction made between aggregated content and on-site comments, is a important one, but perhaps also there needs to be a realization that the web is changing from a playground to becoming part of the professional sphere. Maybe that's kinda a shock or unpleasant, but it's most certainly true. In that case, I see the "rude"/"not rude" coming down like this: a link to a discussion somewhere where professionals gather to another place where professionals gather isn't rude, but linking from a high-visibility professional site to somewhere else might be. For example, Maxine tries to keep a sort of a barrier between professional stuff on friendfeed and her nonfiction writing stuff on twitter. It would be rude for someone to take her twitter account and feed it in here. It *might* also be rude for someone to feed a websearch for someone else's name in here, but it *might* also not be rude, and it might even be important to do on occasion even if the person doesn't like it. There's really no bright line we can draw here, so we'll have to depend on the community norms to help guide us in these cases. - Mr. Gunn
Well said Mr Gunn, I think there's a lot in that. (professional vs. personal on the web) On the professional side of things I agree with Cameron (maybe you do too, really!) that we can't be asking permission the whole time, particularly for multi-person threads. [Thinks: where is FF's 'call a vote' function?] Biophotons for signalling sounds awesome. - Matthew Todd
We certainly can't be asking permission all the time, but that's a technical consideration, and we can't put people's wishes, however irrational, aside because it makes the technology easier. There should be an expectation that anything you post online is re-shareable, but there also need to be consideration of context, just out of politeness. In most cases where that would be an issue, it's going to be obvious, I would think, but don't underestimate the craziness of the internet and the personalities therein. - Mr. Gunn