Sylvie wrote: "The ATOW is a WONDERFUL idea!!!"

Harry Dewey
Thu, 04 Sep 2003 00:33:38 PDT
Sylvie wrote: The ATOW is a WONDERFUL idea!!!"

And Jim Waddick replied: "Dear Sylvie; Please thank Harry Dewey, the mastermind of this project."


It is very kind of Jim to say that, but credit belongs to Kelly Irvin and Mary Sue Ittner.  The initial idea seems to have been Kelly'a.  Unfortunately, his name was misspelled as "Irwin" in our initial effort to acknowledge his contribution:…

Irvin's idea of a Genus of the Week has been enormously successful as adopted on PBS, the emailinglist of the Pacific Bulb Society, where its adaptation as "Topic of the Week" has resulted in a tremendously increased amount of participation by subscribers.

Having first secured approval from both Irvin and Ittner for borrowing the idea, a group of Alpine-Lves consisting of Jim Waddick, Mark McDonough, Paige Woodward, Sasha Borkovec and myself undertook planning that resulted in what so far seems a successful innovation.


Is a "topic of the week" just a gimmick, or just a clever idea, or is it a revolution in the world of emailinglists?

Particularly because it was not my original idea, I have no hesitation in branding it as
the most significant advance in the world of emailinglists in many years.

I am told that anyone can see how revolutionary the idea is.  And on that ground I was persuaded to omit this assessment from our original announcement at the end of August.  But I feel strongly that we should all understand the dimensions of the basic new idea that has made a Topic of the Week such a huge success in the three emailinglists that have so far adopted the device.

The power of Kelly Irvin's brilliant concept lies in its organized educational approach to the exchange of knowledge as opposed to the random question and answer method of conventional emailinglists.  The more knowledgeable the planners, the more comprehensive and organized the topics of the week are likely to be.  The result could easily be a systematically-organized course in rock gardening with hundreds of guest lecturers.

Alpine-Lā€™s upcoming ATOWs will provide experts who will lead us in discussions that ā€“ over time ā€“ can cover a huge range of rock garden knowledge, rather than just the topics that members have asked about in the past.  

No one within our planning group has been willing to take on the key role of overall leader, in emulation of Mary Sue Ittner's brilliant guidance of the PBS Topics of the Week, and we are proceeding now with four leaders (moderators), with the idea of rotating the leadership on a monthly basis.  If, at the end of four months, the program is deemed a success, each of the four moderators will take another  turn.  We had originally planned to have six moderators, and that -- or seven or even eight == is still an important goal 

Thank you, Sylvie, for the wonderful compliment.  I'm passing it along to Kelly Irvin and Mary Sue Ittner, who deserve it most of all.

With best wishes, 

Harry Dewey, moderator, Alpine-L

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