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POST 00550E : COMMENTS ON ANNUAL SURVEY 16 February 2003 ___________________________________________________ Technet Secretariat and the moderator wish to share the following comments on the recent annual subscribers survey, and some related information. We first wish to sincerely thank all those who participated in the last annual survey. Your participation will help us improve Technet21 and thus benefit to the whole membership. 1. General : 1.1. Although there were little doubts about the usefulness of the e-forum, the survey confirmed this as 78% of survey participants find it whether useful or very useful. It appears that it is technical information that is considered the most useful by members, 85% of participants rating this aspect of the forum useful or very useful. It is also reflected in the fact that 89% of respondents wish more technical information. Actually, the answers to these two questions (6 and 14) match pretty closely. 1.2. Many members obviously want more of everything. We will make a special effort to identify more technical information and news to post on Technet. However as far as more discussion is concerned, it is not under our control. Discussions originate from members' posted opinions. In the past, we had actively sought contributions from various members especially at field level with quite limited success. Consequently all those members who expressed the wish to have more discussions are warmly invited to contribute to Technet more actively and also invite friends and colleagues to do so. 2. Format : 2.1. The majority of survey participants prefer single-topic postings (74%) and links rather than attachments (60%) We will thus continue the "one topic, one posting" policy. However it may happen in the future that this rule is broken for example if a short contribution is submitted and should be posted but no other contribution is received on that particular topic is received after a long enough stand-by time. 2.2. We will also most often indicate a link to a document rather than send an attachment. It must be borne in mind that a particular document may not be of interest to all members. Many recipients still have rather slow and sometimes unreliable connections, that's why we will try to keep the original postings as light as possible. It happened in the past that quite heavy attachments were sent and we now recognize that it was a mistake. Thus only if it seems that a particular document is of interest to most members and is not very large may it be sent as attachment. 3. Formatting : It was a similar concern of loading time that a smaller font had been used so far, assuming that those who have readibility problems would just enlarge it. A number of respondents suggested improvements in formatting. Again we have to bear with the constraint of having many members with slow and unreliable connection and not necessarily up-to-date software. Styled text proved impractical because many members just do not receive it properly. We recognize the fact that plain text is very drab, and most postings are produced in style text as a matter of fact. But sending destroys all formatting. 4. Editorial concerns : 4.1. As for conclusions to discussions, we admit that there may be some weakness here, and it has been discussed before at Secretariat. We intend to improve this particular aspect, and working groups under development are to participate in the mandate of posting conclusions to discussions. Then conclusions have to be made with an authoritative character and this is not always desirable. In some instances, as Technet is a discussion group, it should remain so and not bring about conclusions that show some members right and others wrong. Most of the time, members should make their own judgments. In the future, this will be assessed topic by topic and conclusions made at some point when necessary. 4.2. Similar concerns apply to editorial notes. It is almost impossible to write such notes in a completely neutral manner. It is going to have an influence on discussions, intended or not. Other discussion groups have such practices and there are pros and cons. One of the problems is that it is almost impossible for members to consider the moderator or someone at Secretariat as a member among others. We believe that Technet as a discussion group is different from a journal or newspaper that has the mandate to shape or influence opinions. This being said, Secretariat will attempt in the most neutral manner to generate discussion as often as necessary by editorials or other means. 5. Other : We were slightly disturbed to learn that half of the survey participants who responded to a job announcement didn't receive any reply. It is true that many organizations posting jobs in any media often communicate only with successful/shortlisted applicants. In any event we will accompany any future such posting with a reminder to applicants that they may not receive a reply unless they are selected at the first step. 6. Website : 6.1. Finally, all comments regarding the website have been very welcome. It is though very interesting to notice that the "links" page is found the most useful by a majority of respondents. It was one of the main features in the first place as we wished that access to the widest sources of information concerning immunization become available in a single and simple website. We will continue to improve it over time and again we would appeal to membership to inform us of any link that would be useful. More documents will also be added but we wish to remind members that only documents that can be accessed electronically will be listed permanently due to limited storage space. 6.2. The site had started to be developed as a very simple documents storage site to become what has now been published and the difference is unmeasurable. At some point, it was thought good and useful enough to be published but keeping in mind that there is always room for improvement. Even before the survey was carried out we were considering improvements and changes. Within the coming few months these will be gradually implemented. In a further posting, we will post all narrative comments sent in by survey participants. These have been read and considered with much interest. They will be taken into account whenever possible in the future. ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ Visit the TECHNET21 Website at You will find instructions to subscribe, a direct access to archives, links to reference documents and other features. ______________________________________________________________________________ To UNSUBSCRIBE, send a message to : mailto:[log in to unmask] Leave the subject area BLANK In the message body, write unsubscribe TECHNET21E ______________________________________________________________________________ The World Health Organization and UNICEF support TechNet21. The TechNet21 e-Forum is a communication/information tool for generation of ideas on how to improve immunization services. It is moderated by Claude Letarte and is hosted in cooperation with the Centre de coopération internationale en santé et développement, Québec, Canada ( ______________________________________________________________________________

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