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RFD - bionet.molbio.genearrays

Brian Fristensky frist at cc.UManitoba.CA
Fri Dec 8 21:39:18 EST 2000

                      CALL FOR DISCUSSION (RFD)
                unmoderated group bionet.molbio.genearrays

This is a formal Request For Discussion (RFD) for the creation of the
unmoderated Usenet newsgroup bionet.molbio.genearrays.  This is not
a Call for Votes (CFV); you cannot vote at this time. Procedural
details are below.

Newsgroup lines:
bionet.molbio.genearrays - gene array methods, strategies, software and

USENET newsgroups can be read using Netscape or
Internet Explorer. To find
out how to do this, look in the browser Help
menu under "newsgroups".


RATIONALE: bionet.molbio.genearrays

There is currently no newsgroup dedicated to discussions and
announcements relating to gene arrays despite the fact that
gene arrays are being used in almost every field of biology.
Gene array technology encompases both microarrays (on glass
slides) and macroarrays (on filters). Probes can be made
with numerous labeling methods, and analytical methods
are still in a state of flux. In fact, it could be said
that all elements of this technology are still
evolving. The value of such a newsgroup then, is to
allow workers in this field to compare notes and
hopefully arrive at a consensus as to what works
and what doesn't.

It would be a bad idea to relegate discussion of
arrays to a group such as bionet.methds-reagnts,
since that group already has very high traffic.

Although two LISTSERVs exist (see below), in practice,
there have been many problems. Aside for filling up one's mailbox
with messages, LISTSERVs are highly susceptble to the spread
of email viruses, as occurred recently on GENEARRAYS.
The "Navidad" virus was propogated onto the group, which
in turn resulted in a flood of automated virus warning
messages from various servers. The group was temporarily
shut down, but several days later, the earlier flood
of messages was sent out a second time, again
containing the Navidad virus. In my opinion, this
is one of many reasons why listservs should not
be used when specialized news tools already exist.

Seldom does anyone read the LISTSERV instructions, which
results in a large number of "subscribe" and "unsubscribe"
messages being posted. Worse, many users unknowingly
use "reply", thinking they are sending personal
messages to an individual, when in fact these messages
go to the entire group. This kind of mistake almost never
occurs on USENET newsgroups, due to the overtly public
nature of the groups. As well, LISTSERVs do not have features
such as threading that make USENET newsgroups easier to follow.
In fairness, it is necessary to note that a majority of the
members of the GENEARRAYS list voted down an earlier
proposal to move to a USENET newsgroup. After the most
recent virus incident, I think it merits reconsideration
of such a newsgroup. As well, this RFD opens the
discussion to the larger body of BIONET users.

This RFD recommends that the group not be moderated,
because there is no compelling reason for moderation.
Moderation slows down posts, makes extra work and makes
the list dependent on a single person. Spam can
easily be identified in subject lines, and messages need
never be downloaded to one's computer. Mechanisms
exist in most newsreaders to maintain a 'kill' file.

CHARTER: bionet.molbio.genearrays

The group bionet.molbio.genearrays is for the discussion of topics
relating gene array/micro array technology.
This includes but is not limited to:

   - making filter arrays or slide arrays
   - strategies eg. normalization
   - quality control, quality assurance
   - array software and databases
   - theory and data mining
   - arrays, reagents or equipment commercially available
   - Product announcements


   - Money-making schemes or other spam
   - advertising (beyond simple product announcements)
   - Posting of job announcements or resumes (post these to misc.job
     or another appropriate job-related group.

The official language of the group will be English.



This is a request for discussion, not a call for votes.  In this phase
of the process, any potential problems with the proposed newsgroups
should be raised and resolved.  The discussion period will continue
for a minimum of 10 days (starting from when the first RFD for this
proposal is posted to bionet.general), after which a Call For
Votes (CFV) may be posted if the discussion
warrants it.  Please do not attempt to vote until this happens.

All discussion of this proposal should be posted to bionet.general

This RFD attempts to comply with instructions for creating a
BIOSCI newsgroup/mailing list at


Please refer to this document if you have any
questions about the process.


This RFD will be posted to:


   (for info send the line "help gene-arrays" to
listserv at ittsrv1.ucsf.edu)

   (for info see http://genome-www.stanford.edu/email/plantarrays.html)


   Brian Fristensky <frist at cc.umanitoba.ca>


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