Reorganization of bionet.general

David Steffen steffen at
Mon Dec 16 13:28:42 EST 1991

  I am posting this message to strongly support the plan for
reorganization of bionet.general, called either Plan A or the
Kristofferson plan, which calls for creating one new group, called
bionet.announce, which would be moderated, and legitimizing the use of
bionet.general as a multipurpose discussion group.  As of my last
reading, Plan B, the Macrides plan, has been modified to differ from
Plan A only in the absence of moderation for the .announce group.  In
any case, I believe that moderation of the .announce group is the
critical difference between the two plans.

  In my opinion, the decision as to moderation of bionet.announce
rests on one point of opinion; exists there an important group of
people for whom a large number of messages is a significant problem?
I think that David Kristofferson and I agree that there is, and thus
we favor a moderated bionet.announce to absolutely insure that this
group of people will not receive too many messages.  That, in my
opinion, is why we need one more group, and why it must be moderated.

  Who is this group of fastidious biologists who need protection from
kilobytes of drivel?  These are biologists who have no intrinsic
fascination with computers, who do not consider reading of newsgroups
in any way recreational or fun, whose expertese does/could vastly
enrich the value of the bionet newsgroups.  These people may go weeks
without logging on to bionet, or even turning on their computers.
Obviously, this is suboptimal, but if they see the message:
"2,347 messages in bionet.general, read now?"
this won't help a bit!  Many of these people I knew during my 8 years
at the Worcester Foundation, and I have puzzled a bit over why Fote
doesn't know these same people.  One example: the Scientific Director
of the Worcester Foundation, Thoru "computers are scientific cocaine"
Peterson.  I cannot imagine he would be willing to put up with the
current bionet.general, but I would be ecstatic if we could have is
enormous knowledge about nuclear RNAs residing on the bionet groups.
If he logged on to bionet.announce once or twice, found there a
reasonable number of relevant messages, he might be willing to
continue to log on.

  Fote asks if there are any important arguments for moderation.  I
believe I have given one.  I would now reverse the question; are there
any important arguments AGAINST ADDING a moderated newsgroup.  Those
of us who spend our lunch hours every day reading bionet.* would have
bionet.general and need feel no guilt about posting long and posting
often.  Those people who spend their lunch hours otherwise, would have
a nice, quiet newsgroup.  Let me suggest one modification to Plan A,
to see if it would remove any objections to its creation: everything
posted to bionet.announce would also be posted to bionet.general.
Computerphobes would read bionet.announce, computerphiles would read

  Just in case I have been unclear or unfair; I am not picking of
Fote.  His postings make my lunch hour, and every time I see his
signature with WFEB in it, it brings tears of nastalgia to my eyes.

David Steffen
Department of Cell Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston TX 77030
Telephone = (713) 798-6655, FAX = (713) 790-0545
Internet = steffen at

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