Plan D from outer space: A clean sweep

Don Gilbert gilbertd at
Sat Dec 14 09:02:45 EST 1991

I like Steve Clark's analysis of the problems with inappropriate &
misdirected postings on bionet.general.  His general idea that some
intelligence should act as a "director" to sort out which group
gets postings (and keeps out subscribe/unsub requests) is good.  But
I don't believe it would work to put the burden of director (i.e.,
moderator) of all groups on one person.  

I couldn't do it -- if I had to decide which group got which message, it 
would take an extra effort to classify each message.  When I want a break 
from my computer, or am ill, on vacation, in conference, or busy with 
paying work, everyone else would be missing their news.  This would be 
a daily, nay, hourly job, suitable only for someone who has an electronic 
umbilicus.  Those of you who deal with Sun computers may know what 
happened over the last 6 months to the primary Usenet group for Sun users,
Comp.Sys.Sun, which died when it's moderator stopped forwarding all
messages to the group (for reasons he has never made public).  This is
a peril of all moderated groups, and putting all bionet groups under
one moderator (even if just as "director") is potentially disastrous.

I do think it would be possible, from my limited knowledge of this topic,
to have a neural net or other artifical intelligence program learn the
relatively simple task of deciding which group should get which message,
BUT I don't think there is any person with the expert knowledge to 
implement such software for Bionet who as the free time for such a 

Another possibility along this line is to have a group of people act
as directors.  Spreading the burden amoung 10 or so people could eliminate
the problems stemming from one moderator.  The problem here is that no
software exists, to my knowledge, that would allow a group of people to
moderate a pool of messages (if one moderator deals with a message, that
should pull it from the pool other moderators can act on).

So I return to Dave Kristofferson's plan A as the most workable for the
needs to separate important news from general discussion.  While
Fote Macrides plan B may be an ideal way to dissect topics in the general
group, I don't see it as workable.  The need for some sort of moderation
to a primary bionet newsgroup (.announce) is apparent.  Beyond that, another 
general but unmoderated chat or discussion group will serve for what 
much of bionet.general now carries.

Don Gilbert                                     gilbert at
biocomputing office, biology dept., indiana univ., bloomington, in 47405

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