Plan D from outer space: A clean sweep

Sat Dec 14 02:51:07 EST 1991

Dave Kristofferson writes:

/I will briefly describe these proposals under the headings of Plans A,
/B, and C below and will then give my partisan reasons for preferring
/Plan A.  Fote will post his reasons for plan B, and then we will open
/this up for discussion in the event that anyone else has an even
/better solution.

	I have another suggestion, but whether or not it is better is up to 
the marketplace to decide. This plan is somewhat radical, so the sqeamish 
may want to stop reading now ;-). Before I get into the details, let me 
review some of the problems that we all experience that we would like to 
have resolved. What follows is a list of the last 19 messages in this 
newsgroup, which is a microcosm of the problems that are experienced by the 
biosci groups as a whole. In most instances, I haven't included the name of 
the poster.

/   # Description                                           From
/  98 BIO-CHAT
/  99 Re: BIO-CHAT                                         kristoff
/ 100 RFD:  sci.engr.biomed
/ 101 re: Tet resistance
/ 102 Intro to Bio-Internet
/ 103 Re: Ligase Chain Reaction
/ 104 linkage analysis
/ 105 Why is the methods newsgroup the most successful?
/ 107 Re: Tet resistance
/ 109 Theory in biology
/ 110 Request fax #'s for following NMR scientists
/ 111 Help with fax #'s for two scientists
/ 112 Maize Genome
/ 115 RE-REORGANIZATION PLAN                               MACRIDES
/ 116 NOTE to UK Readers - BIOSCI routes to the UK changed kristoff

This list illustrates the following problems:

	i) Inappropriate postings to this newsgroup (messages 101, 103, 
		104, 106, 107, 110, 111, 112, 113), presumably because of 
		the reasons Dave outlined (wanting to reach a wider 
		audience, or being unaware of the correct group)

	ii) Requests for subscription/unsubscription information (message 

	iii) Duplicate postings to this group, probably inadvertantly 
		(messages 110 and 111)

	iv) Duplicate postings to different groups, probably on purpose 
		(message 113)

Both plans proposed so far attempt to deal with problem (i). I agree with 
Fote that there should be more divisions created to deal with numerous 
messages that can't be easily classified into the existing groups. However, 
I agree with Dave when he suggests that having more groups will not 
guarantee that messages will be posted in the correct place. Neither 
proposal deals with these four problems in the other groups. Therefore I 
would (very humbly) like to suggest that Dave's proposal be extended so that 
all messages will be sent to *one* "directed" group (biosci-everything?), 
the "director" of which would decide to which group the message should be 
"directed". This would clearly solve the four common problems I have 
listed. Messages would go to the appropriate groups, duplicates would be 
discarded, and un/subscribe messages would go straight to the source and 
not out to the rest of us. It might even be practical to create a special 
employment list that would not be sent across networks that prohibit 
commercial concerns from advertising job openings to serve those of us who 
would like to know what industry has to offer.

	Since Dave Kristofferson has already offered to "direct" his 
vision of biosci-general, I think he would be the logical person to be the 
general "director" of all biosci lists. I trust his judgement and don't see
why anyone would be worried about surrepticious censorship because there
would be no motive. Offensive drivel such as that unfortunate string about
interspecies hybrids that occurred a couple of months ago would be directed
to the chat group, rather than the evolution group. 

	Besides solving the general problems with the biosci groups that I 
listed above, I think this proposal would lead to increased use of these 
newsgroups by biologists because it would be easier to post a message (no 
problem deciding where to post it since there would only be one place), and 
inadvertant mistakes such as double postings wouldn't demonstrate your lack of 
expertise to the rest of the world because the second (and sometimes third, 
fourth, fifth, etc) copy wouldn't get past the "director".

	I believe that computer systems should be configured so that it is 
as easy as possible for novices to make use of them - the computer should 
adapt to the user, not the other way around. Unfortunately artificial 
intelligence hasn't been developed to the point that a machine could direct 
the messages to the appropriate newsgroups, so some person would need to do 
that job. Since Dave reads all the messages anyway, I don't expect that it 
would be much more of a burden on him (please correct me if I'm wrong about 

Steve Clark

clark at  (Internet)
clark at salk               (Bitnet)

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