longer discussions

David Steffen steffen at mbir.bcm.tmc.edu
Fri Jul 26 10:41:34 EST 1991

CZJ at CU.NIH.GOV writes:
> I just returned from a week ...[in]...Amsterdam.  Logging
> onto my e-mail I found 248 messages from the various bboards.

and kramer at bionette.cgrb.orst.edu (Jack Kramer - Biophysics) responds:
> This article illustrates an important point on "longer discussions".  Much 
> of the argument on volume of traffic on bionet.general seems polarized
> between those who want wide open vs. restricted contents.  From the 
> comments in the arguments I feel that the method of locally reading the
> bulletin board or newsgroup [mailing lists vs USENET news]
> is the primary influence in biasing to one extreme or the other.
[Wonderful summary of the advantages of USENET deleted.]

At the risk of pounding a dead horse into amino acids, I would like to
suggest one more time the importance of long term AND short term
solutions to the "bionet.general problem".  I have the good fortune to
be reading these groups via USENET, and have been fully persuaded that
this is the way to go.  I am also quite sure that it will be some time
before all biologists switch to this method.  Firstly, the amount of
time an average working biologist can afford to spend managing
computer resources is by necessity limited, so most of us avoid
change.  Secondly, access to bionet in any form usually implies a central
computer facility.  Persuading your university or research institute
or whatever to switch from bitnet to internet can approach
impossibility.  Thus, bionet will probably have to live with reading
lists for some time, or else cut off a portion of its readership,
which would be a shame.

Given the above, dividing bionet.general into two groups, a high
volume unmoderated group and a low volume moderated group could
accomodate those with a low tolerance for volume and those of us who
want the opporunity for more far-reaching discussions.  This, of
course, is not a perfect solution.  The problem of separate threads
going on in one group can only partially be solved by careful use of
"subject:" lines.  Further, we will all miss the participation of
those who cannot tolerate the volume and choose not to subscribe to
this group, especially of a better form of access could have kept them
in.  All I am suggesting is an imperfect solution for an imperfect

P.S. Whenever I follow up an article to bionet.general, it
automatically gets sent to bionet.followup, unless I remember to
change this before I send.  This just happened to me, so somewhere (on
bionet.followup??) is a copy of this message.
(1) Where do messages to bionet.followup go?
(2) Can we make this stop?

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

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