BIOSCI newsgroup creation/termination policy

Foteos Macrides MACRIDES at WFEB2.BITNET
Thu Feb 27 13:07:00 EST 1992


David Steffen writes:
>>>Point Two: Increasing the number of required YES votes to 80
>>>Point Three: Terminate groups with less than one message a week
>I have mixed feelings about these proposals.  On the one hand, I think
>that these rules are not THAT different from the USENET standard, and
>that there would be virtue in trying to abide by the USENET standard.
>On the other hand, I see the aggresive termination policy as an
>IMPROVEMENT over the USENET standard (which, as far as I know, has no
>standard way for removing groups, e.g. comp.sys.northstar).
>
>I will abide by Dave Kristofferson's wisdom on this issue; I would
>vote YES on his proposed change, if it is submitted as such.  However,
>during the discussion, I would ask him to comment on the following
>points:
>Is it really true that there is a significant difference in the number
>of groups that would be created at an 80 vs 100 vote level?  (I
>understand the NO vote issue, but perhaps we could be compliant with
>the rules by asking people to be VERY selective about NO votes.)  The
>advantage with being compliant with the rules is that we would then
>not have to exclude campaigning on other groups.  The discussion of a
>plant group has already spilled over to sci.bio, and thus under Dave's
>proposed rules any voting on a plant group would have to be
>invalidated.  Further, one of the points made on sci.bio is that many
>sites don't get the bionet groups, so people at these sites were
>campaigning for sci.plants instead of bionet.plants.  Would be be
>accepted at more sites if we abided by the USENET standard rules?

        Is the failure to carry bionet groups really due to *active* choices
of system managers, or just to ignorance about them and failure of those
users to ask that they be carried?

>Finally, there are several, broader issues deserving of discussion,
>probably after this discussion is finished:
>(1) Would it be better to have fewer, larger groups than we have now?
>for example, how 'bout combining the genbank and embl groups into one?

        I have *a lot* to say about this later (bionet.databases; great minds
run in the same gutter 8-).

>(2) Are there better paradyms for what the newsgroups try to
>accomplish.  I read many groups other than the bionet ones, and they
>have indicated to me the kinds of problems that will develop has use
>of the bionet groups increase.

        This ultimately gets back to the issue of "professionalism."  We may
have "individual differences" and occasional debates about exactly what that
is, but it seems clear that the majority of bionet/BIOSCI readers/contributors
want it.  Particularly if we presently total only 500-600, I personally would
have apprehensions about *totally* casting our lot with USENET and its large
population of "recreational" users.  Let's take the blows and do it *our* way
(what's the USENET symbol for "sing as you read this" 8-).  80 in 30 and 52
minimum seems about right, for now.

                                Fote

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 Foteos Macrides           Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology
 MACRIDES at WFEB2.BITNET     222 Maple Avenue, Shrewsbury, MA 01545
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