RFC: Bionet <=> LISTSERV gateway

macrides at sci.wfeb.edu macrides at sci.wfeb.edu
Sun Apr 25 18:35:03 EST 1993


In article <1r223eINN2vk at MINERVA.CIS.YALE.EDU>, smith-una at yale.edu (Una Smith)
writes:
>[...]
>The point is that if the administration of mailing lists were left in the
>hands of the present owners AND gateways were created into bionet groups
>(either existing ones or new ones), the bionet domain could grow far more
>quickly than BIOSCI can. [...]
>
>Furthermore, It is my understanding that the NSF grant now supporting
>BIOSCI is intended as a startup grant;  a stimulus to growth, not maint-
>enance support.  [...]

	Dave has confirmed Una's inference w.r.t. startup vs. maintenance
support, but no one has spelled out exactly *what* is intended to grow.  I
suspect it's greater and better utilization of network resources by biologist,
rather than any particular news hierarchy and set of mailing lists.

	BIOSCI is a very sweet deal for biologists.  Dave and Kenton
conscienciously deal with administrative, subscription, and "glitch-fixing"
matters, leaving discussion leaders and users free to concentrate on the
substance of their discussions.  I certainly hope that maintenance support for
this sweet deal is secured in 1994, but what if it's not?

	The news groups would surely persist despite loss of directed funding,
though subsequent group formation would have to conform more fully to USENET
voting rules.  It's the email services which would be hardest hit by a loss of
funding for BIOSCI.  If Dave and Kenton were unable to continue doing all the
administrative, subscription, and "glitch-fixing" work for us (heaven forbid,
but that could happen), we'd have a now large set of BIOSCI forums, with
discussion leaders (*not* list maintainers) who have little or no hands-on
experience dealing with such matters.  And if mature email lists related to
biology, with list maintainers who do still have this expertise, progressively
move into BIOSCI forums, more and more of this *distributed* expertise will be
lost to us.

	That's why I personally hope that mature email lists choose a gateway
into USENET rather than assimilation into BIOSCI under it's present
regulations.  It has *nothing to do* with stabbing anyone in the back or
undermining anyone's authority.  A *wise* biological community would seek some
redundency, and try to cover as many bases as possible to be prepared for
conceivable eventualities!

	W.r.t. to the issue of where to gate them, all that matters is that
the hierarchy have a name clearly related to biology.  If Dave doesn't what
them in BIOSCI, what exactly *is* wrong with his suggestion that they be
promoted in sci.bio?  That forum does have interesting stuff in it, but is
presently too broad ranging, even when you're accessing it via a news reader.
Gating focussed email lists into sci.bio.* sub-groups would be helpful there
-- and the email addresses for subscriptions would be the same whether the
news group names were bionet.* or sci.bio.*.

	One last question I have.  At the start of the NSF grant Dave posted a
message notifying us that BIOSCI's email services would be discontinued within
three years (Thanks Dave! I added that to our folder of reasons to pay the
higher costs of Internet instead of staying stuck on the BITNET donkeycart.)


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