CALL FOR DISCUSSION: MOLLUSCS/bionet.molbio.molluscs

Lachlan Cranswick lachlan at
Tue Jul 26 19:21:25 EST 1994

una at (Una Smith) writes:

>>We would like status as a full-fledged
>>newsgroup from the beginning so our postings can be archived and
>>available through USENET.

>The archiving of traffic doesn't depend on being a Usenet newsgroup.
>Why doesn't this mailng list have an archive already?  How much
>traffic does it get?  A Usenet newsgroup will go to tens of thousands
>of sites;  is there real potential for tens of thousands of readers?
>Perhaps this mailing list should stay a mailing list.  I note that
> has the ListProcessor package running, and hosts several
>biology mailing lists already.

>	Una Smith			smith-una at

>Department of Biology, Yale University, New Haven, CT  06520-8104  USA

Ignoring for the moment that (thankfully) bionet is not officially
part of the Usenet and does not have to follow Usenet "guidelines" -
that effectively discourage new serious science newsgroups.  Were
the hundered of millions of dollars spent in various countries
on academic and research networks (i.e., AARNet, NFSNet, JANET,
etc) so that it could be the playtoy of some individuals with
the seeming mentality of 5 year olds.

Many colleagues in the biological fields praise the bionet
for its high quality of discussions, low noise
and its scientist friendly nature.  
Enabling easier access to specialist fields
(and also the good bionet help/technical support) is a positive step.
This compares to the Usenet, full of "cranks and
wierdos", with its emphasis on noise, technicalities and
trivia.  If anyone takes exception to the
terms "cranks and wierdos", you may like to get
a copy of the yesterday's (Tuesday) Melbourne Age which
has the article :-

Trivia glut 'clogging Usenet'
Scientists say a plethora of cranks and wierdos in
newsgroups is damaging Usenet's value,
[100 lines of body text deleted]

There is also an editorial in a recent New Scientist (11 June)
that includes the following quote :-

"Most of what passes for conversation on the Internet
is either stream-of-consciousness drivel or a kind of electronic
Trivial Pursuit".


Given the potential of "newsgroup" technology for formal and
informal world wide communication, I would hope a proposal
for a serious bionet and science newsgroup is not poisened by
the same individuals with a very narrow and "possibly" purile vision
of what this technology can achieve.  Based on the most popular
Usenet newsgroups, this vision would be limited to serving
the wierdos and cranks, and little else.  I would think that
University chancellors would be embarressed to
think that their employees or students are spending large
chunks of time poisoning the ability of international research
networks to be applied to science and other related fields.

I take it the above opinions on why science newsgroups
should not be encouraged are only an individuals
opinions and in no way represent any authority implied
or otherwise (such as Yale Univerisity?) on the 
"encouraged" use of the internet.


PS : What happened to the no-vote newsgroups idea?  The Usenet
cranks and wierdos didn't vote it down on "principle" did they?

Lachlan Cranswick  -  CSIRO     _--_|\  lachlan at dmp.CSIRO.AU 
Division of Mineral Products   /      \ tel +61 3 647 0367 
PO Box 124, Port Melbourne     \_.--._/ fax +61 3 646 3223 
3207 AUSTRALIA                       v    

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