IMPORTANT: Serious violation of* vote

Una Smith una at
Mon Jun 20 15:16:54 EST 1994

In an article posted to bionet.announce Thursday (included below), David
Kristofferson apparently refers to an article I posted in bionet.general
and news.groups on 4 June, nearly three weeks ago.  He accuses the poster
(me) of committing a "serious violation" of his policy.

David Kristofferson <biovote at> wrote:

>It has come to my attention that a graduate student who is personally
>opposed to the* proposal which is currently
>undergoing a vote, recently took an action in outright violation of
>stated BIOSCI voting policy.
>In a stated attempt to bring in negative votes from outside the BIOSCI
>readership community, an appeal was made in the news.groups and
>bionet.general newsgroups for NO votes on the following proposal after
>the Call for Votes was issued.  The voting policy, as can be seen at
>the end of the CFV below, has always explicitly forbidden the posting
>of vote solicitations after the issuance of the CFV and was
>particularly intended to prevent postings on non-BIOSCI forums to
>avoid influencing the outcome of votes by people who do not regularly
>participate in these newsgroups.

        Here is the relevant sentence from below, verbatim:

        "Discussion of the newsgroup proposal is now closed and
        we strongly discourage posting any messages in other forums
        about the fact that a CALL FOR VOTES has been issued."

>This policy is important because the
>number of votes needed to approve or disapprove a BIOSCI proposal are
>lower than those in the USENET mainstream by design, i.e., to put less
>obstacles in the face of biologists' use of the net.  These lower
>limits only make sense within the context of the size of the BIOSCI
>community, not when the users of the Internet at large are invoked.
>In particular an appeal to the news.groups newsgroup is an attempt to
>have non-biologists, e.g., news systems administrators who may know
>nothing of the issues discussed about this proposal, send in votes to
>influence the outcome.
>There are clear grounds to declare the vote invalid and start over
>again because of this interference, but, since I have two major
>professional societies (FASEB and ASCB) currently awaiting the outcome
>of the vote on this proposal and other FASEB-affiliated societies who
>will likely follow later, and since this would give the graduate
>student in question the pleasure of having singlehandedly delayed the
>process for these societies by several more weeks, I am issuing instead
>one final appeal to the BIOSCI readership, i.e., the biology
>community, not USENET administrators who are unfamiliar with the
>issues involved on this proposal, to give me their opinion on this
>issue.  Assuming that there are no further posts in violation of our
>policies, I will abide by the outcome of the vote.  Please send in to
>biovote at either your "YES ON PS-EXEMPT" or "NO ON
>PS-EXEMPT" vote before 00 hrs Pacific Time on 27 June as detailed
>below.  If you missed the discussion about this proposal held late
>last month on bionet.general, you can find it in the archives on
> via gopher in the BIOFORUM folder under item 9405 or via
>                               Sincerely,
>                               David Kristofferson, Ph.D.
>                               BIOSCI/bionet Manager
>                               biosci-help at

Here's the appended copy, verbatim, of the CFV that David Kristofferson
mentions above.  Note that it is the second CFV, which was posted this
week, long after my article to bionet.general and news.groups.

David Kristofferson <biovote at> wrote:

>>This is the second and final call for votes on the following proposal
>>to allow the creation of new newsgroups for professional societies
>>with >= 500 members in the domain without going
>>through the voting process for each new group.  The only change made
>>to the proposal as a result of the discussion process was to insert
>>the phrase "in the domain" in the first sentence.
>>This change was made to emphasize that only moderated professional
>>society newsgroups in the portion of the bionet
>>USENET hierarchy would be exempt from the voting process.  Votes must
>>still be taken on all other BIOSCI/bionet newsgroups.
>>*** NOTE *** We are currently running several votes for other
>>newsgroups, so please be certain to follow the voting directions
>>*carefully*!  If you just send in a message saying "YES" or "NO" it
>>will not be counted if it is not clear which proposal you are
>>responding to.
>>Proposal: The following change will be made to the BIOSCI newsgroup
>>creation policy.
>>"BIOSCI will create a moderated newsgroup in the
>>domain without voter approval for any professional society in the
>>biological sciences which has a membership of at least 500.  Smaller
>>groups must go through the regular BIOSCI/bionet newsgroup creation
>>process.  Because these groups are not discussion forums, they will be
>>exempted from the 52 message per year minimum posting limit and would
>>only be discontinued if the society in question no longer wishes to
>>use them.  If usage seems extremely low on any group in the
>> domain, the BIOSCI/bionet staff will contact the
>>society in question and ensure that the newsgroup is still wanted."
>>David Kristofferson
>>BIOSCI/bionet Manager
>>biosci-help at
>>Voting is now open on the* vote exemption policy
>>change (abbreviated PS-EXEMPT) and will run through 24:00 hrs Pacific
>>Time on 26 June 1994.  Please send your vote to either of the
>>following addresses:
>>Address                               Location        Network
>>-------                               --------        -------
>>biovote at               U.K.            JANET
>>biovote at                   U.S.A.          Internet/BITNET
>>NAME MAY BE AMBIGUOUS.  Your vote should contain a single line:
>>if you favor allowing the creation of professional society newsgroups
>>without a vote as detailed in the proposal above or
>>if you think that this policy change will adversely affect the
>>BIOSCI/bionet system.  While not intended to be an exhaustive list of
>>possible concerns (more specific concerns may have been raised during
>>the discussion period on BIOFORUM/bionet.general and interested
>>readers are referred to these), some general reasons for voting NO
>>might be if you are concerned about newsgroup proliferation and/or
>>believe that the proposed group will not be utilized, or if you think
>>that the proposed newsgroups would substantially duplicate or overlap
>>with the function of existing newsgroups.  If you are simply not
>>interested in participating in the newsgroups that may result from the
>>policy change above, please don't cast a NO vote, but instead just
>>don't vote at all.
>>The newsgroup proposal must receive at least 80 YES votes to pass and
>>the number of YES votes must be greater than the number of NO votes by
>>at least 40.  Discussion of the newsgroup proposal is now closed and
>>we strongly discourage posting any messages in other forums about the
>>fact that a CALL FOR VOTES has been issued.
>>                              Sincerely,
>>                              Dave Kristofferson
>>                              BIOSCI/bionet Manager

	Una Smith			smith-una at

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

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