Martin Latterich martin at
Thu Apr 27 19:14:55 EST 2000

                      The BIONET.MICROBIOLOGY FAQ
                          Swansong Version
                           April 27, 2000

This is the final version of the BIONET.MICROBIOLOGY FAQ (frequently asked
questions). This FAQ is largely compiled from suggestions and input from
participants in the MICROBIOLOGY news group. There is always more that can
added, and I do appreciate additions, info, suggestions, criticism of
to the microbiology community. Please send all submissions to
mlatterich at with Micro FAQ as subject header.

New versions of this FAQ will be posted once a month to BIONET.MICROBIOLOGY,
as close to the beginning of the month as humanly possible.

The FAQ is organized as follows:

I.     What is bionet.microbiology
II.    How to access bionet.microbiology
III.   How to retrieve old articles
IV.    How and what to post in bionet.microbiology
V.     Actual frequently asked questions
VI.    Miscellaneous


bionet.microbiology is an internet news group aimed at the discussion and
information exchange of any relevant microbiological topic. The news group
in the bionet sector and is accessible to subscription via electronic mail
and/or directly from news servers carrying the bionet newsgroups.

The news group, bionet.microbiology, is intended as a forum for scientific
discussions and questions regarding all aspects of the microbiological
sciences. Topics ranging from the microorganisms9 biochemistry, evolution,
genetics, host-parasite relationships, molecular biology, pathology,
physiology, role in biotechnology, role in pathogenesis, taxonomy to the
teaching of microbiology will be covered.

In addition, the news group will allow announcements of meetings, funding
sources and job opportunities, a collection of practical advice,
specific to the field of microbiology, a list of frequently asked questions,
including but not limited to common techniques, experimental approaches to
reoccurring problems, the "to-knows" about microbes and pointers to other
information sources.


The news group is in the bionet sector and is accessible from your local
server (NNTP server), assuming it carries the bionet newsgroups. You also
subscribe to bionet.microbiology via electronic mail.

1) Access by NNTP server

The news group is accessible as bionet.microbiology by NNTP servers carrying
bionet newsgroups. If your NNTP server does not have bionet.microbiology, it
is likely that your local news administrator has overlooked this news group.
Please contact your local news administrator concerning the addition of this
news group to your local news server (see below).

2) Access by e-mail

Everyone in the AMERICAS and the PACIFIC RIM who has no access to a news
server and wishes to subscribe to bionet.microbiology can send an e-mail to:

        biosci-server at

with the following text in the body of the message:

        subscribe microbio

If you are located in EUROPE, AFRICA, OR CENTRAL ASIA and wish to
subscribe to bionet.microbiology, send an e-mail to:

        MXT at

with the following text in the body of the message:

        SUB bionet-news.bionet.microbiology

3) General BIOSCI/bionet information

If you like to know more about e-mail subscription and other bionet.*
newsgroups and are located in the AMERICAS or the PACIFIC RIM, send an
from your account to:

       biosci-server at


       info usinfo

in the body of your message. If you like to know more about e-mail
subscription and other bionet.* newsgroups and are located in Europe, Africa
or Asia, send an e-mail from your account to:

       biosci-server at


       info ukinfo

in the body of your message.

You will receive a file with instructions of how to access the bionet.*
newsgroups and furthermore find pointers to other useful information. Dave
Kristofferson, the BIOSCI/bionet Manager, and others have done an excellent
job in compiling a list of helpful information which are 3a must2 to
not familiar with the internet and netnews. This BIOSCI/bionet FAQ will
all aspects concerning access to newsgroups, subscription, cancellation of
subscription, how to post articles, what to post and not to post, how to
to posts. I strongly recommend everyone not yet familiar with netnews and e-
mail subscription to take a few minutes to familiarize themselves with the
BIOSCI/bionet FAQ document. The FAQ can be retrieved by sending an e-mail

       biosci-server at


       info faq

in the body of your message.


1) Access of bionet.microbiology archives by anonymous FTP and gopher

Archives for bionet.microbiology can be accessed by anonymous FTP at [] in the pub/BIOSCI/MICROBIOLOGY directory. Note
files are ordered by date, and that the filenames are case sensitive.

The same archived files are accessible via Gopher using as your
gopher server. Gopher also allows you to view the individual messages within
each monthly archive file. The files are in the MICROBIOLOGY directory.
see the BIOSCI/bionet faq for details (see above).


Any message or post concerning microbiology, it9s sub disciplines, or any
aspect of interest to the microbiology community are welcome in this news
group, provided they are scientific in nature or are of scientific interest.

Some technical guidelines to posting messages to the bionet newsgroups are
described in the BIOSCI/bionet faq (see above), and anybody not certain of
and what to post should become familiar with the document.

If you like to post to the news group with your favorite news reader, please
follow the instructions of your news reader of how to post an article.

If you like to post to the news group by e-mail, and are located in the
AMERICAS or the PACIFIC RIM, send an e-mail from your account to:

       microbio at

If you like to post to the news group by e-mail, and are located in Europe,
Africa or Asia, send an e-mail from your account to:

       microbio at


1.) bionet.microbiology is not on my NNTP server ?

Give an updated version of the so called checkgroup-message to your news
system administrator to update your current list of newsgroups.
The message is posted to bionet.announce on the first of
each month and is available for retrieval at any time from via FTP, gopher, and Mosaic:

2) How to deal with inappropriate and/or offensive posts ?

BIONET.MICROBIOLOGY is not moderated, meaning that every post made to that
news group will be distributed to all recipients, irrespective of content.
The advantages are speed and lack of censorship ;-).  The obvious
is that anybody can make an inappropriate or in the worst case even
post.  While I as discussion leader will make any effort to educate in
private individuals who posted letters to the news group that do not belong
there, or as it happened recently take action against individuals that are
guilty of gross violations of news policy (spamming) resulting in the
termination of internet access for that party, readers will still be able to
read inappropriate or offensive posts.  My humble advice is to delete such
messages where the header suggests that they may be offensive and not read
at all because the message content can be disturbing.  The only alternative
to have BIONET.MICROBIOLOGY moderated (and even moderated newsgroups are not
fool proof) which involves a lot of work for the moderator, and certainly
slow the information flow.
Having said the above, I personally do not think that our news group has
seen to much inappropriateness.  I very much favor the idea to have an
unmoderated news group because in my opinion moderation will bring along
low level censorship (dependent on the moderator of course) which is
inhibitory to the free and uninhibited information flow in any field.

3) What is the policy on Flame-Wars ?

Flames (a letter meant to insult or provoke) have become somewhat popular
among scientists.  While the BIONET.MICROBIOLOGY news group encourages free
expression of opinion and even the unconventional opinion, freedom of
expression has it9s limits when it obviously interferes with the rights of
another individual.  I strongly encourage people to use their common sense
when making a post, and not post anything that others might find offensive
worse, with the intend to downplay an opponent.

4) Do I need permission to post here ?

No, anyone is free to post here as long as the post is of scientific
and as long as it does not represent a commercial ad or flame.


This FAQ reaches a size which is no longer convenient to post to the news
group in one piece. I may set up a WEB page containing links to other
sites of microbiological interest and delete this information in future
editions of the FAQ.

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