newsgroup status report

Jon Monroe monroejd at jmu.edu
Thu Jun 18 13:30:29 EST 1998


Plant-eders,

I just spoke with the BIOSCI administrator and have some information to
report.

To give newcomers a bit of history, about a year ago we were flooded with
spam messages (junk mail) prompting us to consider becoming a moderated
group.  We discussed the pros and cons here and voted overwhelmingly to
become moderated.  In my subsequent conversations with the BIOSCI
administrator the possibility of electronic spam filtering was raised, and
the switch to moderation was postponed.  Since the rate of spams went way
down I assumed we were being filtered, but I just learned that we are not.
Today we discussed some of the problems with filtering and I now appreciate
how difficult a task it is.  The current filtering software is being tested
on another newsgroup and the rates of false positives and false negatives
are fairly high.

Since the rate of spams to Plant-ed is still relatively low, we agreed to
not do anything right now, and to await the next generation of spam
filtering software.  We might be the newsgroup it is tested on.  If for
some reason the rate of spams increases dramatically before filtering is
possible we will invoke moderation and look at our alternatives.

Thanks for your tolerance through all of this.  My recommendation to you is
to delete junk messages as quickly as possible.  Don't think about them and
don't respond to them (to Plant-ed or to the sender).  Keep posting your
always-interesting questions and suggestions about teaching plant biology,
and this will continue to be a useful resource for the community.

Jon Monroe (Plant-ed discussion co-leader)

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  Jonathan Monroe                voice:  540-568-6649 (office)
  Department of Biology                  540-568-6045 (lab)
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  Harrisonburg, VA 22807-0001    e-mail: monroejd at jmu.edu
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