BIOSCI/bionet miniFAQ & Fundraiser

BIOSCI Administrator biohelp at net.bio.net
Fri Jun 19 08:53:04 EST 1998

 This BIOSCI "miniFAQ" is designed to answer the questions that come up
 the *most frequently*.  The main BIOSCI FAQ (Frequently Asked
 Questions) is accessible on the World Wide Web at URL
 If you can not find an answer to your question in this or other
 documentation, the BIOSCI technical support staff answers e-mail
 queries sent to
 		       biosci-help at net.bio.net
 We can only answer questions about the use of the newsgroups and
 mailing lists.  We unfortunately do not have the staff to do Internet
 information searches or answer scientific questions.  Please post
 those to the appropriate BIOSCI/bionet newsgroups.
 	1) Using the WWW to access the BIOSCI/bionet newsgroups.
 	2) What to do about "spams," i.e., junk mail, ads, etc.
 	3) Examples of subscribing and unsubscribing to the mailing lists.
 	4) The BIOSCI user address and research interest directory.
 BIOSCI's government funding has been expended, and we are now
 operating solely from advertising revenue that we have raised from our
 Web site at http://www.bio.net/.  We need just a few minutes of your
 time to help us serve you.
 You can do two important things which will take very little time for
 you individually and will immensely help us continue to help you.
 First, please use our WWW system at http://www.bio.net/ to access the
 archives.  You can post or reply to messages via your Web browser as
 described in item #1 below.  Your usage helps attract sponsors. If you
 contact any of our sponsors, please be sure to thank them for
 supporting BIOSCI. It is critical for them to get this feedback if
 they are to continue their sponsorship for the long term.
 Second, if you work for a company or organization that provides
 products or services of interest to the biology community, please pass
 this message on to your marketing or marketing communications
 department or other appropriate group.  Please ask them to help
 support BIOSCI by sponsoring our Web site and explain the uses and
 benefits of the system to the biology community. If they are
 interested, they can then contact us for further information at our
 tech support address, biosci-help at net.bio.net.
 1) Using the WWW to access the BIOSCI/bionet newsgroups.
 As of 10 December 1995, all BIOSCI/bionet full newsgroups are
 accessible through the World Wide Web (WWW) at URL http://www.bio.net.
 One can read and reply publicly or privately to both recent postings
 and archived messages through one's Web browser if it is configured
 properly to send e-mail.  Each newsgroup is equipped with its own WAIS
 index.  The main BIOSCI home page also has access to the BIO-JOURNALS
 Table of Contents database WAIS index and the BIOSCI user address
 database described in another item further below.
 2) What to do about "spams," i.e., junk mail, ads, etc.
 BIOSCI is a set of parallel USENET newsgroups (the "bionet" groups),
 mailing lists, and a hypermail archive at URL http://www.bio.net/.
 The same postings are distributed on all media (except for a small
 number of mailing-list-only groups at net.bio.net).  Unfortunately it
 is becoming a despicable practice on the Internet (by a few people out
 to make a fast buck) to do automated mass postings to thousands of
 newsgroups and mailing lists.  These attempts to grab free advertising
 are refered to as "spams" in the usual, somewhat boneheaded, net
 terminology.  USENET is more susceptible to this practice, and many
 spams originate on the USENET groups and then are passed on to the
 mailing lists.  However, spammers also get lists of mailing addresses
 and hit these too, so neither medium is immune.
 What should you do personally if you get junk mail?
 Just delete it and move on without reading it further.  Filing a
 protest is becoming increasingly useless because spammers are often
 disguising the addresses where the messages are sent from.  Unless you
 really understand Internet mail systems, your attempt at protest by
 sending replies to the message will often end up being sent to the
 address of an innocent person that the spammer is victimizing.
 What can BIOSCI/bionet do to protect its newsgroups?
 The only solution currently available is to moderate the newsgroup.
 If this newsgroup is already moderated, then you are in good shape.
 Moderation protects the USENET distribution from about 95% of the
 spams that are being sent to date and protects the mailing lists
 completely.  Moderation means, however, that someone has to take the
 time to review each message before it goes out.  We have set up
 software here that simply allows the moderator to forward to an
 address at net.bio.net messages that (s)he wishes to have distributed.
 This takes no more time than that needed to read the message and pass
 it on, say about 1 min. per message.
 Most newsgroups currently have a discussion leader who is responsible
 for their newsgroup.  The discussions leaders and their e-mail
 addresses are listed in the BIOSCI Information Sheet which is
 available on the Web at http://www.bio.net/.  If a newsgroup is being
 hit with too many junk postings, please contact the discussion leader
 for that group and see if there is interest in moderating the group.
 Please do not assume that by simply posting a complaint to the
 newsgroup itself, anyone on the BIOSCI staff will act on your
 complaint.  With close to 100 newsgroups to run, the BIOSCI staff has
 to rely on the discussion leaders of each newsgroup to report problems
 directly to us at biosci-help at net.bio.net.
 We will moderate any of our newsgroups if the discussion leader tells
 us that the readership of the group wishes to do so and if a moderator
 is willing to do the work.  For most BIOSCI/bionet groups, this
 entails only a few minutes of work each day.
 Moderating a newsgroup will resolve probably 95% of the junk postings
 on the USENET distribution.  Unfortunately there are easy ways for
 determined spammers to override the moderation mechanism on USENET,
 but we can protect our e-mail subscribers from unwanted postings if
 the newsgroup is moderated.  You can also access our newsgroups over
 the WWW at URL http://www.bio.net.  While this Web interface will not
 stop spammers from trying to post to the groups, this will give you
 yet another way, besides using USENET news, to keep the junk out of
 your personal mail files.  For those of you with local USENET news
 systems, the Web interface will also give you faster access to new
 newsgroups and recent postings.
 3) Examples of subscribing and unsubscribing to the mailing lists.
 PLEASE NOTE: The BIOSCI management does NOT act on
 subscription/unsubscription requests that are posted improperly to the
 newsgroups and mailing lists.  People who do this only bother everyone
 on the lists to no avail.  Please be sure to follow the proper
 procedures below.
 Gory details are in the BIOSCI Information sheets on the Web at
 http://www.bio.net.  Below we give an example utilizing the
 METHODS-AND-REAGENTS list at both of our two BIOSCI sites:
 Users in the Americas and Pacific Rim countries who use the BIOSCI
 node at computer net.bio.net:
 A) Determine the "listname" which is the <=8 character mail address
    for the group.  These can be found in the BIOSCI Info. Sheet.  For
    the METHODS-AND-REAGENTS group the mailing address is
    methods at net.bio.net.  The listname is the portion of the address to
    the left of the @ sign, i.e., "methods".  The listname is used with
    the "subscribe" and "unsubscribe" commands illustrated below.
 B) Mail all commands in the body of a mail message addressed to
    biosci-server at net.bio.net.  Do NOT send commands to the newsgroup
    posting addresses!  Leave the Subject: line blank, any text on it
    will be ignored.
 C) In the body of your message put one or more of the following
    commands with an "end" command on the last line, e.g.,
    subscribe methods
    unsubscribe methods
    Do NOT put your e-mail address or other text on these lines.  The
    server only allows you to cancel your subscription if the address
    on your mail header matches the address on our mailing list.
    Please ask for help at biosci-help at net.bio.net if your address has
    changed, e.g., if you know you are on the list but the server tells
    you that you are not a member.
 Users in Europe, Africa, and Central Asia who use the BIOSCI node at
 computer daresbury.ac.uk (also known as dl.ac.uk):
 To subscribe and unsubscribe to/from the BIOSCI lists, you need to
 specify the full USENET newsgroup name with "bionet-news." prepended.
 The USENET newsgroup names are listed in the BIOSCI Information sheet
 on the Web at http://www.bio.net/.  For the METHODS-AND-REAGENTS list
 the USENET newsgroup name is bionet.molbio.methds-reagnts, thus the
 appropriate commands are
     sub bionet-news.bionet.molbio.methds-reagnts
     unsub bionet-news.bionet.molbio.methds-reagnts
 These commands are included in a message addressed to mxt at dl.ac.uk,
 NOT to the newsgroup mailing addresses.  As usual, include the text in
 the body of the message as text on the Subject: line is ignored.
 To unsubscribe from all the lists at the UK node, use
     unsub bionet-news
 Please note that if the address in the list is different than the one
 in your mail message header, you will not be able to unsubscribe by
 this method. If you have problems, please mail biosci at daresbury.ac.uk.
 4) The BIOSCI user address and research interest directory.
 Please take this opportunity to add your name, address, and research
 interest information to the BIOSCI User Address Database if you have
 not already done so.
 You can fill out the address form directly through our Web page at URL
 The address database is reindexed nightly for WWW access (the URL is
 http://www.bio.net/).  If you are not directly on the Internet but can
 reach it by e-mail, please use our waismail server to access the user
 directory.  waismail use is described above.  You can also request a
 user address form by e-mail from biosci-help at net.bio.net.
 Please check your database entry from time-to-time to see if your
 address information is still up-to-date.  Because of our limited
 personnel resources, we ask that you resubmit a *complete* form to
 revise your entry; we only replace complete entries and do not have
 resources to edit old forms.

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