BIOSCI/bionet miniFAQ & Fundraiser

BIOSCI Administrator biohelp at net.bio.net
Mon Jun 21 02:39:03 EST 1999

>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.
>	Contents:
>	--------
>	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
>   end
>   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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