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Time to change the newsgroup name?

R M Bernstein bernsteinr at cber.cber.fda.gov
Thu May 8 14:31:45 EST 1997

In Article <gbga13-0505971257060001 at b-cohen.molgen.gla.ac.uk>,
gbga13 at udcf.gla.ac.uk (B.L.Cohen) wrote:

>> bionet.molbio.phylogeny
>emphatically agreed!

this is a fine name, but it would certainly seem simpler if someone would
volunteer to moderate the news group.  josh's* last post on the subject
should encourage potential moderator[s] currently on the edge of indecision....


*, josh's post, re posted:


Arlin Stoltzfus, on bended virtual knee, suggested to me:

 Arlin> I wonder if, as a public service, you could post a brief
 Arlin> note to bionet.molbio.evolution describing how much effort
 Arlin> you think it would take to moderate that group, keeping in
 Arlin> mind that the volume is something like 3-10 times less than
 Arlin> sci.bio.evolution?

Well, SURE I will.

For those of you who don't know, I'm the moderator of
sci.bio.evolution. That newsgroup was created (ahem. No pun intended)
about 3.5 years ago in an effort to develop a forum for the discussion
of evolutionary biology that would not be plagued with the pointless
creation/evolution debate that so consumes talk.origins -- and
t.o. was the only relevant group available at the time. The group was
proposed as a moderated forum, and articles touching on creation or
evolution in the debate context would be rejected. 

I think it's worked very well; I only reject a handful of articles
each week, and that's just as often for being simply off-topic. And
there are NO articles on creation/evolution topics in the newsgroup,
except every once in while when someone slips a little bit of that
past me in an otherwise innocuous article.

As for the time involved, it's really pretty minimal. For the traffic
in s.b.e., which is about 20-40 articles a day, I devote about ten
minutes each day to the job. That's partly because the posting process
is itself automated (and I'd be happy to provide the C code to any
potential b.m.e. moderator). All you'd need is a mail address suitable
for storing articles and direct access to inews - if you have a UNIX
shell account, trust me, you do have that access.

I would point out, however, that the rules in the "big seven"
hierarchies for turning a newsgroup from unmoderated to moderated
require a fair amount of hoop-jumping-through. Bionet, however, is NOT
one of those hierarchies, and may well have its own rules about such a
conversion; I do not know.

If anyone is interested in corresponding with me about the prospect of
taking up the moderation task, feel free (I don't mean that _I_ would
do the moderation; one group is quite enough, thank you!).

One side benefit is that you get some really amusing snotty letters
from people when you reject their articles. Someday I'll post my


Josh Hayes, moderator, sci.bio.evolution

RM Bernstein
Building 29a  Room 2B09
29 Lincoln Drive
MSC 4555
Bethesda MD
<bernsteinr at CBER.CBER.FDA.GOV>

301 827 1814

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