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1994 BIOSCI/bionet Newsgroup Usage Statistics

Bio-WWW moderator at EMBnet Switzerland moderate at comp.bioz.unibas.ch
Mon May 1 22:20:59 EST 1995

[Note from the moderator - the omission of bionet.software.www was an
 unfortunate mistake on my part when compiling the mass of
 statistics on our system; my apologies.  This is a very valuable
 newsgroup given the mass of new WWW sites and no slight was intended
 - D. Kristofferson] 

Dave Kristofferson (kristoff at net.bio.net) wrote:
: Here are the BIOSCI/bionet newsgroup usage statistics for 1994.

The bionet.software.www group (not mentioned in the listing) was created
in late summer of 1994 as a result of a user group initiative formed at
the Geneva WWW94 conference. It is unique in the sense that it is
accessible via electronic mail, news, and WWW. The latter is achieved by
rewriting NEWS articles coming in to the moderation at our site.
Significant resources were allocated to have this type of activity succeed
on permanent basis.  C.Wadley and later N.Redaschi took the main workload
to balance in between noise, trivial help requests and discussion/
presentation items. 

: It is becoming an increasingly important objective to improve the
: signal-to-noise ratio on the groups as more people join the Internet.
: Newsgroup moderation is one means of acheiving this goal.

We received and sent out significantly more than 200 postings since startup.
These articles were html'ized, validated for availability of the link, and
put into the archive at http://www.ch.embnet.org/bio-www for further
reference. The total number of article transactions in nine months was
more than 300. Moderation was required due to more than 50 inquiries about
subscribe, unsubscribe, help and info messages. 13 postings were re-
jected due to obvious misplacement including crosspostings from other
groups. 5 postings could not be validated as the given URLs did not fit.
Three postings were sent to the BIOSCI administrator in order to explain
to the poster some of the BIOSCI specialities of commercial postings. 

Counting in numbers, each of the received postings took 5 minutes on
average to work on moderation, validation and editing. This amounts to a
total of 25 hours of work. 

The WWW server has been accessed to retrieve 23451 documents from the
bionet.software.www hierarchy. Actual article viewing affected 9873
postings to be read by a total of 2605 different hosts. 

We consider the bionet.software.www group as a possible prototype of
validated information interchange. We are aware of the fact that it
is a low-volume group currently (on a 9-month average, 1 posting per day)
but it deserves attention as it is a key element in information
transmission. This implies also a (yet unsatisfactorily clarified)
relation to commercially colored articles. 

Statistics of bionet.software.www read as follows - 

74% posted (5% with editorial changes for validity of electronic references) 
16% rejected and answered with private emails for help, subscription, etc.
<4% rejected due to misplaced postings ($$$MONEY type, etc.) 
<2% rejected by BIOSCI rules of commercial postings
<2% posted after confirmation of the poster
<2% dropped due to lacking confirmation of the poster 

The moral seems to be that, currently, about one fifth of all postings
might be considered as 'noise' in this low-volume newsgroup. The ratio
might be better for higher-traffic groups but it should well be emphasized
that editorial work is much larger if URLs are to be validated rather than
just posted. 


Dr. Ing. Reinhard Doelz
Dr. Phil. Nicole Redaschi
Moderator, bionet.software.www                  eMail bio-www at ch.embnet.org

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