As you've probably noticed, junk mail is becoming more and more prevalent
on the net these days, including this newsgroup (e.g. last week's "Alas
Babylon" and "Is your computer being bugged???" messages). Although I'm
still wondering if Minoxidil would grow flagella on the bld2 mutant, I
agree with the BIOSCI administrators who are now recommending that the
bionet. newsgroups be moderated.
What does this mean to you? On the plus side, elimination of all the
totally irrelevant messages. For a lot of us these are just a fact of life
on the internet, and it's easy to delete them without reading. However,
some of our e-mail subscribers must pay for every message they receive, and
junk messages put a real burden on these people. Every time there is a
rash of spam postings we seem to lose a few subscribers.
On the negative side, posting of your message will be delayed slightly,
since it will first be viewed by a moderator for approval. Messages posted
during normal U.S. working hours will usually be dealt with very promptly,
but those arriving overnight or on the weekend may not show up for several
hours. I don't anticipate delays of more than 24 hours under normal
circumstances. My own feeling is that we rarely have rapid-fire
discussions on this group anyway, and that a delay of a few hours will not
inconvience most people.
To institute this change we need to modify our charter. If you'd like to
see the whole charter, please let me know. It dates from the original call
for votes for the newsgroup several years ago. The most relevant section
is the following, describing what types of messages are appropriate:
Communications on all aspects of Chlamydomonas biology will be considered
appropriate for this forum, as will discussion of other algae used as
experimental systems, including but not limited to Chlorella, Dunaliella,
Euglena, Scenedesmus, Tetraselmis, and Volvox. Requests for technical
information, advertisement of postdoctoral fellowships and other employment
opportunities, and announcements of meetings may be posted.
To this I propose adding the following:
Mass-posted commercial messages, chain letters, and similar postings not
germane to research on Chlamydomonas or other algae will be deleted without
comment. Inappropriate messages posted in good faith will be returned to
sender. Messages not strictly within the charter but likely to be of
interest to many subscribers will be accepted.
The latter category might include for example the recent message about
termination of the SWISS-PROT database.
Please note also that advertisements for commercial products are prohibited
on the BIOSCI/bionet newsgroups. This has always been true and is not part
of the change to moderation. Without moderation, however, some
advertisements do get through.
If you have serious objections to changing bionet.chlamydomonas to a
moderated group, please let me know, or post your comments for further
discussion. This change does not require a formal vote, but I will abide
by the consensus of our readership.
chlamy at acpub.duke.edu