Time for Moderation in this group?

David Kristofferson kristoff at net.bio.net
Thu Oct 15 18:30:45 EST 1998

In article <slrn7298bc.d36.aiyar at ebv.oncology.wisc.edu>,
Ashok Aiyar <aiyar at aiyar.ml.org> wrote:
>On 14 Oct 1998 13:41:55 +0100 (BST),
>    Tim Cutts (timc at chiark.greenend.org.uk) wrote:
>>Moderation is a solution which does not
>>penalise people on mailing lists and those on low bandwidth sites.
>Unfortunately moderation rarely works, because the "Approved-by"
>header, which is added by the moderator can also very easily be
>added by the spammer.  In fact one nntp client commonly used by 
>spammers does it for you.
>As an example, look at the amount of spam that is posted and 
>propagated within the commercial, moderated, clarinet.* hierarchy.

Hello, everyone.  Although I am no longer in charge of bionet (it's
been in Stanford's hands since last year), the comment above is
correct.  The main advantage of moderation for bionet groups is that
it does absolutely protect the mailing lists from spam.  It does not
protect the USENET groups from forged approvals.  This mechanism helps
mail users if a volunteer can be found and traffic on the group is not
too high.

Filters can be easily gotten around unless they are continually
updated (plus they often have unwelcome, unintended side effects), but
this is one project that the Stanford group was going to implement and
maintain when they took over the project.

As to running cancelbots on bionet groups, you'd have to take that up
with the bionet folks at biosci-help at net.bio.net.  Cancelbots alone
will not protect the mailing lists unless the spam is nuked before it
reaches either the UK or Stanford sites.

Groups can be "self-moderated" if posts are only allowed from people
whose addresses are on a list maintained somewhere.  Even if people
can add or remove themselves automatically from this list, in practice
this requires continual human maintenance as people change addresses,
etc., and forget how to do this.  BIOSCI has a person who works
part-time just maintaining the mailing lists.  Putting in a
self-moderation scheme could potentially double that person's

For high volume newsgroups, there is still nothing like using a
newsreader instead of e-mail and just ignoring stupid message headers.


Dave Kristofferson
ex-BIOSCI/bionet Manager
kristoff at net.bio.net

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