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James Mahaffy mahaffy at dordt.edu
Thu Jul 24 06:25:22 EST 1997


Some of you have expressed concern that commercial mail spam is becoming
to much of a problem on this group.  I just looked at bionet announce
and noticed that the admin is going to use filtering and some screening
to try and lesson this problem. Should me that the obvious off topic
material will be screened.  
Sound to me like this should take care of most of the problem without
parasitology having to have a moderator.  For those that do not look at
bionet.announce, I include that announcement after my sig.

James F. Mahaffy                   e-mail: mahaffy at dordt.edu
Biology Department                 phone: 712 722-6279
Dordt College                      FAX 712 722-1198
Sioux Center, Iowa 51250

Newsgroups: bionet.announce
Subject: New Type of Newsgroup: "Moderated (only to filter spam)"
Date: 22 Jul 1997 10:05:48 -0700
Organization: BIOSCI International Newsgroups for Molecular Biology
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As part of our effort to eliminate "spam" messages which are offensive
and distracting to the scientific discussions which the Biosci
newsgroups are designed to facilitate, we are creating a new type of
moderated newsgroup -- "Moderated (only to filter out spam)".

Our rationalie is that only what usenet recognizes as "moderated"
newsgroups can filter mail postings, yet it has proven difficult to
find volunteer moderators from each newsgroup.

Our intention is to use a combination of human and software filters to
eliminate the most egregious examples of spam. Since we value
diversity of opinion in scientific communications, and recognize that
our efforts are unavoidably subject to both Type I and Type II errors,
we aim to err on the side of allowing arguably scientifically relevant
communications to be posted. 

We intend to convert all the unmoderated bionet newsgroups to the new
status as soon as possible, and forsee two situations:

(1) Where a charter exists for an established but unmoderated group,
we will take the current charter and add the following language (taken
>From the policy statement which we send to anyone who wishes to start
a new newsgroup or convert an unmoderated to moderated newsgroup, and
suitably customized to the newsgroup where necessary) on "Moderation

"Moderation Policy: Mass-posted commercial messages, chain letters,
and similar postings not germane to the stated purpose of the charter
will be deleted without comment. Inappropriate messages posted in good
faith will be returned to the sender where feasible.  Messages not
strictly within the charter but likely to be of interest to many
subscribers will be accepted.  Use of the newsgroup for commercial
purposes is prohibited."

The proposed new charter will be posted to the newsgroup for a short
comment period.

(2) Where a charter does not exist for an established unmoderated
group, we will solicit the newsgroup's discussion leader(s), where
listed, to draft a non-controversial charter and submit it to the
newsgroup for a short comment period.

If at any time a moderated-for-spam newsgroup wishes to convert to a
regular "moderated" group, with its own moderator, we shall be happy
to treat such a request just as we do the request to change from
unmoderated to moderated status.

Finally, if a currently moderated group wishes to take advantage of
the spam filtering software to ease the administrative burden on the
moderator, we will discuss the logistics and policy guidelines with
the group's moderator. (We will notify moderators when we are ready to
offer this facility; we are not currently ready.)

We hope that these new arrangements will protect the integrity of our
newsgroups and allow us to focus on other ways of improving Biosci. We
welcome your suggestions about this proposed policy change.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we deal with the spam

Serge Taylor
Biosci Administrator
Stanford University Libraries

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