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BIOSCI/bionet miniFAQ & Fundraiser

BIOSCI Administrator biohelp at net.bio.net
Sun Jul 11 04:16:18 EST 1999

This BIOSCI "miniFAQ" is designed to answer the questions that come up 
the *most frequently*. The main BIOSCI FAQ (Frequently Asked 
Questions) is accessible on the World Wide Web at URL 
If you can not find an answer to your question in this or other 
documentation, the BIOSCI technical support staff answers e-mail 
queries sent to
biosci-help at net.bio.net
We can only answer questions about the use of the newsgroups and 
mailing lists. We unfortunately do not have the staff to do Internet 
information searches or answer scientific questions. Please post 
those to the appropriate BIOSCI/bionet newsgroups.

1) Using the WWW to access the BIOSCI/bionet newsgroups.
2) What to do about "spams," i.e., junk mail, ads, etc.
3) Examples of subscribing and unsubscribing to the mailing lists.
4) The BIOSCI user address and research interest directory.

BIOSCI's government funding has been expended, and we are now 
operating solely from advertising revenue that we have raised from our 
Web site at http://www.bio.net/. We need just a few minutes of your 
time to help us serve you.
You can do two important things which will take very little time for 
you individually and will immensely help us continue to help you.
First, please use our WWW system at http://www.bio.net/ to access the 
archives. You can post or reply to messages via your Web browser as 
described in item #1 below. Your usage helps attract sponsors. If you 
contact any of our sponsors, please be sure to thank them for 
supporting BIOSCI. It is critical for them to get this feedback if 
they are to continue their sponsorship for the long term.
Second, if you work for a company or organization that provides 
products or services of interest to the biology community, please pass 
this message on to your marketing or marketing communications 
department or other appropriate group. Please ask them to help 
support BIOSCI by sponsoring our Web site and explain the uses and 
benefits of the system to the biology community. If they are 
interested, they can then contact us for further information at our 
tech support address, biosci-help at net.bio.net.

1) Using the WWW to access the BIOSCI/bionet newsgroups. 
As of 10 December 1995, all BIOSCI/bionet full newsgroups are 
accessible through the World Wide Web (WWW) at URL http://www.bio.net. 
One can read and reply publicly or privately to both recent postings 
and archived messages through one's Web browser if it is configured 
properly to send e-mail. Each newsgroup is equipped with its own WAIS 
index. The main BIOSCI home page also has access to the BIO-JOURNALS 
Table of Contents database WAIS index and the BIOSCI user address 
database described in another item further below.

2) What to do about "spams," i.e., junk mail, ads, etc. 
BIOSCI is a set of parallel USENET newsgroups (the "bionet" groups), 
mailing lists, and a hypermail archive at URL http://www.bio.net/. 
The same postings are distributed on all media (except for a small 
number of mailing-list-only groups at net.bio.net). Unfortunately it 
is becoming a despicable practice on the Internet (by a few people out 
to make a fast buck) to do automated mass postings to thousands of 
newsgroups and mailing lists. These attempts to grab free advertising 
are refered to as "spams" in the usual, somewhat boneheaded, net 
terminology. USENET is more susceptible to this practice, and many 
spams originate on the USENET groups and then are passed on to the 
mailing lists. However, spammers also get lists of mailing addresses 
and hit these too, so neither medium is immune.
What should you do personally if you get junk mail? 
Just delete it and move on without reading it further. Filing a 
protest is becoming increasingly useless because spammers are often 
disguising the addresses where the messages are sent from. Unless you 
really understand Internet mail systems, your attempt at protest by 
sending replies to the message will often end up being sent to the 
address of an innocent person that the spammer is victimizing.
What can BIOSCI/bionet do to protect its newsgroups? 
The only solution currently available is to moderate the newsgroup. 
If this newsgroup is already moderated, then you are in good shape. 
Moderation protects the USENET distribution from about 95% of the 
spams that are being sent to date and protects the mailing lists 
completely. Moderation means, however, that someone has to take the 
time to review each message before it goes out. We have set up 
software here that simply allows the moderator to forward to an 
address at net.bio.net messages that (s)he wishes to have distributed. 
This takes no more time than that needed to read the message and pass 
it on, say about 1 min. per message.
Most newsgroups currently have a discussion leader who is responsible 
for their newsgroup. The discussions leaders and their e-mail 
addresses are listed in the BIOSCI Information Sheet which is 
available on the Web at http://www.bio.net/. If a newsgroup is being 
hit with too many junk postings, please contact the discussion leader 
for that group and see if there is interest in moderating the group. 
Please do not assume that by simply posting a complaint to the 
newsgroup itself, anyone on the BIOSCI staff will act on your 
complaint. With close to 100 newsgroups to run, the BIOSCI staff has 
to rely on the discussion leaders of each newsgroup to report problems 
directly to us at biosci-help at net.bio.net.
We will moderate any of our newsgroups if the discussion leader tells 
us that the readership of the group wishes to do so and if a moderator 
is willing to do the work. For most BIOSCI/bionet groups, this 
entails only a few minutes of work each day.
Moderating a newsgroup will resolve probably 95% of the junk postings 
on the USENET distribution. Unfortunately there are easy ways for 
determined spammers to override the moderation mechanism on USENET, 
but we can protect our e-mail subscribers from unwanted postings if 
the newsgroup is moderated. You can also access our newsgroups over 
the WWW at URL http://www.bio.net. While this Web interface will not 
stop spammers from trying to post to the groups, this will give you 
yet another way, besides using USENET news, to keep the junk out of 
your personal mail files. For those of you with local USENET news 
systems, the Web interface will also give you faster access to new 
newsgroups and recent postings.

3) Examples of subscribing and unsubscribing to the mailing lists. 
PLEASE NOTE: The BIOSCI management does NOT act on 
subscription/unsubscription requests that are posted improperly to the 
newsgroups and mailing lists. People who do this only bother everyone 
on the lists to no avail. Please be sure to follow the proper 
procedures below.
Gory details are in the BIOSCI Information sheets on the Web at 
http://www.bio.net. Below we give an example utilizing the 
METHODS-AND-REAGENTS list at both of our two BIOSCI sites:
Users in the Americas and Pacific Rim countries who use the BIOSCI 
node at computer net.bio.net: 
A) Determine the "listname" which is the <=8 character mail address 
for the group. These can be found in the BIOSCI Info. Sheet. For 
the METHODS-AND-REAGENTS group the mailing address is 
methods at net.bio.net. The listname is the portion of the address to 
the left of the @ sign, i.e., "methods". The listname is used with 
the "subscribe" and "unsubscribe" commands illustrated below.
B) Mail all commands in the body of a mail message addressed to 
biosci-server at net.bio.net. Do NOT send commands to the newsgroup 
posting addresses! Leave the Subject: line blank, any text on it 
will be ignored.
C) In the body of your message put one or more of the following 
commands with an "end" command on the last line, e.g.,
subscribe methods 
unsubscribe methods 
Do NOT put your e-mail address or other text on these lines. The 
server only allows you to cancel your subscription if the address 
on your mail header matches the address on our mailing list. 
Please ask for help at biosci-help at net.bio.net if your address has 
changed, e.g., if you know you are on the list but the server tells 
you that you are not a member.

Users in Europe, Africa, and Central Asia who use the BIOSCI node at 
computer daresbury.ac.uk (also known as dl.ac.uk): 
To subscribe and unsubscribe to/from the BIOSCI lists, you need to 
specify the full USENET newsgroup name with "bionet-news." prepended. 
The USENET newsgroup names are listed in the BIOSCI Information sheet 
on the Web at http://www.bio.net/. For the METHODS-AND-REAGENTS list 
the USENET newsgroup name is bionet.molbio.methds-reagnts, thus the 
appropriate commands are
sub bionet-news.bionet.molbio.methds-reagnts
unsub bionet-news.bionet.molbio.methds-reagnts
These commands are included in a message addressed to mxt at dl.ac.uk, 
NOT to the newsgroup mailing addresses. As usual, include the text in 
the body of the message as text on the Subject: line is ignored.
To unsubscribe from all the lists at the UK node, use
unsub bionet-news
Please note that if the address in the list is different than the one 
in your mail message header, you will not be able to unsubscribe by 
this method. If you have problems, please mail biosci at daresbury.ac.uk.

4) The BIOSCI user address and research interest directory. 
Please take this opportunity to add your name, address, and research 
interest information to the BIOSCI User Address Database if you have 
not already done so.
You can fill out the address form directly through our Web page at URL 
The address database is reindexed nightly for WWW access (the URL is 
http://www.bio.net/). If you are not directly on the Internet but can 
reach it by e-mail, please use our waismail server to access the user 
directory. waismail use is described above. You can also request a 
user address form by e-mail from biosci-help at net.bio.net.
Please check your database entry from time-to-time to see if your 
address information is still up-to-date. Because of our limited 
personnel resources, we ask that you resubmit a *complete* form to 
revise your entry; we only replace complete entries and do not have 
resources to edit old forms.

To reply to the group as well as to the originator, make sure that
the address biofilms at net.bio.net is included in the "To:" field.

See the BIOFILMS homepage at http://www.im.dtu.dk/biofilms for info
on how to (un)subscribe and post to the Biofilms newsgroup.

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