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Proposal to convert fluorpro to spam filtered newsgroup

BIOSCI Administrator biosci-help at NET.BIO.NET
Wed Aug 6 17:00:56 EST 1997


As announced earlier, 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)". (A copy of the original posting of this message to
bionet.announce and bionet.general, is appended to this message.)

Eventually, all unmoderated bio.net newsgroups will be converted to
"moderated" status, either "Moderated (only to filter spam)" or
"Moderated" (with active moderators).

This currently unmoderated fluropro newsgroup is intended to be one of a
handful of test cases with which we would like to start.  I am posting
the text of the original announcement here, and in a subsequent
message, the proposed charter for this group as a "Moderated (only to
filter out spam)" newsgroup.  The charter is changed from the existing
charter only in the explicit statement of an anti-spam moderation
policy and in several minor stylistic respects.

Comments to me from several members of this group suggest that this
new policy will be welcome.  I propose to change over to spam
filtering as early as the beginning of next week but would like to
give readers an opportunity to comment on the application of this new
policy to this newsgroup and on the wording of the new proposed
charter.

Serge Taylor
Biosci Administrator
Stanford University

============  text of original message ==================

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 on 
"Moderation Policy" (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):
     
"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.
     
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we deal with the spam 
problem.
     
Serge Taylor
Biosci Administrator
Stanford University Libraries



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