RFD: new sci.bio.* newsgroups

Thu Apr 27 14:19:53 CDT 1995

My apologies for sending this RFD to so many mailing lists.  However,
the topic is quite relevant.  The attached Request for Discussion calls
for public comments, pro and con, especially substantive criticisms, on
the Usenet newsgroup news.groups (Usenet is a form of community e-mail)
but because many mailing list subscribers do not have access to Usenet,
I'd like to encourage discussion of this proposal on TAXACOM.  To get
onto TAXACOM, send "subscribe taxacom Your Name" (substitute your own
name for "Your Name" ;-) to LISTSERV at cmsa.berkeley.edu.

One particular point I would like to see discussed is whether gated
mailing lists are either necessary or desirable for the proposed new
newsgroups.  Also, what might be the ideal systematic structure of
Usenet newsgroups in the sci.bio.* hierarchy?  At present, sci.bio.*
has newsgroups devoted to either thematic topics (evolution, ethology,
ecology) or to taxa (lepidoptera, reptiles and amphibians).  Would
it be useful to anticipate further growth in sci.bio.* by putting the
taxonomically-delimited groups together in a "natural" systematic
hierarchy within sci.bio.*?  Comments on the specific charters (see
below) would also be appreciated.

I look forward to hearing your comments, either via TAXACOM or on


        Una Smith


                        REQUEST FOR DISCUSSION

Proposal to create:  sci.bio.systematics
and rename:          sci.bio to sci.bio.misc

Proposed by:         Una Smith <una.smith at yale.edu>

This is a formal Request For Discussion (RFD) on the proposal to create
two unmoderated Usenet newsgroups, and rename a third.  All discussion
should take place in news.groups;  please post follow-ups there, *not*
to news.announce.newgroups.

This is *not* a call for votes.  Assuming the discussion goes smoothly,
a Call For Votes (CFV) will be posted by an independent third party 21
to 30 days from the date of this posting.

This RFD is cross-posted to:
        news.announce.newgroups, news.groups, rec.gardening,
        sci.bio, sci.bio.ecology, bionet.plants,
        iopi at life.anu.edu.au,
        class-l at ccvm.sunysb.edu,
        mollusca at ucmp1.berkeley.edu,
        paleonet at nhm.ac.uk,
        plant-taxonomy at mailbase.ac.uk,
        taxacom at cmsa.berkeley.edu,
        vrtpaleo at vm.usc.edu

CHARTER for sci.bio.systematics

For discussion of the art and science of systematics and taxonomy, and
issues, both practical and theoretical, having to do with hierarchical
information systems, biological nomenclature, cladistics, phylogenetics,
species concepts, comparative analysis and integration of morphological,
anatomical, molecular, and other data, and the documentation and study
of large-scale and long-term patterns of biological diversity.

CHARTER for sci.bio.botany

For discussion of the scientific study of plants, both vascular and
nonvascular, and other taxa traditionally studied together with plants.
It is anticipated that, at some future time, this newsgroup will be
reorganized to provide subsidiary newsgroups focused on particular
higher taxa (classes or orders, e.g., angiosperms, gymnosperms, etc.)
or other groups of special interest to a large number of readers.

CHARTER for sci.bio.misc

One of the oldest, most widely read, and most lively newsgroups in the
sci.* hierarchy, sci.bio.misc (formerly sci.bio) welcomes discussion of
all topics having to do with biology.  Especially welcome are topics of
interest to the general public, and sub-fields of biology not covered
by other Usenet newsgroups.


The TAXACOM mailing list, for discussion of taxonomy and systematics,
has nearly 1000 subscribers and it has been necessary for some time
now to refrain from posting too much, to keep subscribers' mailboxes
from overflowing.  Over the past year, reorganization discussions in
rec.gardens have included talk of a newsgroup for botany, and recent
threads in bionet.plants have contained similar comments.  It is hoped
that, by creating these two newsgroups, some of the traffic in these
forums will be more finely and more usefully categorized.  Numerous
TAXACOM subscribers also read Usenet newsgroups, and the presence of
Usenet newsgroups relevant to their research interests should help to
unite the very large and diverse botany and systematics communities
already distributed among numerous other newsgroups and mailing lists.
Confusion between sci.bio (a newsgroup) and sci.bio.* (a hierarchy)
may be reduced by renaming sci.bio to sci.bio.misc.  This is standard
practice in Usenet.

Please direct any comments on this proposal to news.groups.


        Una Smith                       una.smith at yale.edu

Department of Biology, Yale University, New Haven, CT  06520-8104

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