ADMINISTRIVIA: Welcome to sci.physics.research!

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William Johnson

Feb 18, 1993, 11:17:07 AM2/18/93

Welcome to sci.physics.research, the group for moderated discussions of
research-oriented physics questions!

This informational article will be posted monthly in sci.physics.research
and elsewhere. It is still in an embryonic stage (since the group is
less than a month old!) and thus is subject to wholesale revisions as we
gain experience with the group; suggestions/comments/bouquets/brickbats
on this article should be directed to Bill Johnson, who maintains the
welcome file, at, or to all co-moderators (Bill, John Baez,
Dale Bass, Lee Sawyer) care of the alias
which will distribute things to the co-moderators.

What Is sci.physics.research?

Sci.physics.research is a newsgroup intended to facilitate noise-free (at
least relatively noise-free!) discussions of issues in physics. It grew
out of the unmoderated group sci.physics in February 1993 as a response
to a perceived signal-to-noise-ratio problem in the unmoderated group,
which, it was claimed, had diminished the value of that group to the
working physicist (inter alia). Matt Austern of LBL recognized the problem,
argued that a moderated group would be an appropriate outgrowth of sci.physics,
and conducted the voting for the new group.

A problem recognized early in the discussions of sci.physics.research was
that of obtaining a qualified moderator who would be able to devote the
necessary time and effort to the purely voluntary, basically avocational
job of moderating a Usenet group. After exploring possibilities, it was
decided that the group would be proposed with "co-moderators" who would
each receive some fraction of all submissions, concentrated under the
alias and then distributed randomly among
the co-moderators. Each co-moderator would then be able to accept or
reject (possibly with recommendations to the submitter on how to edit
the rejected material to make it acceptable) any article sent to him/her
independent of the views of the other co-moderators. Software written
by Greg Woods for this purpose was already in use for other co-moderated
groups and has been adopted in sci.physics.research.

Sci.physics.research Charter

As noted above, the charter of this group is aimed at discussions of
research-oriented physics issues. Much of the early discussion of the
group revolved around the detailed interpretation of this charter. It
was generally agreed that the charter implied "light" moderation, aimed
not at restricting subject matter but at reducing noise. Under this
guidance, appropriate material consists of any posting, addressing a
physics issue, that is not *in*appropriate by dint of having one or more
of the following characteristics (defined in the CFV):
(1) Personal attacks;
(2) Discussion that isn't about or related to physics;
(3) Multiple responses that all say the same things; and
(4) Crackpot postings that are "not even wrong."

As the newsgroup grows, it will undoubtedly change, and questions of
appropriateness will probably arise from time to time. In judging the
moderation process, keep in mind that (1) the co-moderators are doing
this for fun, not profit :-), (2) the unmoderated sci.physics will
continue to exist for those that find sci.physics.research too restrictive,
and (3) the co-moderators recognize the need to be responsive to the
readership's desires. We'll do the best we can.

How To Submit Articles To sci.physics.research

To submit an article for possible posting to this group, post as you
normally do for other, non-moderated groups (e.g. with "f" from rn), or
simply e-mail the article to the address
Questions and comments not intended for posting should be e-mailed to, as noted above. Please don't send
e-mail directly to a moderator, to avoid problems with address changes.

If your article is accepted, you normally won't be notified of the
acceptance; it'll just appear on the net. If your posting is rejected, you
*will* be notified, if we can reach you at the "From:" address you give with
your submission. The rejection notice may include remarks from the
responsible moderator suggesting changes to make the article acceptable;
if you choose to make these changes, you may e-mail the amended
submission directly back to that moderator (the only time direct mailing
to a moderator is likely to be appropriate).

On some occasions accepted articles will be posted with the inclusion of
"moderator's notes" having the format
[mod. note: {whatever the moderator wants to say}]
These notes will frequently contain a request that followups be sent to
a different newsgroup or conducted via e-mail to the submitter.
Submissions sent in defiance of this request will generally be viewed
*very* unsympathetically by the moderators, although isolated exceptions
will occur.

Note that the purpose of moderation is to ensure that articles meet the
criteria established above, not to guarantee "research-quality" articles
as would a journal referee. Note too that the moderators will *not* edit
submissions either for content or for grammar/spelling/etc. Particularly
illegible submissions will be returned to the submitter for emendation.

Other Usenet Resources Relevant To sci.physics.research

A comprehensive list of newsgroups covering subject material related to
this group is probably too long to include here, physics being as diverse
as it is. A partial list is:
sci.physics sci.physics.fusion
sci.math sci.math.research
sci.chem sci.astro sci.environment
talk.environment hepnet.*
Check the monthly guide to Usenet groups posted in news.announce and
elsewhere for other possibilities.

Readers are invited to identify other widely-available assets for physics
via Usenet (FAQ files, mailing lists, etc.) for inclusion in later
versions of this article. Please send your suggestions to one of the
addresses given above.

Thanks for your cooperation. Let's try to make sci.physics.research a
useful and interesting place to talk about physics!

Bill Johnson | My suggestion for an Official
Los Alamos National Laboratory | Usenet Motto: "If you have nothing
Los Alamos, New Mexico USA | to say, then come on in, this is the
!cmcl2!lanl!mwj ( | place for you, tell us all about it!"

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