Die Usenet Gruppe SCI.CHEM - Netikette


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What topics does sci.chem cover?

Sci.chem is a discussion group, and it covers the scientific discussion of all issues concerning chemistry. There is no talk.chemistry group, consequently discussion often drifts away from the narrow focus of the science of chemistry. Please ensure that threads that have no ongoing "science" requirement have the "Followup To" header diverted back to the original group. There are several groups that also cover specialist areas ( Section 5.3 ), and prospective sci.chem posters should check to ensure their post would not be more appropriately placed in one of those groups. Please do not crosspost to all chemistry groups. Because sci.chem is an unmoderated discussion group inhabited by a diverse range of humanity, posted "facts" are not always correct, and may not always be corrected, so don't blame us if your teacher marks your answer wrong :-)..
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Why is the sci.chem.* hierarchy not rational?

As the sci.chem group has up to 80 posts/day, some specialists believe they would be better served having their own group. They draft a charter, submit it to the news.advice group, who ensure it is consistent with the overall structure of Usenet and, after discussion, the group is voted on. If the group passes it is created. Groups appear *only* if some motivated people arrange to form them. That is why the structure is not rational. There is currently no formal structural plan for the hierarchy and, given the diverse nature of current contributions, it is proving difficult to develop such a plan - as no one wishes to compromise the diversity of sci.chem. If you learn to use your newsreader correctly, the current size of sci.chem is easily handled, and most threads of interest can be captured as they pass.
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What other chemistry-focused newsgroups exist?

Probably the most popular chemistry-focused group is alt.drugs :-), however sci.chem is the most popular group covering diverse chemistry topics. The next most popular chemistry group is sci.engr.chem, which deals with chemical engineering and some aspects of industrial chemistry. Analytical chemistry is covered in sci.chem.analytical, electrochemistry in sci.chem.electrochem, organometallic chemistry in sci.chem.organomet, and laboratory equipment in sci.chem.labware. There are also several groups that discuss techniques commonly used in chemistry, eg sci.techniques.mass-spec, sci.techniques.mag-resonance, and sci.techniques.xtallography. There are several groups that cover the chemistry of specific topics, eg alt.drugs, rec.pyrotechnics etc., but do not expect to extensive chemical discussion of the periodic table in alt.cesium :-). The history of chemistry is discussed in soc.history.science.
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Should I post my homework question?

In general, definitely not. Your homework question is designed to challenge you to understand an aspect of chemistry, and your teacher will have ensured that there are appropriate resources available to you at your institution. The library is always an excellent place to start, and the librarians are skilled at finding information - if you ask for assistance. However, if you find that the library and other available resources can not fully satisfy your curiosity, then carefully outline your problem and do post *only* to the most appropriate group. If it is the wrong group, somebody will point you to the correct one. Do not expect to receive the actual answer, we will carefully consider your request, and frame a response to ensure that you need to perform some work before your can answer your own question. The most obvious technique is to respond with a similar worked example that is sufficiently different to ensure you can not plug in the numbers and arrive at your correct answer. Also, remember that we are not obliged to provide only correct answers, we can deliberately introduce errors to ensure direct copying without comprehension results in the wrong answer - it is not *our* homework :-). Do not expect sensible or accurate responses if you post from anonymous servers.
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Should I post the email address of an expert I found?

Not without their consent. Email the expert and ask if you can identify them in sci.chem. In general, people who email information to you will want complete control over their exposure on Usenet. Often they do not want a lot of email requesting assistance, and in some countries ( such as New Zealand ) people have to pay for both incoming and outgoing email. If the email address is posted publicly - as in this FAQ, email the person and ask if you can repost their address in a different forum. When sending unsolicited email, remember that you are accosting a stranger, and he/she is not required to respond, although most will try to respond to polite requests.
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Should I state why I require the requested information?

Generally, yes. Knowing why somebody is requesting information often helps those considering responding to the request. It also helps to ensure that responses will help solve the problem, rather than lead off on a tangent, interesting though it may become. If you require the information for a commercial or historical enterprise, you should state that. The ability to download and edit information is even more convenient than photocopying, and original copyright can easily be inadvertently omitted. If you note that there may be a possible commercial outcome, responders will try to ensure that the original source is fully credited. Usually a polite request to the copyright owner will result in approval for your enterprise.
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What questions are best answered elsewhere in Usenet?

a. Anything concerning illicit drugs. - Start at alt.drugs, as the various FAQs point to a wide range of chemical information sources. - Refer to sections 13.1 - 13.6 of this FAQ for the available choices. b. Anything concerning Ludwig/Archimedes Plutonium. - Start at sci.physics, as they directed him to sci.chem :-). c. Anything concerning bubbles in drinks. - Start with sci.physics, the solubility behaviour of dissolved gases when the pressure is reduced is predominantly a physical effect. d. Anything scientific concerning the Ozone Hole and Climate Change. - Start with sci.environment, in particular with Robert Parson's superb FAQ on ozone. Non-scientific discussions should be in talk.environment. e. Anything concerning explosives. - Refer to sections 13.7 - 13.10 of this FAQ for the available choices.
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Can I post here if my newsfeed doesn't include the correct group?

No. The onus is on you to obtain access to the correct group. As hard disk storage prices are plummeting, you should be able to encourage your access provider to carry more groups :-). If your employer restricts you to sci.* comp.* and other boring groups, you may have to seek out a commercial access provider. Be assured that you are not the first to encounter this problem, and there are various ways you can access newsgroups using other Internet facilities besides direct Usenet access. Check out the news.* groups for information on alternative methods of Usenet access.

Can I post here if my library doesn't have the specified reference?

No. Once again the onus is on you to obtain the texts. We have tried to ensure that there are several choices to help minimise the problem. The advantage of expending effort to obtain the reference is that it is likely to provide a more comprehensive answer, and will enhance your understanding of the subject. If the reference is obscure, then a carefully-constructed post requesting the specific information you require is acceptable, but you should also state that you have tried to obtain the information, and perhaps suggest email replies if you believe other readers will not be interested.
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