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SCINet VRSC Basecamp Forum

Table of Contents

SCINet VRSC Basecamp

SCINet users who have already joined Basecamp can: access SCINet VRSC Basecamp on the web (otherwise, apply for a SCINet account and follow your email instructions or contact scinet_vrsc@USDA.GOV if you already have a SCINet account but can’t access Basecamp).

Basecamp is a forum used for communication with other SCINet users and the VRSC. The main Basecamp forum for SCINet is the “SCINet Virtual Research Support Core” Basecamp.

After you request a SCINet account, you will receive an email invitation to join this Basecamp project. Please accept the invitation, create a Basecamp account using your usda email address, and select your preferred email frequency. This account is not connected to your SCINet or eAuthentication accounts.

Basecamp can be accessed on the web with any web browser or you can optionally download the Basecamp app for Windows, Mac, or mobile devices (iOS and Android). Visit to download the app.

You can change your Basecamp notification settings at any time by clicking on your user profile (small circle with your initials or profile picture at the top right of any Basecamp screen) and selecting “change your notification settings”. Don’t forget to click the “Save My Settings” button when you are finished with your changes.


Message Board

On SCINet VRSC Basecamp you can communicate with other users and the VRSC on the message board or on the campfire.

A message board post works similarly to a Facebook post where replies to an original message are captured as “comments” and the entire discussion (original message and all comments) are contained/preserved within the original post.

The message board is recommended for:

  • starting conversations that are relevant to other SCINet users, such as a discussion about the best practices for research computations
  • posting questions to the VRSC or other users that are relevant to multiple users
  • contributing to a discussion/question thread that someone else has already started

Message board tips:

  • For single user operational questions, please email the VRSC instead of posting to Basecamp (see the Virtual Research Support Core page for how and when to contact the VRSC)
  • When you post to the message board hundreds of people will be notified!
    • If your message is targeted to a small group of people, please change who you notify. To do this, find the line on the “new message” screen that says something like “When I post this, these 774 people will be notified. Change…”. Click the hyperlinked word “Change” and select who you’d like to be notified when you post your message.
    • Similarly, when you comment on a post, please direct your response to the original poster or smaller group of people (if applicable) by selecting the “add/remove people” button in the “Subscribers” section of the post before you click the “add this comment” button to post your reply.
  • You can search old discussions in Basecamp by using the “Find” feature at the top of the page. Type key words in the “Search for” box, and limit your search to the message board by selecting “Messages” on the “Search Everything” dropdown menu. It’s good practice to search the message board before posting a new question to Basecamp in order to reduce duplicates.


Different from message board posts, campfire works similarly to a very large group chat. There can be multiple conversations happening simultaneously such that a post to campfire and any associated replies will be mixed in with any other conversations (non-related) that other users are posting. This makes it potentially difficult to follow a complicated conversation.

Campfire is recommended for:

  • quick questions that don’t involve a lot of explanation or discussion

Campfire tips:

  • For single user operational questions, please email the VRSC instead of posting to Basecamp (see the Virtual Research Support Core page for how and when to contact the VRSC)
  • Similar to the message board, hundreds of people will be notified when you post to campfire. You can tag people in your post using @Username (similar to other social media), but you can’t reduce the amount of people you notify for campfire posts- everyone is notified unless they’ve turned their notifications off.
  • Similar to the message board, you can search old campfire posts by using the “Find” feature at the top of the page. Type key words in the “Search for” box, and limit your search to campfire by selecting “Campfires” on the “Search Everything” dropdown menu.

Docs and Files

Most of the user informational resources in SCINet VRSC Basecamp Docs & Files have been copied to the User Guides section of this website. Best practice is to first look on this website for the most updated version of user guides and other SCINet information. Search the Basecamp Docs & Files if you can’t find what you are looking for on this website.


A calendar showing planned and emergency maintenance on the Ceres cluster

Where Do I Go for HELP?

This section of SCINet VRSC Basecamp contains static posts by the VRSC about other Basecamp projects (see section Other Basecamp Projects below) and Basecamp etiquette. All items are covered on this webpage as well.

Other Basecamp Projects

Other Basecamp projects (separate from SCINet VRSC Basecamp) are available to help SCINet users communicate about specific topics. The table below lists the names of these Basecamp projects and the person you can contact if you would like to join.

Basecamp Project Name Contact
ARS Microbiome Community Adam Rivers
SCINet Advisory Committee Adam Rivers
SCINet-funded Workshops Kerrie Geil
SCINet Galaxy scinet_vrsc@USDA.GOV
SCINet Geneious scinet_vrsc@USDA.GOV
SCINet Geospatial Working Group Kerrie Geil
SCINet Machine Learning scinet_vrsc@USDA.GOV
SCINet Open Science Grid Users Nathan Weeks
SCINet RStudio Server Users Nathan Weeks
SCINet SMRTLink scinet_vrsc@USDA.GOV

Note: Any ARS SCINet user is able to start a new Basecamp project. New Projects require Basecamp Administrator approval and membership. For FOIA reasons, all SCINet Basecamp projects must also include “SCINet General email.” Please send your Project request to Basecamp Administrators Linda Ballard and Jay Joiner.