THE BIG EIGHT NEWSGROUP CREATION PROCESS

news.announce.newgroups Moderation Team <newgroups-request@isc.org>
Last modified February 15, 2014 (revision 1.15)

NOTE: This document is now obsolete. It is maintained solely for historical reference, but this process is no longer being used for the creation or modification of newsgroups in the Big Eight hierarchy. See <http://tokak.us/big8/articles/b/i/g/Big-8_Usenet.html> for information on how proposals are currently being handled.

The text below is the unmodified text of the final version of this document.

INTRODUCTION

These guidelines document the process to create, rename, remove, or change the moderation status of newsgroups in the Big Eight hierarchies (those newsgroups with names starting with comp.*, humanities.*, misc.*, news.*, rec.*, sci.*, soc.*, and talk.*). Proposals under this process must go through a discussion phase, a voting phase, and a verification phase as described below.

For information on how to submit a proposal and advice on working within this process, please see the FAQs posted to news.announce.newgroups and news.groups.

New group proponents should be aware that the entire process typically takes three months, and must be followed precisely. Those who have not proposed a group before may wish to ask group-mentors at lists.eyrie.org for assistance. Processes for creating groups in other hierarchies, such as alt.*, are often quite different and sometimes much less formal; please see the appropriate groups within those hierarchies for details.

The goal of this process is to reach consensus on a relatively stable list of widely useful newsgroups that can be used without change at many Usenet sites. A Usenet site should be able to use the results of this process to determine the list of newsgroups to carry and their moderation status without needing to separately evaluate at each site whether a given newsgroup should be added or dropped. The process is biased in favor of stability and requires that new newsgroups meet a minimum standard of demonstrated interest. The process also attempts to ensure new newsgroups are reasonably named, have an acceptable moderation policy if moderated, and would not have damaging effects on Usenet as a whole.

Most of this procedure is at the discretion of the news.announce.newgroups (hereafter referred to as n.a.n) moderation team, who can be reached at newgroups-request@isc.org. All subjective determinations, particularly in points 5-10, 12, 13, 24, 27, and 29 below, will be made by the n.a.n moderation team.

These guidelines have been accepted by the n.a.n moderation team and may be changed at the sole discretion of the n.a.n moderation team.

GENERAL RULE

  1. Only postings to news.announce.newgroups authorized by the n.a.n moderation team are considered official in this process. All time limits and deadlines will be based on the Date headers of those posts.

THE DISCUSSION

  1. A proposal officially begins with the posting of a Request for Discussion (RFD) in news.announce.newgroups. A valid RFD must contain a rationale for the proposal, charters for all newsgroups which would be created or changed, and moderator information sections for all created or changed groups that are proposed to be moderated. The RFD must be crossposted to news.groups, should be crossposted to groups likely to be affected by the proposal, and may be crossposted to other related newsgroups.

    Crossposts to poorly propagated or regional newsgroups may be disallowed at the discretion of the n.a.n moderation team. Proposals will only be posted or crossposted to moderated groups with the explicit permission of the moderators of those groups. The total length of the Newsgroups header in the RFD (and CFV) must not exceed 200 characters, including "Newsgroups: ". The Followup-To header will be set to news.groups only (but see point 11). The RFD, after it has been posted, may be redistributed freely.

    Due to the crosspost filters of some large ISPs, it is recommended (but not required) that proposals be crossposted to no more than five groups (including n.a.n and news.groups).

  2. A proposal must consist of one or more of the following changes to Big Eight newsgroups: Create a new newsgroup, remove an existing newsgroup (by subsuming it into an existing group), change the moderation status of an existing newsgroup, or rename a newsgroup. No other types of proposals will be accepted, nor will proposals to create, change, or remove newsgroups outside the Big Eight. There is currently a moratorium on converting unmoderated newsgroups to moderated newsgroups, and proposals of that type will not be accepted.

  3. All proposed group names must be within the Big Eight hierarchies. A group name is made up of name components separated by '.' (period or dot). Each component must consist solely of lowercase ASCII letters, digits, '+' (plus), or '-' (dash), must contain at least one letter (a-z), and must be no more than twenty characters long.

  4. A proposal may include multiple changes if they are closely related, but each individual change (as defined in point 3) will be voted on separately. The n.a.n moderation team may require closely-related proposals submitted at the same time to be combined into a single RFD. The n.a.n moderation team may also require that unrelated proposals combined in a single RFD be split into multiple RFDs. Once a proposal has been posted as an RFD, the n.a.n moderation team will not require that it be combined with another proposal, and instead overlapping proposals will be dealt with according to point 8.

  5. A proposal that is substantially similar to a previous failed proposal may not be made until at least six months after the close of voting on the last such failed proposal.

  6. A proposal that significantly affects the same groups as a previous successful proposal may not be made until at least three months after the implementation (point 30) of the last such successful proposal.

  7. Two proposals with overlapping purposes, newsgroup names, or effects may not proceed at the same time. Precedence is normally given to the first group to present a formal proposal, but repeat proposals under point 6 above may be handled differently at the discretion of the n.a.n moderation team (to prevent monopolization of a proposal).

  8. Proposals that unmoderate or change the moderator(s) of an actively moderated group against the desire of the moderator(s) will be rejected.

  9. Proposals may be rejected by the n.a.n moderation team in the extremely rare circumstance that the proposal would be opposed by the vast majority of news administrators or have a sufficiently deleterious effect on the Big Eight as a whole as to make it dangerously unworkable or extremely ill-advised (for example, a proposal for a newsgroup where the act of posting on charter would be almost universally illegal).

  10. All discussion of active proposals should be posted to news.groups. If desired by the readership of closely affected groups, it may be crossposted to those groups, but care must be taken to ensure that all discussion appears in news.groups.

  11. Additional RFDs for a proposal may be posted as needed, as the proposal changes in response to discussion. An additional RFD is needed if there have been major changes to the proposal or if 60 days have passed since the previous RFD. Examples of major changes include any change to a group's name or moderation status or a significant alteration to the charter. Examples of minor changes not requiring an additional RFD include the addition or removal of a proponent or tidying up some wording in the rationale or charter.

  12. The discussion period must be a minimum of 21 days. If a proposal remains in the RFD phase for more than 120 days, the proposal may be suspended and a competing proposal allowed to go forward. If it has been more than 120 days since the latest RFD for a proposal and a Proponent Questionnaire (see point 14) was not submitted within 60 days of the latest RFD, the proposal will be considered withdrawn.

THE VOTE

  1. Success or failure of a proposal will be determined by the results of a general interest poll conducted by a member of the Usenet Volunteer Votetakers (UVV). Before the poll begins, the proponent must submit a Proponent Questionnaire (PQ) to the UVV. The votetaker will post a CFV (Call for Votes) based on the PQ, generally to the same newsgroups to which the RFD was posted. Each proposed change from the list in point 3 above will be voted on separately and will pass or fail independently.

  2. The first CFV may be posted between 10 and 60 days after the latest RFD for the proposal. At least 21 days must have elapsed between the first RFD and the first CFV.

  3. The voting period will last 21 days. The votetaker will post a second copy of the CFV near the middle of that period, identical to the first copy, except possibly for procedural or votetaker notes that do not modify the body of the proposal. Only votes that arrive at the votetaker's machine prior to the close of voting will be considered valid.

  4. The votetaker may reject votes not cast precisely according to the instructions in the CFV.

  5. Only one vote per person is permitted. If multiple votes are received from a single account, only the last vote will be counted, even if the account is used by more than one person. Multiple votes which are, in the judgment of the votetaker, attempts to bypass these restrictions may all be rejected.

  6. Votes from undeliverable addresses (including transformations of valid addresses intended to avoid spam) are not valid. The votetaker will e-mail an acknowledgment of the vote in response to each vote, and if this acknowledgment bounces, the corresponding vote will not count towards the total. Voters are responsible for investigating what happened if their votes are not acknowledged.

  7. Anonymous, forwarded, or proxy votes are not valid. Votes mailed by WWW/HTML/CGI forms are considered proxy votes and are not valid. The precise definition of anonymous is at the discretion of the votetaker but should not be interpreted as requiring all voters to use their real name; votes from well-established pseudonyms should be accepted.

  8. The explicit voting instructions in the CFV may not be distributed, in whole or in part, to any forum, by anyone except the votetaker. People wishing to vote should be referred to the CFV posted in news.announce.newgroups or told to contact the votetaker for a copy. Violations may result in invalidation of votes by the votetaker or long-term suspension of the proposal by the n.a.n moderation team.

  9. Whether or not the CFV may be sent to mailing lists is at the discretion of the votetaker, and if done should only be done by the votetaker directly.

  10. The validity of any given vote is determined by the votetaker. Votes may be disqualified for violation of the above points or for any other actions seriously detrimental to the integrity of the vote, at the discretion of the votetaker. The decision of the votetaker may be appealed to the n.a.n moderation team. The decision of the n.a.n moderation team is final.

  11. If there are significant problems with the vote, if the votetaker is unable to collect the votes, or if there are other serious flaws in the voting procedure, the n.a.n moderation team will normally cancel the vote and hold an immediate revote without disclosing the results of the first vote.

THE RESULT

  1. After the completion of the vote, the votetaker will tally the result and post it to the same newsgroups to which the votetaker posted the CFV. The posted result will contain the name, a form of the e-mail address, and the vote of everyone who voted except for those people who subsequently cancelled their vote.

  2. Each separate proposed change will be considered to have passed if and only if it received at least 100 more YES than NO votes and received at least twice as many YES as NO votes.

  3. After the result posting, there will be a five day period when any objections to the vote may be raised in news.groups. The n.a.n moderation team should also be informed (at newgroups-request@isc.org) of any objections or inaccuracies that could change the outcome.

  4. At the conclusion of this waiting period, the n.a.n moderation team will either validate the results or will put the proposal on hold while objections are considered. The final determination of whether a vote has passed or failed will be made by the n.a.n moderation team; the n.a.n moderation team may also call for a revote or take other appropriate action to deal with severely flawed votes.

  5. The results of a vote may be accepted despite flaws in the voting process. If the voting period lasted at least 21 days with at least one posted CFV and the flaws are, in the determination of the n.a.n moderator, extremely unlikely to have caused a change in the outcome, the n.a.n moderator may accept the voting results even if the above procedure is not followed exactly.

  6. All portions of the proposal that passed will be implemented by control messages issued by the n.a.n moderation team. Control messages will generally be sent shortly after the waiting period (point 27) and final validation of the results, but may be delayed due to major holidays, initial setup of moderation, or transition periods (for example, during renames, removal of an existing group may be delayed until creation of its replacement has had time to propagate).

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