The procedures for coordinating newsgroup management within the UK hierarchy are contained in three documents, of which this article contains the first.
The following Guidelines were originally accepted on 07 Aug 95 by a vote conducted on uk.net.news with 93 votes in favour and 11 votes against. They were amended by further votes conducted on uk.net.news.announce on 19 Apr 97 with majorities of 31 or more votes in favour and 6 or less votes against, again on 15 April 98 by 47 to 13, again on 26 Sept 98 by the fast-track method, again on 28 Nov 1999 by 74 to 2 and 39 to 27, again on 18 May 2000 by 30 to 8, again on 13 Feb 2001 by 30 to 13 and again on 5 May 2001 by 52 to 27.
These guidelines have the approval of the major UK service providers, who have declared that they will only carry and propagate groups created using them.
It should be pointed out here that, as always, the decision whether or not to create a newsgroup on a given machine rests with the administrator of that machine. These guidelines are intended as an aid in making those decisions. On the other hand, it should be understood that groups created contrary to these guidelines are unlikely to propagate far.
Control will cross post the RFD to uk.net.news.announce, uk.net.news.config and any other groups or mailing lists related to the proposed topic or likely to be affected. The groups to be cross posted into should be those requested by the proponent. The proponent may also indicate which groups the Followups should be set to. Control may, at his discretion, add additional groups to these lists (or remove groups where such cross posting is beyond the technical capabilities of the news software). Uk.net.news.config shall be included in both the original cross posting and followups. Only postings which are cross posted to uk.net.news.config will be considered part of the definitive discussion.
The RFD should include as much as possible of the following information concerning the proposed group:
Any of these items missing from the RFD must be resolved during the discussion.
The Charter shall make clear what the topic of discussion within the group is to be (useful if arguments about what is "on-topic" should arise later on). It is also advisable for the Charter to indicate whether or not advertisements are welcome within the group, and if so of what sort. The same applies to the admissibility of job adverts, etc. Binaries are allowed in uk.* only in hierarchies explicitly created for binary posts, and having a hierarchy charter stating this. In all other hierarchies the group charter shall state that binaries are not permitted. In any uk.* hierarchy or group whose charter does not mention binaries, the assumption shall be that binaries are forbidden.
Retromoderation, i.e. moderation of a newsgroup by way of content-based cancelling of articles, is not allowed, and RFDs which include the possibility of retromoderation will not be accepted. This does not affect the general power of moderators to cancel articles which have appeared in the group as a result of forgery, catastrophic failure of moderation software, or in other unforseen emergency circumstances.
The One-line Summary will eventually go into the "newsgroups" file which many newsreaders make available to users as a quick guide to the intent of each newsgroup. As regards group Names, reference should be made to the document "Guidelines on uk.* Newsgroup Names" which is posted periodically to uk.net.news.announce.
Where it is desired to provide for a large number of newsgroups to be created as and when demand emerges, all sharing a common charter, an RFD for a "group template" may be submitted, in the same form as an RFD, but containing also the scope of subjects for which it shall be available, and a standard charter and newsgroups line applicable to them all (with placeholders for those words specific to each subject). It may further specify a group or groups to which all future notices of quick creations must be crossposted.
The scope of subjects shall be clear and finite, it must be possible to create a definitive list of potential groups (although it is not required that the proponent provides such a list). The scope shall give clear instructions as to the formation of group names under the template, including any flexibility (to be exercised at the discretion of the committee) that is allowed in naming.
A group template RFD may also specify a single group which will be created immediately the proposal passes, without need of a quick creation request.
If the RFD is in the correct form, and if the name of the proposed group falls within the normal accepted practice for the uk.* hierarchy (as detailed in "Guidelines on uk.* Newsgroup Names") firstname.lastname@example.org (as moderator of uk.net.news.announce) will post it. Otherwise, he will refer it to the Committee for resolution (which may involve negotiation with the original proponent). A proponent who needs help in choosing a name, or is looking for any other guidance in the creation procedure, may send email to email@example.com before issuing his RFD.
Discussion shall take place in uk.net.news.config and shall continue initially for 10 days, and thereafter as required until consensus is reached, or at least the important issues have been identified. It should be concerned with finding the final form of the Name, Charter, and other items listed above. Additional RFDs should be issued if substantive changes arise during the discussion. Revised RFDs should be discussed for a further initial 10 day period.
Where 90 days have elapsed since the publication of the first RFD, the committee may direct that no further RFDs shall be published, but that the proposal shall either proceed to a vote within 40 days of the present RFD or be withdrawn. Any vote resulting from such a decision by the committee shall include the option ROD (re-open discussion). Where the RFD is concerned with the committee constitution, and the committee has not acted to curtail discussion within 130 days, the RFD shall proceed as if the committee had done so.
If, by the end of the initial discussion period, a consensus has been reached and the proposal appears to be straightforward and non-controversial, the proponent may, within 40 days of the original publication of the most recent RFD, ask firstname.lastname@example.org to create the group by the "fast-track" method. If Control (as advised by the Committee) is satisfied of this, he will announce in uk.net.news.announce that, in the absence of valid objections, the new group will be created on a date not less than 5 days thereafter. In the event of 6 or more objections, or any objection which seems to the Committee to be well founded, the fast-track procedure shall be halted, and the RFD should either proceed to a vote, or have a revised RFD submitted for further discussion. In circumstances where the fast-track has failed on only minor problems, the proponent is permitted to correct these, and re-submit a fast-track request with the corrections, which shall then be conducted as above.
Otherwise, the proponent may, within 40 days of the original publication of the most recent RFD, ask the votetaking organisation to conduct a vote. Where the vote results from the failure of a Fast Track, and the 40 day period has expired, the proponent may request a vote within 10 days of the Committee notice that the Fast Track was not successful.
The proponent may, at any stage, withdraw an RFD, or permit another person to take over as proponent on the current RFD. The proponent must notify email@example.com. Control shall publish a notice of the change of proponent or withdrawal to all newsgroups which were included in the original RFD.
Note than only firstname.lastname@example.org may issue 'newgroup', 'rmgroup' and 'checkgroups' messages which are to be regarded as valid under these guidelines.
Where a group template exists, a group may be created by the 'Quick Creation' method, without any RFD (with formal Charter) being posted.
A 'Quick Creation' request may be made by:
A request for Control to create a group using the template shall contain the names and valid email addresses of the proponent and at least 11 (maximum 20) supporters. If Control (as advised by the Committee) is satisfied that the proposed group lies within the scope of the template, he shall announce in the newsgroups specified in the template that if a minimum of 11 of the provided list of supporters respond as indicated below then, in the absence of valid objections, the group shall be created on a date not less than 10 days thereafter. Control's announcement shall contain the names/valid email addresses of the proponent and supporters.
Control shall email each supporter provided by the proponent informing them that they must email a reply within 10 days to acknowledge that they support the request and that the request will fail if fewer than 11 respond positively.
If the original request is rejected, or fewer than 11 of the listed supporters respond positively to Control, then Control shall announce this to the same groups as received the original posting.
If, at the end of the 10 day period, the minimum level of support has been achieved then Control shall post to the same groups that the proposed group shall be created in 5 days unless there are any objections.
Objections, which must be emailed to email@example.com, to quick creation will only be considered on the grounds that:
The rule specifying the number of objections that automatically prevent a fast track shall not apply to any group application by the 'Quick Creation' method.
In the event that a 'Quick Creation' request is rejected by the committee, expires through lack of support or is overturned following an objection, a similar proposal may be submitted for discussion by the normal RFD process without incurring a 3 month delay. However, a failed or expired quick creation request may not be re-submitted as a quick creation request within 90 days.
The rules for conducting votes are described in the companion document VOTING PROCEDURES WITHIN THE UK HIERARCHY.
Only one RFD on any particular subject should be allowed at any one time. The first valid RFD received by firstname.lastname@example.org should be published, and all others rejected. In cases of doubt, the Committee shall adjudicate as to whether two RFDs overlap sufficiently to warrant one being rejected.
A proposal which has been the subject of a successful Fast Track, or of any valid vote should not be brought up for discussion until at least 3 months have passed from the date of the Fast Track notice, or the close of the vote.
Where an RFD has been withdrawn, no waiting period shall apply before a new RFD can be published.
The procedures described above shall be used, with appropriate changes, for the removal, renaming, splitting or combining of groups, for changing the charter of groups, for introducing major changes to the hierarchy, for changing the moderation status, or for forcing a change of moderator (under normal circumstances, it is accepted that a retiring moderator appoints his successor).
All objections and appeals will be decided by the Committee. Their decisions will be posted to uk.net.news.announce.
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