Archive-name: uk/newsadmins-faq
Last-modified: Thu Nov 22 18:06:36 GMT 2018

UK Newsadmins' FAQ

Introduction

This FAQ is prepared by Charles Lindsey for the purpose of disseminating the current status concerning management of the uk.* hierarchy to newsadmins throughout the UK and elsewhere.

I don't know whether these particular questions are in fact "Frequently Asked", but I certainly believe that they should be.

Comments and suggestions for future editions to chl@clerew.man.ac.uk please.

This FAQ is archived at
<http://www.usenet.org.uk/newsadmins.html> and at
<ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/news.answers/uk/newsadmins-faq>

Table of Contents

  1. Recent Changes
  2. Who manages the uk.* hierarchy?
  3. Who is control?
  4. What is usenet.org.uk?
  5. Who are the UK Volunteer Votetakers?
  6. What about the wales.*, scot.*, ni.* and england.* hierarchies?
  7. So which groups should I take on my site?
  8. How do I send articles to a moderated group?
  9. Who are the moderators of the uk.* groups?
  10. What other sources of information are there?
  11. Where can I find an up-to-date list of newsgroups?
  12. PGP signature of control messages
  13. What other questions are there?

1. Recent Changes

Thu Jan 8 19:37:07 GMT 2015
Committee changes
Sat Jul 11 21:21:13 BST 2015
Change of Control
Sat Jan 30 15:28:26 GMT 2016
Committee changes
Mon Feb 20 14:32:16 GMT 2017
Committee changes
Tue Jan 2 19:57:10 GMT 2018
Committee changes
Mon Nov 12 16:37:52 GMT 2018
Committee changes
Mon Nov 12 16:37:52 GMT 2018
Removal of obsolete stuff
Thu Nov 22 18:06:36 GMT 2018
Revised INN control.ctl

2. Who manages the uk.* hierarchy?

Four documents set out the procedures for creating and/or removing/renaming newsgroups within the uk.* hierarchy.

GUIDELINES FOR GROUP CREATION WITHIN THE UK HIERARCHY

<https://www.usenet.org.uk/guidelines.html>
<ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/news.answers/uk/guidelines>

VOTING PROCEDURES WITHIN THE UK HIERARCHY

<https://www.usenet.org.uk/voting.html>
<ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/news.answers/uk/voting>

THE UK USENET COMMITTEE

<https://www.usenet.org.uk/committee.html>
<ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/news.answers/uk/committee>

Three of these documents were accepted on 7 Aug 95 following a vote conducted in uk.net.news, with the results, respectively, of

(93 yes : 13 no)
(91 yes : 13 no)
(76 yes : 23 no)
Essentially, they provide for a Committee to be elected each October, with a person known as Control, answerable to the Committee, to oversee the process of group creation.

A Mentors document was added on 13 Jul 2000 (17 yes : 8 no) and abolished on 14 June 2010 following a Fast-Track.

The Committee elected in October 2018 comprises

Open members

Until Dec 2019

Molly Mockford
Charles Lindsey
Owen Dunn

Until Dec 2020

Mark Goodge
Fiona Gostling
(aka 'Kat')
Chris Newport

Until Dec 2021

Ian Clifton
Matthew Vernon
Matt Dawson
(aka 'Chronos')

Appointed members
None
The committee as a whole may be reached by email to committee (at) usenet.org.uk.

3. Who is Control?

The Committee have appointed Matthew Vernon as Control, and Charles Lindsey as Deputy Control.

For official purposes Control may be reached at control (at) usenet.org.uk. It is required that all RFDs and CFVs should be posted to uk.net.news.announce in accordance with the Guidelines document, and it is advised that all those responsible for the administration of news servers in the UK should subscribe to that group.

Many large news administrators have indicated that they will in future honour all and only newgroup and rmgroup control messages for the uk.* hierarchy issued by control (at) usenet.org.uk, and they urge all other news administrators to adopt that same policy.

4. What is usenet.org.uk?

A domain name. Silly question! Next?

But to be serious, it is a domain name set up to facilitate communication with the Committee, in such a manner that the relevant officers can be reached even if their identities change. Currently, the following services are available.

control (at) usenet.org.uk
to reach Control
committee (at) usenet.org.uk
to reach the whole Committee
ukvoting (at) usenet.org.uk
to reach the group of independent UK Volunteer Votetakers
https://www.usenet.org.uk
the UK Usenet Website

5. Who are the UK Volunteer Votetakers?

A group of people, independent of the Committee, who are empowered by the VOTING PROCEDURES to conduct votes. The coordinator of this group is Jon Ribbens, reachable via ukvoting (at) ukvoting.org.uk. They also have their own website at <http://www.ukvoting.org.uk>.

6. What about the wales.*, scot.*, ni.* and england.* hierarchies?

These hierarchies were formed at about the same time as uk.*, but their equivalents of control and committee had all ceased operation by around 2002, and their websites are now unreachable.

Their groups continue to exist and are still in use to varying extents, but they are running on auto-pilot and no arrangements for creation and removal of groups are in place.

7. So which groups should I take on my site?

Well that is your prerogative to decide. If you want to take a standard uk.* "full feed", then you should accept the periodic 'newgroup', 'rmgroup' and 'checkgroups' control messages issued by control (at) usenet.org.uk, and (for the uk.* groups) no others. You may of course decide to take less than this if your disc space and/or range of interests are limited.

It is possible to automate the acceptance of these control messages issued by control (at) usenet.org.uk, and it is always safe to do so if you first verify the PGP signatures with which they are authenticated (if you are unable to do that, it is recommended that at least 'rmgroup's and 'checkgroups' be inspected manually before acceptance - there are not so many of those, anyway).

If you run INN, then the following 'control.ctl' will achieve the necessary effects. Note that this example also shows the correct way to handle control messages for the "Big-8".

##  control.ctl - Access control for control messages.
##  Format:
##     :::
##
##           Control message or "all" if it applies to all control
##                    messages.
##              Pattern that must match the From line.
##        Pattern that must match the newsgroup being newgroup'd
##                    or rmgroup'd (ignored for other messages).
##            What to do:
##                          doit        Perform action
##                          drop        Ignore message
##                          log         One line to error log
##                          mail        Send mail to admin
##                          verify-pgp_userid   Do PGP verification on user.
##                    All actions except drop and mail can be given a log
##                    location by following the action with an = and the
##                    log ("mail" says to mail the admin, an empty location
##                    tosses the log information, and a relative path xxx
##                    logs to $LOG/xxx.log).
##
##  The *last* matching entry is used.  See the expire.ctl(5) man page for
##  complete information.

## -------------------------------------------------------------------------
##	DEFAULT
## -------------------------------------------------------------------------

# Default to dropping control messages that aren't recognized to allow
# people to experiment without inadvertently mailbombing news admins.
all:*:*:drop

## -------------------------------------------------------------------------
##	CHECKGROUPS MESSAGES
## -------------------------------------------------------------------------

# Default to mailing all checkgroups messages to the administrator.
checkgroups:*:*:mail
checkgroups:group-admin@isc.org:comp.*|humanities.*|misc.*|news.*|rec.*|sci.*|soc.*|talk.*:verify-news.announce.newgroups
.........
checkgroups:control@usenet.org.uk:uk.*:verify-uk.net.news.announce

## -------------------------------------------------------------------------
##	MISCELLANEOUS CONTROL MESSAGES
## -------------------------------------------------------------------------

# Mostly only used for UUCP feeds, very rarely used these days.
ihave:*:*:drop
sendme:*:*:drop

# Request to send a copy of the newsfeeds file, intended for mapping
# projects.  Almost never used for anything other than mailbombing now.
sendsys:*:*:log=sendsys

# Request to send the server's path entry.  Not particularly useful.
senduuname:*:*:log=senduuname

# Request to send the server's version number.
version:*:*:log=version

## -------------------------------------------------------------------------
##	NEWGROUP/RMGROUP MESSAGES
## -------------------------------------------------------------------------

## Default (for any group)
newgroup:*:*:mail
rmgroup:*:*:mail

## Special reserved groups
newgroup:*:control|general|junk|test|to:drop
rmgroup:*:control|general|junk|test|to:drop
.........
newgroup:group-admin@isc.org:comp.*|humanities.*|misc.*|news.*|rec.*|sci.*|soc.*|talk.*:verify-news.announce.newgroups
rmgroup:group-admin@isc.org:comp.*|humanities.*|misc.*|news.*|rec.*|sci.*|soc.*|talk.*:verify-news.announce.newgroups
.........
newgroup:control@usenet.org.uk:uk.*:verify-uk.net.news.announce
rmgroup:control@usenet.org.uk:uk.*:verify-uk.net.news.announce

8. How do I send articles to a moderated group?

Normally, you mail it to a server which keeps an up-to-date list of moderators, normally to moderators.isc.org which is an MX record pointing to several sites which maintain a complete list of moderators worldwide. However, you will save one hop if you use usenet.org.uk for groups in uk.*, and this is recommended.

In INN, I believe the following should work.

uk.*:%s@usenet.org.uk
*:%s@moderators.isc.org

9. Who are the moderators of the uk.* groups?

You do not really need this information, unless you want to construct your 'mailpaths' file d-i-y style. But the current list may be inspected at http://www.usenet.org.uk/moderated.html. Note how they all go through "@usenet.org.uk". This has been done so that any change requested by the moderator can be implemented speedily, without the necessity of negotiating the details with isc.org.

Separate "-request" addresses are also provided. These are guaranteed to point to a human moderator rather than a robot. Such addresses should be used to contact the moderator directly, as opposed to submitting an article.

10. What other sources of information are there?

You might like to look at the following regular postings to news.admin.misc.

How to become a Usenet site

<ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/news.answers/usenet/site-setup>

Usenet Software: History and Sources

<ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/news.answers/usenet/software/part1>
The following Web site is maintained on behalf of the Committee. It contains the official management documents for uk.* as referred to above, the complete set of charters for uk.* groups, and pointers to much other useful information.
<https://www.usenet.org.uk>

11. Where can I find an up-to-date list of newsgroups?

A checkgroups message giving the exact current state of the uk.* hierarchy will be issued by control (at) usenet.org.uk periodically. In between, for an up-to-date list see
<https://www.usenet.org.uk/checkgroups> (in 'checkgroups' format);
<https://www.usenet.org.uk/newsgroups.html> (for human readers).

12. PGP signature of control messages

The headers of control messages issued by control (at) usenet.org.uk are authenticated with a PGP signature. See
<ftp://ftp.isc.org/pub/pgpcontrol/README[.html]>
for technical details, patches for INN, and a list of public keys used by various control message issuers worldwide. For control messages issued by control (at) usenet.org.uk the public key is:

-----BEGIN PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK-----
Version: PGPfreeware 5.0i for non-commercial use
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=iInx
-----END PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK-----

13. What other questions are there?

Well, you should tell me that.
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