How to Create a New Big-8 Newsgroup

From Usenet Big-8 Management Board

Each of these steps is described in more detail below.

1. (optional) The proponent may start an informal discussion in news.groups, news.groups.proposals, and/or in related groups about the proposed group.

2. The proponent submits a Request For Discussion (RFD) to news.announce.newgroups.

3. Discussion of the RFD takes place primarily in news.groups.proposals.

4. The proponent asks the board to vote on the proposal.

5. The board votes on the proposal.

6. If the proposal passes, it is implemented.

Informal Discussion

Anyone wishing to propose a newsgroup may do so simply by posting a message to that effect in news.groups or news.groups.proposals or by writing the Big-8 Management Board or one of its committees. There are no requirements on the format or content of that message. For example, "Yo, dude, a surfing newsgroup would be WAY COOL!" would be a perfectly fine way to initiate a discussion. Of course, more information is always welcome, but it is not required at this point in the process. The idea is to get ideas out in the open quickly, where they can be discussed and fleshed out before the formal RFD is written.The proponent of the newsgroup ought to cross-post the idea to other, relevant newsgroups in addition to news.groups[.proposals]. In these crossposts, followups should be directed to news.groups[.proposals] so that discussion of the idea is confined to a single location. This makes it easier for interested parties to follow the entire discussion in one place, and for uninterested parties to avoid the discussion. However, this is merely a recommendation -- the proponent should do what s/he feels comfortable with during the informal discussion of the proposal. The proponent may choose to conduct an interest poll during the informal discussion phase. See the notes on Traffic Analysis for further information.Proponents who have experience with the newsgroup creation process and believe that they have a well-developed idea may skip the informal discussion and start with step 2, the RFD.

Request for Discussion (RFD)

The proponent submits his/her proposal to the newsgroup news.announce.newgroups by posting to the group or by emailing the proposal to This submission is known as a Request For Discussion, or RFD.The RFD should be cross-posted to newsgroups whose readers might be interested in or affected by the proposed group. It should also be cross-posted to news.groups.proposals, and followups should be directed there. (If you do not know how to set followups in your newsreader, we will help you figure it out. The line that needs to be included in the RFD header field is "Followup-to: news.groups.proposals".) Some information is required in the RFD:

  • newsgroup name
  • Checkgroups file entry
  • whether the newsgroup will be moderated or unmoderated
  • if moderated, who the initial moderator(s) will be, including at least one decipherable and usable contact addressSome information is not required, but is strongly encouraged:
  • rationale
  • charter
  • moderation policy, if moderatedOther information which supports the creation of the newsgroup may be included. For example,this could include:
  • traffic analysis
  • moderation site and softwareEach of these items is discussed in greater detail here.As discussion of the RFD progresses in news.groups.proposals, the proponent should submit revised RFDs to news.announce.newgroups et al.Not all RFDs sent to n.a.n are automatically approved by the moderators. There are various and sundry reasons why the board might decide not to publish an RFD.

Discussions of the Proposal in news.groups.proposals

News.groups.proposals is a moderated newsgroup in which Big-8 newsgroup proposals are discussed. We ask proponents and others interested in a proposal to subscribe to news.groups.proposals for the duration of the discussion period and, so far as possible, to bring the discussion of this group elsewhere into n.g.p. by using the "Followup-to: news.groups.proposals" header along with a line in the body of the post saying "Followups set."All discussion of active proposals should be posted to news.groups.proposals. If desired by the readership of closely affected groups, the discussion may be crossposted to those groups, but care must be taken to ensure that all discussion appears in n.g.p. The purpose of the discussion is to evaluate all of the elements in the RFD: name, charter, rationale, traffic analysis, moderation policy, moderators, distribution list, etc., along with other concerns about how the topic fits into the Big-8 and Usenet as a whole.It is very important that proponents answer questions about their RFD in news.groups.proposals. Failure to participate in the discussion will result in the proposal being removed from the active queue. At the same time, proponents who are responding to reasonable questions and requests for clarification may use their discretion in not responding to repetitious or contentious questioning.As a general rule, members of the Board are expected to follow the discussion in news.groups.proposals. Members of the Board who wish to do so may participate in the discussion either to express their personal views or to clarify matters of policy and procedure.The Board may, at its discretion, conduct polls of various kinds to help settle the question of whether the group should be created. Proponents may also initiate polls to show that creating the group is desirable.

The Proponent Asks the Board Make a Decision

When the proponent is ready for the board to make its decision, he or she should submit an RFD/Last Call For Comments to news.announce.newgroups. The Board may also take the initiative to suggest to a proponent that the time has come to end the discussion and make a decision on the proposal.If the board believes that the proposal is ready for a decision to be made, the Board will publish the RFD/LCC under its own name. The RFD will announce that the Board will begin voting after 5 days, and that interested persons should make any final comments that they wish the Board to consider when making its decision.Alternatively, the board may request that the proponent make additional changes to the RFD/LCC, or supply additional information; or they may request that the proponent continue to discuss the proposal in news.groups.proposals.

The Board Votes on the Proposal

The Board will decide whether the new group will be created. In making its decision, the Board will use its standard voting procedures.The Board will wait five days after the last_call Final RFD and Last Call for Comments is issued before beginning to vote. After the five-day period, the Board's vote may take one to seven days. If the Board decides not to create the new group, the Board's announcement of the decision will include an explanation of why the proposal was rejected. Furthermore, the Board will explain to the proponent, either privately or in the decision announcement, what, if anything, he or she can do to improve the proposal before asking the Board to reconsider it.

If the Proposal Passes, It is Implemented

The Technical Team will create and circulate the request to create the new group. This formal request will be archived at the ISC website.

Important Usenet / Big-8 References

Author: Document:
Russ Allbery Group Creation Policies (Control Messages)
Russ Allbery Pitfalls of Newsgroup Moderation
Description of the Former (now obsolete) Creation System
news.announce.newgroups Moderation Team Big Eight Newsgroup Creation Process (2003)