In the current system (and for many years) it has been the convention to include a charter as part of a Request for Discussion for new newsgroups. In the period before The Great Renaming, many groups were created without a charter beyond the newsgroup description line.
Date: Mon, 20 Jul 2009 12:19:36 CST From: Ru Igarashi <email@example.com> Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> In news.groups.proposals Helge Nareid <email@example.com> wrote: [...] > Personally, I think that charter changes should be allowed, > particularly if there is a compelling case for it - rec.games.bolo > would be a good candidate IMHO. However, at this point in time I > appear to be in a minority in the B8MB. I don't think it was a question of being allowed or even of tradition, rather it was - and still is - a pointless action. The Big-8 never had a repository and machinery to administer charters effectively. I think David and Russ were both agreeable to the idea of a charter administration scheme. As always, the big hurdle was manpower, finding someone to start the ball rolling and then keep it working (I'm pretty sure Russ pointed this out). One might ask why we can't simply use the machinery for administering newsgroups. I think it came back to the repository. The current archive is for control messages. Never mind whether control messages get issued for charter updates (why bother?). Having the charter updates mixed in with control messages (in the archive) would inevitably lead to confusion over which charter holds, in the worst case, and to complaints about how difficult it is to find the most recent update in the best case. A proper charter management system has to be just that, a system, and it should be separate from the group administration system. It should unambiguously present charters, while providing a means for submitting and approving updates. It's just a question of finding the people to set it up and run it. If I thought I could guarantee the required amount of my resources in the long term, I'd do it. But I can't make that kind of assurance even in the short term, which sucks, because setting up the archive looks kind of fun to try. The alternative, which I pushed while I was active here, is to use FAQs to maintain charters. Charters in group creation control messages are not meant to be the STANDING charter, merely the STARTING point for the group. How the group gets used afterward has always been considered the business of the group's users. As such, FAQs can be an acceptable means for establishing the standing charter. Control of FAQs is an issue, but when the FAQ is aligned with the users, it can be quite effective. Much of that machinery exists. It's just a matter of the users of a particular group agreeing to a mechanism for making updates within their group (e.g. voting scheme) and to make the FAQ version of the Charter the standing charter. ru
Date: Mon, 20 Jul 2009 12:54:16 CST From: Steve Bonine <firstname.lastname@example.org> Message-ID: <email@example.com> Ru Igarashi wrote: [...] > I don't think it was a question of being allowed or even of > tradition, rather it was - and still is - a pointless action. > The Big-8 never had a repository and machinery to administer > charters effectively. [...] I agree that it's a pointless action, but for rather different reasons than you enumerated in your article. For an unmoderated newsgroup, what's the point? It's peer pressure that "enforces" the charter for an unmoderated group, whether there's a formal charter-management system or not. Why put a system in place to keep up with charters when they really don't mean anything? The people who tend to flaunt charters are not the folks who will carefully check the text of a charter that's maintained in a repository. Changing the charter, even if such a change were carefully recorded in a publicly available system, would have no effect on the actual operation of the newsgroup. In fact, it might fuel the netcop activity in the group. For moderated newsgroups, the moderator(s) set the effective charter of the group. If submissions are out of line, the moderator(s) can inform the submitter. There's no real point in having an "official" "current" charter available for public inspection. Newsgroups change over time based on participants' needs evolving. The charter is important for the first few weeks of a newsgroup's life; after that the group is going to go where the group goes. A public repository of charters won't change this at all.