Group Removal FAQ

From Usenet Big-8 Management Board

General Considerations

Why does the Board want to remove unused newsgroups?

  • The major problem with leaving unused groups around Usenet is that it makes it harder to create new ones. If creating a group is an irrevocable decision, more care has to be put into deciding to create it than if the decision can be rescinded.
  • Dead newsgroups may discourage newcomers from seeing the value of Usenet.

How can you be certain that no one will want to use the group in the future?

  • We can't be certain. The Board makes the best judgments it can, given the evidence at hand.
  • Any judgments the Board makes will be fallible. The members of the Board will do their best to avoid mistakes, to correct mistakes, and to learn from their mistakes. We know from experience that participants in news.groups will be happy to help with identifying mistakes made by the Board.

What if people want the removed group re-created?

  • If anyone wants the group, the Board can always recreate it. In fact, the board might consider a lower bar for recreating an unused removed group within six months or so of having been removed, since the removal could possibly bring people out of the woodwork.

What if people object to having the group removed?

  • It depends on who they are and the nature of their objections. Some people prefer that once a group is created, it exists forever, even if it has become nothing but a sea of spam or other off-topic posts. If opponents of the proposal can show that there is meaningful traffic in the group, that would, of course, be a powerful argument for keeping the group.

How do you know whether moderators have abandoned a group?

  • As a general rule, if the moderator or moderators of a group object to its removal, the group will be retained; if a moderator requests the group to be removed and no one volunteers to replace the moderator, the group will be removed.

What if news administrators ignore the removal messages?

  • Their decision affects only their own news servers. The Board has no power whatsoever to compel compliance with Checkgroups.
  • No harm will come to news administrators who do comply with the request to remove groups. Posts will only circulate among non-compliant sites; they will not be visible on compliant news servers.

What happens to the material that is in the removed group?

  • When a newsgroup is removed from a news server, the content that was in the group is no longer accessible via that server.

How to Propose Group Removals

Is there a special format used to discuss group removals?

Will you accept an RFD to remove many groups all at once?

  • Yes.
  • The collective RFD should be posted to news.announce.newgroups and news.groups.proposals; pointers to the RFD and the discussion in news.groups.proposals should be posted in each of the groups recommended for removal; followups should be set to news.groups.proposals, although crossposting may be used as well.

How long will the process take?

  • We don't know.
  • The Board needs to allow enough time for interested parties to comment on the proposal but does not want the process to drag out indefinitely. A lot depends on the nature of the group or groups proposed for removal.
  • There is no clock on removal RFDs. Each RFD will be considered on its own merits to determine how quickly it is acted on. The clearer the rationale for removal, the more likely it is that there will be a quick decision.

Why won't the Board close groups in which the traffic is nothing but off-topic vitriol, personal harassment, character assassination, libel, absurd comments, vulgarity, lies, irrelevant crossposts, sporgery, stupidity, and spam?

  • Short answer: "This is {the} [Usenet|USENET]."
  • Longer answer: "The Big-8 is a small part of Usenet"
  • Longest answer: "What part of 'This is Usenet' didn't you understand?"

Do you think that is a fair answer to my question?

  • Yes.

Don't you care that such groups bring shame to the Big-8?

  • No. "Ad impossibile nemo tenetur": no one is obliged to do what is impossible.
  • Unmoderated public groups are unmoderated. They do not belong to one user more than to another; they do not belong to any news adminstrator or news server. They do not belong to the Big-8 Management Board.

Do you mean that you refuse to manage the content of unmoderated newsgroups?

  • Yes.

Does this mean that you are not in charge of everything that happens in the Big-8?

  • Yes.

How can we get rid of you and install some managers who will manage things?

  • I don't know. But if you find such gods and goddesses with the necessary powers and the will to use them, they can probably figure it out.
  • You might try to revive Usenet II.

Are you always this absurd when you write FAQs?

  • No. Some questions and answers are utterly humorless--more's the pity.