How to find a charter
This is a brief guide on how to find a newsgroup's charter using control files found at isc.org.
The Internet Systems Consortium maintains a historical collection of control files for all newsgroups and non-newsgroups. For example, it contains control files for news.groups , which is a real newsgroup, but also for news.groups.handicap, which isn't a real newsgroup.
A control file is a special Usenet article that creates, deletes, or otherwise modifies a newsgroup. A newgroup control file for a Big-8 newsgroup will almost always contain a charter for that group.
The control file collection can be found at https://ftp.isc.org/usenet/control/.
The files are compressed with gzip. In Windows, you can use an application like 7-Zip to decompress them; on GNU/Linux or Mac, you can decompress them from the command line as follows:
gzip -d rec.radio.amateur.moderated.gz
The decompressed file (in this case rec.radio.amateur.moderated) can then be opened with a text editor.
In every file, you will see one or more control messages. Towards the beginning of the file, you will see an article containing the charter if the newsgroup is legitimate. If it is not, you will probably see a message saying that this is not a legitimate newsgroup.
rec.radio.amateur.moderated (legitimate newsgroup)
From usenet Thu Feb 22 21:00:11 2007 Path: shelby.stanford.edu!newsfeed.stanford.edu!bounce-back From: firstname.lastname@example.org Newsgroups: rec.radio.amateur.moderated Subject: cmsg newgroup rec.radio.amateur.moderated moderated Control: newgroup rec.radio.amateur.moderated moderated Approved: email@example.com Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2007 13:00:02 -0800 Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> X-PGP-Sig: 2.6.3a Subject,Control,Message-ID,Date,From,Sender iQCVAwUBRd4EUsJdOtO4janBAQEmkwP/Tk/QPqmqeDYQJ1ydDE/a9oc4Nd/znqfQ 5FsjK/GkgZrObXbHLB6rk4EuDKqk1D7lgsnBzo9qyNmrLEKrNjXNlZjq7nUym8tw rYGnrE6qe0IR+ei38QbTPxCVmUG3x5nmIpop9uDW6hNoV67fZSkbj4V5KVX5ZOT7 y5pVHiCSl+I= =pP3t Xref: shelby.stanford.edu control.newgroup:227464 The Last Call for Comments on 12 Feb 2007 initiated a five-day period for final comments. Following this comment period, the Big-8 Management Board has decided by consensus to create the newsgroup rec.radio.amateur.moderated. For your newsgroups file: rec.radio.amateur.moderated Amateur radio practices, rules, etc. (Moderated) rec.radio.amateur.moderated is for the discussion of amateur ("ham") radio, also known as the Amateur Radio Service, as defined in Federal Communications Commission Regulations and U.S. Law (47 CFR Part 97), and in similar laws and regulations in other countries, based on international treaty. It is not limited to the rules of any one country or time period. Possible topics include past, present, and future operating practices; events; contests; past, present, and potential-future rules; power limitations; authorized frequencies; allowed modes and band plans (or other gentlemen's agreements) that govern how we are to operate; what constitutes the acceptable operation of amateur stations. The newsgroup is intended to be international in scope, not just for amateurs in the United States. It is, however, intended as an English-language forum, by custom and practice. As with General Aviation and other internationally-scoped endeavors, the Amateur Radio Service has a strong custom of the use of English and the Latin alphabet. Discussion of amateur radio in languages other than English also occurs in many country- and region-specific hierarchies, many of which have specific amateur radio newsgroups, including: de.* (Germany) dk.* (Denmark) es.* (Spain) fr.* (France) nl.* (Netherlands) pl.* (Poland) pt.* (Portugal) relcom.* (Russia) This newsgroup is only intended to supplement, not supersede, any other amateur radio newsgroups. General communications law or government policy of various government agencies is also on-topic, as long as the discussion relates to amateur radio. Examples would be emergency communications, local antenna restrictions, and property deed restrictions applying to operation of amateur radio stations. Discussion of other types of radio, such as Citizens Band, Broadcast, other Personal Radio Services, Commercial or Private Land Mobile, and Marine or Aviation services are off-topic, except when *directly* related to amateur radio. Similarly, discussion of methods violating applicable communications law and regulations concerning radio equipment or operations are off-topic. The following are prohibited: * Personal advertisements (submitters of such articles will be referred to rec.radio.swap, instead). * Commercial advertisements and money-making schemes. * Chain letters. * Posts in HTML. * EMP spam. * Binaries, apart from PGP signatures, X-Face headers, and other ancillary article meta-data. * Forgery of valid e-mail addresses. * Excessive morphing/nym-shifting. * Copyright violations. Pointers to news articles, blogs, etc. on this topic are welcome but are required to comply with fair use standards. * Personal attacks and flames, as defined by the moderation team. * Advertising items and/or services for sale (also will be referred to rec.radio.swap). * Links to "objectionable" web content, including pornographic sites, sites encouraging illegal activities, or sites deemed unacceptable by the moderation team. The moderation team will cursorily check the contents of specific links to confirm on-topic content, but acceptance for posting does not imply endorsement or approval of the entire present or future contents of that web site. * Discussion of moderation decisions. See below for information on appealing moderator action. LINKS: Amateur Radio Newsgroups in Total Meltdown (QRZ) http://www.qrz.com/ib-bin/ikonboard.cgi?s=ff745d20e58c50c63315835c3cefd8d9;act=ST;f=7;t=119282 Amateur Radio Newsgroups: Total Meltdown (eHam) http://www.eham.net/articles/13581 Secure, Team-Based Usenet Moderation Program (STUMP) http://www.algebra.com/~ichudov/stump/
news.groups.handicap (illegitimate newsgroup)
From email@example.com Sun Nov 22 16:24:15 1998 Path: news.isc.org!bounce-back From: firstname.lastname@example.org (David C Lawrence) Newsgroups: news.groups.handicap Subject: cmsg rmgroup news.groups.handicap Control: rmgroup news.groups.handicap Approved: email@example.com Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Sun, 22 Nov 1998 08:50:23 -0000 Lines: 5 X-Info: ftp://ftp.isc.org/pub/pgpcontrol/README.html ftp://ftp.isc.org/pub/pgpcontrol/README X-PGP-Sig: 2.6.2 Subject,Control,Message-ID,Date,From,Sender iQCVAwUBNlfQUMJdOtO4janBAQEwCAP9GO5O4ybLCKAdQZrMT9MDZ8EsN0+7A19H kCoB56yaHxWUmWOauDjqefUXtvI1YW03koJaZ9Tk936bQmxn1r/Jf8oww+l3t9U2 2y+qJZCFKiv0LauDDoH1eZd+lAjS1ComOnSfQK25zwPsUa9Z6egehp2UqYryCE+j LOQmuHmNf80= =YlYg Xref: news.isc.org control.rmgroup:78088 news.groups.handicap is widely considered a bogus newsgroup given that it has not been approved by accepted USENET group creation procedures. Please remove the group from your active file. misc.handicap should be used instead.
Using this guide you should be able to find, decompress, and read control files from isc.org and then identify a legitimate charter from that file.