From Usenet Big-8 Management Board
From: Ron Schompert <>
Subject: 2nd RFD: rec.ponds.moderated moderated
Newsgroups: rec.aquaria.freshwater.misc, news.announce.newgroups,
 rec.aquaria.misc, news.groups.proposals, rec.ponds
Followup-To: news.groups.proposals
Date: Fri, 12 Jan 2007 09:50:53 -0600

                      REQUEST FOR DISCUSSION (RFD)
                  moderated group rec.ponds.moderated

This is a formal Request For Discussion (RFD) for the creation of the
moderated Usenet newsgroup, rec.ponds.moderated.

NEWSGROUPS LINE: rec.ponds.moderated

rec.ponds.moderated	Care & enjoyment of recreational pods & water gardens. (Moderated)

RATIONALE: rec.ponds.moderated

Rec.ponds was founded in 1994 for backyard pond enthusiasts to share
experiences and information.  For most of its existance, rec.ponds was an
active and thriving Internet community of long-term ponders as well as
newcomers to the hobby.

During the year 2005, rec.ponds was overrun by trolls, flames forgeries
and destructive crossposting.  Most rec.ponds regulars left the group and
went to mailing lists or forums where they could discuss their hobby in
relative peace.  A few remained to answer questions from newcomers and to
attempt to rebuild the community that previously existed.

However, the signal became mired intractably in noise.  At the same time,
many former rec.ponders discovered that other outlets were not a useful
alternative.  Many of the boards, lists and forums that permit pond
discussion appear to be more oriented to the high-end hobbyist.  Many
rec.ponders, by contrast, are content with a few common fish, some plants,
and relatively small ponds that may or may not be mechanically filtered.

At the present time, newcomers who discover rec.ponds are quickly driven
away by hostile posts.

Continuing interest in online pond discussion is evident by the number of
pond-related posts to such forums as: The Freshwater Aquarium, Koiphen,
Koishack, The Mud Pond, Garden Web, Aquascape, the Professional Pond
Builder's Society and the rec.aquaria newsgroups.  All of these groups
are visited by pond newcomers, who will sometimes post their questions

Some overlap between rec.ponds and the rec.aquaria groups has always
existed and should not be seen as detrimental to this proposal.


Our team is considering the analyzing of pond related traffic on the
Internet.  We will include details as they are prepared.


C1  Description and Purpose

  Rec.ponds.moderated is a moderated newsgroup that provides a friendly,
  respectful forum for the discussion of all aspects of ponds and water
  gardens. The rec.ponds.moderated newsgroup appeals to a wide range of
  people involved in both the recreational and professional aspects of
  establishing and maintaining a pond or water garden.

  Participants range from water garden/pond novices to persons with many
  years of experience, from amateur hobbyists to professional botanists
  and ichthyologists, from students wishing to get help with science
  projects to retired persons seeking a quiet, pleasurable pastime.

  All interested persons are welcomed to share ideas, ask questions, or
  simply to lurk and learn.

C2  Permitted Content

  On-topic discussions about ponding or reasonable off-topic posts are

  Reasonable off-topic posts are loosely defined as the normal civil
  banter and socializing that naturally occurs between friendly members
  of a community.

  On-topic discussions include, but are not limited to:

    * Building a pond/water garden
    * Establishing an ecosystem
    * Plant life
    * Fish
    * Amphibians and reptiles
    * Aquatic environmental concerns
    * Discussions of large, unlined natural ponds
    * Limited occasional advertising by individual group members will
      be permitted if they have a personal pond-related item they
      wish to sell.  No followup by the seller is permitted within the
    * Disagreements and different points of view regarding on-topic
      items are acceptable and permitted as long as they remain civil
      and respectful in tone.

  Permitted off-topic items shall include:

    * Limited discussions of moderation policy, group operation, and
      other matters that affect the group, as long as the posts and
      threads do not become uncivil or repetitious.  The extent of
      such discussions is at the discretion of the moderators, whose
      decisions are final, and is subject to the conditions of  C3.
    * The civil, social bantering that naturally occurs amongst
      members of a community, and that contributes to the life, vigor
      and camaraderie of the community.
    * The occasional posting of moderator announcements, charter,
      FAQ, and moderation policy.

C3  The Following Is Prohibited

  All posts containing these items are rejected, and returned with
  explanation if possible.

    * Implied or direct threats, slander, insults, bigotry, prejudice
      or harassment.
    * Flaming, trolling,flooding, and personal verbal attacks.
    * Posts advocating violence or containing physical threats.
    * Bashing others based on gender, race, sexual orientation or
    * Commercial posts.
    * Excessive cross-posting; although limited, on-topic
      crossposting is permitted.
    * Chain letters.
    * Posts written in HTML.
    * EMP spam.
    * Binaries (other than  PGP signatures, X-Face headers, and
      other ancillary article meta-data).
    * Forgery of valid email addresses and/or approval headers.
    * Excessive morphing/nym shifting ("excessive" is undefined but
      is at the  discretion of the moderators).
    * Excessive quoting of old material, with little new content
      (these will be judgement calls made by the moderators).
    * Personally identifying information associated with anyone
      other than the poster (e.g. residential addresses, phone numbers,
      and government identifications).
    * Content advocating acts that would be intrinsically illegal in
      most places.
    * Copyright violations.  (However, pointers to news articles,
      blogs, etc. that are on-topic are welcome.  They must comply
      with fair use standards).

C4  Charter Implementation

  The charter of the group is implemented by a group of moderators.  Their
  task is to develop and carry out the methods necessary to insure that
  the stated purposes of the group charter are accomplished.  Their
  methods shall be defined as Moderation Policy.

  Moderators make use of whatever tools and discussion process they deem
  necessary to carry out their responsibilities, including robotic software.

C5  Moderation Policy Objectives and Practices

  Moderation policy adheres to and carries out the stated goals and
  purposes of the group.  Moderation policy practices may be changed by
  the moderators to meet the ongoing needs of the newsgroup charter.
  Proposed changes are announced by the moderators, and newsgroup members
  are invited to share and discuss their views of proposed changes.
  Passage is by a 2/3 majority vote.  Changes are published in the

C6  Moderator Standards

  Moderators approve or reject posts based upon content and the other
  items mentioned in C3 above.  Moderators maintain a standard of
  neutrality and non-bias.  Moderators do not add, delete, or edit
  anything within a post.  Tags are not added.  Moderators' decisions
  are final.  Moderators permit posts that may contain technically
  incorrect information, provided that the post is not deemed to be
  deliberately deceptive.  Any forwarded post that contains incorrect
  information may and should be followed up by posts that attempt to
  correct the misinformation.

  All personal posts made by moderators go through the same complete
  process as posts made by the general readership of the group.
  Moderators do not review their own posts, nor those of a relative.
  Moderators who fail to abide by the charter and current moderation
  policy may be warned and/or removed by the other moderators (see
  moderation policy).

C7  Moderator Accessibility and Accountability

  The moderators provide options for both private and public interaction
  with the readership of the group. An email contact address is provided
  for complaints, appeals, reviews and suggestions.  The receipt of emails
  to the contact address is acknowledged by a return email, provided a
  valid return address is given.  In addition, the Charter provides for
  limited public discussion of the general issues of moderation policy,
  group operation, and other matters that affect the group.

C8  Readership Participation & Responsibility

  All participants in the group may:

    * Request changes to moderation policy & participate in the
      discussion of changes.
    * Privately ask for all moderators to review a specific rejected
      post (within numerical limits determined by the moderators).
    * Nominate new moderators.

MODERATION POLICY: rec.ponds.moderated

M01  Purpose

  The purpose of moderation policy is to carry out the objectives
  and goals of the charter.

M02  Robotic Moderation Software Programs

  If and when feasible, the moderation team may employ robotic moderation
  software to screen and filter all incoming posts, and to ensure that all
  posts meet certain current moderation policies.  Posts that do not will
  be automatically returned along with a brief explanation, provided that
  such posts have a valid return address.

  All posts that are approved by the robotic software will be forwarded to
  human moderators for further examination.

M03  Cross-posting

  Minimal cross-posting to related groups based on content (e.g., fish
  hobby, gardening, wildlife management) will be allowed.  No cross-
  posting to irrelevant groups will be permitted.  Such cross-posted
  messages shall be returned.

  When feasible, cross-post filtering will be handled by the robotic

M04  Authorship of Posts

  Anyone will be allowed to post on-topic or reasonable off-topic posts
  as long as they are not forging another poster's name.   Anonymous
  posting will be allowed.  Occasional name-shifting may be permitted,
  but excessive name-shifting will not be permitted.  Robotic software
  methods to protect the author's identity may be employed through the
  use of voluntary passwords, PGP, or other methods that become
  technically available.

M05  Human Moderation

  After passage by any robotic software, messages are forwarded to
  the moderators who will review them and shall then make final
  decisions of approval or rejection based upon the content of the
  post.  There shall be no editing of any post by any moderator, as
  stated in C6 of the Charter.

M06  Moderator Accept/Forward and Return/Reject Policies

  At a minimum, when using robotic software, one moderator may
  authorize a post to be forwarded to the newsgroup, and one moderator
  may authorize a submission to be rejected/returned.  If the robotic
  software contains a multi-pass/rejectoption, then more than one
  moderator may be asked to agree before a post is forwarded or returned.
  Moderators may consult with one another before deciding to pass or
  reject a post.  This consultation may add to the time-delay of the
  processing of a post.

M07  Personal Advertising

  Very limited personal advertising shall be permitted.  Advertising
  must be directly related to on-topic aquatic/pond subject matter.

  Regular, individual, non-commercial posters may mention personal "for
  sale" items that they no longer need or want.  Please refer to C2 for
  additional details.

M08  Ending Threads

  The moderators reserve the right to end a thread that has veered
  significantly off-topic, or that has become dominated by rehashing
  and/or repetition.

M09  Moderator Decisions

  The decisions of the moderators shall be final.

M10  The Human Moderation team

  The review and moderation of posts that are forwarded by robotic
  moderation software will be conducted by a Moderation Team.  The first
  moderation team members will be divided into two classes appointed
  for one or two year terms, to end on August 31 of the first and second
  years after the initiation/startup of the group.  Thereafter, a new
  class of moderators will be elected annually during the month of August,
  to serve two year terms to begin on September 1 of the election year
  and to continue through August 31of the second year after the election
  year.  The moderation team will select each new class of moderators and
  election will be by a minimum of 2/3 vote.  Participants in
  rec.ponds.moderated may propose/nominate potential moderators to the
  team.  Moderators may be re-elected.  The moderation team shall elect
  persons to fill vacancies using the 2/3 criterion for election.

M11a  Head Moderator

  The moderation team may elect a 'head moderator' by majority vote.  The
  duties of head moderator will be determined as needed.

M11b  Moderator Removal

  If a moderator does not abide by the charter and current moderation
  policy, the other moderators may warn and, if necessary, remove that
  moderator by a 2/3 vote.  Moderators who wish to resign for any reason
  may do so by emailing the head moderator.

M12  Moderation Policy Changes

  As stated in the charter, moderation policy may be changed to meet
  the objectives of the charter and the ongoing needs of the newsgroup.
  Proposed changes are announced by the moderators, and newsgroup
  members may discuss the proposed changes.

  Changes shall be adopted by a 2/3 majority and published in the newsgroup.

M13  Moderator Posts

  Moderators shall use [MODERATOR ANNOUNCE] to preface official
  informational posts to the readership of rec.ponds.moderated.

M14  Moderator Contact Address

  As per C7, the moderators shall provide a contact email address for
  anyone who wishes to make a complaint, question, or offer a suggestion.

MODERATOR INFO: rec.ponds.moderated

Moderator:                Derek <>
Moderator:                Galen <>
Moderator:                ~jan <>
Moderator:                Jim <>
Moderator:                Kathy30a <>
Moderator:                Phyllis <>

As of the time of the publishing of the 2nd RFD, the proponents and
proposed moderators for rec.ponds.moderated are considering two possible
robotic software programs:  STUMP by Igor Chudov and Modbot by Richard
Ashton.  We are also open to any suggestions for consideration of other
robotic moderation programs.

Prior to a vote by the Big8 Management Board regarding the creation of
rec.ponds.moderated, we will submit the name of our final choice of a
software program, as well as the required submission address.

Article Submissions:      
Administrative Contact:   



For more information on the newsgroup creation process, please see:

Those who wish to influence the development of this RFD and its final
resolution should subscribe to news.groups.proposals and participate in the
relevant threads in that newsgroup.  This is both a courtesy to groups in
which discussion of creating a new group is off-topic as well as the best
method of making sure that one's comments or criticisms are heard.

All discussion of active proposals should be posted to news.groups.proposals.
To this end, the 'Followup-To' header of this RFD has been set to this group.

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 news.groups.proposals as well.

We urge those who would like to read or post in the proposed newsgroup
to make a comment to that effect in this thread; we ask proponents to
keep a list of such positive posts with the relevant message ID
(e.g., Barney Fife, <>).
Such lists of positive feedback for the proposal may constitute good
evidence that the group will be well-used if it is created.


This document has been posted to the following newsgroups:


The proponent will also post pointers to:



Ron Schompert <>

Co-Proponent: Galen Hekhuis <>


2006-12-14     1st RFD
2007-01-12     2nd RFD