From Usenet Big-8 Management Board
From: The Big-8 Management Board <>
Subject: 3rd RFD: rec.ponds.moderated moderated (LAST CALL FOR COMMENTS)
Newsgroups: rec.aquaria.freshwater.misc, news.announce.newgroups,
 rec.aquaria.misc, news.groups.proposals, rec.ponds
Followup-To: news.groups.proposals
Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2007 14:15:39 -0600

                      REQUEST FOR DISCUSSION (RFD)

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


The B8MB plans to begin voting on this proposal after five days.  Please
offer any final discussion or comments before the end of this waiting
period.  Voting may take up to one week (7 days); a result will be posted
following the end of the voting period.

All discussion of this proposal should be posted to news.groups.proposals.

The full group creation procedure is documented here:

NEWSGROUPS LINE: rec.ponds.moderated

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


The first RFD was published on 12-14-06.  RFD#2 was published on 01-12-07.
Updates were published on 01-25-07 and 02-17-07.  RFD#3 was published on

The proposal for the creation of rec.ponds.moderated quickly received much
support from those interested in ponding.  This support can be viewed in
the 2nd straw poll.  The results of the poll will be summarized later in
this RFD.  The complete poll results will be submitted and published
immediately following the publishing of this RFD.

Numerous issues were raised and discussed following the first and second
RFDs.  These include:

SD01  The need and purpose for such a group, whether moderation
  was a proper means to deal with the problems of rec.ponds, and
  whether there were alternatives.

SD02.  The method of moderation was debated at length.  The proponent
  and proposed moderators have made it clear in all 3 RFD's that
  moderation shall be by content only, and not based upon
  personality.  This also precludes suspensions and blacklisting.

SD03.  The issues of anonymous posting and name-shifting were raised.
  The RFD's make it clear that anonymous posting shall be permitted,
  as well as limited, non-excessive name-shifting.  These terms
  ("limited" "non-excessive") shall be at the discretion of the

SD04.  There was some discussion of forgery protection, and the
  current limits of such protection.

SD05.  There were numerous expressions of support for individual
  proposed moderators from other persons involved in ponding.

SD06.  Concern was expressed for two moderators who were related to
  each other.  This discussion led to several additional criteria
  regarding moderators in RFD#2.

SD07.  It is stated in all 3 RFD's, and strongly reaffirmed by the
  proposed moderators, that there will be no editing of posts

SD08.  After RFD#1, the issue was raised about the need for the
  moderation team to be more globally represented.  This was addressed
  in RFD#2, and soon after, Gill Passman from the UK was added to the
  list of proposed moderators.

SD09.  RFD#1 mentioned that the newsgroup planned to use automated
  moderation software, but that no program had yet been chosen.  By
  RFD#2, our choice had narrowed to Ready-Stump and Modbot.  Soon
  afterwards, our team chose to go with Modbot.  On 1-25-07 an update to
  n.g.p. stated that we were still waiting for the unnamed finished
  program (Modbot).  On 2-17-07, the proponent was informed that the
  program would not be available, and this was announced in n.g.p.  On
  2-23-07, the proponent and proposed moderators voted to use
  Ready-Stump, and contracted with its author.  This decision is found
  in RFD#3.

SD10.  Following  RFD#1, a  major discussion was raised regarding
  commercial advertising.  Commercial posts were eliminated in RFD#2.

SD11.  The issue of off-topic posting was raised after RFD#1.  RFD#2
  attempted to offer a refined definition of permitted off-topic
  posting,  However, the debate, sometimes polarized, continued.  It was
  the decision of the proponent and moderators that all discussion of
  off-topic posting would be eliminated in RFD#3.

SD12.  Following RFD#2, the question was raised whether content-based
  moderation would mean that a post containing possibly wrong or
  false ponding information would be approved.  The moderators made it
  clear that there would be no editing or censorship of such posts.
  Moderation is based solely upon the content criteria mentioned in the
  Charter.  This fact is made clear in RFD#3, and it is also mentioned
  that follow-up replies (for the purpose of correcting any possible
  mis-information) can be made by any and all interested persons from
  the newsgroup.

SD13.  After RFD#2, a poster once again raised the question of whether
  such a moderated group was really necessary.  The issue was briefly

RATIONALE: rec.ponds.moderated

Rec.ponds was founded in 1994 for backyard pond enthusiasts to share
experiences and information.  For most of its existence 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 pond 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

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 discussions 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, many 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 there.

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


The proponent of this proposal has kept a record of those who have
posted on news.groups.proposals regarding their support or opposition
to the creation of this newsgroup.  As of Feb.25, 2007, the results
are as follows:

support and will/did read               28
support                                 12 (including 1 originally opposed)
support, will not read                  06
opposed                                 01 (originally 2)
support from proponent, proposed        09
  moderators and mentor


C01  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 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.

C02  Permitted Content

  Discussions appropriate to a ponding community including, but 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

C03  The Following Is Prohibited

  All posts containing these items are rejected, and returned with
  explanation if permitted by the automated software.

    * Obscenities
    * Implied or direct threats, slander, insults, bigotry, prejudice
      or harassment
    * Flaming, trolling, flooding, and personal verbal attacks
    * Frequent petty criticism of another poster
    * Posts advocating violence or containing physical threats
    * Attacks on others based on gender, race, sexual orientation
      or religion
    * Commercial posts
    * Excessive cross-posting, although limited, on-topic cross-posting
      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 names, 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 judgment calls made by the moderators)
    * Personal identification 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.)

C04  Charter Implementation

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

  Moderators make use of whatever tools and discussion processes they deem
  necessary to carry out their responsibilities.  One such tool may
  include the use of automated moderation software.

C05  Moderation Policy Objectives and Practices

  Moderation policy adheres to and carries out the stated goals and
  purposes of the group.  Moderation policy & practices (MPP) may be
  changed by the moderators to meet the ongoing needs of the newsgroup

  Proposed changes are announced by the moderators in the
  newsgroup, and newsgroup readers are invited to share and discuss
  their views of the proposed changes.  Passage of the changes is by a
  2/3 majority vote of the moderators.  Changes are published in the

C06  Moderator Standards

  Moderators approve or reject posts based upon content as listed in C02
  and C03 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.

  Decisions of the moderation team are final.  Moderators permit posts
  that may contain technically incorrect information, provided that the
  post is not deemed to be deliberately deceptive.  Any approved post
  that is forwarded to the newsgroup, and contains incorrect information,
  may and should be followed up by posts that attempt to correct the
  misinformation.  Such corrective posts may be made by any interested
  person/s in the newsgroup.

  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.

C07  Moderator Accessibility and Accountability

  The moderators provide options for both private and public
  interaction with the readership of the newsgroup.  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.

  Moderators shall create and occasionally publish FAQ and other
  documents that promote the functionality of the newsgroup.

C08  Readership Participation & Responsibility

  All participants in the group may:

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

MODERATION POLICY: rec.ponds.moderated

MPP01  Purpose

  The purpose of moderation policy & practices is to carry out the
  objectives and goals of the charter.  MPP may be changed as per the
  Charter and MPP13.

MPP02  Automated (robotic) Moderation Software

  If and when feasible, the moderation team may employ automated
  moderation software to initially screen and pre-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 (if permitted by the automated software), provided
  that such posts have a valid return address.  All posts that are
  approved by the automated software will be forwarded to human
  moderators for further examination.

MPP03  Cross-posting

  Minimal cross-posting to related groups based on subject matter
  (e.g.,fish hobby, gardening and wildlife management) will be allowed.
  No cross-posting to irrelevant groups will be permitted.  Such
  cross-posted messages shall be returned, provided a valid return email
  address is provided. When feasible, cross-post filtering may be
  handled by automated software.

MPP04  Authorship of Posts

  Anyone will be allowed to post as long as they are not forging another
  poster's name or address.  Anonymous posting will be allowed.
  Occasional name-shifting may be permitted, but excessive name-shifting
  will not be permitted, as per C03.

  Automated robotic software methods to protect the author's identity
  may be employed through the use of voluntary passwords, pgp, or any
  other methods if and when such methods become technically available.

MPP05  Human Moderation

  After approval by any automated software, messages are forwarded
  to the moderators who will review them and then make final decisions
  of approval or rejection based upon the content of the post (C02 and
  C03).  There shall be no editing of any post by any moderator, as
  stated in C06 of the Charter.  Rejected messages shall be returned to
  the poster, provided a valid return address is available.  If
  permitted by the software, an explanation for the rejection shall be

MPP06  Moderator Approval and Rejection Policies

  At a minimum, when using automated  software, one moderator may
  approve a post to be forwarded to the newsgroup, and one moderator may
  reject a post and have it returned.  If the automated robotic software
  contains a multi-pass/reject option, then more than one moderator may
  be asked to agree before a post is approved or rejected.

  Moderators may consult with one another before deciding to pass
  or reject a post whose content is borderline or questionable.  This
  consultation may add to the time-delay of the processing of a post.

  If a post is rejected, it may be appealed to the Moderation Team,
  provided it is seen as a legitimate request, and not as a disruptive
  attempt or tactic to distract or flood the team with large numbers of
  obviously inappropriate messages.

MPP07  Personal Advertising

  Very limited personal advertising shall be permitted.  Such
  advertising must be directly related to on-topic aquatic/pond subject
  matter.  Such postings must be non-commercial and of a "for-sale" type
  for items that the poster no longer needs or wants.  The number of
  ads permitted by any one poster per any given time period shall be
  left to the discretion of the moderators, with all posters subject to
  the same conditions.

MPP08  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.

MPP09  Moderator Decisions

  The decisions of the moderation team shall be final.

MPP10  Structure of the Human Moderation Team

  The review and moderation of posts that are approved by the automated
  software program will be conducted by a Moderation Team.

  The first moderation team members will be divided into two classes,
  and appointed for one or two year terms, to end on August 31, 2008 and
  2009 respectively.  Thereafter a new class of moderators will be
  elected annually during the month of August, to serve two-year terms,
  beginning on September 1st of the election year and continuing through
  August 31st of the second year after the election.

  The current moderation team will select each new class of moderators,
  and election will be by a minimum 2/3 vote of the current moderators.

  The total number of moderators may be changed by the moderation team,
  which will seek to maintain an equal number of members in each class.

  The general readership of rec.ponds.moderated are encouraged to
  propose/nominate potential moderators to the team, as per C08.

  When nominating and electing new moderators, all persons involved
  shall remain mindful of the benefit and need for the moderation team
  to be as globally positioned as possible.  This helps to ensure
  adequate global representation and also to lower the time-delay factor
  in approving posts.

  Moderators may be re-elected.  The moderation team shall elect
  persons to fill vacancies using the 2/3 criterion for election.

MPP11  Head Moderator

  The moderation team may choose to elect a (head/chief/administrative)
  moderator by a majority vote, if it deems such a position to be
  necessary.  The duties and responsibilities of such a position would
  be determined as needed.

MPP12 Moderator Removal

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

MPP13  Changes to Moderation Policy & Practices

  As stated in the Charter, moderation policy & practices (MPP) may
  be changed to meet the permanent objectives of the Charter and the
  ongoing needs of the newsgroup.

  Proposed changes are announced by the moderators in the newsgroup,
  and the general readership may discuss the proposed changes.  Changes
  shall be adopted by a 2/3 majority of the current moderators, and
  will be published in the newsgroup.

  As stated in C08, the general readership may suggest changes to
  policy and practices.

MPP14  Moderator Posts

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

MPP15  Moderator Contact Address

  As per C07, the moderators shall provide a contact email address
  for anyone who wishes to make a complaint, question, or offer a

MODERATOR INFO: rec.ponds.moderated

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

At the time of the submission of the 3rd RFD/LCC, the proponent and
proposed moderators of r.p.m have chosen to use ReadySTUMP as the
automated software program for the newsgroup.

Article Submissions:
Administrative Contact:


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
2007-02-28     3rd RFD/LCC