From Usenet Big-8 Management Board
From: Jim Riley <>
Subject: 2nd RFD: news.groups.policy
Newsgroups: news.announce.newgroups, news.groups.proposals
Followup-To: news.groups.proposals
Date: Wed, 17 Oct 2007 15:52:08 -0500

                      REQUEST FOR DISCUSSION (RFD)
                  unmoderated group news.groups.policy

This is a formal Request For Discussion (RFD) for the creation of the
unmoderated Usenet newsgroup, news.groups.policy.

NEWSGROUPS LINE: news.groups.policy

news.groups.policy	Discussion of Big 8 newsgroup policy.


Many persons were concerned that the toxic atmosphere of news.groups
would simply move to news.groups.policy, and suggested that
news.groups.policy be moderated.  When I suggested a possible scheme
for robo-moderation that would not consider content, many were
concerned that it was the same.  Those who wanted content-based
moderation would not be satisfied.  Those who did not want any
moderation would not be satisfied.  Robo-moderation was not acceptable
to anyone, and I have retained the original proposal for an
unmoderated group.  A moderated news.groups.policy is off the table.

I think most people misunderstood that the gist of my proposal was to
combined all policy discussion in a single group.  It was as much
about moving policy discussion out of news.groups.proposals as it was
moving it out of news.groups.

Moderation is simply not suitable for policy discussion.  The fact
that some policy discussion is about a formal proposal does not change
that fact.  When I attempted to address comments made in news.groups,
I was unable to do so.  First the moderators would not permit
cross-posts.  Then they would not permit me to post a reply in
news.groups.proposals to a post made in news.groups.  Finally they
would not permit me to simply refer to a posting in news.groups.  The
best that they have offered is that I could summarize posts made in
news.groups in a subsequent RFD.  That is not discussion.

Because of this misunderstanding of the primary purpose of
news.groups.policy, I am removing any suggestions that general policy
discussion or any other discussion be moved to news.groups.policy.  To
that end, I have removed news.groups from the Newsgroups header of
this RFD, and will not respond to any discussion of this RFD in

The only discussion that would be moved is discussion and development
of policy proposals, both formal and informal, that is currently held
in news.groups.policy.

In addition, the moderator of news.announce.newgroups will continue to
have the option of directing proposals with policy implications to
news.groups.proposals, if he believes that the discussion will benefit
from the civility and protective nature of news.groups.proposals.
Similarly, the moderators of news.groups.proposals may continue to
approve discussion of informal proposals that have policy

RATIONALE: news.groups.policy

When news.groups.proposals was created, it was intended primarily for
discussion of formal proposals to create, rename, and remove
newsgroups in the Big 8.  But it was also designated as a place for
discussing formal proposals that would modify the Big 8, such as
policy proposals.

The nature of group proposals (ie creation, removal, re-organizations,
renaming, etc.) tends to be different than that of policy proposals.
The group proposal discussions are typically short-lived and result in
a simple decision to create or remove a group.

Policy proposals are often difficult to distinguish from ongoing
policy discussion that has been going on for years or even decades. As
such, moderation is often not suitable for policy discussion.

Removal of discussion of policy proposals from news.groups.proposals
will simplify the moderation of news.groups.proposals, and allow the
discussion and development of policy proposals in an unmoderated


The unmoderated newsgroup news.groups.policy is used for the
unoderated discussion and development of policy proposals regarding
the Big-8 newsgroups.  Related topics, such as the history of the
Big-8 and Usenet, traffic statistics, the viability of newsgroups vs.
alternatives, etc. may also may be discussed if they are related to
actual or potential policy proposals.

Note, it is understood that in some cases, policy proposals may
include provisions that would create or otherwise modify newsgroups.
This RFD is an example of a proposal that is primarily about policy,
though it would create a newsgroup to effect that policy.

Policy discussion may include formal proposals that would change the
policy and procedures of management of the Big 8 hierarchies.  To that
end, discussion of formal policy proposals should occur in
news.groups.policy.  However, to maintain maximum flexibility, the
proponent of a formal policy proposal may, with the consent of the
moderators of news.announce.newgroups and news.groups.proposals,
direct that discussion of his proposal occur in the moderated
news.groups.proposals rather than the unmoderated news.groups.policy.

Similarly, the moderators of news.groups.proposals may continue to
approve discussion of informal proposals with policy implications.

In general, the moderators of news.groups.proposals should discourage
cross-posting of discussion between news.groups.proposals and


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:

  news.announce.newgroups (moderated)
  news.groups.proposals (moderated)


Jim Riley <>


2007-10-10     1st RFD
2007-10-17     2nd RFD