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Appendix A:Usenet Specific Newsgroup Moderation Information

Appendix A: Usenet Specific Newsgroup Moderation Information

For new Usenet newsgroups, draft charters and moderation policies should be made clear in the Request For Discussion, and final versions should be in the Call For Votes. The process of creating new Usenet newsgroups is discussed in

"How To Create A New Usenet Newsgroup"

posted periodically to news.admin.misc and news.answers.

A.1. Discussion lists for Usenet moderators

Two mailing lists have been set up to facilitate communication between moderators. They are described below. These lists are there for your benefit. Use them. New moderators may feel worried about showing their ignorance in front of the list of their new found peers. Don't! These lists are there to help new Usenet moderators. Usenet moderators are generally extremely helpful. Don't try to struggle through when a simple request will make your new tasks easier.

A.1.1. moderators-advice

The group 'moderators-advice' was formed from a volunteer group of Usenet moderators in Fall of 1993. The goal of this group is to come up with some practical general guidelines for moderated groups on Usenet, in the form of a moderators' handbook (this FYI).

One of the goals of 'moderators-advice' group is to assist, guide and answer questions for moderators of Usenet. To facilitate this process, this document has been compiled. It is hoped that this document gives basic information and general guidelines about the moderation process.

If you have general questions about the moderation process please send them to moderators-advice prior to posting to the entire moderators mailing list.

A.1.2. moderators

A general discussion list for Usenet moderators is:


All changes – additions, address changes, deletions:


The traffic on this mailing list varies. Most of the time it is low or quiet, if some discussions starts, it may go up to several messages a day. Almost all Usenet moderators subscribe to it.

Incoming Usenet moderators are normally added by default.

A.2. Changing moderators

The official list of moderators is maintained by David Lawrence tale@isc.org. The list is posted periodically to the newsgroups news.lists, news.groups and news.answers. It is titled

"List of Moderators for Usenet"

When a change occurs, the current moderator needs to send a message to:


indicating the change to be made. The following information must be supplied:

  • The name of the new moderator(s)
  • An address where requests and administrative info should be sent. Normally this address is “FOO-request” for submission address “FOO”.
  • The address for submissions to the list. It is better if this is not the name of the newsgroup itself, but something similarly descriptive.

The message to initiate the change should only be sent when the old and new moderators are ready to actually make the switch.

It is best if the new moderator also sends a message to the address listed to say hello. This will help speed the change.

David will update the list and mail it out to all sites acting as Usenet moderator mail forwarders.

A.3. Usenet moderator replacement concerns

In the past, it has generally been decided (though not quite unanimously) that a moderator may not be removed by the group's readership. This topic is a recurring one on the moderators mailing list where there are those who feel Usenet needs a way to remove moderators who have quit supplying their services to a newsgroup or who are otherwise not fulfilling their duties in a satisfactory manner. To date there is no accepted process for removing a moderator.

When a moderator has not been posting for a very long time the readership can get angry at the moderator and their inactivity. Members of the readership have also become vocal when the moderator failed to follow the charter of their group when selecting articles to post to it. Whatever the reason, when this happens members of the group's readership have flooded associated groups with “Off with their head!” or “The moderator of 'your.group' is a worthless … !” messages. Things start to get ugly at this point.

Most moderators when confronted with this situation will try to find a peaceful way out. It may be that a polite message posted to your group explaining the reason such as “real work has gotten in the way and it is temporary situation” will calm the troubled savages. The solution may entail finding a co-moderator/backup to assist with the workload or find a permanent replacement. Some moderators just ignore these types of problems and continue as if the complainers do not exist.

The later approach does have problems that you should be fully aware of. A rabid readership can't really knock you out of the moderator position but they can damage your net.reputation with barrages of constant complaints in unmoderated discussion groups relevant to the one you moderate. You may end up spending time responding to messages when you could be using that time to post to your group. In any case, be prepared for a nasty situation if you chose to ignore the problem.

In the end, you must make your own decision on how to deal with the problem. But please remember that your group is a net.resource to many people and when it is not functioning smoothly, it is not useful.

A.4. Group Charters

These are important! *Don't* lose 'em. They often come in very handy when it's necessary to quote chapter and verse to a recalcitrant loudmouth. And if you wish to make changes to it, make sure that you get some sort of public consensus that the changes are reasonably acceptable.

For recently created Usenet groups (since sometime in 1990), group charters are available at


They are archived by hierarchy and newsgroup name.

A.5. Submitting articles through public Usenet Mail/News gateways.

If you do not have direct access to Usenet news, you can still moderate a Usenet newsgroup. This can be done by submitting articles to the group via electronic mail, instead of posting them directly to the group. There are a several 'public' mail/News gateways. Each one has their own ways for addressing syntax. The three most common ones are:

  • Site: cs.utexas.edu
    Syntax: newsgroup-name@cs.utexas.edu
    Example: To send to the newsgroup 'comp.compilers', address the message to comp-compilers@cs.utexas.edu
  • Site: newsbase.cs.yale.edu
    Syntax: newsgroup.name-news@newsbase.cs.yale.edu
    Example: To send to the newsgroup 'comp.compilers', address the message to comp.compilers-news@newsbase.cs.yale.edu
  • Site: pa.dec.com
    Syntax: newsgroup.usenet@pa.dec.com
    Example: To send to the newsgroup 'comp.compilers', address the message to comp.compilers.usenet@pa.dec.com

A.6. Usenet Moderated Newsgroup Archive List

This article, posted monthly in news.lists, lists the location, maintainer and other general information about the archives of moderated newsgroups. In most cases, the archives listed are the location the moderators of the individual newsgroups consider official. Those that are not considered official but are available are marked with a '**' on the Newsgroup: line.

This is not an all encompassing list of archives for each group. Only the archives that the moderators consider official or one recommended archive for the newsgroup is listed. It is solely up to the moderator as to which sites are to be listed. Updates to this listing will only be allowed from the newsgroup's official moderator as listed in the periodic posting titled

"List of Moderators for Usenet"

maintained by tale@isc.org (David C Lawrence).

Moderators, to submit additions or changes, send email to:


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