[ Main Page | Table of Contents | Previous | Next ]

18. Answers to general questions

18. Answers to general questions

The following section is a frequently asked questions list with answers. They are listed in no particular order.

18.1. How big is my group's readership ?

Use to be the best way to determine readership was via the newsgroup reports that were posted monthly by Brian Reid reid@pa.dec.com to news.lists. This is no longer supported. The real answer is “Guess”.

18.2. What mechanisms guard the group from unauthorized "Approved:" headers ?

None. The best process is for the moderator to read the group from another site and cancel anything posted to his/her group by 'outsiders'. (You should try to do it from another site, in general, because the type of person who posts their own stuff to a moderated group frequently puts your “official” site in the Path: line in an attempt to keep you from seeing the posting.)

18.3. Have any moderators gotten paid for what they do ?

Yes. Sometimes a moderator's employer understands the importance of news moderation, and the effort involved in doing a good job, and allows the employee to perform some moderation tasks during working hours, or on the employer's equipment. This potentially gives the organization greater visibility through an Organization: header or signature file in the moderator's postings. While the moderator is not being directly paid for moderation duties, their normal compensation covers time spent working on the newsgroup.

The group comp.research.japan received a grant from the U.S. Office of Naval Research to help support the operation of the group. There have been other research oriented groups that have received support, but to-date moderation is usually a volunteer position with no compensation other than a grateful community.

18.4. Why are readers complaining of lost articles ?

A complaint a moderator hears from time to time concerns lost submissions. There are several reasons for these complaints.

  • The reader is unaware of the group's moderated status The reader replies to an article or submits a new one and does not see it appear within minutes in the newsgroup they are reading, as is the case for unmoderated newsgroups. Solution: Advertise the moderation status in the newsgroup in the group's periodic posting. Solution: A somewhat more effective solution is to use a moderated newsgroup .signature file. That way, new readers will be much more likely to see it than even a weekly periodic posting.
  • Reader turnaround expectation time A reader may wish to see the article reviewed and posted even before the moderator gets to it. Total Turnaround time, barring unusual network problems, may be calculated as follows: T = T1 + T2 + T3 + T4 T1 == Time for the submission to the forwarding site for the newsgroup from the site it is submitted [ 0.5 day ] T2 == Time for the submission to be processed at the forwarding site and transferred to moderator's email address [ 0.5 day ] T3 == The suggested turnaround time by the moderator [ X days ] T4 == Time a submission will take after posting at moderators site to propagate to the authors [ 1 day ] T = 2 days + X days. For example: If a moderator has a turn around time of 1 day, it can take up to 3 days for an article to re-appear at the submitter's site. Solution: Make the total expected turnaround time available. Readers will know to wait before complaining their articles are lost. Request they wait at least 'T' time before flagging their articles as lost.
  • Misconfigured local news software Readers may complain that they are posting/sending articles which the moderators never see. None of the articles from that site ever reach the moderator(s). It is possible the site was configured correctly and in an update to the software something went wrong and articles no longer reach the moderators. Solution: If all the previous options have been exhausted. Ask them to pursue the following:
    1. Send a test submission. [if it fails continue on]
    2. Talk to news@_user_site for an explanation.
    3. Talk to usenet@_user_site if news@_user_site fails to reach a human being.
    4. Talk to root@_user_site for mailer logs to check if the submissions are going out of the site.
    5. In the meantime, request the reader to post through an alternate way by sending submissions to:
      • Mail2News gateways. e.g., group-name@cs.utexas.edu, group-name-news@starbase.yale.edu
      • email submission directly to the moderator's submission address
  • Reader continues to complain At this time, don't rule out the possibility of readers intentionally creating the problem make moderator(s) appear incompetent or to appear as 'victimized' by the moderators or any political agenda of their own. It is recommended, moderators be upright and honest and inform the readership of what is being down to track the lost articles.

18.5. Readers complain of articles being deleted after a day

Every system that runs the news software has its own set of article expiration times set by its news administrator. The admin sets the expiration period depending on how many groups they carry and how much disk space is available. As a full news feed is over 100 MBytes a day and rising, some groups are set to expire very rapidly. That is probably what is happening to the articles your users are worried about. Most news admins expire articles faster in groups they think are less important, to make space for those they think really matter. For example, some sites keep alt. groups only 1-2 days but keep the comp.* groups much longer.

Tell the readers having the problem to talk to their local news admins. Most will extend the life of a particular group their users say they find important to them.

There is a way that you can indicate that your articles should not be expired so quickly as the rest - the Expires: header. However, this should not be used for normal articles as it is not reasonable to try to override the local news admin's policy on how to use the limited disk space on their systems. If your group has an FAQ or other regular monthly information posting, though, you may like to use the Expires: header on that article - look in news.answers for lots of FAQ articles, many of which will have an Expires:

Note however that, partly because of misuse of the Expires: header in the past, some systems no longer support it and expire all articles at the same rate. The only real way your users can be sure of keeping the articles long enough is for them to get the support of their local news admin.

[ Main Page | Table of Contents | Previous | Next ]

NetNews Moderator's Handbook © Copyright The Landfield Group, 1996-2001
All rights reserved

blog/mod18.txt · Last modified: 2017/07/14 04:33 (external edit)
Recent changes RSS feed Creative Commons License Powered by PHP Valid XHTML 1.0 Valid CSS Driven by DokuWiki