Date: Wed Dec 23 21:28:32 1981
Subject: proposed USENET policies
The following policies for USENET are proposed. Comments are invited.
Proposed USENET Policies
The most important consideration is the USENET exists for and by
the users, and should respond to the needs of those users. As needs
arise, users should be allowed to make proposals which all interested
users can vote on.
USENET is a cashless network. No person or organization may charge
another organization for news, except that by prearrangement, one
site (a) may be required to pay the expenses incurred by another site (b)
in sending news to site (a). Such expenses include the cost of phone
calls and equipment, but only to the extent that such expenses would
not be incurred if site (b) did not send news to site (a). Each site
is expected to carry its own local costs. If a site receives news, it
should be willing to forward that news on to at least two additional sites.
News articles are divided into a number of classes. Each site may decide
which classes it wants to accept and which classes it forwards to its
neighboring sites. Classes sanctioned by USENET include the following:
net Computer Science related topics. Articles on these
newsgroups have professional or academic orientation,
and generally have direct benefit to the organizations
on the network.
fa Like net, but copies of mailing lists from the ARPANET.
pers Topics of personal interest, such as hobbies. Such topics
do not necessarily relate to the job a person is doing,
and can be viewed as a "spare time" activity.
fpa Like fa, but for personal topics.
Portions of USENET, such as a group of machines which are all part of
one company or university, may form additional classes of newsgroup for
distribution within that portion of the network. They may apply any
standards to these classes they wish.
Articles posted to USENET sanctioned classes are expected to be of high
quality. The name of the author should be signed. Articles which are
likely to be offensive to any part of the user community should not be
posted. Peer pressure via direct electronic mail will, hopefully,
prevent any further distastful or offensive articles. Repeated
violations of this policy can be grounds for removing a user or site
from the network.
In the past, it has been too easy for any user to create a new newsgroup.
This has resulted in a disorganized and inconsistent set of newsgroups.
Newsgroups in the four categories above will be created by a member of
the USENET committee. A user wishing to create a new newsgroup should
propose it by posting an article to net.general (or pers.general, as
appropriate). Others wishing to subscribe to the newsgroup should send
direct electronic mail to the first user. If there is enough interest
to warrent creation of the newsgroup, the user should send the replies
to the committee, who will create the newsgroup (possibly with a different
name or class).
---- end of policy statement
(The formation of the committee is undecided. It would probably contain
people such as myself, glickman, swd, trt, smb, and jte, depending on
time and interest.)
I propose dividing the existing newsgroups up as follows. This is not
a hard and fast division, and I will be happy to listen to suggested
redivisions. The rationalle behind putting net.chess in net is that
it is Computer Science research related. The microcomputer groups were
put in pers because they are mostly for the hobbyist. But the real
criterion is whether a system which is "all business" would want to
receive a given group - comments from such systems are especially welcome.
net.general Usenet news of general interest
net.applic Applicative programming languages
net.bugs.all Bug reports on various software
net.bugs.2bsd Berkeley pdp-11 distribution
net.bugs.4bsd Berkeley VAX distribution
net.bugs.u3 UNIX 3.0
net.bugs.v7 Version 7 bugs
net.chess Computer chess
net.eunice The Eunice Unix emulator for VMS
net.news News about netnews
net.news.b Version B news
net.periphs Hardware peripherals
net.test Test messages, not interesting.
net.ucds UNIX circuit design system
pers.rec.all Participant sports (recreation)
pers.rec.ski Skiing (formerly net.ski)
pers.rec.scuba Diving (formerly net.scuba)
pers.rumor Rumors about software, hardware, etc.
pers.sport.all All spectator sports mailing lists
pers.auto.all Car owner discussions/queries
pers.auto.vw Volkswagen Rabbit
pers.aviation Aviation topics
pers.columbia News about the space program
pers.cycle Motorcycle topics
pers.games Computer games of the /usr/games type
pers.games.rogue That wonderful game
pers.ham-radio Ham radio
pers.jokes The latest good joke you heard
pers.jokes.q We drop this newsgroup
pers.movies Movie reviews
pers.music What is this group about, anyway?
fa.arpa-bboard Arpanet bulletin boards
fa.digest-p For Digest maintainers
fa.editor-p Editors (editor-people@su-score)
fa.human-nets * Computers in the real world
fa.info-terms News about terminals (info-terms@MC)
fa.info-vax Information on the VAX, mostly VMS
fa.tcp-ip * TCP & IP protocols (tcp-ip@brl)
fa.unix-wizards Unix system gurus mailing list
fa.works * Work station computers (workS@AI)
pfa.arms-d * Continuing debate on arms (arms-d@MC)
pfa.energy * Various energy topics (energy@MC)
pfa.info-cpm The CP/M operating system (info-cpm@AI)
pfa.info-micro * Microcomputers (info-micro@AI)
pfa.poli-sci * Political science (poli-sci@rutgers)
pfa.sf-lovers * For science fiction fans (sf-lovers@AI)
pfa.space * The space program (space@mc)
pfa.telecom * Telecommunications (telecom@rutgers)
pfa.unix-cpm Unix vs. CP/M (unix-cpm@UDEL)
Date: Fri Dec 25 19:24:10 1981
Subject: Re: Proposed USENET policy
It's unfortunate that we can't all be at USENIX to discuss this, but it's
a fact of life and this is the main reason I've been asking for some
discussion HERE. I have gotten lots of pressure to let the people at
USENIX make the decisions (for the network name, too) and I want to state
for the record that while I fully hope to postpone all such decisions until
at least USENIX, the people who can't make it to Santa Monica this January
have just as much right to be heard as those who can. Conversely, I feel
that anyone who hasn't joined USENET yet but plans to show up on person has
a lot of nerve trying to mandate the results of the decision. I want to
hear both groups, but the real public that counts here is the USERS OF THE
NET (e.g. all you folks that are reading this).
Since carrying out a discussion on this medium is very reasonable, but
carrying out a vote is not, I suggest that we all air our opinions here
and that after we talk ourselves out, those who can't make it to USENIX
should find somebody who can and have them cast your vote by proxy.
(Preferably someone you can talk with in person and hand a piece of paper
to with your signature on it.)
Date: Fri Dec 25 19:31:06 1981
Subject: comments on comments on proposed USENET policy
We are making no attempt to mandate what people can say on USENET,
e.g. censorship. What we are doing is supporting the rights of the
guy who pays the bills to decide "I only want `business stuff' on my
machine" or "I don't want offensive stuff since I'm worried about
AA/EEO suits". If two or more sites want to get together and create
other classes of groups which do NOT begin with USENET sanctioned class
names, and want to make sure they don't transmit such classes to other
unsuspecting machines, they can set their own standards. Note that
net.jokes.q and net.jokes.limericks would have to be moved to such
classes, according to the proposed policy.
As to the formation of the committtee, I don't have any real procedure
for selection of the committee in mind, and if anyone does let's hear
it. Requirements for being on the committee probably should include
(1) logging in fairly often, since fast response to a proposed new
newsgroup would be nice, and (2) familiarity with the existing newsgroups,
conventions, and hopefully some idea of what's on the ARPANET, so
that if a new newsgroup is proposed which already exists elsewhere,
or with a dumb name, the committee member can propose a more reasonable
solution. We could make the selection procedure as formal or as informal
as the users want.
Date: Sat Dec 26 17:23:58 1981
Subject: USENET committee formation idea
In discussing the committee notion with my in-laws, a similarity was pointed
out to the everyday problem of a child having two bosses (parents) either
of whom can authorize him to do something. If one says "yes" and the other
says "no", of course the child does it anyway. The usual parent solution is
to have both parents get together and see if either has an objection (this
is not practical with USENET since the committee might be very distributed)
or if this is not possible, to have policies so that the answer would generally
be the same no matter who made the decision. The reasons not to have a
single person committee ("dictator") are that no one person should have
total power, and that that one person might go on vacation or otherwise
be out of touch.
Then an interesting suggestion was made. The committee could have several
members, but only one of them would be "on duty" at any given time.
They could divide up the time to take a week or a month or whatever each.
The person who is "on duty" would be expected to log in often (preferably
at least once a day) and deal with matters such as creation of new newsgroups.
Presumably vacations and such could be scheduled around so that nobody
would take vacation during an "on-duty" time.
Date: Sun Dec 27 12:35:07 1981
Subject: Re: proosed newsnet policies
By "cashless" I meant that one machine cannot charge another machine to
send it news. I would also hope that sites do not add a surcharge for
users to read news, although the normal charging algorithms for real
resources consumed (CPU time, ports, etc) could still be charged for.
In practice, if site A wants B to pay A so that A will send B news,
B can probably find another site C that will send it news for free.
The handshaking protocol is already implemented in B netnews and will
be in the released version in January. It's optional, in that a given
connection can handshake if it wants to. The handshaking does not make
sense for many sites that only get news one way anyway. Since the handshake
slows down the transmission of news (A must call B which calls A back which
calls B back) each site must make the decision separately. In particular,
for a passive site that is polled once a day, you probably DON'T want to
use this protocol.
Date: Sun Jan 3 17:13:13 1982
Subject: attention: usenet site contacts
It seems to be a common thing for a new site to come up on USENET without
telling anyone they exist. What happens is that someone hears about
USENET from someone already on the net, who sends them their copy of
whatever code they are running. I would appreciate it if each site would
take a moment to install the remainder of this message in their netnews
source directory as file README (or appended to any existing README file).
Sun Jan 3 17:07:13 EST 1982
When you start getting network news, you should announce your existence
to the net by filling out the enclosed form and posting it to the newsgroup
net.general. (A later convention might make it net.newsite - ask your
contact.) This form will be used as your entry in the USENET directory.
Note that it is the policy of USENET that all sites receiving public
newsgroups (such as net.all and fa.all) are public in the sense that the
fact they are on USENET is public. The name and phone number of a contact
person, as well as the name and location of the site, is important.
If you are doing some kind of secret work there is certainly no need to
divulge the nature of your work. If you feel that you must keep your
existence a secret, you should not be joining USENET.
If you are unclear on this, please give me a call or send me mail:
ucbvax!mark or mark@berkeley
Name of site:
What the site is all about:
Name of contact person at site:
Electronic mail address of contact person:
U.S. Mail address of contact person:
Phone number of contact person:
Systems with whom news articles are exchanged:
(what kind of link, who the neighbor(s) are):
Willingness (or lack thereof) to connect to new sites that
want to join usenet. If you run uucp, tell if new sites can
call you, if you will poll them, what your policy is.
If on the arpanet, are you willing to forward news on to new
sites by establishing an arpanet usenet connection?
If you want to publish your uucp phone number, login, and password,
include that info.
Date: Mon Jan 11 13:05:33 1982
Subject: USENET policies
Well, the storm has died down somewhat and the following conclusions
seem to represent the majority of the members:
Basically, the proposed policy seems for the most part agreeable to
most of the net, except as mentioned here.
A rewording of the cost policy is needed to permit several sites to
share the cost of a link over which news is sent.
The policies on creation of new newsgroups seem way off base and should
probably be junked. A procedure for creation of a new newsgroup, probably
only slightly more formal than what currently happens, should be
established and documented.
Everybody agrees that net.jokes.q should go away, at least officially.
I suggest that it be renamed something like ug.jokes (where ug is an
"underground" class that only sites that really want it would subscribe).
Nobody has really said anything about the net/pers distinction. While
it seems like a good idea to me, unless there are people out there who
would make use of the distinction, there doesn't seem to be any point
in splitting the current newsgroups.