Content and Format of a Group Removal RFD

From Big-8.org

  • The material on this page is a draft. Elements of this draft may change as the Board learns from experience what are the best methods for dealing with requests to remove a group or groups. We apologize for any frustration that such changes may cause proponents.
  • The purpose of an RFD for a group removal is to provide enough information for interested parties to understand the background of the group or groups to be removed as well as to see what cogent reasons there are for the removal.
  • The goal of the Group Removal Procedures to create some kind of "due process" so that rmgroups are issued only after conducting a reasonable inquiry into the history and status of a group or groups.
  • A major factor in the process is allowing time for commentary in news.groups.proposals by anyone who is interested in having the group preserved for future use. There are no hard-and-fast rules about how many participants are required to save a group from removal. Each case must be decided on its own merits.

Contents

General Considerations

1. The Proponent

2. Newsgroups Line, Charter, History of the Group

  • Providing accurate information about the group(s) in the RFD is a courtesy to those who wish to participate in the discussion. Proponents should not expect the Board or other parties to be familiar with the group(s) under consideration.

3. Rationale for Removal

  • As a general rule, demonstration that a group has on-charter traffic will defeat the proposal to remove the group. The proponent needs to make a good case that such traffic does not exist.

4. Distribution List

  • The RFD must be distributed to the group(s) under consideration.
  • Care must be taken to see that other interested or affected groups also receive the RFD.

5. Procedure (Boilerplate)

  • The description of the procedure to be followed must be accurate and helpful to those who have not participated in an RFD process in the past.

6. Discussion in news.groups.proposals

  • Proponents must take care either by use of the followup-to header or by cross-posting to see that all of the important points about the proposal may be found in news.groups.proposals. Neither the Board nor other interested parties should be expected to sift through all groups on the distribution list to assess the arguments or evidence presented in the discussion.

7. History of the RFD

  • It is a great help to track changes in the RFD from one version to the next.
  • The custom of such change logs is to present the most recent information at the top of the list.
  • The Board recommends using yyyy-mm-dd to present the date of each revision.

8. Archive-Name

  • The ISC will archive discussions about newsgroups if there is an Archive-Name header.
  • If the RFD deals with one newsgroup, its name and the Archive-Name are the same (e.g., an RFD to remove rec.exercise.lazyboy would have "Archive-Name: rec.exercise.lazyboy" as one of its headers).
  • If the RFD deals with multiple newsgroups, try to craft an Archive-Name that will cover all the newsgroups in the proposal. The following examples are taken from the archive for the news.* hierarchy:
    • news.admin-reorg
    • news.admin-reorg2
    • news.admin.net-abuse-reorg
    • news.answers-expansion
    • news.groups-reorg
    • news.software-reorg
    • news.usenet.reform-council
  • For the RFD to be archived in the right place, the first component of the Archive-Name must be one of the eight hierarchies followed by a period: "comp.", "humanities.", "misc.", "news.", "rec.", "sci.", "soc.", "talk.".
  • Do not use wildcards or escaped or encoded characters in the Archive-Name. Lowercase a..z, 0..9, and the hyphen should be sufficient (underscores are discouraged) to compose a meaningful Archive-Name.

Template for a Group Removal RFD

Newsgroups: news.announce.newgroups,news.groups.proposals,{List interested or affected newsgroups}
Subject: RFD: Remove {name of the newsgroup or class of newsgroups to be removed}
From: {Proponent's name with decipherable e-mail address}
Followup-To: news.groups.proposals
Archive-Name: {newsgroup name or description of group proposal}

This is a formal Request for Discussion (RFD) to remove the 
{moderated or unmoderated} newsgroup {insert newsgroup name(s)}.

Newsgroups Line:
{insert one-line description of newsgroup(s) from Checkgroups}

Distribution:
	news.announce.newgroups
	news.groups.proposals
	{list of interested or affected newsgroups}

Proponent: {Name and decipherable e-mail address}

Charter:

	{Insert the original charter of the newsgroup(s), if any.}

Rationale for removal:

	{Insert a brief explanation of why the group(s) should be removed.}

History of the Group:

	{Minimum information: creation date.  Other indications may be given
	about the life of the group, including an assessment of when and
	why it has become unused.}

Procedure:

Those who wish to comment on this request to remove this newsgroup should 
subscribe to news:news.groups.proposals and participate in the relevant threads in 
that newsgroup.  

To this end, the followup header of this RFD has been set to 
news.groups.proposals.

All discussion of active proposals should be posted to 
news.groups.proposals.

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.

For more information on the newsgroup removal process, please see 
http://www.big-8.org/wiki/Removing_newsgroups

History of this RFD:

{Please track revisions of the RFD using yyyy-mm-dd format,
with the most recent changes at the top of the list.}

Special Cases

Removing Groups of Groups

  • The material above was designed for proposing the removal of a single group. It may be too demanding a format for removal of many groups at once.
  • Proponents for removal of a number of groups should adapt the RFD format to their special cases. The goal of the RFD remains the same:
    • Provide information about the history and status of the groups.
    • Make sure that all interested and affected groups are contacted.
    • The RFD should facilitate a reasonable news.group discussion of the proposal.
    • The procedural boilerplate should accurately reflect the current policies and procedures.
  • The distribution list will necessarily be longer than in the case of an ordinary RFD. It may be wise to post a link to the RFD rather than the RFD itself in each group rather than crossposting to all of them at once (many news service providers prohibit crossposting to more than five groups). The proponent may need to post unique messages to each group being considered for removal in order not to have the posts tagged as spam and elminated from circulation.
  • It might be wise to separate the moderated groups from the unmoderated groups. Moderated groups should have a submission address on file at the ISC; they may also have another contact address available. The proponent should show that every effort has been made to contact the moderator(s).
  • Proposed boilerplate for a comprehensive RFD:
Procedure:

A pointer to this RFD has been posted in each of the groups proposed for removal.

All subsequent revisions of this RFD will be posted only in news.announce.newgroups
and in news.groups.proposals

The Last Call for Comments, which allows five (5) days for final comments on the
RFD, will be published only in news.announce.newgroups and news.groups.proposals.

Those who wish to comment on this request to remove this newsgroup should 
subscribe to news:news.groups.proposals and participate in the relevant threads in 
that newsgroup.  

To this end, the followup header of this RFD has been set to 
news.groups.proposals.

All discussion of active proposals should be posted to 
news.groups.proposals.

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.

For more information on the newsgroup removal process, please see 
http://www.big-8.org/wiki/Removing_newsgroups
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