The Great Renaming (1987)


Wikipedia article
Spaf's post: Comments on Reorganization
Lee S. Baumgarner: The Great Renaming FAQ
Baumgarner's FAQ in a different style

Sundry Observations

On Wed, 24 May 2006 05:44:47 GMT, Jim Riley wrote in [jpScg.7062$]:

The main purpose of the Great Renaming was to separate the fluff from the
computer and science groups, so that distribution of groups could be better

The fluff groups were categorized as:

rec.*   Recreational.
soc.*   Socializing (eg.
talk.*  Pointless gibberish about politics and religion.
misc.*  Everything else.

Groups for serious topics, such as the law ( and parenting
( were stuck in misc.* because they were fluff from the
perspective of someone interested in discussing Unix, they weren't
recreational or socializing, and they were too few in number to identify an
organizational theme.

Before the Great Renaming, there were some sub-hierarchies in net.* that
were moved into rec.* such as*,*, and*.

There was also a net.rec.* sub-hierarchy, but it had no real theme (it
included groups for the card game bridge, coin collecting, photography, and
skiing, scuba, and skydiving.  There were also many net.* groups that were
moved into rec.*.  Rather than trying to introduce a new second level
organization most groups were simply moved from net.* to rec.*, or
net.rec.* to rec.*.  In many cases, single groups such as or have spawned whole new hierarchies.

An exception was the rec.arts.* hierarchy which collected a number of
groups, but that was partly to separate them from the other groups in
rec.*. was first proposed as  This would have
fit the pattern of existing groups, but there was a desire to produce more
organizational structure in rec.* was rejected, so the
only alternative was to create a new sub-hierarchy and place as the initial and only group.  "outdoor" was not
intended to distinguish it from indoor fishing, but as providing a place
for groups that provide a way to enjoy the Great Outdoors.

At one time (when the only rec.outdoors.* group was,
there was a proposal to rename, rec.climbing, rec.scuba,
rec.skiing, rec.skydiving, and rec.windsurfing into rec.outdoors.* but this
apparently never went anywhere.  The presence of rec.outdoors.* created by may have helped trigger creation of other groups.  

Most groups are not formed from splitting of a busy main group, but are
created by someone who sees another group, and decides they want the same,
only different.

Who in the hell ever fishes *indoors* ? But our side lost,
fishing was put in outdoors and that was that. Until now
apparently. I don't see any reason to revisit a 20 year
old argument again. sounds
fine to me although I won't vote for it or against it and
I have absolutely no interest in ever reading it.


There is no rec.sports.* hierarchy, but rather a* hierarchy.
(The original netnews software required that the entire group name fit in
14 characters. was chosen because it would permit a
creation of might well be read as "sport fishing" as distinguished
from commercial fishing, and wouldn't necessarily provide a meaning
different from that of

I think you are imparting too much meaning to the root name rec.outdoors.*.
It was simply to provide a place for similar types of recreational
activities.  There would be more groups with less of a "conservation
aspect" such as rec.outdoors.skydiving, but that already existed under a
different name before rec.outdoors.* was formed by the creation of its
initial group,

rec.outdoors.* simply separates a meaning of fishing from other
fish-related activities such as:

Fish as pets: rec.aquaria or
Fish as food:
Fish as a subject of scientific study:
Fish production technology: sci.aquaculture
Commercial food industry:
Fish as political issue: talk.environment.tuna-nets

From: Jim Riley <>
Newsgroups: news.groups
Message-ID: <e0afh.7303$>
Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2007 07:17:30 GMT

... The original idea behind the Great Renaming was to control
distribution.  Groups that didn't have anything to do with computers
or their applications would be moved to a new talk.* hierarchy, that
tech companies and the like could choose not to propagate.  But the
original proposal left many groups that had nothing to do with
computers in net.*.  It appears that the actual classification was
based on topics that weren't too noisy and that those doing the
classifying wanted to keep.

The second version of the Great Renaming created 7 hierarchies which
were primarily based on topic.  These could be grouped in 3 classes:

news: meta-discussion about the netnews.
comp: computers.
sci: science and technology.

soc: socializing.
rec: recreational activities.
misc: topics that didn't fit the classification scheme.

talk: endless and pointless debate.

net.religion.christian avoided placement in talk.* by becoming a
moderated soc.religion.christian.  Similarly mod.politics became the
moderated soc.politics.  This wasn't because moderation made them
socializing or support groups, but simply that it convinced the PTB to
give them a classification that would give them better propagation.
mod.politics had been created in the first place because Europeans
refused to propagate the unmoderated net.politics.

The presence of soc.religion.* and soc.politics.* opened up the
hierarchy for groups such as soc.history.* and* which
converted the hierarchy to a place for socializing, society, and
social issuers.


One of the earliest groups in the soc.religion.* hierarchy was the
unmoderated soc.religion.quaker, which was created in a totally
unremarkable fashion.  About a month later, an unmoderated Unitarian
Universalist group was proposed.  Tale asserted that he would vote
against an unmoderated group, and would have opposed the unmoderated
Quaker group if he hadn't been on vacation.  This led to
soc.religion.unitarian-univ being created with a moderation policy of
approving all submissions.  This apparently satisfied the demand for
moderation, and led to all subsequent groups until
soc.religion.satanism being moderated.

In some cases, it was demanded that some soc.religion.* groups have
neutral moderators.  This was countered by a claim that the groups
were intended as social groups (or support groups as John Stanley
argues).  But this was to a certain extent a rationalization to head
off anti-religious and irreligious bigots.