How to Create a Newsgroup

Requirements:

These are guidelines that have been generally agreed upon across UseNet as appropriate for following in the creating of new newsgroups in the "standard" UseNet newsgroup hierarchy. They are NOT intended as guidelines for setting UseNet policy other than group creations, and they are not intended to apply to "alternate" or local news hierarchies. The part of the namespace affected is comp, humanities, misc, news, rec, sci, soc, talk, which are the most widely-distributed areas of the UseNet hierarchy.

Any group creation request which follows these guidelines to a successful result should be honored, and any request which fails to follow these procedures or to obtain a successful result from doing so should be dropped, except under extraordinary circumstances. The reason these are called guidelines and not absolute rules is that it is not possible to predict in advance what "extraordinary circumstances" are or how they might arise.

It should be pointed out here that, as always, the decision whether or not to create a newsgroup on a given machine rests with the administrator of that machine. These guidelines are intended merely as an aid in making those decisions.

The Discussion:

group-mentors@acpub.duke.edu is a body of volunteers experienced with the newsgroup creation process. They assist people who want to propose new groups with the formation and submission of a good proposal. It is strongly encouraged, though not required, that they be contacted with an outline of the basic idea for a proposal, and a mentor will work with the proponents to submit a formal proposal. People who have experience with the process and wish to help others should contact group-mentors-request@acpub.duke.edu to join.

1. A request for discussion on creation of a new newsgroup should be posted to news.announce.newgroups, news.groups, and any other groups or mailing lists at all related to the proposed topic if desired. news.announce.newgroups is moderated, and the Followup-to: header will be set so that the actual discussion takes place only in news.groups. Users on sites which have difficulty posting to moderated groups may mail submissions intended for news.announce.newgroups to newgroups@isc.org. The proposal must be in the format defined in "How to Format and Submit a New Group Proposal", a pointer to which is at the end of this message.
The article should be cross-posted among the newsgroups, including news.announce.newgroups, rather than posted as separate articles. Note that standard behaviour for posting software is to not present the articles in any groups when cross-posted to a moderated group; the moderator will handle that for you.
2. The name and charter of the proposed group and whether it will be moderated or unmoderated (and if the former, who the moderator(s) will be) should be determined during the discussion period. If there is no general agreement on these points among the proponents of a new group at the end of 30 days of discussion, the discussion should be taken offline (into mail instead of news.groups) and the proponents should iron out the details among themselves. Once that is done, a new, more specific proposal may be made, going back to step (1) above.
3. Group advocates seeking help in choosing a name to suit the proposed charter, or looking for any other guidance in the creation procedure, can send a message to group-advice@isc.org; a few seasoned news administrators are available through this address.

The Vote:

The UseNet Volunteer Votetakers (UVV) are a group of neutral third-party vote-takers who currently handle vote gathering and counting for all newsgroup proposals. The coordinators of the group can be reached at uvv-contact@uvv.org; contact them to arrange the handling of the vote. The mechanics of vote will be handled in accord with the paragraphs below.

1. AFTER the discussion period, if it has been determined that a new group is really desired, a name and charter are agreed upon, and it has been determined whether the group will be moderated and if so who will moderate it, a call for votes may be posted to news.announce.newgroups and any other groups or mailing lists that the original request for discussion might have been posted to. There should be minimal delay between the end of the discussion period and the issuing of a call for votes. The call for votes should include clear instructions for how to cast a vote. It must be as clearly explained and as easy to do to cast a vote for creation as against it, and vice versa. It is explicitly permitted to set up two separate addresses to mail yes and no votes to provided that they are on the same machine, to set up an address different than that the article was posted from to mail votes to, or to just accept replies to the call for votes article, as long as it is clearly and explicitly stated in the call for votes article how to cast a vote. If two addresses are used for a vote, the reply address must process and accept both yes and no votes OR reject them both.
2. The voting period should last for at least 21 days and no more than 31 days, no matter what the preliminary results of the vote are. The exact date that the voting period will end should be stated in the call for votes. Only votes that arrive on the vote-taker's machine prior to this date will be counted.
3. A couple of repeats of the call for votes may be posted during the vote, provided that they contain similar clear, unbiased instructions for casting a vote as the original, and provided that it is really a repeat of the call for votes on the SAME proposal (see #5 below). Partial vote results should NOT be included; only a statement of the specific new group proposal, that a vote is in progress on it, and how to cast a vote. It is permitted to post a "mass acknowledgement" in which all the names of those from whom votes have been received are posted, as long as no indication is made of which way anybody voted until the voting period is officially over.
4. ONLY votes MAILED to the vote-taker will count. Votes posted to the net for any reason (including inability to get mail to the vote-taker) and proxy votes (such as having a mailing list maintainer claim a vote for each member of the list) will not be counted.
5. Votes may not be transferred to other, similar proposals. A vote shall count only for the EXACT proposal that it is a response to. In particular, a vote for or against a newsgroup under one name shall NOT be counted as a vote for or against a newsgroup with a different name or charter, a different moderated/unmoderated status or (if moderated) a different moderator or set of moderators.
6. Votes MUST be explicit; they should be of the form "I vote for the group foo.bar as proposed" or "I vote against the group foo.bar as proposed". The wording doesn't have to be exact, it just needs to be unambiguous. In particular, statements of the form "I would vote for this group if..." should be considered comments only and not counted as votes.
7. A vote should be run only for a single group proposal. Attempts to create multiple groups should be handled by running multiple parallel votes rather than one vote to create all of the groups.

The Result:

1. At the completion of the voting period, the vote taker must post the vote tally and the E-mail addresses and (if available) names of the voters received to news.announce.newgroups and any other groups or mailing lists to which the original call for votes was posted. The tally should include a statement of which way each voter voted so that the results can be verified.
2. AFTER the vote result is posted, there will be a 5 day waiting period, beginning when the voting results actually appear in news.announce.newgroups, during which the net will have a chance to correct any errors in the voter list or the voting procedure.
3. AFTER the waiting period, and if there were no serious objections that might invalidate the vote, and if 100 more valid YES/create votes are received than NO/don't create AND at least 2/3 of the total number of valid votes received are in favor of creation, a new group control message may be sent out. If the 100 vote margin or 2/3 percentage is not met, the group should not be created.
4. The new group message will be sent by the news.announce.newgroups moderator at the end of the waiting period of a successful vote.
5. A proposal which has failed under point (3) above should not again be brought up for discussion until at least six months have passed from the close of the vote. This limitation does not apply to proposals which never went to vote or polls that were cancelled or invalidated.