Group Creation

Zen and the Art of the Internet

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Group Creation
 
As discussed above, Usenet is not a democracy.  Nevertheless,
currently the most popular way to create a new newsgroup involves a
``vote'' to determine popular support for (and opposition to) a
proposed newsgroup. Newsgroup Creation, for detailed instructions and
guidelines on the process involved in making a newsgroup.
 
If you follow the guidelines, it is probable that your group will be
created and will be widely propagated.  However, due to the nature of
Usenet, there is no way for any user to enforce the results of a
newsgroup vote (or any other decision, for that matter).  Therefore,
for your new newsgroup to be propagated widely, you must not only
follow the letter of the guidelines; you must also follow its spirit.
And you must not allow even a whiff of shady dealings or dirty tricks
to mar the vote.
 
So, you may ask: How is a new user supposed to know anything about the
``spirit'' of the guidelines?  Obviously, she can't.  This fact leads
inexorably to the following recommendation:
 
If you're a new user, don't try to create a new newsgroup alone.
 
If you have a good newsgroup idea, then read the news.groups
newsgroup for a while (six months, at least) to find out how things
work.  If you're too impatient to wait six months, then you really
need to learn; read news.groups for a year instead.  If you just
can't wait, find a Usenet old hand to run the vote for you.
 
Readers may think this advice unnecessarily strict.  Ignore it at your
peril.  It is embarrassing to speak before learning.  It is foolish to
jump into a society you don't understand with your mouth open.  And it
is futile to try to force your will on people who can tune you out
with the press of a key.
 
If You're Unhappy...
Property rights being what they are, there is no higher authority on
Usenet than the people who own the machines on which Usenet traffic is
carried.  If the owner of the machine you use says, ``We will not
carry alt.sex on this machine,'' and you are not happy with
that order, you have no Usenet recourse.  What can we outsiders do,
after all?
 
That doesn't mean you are without options.  Depending on the nature
of your site, you may have some internal political recourse.  Or you
might find external pressure helpful.  Or, with a minimal investment,
you can get a feed of your own from somewhere else. Computers capable
of taking Usenet feeds are down in the $500 range now, Unix-capable
boxes are going for under $2000, and there are at least two Unix
lookalikes in the $100 price range.
 
No matter what, appealing to ``Usenet'' won't help.  Even if those who
read such an appeal regarding system administration are sympathetic to
your cause, they will almost certainly have even less influence at
your site than you do.
 
By the same token, if you don't like what some user at another site is
doing, only the administrator and/or owner of that site have any
authority to do anything about it.  Persuade them that the user in
question is a problem for them, and they might do something (if they
feel like it).  If the user in question is the administrator or owner
of the site from which he or she posts, forget it; you can't win.
Arrange for your newsreading software to ignore articles from him or
her if you can, and chalk one up to experience.