• Modern administration of creation and removal proposals

    From Adam H. Kerman@21:1/5 to Julien Julien ELIE on Sun Dec 6 18:33:11 2020
    XPost: news.admin.misc

    Julien Julien ELIE <iulius@nom-de-mon-site.com.invalid> wrote:

    The last checkgroups sent for the fr.* hierarchy was in 2014, along with
    the creation of a newsgroup.
    In January 2020, a vote leaded to the creation of a new newsgroup.
    There were 8 pros and 3 cons. No control article has been sent yet
    because it seems that the public key has been lost since 2014. But
    well, that's another point, and we'll deal with that via the generation
    of a new modern PGP key and its progressive update in news servers.

    In parallel of that, we're discussing in the fr.* hierarchy potential
    new rules to create/remove newsgroups, and I reckon it should be
    interesting to share best current practices in other hierarchies.

    Julien, there has been no change since the beginning of Usenet. With a
    mere 8 supporters, even if they were regularly discussing the topic on
    Usenet (they probably weren't), that's not enough to sustain a newsgroup.

    The only way to infer that a proposed newsgroup might be worth starting
    is to look at how and where the discussion of the topic is currently
    taking place, and whether those discussing the topic are highly
    motivated to change their posting habits in favor of the proposed
    newsgroup.

    Furthermore, the proponent himself needs to be someone well known for discussing the topic.

    - Do you still use votes by mails?
    Or votes directly in an admin newsgroup, in response to the article
    asking to vote? or, even more "modern", a Doodle-like vote?
    Note that votes are public in the fr.* hierarchy (and not reserved to a
    Board like what is done for the Big-8).

    - Do you still have a threshold?
    In the 2000s, we asked for 80 YES more than NO, which is obviously
    impossible today. We only had 11 votes in January 2020...

    As there is no interest in voting, eliminate voting. Plenty of language
    and regional hierarchies have never had voting.

    chi.* added newsgroups on consensus. For decades, there was never enough discussion to start any new groups, and the consensus was pretty much
    to use chi.general for most discussions. chi.politics became little more
    than crossposted full-text copyright plagarism from political articles
    reposted from the Web, with no local discussion. One by one, the other
    groups died as there were fewer and fewer Usenet posters.

    - How to prevent "unwanted" changes, if the processus is laxed?
    I see that de.alt.* allows the creation of a newsgroup if "the protest
    was not too violent" (according to Google Translate) after a usual
    period of 7 days. But what is the definition of "too violent"? Does
    that rule work in practice?

    - Do you have a process like the evaluation of the creation of a
    newsgroup after 6 or 12 months, with its removal if it is unused?

    There's just no reason to start the newsgroup in the first place if
    failure is highly likely.

    rmgroup messages as a hierarchy administration management technique
    don't work. Given that Usenet is decentralized, there's no control
    over News administraition. There are still plenty of News servers that
    won't process rmgroup nor checkgroup messages.

    It's kind of a bad idea to take the attitude of Let's try it because we
    can always send the rmgroup message later! How is the proponent motivated
    to avoid failure?

    A better idea is to start with a proponent who is highly motivated to
    work to promote the group till it's successful, which can take a good
    six months if it's possible at all.

    Motivated promotion means the proponent spends months looking for
    discussion taking place on that topic in other newsgroups and asks those posters to try the proposed group. He has to let them know that they
    must request that the group be created locally if his News administrator
    hasn't done so. This is critical in alt.* of course but even with a
    managed hierarchy with signed control messages, the proponent can never
    sit on his hands assuming that every server allows such control messages
    to be processed without intervention. Your small News server with a
    small number of users propably creates new groups upon request only.

    With your typical proponent who has almost never posted on the topic and
    isn't the least bit motivated to get the group going, failure is likely
    in the extreme. That's the kind of proponent who should never be encouraged.

    The reasons 10s of thousands of proposed newsgroups typically fail to
    find an audience is 1) lack of discussion and 2) proponent who could
    care less.

    We would like to make the creation and removal of fr.* newsgroups more
    fluid, but defining the process is tricky...
    Any thoughts or advices about it according to your experience in other >hierarchies?

    New groups do not attract new discussion to Usenet. It's more important to
    get discussion going on the topic of interest. Once there is sustainable discussion, then the decision can be made about breaking it off into a
    new group. But make sure there is sufficient discussion in the general newsgroup for fr.* or another newsgroup in which French is used first.

    Remember that we recommended to alt.* proponents not to send a newgroup
    message if there isn't an average of 10 articles a day in which the
    topic is discussed, looking back over 90 days? Crossposting isn't
    discussion. Plagarizing an article from the Web isn't discussion.

    Discussion of the topic is the important bit. Having a highly motivated proponent is the important bit. Just discussing the idea of discussing
    the topic in a proposed group is the irrelevant bit.

    Either the topic is being discussed on Usenet, or it's not.

    Nothing has changed.

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    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From =?UTF-8?Q?Julien_=c3=89LIE?=@21:1/5 to All on Sun Dec 6 14:04:46 2020
    XPost: news.admin.misc

    Hi all,

    The last checkgroups sent for the fr.* hierarchy was in 2014, along with
    the creation of a newsgroup.
    In January 2020, a vote leaded to the creation of a new newsgroup.
    There were 8 pros and 3 cons. No control article has been sent yet
    because it seems that the public key has been lost since 2014. But
    well, that's another point, and we'll deal with that via the generation
    of a new modern PGP key and its progressive update in news servers.

    In parallel of that, we're discussing in the fr.* hierarchy potential
    new rules to create/remove newsgroups, and I reckon it should be
    interesting to share best current practices in other hierarchies.

    - Do you still use votes by mails?
    Or votes directly in an admin newsgroup, in response to the article
    asking to vote? or, even more "modern", a Doodle-like vote?
    Note that votes are public in the fr.* hierarchy (and not reserved to a
    Board like what is done for the Big-8).

    - Do you still have a threshold?
    In the 2000s, we asked for 80 YES more than NO, which is obviously
    impossible today. We only had 11 votes in January 2020...

    - How to prevent "unwanted" changes, if the processus is laxed?
    I see that de.alt.* allows the creation of a newsgroup if "the protest
    was not too violent" (according to Google Translate) after a usual
    period of 7 days. But what is the definition of "too violent"? Does
    that rule work in practice?

    - Do you have a process like the evaluation of the creation of a
    newsgroup after 6 or 12 months, with its removal if it is unused?


    We would like to make the creation and removal of fr.* newsgroups more
    fluid, but defining the process is tricky...
    Any thoughts or advices about it according to your experience in other hierarchies?

    --
    Julien ÉLIE

    « The hardest thing is to go to sleep at night, when there are so many
    urgent things needing to be done. A huge gap exists between what we
    know is possible with today's machines and what we have so far been
    able to finish. » (Donald Knuth)

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  • From =?UTF-8?Q?Julien_=c3=89LIE?=@21:1/5 to All on Mon Dec 7 21:19:54 2020
    XPost: news.admin.misc

    Hi Adam,

    Motivated promotion means the proponent spends months looking for
    discussion taking place on that topic in other newsgroups and asks those posters to try the proposed group.
    [...]> The reasons 10s of thousands of proposed newsgroups typically fail to
    find an audience is 1) lack of discussion and 2) proponent who could
    care less.

    Unfortunately.


    We would like to make the creation and removal of fr.* newsgroups more
    fluid, but defining the process is tricky...
    Any thoughts or advices about it according to your experience in other
    hierarchies?

    New groups do not attract new discussion to Usenet. It's more important to get discussion going on the topic of interest. Once there is sustainable discussion, then the decision can be made about breaking it off into a
    new group. But make sure there is sufficient discussion in the general newsgroup for fr.* or another newsgroup in which French is used first.
    [...]
    Discussion of the topic is the important bit. Having a highly motivated proponent is the important bit. Just discussing the idea of discussing
    the topic in a proposed group is the irrelevant bit.

    Either the topic is being discussed on Usenet, or it's not.

    Many thanks for having shared these wise thoughts.
    One often forgets that mere fact, when focusing only on the process.

    I've mentioned your response in the current discussions in the fr.*
    hierarchy. I hope it will inspire us!

    --
    Julien ÉLIE

    « C'est la première fois que je vois traiter une affaire avec autant de
    punch ! » (Astérix)

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  • From Matthew Vernon@21:1/5 to iulius@nom-de-mon-site.com.invalid on Tue Dec 8 13:22:54 2020
    XPost: news.admin.misc

    Julien ÉLIE <iulius@nom-de-mon-site.com.invalid> writes:

    In parallel of that, we're discussing in the fr.* hierarchy potential
    new rules to create/remove newsgroups, and I reckon it should be
    interesting to share best current practices in other hierarchies.

    All your questions about uk.* are addressed on our webpage: http://www.usenet.org.uk/guidelines.html

    But, more briefly:

    - Do you still use votes by mails?
    Yes

    - Do you still have a threshold?
    No

    - How to prevent "unwanted" changes, if the processus is laxed?
    We have a fast-track process for uncontroversial changes, but any 6
    objections (or 1 that the Committee feels well-founded) stops the
    fast-track, and then a vote is needed.

    - Do you have a process like the evaluation of the creation of a
    newsgroup after 6 or 12 months, with its removal if it is unused?
    No

    uk.* relies on ukvoting volunteers to run our votes, and I don't know
    how medium-term sustainable that is.

    Matthew
    [definitely speaking without any official hat on]
    --
    `O'-----0 `O'---. `O'---. `O'---.
    \___| | \___|0-/ \___|/ \___|
    | | /\ | | \ | |\ | |
    The Dangers of modern veterinary life

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  • From =?UTF-8?Q?Julien_=c3=89LIE?=@21:1/5 to All on Wed Dec 9 20:45:31 2020
    XPost: news.admin.misc

    Hi Matthew,

    All your questions about uk.* are addressed on our webpage: http://www.usenet.org.uk/guidelines.html

    Thanks for the pointer. Very well described; I even see a "Quick
    creation" request with 11 supporters.


    - How to prevent "unwanted" changes, if the processus is laxed?
    We have a fast-track process for uncontroversial changes, but any 6 objections (or 1 that the Committee feels well-founded) stops the
    fast-track, and then a vote is needed.

    Do you happen to know how the number 6 was chosen?
    The notion of "well-founded" is also easy to define objectively...

    --
    Julien ÉLIE

    « J'oubliais qu'Assurancetourix a une nouvelle corde à sa harpe ! »
    (Astérix)

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  • From Thomas Hochstein@21:1/5 to All on Sat Dec 12 13:31:26 2020
    (Speaking for de.*)

    Julien LIE wrote:

    - Do you still use votes by mails?

    Yes, we do.

    The voting part has mostly been done exclusively by the German
    Volunteer Votetakers (GVV) for the last two decades, although that's
    not a requirement.

    - Do you still have a threshold?

    We still require at least 50 YES votes (at least 60 until 2012), and a
    2/3 majority.

    In the 2000s, we asked for 80 YES more than NO, which is obviously
    impossible today. We only had 11 votes in January 2020...

    We don't have that many - really, any ... - creation or removal
    proposals any more. From 2011-2013 we had quite a lot of removal
    proposals (a bit of housekeeping), and the threshold was not that of a
    problem. The last vote ever - up to today - was 2018 and passed the
    threshold.

    Today, the threshold could be a real problem - we'll see if and when
    we get a proposal (and put it to the vote).

    - How to prevent "unwanted" changes, if the processus is laxed?
    I see that de.alt.* allows the creation of a newsgroup if "the protest
    was not too violent" (according to Google Translate) after a usual
    period of 7 days. But what is the definition of "too violent"?

    That definition is, of course, controversial. :)

    It's mostly a combination of "well-founded" and "vocal", I think;
    where de.* (without de.alt.*) has a voting system, de.alt.* relies on consensus.

    Does that rule work in practice?

    It did, most times, perhaps also due to the fact that de.* is a
    managed hierarchy with monthly signed checkgroups, so all de.alt.*
    groups have to be part of the checkgroups for de.* to really get
    propagated [1]. The moderation of de.admin.news.announce, which is
    responsible for the checkgroups messages, therefore has to play the
    referee in case of disagreement and decide disputes about group
    creations (and deletions).

    I'm not sure it would work today (the last deletion was 2104, I think,
    the last creation 2011). Consensus-based systems seem to require more knowledge, participation and, yes, goodwill and acceptance than simply
    voting.

    [1] One could use scoped checkgroups instead, but that failed
    spectacularly in 2000 and has not been tested again since.

    - Do you have a process like the evaluation of the creation of a
    newsgroup after 6 or 12 months, with its removal if it is unused?

    No. "Removed" groups tend to stay around.

    We would like to make the creation and removal of fr.* newsgroups more
    fluid, but defining the process is tricky...

    It is.

    The process used for de.* has mostly worked well, I think, but with
    with today's user numbers - and the declining interest in text-based
    Usenet overall - a system along the lines of the Big8 would probably
    be preferable: proposals, discussion, perhaps a non-binding poll
    leading to a decision of a decision making body.

    Otherwise, what Adam said in <rqj857$ngv$1@dont-email.me> ... but
    there just aren't that many postings any more. [2]

    [2] Of 377 newsgroups in de.*, just about 25-30 get more than 200
    posts per month (~ 7-10/day). Some hundred (nearly) empty groups
    should have been removed for years, I think, but why bother?

    Regards,
    -thh

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    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Adam H. Kerman@21:1/5 to Thomas Hochstein on Sat Dec 12 20:05:59 2020
    Thomas Hochstein <thh@thh.name> wrote:

    (Speaking for de.*)

    Julien ELIE wrote:

    - Do you still use votes by mails?

    Yes, we do.

    The voting part has mostly been done exclusively by the German
    Volunteer Votetakers (GVV) for the last two decades, although that's
    not a requirement.

    - Do you still have a threshold?

    We still require at least 50 YES votes (at least 60 until 2012), and a
    2/3 majority.

    In the 2000s, we asked for 80 YES more than NO, which is obviously >>impossible today. We only had 11 votes in January 2020...

    We don't have that many - really, any ... - creation or removal
    proposals any more. From 2011-2013 we had quite a lot of removal
    proposals (a bit of housekeeping), and the threshold was not that of a >problem. The last vote ever - up to today - was 2018 and passed the >threshold.

    Today, the threshold could be a real problem - we'll see if and when
    we get a proposal (and put it to the vote).

    - How to prevent "unwanted" changes, if the processus is laxed?
    I see that de.alt.* allows the creation of a newsgroup if "the protest
    was not too violent" (according to Google Translate) after a usual
    period of 7 days. But what is the definition of "too violent"?

    That definition is, of course, controversial. :)

    It's mostly a combination of "well-founded" and "vocal", I think;
    where de.* (without de.alt.*) has a voting system, de.alt.* relies on >consensus.

    Does that rule work in practice?

    It did, most times, perhaps also due to the fact that de.* is a
    managed hierarchy with monthly signed checkgroups, so all de.alt.*
    groups have to be part of the checkgroups for de.* to really get
    propagated [1]. The moderation of de.admin.news.announce, which is >responsible for the checkgroups messages, therefore has to play the
    referee in case of disagreement and decide disputes about group
    creations (and deletions).

    I'm not sure it would work today (the last deletion was 2104, I think,
    the last creation 2011). Consensus-based systems seem to require more >knowledge, participation and, yes, goodwill and acceptance than simply >voting.

    [1] One could use scoped checkgroups instead, but that failed
    spectacularly in 2000 and has not been tested again since.

    - Do you have a process like the evaluation of the creation of a
    newsgroup after 6 or 12 months, with its removal if it is unused?

    No. "Removed" groups tend to stay around.

    We would like to make the creation and removal of fr.* newsgroups more >>fluid, but defining the process is tricky...

    It is.

    The process used for de.* has mostly worked well, I think, but with
    with today's user numbers - and the declining interest in text-based
    Usenet overall - a system along the lines of the Big8 would probably
    be preferable: proposals, discussion, perhaps a non-binding poll
    leading to a decision of a decision making body.

    The problem with the Big8 model is that the proponent isn't expected to
    do any real work, which results in just exactly what you expect: A group
    that all too few want to use that will likely not have sustainable
    traffic in it.

    That's why I argue for the alt.* model: Proponent is expected to do the
    work of publicizing the group and finding Usenet users who will request
    its creation locally, and who want to discuss the topic.

    Otherwise, what Adam said in <rqj857$ngv$1@dont-email.me> ... but
    there just aren't that many postings any more. [2]

    [2] Of 377 newsgroups in de.*, just about 25-30 get more than 200
    posts per month (~ 7-10/day). Some hundred (nearly) empty groups
    should have been removed for years, I think, but why bother?

    Chris Caputo and several others will never remove them. They'll exist somewhere. Might as well continue to recognize them.

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    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Matthew Vernon@21:1/5 to iulius@nom-de-mon-site.com.invalid on Mon Dec 14 16:36:32 2020
    XPost: news.admin.misc

    Julien ÉLIE <iulius@nom-de-mon-site.com.invalid> writes:

    Hi Matthew,

    All your questions about uk.* are addressed on our webpage:
    http://www.usenet.org.uk/guidelines.html

    Thanks for the pointer. Very well described; I even see a "Quick
    creation" request with 11 supporters.


    - How to prevent "unwanted" changes, if the processus is laxed?
    We have a fast-track process for uncontroversial changes, but any 6
    objections (or 1 that the Committee feels well-founded) stops the
    fast-track, and then a vote is needed.

    Do you happen to know how the number 6 was chosen?

    I'm afraid not - that predates my involvement in uk.* governance.

    The notion of "well-founded" is also easy to define objectively...

    Well, yes, that's why there's an elected Committee who is entrusted with adjudicating.

    Matthew

    --
    `O'-----0 `O'---. `O'---. `O'---.
    \___| | \___|0-/ \___|/ \___|
    | | /\ | | \ | |\ | |
    The Dangers of modern veterinary life

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From =?UTF-8?Q?Julien_=c3=89LIE?=@21:1/5 to All on Tue Jan 5 20:45:57 2021
    Hi Thomas,

    In the 2000s, we asked for 80 YES more than NO, which is obviously
    impossible today. We only had 11 votes in January 2020...

    We don't have that many - really, any ... - creation or removal
    proposals any more. From 2011-2013 we had quite a lot of removal
    proposals (a bit of housekeeping), and the threshold was not that of a problem. The last vote ever - up to today - was 2018 and passed the threshold.

    Today, the threshold could be a real problem - we'll see if and when
    we get a proposal (and put it to the vote).

    Many thanks for your insight on the German-speaking hierarchy. Very appreciated.


    One could use scoped checkgroups instead, but that failed
    spectacularly in 2000 and has not been tested again since.

    And I believe it will still fail nowadays...
    Even INN still does not support the scope and serial number features for checkgroups, described in the latest USEPRO RFC (5537). Still in to-do,
    as well as authenticated Path header fields...


    - Do you have a process like the evaluation of the creation of a
    newsgroup after 6 or 12 months, with its removal if it is unused?

    No. "Removed" groups tend to stay around.

    Unfortunately. At least if they were in an "archive" state, without any
    new post, that would be better.


    Of 377 newsgroups in de.*, just about 25-30 get more than 200
    posts per month (~ 7-10/day). Some hundred (nearly) empty groups
    should have been removed for years, I think, but why bother?

    Do you know whether that nearly hundred empty groups still have readers?
    There's a difference between an empty newsgroup in which a new post
    will be answered, and an empty newsgroup in which a new post will stay unanswered...

    --
    Julien ÉLIE

    « Impossible n'est pas gaulois, les amis ! » (Distributiondesprix)

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  • From Thomas Hochstein@21:1/5 to All on Fri Jan 8 16:10:09 2021
    Julien LIE schrieb:

    Many thanks for your insight on the German-speaking hierarchy. Very appreciated.

    You're welcome. :)

    Many thanks for your work on INN (and a new key for fr.*)!

    Of 377 newsgroups in de.*, just about 25-30 get more than 200
    posts per month (~ 7-10/day). Some hundred (nearly) empty groups
    should have been removed for years, I think, but why bother?

    Do you know whether that nearly hundred empty groups still have readers?

    No easy way to check that. :)

    There's a difference between an empty newsgroup in which a new post
    will be answered, and an empty newsgroup in which a new post will stay unanswered...

    Yes, I concur. But IMHO an empty group that _stays_ empty for months
    and years does not serve a purpose any longer, too. YMMV (and oh boy
    are there dissenting opinions about that ;)).

    -thh

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  • From =?UTF-8?Q?Julien_=c3=89LIE?=@21:1/5 to All on Fri Jan 8 16:33:36 2021
    Hi Thomas,

    Many thanks for your work on INN (and a new key for fr.*)!

    Thanks!
    I think the next feature I'll work on is the long-awaited Cancel-Lock integration in nnrpd and innd.


    Of 377 newsgroups in de.*, just about 25-30 get more than 200
    posts per month (~ 7-10/day). Some hundred (nearly) empty groups
    should have been removed for years, I think, but why bother?

    Do you know whether that nearly hundred empty groups still have readers?

    No easy way to check that. :)

    Sure. :-)
    We plan on testing that on fr.*, trying to post on several groups
    without any messages, to see whether we receive answers.



    There's a difference between an empty newsgroup in which a new post
    will be answered, and an empty newsgroup in which a new post will stay
    unanswered...

    Yes, I concur. But IMHO an empty group that _stays_ empty for months
    and years does not serve a purpose any longer, too.

    Good point!

    --
    Julien ÉLIE

    « J'aime les calculs faux car ils donnent des résultats plus justes. »
    (Jean Arp)

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  • From Neodome Admin@21:1/5 to iulius@nom-de-mon-site.com.invalid on Fri Jan 22 00:23:35 2021
    Julien ÉLIE <iulius@nom-de-mon-site.com.invalid> wrote:

    - Do you have a process like the evaluation of the creation of a
    newsgroup after 6 or 12 months, with its removal if it is unused?

    No. "Removed" groups tend to stay around.

    Unfortunately. At least if they were in an "archive" state, without any
    new post, that would be better.

    Why is that? I’m genuinely curious.

    --
    Neodome

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  • From =?UTF-8?Q?Julien_=c3=89LIE?=@21:1/5 to All on Fri Jan 22 14:30:30 2021
    Hi Neodome,

    - Do you have a process like the evaluation of the creation of a
    newsgroup after 6 or 12 months, with its removal if it is unused?

    No. "Removed" groups tend to stay around.

    Unfortunately. At least if they were in an "archive" state, without any
    new post, that would be better.

    Why is that? I’m genuinely curious.

    It was a suggestion because of the way removals are done in "managed" hierarchies:
    - either a news server honours the rmgroup control article, and then the newsgroup disappears instantly, even though there were still open
    discussions;
    - or a news server keeps the newsgroup alive, and then discussions can
    go on (including a few months or years after its removal, if there
    wasn't any traffic at the time it was closed).

    When newsgroups are not removed, it ends up confusing for users to find
    active and well-propagated newsgroups. The list is too long, and they
    can get frustrated when posting and seeing no response.


    Note that it does not change much for news server that expire contents
    after a few months. Old discussions will disappear anyway.
    Instead of removing the newsgroup, it could be marked as closed (no new
    article allowed - flag "x" in active). This is what I called an
    "archive" state. But this is not a current practice.

    --
    Julien ÉLIE

    « Rien n'est plus facile à apprendre que la géométrie pour peu qu'on en
    ait besoin. » (Sacha Guitry)

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