On Fri, 12 Sep 2008 05:48:00 -0700, "John R. Carroll"
My policy position is that if (as I was informed by the OP)
the consensus is that moderation is desirable, then the
only practical option is to created a companion group.
I know all about the pitfalls of moderation from personal
experience as well as from reading what others have to
say about it:
If people can treat the ailment by filtering, they don't
need anything from the board.
If they want something from the board, it would take the
form of consideration of an RFD to create a new,
Co-chair of the Big-8 Management Board (B8MB) <http://www.big-8.org
Unless otherwise indicated, I speak for myself, not for the Board.
No, what everyone in news.groups is trying to tell you is that
attempting to switch an existing group from unmoderated to moderated
simply does not work.
There are hundreds of news servers out there exchanging messages. Many
of them will not honor a control message to convert the group from open
On servers showing the group as open, users will see all the posts made
to the group. Those users can post messages, but their messages will be
seen only by some of the other users whose servers incorrectly show the
group as open. Propagation will be very poor for those users, because
all of the servers that do show the group as moderated will simply drop
those posts and not send them on to other servers.
On servers showing the group as moderated, users will be able to read
and post as usual but their messages will go through the moderation
process so they will experience variable delays before their messages
show up on their servers. They will not see the on-topic messages
posted by people using servers that still show the group as open.
Some of the messages posted to servers with the group unmoderated will
be grabbed by servers showing the group as moderated and forwarded to
the moderation address. In some cases they'll get new message ID's and
in some cases they won't. That's a whole new set of headaches and lost
or duplicated messages.
Those are some of the technical problems with changing the status of a
group, and they pale in comparison to the social problems. neil wrote:
News.groups and comp.ai have been subject to attack off and on for the
last decade by a poster angered because comp.ai was moderated in place.
When he runs an attack using a Hipclone bot, we are flooded with tens of
thousands of offtopic nonsense messages, making the groups next to
unusable for anyone who doesn't have a good newsreader (NOT Google,
which is a web archive and not a decent newsreader) and/or is on a
poorly managed server that doesn't have good filters in place. We know
very well what it is like to suffer the crap for years, but moderation
in place is not the best answer.
The best answer is probably education: teach the regulars in
comp.cad.solidworks to use a good newsreader with good killfile or
scoring capability, so that they don't see the problem posts and can't
be tempted to "feed the troll" by responding to them. The second best
answer may be a moderated companion group. The troll can still post in
the existing group while those of you who want useful discussion move to
the companion group. The archives of ccs on Google will continue to
exist for those who want to look for old answers, while the moderated
companion provides a home for current discussion.
Understood and I wouldn't disagree. I simply made an observation.
Someone ought to post Denis McKeon's FAQ if it hasn't been.
I didn't post this bit. Neil did.
I think many use a good newsreader but a group of posters that contribute
significantly apparently only have access to this group through Google's web
based system and that is the real problem. I personally find this hard to
believe but at some point you have to be willing to take people at face
value. There is also a real reason to block outbound NNTP traffic and that
lends great credence to any claim.
As an example, I've been "invited" on three occasions to "visit" the peoples
republic of Iraqnam by the American Department of Defense. None of my
"visits" exceeded two weeks in length so electronic mail was just blocked in
my case outside of the .mil hierarchy. This meant I didn't have the use of
my mail client in country so when I needed to communicate with my staff
electronically I used a little trafficked News Group. My SMTP communications
were blocked but NNTP traffic wasn't. I gather this has changed recently
In the same vein, corporations don't want their stuff in the public domain
and have significant exposure when it happens. A board of directors has a
little protection if they block NNTP clients and monitor and filter
electronic mail. They would sacrifice that protection from things like
shareholder litigation if proprietary information ended up on Usenet. It's a
matter of due diligence and resource allocation.
One can only conclude from history and this discussion that Usenet isn't the
place for professionals looking to build an independent resource when you
have to rely on Google for your front end. There will always be enough turds
in the honey to leave GoogleGroupers adrift in a sea of flotsam.
If you read Kathy's message carefully, she put Neil's attribution at the
end of her last paragraph of followup to your quote, then used the same
quoting level for your quoted comments and Neil's. In other words, she
piggybacked her followup to Neil into a followup to your message and
used the sloppiest possible method of attributing the remarks.
Gee. I can't imagine why you would think it to be a mal-formed followup.
I see that now and can only repeat that it's not important.
She ought to have put Neil's words in quotes, especially if she's going to
include things that weren't part of my post - the one she responded to.
People who want to make themselves understood are responsible to do so and
she did. What I wanted to clarify was who said what and I did.
It's worth noting that I wasn't obnoxious or snarky in my comment and her
post had a lot of value.
This discussion doesn't seem the place for that behavior. I think the
posters here (CCS) appreciate what they are learning.
They may not like the facts but they probably won't deny them.
Sending out control messages targeting posts here by the two offenders is an
alternative and it's about as workable as moderation in place. It also has
the benefit of side stepping any consent outside the group and will work on
servers that accept control messages. I believe Google does so the
GoogleGroupers would get some relief going forward.
As a legal matter,given the general consensus here, you wouldn't be
violating any ISP's TOS and you could notice the ISP's in advance and
document the groups wishes to see if there would be a problem.
It's my considered opinion that unless the offenders moderate their own
behavior things are unlikely to change.
Such moderation isn't within the purvue of the Big8 or anyone else. It's up
to the offenders.
Google would offer filtering if they had any common sense. They are missing
an opportunity to add value and they could charge for the service. This is
something they could even add to their goofy tool bar and let each user
Were this to be the case, the burden on Google would be zero and every
afflicted user would migrate to their new browser.
I believe Google is trying to encourage just such a migration.
The consensus on the behavior and desired result of any action was what I
was referring to, not the solution.
by Denis McKeon
Subject: Q3.6 Can moderation be accomplished retro-actively?
To most people, newsgroup moderation means the process of
filtering and approval-before-posting described above.
Cancellation of messages by a third party - someone other than the
poster or the poster's system administrator - after the message
has been posted is sometimes referred to as retroactive moderation.
Some on-line services and Fidonet use cancellations issued by
service employees or by Fido sysops as a way of keeping discussion
in their conference areas by their subscribers on-topic.
While cancellation and moderation may seem superficially similar,
there are strong sentiments in Usenet against third party cancellation.
The net news protocols allow the sending of control messages,
messages which contain instructions for news servers, usually to
cancel or supersede other messages. This allows people to cancel
messages sent by mistake, or sent in error to the wrong newsgroups,
or to cancel a "for sale" ad after the item has been sold.
The effect of cancel messages depends on how each individual news
server site is configured - a site may honor or ignore a control
message, or send a message on to a human for manual handling.
Cancellation of messages is a touchy subject, because cancellation
can be abused, and because it can be difficult to distinguish why a
message was cancelled - was it because a message was posted to many
groups, or because of who posted it, or because of the content of
It is generally accepted that people may cancel their own messages,
and that ISPs or system administrators may cancel messages which
originated at their site and which are inappropriate for some reason.
It is generally accepted that a moderator may cancel messages
posted with forged approval to a newsgroup s/he moderates.
It is less accepted that a moderator may also cancel messages
that the moderator (or a mod-bot) initially approved and posted,
if the moderator later finds the message inappropriate for some reason.
Since 1995, a number of people routinely issue cancel messages
for messages excessively cross-posted or multiply posted to large
numbers of newsgroups. (Such posts often are called "spam".)
Cancellation based on the number of newsgroups an article is
cross-posted or multi-posted to, or of binary posts in non-binary
newsgroups, or of commercial advertisements in non-commercial newsgroups
are often widely accepted as beneficial to the affected newsgroups.
However, there is less agreement about cancellation based on content
- such as whether a message is on-topic or off-topic for a newsgroup,
a decision which is usually much more of an opinion or judgement.
A key issue here is whether cancels are supported by the wide
majority of the users of a newsgroup, and are issued by people who
have the support of such a majority. If there is a sense of wide
community support, retroactive cancellation could be effective in
fostering on-topic communication in an UNmoderated group.
However, use of retroactive content based cancels without wide
support can often lead to meta-discussions about the cancels,
which be worse for the signal/noise ratio than the cancelled posts.
So, while newsgroup moderation and retroactive cancellation both
rely on people making decisions about the content of newsgroups, the
key elements that they should share are wide support, prior consent,
an expectation of predictability, and a degree of accountability,
and the key differences are that moderated groups are formally set
up with a central moderation address, while groups that rely on
retroactive cancellation are usually otherwise unmoderated.
For more about cancellation of articles, see:
http://www.math.uiuc.edu/~tskirvin/home/cancel.html The Cancel FAQ
If you are thinking of cancelling other people's news articles,
for any reason, you should check your internet provider's policies
or "terms of service" first, or contact their support staff to see
if they allow this activity, and to make them aware of your plans.
Whatever, it's the only practical solution.
I guess I either don't understand your comment or you missed my point.
Google could easily incorporate the required functionality into "Chrome" if
they were interested in driving the market to their product. This woudn't
have any effect on their policies or activities any more that my rudimentary
filtering does with Outlook Distress. The plus would be that GoogleGroupers
would still have full access to archival information if they wanted.
It's a win-win and the qestion then becomes not why would Google do it but
why wouldn't they.
See what I mean?
I'm guessing from the heat in your response that you've been subjected to a
Is that the case?
I did say anything like this should be submitted to the ISP's involved to
see what their reaction would be.
Telling half truths is pretty much the same as lying isn't it Gary or do you
have one standard for yourself and another for others.
In any event, I've never cancelled one of my own posts let alone anyone
Also, I stated earlier that it's my opinion that none of this will come to
anything more than an educational excercise.
In that light it's all good.
Don't get all twitchy. It isn't necessary.
You want to do something useful go put a spammer out of business. That's a
much bigger problem than trolling Usenet.
My mail client has finally gotten back to being useful after SBC, in their
infinite wisdom, migrated all of us Pacbell customers to their web base web
hosting tools. It's pretty but it's also quite useless.
They even disabled anonamous FTP access and I found that very useful as long
as I paid attention to the permissions on the directory in use. It was also
At this point I'm considering self hosting but that looks like a real
Perhaps if you try harder, you can backpedal faster.
A cancelbot gary?
You are committing abuse by telling people to send third-party cancels.
1) Yes, issuing third-party cancels is a violation of TOS/AUP. It's a
MAJOR VIOLATION and would get your ass booted off.
2) Merely ASKING about permission to issue third-party cancels would
likely get one put on the ISP's shit list, if not booted off.
John R. Carroll is a dangerous moron. DO NOT take his suggestions.
My name isn't Gary.
Isn't that special. The cowardice was assumed.
Passing along extremely bad advice in Usenet is never good.
I'll warn you this one time only. If you ever make a suggestion on Usenet
again encouraging others to issue third-party cancels, I promise to have
a chat with your News administrator.
Well, and I'm not going to belabor it, I was trying to make the point that
either is useless.
You are assuming facts and motivation not in evidence.
I've been a CUG member since 1982 and none of this sort of crap would have
been tolerated then and I can tell you it isn't now either.
Well it won't Gary but I think a lot has been learned by people that just
didn't know, myself included.
I might be wrong and it wouldn't be the first time.
Time will tell.
Either way I don't really have anything invested and wasn't trying to pick a
None that a cancel of my own post would have prevented.
At least none that I can recall today.
In the instance I believe you are referring to I took another approach.
In the end, and without more than a couple of phone calls and a years
patience and a modest check, I attended the bankruptcy auction of the
underlying perpetrator in February. A couple of the others ended up out of a
job. That's just about as "Cancelled" as it gets Cliff. He'd been in
business for twenty years and it was over before he knew what hit him. That
was why I went to the auction. I wanted to be sure he understood and that
word got around very quickly and I hope never to be involved in cleaning up
after someones vindictive and unfortunate mistake again. I found it
Exactly. I don't feel it's worth the effort because everything I've seen
indicates that it doesn't work.
I don't think anything I've ever posted is valuable enough to groom for
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