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1994 Fools: Proposal for newsgroup hierarchy changes to lower SNR

From andrew@zone4.ocunix.on.ca Tue Apr  5 02:24:23 EDT 1994
Article: 76104 of news.groups
Path: bigblue.oit.unc.edu!concert!news.duke.edu!MathWorks.Com!news.kei.com!hookup!torn!nott!cunews!revcan!aficom!zone4!zone4!not-for-mail
From: andrew@zone4.ocunix.on.ca (A. Loof)
Newsgroups: news.future,news.groups,only-fools-post-here.news.future
Subject: Proposal for newsgroup hierarchy changes to lower SNR
Date: 1 Apr 1994 18:12:18 -0500
Organization: Zone4
Lines: 89
Distribution: world
Message-ID: <2ni9oi$n4e@zone4.ocunix.on.ca>
NNTP-Posting-Host: zone4.ocunix.on.ca
Summary: Ideas for reduction of problems with SNR on Usenet
Keywords: RFC1438,RFC1313,RFC1217,RFC0748,Secret Masters of Usenet
Xref: bigblue.oit.unc.edu news.future:4055 news.groups:76104

Although the Internet is becoming available to more and more people, the
network news community is still closed to many.  Naming conventions made
years ago, which, while appropriate for programmers, are not appropriate
for the general public. 

In addition, as more new users enter the community, the influence of the
more urbane and experienced network news users is being eroded.  The
influx of new users who do not have time to assimilate the network news
culture is increasing the signal-to-noise ratio of newsgroups. 

These problems must be addressed. Here are some proposed solutions:

1. Rename .d groups

The .d suffix, meaning ``discussion,'' is not understood by many new
users.  This is evident in many groups.  As a result, it is proposed
that *.d be renamed to the more intuitive *.bitch-and-whine

2. Modification of rec.humor.*

rec.humor should be considered by the net community a lost cause. If
a joke was posted in it once, the magnetic media on which it was archived
has since decayed. Since the people who read rec.humor are obviously
unaware of its intent, the following changes are proposed:

 . rmgroup rec.humor.bitch-and-whine
 . create a new group rec.no-jokes-at-all-just-depression, which will
   by its very name serve as a repository for the funniest of the
   net postings.
 . create rec.no-jokes-at-all-just-depression.bitch-and-whine for discussion
   about postings to rec.no-jokes-at-all-just-depression.bitch-and-whine
 . leave rec.humor as an alias for
   rec.no-jokes-at-all-just-depression.bitch-and-whine, so as not to
   surprise current readers of rec.humor.

3. Renaming of news hierarchy

It's become obvious that non-technical people think of the ``news''
hierarchy as a place to discuss current events.  We propose that a new
hierarchy, current-events, be created to parallel the existing news
hierarchy. In addition, to support discussion of network news, the
existing news hierarchy should be renamed to not-cnn-news-you-moron. 

4. Creation of parallel hierarchies as subhierarchies.

As more and more new users get access to the net, we will see more and
more newbie postings, the sort of which is gradually beginning to
overwhelm legitimate traffic in most newsgroups.  Thus, we recommend
that a new hierarchy be created which will discourage new users from
posting, and serve as a base for the Secret Masters of Usenet.

In view of the need for moderation of comp.unix.wizards, we recommend
that this new hierarchy (which should have all the existing newsgroups
below it) be called only-fools-post-here.  Although it is
unlikely that the name alone will keep newbies away, there is a much
greater chance that they will make a typo when entering the name. 

News software should be configured to redirect postings to
only-fook^]]Bls-post-h^]]A^]]B^]]Bere (and other permutations
containing cursor key movements) to the appropriate newsgroup outside
the only-fools-post-here hierarchy. This could be done in the
newsreader, but should also be implemented in NNTP servers to deal with
sites which have not upgraded news readers.

Complient newsreaders should quietly remove the only-fools-post-here
hierarchy from the .newsrc (or equivalent) file for the user who posts
to only-fook^]]Bls-post-h^]]A^]]B^]]Bere, and instead substitute the
newsgroup in the more global hierarchy. 

In addition, for the very new user, we recommend creation of a
secret-masters-of-usenet hierarchy which parallels the existing
hierarchy.  This will allow first-year university students a place to
masturbate without disturbing the rest of the world. 

5. Added support for Freenet users.

To support the mentality of the increasing number of Freenet users, we
propose the creation of the gee-this-is-a-k00l-bbs hierarchy. 
Intelligent users could add this to their global kill files,
or just configure their NNTP software to reject postings with this
in the Newsgroups: line. 


These simple proposals should decrease the amount of noise on all
newsgroups, and increase the average intelligence of users. We hope
that they will be implemented as soon as possible.

	A. Loof

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