Comments on Reorganization

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Gene Spafford

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Sep 17, 1986, 9:53:00 PM9/17/86
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When I've had the time to read some of my news I've seen a lot of
flaming passed back and forth about the newsgroup reorganization. A
couple of themes keep coming up in these postings, and I'd like to
address a few of them.

Note that I am simply expressing my perception here, and I am *not*
attempting to speak for anyone else, backbone "cabal" included.

1) The newsgroup reorganization is happening because of mounting
costs.

No, the reorganization is happening for a number of reasons, and
steadily increasing costs is simply one of the more pressing factors.
There is no denying that a different grouping of topics may aid some
sites with limited capacity in picking and choosing what groups to carry,
but that is by no means the only reason. In fact, many sites no longer
carry all the groups despite the "net" prefix, and much of the initial
reorganization simply mirrors that fact.

We also have a number of people who have been concerned by the steadily
increasing number of newsgroups along with a lack of good organization
and understanding of the groups that are there. Due to the naming
structure of newsgroups, new posters (and long-established posters)
have problems knowing what groups are for. The net has grown in scope
and a better organization of groups is needed to aid in understanding
what groups are present and what they are for. Our new structure
should also aid in creating new groups, and should even (to some
extent) make it easier to create new groups.

Stargate is a motivating factor in this, too. We are creating some
"mod" groups as part of this switchover, and depending more heavily on
"mod" groups to carry some traffic. This not only raises the general
"signal" content of the groups, but makes more material eligible for
Stargate broadcast.

Last of all, this kind of shake-up should help strengthen the net
some. Many sites are developing alternate feeds to support mailing
lists and limited distributions of some groups. We may also get some
ancient versions of news upgraded. Although you may debate this, the
general view of such events is that these are benefits and not
drawbacks.

2) The backbone "cabal" is behind all this and are making decisions
without knowing all the facts. We can't have our opinions heard!

*NO one* can know all the "facts" about Usenet! It has gotten too big
and too much volume for anyone (or group) to be expert at such things.
That is one of the problems. The best we can do is combine the
experience of the people who produce and maintain the majority of the
software and who maintain some of the biggest and/or most strategic
sites on the net (note -- I didn't use the words "most important sites"
because they're all important).

Be that as it may, it is not just the backbone admins who planned
this. The current group of newsgroup moderators and a number of
invited netters have been in on the discussion for some time. I have
organized 3 mailing lists in the past three years talking about
something like this and had almost 150 Usenet users participate in
those discussions. I'm not the only one to do this. Almost every such
discussion ended up at about the same place, but no one knew how we
could get enough co-ordinated action to accomplish it.

Times have changed, and so has the net. We are now working as a group
to try to steer things in a direction where growth can continue and the
net can survive, but not in such a totally unconstrained and expensive
manner. We are doing this because we've been with the net a long time
and watched it grow. We also want the net to continue to flourish
because we believe it is important.

We're doing the best we can with the information and tools available.
We decided to push ahead with the plan we have, even though it wasn't
completely polished. We did this because we had over 50 people
review and comment on 8 iterations of the list we finalized on and
decided that the only way to fine tune the thing was to try it out.
Experience will show what needs to be changed.

That's right -- everything isn't final. Why should it be? New groups
will always be added, and old groups deleted. Once we have made the
complete switchover and run it for a while, things that need to be
changed can be identified and switched. We might even consider making
some changes now if presented with well-thought out reasons rather than
attacks. We had to present it all as a fait accompli because otherwise
the debate would go on forever and nothing would be decided. We also
didn't want to open it up to debate by the netters who view their own
words on the printed screen as the ultimate truth and artform -- you
know the type: endless chatter and no substance. Therefore, don't
expect us to make any changes in the current plan, but don't condemn it
as a final design either.

3) My favorite group doesn't belong in "talk" -- I don't want it
deleted.

First, "talk" groups aren't being deleted. They are just unlikely to
be propagated throughout the whole net (same with "soc" I suspect).
The groups currently in "talk" are mostly only available in the US and
some of Canada now, as a matter of fact, so there may not be much
change in distribution patterns. At least half of the backbone admins
polled at Usenix indicated that they would continue to carry all the
newsgroups after the reorganization. Depending on load and other
factors, that percentage could be much, much higher.

If we made some mistakes in where we placed some groups -- sorry. See
#3, above, for what we might do to resolve the issue.

4) Mod groups are unreliable -- the new structure places too much
emphasis on them.

Well, "mod" groups have been less reliable than they should be due to
site administrators who have been unwilling (or unable) to keep
software and associated files up-to-date. News 2.11, about to be
released, has features to make posting to moderated groups much more
robust.

As to the question of "too much emphasis" on mod groups, well, we don't
think so. The concept works in nearly every other network and needs a
little more tuning here on the Usenet. If they are made more reliable
for posting this point should be answered in a year's time.


Final point -- this isn't being done as an academic exercise, or
because there is some small group intent on "proving" something to the
world. Nor is it something being driven only (or even primarily) by
cost considerations. Instead, it is an attempt by a group of
experienced, concerned individuals to help prune and shape the net into
something that will continue to grow and exist. We're a big enough
group with an incredible amount of collective experience with the net
so that we believe (hope!) we're addressing everything that needs
addressing. We're not claiming to be perfect or even know what's best,
but we do believe in what we're trying to do. We have consulted many
other people and debated the reorganization issue many, many times.
And finally, we are not forcing anyone to go along with any of this.
It may seem that way, but that is simply because the people and sites
who do all the support for the net and its software, and who maintain
and pay for much of its propagation are involved in the change. That is
significant, but those same people are going out of their way to
keep the software capability to allow sites to set up their own
distributions and network(s) if they so desire. Please try to consider
all this if you're still tempted to flame.

--
Gene Spafford
Software Engineering Research Center (SERC), Georgia Tech, Atlanta GA 30332
CSNet: Spaf @ GATech ARPA: Sp...@Gatech.GATECH.EDU
uucp: ...!{akgua,decvax,hplabs,ihnp4,linus,seismo,ulysses}!gatech!spaf

Darryl P. Wagoner

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Sep 19, 1986, 10:38:09 AM9/19/86
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This stuff is getting old! The people who have been doing the reorganization
has been put a lot of work into it. I would be surprise if any of them are
getting paid for it, at any rate I do know that they spend a lot of their own
time working on it. They have worked hard on this plan to reorganize and have
started to implement it. Now is not the time to change the plan. This
reorganization in not cast in concrete! But NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO CHANGE!
Oh-my did I repeat myself :-) Don't make a hard job worst! The folks that
should be thanking the reorganizer are the folks that are bitching the
loudest. So lets kept the noise down, at least until the reorganization
is done. If the reorganizer have to take time out to defend their actions
then that take time away from their task of reorganization.


--
Darryl Wagoner
Raytheon Co.; Portsmouth RI; (401)-847-8000 x4089

best path {allegra|gatech|mirror|raybed2} ---------\
next best {linus|ihnp4|pyrbos} ---------------------->!rayssd!dpw
if all else fails {brunix|cci632} -------------------------/

Thomas J Keller

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Sep 20, 1986, 9:51:22 PM9/20/86
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In article <1...@rayssd.UUCP>, d...@rayssd.UUCP (Darryl P. Wagoner) writes:
>
> This stuff is getting old! The people who have been doing the reorganization
> has been put a lot of work into it. I would be surprise if any of them are
> getting paid for it, at any rate I do know that they spend a lot of their own
> time working on it. They have worked hard on this plan to reorganize and have
> started to implement it. Now is not the time to change the plan. This
> reorganization in not cast in concrete! But NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO CHANGE!
> Oh-my did I repeat myself :-) Don't make a hard job worst! The folks that
> should be thanking the reorganizer are the folks that are bitching the
> loudest. So lets kept the noise down, at least until the reorganization
> is done. If the reorganizer have to take time out to defend their actions
> then that take time away from their task of reorganization.

Hmmm...sounds suspiciously like doublethink to me:

A: "This new leader is screwing everything up...freedom is destroyed.."
B: "Now isn't the time to complain...Herr Hitler has worked very hard on
this social reorganization...if he stops now, it could ruin everything"
A: "...yes, but that's the whole point, it *ISN'T* a social reorganization,
that's just what he's *CALLING* it in order to keep the people from..."
B: "But he is the leader. He can do as he chooses"
A: "yes, but he should at least be honest about what he is doing"
B: "don't distract him now...let him finish doing away with political
freedom, *THEN* complain about it"

Sounds like you don't understand the nature of the complaints, Darryl.

Disclaimer: It was *NOT* my intention to equate the backbone SA/reorg.
group with Hitler. I am attempting to explain the Mr. Waggoner why his
posting isn't reasonable.

--

Disclaimer: Disclaimer? DISCLAIMER!? I don't need no stinking DISCLAIMER!!!

tom keller "She's alive, ALIVE!"
{ihnp4, dual}!ptsfa!gilbbs!mc68020

(* we may not be big, but we're small! *)

Greg Woods

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Sep 22, 1986, 8:43:11 PM9/22/86
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In article <9...@gilbbs.UUCP>, mc6...@gilbbs.UUCP (Thomas J Keller) writes:
> B: "Now isn't the time to complain...Herr Hitler has worked very hard on
> this social reorganization...if he stops now, it could ruin everything"
> A: "...yes, but that's the whole point, it *ISN'T* a social reorganization,
> that's just what he's *CALLING* it in order to keep the people from..."
> B: "But he is the leader. He can do as he chooses"
> A: "yes, but he should at least be honest about what he is doing"
> B: "don't distract him now...let him finish doing away with political
> freedom, *THEN* complain about it"

You miss one of the MOST important things about reorganization: it will
make it EASIER to create, delete and rename newsgroups, not harder. Calling
this "doing away with [net] freedom", which is CLEARLY implied in the above,
is just plain incorrect. That article is a total fallacy. Yes, you disclaimed
comparing us to Hitler; Bull. That's the entire message in the above.
I would personally like to THANK Darryl for some public support (finally!)
All the bitching I've been hearing is almost enough to get me to suggest that
we just forget the whole thing and let the net collapse under it's own weight
(which may happen anyway, but a better organization would sure help). Most
of what I have seen is massive flames over a couple of low-volume newsgroups,
with absolutely NO recognition of what a monumental task reorganizing this
network is. Is it any wonder a couple of mistakes have been made? (Yes,
the deletion of wobegon was an ERROR, not an intentional slight as has
been repeatedly insinuated by some not-so-shy people, and in all likelihood
it will be reinstated before the "rec" groups are created). No, I don't mind
people pointing out mistakes that have been made; all I ask is that it be
done in a reasonable way while acknowledging that a mistake in a task of
this magnitude is understandable. Comparing us to Hitler is the last straw.
Flaming us will NOT get your desires implemented. Requests and reasonable
discussion very well might. Think for a minute what it would be like to be
in our shoes and read all this crap on the net every day. After this, it's
awfully tempting to REALLY be like Hitler and implement first, explain
later (if at all).

--Greg

Thomas J Keller

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Sep 23, 1986, 4:02:58 PM9/23/86
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In article <2...@hao.UUCP>, wo...@hao.UUCP (Greg Woods) writes:
>
> You miss one of the MOST important things about reorganization: it will
> make it EASIER to create, delete and rename newsgroups, not harder. Calling
> this "doing away with [net] freedom", which is CLEARLY implied in the above,
> is just plain incorrect. That article is a total fallacy. Yes, you disclaimed

So you say, Mr. Woods. On the other hand, you also claimed to be making
assignations of groups on the basis of a stated set of criteria, yet in fact
such assignments were made at the whim of the reorganizers. In as much as
the issue is *NOT* the specifics of any particular assignment, but rather of
mis-representation (a point which has been made repeatedly, and which you have
consistently ignored, while hammering away at people making it), and in as much
as you have shown yourself to be guilty of misrepresentation in this matter,
*WHY* should we blithely accept your protestations of good will now?

> comparing us to Hitler; Bull. That's the entire message in the above.
> I would personally like to THANK Darryl for some public support (finally!)

In fact, I support what the SAs have done, for the most part, and I even
publicly point out that the backbone sites have the right to do as they choose.
I have also repeatedly pointed out that they should cease mis-representing
what they do (and interestingly enough, Mr. Woods, *YOU* seem to be the single
most frequent backbone SA found to be misrepresenting the facts). I honestly
was *NOT* comparing the re-organization to Hitler. I *WILL*, however, compare
*YOU* to Hitler. You refuse to acknowledge legitimate complaints about your
misbehaviour, and continuously harp on how much good *YOU* are doing for
*US*. I doubt seriously if the net would fall apart without *YOUR* efforts,
sir. I urge you to the experiment. Drop out and let us see for ourselves.

> All the bitching I've been hearing is almost enough to get me to suggest that
> we just forget the whole thing and let the net collapse under it's own weight
> (which may happen anyway, but a better organization would sure help). Most
> of what I have seen is massive flames over a couple of low-volume newsgroups,
> with absolutely NO recognition of what a monumental task reorganizing this
> network is. Is it any wonder a couple of mistakes have been made? (Yes,
> the deletion of wobegon was an ERROR, not an intentional slight as has
> been repeatedly insinuated by some not-so-shy people, and in all likelihood
> it will be reinstated before the "rec" groups are created). No, I don't mind
> people pointing out mistakes that have been made; all I ask is that it be
> done in a reasonable way while acknowledging that a mistake in a task of
> this magnitude is understandable. Comparing us to Hitler is the last straw.

Mistake? Saving net.singles, while moving obviously technical groups into
the talk.* domain is a *MISTAKE*??? Come now, Mr. Woods. I suppose that
you will argue that Charles Manson made a "mistake" in murdering Sharon Tate?
Your arrogant posturing on this issue is growing quite tiresome, frankly. You
openly stated that "what WE define as technical is technical". I suppose
that was a "mistake" too?

> Flaming us will NOT get your desires implemented. Requests and reasonable
> discussion very well might. Think for a minute what it would be like to be
> in our shoes and read all this crap on the net every day. After this, it's
> awfully tempting to REALLY be like Hitler and implement first, explain
> later (if at all).

In your case, what would be new or different?

I suggest that you in no way represent the opinions or positions of the
majority of the backbone SAs. I suggest that you are pretty much a singleton,
seeking to maximize his personal power over the net. Your arrogance and
complete lack of consideration for anyone else's point of view, regardless of
the manner in which they were stated, suffices as prima facie evidence, from
my point of view.

I would like to hear from the rest of the backbone SAs, and a lot less from
you, sir. You have certainly had more than ample say in this matter. Why not
let someone else speak to the issues?

David desJardins

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Sep 23, 1986, 8:19:19 PM9/23/86
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In article <2...@hao.UUCP> wo...@hao.UUCP (Greg Woods) writes:
> You miss one of the MOST important things about reorganization: it will
>make it EASIER to create, delete and rename newsgroups, not harder. Calling
>this "doing away with [net] freedom", which is CLEARLY implied in the above,
>is just plain incorrect.

For something which is "one of the MOST important things about reorgan-
ization," it is surprising that this is the first time it has been mentioned
in this newsgroup. Could you explain how the reorganization will make it
easier to create, delete, and rename groups? I'm sure that if you could
explain why this is true, it would make many people feel better about the
whole thing.

-- David desJardins

Dan'l Oakes

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Sep 23, 1986, 10:46:18 PM9/23/86
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In article <2...@hao.UUCP> wo...@hao.UUCP (Greg Woods) writes:
>Is it any wonder a couple of mistakes have been made? (Yes,
>the deletion of wobegon was an ERROR, not an intentional slight as has
>been repeatedly insinuated by some not-so-shy people, and in all likelihood
>it will be reinstated before the "rec" groups are created). No, I don't mind
>people pointing out mistakes that have been made; all I ask is that it be
>done in a reasonable way while acknowledging that a mistake in a task of
>this magnitude is understandable...
>[Imagine having to] read all this crap on the net every day. After this, it's

>awfully tempting to REALLY be like Hitler and implement first, explain
>later (if at all).

Amen. No question about it: the reorganization was probably long overdue,
and while I might have done it differently (for one thing, I read wobegon),
it's certainly comprehensible.

Lets face it: a major part of the net is nattering and grommishing, hanging
parasitically on the back of a lot of companies out to make a living. They
_don't_ make money from net.wobegon, .women, .comics, or .tv.drwho.

The existence of usenet is a privilege, NOT a right. To yell because you don't
like the way it's being run is not only silly; it's ignorant and offensive.

Ignorant? Because it shows a complete lack of understanding of the economic
realities: we are ALL guests here. The behavior of some persons has been
rude, especially when considered as the behavior of a guest -- and that is
why it is offensive.

'nuff said. (There: was that supportive enough, Greg?:<)

The Roach from 20,000 Fathoms

"There are some things man was not meant to know,
and songs man was not meant to sing,
and this is one of

Frederick M. Avolio

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Sep 24, 1986, 8:30:50 AM9/24/86
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In article <10...@gilbbs.UUCP>, mc6...@gilbbs.UUCP (Thomas J Keller) writes:
some attacks on Mr. Woods...
> ... I doubt seriously if the net would fall apart without *YOUR* efforts,

> sir. I urge you to the experiment. Drop out and let us see for ourselves.

Tom, you certainly have made yourself sound like a jerk. I'm sure
this was not intentional. (ASIDE: doesn't it irk you when people use
"Mr." and "Sir" in a posting that is tearing the person up and down?)
Tom, next time mail such things as there is no reason why the whole
ent has to read personal attacks. I suggest that you set up your site
as a backbone, and start taking on some of the stuff that Greg (whom I
don't know personally at all) has done before you kick Greg off the
net.

(Gee, last week someone wanted to kick Rick off, right? I guess that
is a sign of achievement...)
--
Fred @ DEC Ultrix Applications Center
INET: avo...@decuac.dec.com * Fight the Fight *
UUCP: {decvax,seismo,cbosgd}!decuac!avolio * Rescue the Unborn *

Matthew P Wiener

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Sep 24, 1986, 4:41:53 PM9/24/86
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I can't stand it. I just can't stand it. I will post this and reretire.

I would like to take this opportunity to maximally distance the brahms gang
from Mr T J Keller. We play hard, but we don't play stupid. Woof.

In particular, what in the world does Adolph Hitler and Charles Manson have
to do with the net reorganization? Answer: nothing. Go away Mr T J. Let
the big boys fight it out. We do know what we're doing, OK?

In other words, Mr T J, try out for the David Letterman show someplace else.
Woof woof and a ** GONG ** to you.

In article <10...@gilbbs.UUCP> mc6...@gilbbs.UUCP (Thomas J Keller) writes:

>such assignments were made at the whim of the reorganizers.

Garbage. Obviously it was mostly thought and a little bit of inertia. Which
is why most of it came through so cleanly.

> Mistake? Saving net.singles, while moving obviously technical groups into
> the talk.* domain is a *MISTAKE*???

Mr T J, if you ever learn to recognize what a technical group is, please
don't subscribe to it. My friends and I will thank you.

net.singles was obviously a case of vox populi. We were merely using it as
backslop for comparison. SHeesh.

> I suggest that you are pretty much a singleton,
>seeking to maximize his personal power over the net.

You know, if I hadn't ever seen a Mr T J Keller posting before, I would have
concluded after reading this that we were dealing with a Ken Arndt gone dull.
But nooooooo. This guy's for real.

I don't think anyone *wants* personal power over the net under any circum-
stances.

>let someone else speak to the issues?

Anyone but Mr T J, *please*.

Oh, by the way Mr T J, my friend Gene Smith and I wish thank you for taking
us off the hook of dumbest posting of the week in this group. We got a bit
carried away, and then you came along. Congratulations! Woof woof GONG.

Yes, I know this is a flame and doesn't belong here. But goddam it, does it
ever feel good. Yehaaaaaa!

Well, back to work.

ucbvax!brahms!weemba Matthew P Wiener/UCB Math Dept/Berkeley CA 94720
Without NNTP, the brahms gang itself would be impossible. --Erik E Fair

Ron Heiby

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Sep 24, 1986, 6:10:08 PM9/24/86
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In article <10...@gilbbs.UUCP> mc6...@gilbbs.UUCP (Thomas J Keller) writes:
> Mistake? Saving net.singles, while moving obviously technical groups into
> the talk.* domain is a *MISTAKE*??? [obnoxious flames deleted]

>
> I suggest that you in no way represent the opinions or positions of the
>majority of the backbone SAs. I suggest that you are pretty much a singleton,
> [obnoxious flames deleted]

>
> I would like to hear from the rest of the backbone SAs, and a lot less from
>you, sir. You have certainly had more than ample say in this matter. Why not
>let someone else speak to the issues?

Golly! Tom sure seems upset about something. I came in a bit late on all
this, haveing been sent to New Jersey for a week. Tom seems to be pretty
confused, or I am. I'm really curious about which talk groups are
"obviously technical". None of them are "obviously technical" to me.
abortion? bizarre? origins? politics? religion? rumors? philosophy?
I don't understand where you're coming from, Tom.

Since I came in late, I can't really comment on whether what Greg said in
some earlier article represented my opinions, but his later messages
coincide with my own. I was at the meetings held during Usenix when the
(evil, nasty) backbone (cabal) administrators got together and decided on
a few things that we honestly believed necessary for the continued life
of Usenet. One of those things was the newsgroup reorganization. One
of the guiding principles of the reorganization was that every existing
group would have a home in the new structure. For each group in "net",
one would be able to point to some new group as being the place where
the "net" group's postings should begin to appear. Eliminating wobegone
was a *mistake*. I listen to PHC. I enjoy it. The handful of articles
a week in that group don't bother me particularly, although I do think
they probably could live with some other folk-music group, perhaps.
(But I don't want to argue about that, because I am not actively seeking
the demise of the wobegone group and most other backbone SAs aren't, either.)

So, please, people. Calm down a bit and assume that we are trying to
save Usenet, rather than destroy it. Please assume that we are not
power hungry dictators doing things on whims. 99% of the time you'll
be correct.
--
Ron Heiby he...@cuae2.ATT.COM Moderator: mod.newprod & mod.os.unix
AT&T-IS, /app/eng, Lisle, IL (312) 810-6109
"Hay una mujer desaparecida...."

Ron Heiby

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Sep 25, 1986, 10:50:46 AM9/25/86
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I just found some old articles and it's clear that Tom was talking
about talk.philosophy.tech. As has already been stated, this may
have been an oversight. If so, it can be easily corrected after
things settle out a bit. Again, please, calm. Peace.

Greg Woods

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Sep 25, 1986, 1:39:55 PM9/25/86
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In article <15...@ucbvax.BERKELEY.EDU>, de...@brahms.BERKELEY.EDU (David desJardins) writes:
> Could you explain how the reorganization will make it
> easier to create, delete, and rename groups?

Well, it obviously won't eliminate all the problems associated with this
process, but what it will do is eliminate a lot of the fighting about *where*
a group belongs, and whether or not a group exists that could handle discussions
that might go into the proposed new group. Since it will also be much easier
for sites that are concerned about resource use to control what groups they
get (without 50-line sys file entries), there may well be fewer objections
to creating new groups. Because there is a "misc" group in every category,
it will be easier to delete groups because no one will be able to complain
that there is now nowhere to post the discussions that formerly took place
in the deleted group.
No, it is not a final solution and it does not address some of the serious
problems associated with creating and deleting groups. But hopefully the
second phase of reorganization (after the renaming of groups) will involve
the setting of better-defined criteria for whether a new group should be
created, and for the first time, setting criteria for deleting existing
groups. This means that existing groups will have to have enough traffic
to justify their continuation, which has never really been true in the
past.

--Greg

j...@alice.uucp

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Sep 25, 1986, 2:59:54 PM9/25/86
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Greg:
Reorganizing the net is indeed a large and mostly unrewarding
task. Still, the question of WHY reorganize has been continuously begged.

1) Duplicate articles from broken sites still account for at least 10% of
the group volume in the groups that I read. If you want to reduce traffic,
fix the problem of infinitely replicating duplicates! If all you want
is to reduce traffic, merely fixing (or isolating) brokenness will
do that, without stifling anyone, anywhere, anytime.

2) There are some groups out of control. "Let's move them to talk
to that they go away" isn't a solution, it doesn't educate
the users, and it provides nothing but an incentive for
stupid, ignorant, or deliberatly rude users to go squat in some
other sandbox!

3) Yeah, you've reorganized, but you still can't do anything about
all the deliberate misusers. USENET has been pathologically
unwilling to police itself, and the new organization doesn't help
a bit, it only provides an incentive to change the groups that
misbehavior happens in. Until USENET can also police itself,
and NOT via the method of flaming-until-the-other-guy-turns-blue-at-the-fingertips,
traffic and misbehavior will grow monotonicly.

I find the comments about "wobegon" quite interesting, in the light of the
fact that I was on the "reorganization" list for quite a while, and was
witness to several folk's arguement that wobegon was "a stupid group,
with a stupid reason for existance", "an example of what's wrong
with USENET" and the like, because of the nature of its genesis.
I did drop out of the group when it became obvious to the most
blind that the real work was happening via some other path, and
that the purpose of the discussion mailinglist was to allow
the rest to be convinced.

Anyhow, having seen this discussion, I cannot credit the removal of the group
to "mere accident".

Reorganization a camel like USENET is a big job, NOT because it's hard intrinsicly,
but because so many people want so many different things. When doing
any project of that sort, a strong sense of proportion is more than important,
it is required. The current reorganization structure seems to me to show
a strong lack of proportion, and therein lies my objection.

Until the problems are identified, isolated, and fixed, no number of
highly stressful attempts at bandaiding wwill suffice.
--
GODS OF NETNEWS BEWARE, THE TEDDY BEARS WILL HAVE THEIR PICNIC!
"Hear the Tolling of the Bells, Iron Bells"
(Ask not for whom the bell tolls, the bell tolls for news.)
(ihnp4;allegra;research)!alice!jj

Phil Ngai

unread,
Sep 25, 1986, 10:39:25 PM9/25/86
to
In article <15...@ucbvax.BERKELEY.EDU> wee...@brahms.BERKELEY.EDU (Matthew P Wiener) writes:
>Oh, by the way Mr T J, my friend Gene Smith and I wish thank you for taking
>us off the hook of dumbest posting of the week in this group. We got a bit
>carried away, and then you came along. Congratulations! Woof woof GONG.

I can't believe it. I actually agree with someone from brahms on something.

--

I'll say this for the communists: They don't have nearly as many
problems with illegal immigrants as we do.

Phil Ngai +1 408 749 5720
UUCP: {ucbvax,decwrl,ihnp4,allegra}!amdcad!phil
ARPA: amdcad!ph...@decwrl.dec.com

David desJardins

unread,
Sep 26, 1986, 5:01:47 AM9/26/86
to
In article <2...@hao.UUCP> wo...@hao.UUCP (Greg Woods) writes:
>> Could you explain how the reorganization will make it
>> easier to create, delete, and rename groups?
>
> Well, it obviously won't eliminate all the problems associated with this
>process, but what it will do is eliminate a lot of the fighting about *where*
>a group belongs, and whether or not a group exists that could handle
>discussions that might go into the proposed new group.

In the example that we have seen so far, there is a vast *increase* in
the fighting over where newsgroups go. Before it was clear where a group
about foo would go -- in net.foo, or possibly net.bar.foo if it falls into
an already existing category. Now there is endless debate over talk vs.
soc vs. sci vs. ....

>Since it will also be much easier for sites that are concerned about
>resource use to control what groups they get (without 50-line sys file
>entries), there may well be fewer objections to creating new groups.

So "creating" a group (giving it a name, and making it possible for
people to post to it) might possibly be somewhat easier (although it
couldn't be much easier than it is now; all that is needed is to send a
newgroup control message). Actually *creating* a group (providing the
means for net readers to communicate on the subject), however, seems
probably more difficult, since it will be easier for an individual key
node to refuse to carry the group, thus making it worthless.

>Because there is a "misc" group in every category, it will be easier
>to delete groups because no one will be able to complain that there is
>now nowhere to post the discussions that formerly took place in the

>deleted group. [... H]opefully the second phase of reorganization


>(after the renaming of groups) will involve the setting of better-
>defined criteria for whether a new group should be created, and for
>the first time, setting criteria for deleting existing groups.

I have no doubt that it will make it easier to *delete* groups. We
have already seen much evidence of its utility in that regard. I am
more interested in how it will make it easier to create and rename groups.
It seems that it could hardly be easier than it was before the great
reorganization -- after all, before that there was no need for renaming,
since all group names were treated equally.

I do appreciate your prompt reply, but there doesn't seem to be anything
in the above to indicate that it will be easier to create or rename than
it now is. And, the great opposition to the instances of renaming that
*have* come up, in cases where few really question that the groups *are*
misnamed (e.g. politics.arms-d), seems to indicate that renaming will be
extremely difficult. Can you give any reason why we should believe the
opposite, or even why we should hold out hope?

-- David desJardins

Charley Wingate

unread,
Sep 26, 1986, 9:56:00 AM9/26/86
to
Greg Woods writes:
>> [Thomas J Keller]

>> B: "Now isn't the time to complain...Herr Hitler has worked very hard on
>> this social reorganization...if he stops now, it could ruin everything"
>> A: "...yes, but that's the whole point, it *ISN'T* a social reorganization,
>> that's just what he's *CALLING* it in order to keep the people from..."
>> B: "But he is the leader. He can do as he chooses"
>> A: "yes, but he should at least be honest about what he is doing"
>> B: "don't distract him now...let him finish doing away with political
>> freedom, *THEN* complain about it"

> You miss one of the MOST important things about reorganization: it will
>make it EASIER to create, delete and rename newsgroups, not harder. Calling
>this "doing away with [net] freedom", which is CLEARLY implied in the above,
>is just plain incorrect.

THe freedom is already gone. THe only perons who will find it easier to
create groups will be the backbone; for the rest it will remain impossible,
as it is now. Most of the SA types I know I would not compare to Hitler,
but nevertheless there's no advantage whatsoever to anyone in the new system
except for the backbone-- originally, one of the reasons proffered was that
the reorg was to allow the backbone to nuke the "talk" groups easily (and
without having to consult anyone else).

C. Wingate

Rick Adams

unread,
Sep 26, 1986, 1:24:20 PM9/26/86
to
As the person who instigated the great renaming, I can state clearly
what the purpose of the groups was.

It was to simplify the sys files for passing news to other sites. That's all.

In general, the new hierarchy greatly simplifies the sys files for sites
who do not want to receive everything. It is therefore a success.

---rick

Henry Spencer

unread,
Sep 26, 1986, 4:41:11 PM9/26/86
to
> I would like to hear from the rest of the backbone SAs, and a lot less from
> you, sir. You have certainly had more than ample say in this matter. Why not
> let someone else speak to the issues?

Speaking as another backbone SA, this whole discussion bores me stiff and
I am only listening to about every tenth word. Life is too short.
--
Henry Spencer @ U of Toronto Zoology
{allegra,ihnp4,decvax,pyramid}!utzoo!henry

Stuart D. Gathman

unread,
Sep 29, 1986, 8:32:23 PM9/29/86
to

I don't see why there is a problem with *any* reorganization. The news
software allows any user to send create and delete control messages
to any machines in the system. The newsgroup names are simply conventions.
Nobody is forcing you to use the proposed names. In fact, if nobody
uses the proposed names, the proposal won't amount to anything.
--
Stuart D. Gathman <..!seismo!{vrdxhq|dgis}!BMS-AT!stuart>

Darryl P. Wagoner

unread,
Oct 1, 1986, 12:34:46 PM10/1/86
to
> freedom, *THEN* complain about it"
>
> Sounds like you don't understand the nature of the complaints, Darryl.
>
> Disclaimer: It was *NOT* my intention to equate the backbone SA/reorg.
> group with Hitler. I am attempting to explain the Mr. Waggoner why his
> posting isn't reasonable.
>
Thank you ! You did an great job of proving my point. The network is
not a government where freedoms can be given or taken away. I do understand
a few things:

(A) The reorganization is taking place.
(B) The network is not going to come to an end if a policy problems is
not attended to before the reorganization is complete.

The way I see it is that there are two different types of problems with
the reorganization.

1. Techinal Problems (This is really the only real problems)
2. Policy issues

I think that *most* SA are bright enough to know what to do about the
techinal problems so I won't bore them with it. Non-SA have SA to worry
about their tech problems.

Policy issues really has nothing to do with the reorg. effort at the present
time. The reorg is in a techinal phase and it is an enormous amount of work.
So lets hold down the policy issues until the techinal reorg is done.

Dick Dunn

unread,
Oct 9, 1986, 2:38:26 PM10/9/86
to
Flaming away about the reorg, directed at Greg Woods...

>> I would like to hear from the rest of the backbone SAs, and a lot less from
>>you, sir. You have certainly had more than ample say in this matter. Why not
>>let someone else speak to the issues?

to which Henry Spencer replied...


>Speaking as another backbone SA, this whole discussion bores me stiff and
>I am only listening to about every tenth word. Life is too short.

I'm speaking as a longtime, serious (that's "involved", not "lacking in
levity") netnews reader and now as a neophyte backbone SA. I'll second
Henry's comment and add that if I had to follow all of the reorg
discussion to try to find even 5% useful comments and suggestions
within all the crap about the reorg, I'd never have the time to learn
anything about the REAL work that I'm supposed to do as an SA. (There HAVE
been thoughtful, serious, well-intentioned objections to the changes. You
can identify them; they result in brief discussions, perhaps heated at
times but focusing on the issues.)

I'm a little surprised that Greg has the time, let alone the inclination,
to get into some of the discussions he has. Perhaps he feels that
objections which go unanswered may be taken as valid objections by default.
If so, that's up to him; why do the rest of us have to get into it.

I suspect that most of the SAs haven't responded to the particular
discussion at hand simply because a nearly-content-free flaming match will
neither help nor hurt the reorg work.
--
Dick Dunn {hao,ucbvax,allegra,seismo}!nbires!rcd (303)444-5710 x3086
...Nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile.

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