A Modest Proposal

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Sep 11, 1987, 3:16:53 PM9/11/87
to jaffe

Hello, I would like to introduce myself to those who don't
know who I am. I am the moderator of The SF-LOVERS Digest on the
Internet. I have been watching the discussions in this group about
"what belongs here" and rec.arts.books vs rec.arts.sflovers etc.,
with much amusement. I have been the moderator of the Internet
digest for about 4 years now and I have seen this discussion about 2
or three times a year. I'd like to explain what the current
situation is to all of you and make a major proposal.
My understanding of the history of things is that along
around about 1975 the digest was created on the ARPAnet. Without
getting into a long historical lecture, I'll just state that since
that time it has grown considerably and now reaches nearly 20,000
people on several networks including ARPAnet, BITnet, CSnet, MILnet
and yes, even USEnet. The digest has recently been given world-wide
attention by being mentioned in the July issue of Omni magazine.
When the newsgroups were first formed they were tied into
the digest on the ARPAnet in such away so that anything posted here
went to the digest and vice versa. Although the digest's "home" has
changed over the years (it did not start at Rutgers) this link has
been maintained whenever possible. I personally feel that in the
long run, both groups (USEnet netnews and Internet digest readers)
have benefitted from this link.
For those of you who don't know what a digest is or what a
moderator does, it's simple. I sift through the large number of
messages that come in, edit them to remove unnecessary headers,
signatures, and so forth. I also make an attempt to filter out the
100 or so messages naming the author or the title of a book/story
and select the smallest number of messages that answer the question
with the most information. Other moderating tasks include
correcting spelling (but not grammer or word usage) and reducing the
number of lines of quoted messages so that only pertinent lines are
quoted (and not whole messages). These messages are then grouped
together and put into a single message, the digest.
For the last year or so, the digests have been more or less
single topic, i.e. talking about sf books, or films, or startrek or
television shows, etc. I have also been maintaining archives of
back issues as well as keeping online such often asked for things
like episode guides and humorous fiction such as
You folks reading the rec.arts.sf-lovers group are obviously
unsatisfied with the large number of messages that you feel don't
belong there, I am unhappy because I don't get access to things like
rec.arts.startrek which Internet people are interested in.
I would like to pose a solution to all of the various
problems that I hope everyone can be happier with.
I am hereby proposing that several new groups be created for
discussing sf related subjects. These groups will be moderated at
the same time that I do moderation on the Internet side and will be
tied into the digest. Basically what would happen is that once I
have grouped messages together for a digest, I would send the
individual, edited/moderated messages to the appropriate netnews
group and then create the digest. Therefore we could have the
following groups rec.arts.sf.books, rec.arts.sf.films,
rec.arts.sf.television, rec.arts.sf.startrek, rec.arts.sf.drwho, and
rec.arts.sf.misc (a catchall) and there would be someone (namely me)
insuring that the right messages go to the right groups.
Essentially, what is being proposed is the creation of moderated
groups which would contain the "best" of the unmoderated group. The
old group would remain "as is."
So that you have all of the facts before voting, here are
some of the disadvantages. First, I am only human and the messages
would appear in the appropriate groups only as fast as I work on the
digest. There would likely be a lag of 1-10 days between my
receiving a message and it's getting to the appropriate group.
Second, I am not sure yet how to handle cross-postings from other
I have discussed this with the backbone and they have agreed
to this proposal. In fact, they view it as an experiment in
"post-moderation" groups and they are quite excited about doing it.
I would think that there has been enough discussion in this
group about it so please just mail me your vote, either "yea" or
"nay." As I understand the voting procedure, only those votes which
are mailed to me directly at the addresses below will be counted.
votes are tabulated the sooner we can put this into effect (if
enough agree) and get back to talking about sf as we all,
presumably, would rather be doing.
Saul Jaffe
Rutgers University
ARPA: Ja...@elbereth.rutgers.edu
UUCP: ...!rutgers!elbereth.rutgers.edu!jaffe


Sep 29, 1987, 3:34:55 PM9/29/87
yes is the vote







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