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[ONAG] ott.* group creation and ONAG FAQ

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Gordon Dewis

Aug 17, 2011, 5:43:40 AM8/17/11
Archive-name: ONAG.faq
Last-modified: $Date: 2003/08/12 22:03:49 $

This FAQ provides ott.* users with a rough idea of how ott.* groups
are managed, and what "ONAG" is.

Note that ONAG procedures are currently in trial-and-error
experimentation, and are subject to change.

Subject: What is ONAG?

ONAG stands for "Ottawa News Administrator Group". This is a small
number of experienced Usenet administrators and users in the Ottawa
area that are interested in ensuring that ott.* is a consistent and
useful Usenet hierarchy.

Subject: What does ONAG do?

ONAG's primary role is to focus discussions on ott.* management,
and provide a consistent and timely procedure for group creation and
deletion. Just as importantly, ONAG ensures that groups that people
think should be created _are_ created, and carried in significant
portions of the Ottawa region. Without a body like ONAG, group
creation is an ad-hoc procedure that rarely achieves reasonable

As a secondary role, ONAG produces a list of "approved" ott.* groups.
By "approved", this actually means that ONAG believes that these
groups should exist, and are carried on the high population news

Subject: Who is in ONAG?

ONAG has, at its core, administrators of the three largest Usenet
environments in the Ottawa area. These presently are:

Chris Lewis[*] Nortel/BNR and Ocunix
John Stewart Carleton University and ONET
Paul Tomblin National Capital Freenet

Administrators of the above three sites are permanent members of ONAG,
in the sense that someone nominated by these organizations should always
be on ONAG. These are positional appointments, not personal.

There are presently five additional members:

Gordon Dewis Pinetree
Dave Blackwood
Russell McOrmond Flora
Miranda Gray
Rob Kelk

[*] Chris Lewis is presently chairman of ONAG.

Subject: ONAG rules

+ The chairman does not vote.
+ All ONAG administrators must create any group that an ONAG vote
passes, except if the administrator has raised a policy abstention.
(this helps guarantee propagation)

In group votes:

+ allowable votes are:
+ yes
+ no
+ policy abstention (where the member's organization has
policies that prohibit carrying such a group)

+ A "policy abstention" or "no" from two of the three core ONAG
members is a veto (if two core organizations refuse to carry the
group, then there's no point in creating it)

+ The first member to declare a policy abstention assumes chairmanship
duties for the vote

Subject: What power or authority does ONAG have?

Absolutely none whatsoever. ONAG only has authority over the
organizations represented in the membership. However, since these
organizations represent something like 90%+ of the users in the
Ottawa area, their actions tend to be worth listening to. As
such, ONAG's power over the rest of the systems in Ottawa is purely
by example and reasonability.

Subject: Help, I'm being harrassed by someone, ONAG, please help!

ONAG is not an enforcement body. If you're being harrassed, we
recommend you seek assistance from your own system administrators,
and legal counsel as necessary. ONAG can sometimes provide
a little guidance and advice, but ONAG has no authority to
discipline users or anything like that.

Subject: How do I create an ott.* group?

Discard any notions that you may have of RFD/CFV procedures
as documented in various Usenet FAQs. Those procedures only apply
to the big 8 Usenet hierarchies (comp, talk, soc, sci, misc, news,
humanities, and rec) - they do not apply to alt, or regional
hierarchies such as ott.*.

The final authority for creating Usenet groups always rests with the
owners of the systems that make up Usenet, or their delegated agents
(system administrators). As such, the RFD/CFV is really only an
interest poll, but one that administrators do listen to as a guiding

As such, the process here is in essence the same (administrators/owners
deciding in the final analysis), with a streamlined "interest poll".
RFD/CFVs take at least 6 weeks to operate. The procedure here can
take a week or less.

The ott.* process, as suggested by ONAG, is somewhat similar to the
alt.* or can.* process, but somewhat more formalized.

A group proponent should:

- Think carefully about their proposal and draft up a proposed charter
describing what the group is for, why ott.* is the appropriate
venue, and a proposed name.

- It is recommended that the proponent consults with ONAG for advice
at this point.

- The proponent should cross-post the proposed charter to related
groups, especially including ott.general and ott.config.
Followup-To: should be set to ott.config.

The intent is that this posting should cause people who're
interested to respond in ott.config showing that there is
interest in the proposal. Discussions of the group should
occur in ott.config.

- Once interest or lack thereof becomes apparent, the ONAG chairman
will call a vote of ONAG members. If the group passes,
ONAG will issue the newgroup.

Subject: Why can't I post to is a read-only news server offered to the community. There
is no way to post directly to newsgroups using the server.

For more information, please see

Subject: How do I contact ONAG?

You may contact ONAG via email at

As well, you may visit our webserver at and our
anonymous FTP server at

Gordon Dewis

Aug 24, 2011, 5:43:39 AM8/24/11
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