Maintained by: David Iain Greig (dgr...@ediacara.org)
Posted on the 1st and 15th days of each month.
Last Revised: 15 Sep 2002
Since moderation of the newsgroup, there have been questions asked about
posting, and so this short Q&A list:
Where can I read the charter of talk.origins?
How can I contact the moderator?
How does moderation work in general?
How does moderation work for talk.origins?
Where can I see the source code for the bot?
Can changes be made to the moderation software?
What can I do if my ISP is misconfigured?
I post articles, but I can't read them for several days.
I post articles, but I never see them in my news spool!
I post articles, and I see them in my news spool, but nobody ever
responds to them!
My newsreader doesn't let me post to moderated groups!
Can I post by email?
Why do only some of my posts show up in Google Groups?
What is net.origins?
Is the moderator some kind of control freak to moderate a talk.* group?
Q: Where can I read the charter of talk.origins?
Q: How can I contact the moderator(s) with questions or problems?
A: The contact address for the moderators is:
Q: How does newsgroup moderation work in general?
A: In moderated groups, the poster's newsreader software e-mails the article
to the moderation address (usually configured in the news server software),
whereupon the submitted article may be reviewed and then either posted or
rejected based on whatever criteria are part of the moderation policy in
force. The post will then propagate across Usenet from the moderation
address, not from the poster's site. The critical addition in moderated
groups is the use of the Approved: header, which is added by the moderator.
Most news server software will not accept incoming posts to a moderated
newsgroup that lack an Approved: header.
Q: Okay, how is moderation set up in talk.origins?
A: First, your post goes to the submission address alias:
This is a complicated setup of hosts around the world
that eventually all lead to the moderation host proper. The modhost
makes two copies of each incoming post: one is submitted to the posting
software, and the other is sent to a normal email account where it is
The submitted post is passed to a program called procmail, which
does some simple checks to see if there is any problem with duplicate
copies of incoming posts, and that there is a Newsgroups: line in the
incoming post, in case someone is sending a normal, non-article e-mail to
the moderation address.
An additional check is made here to specifically block crossposts to
certain other other newsgroups. As of the date of this FAQ, these are:
- all other moderated newsgroups (request of other moderators)
- all alt.support.* newsgroups (request of the newsgroups)
- alt.religion.scientology (massive crosspost spams)
From time to time other newsgroups may be added to or removed from this
list at the discretion of the moderator as the needs of moderation
change. Note that complete listing of blocked newsgroups can be seen
by viewing the actual .procmailrc source at:
Finally, procmail passes the posting to the automod program. Automod
does some simple header rewriting, checks that the number of
newsgroups in the Newsgroups: and Followup-To: headers is <=4, and
then either invokes the actual posting program or rejects the post.
Formerly a rejection notice was sent to the poster - however due
to the widespread use of false or misleading email addresses used
by posters, this led in the past to large amounts of bounced email
and/or email loops sometimes causing a severe impact on the moderation
host and so rejection notices are no longer sent out.
Once the article is posted, it propagates normally across Usenet. Hopefully.
Note that normally, no human intervention is involved.
Q: Where can I see the source code for the moderation software?
Q: Can I suggest changes to the moderation software?
A: Feel free! The code was adapted in a three-day nightmare of coding
the moderator would prefer to forget, and some improvements are needed.
Q: What can I do if my ISP is misconfigured? (Mark Isaak)
A: If your ISP is misconfigured, there are some suggestions below on
how to post; by email or by WWW. The moderator is happy to try to work
with polite requests for assistance. :)
Q: I post articles, but I can't read them for several days.
A: This is due to the way that moderated groups post into Usenet.
In a non-moderated group, your local news server is the first server to
receive the article, so you can read them basically straight away. Someone
on the 'other' side of the net won't be able to see your message until it
reaches their computer, a process which can take quite a while. With a
moderated group, the moderation software posts your article for you, and
this might be on the 'other' side of the net, and it will take between
a few moments and a few days, depending on many factors, before you can
read the message. DejaNews/Google Groups users beware!
Q: I post articles, but I never see them in my news spool!
A: If people are responding to your posts, this is likely some feature
of your newsreader software. If nobody is responding, you posts are likely
going off into the aether. Make sure your news server is sending posts to
the submission address. Try a test posting. *Then* contact the moderator
and ask if your articles are arriving at the moderation site.
Q: I post articles, and I see them in my news spool, but nobody ever
responds to them!
A: Either you're not worth responding to, or, what is more likely, your
site may have the group marked as unmoderated. In this case, postings
by you will not be emailed to the submission address, but instead immediately
posted to your local news server. Your server will duly pass your post on
to news peers, but since most OTHER sites have the group marked as moderated
(one hopes), the incoming post, lacking the required Approved: header, will
get dropped. Thus the post never leaves the originating site: the poster sees
it, but nobody on other servers does. If this seems to be the problem,
ask your local news administrator to make sure the group is marked as
moderated. If your news admin is unsure about his setup, some help can
be obtained from the moderator, who has spent some time fixing innd in other
Q: I read Usenet on the WWW, and my site doesn't let me post to moderated
A: Some sites do not allow posters to *post* to a moderated newsgroup,
while allowing them to read freely, however. The author of the FAQ
does not know any service better than another.
Q: Can I post by email?
A: Yes. The only requirement is that a Newsgroups: line must be in the
*headers* of the submitted email... NOT in the body. Many mailers (notably
elm, for example) allow users to add 'user-specified headers'. Once written,
the post should be sent to: talk-o...@moderators.isc.org
Q: Why do only *some* of my posts show up in DejaNews?
A: Propagation isn't perfect. That's about the only answer known. Don't
rely on DejaNews for the last word. If you really need to know if your
post made it to the moderation site, ask the moderator.
Q: What is net.origins?
A: Net.origins *was* the former name of talk.origins prior to the Great
Renaming of Usenet. Net.origins *is* the name of the Usenet II newsgroup that
the moderator hopes will one day become used and popular and accessible and
allow him to stop moderating talk.origins.
Q: Is the moderator some kind of control freak to moderate a talk.* group?
A: No, actually. The moderator is really against limiting free speech, but
originally got into this because people were looking for a solution to the
large amounts of noise and crosspost pollution from off-topic groups on the
unmoderated group. The moderator (who is starting to feel like Bob Dole
in using the third person here) personally uses a software package (slrn)
that basically implements a filter that wipes out the articles crossposted
to more than 4 groups anyhow, so the net result has been the same. The
moderator personally hopes it will some day soon be possible to end the
moderation while keeping the benefits of lowered noise.
Thanks to: Allan Barclay, Mark Isaak, and others.
> Why do only some of my posts show up in Google Groups?
> Q: Why do only *some* of my posts show up in DejaNews?
> A: Propagation isn't perfect. That's about the only answer known. Don't
> rely on DejaNews for the last word. If you really need to know if your
> post made it to the moderation site, ask the moderator.
John S. Wilkins, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Biohumanities Project
University of Queensland - Blog: evolvethought.blogspot.com
"Darwin's theory has no more to do with philosophy than any other
hypothesis in natural science." Tractatus 4.1122