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Subject: news.groups.reviews guidelines
This article was archived around: 21 Aug 1999 12:00:02 -0400
Posting-Frequency: monthly (21st of every month)
Last-modified: 21 December 1997
The moderated newsgroup news.groups.reviews features reviews of newsgroups
and mailing lists. You don't have to wait until someone asks -- just go
ahead, write a review of one you like, and submit it.
news.groups.reviews is not a high volume group -- even if you don't write a
review, consider subscribing. You might find out about a group you would
want to read.
To submit a review, either post it to news.groups.reviews or mail it to
firstname.lastname@example.org. You will receive an
acknowledgement after I read your review.
Subject: Table of Contents
2. Table of Contents
3. A Sample Review
4. Tips & Administrivia
5. news.groups.reviews Archives
6. Credits & Thanks
Subject: A Sample Review
Here is a sample review, written by Vance Kochenderfer. Note that the
Description: line is copied straight from /usr/lib/news/newsgroups (i.e.,
it's the description your newsreader shows you when you browse the
newsgroup), and the FAQ-Location: line is in URL format.
If you don't include the auxiliary headers in your review, I'll add
Description, Related-Newsgroups, Moderator, Reviewer, and Review-Date
myself. (The latter 2 are self-evident and the others I can pull from
various periodic posts in news.lists.*) FAQ-Location and Keywords are not
mandatory, but helpful.
Description: Urban legends, ala Jan Harold Brunvand
Keywords: urban legends, rumors, craig shergold
Related-Groups: alt.folklore.info, alt.folklore.computers,
Reviewer: Vance Kochenderfer <email@example.com>
Review-Date: 1 Jan 1994
Have you ever wondered about that dying boy in England who wants get-well
cards? Or about lick-and-stick tattoos laced with LSD? Or about all of
those soda can tabs you've been donating for kidney patients? Read a.f.u
and wonder no more. This group is dedicated to discussing and often
debunking pervasive rumors and half-truths known collectively as urban
legends. Humorous and informative, the group also talks about the works of
urban legend researchers such as Cecil Adams and Jan Harold Brunvand.
Posters often ask innocuous-looking questions in order to bait newbies, so
followup with care and read the FAQ list before posting; it is very
wide-ranging and will answer most of your questions.
Subject: Tips & Administrivia
The most important thing to remember is that the people reading the review
probably haven't heard of your group or mailing list. Tell them why they
would be interested.
Because many of the readers will still be new to netnews
(news.groups.reviews is placed near the top of newsgroup lists at America
Online, among other things), it is important that the reviews contain
enough information to describe the group even to a newbie. In general, I
would appreciate it if reviews followed these guidelines:
Reviews should be written by people who read and enjoy the group in
question. If the reviewed group isn't worth reading, then ignorance is
(Yes, it might feel good to write a negative review, but who will it help?
Mostly, it will just result in you (and me) getting a lot of hate mail.
Please remember that there are enough newsgroups that people won't be
trying them all. If they wander in on their own, your review isn't going
to discourage them, and if they don't, why waste their time?)
Reviews should be one-time things. In a year, it might be worth reviewing
again, but the group shouldn't change very much in a week. For the same
reason, I prefer reviews of groups that have been up a few months -- it can
take that long to know what the group will really be like.
(I will accept alternate reviews from different reviewers, if they are
substantially different, but I would prefer to review another
as-yet-unreviewed group. news.groups.reviews will not be a discussion
forum, so it may be worth running your review by other readers first --
particularly if it is a second review.)
Questions about "Where can I find a group about X?" should be sent to
news.groups.questions. Discussion of the review normally takes place in
the reviewed group itself. (Reviews are cross-posted to the reviewed
newsgroups as a courtesy to newsgroup readers. They deserve to know what's
being said about their newsgroup, after all.) Hate mail should be sent
straight to me, as I'm very good at ignoring it, and that gives you an easy
way to vent.
Reviews of (publicly accessible) mailing lists are encouraged, but
interested readers are also directed to the short summaries available
elsewhere. If you would like one of these lists of mailing lists,
Stephanie da Silva posts one to news.lists.misc. If it has expired on your
site, you can read her list on the World Wide Web at
In your review, please try to express the flavor of the group as a whole.
Ideally, this will involve summarizing some recent threads, so that
potential readers will have an example as well as a description.
Reviews need not be restricted to the big 8 -- if the group is widely
available (e.g., alt.* or uk.*) that is sufficient. Reviewed mailing lists
should be open to all readers without restriction. (Note that they need
not be open to all posters; only to all readers.)
Although the lingua franca of news.groups.reviews (like most Big 8
newsgroups) is English, I can read Spanish, and I'm willing to accept
Spanish-language reviews of Spanish-language newsgroups. The use of other
languages will depend on the availability of volunteers to help me. (I
have a volunteer for French -- We'll see how it works out when and if I
ever receive a review in French.)
Reviews are generally posted with the submitter's .signature intact, but
the moderator reserves the right to edit .signatures that are unusually
long, wider than 80 characters, or too tab-damaged to reconstruct.
PGP-signed reviews will also be accepted. Postings of these guidelines
will always be PGP-signed.
news.groups.reviews will publish anonymous reviews (reviewer's name and/or
address witheld by request), but the reviewer must supply a valid return
address on the *submission* in case I need to contact them about the
Subject: news.groups.reviews Archives
If you would like to read other reviews, the moderator-maintained
news.groups.reviews archive at <URL: http://web.superb.net/islander/ngr/ >
contains HTML and plaintext versions of previously-posted reviews. The
archives are undergoing some redesign, but everything's still there. If
you find problems, please tell me as soon as possible so that I may fix
news.groups.reviews is also know to be indexed by Deja News
<URL: http://www.dejanews.com/ >.
Subject: Credits & Thanks
The original version of these guidelines was written by Jim Jewett,
original moderator of news.groups.reviews. This version should be blamed
on the current moderator, Michael Bauser <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Thanks (so far) to Pam Greene, Jim Jewett, Cameron Laird, Jim Riley, and
Kate Weizel for feedback and corrections to these guidelines.
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