Moderated newsgroups differ from unmoderated newsgroups by including
some sort of approval process which all submissions must pass before
appearing in the group. There are many reasons why this might be done,
but an increasingly common reason is the sheer volume of redundant or
off-topic posts in many newsgroups.
Why is sci.aeronautics.airliners moderated?
Robert Dorsett originally proposed sci.aeronautics.airliners because
he felt that there was enough discussion of airliners in rec.aviation
to justify a new group dedicated just to airliners. He proposed a
moderated group because he felt that much of the airliner discussion
in rec.travel was redundant, periodic repeats of past discussions, or
idle speculation (often after a crash) that drove away contributions
from people who might have some real technical knowledge while misleading
those who didn't know any better.
The moderation process can be difficult for the
moderator and sometimes the sheer volume of trafic
can become overwhelming. However, somewhat surprisingly, the number
of people who write to say thank you for an enjoyable and
high-quality group (if not always as timely as it might be) far outweighs
the number of complaints. Thanks to all who have expressed their
appreciation, and to those who have accepted rejections with understanding.
You all make the effort worthwhile.
Reasons for rejections
There are a number of reasons why a submission to sci.aeronautics.airliners
might be rejected. In general, an attempt is made to explain the rejection
via e-mail, though sometimes the volume of submissions makes it difficult
to respond to all of them.
The large volume of submissions can also lead to delays. A delay may
simply mean that the submission has not yet been accepted, not that it
has been rejected. This often happens only to some threads since the
approval process is more easily handled if done on one thread at a
time. With limited time and often torrential streams of posts, some
threads get deferred. (Few, if any, moderators are paid for their
newsgroup efforts. Contributions to help pay the bills are
Here are some common reasons for rejection,
listed in no particular order:
- Off-Topic - Articles which do not fit within the group's
are rejected with a pointer to a more appropriate newsgroup.
- Archives - Certain threads re-appear periodically, and unless
there's some new facet to the old discussion, these posts are
rejected with a pointer to the group
- Redundant Followups - Many articles provoke a flurry of
followups, many of which are quite similar. The best and earliest
are accepted, and the rest are rejected since they don't add any
- "Me Too" - As a variation on the redundant followups, some
threads provoke a blizzard of personal anecdotes on a subject. Many
are funny or interesting, but after a few, any which don't provide
some substantial new information relevant to the technical
focus of this group will be rejected.
- Huge Signatures - Netiquitte frowns on signatures which are
longer than four lines. Submissions with long signatures will be
rejected, with an invitation to resubmit with a more reasonable
- Excessive Quotation - Followups which include most or all
of the message to which they are following up not only waste bandwidth
but also the time of most readers, who have already read the original
or can easily refer back to it. If they aren't too bad, they'll be
trimmed for you, but the worst cases will be rejected, with an
invitation to resubmit with only enough quotation to provide
- People/Address/Phone Number Searches - As a technical newsgroup,
this isn't the forum for people to locate long lost friends or to find
out how to reach an airline or aerospace company. For companies, a
call to directory assistance is quicker and easier, and for a very big
company even a partial address will probably find it's mark. (While
the U.S. Postal Service needs all the help it can get, a letter
addressed simply to "Personnel, Boeing, Seattle WA" would probably
find its mark.)
- Free Research - This is a very hazy one, but many moderators
believe it is not appropriate to use NetNews as an easy way for
students to complete a research assignment without any significant
effort. Requests for assistance or information which demonstrate a
significant amount of prior research will be accepted, but otherwise
this sort of submission will be rejected.
- Duplicates - Submissions which appear to be near-identical
duplicates of others from the same submitter are quietly dropped.
- Test Posts - Test postings are quietly dropped. Please use
an appropriate test newsgroup.
- NextMail - Occasionally, someone will submit a post in
NextMail or some other special format. These are rejected since
few readers will be able to read them.
- Binaries - There are groups devoted to large postings of
binaries (software, images, etc.) so sites which do not have the
resources to carry these large posts are not forced to do so. Any
binary posts, even if otherwise relevant to the group's charter,
will be rejected as this is a discussion newsgroup. (Much of the
binary is more efficiently distributed via WWW anyway.)
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