Charter for newsgroup alt.computer.consultants.moderated

Original-author: cbciv@yahoo.com (Chip Calvert)
Last-change: 6 June 2000 by cbciv@yahoo.com (Chip Calvert)
Html conversion: 18 November 2001 by splbndr@mindspring.com (Ric Goldman)

[Note: some parts of sections 1 and 2 were taken from the FAQ for alt.computer.consultants.  My thanks to the original author of that FAQ.]

Additional contributors:

The newsgroup alt.computer.consultants was created as a place for computer consultants to discuss their business.  However, for several years there have been an inordinate number of off-topic posts, mostly from people who want help with technical questions, recruiters trolling for resumes and general commercial advertisements (spam).  As a result, alt.computer.consultants.moderated was created in 1996.

The ISC's Usenet archive does not contain a charter for the group, and the group has been dead since 1998, so this charter has been created to define the group's purpose and set rules for acceptable posts to the group.

1.0  Purpose of alt.computer.consultants.moderated

alt.computer.consultants.moderated is a forum for professional computer consultants (and other interested parties) to exchange ideas and information regarding the conduct of their consulting businesses.

A consultant is defined as someone who provides others with advice, guidance and assistance in his or her professional field.  A consultant may be self-employed, a principal in a small firm, or an employee of a larger firm. The scope of the group includes those describing themselves as contractors and freelancers, and others in similar positions.

The group is intended to foster discussion in all area relevant to computer consultants, including business, legal, marketing, ethical and social considerations.   Technical issues may be raised but only as they relate to doing the business of consulting.  Such relationship should be specified in the posting.  Acceptable topics include (but are not limited to): tax rulings, client management, starting out, contracts, clarification of accounting methods, ethics, networking with other computer consultants, telecommuting, running a consulting business, general industry trends or developments, the future of computer consulting, etc.

2.0  Appropriate Topics for alt.computer.consultants.moderated

This section is intended as guidance, not as any definitive or limiting list of topics.   Here are typical subjects that are considered on-topic (but first check in the CONTENTS section of the FAQ (accessible from http://timelord01.home.sprynet.com/accm/) to see if a question has already been answered there):

See section 3.0 for a list of topics and types of posts specifically prohibited.

If there is any disagreement as to the topicality of a particular subject, this document should be consulted.  In any event, the moderator(s) of the group shall make the final decision.

2.1  Identifying Location

Posts that deal with a topic that is specific to a particular jurisdiction (state, province, country) should include the name of the jurisdiction in the subject line.   This will allow readers to more easily find or skip posts that are relevant or irrelevant to their jurisdiction.   The recommended method is to use the domain name abbreviations for the location.  Some examples are:

3.0  Topics and Types of Posts Specifically Prohibited

3.1  Technical Questions

Technical questions are prohibited in alt.computer.consultants.moderated.   "Technical questions" means:

The comp.sys.* or vendor/product related newsgroups are often better suited for these.

3.1.1  Exception to the Prohibition of Technical Questions

Technical questions may be posted if they specifically relate to consulting AND the poster specifies the relationship in their post.  For example, it would be appropriate for a poster to ask for a recommendation for accounting software that works best for their specific consulting market.

3.2  Advertisements

No advertisements of any sort, even if related to consulting, may be posted.  This includes advertisements by consultants of their services and/or availability as well as "help wanted" posts by prospective clients and/or recruiters.  There are newsgroups available specifically for advertisements, including alt.computer.consultants.ads and alt.computer.consultants.ads.norecruiters.   Ads relating to computer consulting should be posted to one or both of those groups.

This prohibition also applies to posts recommending the products or services of some entity if the poster stands to benefit monetarily from the recommendation.

3.2.1  Exceptions to Prohibition of Advertisements

3.2.1.a  Signatures

Posters may advertise their company and/or services in their signatures, provided that the signature does not violate Usenet standards.  See section 4.0 for more information on Usenet standards.

3.2.1.b  Non-Profit Group Announcements

Non-profit groups whose activities are of interest to computer consultants, such as the Independent Computer Consultants Association (and its chapters),
the Programmers Guild, the IEEE, etc., may post announcements regarding meetings, conventions, lobbying activities and the like.

3.2.1.c  Requests for Help with Advertisements

Posters may request assistance from other members with the creation, refining, improvement, etc. of advertisements for their consulting businesses.  It is acceptable for the poster to include the text of or a URL to the advertisement in question.

3.3  "Troll" Postings

"Troll" postings are posts which are specifically intended to elicit angry or upset responses and do not positively contribute to the group.  The moderator(s) will have discretion in determining which posts, if any, are trolls.

3.4  Flames and Ad Hominem Attacks

"Flames" are messages that angrily attack a person or persons, usually in response to a post with which the flamer disagrees.  Messages that attack or insult individuals or groups on the basis of personal characteristics (a.k.a. ad hominem attacks or flames) are not allowed.  This prohibition shall not apply to opinions or arguments that are based on facts (which must be stated in the message) or previous arguments (which must be quoted in context) made by the original poster.

3.5  Anything not Related to Computer Consulting

Any message which is not related to computer consulting in some way is prohibited.   It is up to the poster to explicitly specify how their post is related to computer consulting.

3.6  Posts with Binary Files or Other Attachments

Posts containing binary files or other types of attachments (such as vcards, text attachments, etc.) are not permitted.

3.6.1  Exception to prohibition of Binary Files or Attachments

Posts may be signed using PGP or a similar program in order to ensure that the post was indeed created by the author (i.e. is not a forgery) or that it was approved by the moderator.

3.7  Posts Containing HTML

Usenet is a plain text medium.  Posts containing HTML are not permitted.

3.8  Posts which are Crossposted to More than Three Groups

Any post which is crossposted to more than three groups (including ACCM) will be rejected, as such posts are almost always spam or trolls.

3.9  Post not Approved by a Moderator

Any posts not approved by the moderator (or a moderator, should there be more than one) is specifically prohibited.  Any such posts that appear in the newsgroup shall be canceled by the moderator.

4.0  Netiquette

Posters will observe basic netiquette.  This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

For a good reference on writing good Usenet posts, see:

4.1  Munged Headers

No post will be accepted where the poster's id cannot be validated.  Specifically, if the headers are "munged" to the point where the poster can not be responded to via email, any and all posts from said poster will be ignored.  Should such a post get on to the newsgroup, then a/the moderator shall cancel it.

5.0  Moderation

The senior moderator shall be defined as the person who manages the moderation process and/or moderation 'bot.

The moderator(s) will accept or reject posts based on this charter.  In cases where the post's compliance with the charter is unclear, the moderator should exercise their best judgement.

To be a moderator, one must have the appropriate equipment and/or software, depending on the moderation tools currently in use.  Moderators will be selected from volunteers by a vote.  Any volunteer who gets at least 60% "yes" votes will be accepted.  Only votes from those with an established posting history in alt.computer.consultants.moderated or alt.computer.consultants will be counted.   Posting histories will be verified via Deja (or a similar service in the even that Deja can no longer be used).  The posting history must be one of on-topic posts, not trolls or off-topic posts.  This requirement will prevent the vote from being "stuffed" by proponents or opponents of a volunteer.

Moderators who will be temporarily or permanently unavailable should inform the senior moderator.  In the case of temporary unavailability, the senior moderator will then temporarily remove the moderator from the distro list for posts to be moderated.  In the case of permanent unavailability, the senior moderator will call for volunteers to replace the person leaving.  After a period of no less than 5 days, a vote will then be held.  In the event that no volunteer garners at least 60% of the
votes, another vote shall be called.  If this subsequent vote fails to produce an acceptable candidate, then the moderator(s) may elect to continue without a replacement, or appoint one of the volunteers (by unanimous agreement if there is more than one moderator).

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Last updated November 26, 2001