The Moderation FAQ for

The following document is the current Moderation FAQ for the Usenet newsgroup, and contains more detailed information regarding the specifics of moderation style and technique.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) version 2.0a - 17 May 97 for: moderation style

What is the purpose of the FAQ?

This FAQ serves to answer questions about how moderation is performed on the (rastb5m) newsgroup.

What types of posts will be disallowed on the newsgroup?

  1. Story Ideas
  2. Flames
  3. Trolls
  4. Spam

A "Story Idea" can be the description of a new character or event in the show, the exact scripting of a scene, or any detailed discussion of events which have not already appeared in an aired show, been described on-line by show production staff, or specifically predicted by dialog and events in shows already aired.

(Obviously, "joke" entries, outlandish dialogue, situations that will not occur in the series, and parodies, may be acceptable.)

Speculation is allowed, however. The difference between speculation and a story idea is that a speculation is directly supported by events or dialog on the show or stated on-line by show production staff.

For example:
If Morden is afraid of green penguins, and Draal is shown to have access to them, a speculation would be that Draal will use them against Morden in the future. However if Draal only has a purple moose, saying that he could use it against Morden would be a story idea.

Flames are defined as posts which:

  1. personally insult or hurt one of the members of the newsgroup; or
  2. make allegations, without corroborating evidence, concerning a person/poster in the newsgroup, in a deliberate and repetitive manner (resembling a common sense definition of libel/slander, but not specifically limited to the legal interpretation of those terms).

Trolls are posts that seem designed for the specific purpose of provoking members of the group into responding heatedly.

Spam is a post that was made essentially unchanged to a number of newsgroups, generally for religious, political, commercial, or irrational reasons.

What is ON-topic, but unacceptable, is:

...a posting that contains a spoiler, but no warning in its heading.

Spoilers are information contained in a show that has not been broadcast in both the U.S. and the U.K. It has been agreed that after the last day of broadcast in both countries' first run, spoiler protection is no longer necessary.

For a more detailed explanation, refer to the Story Idea FAQ.

What will the user see of moderation?

The first time anyone posts on the newsgroup, they will be entered into a list of posters. Software will notice the new user and will send them a greeting. In that greeting will be a form to fill out indicating their familiarity with the etiquette of the newsgroup and their agreement to follow those rules.

Once the new poster agrees, they will thereafter be allowed to post without human intervention as long as they follow these rules.

Any poster who violates these rules will be warned several times by the moderators depending on the attitude of the poster, and the severity of the violation. If the moderators decide the person is unwilling to follow the rules, they will be put on a list of people who will be hand moderated.

When a person is placed on this list the first time, to get off the list, they will need to send e-mail to the moderators promising to follow the above rules. They will then be reinstated.

The second time they are put on the list, they will be there for a minimum of one month (30 calendar days). After the 30 day period has expired they can again ask to be removed from the hand moderation list. If they have not violated the charter during the last month their request will be granted.

Thereafter having been placed in the hand moderation list each person will be automatically brought to the attention of the moderators on six month intervals. At this point the moderators will then decide on whether to take the person off of the hand moderation list or not.

What else will be moderated?

Any thread which seems to be in danger of venturing into story idea, flame, or spoiler territory will be moderated by hand, subject to the other limitations of the moderation process discussed in the next sections.

What cross-posts will be allowed?

Cross-posts will only be allowed to the other unmoderated b5 newsgroups. Any other newsgroups will be removed from the header.

How will spoilers be treated?

Any thread where it is likely that unprotected spoilers will be introduced will be hand moderated. Any poster who puts a spoiler in the subject line will be hand moderated.

Any post which requires, but does not contain spoiler protection will have it inserted. Spoiler protection is defined as having a subject of the form: "Episode Name or abbreviation" (* Spoilers *). The first line of the message should read something like "* Spoilers for episode (episode name) *". This should be followed by a control-L (^L) alone on its line (optional but preferred), 24 or greater blank lines (required), followed by another ^L alone on a line (optional).

Posts containing spoilers which may have passed through automoderation without proper protection will be cancelled by the moderators and a notification sent to the poster so that they may repost with proper spoiler protection.

How will hand moderation be performed?

Any time a moderator chooses to perform this function they will send a message to the moderation site. They will then be put on a list of 'online moderators'. These moderators will have posts sent to them in a round robin fashion. They can specify how many outstanding messages they can have. The system will send no more than that many messages to them at one time.

Upon receiving the message, the moderator can accept or reject the post. If the post is rejected, they can select one of several boiler plate replies, or write one of their own. They will also insert spoiler space on unrejected posts, if needed.

If the message is not received back at the moderation site within half an hour, the message is resent. If it is still not received within another half hour, the post will be sent to the next available moderator, and the unavailable moderator will be automatically logged out.

When a moderator logs out, any messages that they have not replied to will be sent to the next available moderator.

What can I do if a message is rejected, or if I have other questions regarding posts?

There is a mailing list,, that will reach all the moderators. If you feel like your message should not have been rejected feel free to contact the moderators as a group. If any one of the moderators thinks that the message should not have been rejected, it will be posted.

The moderators reserve the right to ignore mail which is clearly abusive. It should be remembered that the moderators are volunteers and that they are attempting to be as fair as possible in this situation - and as such should not be expected to be treated as a "shooting gallery".

What can be done about problems with the moderation panel?

Grievances should first be taken up with the moderator list mentioned above. If the issue is not resolved to the person's satisfaction they can bring the issue up to the list of people interested in moderation,, after the moderators are given sufficient time to resolve the issue (at least 3 days, due to mail accessibility and propagation delay issues).

This second list is publicly accessible, and anyone who wants to join can send a message to satai-request or satai-digest-request on the same machine with the word 'subscribe' in the body of the message.

This group acts as an oversight committee. They have no official power, but are rather a publicly accessable list where people can air their grievances. It is to be understood that bringing a post to this list is accepting the greater propagation of the more public list.

If a majority of the moderators decide that a moderator is indeed abusing their power he will be removed from the list of moderators or censured at their discretion.

David Stinson <> and Peter Seebach <> have agreed to monitor all traffic on the moderators' and public mailing lists, and the moderators have agreed to abdicate as a group if Peter and/or David feels it to be necessary.

In the event of abdication the moderation address will be changed to a new group of moderators if a group acceptable to the current moderators are found. Otherwise a request to remove the group from usenet will be generated - due to the requirements of Usenet (this is not a choice that the moderators have an alternative for.)

Who are the moderators?

The moderators currently active for the newsgroup are (in alphabetical order by last name):

You can reach the moderators at:
To post messages to the group:

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