Request For Discussion: (updated)

Below is an updated RFD for the proposed Usenet newsgroup This version employs revised language, much of which is the result of the debate that has taken place over the past few weeks in news.groups.
                       REQUEST FOR DISCUSSION

Newsgroup line(s):  Discussion of the hit TV series.


For the past few years, the newsgroup has been
a thriving resource and conversational outlet for the fans of the
television program BABYLON 5.  However, periodic episodes of flame
wars, USENET spam, deliberate trolling, and the continual posting of
unprotected spoilers have made a congenial discussion of the show
difficult.  As time has progressed, the flame wars have become more
prevalent and vindictive.

Additionally, posts containing story ideas (as defined below) create
legal problems and tremendous vulnerability for the show's
creator/producer, J. Michael Straczynski, when he participates in the
newsgroup.  Despite the fact that the original charter for
R.A.SF.TV.B5 *specified* "no story ideas", it has proven impossible to
prevent them from being posted.  In one case, a script for a show
costing nearly one million dollars had to be shelved to avoid legal
vulnerability on the part of the show's producers.

Measures attempted in the past have not alleviated these problems.
This has led to the departure of many regular newsgroup users.

The objective of this proposal is to initiate the creation of a second
group.  Common sense rules will be applied to moderate the kind of
posts mentioned above while contributing to a congenial atmosphere of
friendly exchange.  Furthermore, although moderation will be in effect,
it is intended that this moderation be minimal in terms of effort
required, effect on the timeliness of wide distribution, and most
importantly its impact on the various discussion threads within the
new group itself.

NOTE:    This is not a Call for Votes.  Do not try to vote now.
         Followups are set to news.groups, please honor this.
         See the "Procedure" section, below, for details.

CHARTER: is to be a moderated newsgroup
dedicated to the following topics:

       * The plots and characters of Babylon 5 episodes.
       * Musings and speculations about where the show is going.
       * Other topics of interest to the fans in the newsgroup.

AND NOT, NOT, NOT Story Ideas.

The difference between speculation and story ideas can be rather
subtle, so please refer to the definition below, or to the
R.A.SF.TV.B5 FAQ, for more information.

The group has always been fairly relaxed about what is on topic. The
moderated group will be the same way.  Basically, anything remotely
related to the show, science fiction, or the television business, is on

What are not on-topic are the following:

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

A "Story Idea" is 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 dialogue 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 speculation is directly supported by events
or dialogue in the show or statements made on-line or published in
magazine articles which are directly attributable to the show's
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

Flames are defined as posts which:

(1) personally insult or attack one or more of the members of the
    newsgroup; or

(2) make defamatory 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 the moderators believe were posted only to
provoke 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 an
unprotected spoiler.  This is either because the article contains no
warning in it's subject line, no space between the header and the
spoiler, or the subject line itself is a spoiler.

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.

Our proposed remedy for spoiler entries is given below.

The role of the Moderator

Moderation will be performed by a group of moderators assisted by
whatever scripts they deem necessary to help them accomplish their
task.  Moderators can be removed or added at their discretion, although
it is intended that they will consider the opinions of the members of
the newsgroup when making their decision.

The moderators will enforce the above charter by warning people who
violate it, and by moderating posts when necessary.

Unprotected spoilers will have spoiler protection manually inserted.
This includes changing the subject line to include the term
"*SPOILER*" and to remove spoilers from the subject line if necessary.
Additionally spoiler space, "Spoilers for episode X" followed by a ^L
25 blank lines ^L, will be added to the post.

Spoiler space before, and bracketed, initialed comments of the
moderator are the only editing allowed in posts.  The body of the post
as written by its original author will under no circumstances be
modified by the moderators, excepting the aforementioned additions.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) presently used by the newsgroup will be used by the new newsgroup to avoid
duplication of effort.

Amending This Charter

This charter can be amended at any time by following the procedures
then in effect for newsgroup creation.


     Bill Zimmer <>
     Jay Denebeim <>
     John Pietrzak <>
     John Schilling <>
     Michael J. King Sr. <>
     Patricia A. Swan <>
     Teresa Lhotka <>


Please post any responses to this message to news.groups.  If you
use the follow-up feature on your newsreader, this should happen
automatically.  All discussion about the merits of this proposal should
occur on news.groups.

If you are unable to post directly to news.groups you may use the
services of a mail-to-news gateway, by addressing your post to:

where is news.groups as in:

Unless the discussion indicates a need to resubmit a new RFD, a Call
For Votes (CFV) will be posted approximately four weeks after the
posting of this RFD.  If after the CFV, this group receives 100 more
YES votes than NO votes, and YES votes comprises at least 2/3rds of all
the valid votes this group will be created.  Please do not post any
votes - when the CFV is posted, instructions will be given on how to
mail your votes to the independent vote counter.


The complete official messages - RFD, CFV and vote results will be
posted to these required or affected newsgroups:


and to interested newsgroups and mailing lists:    

Since many readers have left due to the reasons mentioned above, this
RFD will be announced with a "pointer" message to the following Online

     GEnie   CompuServe   America Online


This proposal is being supported by the following people.  We encourage
you to participate in the discussions in news.groups.  If you need to
contact any of us personally, we are:

	Chris Carter <>
	David Stinson <>
	G. O. Eddore <>
	Jay Denebeim <>
	John Pietrzak <>
	John Schilling <>
Mentor:   John Pimentel (
	Bill Zimmer <>
	Cheryl Thompson <>
	Ian J. Ball <>
	J. Potts <>
	Jaime M. De Castellvi <>
	Julian P. Graham <>
	Malinda <scottm@POST.Almac.Co.UK>
	Michael J. King Sr. <>
	Morgan <>
	Nathan Mates <>
	Patricia A. Swan <>
	Peter Seebach <>
	Sue Phillips <>
	Teresa Hehir <>
	Teresa Lhotka <>
	Wesley Struebing <>

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