2nd RFD: rec.aquaria reorganization (fwd)

Here is the second Request For Discussion (RFD) on the reorganization 
of rec.aquaria.

Note the part about the creation of rec.aquaria.freshwater.plants.

The RFD should also appear in the *.aquaria newsgroups. Discussions
take place in news.groups.

I have told Wayne Powell that I will make sure that the RFD appears on
the aquatic plants list.

Shaji Bhaskar, Durham, North Carolina                   shaji at nando_net

---------- Forwarded message ----------

From: wap at inforamp_net (Wayne A. Powell)
Subject: 2nd RFD: rec.aquaria reorganization

AS we did the first time, I would like to  2nd RFD to this mailing list.
Its contents should be of concern to your members, some of whom requested
the inclusion of newsgroup splits contained in the RFD.

I wasn't sure whether I had to subscribe as Dustin did or whether the list
manager would post the RFD for us to save time and overhead (or whether a
direct post to the list by a non-member would work).  Please let me know by
return e-mail whether you could post the following text for us, whether it
got posted automatically or whether I will need to subscribe.  Sorry for
the multiple posts.  Thank you.

                     REQUEST FOR DISCUSSION (RFD)
          unmoderated group rec.aquaria.freshwater.cichlids
          unmoderated group rec.aquaria.freshwater.goldfish
            unmoderated group rec.aquaria.freshwater.misc
           unmoderated group rec.aquaria.freshwater.plants
              unmoderated group rec.aquaria.marine.misc
              unmoderated group rec.aquaria.marine.reefs
              unmoderated group rec.aquaria.marketplace
       unmoderated group rec.aquaria.misc (renames rec.aquaria)
                  unmoderated group rec.aquaria.tech

Proposed by:     Dustin Laurence, laurence at alice_caltech.edu
Co-proponent:   Wayne A. Powell, wap at inforamp_net

This is a formal 2nd Request For Discussion (RFD) for the
reorganization of the unmoderated newsgroup root hierarchy:

CHANGES from previous RFD:

This 2nd RFD is being posted following a long delay after the first
posting on June 23rd, 1995.  The proponents appologize for this delay
due to personal scheduling conflicts and are posting a 2nd RFD that
contains some minor changes suggested by news.groups discussions in
the 1st RFD.  The release of a 2nd RFD was further delayed by the need
to make changes to its structure made necessary due to changes to the
RFD posting procedure.  Also note that while Dustin is happy to answer
e-mail about this RFD other committments may limit his e-mail activity
during the discussion period.  We suggest that e-mail be directed to
Wayne unless there is a specific reason to do otherwise.

RATIONALE: all groups


The usenet aquarium newsgroups, rec.aquaria, alt.aquaria, and
sci.aquaria have maintained a steady, sizeable message volume since
their creation.  They enjoy an enthusiastic and dedicated readership
whose long-term committment is evidenced by the amount and complexity
of material that has been made available.  The existing (already
>200k) FAQ for rec.aquaria has just been expanded and rewritten, a
>150k FAQ for reef aquarists is maintained separately, an ftp site and
several web sites provide permanent reference material, and recently a
hard disk to provide a permanent home at Caltech for the archive and
the Krib web pages (which were losing their former site) was purchased
with donations from the net.  For those interested, these documents
are available at:

        Pointers to various web pages, including the regular aquaria
        faq and the archive:

        Regular FAQ:

        Reefkeeper's FAQ:

        Aquaria ftp archive:
                                                 (South Africa mirror)

There are also many active mailing lists/newsletters on various aquarium topics
(the addresses listed here are the contact addresses, not the list
addresses themselves):

    The bitnet AQUARIUM mailing list <listserv at emuvm1_cc.emory.edu>
        241 subscribers, many messages per day.

    The BETTAS list <listserv at listserv_arizona.edu>
        135 subscribers, a few messages per day.

    The CICHLIDS list <mail-server at mailmill_com>
        >200 subscribers, many messages a day.
        Requested a specialty newsgroup.

    The DISCUS-L list <listserv at mitvma_mit.edu>
        ~150 subscribers, ~10 messages per day.

    The GOLDFISH list <howardr at col_hp.com>
        ~90 subscribers, ~7 messages per day.
        Requested a specialty newsgroup.

    The AQUATIC PLANTS list <majordomo at actwin_com>
        ~200 subscribers, ~9 messages per day.
        Requested a specialty newsgroup.

    The E-REEF News list <ksnyder at pheonix_nlci.co>
        ~72 subscribers, Society newsletter distributed weekly.

    The KILLIES list (no information was provided)

The fact that several of these lists would prefer to move to a
newsgroup (often because the workload is too great for the list
managers) demonstrates that a reorganization of the aquarium
newsgroups is long overdue.

A reorganization was discussed at length in these newsgroups starting
in April of 1994; much of the discussion is archived at

    ftp://ftp.cco.caltech.edu/pub/aquaria/incoming/reorg .

While the aquaria newsgroups have in the past been resistant to a
split on the grounds that it would inhibit cross-fertilization between
specialties, this discussion made it clear that the newsgroup volume
had become great enough to be problematic for a large majority of

Early on it was agreed that only rec.aquaria would be reorganized.
The redundancy in the current scheme with three groups (rec.aquaria,
alt.aquaria. and sci.aquaria) should be reduced rather than increased,
and because rec.aquaria receives the greatest volume (In March 95 it
carried over 3000 messages) it should remain the primary usenet
aquarium newsgroup.  However, because every possible combination of
these groups are received at various sites, alt.aquaria and
sci.aquaria should, for the meantime, remain as they are rather than be removed.
Finally, this reorganization, and the adoption of the *.misc hierarchy,
was designed to provide an appropriate framework for the addition of
more specific newsgroups at a later date.

The results of Michael Sawyer's straw poll were posted on May 3, 1994.
Out of 62 votes, 60 were in favor of a reorganization.  Similar majorities
supported the creation of two main rec.aquaria subgroups: .freshwater
and .marine .  The poll results, further discussion, and the judgement of
the author leads to the proposal for the creation of three additional
groups.  It should be noted that the year delay in producing this RFD
is a result of the author's outside commitments, not a lack of
interest on the part of the long-suffering readers who have waited
patiently for its completion.

After lengthy discussions and approval in the *.aquaria groups,
the 1ST RFD was officially posted.  After the initial discussion period of 30
days, there was an inordinate delay in bringing about a first CFV
proposal to the Usenet Volunteer Votetakers.  The proponents appologize
for this and are posting this 2nd RFD (with very minor changes) to allow
for re-notification of our intent to create a CFV and continue discussion
of any further changes.

Each newsgroup in this RFD will be voted on separately in a CFV and will
pass or fail independent of the other newsgroups.


The rec.aquaria.* hierarchy provides the primary USENET home for
discussion of all topics related to home aquaria.  Discussion of other
closed aquatic and marine systems such as public aquaria, ponds,
aquaculture, and mariculture are also welcome, though these topics may
be better served by other newsgroups, such as rec.ponds; further
afield but still relevant are sci.bio.fisheries and
bionet.organisms.zebrafish (all of which are unrelated to and
unaffected by this RFD).  However, the primary focus of the
rec.aquaria.* hierarchy is to support the private aquarist.

The divisions into topic specific subgroups is meant help the reader
find discussions on the topics that they are interested in, not to
inhibit them, so the charters of these newsgroups should not be
interpreted too narrowly.

Crossposting among the rec.aquaria.* hierarchy is discouraged unless
absolutely necessary or apparently logical; if a post is
of potential interest to aquarists in both .marine and .freshwater
then it probably belongs in .misc instead of either.  Sometimes
crossposting to two groups is fine, but otherwise posts should simply
go to .misc instead.  However, crossposting is never appropriate
between .marketplace and the other groups.  Also, cross-posting to
sci.aquaria is discouraged unless the post is appropriate to the more
science-oriented discussions there.

(The following section is conditional on the passage of
rec.aquaria.marketplace; if that group fails, then the current
consensus-defined commercial posting policy will stay in effect and
apply to all groups on this RFD.)

Commercial postings

Advertisements and other commercial posts are a contentious issue on
the aquaria groups.  Since the following may be unfriendly-sounding,
it should be emphasized that companies are invited and encouraged to
maintain a presence on the net, and if you avoid these pitfalls you
can expect a lot of appreciation for your efforts to be more
accessible through the net.  For more useful information on
advertising on the net in general, see the Advertising on Usenet
posting in news.announce.newusers .

Non-advertisement posts from companies and their representatives
(including ongoing individual moneymaking ventures) require special
consideration as well as actual advertisements.  Both are governed by
the Golden Rule of commercial posting in rec.aquaria.*:

    The newsgroups exist for the benefit of their individual readers.
    Companies and individual moneymaking ventures are _invited guests_
    of the individual readers.  As guests they receive special
    consideration (rec.aquaria.marketplace), and are expected to take
    special care not to interfere with the normal workings of what is
    essentially a meeting place for private hobbyists.  One corollary
    of this rule is that readers should have a choice as to whether
    they see (and often pay for the downloading of) ads, which is what
    motivates much of the following.

Advertisements are restricted to rec.aquaria.marketplace, as provided
in that groups charter.  Companies and their representatives are
encouraged to contribute to discussions in the other aquaria groups;
however, it should be understood that criticism of companies and
products is part of the purpose of those groups.  If your company or
product is discussed, you are welcome to post your side of the story.
You should definitely not reply to every article or insist on having
the last word--a good rule is that you should post to the thread no
more often than other individual contributors.

E-mail advertising is never acceptable unless explicitly requested.
If a reader didn't specifically ask for your advertisement, don't send

The above guidelines should eliminate most problems before they arise.
Companies that abide by the spirit, not the letter of the law and keep
the "guest" aspect in mind should find the rec.aquaria.* hierarchy a
friendly place to advertise their products and a uniquely valuable way
to obtain feedback and meet their customers.  For more general
guidelines on what types of advertising are and are not acceptable on
usenet, see the Advertising FAQ in news.announce.newusers .

Unwelcome posts

Flames, while never on-topic, are particularly harmful when directed
at new readers.  The aquaria groups were once one of the friendlier
places on the net for beginners.  This is no longer true in many
people's minds because of the responses that are often aimed at
newbies (either to the net or to the hobby).  Flames and other
non-constructive criticism aimed at those seeking help are unwelcome
and should be directed elsewhere (try alt.flame, /dev/null, or shout
at your monitor).

Binary files, even those related to aquaria, are generally not
appropriate (though _very small_ files may be ok).  The correct
procedure is to make the file available by ftp, by WWW, or post the
file to an appropriate alt.binaries group (for pictures this would
probably be alt.binaries.pictures.animals or
alt.binaries.pictures.misc), and then post a short note in the aquaria
groups explaining where your binary post can be found and what its
subject line is.

Companies with hundreds of items to sell will have catalogs that
outgrow rec.aquaria.marketplace, and should instead maintain an ftp or
preferably web site and post its location (if done properly, this is
more convenient for your customers as well).  Advertisements disguised
as advice ("your problem can be solved by our widget, as I've said to
everyone who has posted about this problem"), non-ad ads (.signature
files that advertise, for example, though short unobtrusive contact
information is OK), and ads for non-aquarium products are never
welcome; the net does not generally take kindly to this sort of
transparent subterfuge.  Neither is e-mail advertising; interested
readers will read rec.aquaria.marketplace .

CHARTER: rec.aquaria.freshwater.cichlids

An unmoderated freshwater cichlid discussion group.

Cichlids are a large specialty within the freshwater
hobby, and have an active mailing list with over two
hundred subscribers.  This mailing list has
specifically requested a dedicated newsgroup.

All topics related to both old- and new-world


CHARTER: rec.aquaria.freshwater.goldfish

An unmoderated goldfish discussion group.

Goldfish are the stereotypical beginner aquarium fish, but they also
enjoy a dedicated following of skilled aquarists and an active mailing
list that has acquired ninety members in about two months.  This
mailing list has specifically asked for a dedicated newsgroup.

All topics related to goldfish and their kin (carp/koi) in
aquaria systems.


CHARTER: rec.aquaria.freshwater.misc

An unmoderated miscellaneous freshwater aquaria discussion group.

Topics specific to freshwater aquaria which do not fit into one of the
more specialized newsgroups, as well as topics which fit into multiple
specific freshwater newsgroups.


CHARTER: rec.aquaria.marine.misc

An unmoderated miscellaneous marine aquaria discussion group.

Topics specific to marine aquaria which do not fit into one of the
more specialized newsgroups, as well as topics which fit into multiple
specific marine newsgroups.


CHARTER: rec.aquaria.marketplace

An unmoderated aquaria marketplace discussion group.

Needed to avoid disputes over the appropriateness of advertising,
allowing ads to be found easily without burying or being buried in
general discussion.

Ads related to aquaria and aquarium products and inhabitants by
private individuals and businesses.  Companies with hundreds of
products must share the newsgroup with hobbyists trying to unload
their spare tank, so care may be needed to avoid posting too often.
Posting once a month or so would nearly always be unobjectionable;
regularly posting every week would almost certainly be too often.
More important than numbers is simple courtesy; if a post from
somebody trying to sell their living room tank is lost in a hail of
commercial ads, then the newsgroup cannot serve one of its primary
audiences.  Similarly, huge catalog listings are inappropriate.
(Instead post pointers to ftp and web sites with your on-line catalog;
this works very well.)  Discussion of ads posted here should also take
place here, and posts should never be crossposted between
rec.aquaria.marketplace and another rec.aquaria.* group.


CHARTER: rec.aquaria.freshwater.plants

An unmoderated freshwater aquaria plant discussion group.

Planted tanks have an enthusiastic and voluble following
among freshwater aquarists (much like reefs have in the
marine branch).  This group provides a home for planted
tank specialists and also allows the large number of non-
plant aquarists to avoid the many strictly plant posts
 (a subject of some grumbling in the past).  In addition, there is a
large, active plant mailing list which has specifically requested a
dedicated newsgroup.

All topics related to planted (freshwater) tanks.


CHARTER: rec.aquaria.marine.reefs

An unmoderated marine reef aquaria discussion group.

The fundamental division of the marine hobby is into reef and non-reef
aquarists.  This group provides a home for reef specialists while
allowing non-reef aquarists to avoid the large number of reef related
posts.  This newsgroup is the single most requested specialty
newsgroup in my private e-mail, and I fear violence if it is not
included!  (Not really, but the support is large and vocal-- we would
sooner worry that there would be nothing left in
rec.aquaria.marine.misc .)

All topics related to marine reef aquaria.


CHARTER: rec.aquaria.misc

An unmoderated miscellaneous aquaria discussion group.

Needed for topics not covered by a more specific group.  *.misc is
suggested to redirect current posting flow to more specific groups and
to provide a continued useful charter with further future expansion of
the hierarchy.  rec.aquaria.misc will rename and replace the current
root group: rec.aquaria

Includes topics not covered by the other groups, and topics that are
appropriate to more than one group (rather than crossposting).  Not
all topics fit neatly into the usual freshwater/marine division
(notably brackish aquaria), not all topics have a large enough
following to warrant a separate newsgroup at this time, and some
topics are of broad interest to many types of aquarists.  Also
appropriate are such things as pointers to more specific newsgroups,
ftp and web sites, and other "meta-issues."  If you don't know where
to post it, it probably belongs here.

The only things that do not belong here are those that clearly fit
well into one of the other groups; subjects that are popular enough to
warrant their own group should not drown out smaller specialties in
rec.aquaria.misc .  The injunction to not interpret charters too
narrowly applies particularly to rec.aquaria.misc, however; a certain
amount of overlap with the other groups is inevitable and as long as
the smaller specialties are not crowded out need not be discouraged.


CHARTER: rec.aquaria.tech

An unmoderated aquaria technical discussion group.

There are many topics which are common across the freshwater/marine
dichotomy, and this split is not meant to interfere with the
interaction of the two branches of the hobby.  Many of these topics
relate to the technology of aquarium keeping.  While the organisms and
special techniques vary, both freshwater and marine aquaria face a
similar set of fundamental problems and often rely on similar devices
in their solution.  This newsgroup also allows those not interested in
the gritty details to avoid them.

Discussion about the technology of aquarium keeping, including
homebuilt gadgets as well as commercial devices.  Discussions of the
technical details of such devices belong here, though the rationale
for their use may be just as appropriate in another newsgroup.



An RFD is posted when users desire to create or change USENET
newsgroups, readers are requested to post their opinions and
suggestions on the proposed changes to news.groups for a set
period before a CFV (Call For Votes) is posted.  The proponents
will monitor news.groups and respond to questions, criticism,
suggestions and praise.  ;-)

This  2ND RFD will  be posted for a period of 30 days.

After the period of the 2nd RFD, if there are no further substantial
objections to any of the proposed groups, (there were very few the
first time round) there will be a Call For Votes (CFV) posted to the
same groups as this RFD.  If significant changes are necessitated by
this latest discussion, a further revised RFD will be posted before
the CFV is distributed.

After the official posting of the CFV, a voting period will be
initiated for at least 22 days.  The actual vote will be counted by a
neutral UVV votetaker.  Each group that passes, by receiving 100 more
YES votes than NO votes *and* 2/3 as many YES votes as NO votes, will
be created five days after the end of the voting period unless the
vote is deemed irregular.  Any group which fails a valid vote may not
be voted on again for six months.


This RFD is being posted to:
news.groups, news.announce.newgroups,
rec.aquaria, alt.aquaria, sci.aquaria, alt.aquaria.killies, rec.ponds,
sci.bio.fisheries, bionet.organisms.zebrafish.

In addition, copies are mailed to the managers of the following
mailing lists for reposting: AQUARIUM, BETTAS, CICHLIDS, DISCUS-L,

All subsequent discussion is directed to
and to be carried on in news.groups.