2nd CFV: rec.aquaria reorganization

Second (and final) call for votes on the rec.aquaria reorg.

Shaji Bhaskar, Durham, North Carolina                   shaji at nando_net

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Subject: 2nd CFV: rec.aquaria reorganization
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                      LAST CALL FOR VOTES (of 2)
          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

Newsgroups line:
rec.aquaria.freshwater.cichlids	Care and keeping of freshwater cichlids.
rec.aquaria.freshwater.goldfish	Care and keeping of goldfish, koi, carp.
rec.aquaria.freshwater.misc	Freshwater aquaria in general.
rec.aquaria.freshwater.plants	Keeping of freshwater aquarium plants.
rec.aquaria.marine.misc	Marine aquaria in general.
rec.aquaria.marine.reefs	Marine Reef aquaria.
rec.aquaria.marketplace	Aquarium advertising & announcements.
rec.aquaria.misc	Closed System aquaria in general.
rec.aquaria.tech	Aquarium related technology and equipment.

Votes must be received by 23:59:59 UTC, 28 Feb 1996.

This vote is being conducted by a neutral third party.  Questions about
this proposal should be directed to the proponent.

Proponent: Dustin Laurence <laurence at alice_caltech.edu>
Proponent: Wayne A. Powell <wap at inforamp_net>
Votetaker: Warren Lavallee <warren at Syra_NET>

RATIONALE: all groups

See individual rationales for each group below.


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 <killie-request at mejac_palo-alto.ca.us>
        No information provided at time of publication.

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/Net/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 CFV was a result of the authors' 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 UVV. The 2nd RFD was posted (with very minor changes)
to allow for re-notification of our intent to create a CFV and continue
discussion of any further changes.

General Rationale

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

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; i.e. 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
multiple 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

(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 rec.aquaria.marketplace a
friendly place to advertise their products.  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 (huge
obnoxious .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 .

RATIONALE: rec.aquaria.freshwater.cichlids

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.

RATIONALE: rec.aquaria.freshwater.goldfish

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

RATIONALE: rec.aquaria.freshwater.misc

Mandated by a vocal request by the rec.aquaria readership
to divide and differentiate the rec.aquaria hierarchy into
freshwater and marine branches with specialty sub-groups
while maintaining a general discussion group to house topics
not covered by the more specialized sub-groups.

RATIONALE: rec.aquaria.freshwater.plants

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.

RATIONALE: rec.aquaria.marine.misc

Mandated by a vocal request by the rec.aquaria readership
to divide and differentiate the rec.aquaria hierarchy into
freshwater and marine branches with specialty sub-groups
while maintaining a general discussion group to house topics
not covered by the more specialized sub-groups.

RATIONALE: rec.aquaria.marine.reefs

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 .)

RATIONALE: rec.aquaria.marketplace

Allows ads to be found easily without burying or being
buried in general discussion.  In keeping with the
general support to keep advertising out of general and
specific discussion groups.  Supported by a recent poll
and discussion conducted within rec.aquaria.

RATIONALE: rec.aquaria.misc

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

RATIONALE: rec.aquaria.tech

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

CHARTER: rec.aquaria.freshwater.cichlids

An unmoderated freshwater cichlid discussion group.

All topics related to keeping both old- and new-world
cichlids in closed system aquaria.


CHARTER: rec.aquaria.freshwater.goldfish

An unmoderated goldfish discussion group.

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


CHARTER: rec.aquaria.freshwater.misc

An unmoderated miscellaneous freshwater aquarium 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


CHARTER: rec.aquaria.freshwater.plants

An unmoderated freshwater aquarium plant discussion group.
All topics related to the keeping and care of aquatic
plants in closed system aquaria and for the discussion
of specialized plant tanks.


CHARTER: rec.aquaria.marine.misc

An unmoderated miscellaneous marine aquarium 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.marine.reefs

An unmoderated marine reef aquarium discussion group.

All topics related to marine reef aquaria, usually
characterized by the keeping of live rock, live sand,
corals (hard & soft) and/or marine invertebrates rather
than a "fish only" marine tank.


CHARTER: rec.aquaria.marketplace

An unmoderated aquarium marketplace discussion group.

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.misc

An unmoderated miscellaneous aquarium discussion group.

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

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 aquarium technical discussion group.

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



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Give your real name here:
If you do not give a real name your vote may be rejected.

[Your Vote]  Group
[         ]  rec.aquaria.freshwater.cichlids
[         ]  rec.aquaria.freshwater.goldfish
[         ]  rec.aquaria.freshwater.misc
[         ]  rec.aquaria.freshwater.plants
[         ]  rec.aquaria.marine.misc
[         ]  rec.aquaria.marine.reefs
[         ]  rec.aquaria.marketplace
[         ]  rec.aquaria.misc (replaces rec.aquaria)
[         ]  rec.aquaria.tech
-=-=-=-=-=- Don't Delete Anything Between These Lines =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

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This Call for Votes is being posted to the following newsgroups:


This Call for Votes is also being sent to the following mailing lists:

        Keeping and Breeding Betta Splendans <bettas at listserv_arizona.edu>
        List for Keeping/Raising Discus fish <discus-l at mitvma_mit.edu>
        AQUARIUM Mailing List <aquarium at emuvm1_cc.emory.edu>
        Aquatic Plants List <aquatic-plants at actwin_com>
        Cichlids Mailing List <cichlids at mailmill_com>
        Goldfish List <goldfish at col_hp.com>
        Killifish Mailing List <killies at mejac_palo-alto.ca.us>
        E-REEF News <ksnyder at phoenix_nlci.com>