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Archive-name: radio/ham-radio/moderated/guidelines
Revision: 1.10 2009/05/27 12:04:49
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Welcome to!  This is a moderated newsgroup
for amateur radio operators and other people having an interest in the
Amateur Radio Service, as defined by national regulations and
international treaties.  Following are the posting guidelines for this

This message includes the following sections:

1. Topics and posting policies from the Charter
2. Additional posting guidelines
    2.1  Netiquette guidelines
    2.2  Posting form requirements
    2.3  Guidelines on signature (.sig) files
    2.4  Guidelines on excessive quoting
    2.5  Guidelines on pointers to outside sources
    2.6  Guidelines regarding questioning someone's suitability to hold
         an amateur radio license
    2.7  Guidelines regarding name-calling
    2.8  Guidelines regarding civility
    2.9  Other unacceptable topics


1. Topics and posting policies from the Charter is an inclusive on-line community of amateur
radio operators and other people having an interest in the Amateur Radio
Service.  Participants are invited to engage in open discussion of
amateur radio issues and exchange information about participating in the
hobby/service, in an atmosphere of civility, friendship, and fun.

Acceptable topics include but, are not necessarily limited to, questions
and discussions about amateur radio licensing, regulations, tips on
various aspects of setting up an amateur radio station, and sharing
operating experiences and insights.

Unacceptable posts include, but are not limited to, buy/sell/trade
posts, posts that are off-topic to the Amateur Radio Service, posts
promoting or defending unlawful activities, etc.

Frequently-Asked-Questions lists and other information/bulletin/
announcement postings may be crossposted to, rec.answers,
and news.answers only with prior approval of the moderators of those
newsgroups.  In all such cases, an appropriate "Followup-To" header,
containing only, will be added by the
moderators if one is not already provided.

After a 30-day public discussion and feedback period to gauge reader
opinions in March of 2009:

the Moderation Team has decided to consider
amending its charter, and permit limited simultaneous crossposting to and one other unmoderated
amateur-radio-related discussion newsgroup.  We are currently trying
this on a temporary basis (90 days, through early July 2009), and adopt
it permanently if successful.

Approved* newsgroups are those that are currently
listed in the latest version of the "List of Big Eight Newsgroups" which
is crossposted monthly to news.announce.newgroups, news.groups, and

Approved* and alt.ham-radio.* newsgroups are those
that have been created consistent with the suggestions in "So You Want
to Create an Alt Newsgroup" at:

Approved regional hierarchy newsgroups are those that contain either
"radio.amateur" or "ham-radio" in their names, including and

We will make every reasonable effort to keep our list of approved
newsgroups up-to-date.  In case we have overlooked any, and a submission
is rejected in error as a result, the rejected submitter can E-mail us
at our administrative contact address (in the signature at the bottom of
this article, and the default Reply-To for the rejection message)
requesting that it be added, and that the article be approved.  We may
still choose to reject articles crossposted to any alt.* newsgroup with
an inappropriate name, including obscene language, embedded
name-calling, or encouragement of unlawful conduct.

Posters are encouraged to state their own views and share their
experiences, but to refrain from making assumptions about the
motivations of other newsgroup participants.  Posters are expected to
maintain a basic tone of civility.  Prohibited uncivil discourse
includes, but is not limited to, name calling.

Posts containing unsolicited advice questioning the right, worthiness,
suitability and/or readiness of any individual (or members of any group)
to be an amateur radio operator are unacceptable in this newsgroup.  If
an individual chooses to post asking for advice on when or whether to
obtain an amateur radio license, or to participate in any type of lawful
activity in the Amateur Radio Service, respondents should be careful to
address their comments only to the original poster and not explicitly
generalize to others in similar situations.

Similarly, posts that arbitrarily declare certain classes of amateur
radio licenses, or certain members of national amateur radio societies
(e.g., American Radio Relay League, Radio Amateurs of Canada, Radio
Society of Great Britain, Wireless Institute of Australia, etc.), to be
more or less worthy than others, are not permitted.  Posts that politely
encourage individuals to join their local amateur radio society, or to
upgrade to higher classes of amateur radio license in order to enjoy
greater operating privileges, are permitted, however.  Posts that
contain reasoned, civil, and fact-based discussion of the activities and
internal politics of national amateur radio societies are also

Buy/Sell/Trade and Commercial Policy:

Posts containing offers to buy, sell, or trade are not permitted on  The newsgroup was created
for this purpose, and should be used instead.  All such articles will be
rejected by the moderators with the advice to re-post to that newsgroup.

Postings that are entirely advertisements or other public relations
campaigns will not be permitted.  Relatively unbiased announcements or
reviews of new amateur radio-related products or services may be
permitted at the discretion of the moderators.  Such posters are asked
to disclose their financial or professional interest, if any, in such
products or services.

Mentions of small amounts of free items, including both parts and
equipment, for giveaway will be permitted on an occasional basis from
casual, non-commercial owners, and at the discretion of the moderators.
The items should be free except for reasonable direct costs such as
shipping, must be directly amateur-radio-related, must be in serviceable
condition, and be practical to ship to a distant recipient.  This is
intended as a common-sense exception to our ban on forsale postings,
provided that it doesn't overwhelm the basic character of our discussion
newsgroup with classified ads or requests to haul off scrap or junk in
salvage condition.


2. Additional Posting Guidelines

2.1 Netiquette guidelines

Participants who are new to Usenet should familiarize themselves with
the "netiquette" of Usenet as well as the particular posting guidelines
for this group.  Several useful posts for "newbies" can be found on the
newsgroup news.announce.newusers or on the WWW at:

Particularly helpful articles are:
        Welcome to Usenet!
        Rules for posting to Usenet
        Hints on writing style for Usenet
        A Primer on How to Work With the Usenet Community
        Emily Postnews Answers Your Questions on Netiquette
        Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Usenet

Because is a Usenet newsgroup, there are          |
implied or derived guidelines for participation that are drawn from the       |
above articles about overall Usenet culture and tradition.  Two of these      |
implied or derived guidelines are encapsulated in two basic rules that        |
our moderation team uses to initially determine whether an article is         |
appropriate for our newsgroup.  They are restated explicitly here for         |
clarification:                                                                |

Basic Rule #1: The article must be on-topic for amateur radio.  A             |
rule-of-thumb that our moderation team applies is whether the article         |
mentions amateur radio, ham radio, some synonym for amateur or ham            |
radio, some technique or practice of amateur or ham radio including           |
closely related technical topics such as antennas or portable power, or       |
regulatory politics that directly affect amateur radio.  This                 |
rule-of-thumb is also applied to determine if an article in a thread has      |
drifted too far off-topic.  For example, articles that have drifted into      |
general rants or monologues will probably be returned with a polite           |
request to rewrite to include a reasonable amateur radio connection or        |
angle.                                                                        |

Basic Rule #2: The article must not have excessive spelling, grammar, or      |
logical argument errors affecting readability and understandability.          |
The moderation team understands that clear, understandable, technical or      |
expository writing is a skill that can only be perfected through a            |
lifetime of focused training and practice.  Because the moderation team       |
does not want to hold submitters to a standard higher than what it can        |
achieve itself, nor disrupt the newsgroup and discourage submitters by        |
playing spelling or grammar police, it will only return for rewrite any       |
article that cannot be reasonably understood by multiple moderators.          |

If it is necessary to return any article for a rewrite because the            |
moderators have determined that it does not meet Basic Rule #1 or #2,         |
please accept this constructive feedback in the manner in which it is         |
intended.  The moderation team offers its assistance to help rewrite any      |
submitted article into a form that preserves its original intent and          |
meaning, but is also on-topic, as well as readable and understandable by      |
others.                                                                       |

2.2 Posting form requirements

Any article that falls into any of the following categories will be
automatically rejected:

     A) Articles that contain original text of more than 75 characters
        per line
     B) Crossposted articles to newsgroups not included in these
     C) Articles that contain more than 400 lines
     D) Encoded binary files (except PGP and other short digital
     E) Attachments to posts
     F) Articles containing obscene language
     G) Articles from individuals who have been suspended or banned
        from the newsgroup

2.3 Guidelines on signature (.sig) files

Many people close each article they write with a few lines of common
text.  This may be a cute quip or quote, or may include information
about their family, contact information, or disclaimers required by
their employer, for example.

Signature files used on posting must be no
longer than 8 lines.

The content of a poster's signature need not be relevant to amateur
radio, but it must not violate any of the other posting guidelines.
(For example, name-calling that would not be acceptable in the body of a
message is also unacceptable in a signature.) Posters may include
Uniform Resource Locators (URL's) and business addresses in signature
files, provided they comply with all the other guidelines regarding

2.4 Guidelines on excessive quoting

Posts more than 20 lines long that also have more than 75% quoted text
will be carefully reviewed by a moderator to determine if that degree of
quoting is warranted.  Posts with excessive quoted text may be rejected.

Posters must show a reasonable effort to trim the post they are replying
to and to include just enough material to establish context.  "Me too!"
posts are discouraged, and, when posted, must edit the quoted material

2.5 Guidelines on pointers to outside sources

Unsolicited announcements and pointers to web sites that are strictly
advertisements or other public relations campaigns are not permitted.
However, a pointer to a website or other external source of information
is permitted and encouraged in cases where it is relevant to an existing
thread, with appropriate context being given in the post.  A URL with no
information about what a user should expect to find there will be
rejected.  A pointer to information that is off-charter for will be rejected, as will a pointer which
itself does not meet the guidelines (such as
a URL containing embedded name-calling).

Moderators are not responsible for verifying the contents of any
external information source.

2.6 Guidelines regarding questioning someone's suitability hold an
    amateur radio license

Identifiable groups and individuals may not be asked/told/etc. not to
obtain an amateur radio license, or to only obtain certain classes of
amateur radio license.  It is not permissible to make statements that a
person or members of a specific group "should" not, or should not be
allowed to, become an amateur radio operator.

Solicited advice of this type is permissible; however, posters must be
careful not to explicitly generalize to others who are in some way
"like" the poster asking the question.  Stick to the individual asking
for advice.

It is acceptable to discuss verified violations, documented in criminal
convictions or other government enforcement actions, by a person or
members of a specific group.

2.7 Guidelines regarding name-calling

Nastiness addressed at a person is considered name-calling.  Criticizing
a person's *actions* is not, provided that it is done in a civil manner.

Attacks on an action which by their very nature include an accusation
against the person's character are not acceptable.  For example,
"That's a lie" implies an intentional prevarication, and is considered
name-calling.  Acceptable ways of questioning the truth of a poster's
statement include the more tactful "I don't think that's true," "I
believe you are mistaken because..." or even simply "That's not true."
"That's not true and you know it" crosses back over into name-calling,

2.8 Guidelines regarding civility

By charter, posters are expected to maintain a civil tone in all their
postings.  The guidelines on name-calling cover part of that
requirement, but not all of it.

In general, posters are expected to consider the reputations of other
participants, and refrain from making unnecessary accusations or
assumptions about the motivations of others.  A good rule of thumb is to
phrase your comments as your opinion -- "I think..." "It seems to me
that..." "This makes me wonder whether..."  etc...

Posters are expected to make factual claims, to debate topics openly and
in good faith, and to accept honest criticism, all without provocation
or prevarication.  At least one professional organization, the Institute
of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), has recognized that such
fair dealings are necessary components of ethical conduct, and has
incorporated them into its Code of Ethics:

Though the Amateur Radio Service is not a professional endeavor, the
moderators strongly feel that the IEEE Code of Ethics is also a
worthwhile set of guiding principles for participants in the newsgroup.

Posters are not required to support the American Radio Relay League
(ARRL).  However, they are expected to adhere to the spirit of the other
parts of the ARRL's "Amateur's Code":

2.9 Other unacceptable topics

Participants are reminded that the charter also prohibits posts
promoting or defending unlawful operating practices.

Posts may discuss whether operating practices are unlawful, or engage in
reasoned debate over why certain operating practices should or should
not be unlawful.  Posts may discuss enforcement actions, such as by the
Federal Communications Commission in the United States or similar
government agencies in other countries, and evidence gathered by parties
such as Official Observers in support of complaints about unlawful

Discussions of what practices constitute unlawful operation in the
Amateur Radio Service should be limited to *factual* descriptions of the
laws in various jurisdictions.  Posters' *opinions* as to what practices
they consider unlawful are not permitted.  In particular, posters are
cautioned not to extrapolate their country's laws and regulations to
those in other parts of the world, as they may be quite different.

Posts that entirely concern themselves with other radio services or
hobbies, such as Citizen's Band, General Mobile Radio Service/Family
Radio Service, and Scanner or Shortwave Listening, are considered
off-topic to the newsgroup.  Newsgroups such
as,, and/or may be
more appropriate venues for such posts.

Posts that attempt to publicly criticize moderators or moderation
decisions in the newsgroup itself are also not permitted, as stated in
our original newsgroup charter.  Please direct any such critical
feedback to our administrative contact address at the bottom of this
article, where it will be carefully considered by an appeals team of
moderators.  This team is distinct from the initial team of moderators
that approves or disapproves article submissions, and thus can provide
independent oversight of moderation decisions.

Similarly, if you see an obviously inappropriate article in our
newsgroup, please assume that it was a mistake or a direct forgery.  The
moderation team makes every effort to protect the newsgroup from such
incidents, but they do happen, albeit rarely.  You may also submit
feedback to the same address regarding such articles in our newsgroup,
but it is likely that our monitoring software and procedures have
already detected it, and we are actively handling the problem.  Please
resist "piling on" with followups to the newsgroup when these incidents
occur, so that we don't have to reject such articles.

Due to Usenet newgroup access being eliminated at many ISP's, including
MSN, AOL, RoadRunner, Time Warner, Verizon, and Comcast, we are starting
to receive many article submissions asking about free or low-cost
alternatives for accessing Usenet newsgroups such as ours.  We initially
permitted this topic in light of the significant impact to many of our
readers due to this loss of access through their ISP's.  However, this
subject is arguably off-topic for our newsgroup, is better answered by
other sources, and better discussed in other venues.  Because of this,
we will no longer approve submissions that request or suggest where to
obtain access to Usenet newsgroups.  For more information about this
topic, please consult the following:

 - The last approved thread of discussion about this topic on our
   newsgroup from October 2008:

 - A list of News Service Providers maintained by the Big-8 Management

 - A list of Public News Servers at the Open Directory Project:

 - An article with links and reader suggestions at Broadband Reports:

 - Google Groups:

The Moderation Team does not endorse or
recommend any particular News Service Provider (NSP).  We encourage our
readers to choose the free or subscription service that best meets their
own personal needs based on their own evaluation of the available

Please direct any comments, questions, or criticisms about this article

(Adapted, with permission, from the Posting Guidelines.)


Please direct any comments, questions, or criticisms about this article

(Adapted, with permission, from the Posting Guidelines.)


(Adapted, with permission, from the Posting Guidelines.)

e Open Directory Project:

 - An article with links and reader suggestions at Broadband Reports:

 - Google Groups:

The Moderation Team does not endorse or
recommend any particular News Service Provider (NSP).  We encourage our
readers to choose the free or subscription service that best meets their
own personal needs based on their own evaluation of the available

Please direct any comments, questions, or criticisms about this article

(Adapted, with permission, from the Posting Guidelines.)

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic:

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