soc.sexuality.general Charter

This was the original Request for Discussion (RFD) proposing the creation of the soc.sexuality.general newsgroup and promulgating its charter. A discussion of the interpretations of this charter may be found here.

REQUEST FOR DISCUSSION (RFD)
moderated group soc.sexuality.general

This is a formal Request For Discussion (RFD) for the creation of a
world-wide moderated Usenet newsgroup soc.sexuality.general. This is
not a Call for Votes (CFV); you cannot vote at this time. Procedural
details are below.

Newsgroup line:
soc.sexuality.general Discussion related to human sexuality (Moderated).

RATIONALE: soc.sexuality.general

Once upon a time, USENET had a forum for the discussion of human
sexuality, the newsgroup alt.sex. Despite limited propagation, those
lucky enough to have access to a system that carried the group could
participate in a free, even sometimes intelligent, discussion of a
major area of human experience, one that is normally pushed to the
margins in public discourse. At its best, the strength of alt.sex was
the strength of USENET itself -- conversations that were shaped
directly by the interests of the participants, unfiltered by the will
of editors or censors.

The group was successful enough to spawn its own hierarchy of
specialized subtopics, and was often one of the highest volume
non-binary groups on USENET. But the changing demographics of USENET
have altered the group, and its subgroups, beyond recognition.
Commercial interests have discovered that the alt.* groups provide a
cheap and easy method for the mass marketing of phone sex services and
XXX web sites. People interested in finding or trading pornographic
photos have found that the alt.* groups are an easy way to do so, one
that allows considerable anonymity. In theory, this purpose could be
served by the alt.binaries.erotica.* hierarchy, but has spilled over
into the alt.sex.* newsgroups as well. The sex groups are also a
popular target for massive trolling posts.

The vast majority of posts on alt.sex are spam and trolls, commercial
ads and binaries, a catalogue in miniature for many of the problems
that plague USENET in general and the alt groups in particular.
Whatever the proper place of commerce on USENET, alt.sex as a forum
for the discussion of sexuality has been eviscerated. We are
proposing a moderated newsgroup, soc.sexuality.general, to provide
such a forum.

In line with the new newsgroup soc.sexuality.spanking (1), we propose
the group to be part of the soc.sexuality hierarchy. The name
"soc.sexuality.general" was chosen because it was the name, compatible
with the notion of a newsgroup for a general discussion of human
sexuality, that seemed the least controversial.

(1) "2nd RFD: soc.sexuality.spanking"
ftp://ftp.uu.net/usenet/news.announce.newgroups/soc/soc.sexuality.spanking

CHARTER: soc.sexuality.general

The group soc.sexuality.general is a moderated forum for the mature
discussion of sexuality, both in a personal or a political manner.
Suitable topics for discussion include, but are not limited to social
issues, discussions of lifestyles both "alternative" and "mainstream",
questions, and advice.

Soc.sexuality.general will be moderated by software and a backup team
of human moderators. The purpose of moderation will not be to
determine which views will be expressed, but to maintain the newsgroup
as a viable avenue for the mature discussion of human sexuality.
Moderators are volunteers who wish to serve the general USENET
community.

The newsgroup is _not_ for the purpose of posting binaries, requesting
binaries or advice on how to find binaries, personal ads or posts for
the sole purpose of soliciting meetings, erotic fiction, or commercial
advertisements, except as noted below. Off-topic messages, flames,
and trolls are also not appropriate. See below for details.

The newsgroup will be moderated by software coupled with a team of
human moderators. The moderation team will rely as much as possible
on software to moderate the newsgroup, but we recognize that given the
ever-changing nature of Usenet, we will use hand-moderation when
necessary to maintain the viability of the newsgroup.

The moderation team will be structured as follows: a Moderator Board
will be responsible for maintaining the moderation software and the
elaboration and implementation of moderation policies. Additional
moderators may be appointed or dismissed by the Board, and the Board
may appoint or dismiss Board members as necessary. The composition of
the Moderator Board will be posted regularly on the newsgroup and made
available on the World Wide Web.

The following types of messages are inappropriate for the newsgroup,
and may be grounds for rejection by the moderators or the moderation
software. This does not imply that they _will_ be rejected.

1. Messages that fit the profile the moderation software is configured
to automatically reject.

2. Messages that are excessively or inappropriately cross-posted, or
reposted.

3. Binaries or ASCII art, requests for binaries or ASCII art, or
announcements for the availability of such. (Messages that contain
short binary sequences, such as PGP signatures, are acceptable.)

4. Commercial ads, except for products that primarily serve an
educational, historical, or advocacy function. Advertisements may
also be rejected if they are of excessive length, or posted too
frequently. Posts that are advertisements should make it clear in the
subject line.

5. Stories, or other works of erotic fiction.

6. Personal ads, or the solicitation for penpals or face-to-face
meetings of a personal nature.

7. Off-topic posts, and posts on topics that, while related to
sexuality, are more appropriate to other newsgroups. (For example, an
argument on the ethics of abortion may be redirected to
talk.abortion.)

8. Posts that are adequately addressed by the newsgroup FAQ
("Frequently Asked Questions") or other on-line resources.

9. Flame wars (defined for the purposes of this charter as message
exchanges for the primary purpose of trading insults).

10. Trolls (defined for the purposes of this charter as messages
posted for the sole purpose of disrupting the newsgroup).

11. Posts from bogus addresses or domain names. (Addresses that are
deliberately munged to confuse spam e-mail software is acceptable, as
long as moderators can figure out how to unmunge the address, if
necessary. Posters who munge their address, and who plan on posting
to the newsgroup regularly, are requested to munge their address
consistently.) This clause should not be interpreted as excluding
anonymous or pseudonymous posts.

12. Messages from posters or sites that are on the moderation
software's "automatically reject" list. The policies for being placed
on the "automatically reject" list are as follows:

a. Advertisements for photographic or XXX BBSes or web sites, for
phone sex or escort services, singles cruises or introduction
services, are not welcome on this newsgroup. Posters of such messages
will be immediately placed on the "automatically reject" list.
Commercial sites that are known to frequently and heavily advertise
themselves inappropriately on Usenet will be placed on the
"automatically reject" list. Posters or sites who are placed on the
"automatically reject" list for any of the above reasons will remain
on the list permanently unless they successfully appeal to the
Moderator Board.

b. Posters who violate other charter provisions may be placed on the
"automatically reject" list if the Moderator Board determines that
they have violated the posting guidelines twice within 60 days of
being warned of an infraction. The poster remains on this list for up
to 30 days. Repeated infractions may then result, with each
successive offense, of being placed on the "automatically reject" list
for up to 60 days, one year, and then permanently.

The moderators will endeavor to ensure that the actions listed above
will not be applied to users who commit infractions inadvertently or
because of misunderstandings of newsgroup policy (except as outlined
in part a above). All decisions to place a poster on the
"automatically reject" list may be appealed to the Moderator Board.

Part III: Disclaimer

The moderators of soc.sexuality.general are not responsible for the
veracity or legality of any posts to soc.sexuality.general. The
moderators are not serving in the capacity of editors or publishers,
and the approval of a post by a moderator is not an endorsement by the
moderator or the Moderator Board. Posters assume full responsibility
for the content of their posts. Readers who use any information that
appears in the newsgroup do so at their own risk. The copyright for
all posts either remains with the poster, or in the public domain, as
appropriate.

END CHARTER.

MODERATOR INFO: soc.sexuality.general

Moderator: Thida Cornes <thida@best.com>
Moderator: Angeline Kantola <kantola@u.washington.edu>
Moderator: Mary Anne Mohanraj <mohanraj@mills.edu>
Moderator: Reka G. Morvay <reka@CSUA.Berkeley.EDU>
Moderator: Walt Pohl <pohl@math.washington.edu>

END MODERATOR INFO.

PROCEDURE:

This is a request for discussion, not a call for votes. In this phase
of the process, any potential problems with the proposed newsgroups
should be raised and resolved. The discussion period will continue for
a minimum of 21 days (starting from when the first RFD for this
proposal is posted to news.announce.newgroups), after which a Call For
Votes (CFV) may be posted by a neutral vote taker if the discussion
warrants it. Please do not attempt to vote until this happens.

All discussion of this proposal should be posted to news.groups.

This RFD attempts to comply fully with the Usenet newsgroup creation
guidelines outlined in "How to Create a New Usenet Newsgroup" and "How
to Format and Submit a New Group Proposal". Please refer to these
documents (available in news.announce.newgroups) if you have any
questions about the process.

DISTRIBUTION:

This RFD has been posted to the following newsgroups:

news.announce.newgroups, news.groups,
alt.sex, alt.sex.bondage, alt.sex.stories,
alt.polyamory, soc.motss, soc.bi,
soc.subculture.bondage-bdsm, alt.torture

Proponent: Thida Cornes <thida@best.com>
Proponent: Angeline Kantola <kantola@u.washington.edu>
Proponent: Mary Anne Mohanraj <mohanraj@mills.edu>
Proponent: Reka G. Morvay <reka@CSUA.Berkeley.EDU>
Proponent: Walt Pohl <pohl@math.washington.edu>