1998.12.04 20:06 "Re: USENET newsgroup on TIFF? comp.std.tiff? (was: Future of the list)", by Dan Smith
I helped start comp.lang.mumps, in the sense of drafting the charter, calls for discussion, etc. It's more work than I care to do given my limited involvement with TIFF, but I think it should be quite doable if anyone ELSE feels like doing it.
Newsgroups presently have much more visibility than other kind of discussion forum. I don't even know what a "dejanew community" is, for example. They even have some corporate visibility above and beyond the technical community, which may or may not be a good thing.
1) Go to the news.answers newsgroup.
2) Look for the article, "How to Create a New Usenet Newsgroup" and follow directions. Basically I followed these directions, and it worked. Note that the article references four other articles.
3) Key parts of the process include composing a good name, a good charter, a good request for discussion, contacting the Usenet Votetaker Volunteers, and _rounding up support._
4) Be prepared to do dumb things like go to users' group meetings wearing a funny looking giant button saying "ask me about comp.std.tiff" or something like that.
I strongly suggest that the newsgroup be UNmoderated, because unless you have a dedicated moderator or team of moderators the newsgroup is very likely to die quickly (e.g. the first time the moderator goes on vacation). The experience of comp.std.mumps is that moderated newsgroups fail unless there are a lot of people with intense, narrowly focussed interest and a dedicated moderator. The experience of comp.lang.mumps is that spam has not been a SERIOUS problem, and probably won't be in any technically oriented newsgroup in the comp hierarchy.
_Rounding up support_ is a key point. To pass, the final vote requires BOTH a 2/3 majority AND a 100-vote margin of victory, and there are a few dozen people who seem to have taking voting "no" on newsgroup proposals as their personal mission. Plus, during the process you will always piss off a few people who wanted the group to have a different name, etc.
With approximately 500 people on the TIFF mailing list there ARE probably enough to get the proposal passed; I don't remember the exact vote for comp.lang.mumps, I think it was on the order of 300 for, 50 against or something like that. It's very helpful if you can spread the word among a company or organization that has an interest in the newsgroup. It would be almost essential either to keep this mailing list going for the several months the newsgroup creation will take or for someone to quickly capture all the email addresses in it. Keep in mind that surprisingly few people will actually bother to vote; there were 100 people at InterSystems and I reminded them several times via email, distributed paper reminders, etc. and perhaps 20 of them voted. I did embarrassing things like going to a national MUMPS users group meeting and wearing a big button saying "Ask me about comp.lang.mumps;" whenever I rode a shuttle bus from hotel to convention center I'd stand up and tell people about comp.lang.mumps and hand out fliers. Jerky stuff like that.