[Periodic Post] FAQ: Moderation Policies and Procedures
- From: srm-board@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (Periodic Post)
- Date: Tue, 06 Sep 2005 13:00:15 -0000
This FAQ is an introduction to the soc.religion.mormon newsgroup.
Soc.religion.mormon is a moderated usenet newsgroup created as a forum
for the courteous discussion of issues pertaining to The Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), referred to as the LDS
Church is this document. While founded primarily as a place to discuss
the LDS church, discussion of other restoration theology churches that
trace their foundation to Joseph Smith is also welcome. This FAQ
addresses the mechanics of the newsgroup, and is not intended as a
source of information on religious tenets, beliefs, or practices.
These topics are the subject of a separate FAQ that is not yet
This is Version 1.18 of this document, completed 2005/02/02
Changes in this version include:
- Updated answer to Question 3.
This Article Answers Questions To
1. Is Soc.Religion.Mormon Moderated?
2. What Does "Moderated" Mean?
3. Who Moderates This Group?
4. My Article Hasn't Shown Up. Where Is It?
5. How Can I Get My Article Accepted By The Moderators?
6. How Can I Get My Article Rejected By The Moderators?
7. How Much Crossposting is Too Much?
8. What Happens To Articles That Aren't Accepted?
9. Why Did My Article Get Rejected?
10. Who Can I Talk To About My Rejected Article?
11. What's The Best Way To Appeal My Article's Rejection?
12. Do The Moderators Always Send Rejection Notices?
13. I'm Having Trouble Submitting Articles. What Can I Do?
14. No One Responds to My Articles. Are You Censoring the Replies?
15. Is There A Particular Format For Articles?
16. Can I Post a Link to a Web Site? [*new*]
17. What is a Periodic Posting and Who Makes Them?
18. Are There Subjects That The Moderators Won't Allow?
19. Some Posts End with ObLDS. What is an ObLDS?
20. Does the group have a motto?
21. Where Can I Find The Charter For This Group?
22. Where Can I Find The FAQs For This Group?
23. Do I Need a Disclaimer In My Article?
Is Soc.Religion.Mormon Moderated? (1.)
In a word, yes. Soc.religion.mormon is a _moderated_ newsgroup.
What Does "Moderated" Mean? (2.)
A _moderated_ newsgroup is one where every article you see in the group
has been reviewed and approved before it was posted to the group.
Mechanically, this means that articles submitted to the group are
converted to an e-mail message and sent to a dedicated mail address.
All mail arriving at this address is reviewed by a moderator (or
moderators) before it is accepted and posted to the group.
Who Moderates This Group? (3.)
Soc.religion.mormon is moderated by a combination of automated and human
moderation. The automoderation system, called JARED, manages the
incoming mail queue and performs the first review of the article.
Depending upon the action JARED takes, one or two members of the
moderation panel may be asked to review the article. The members of the
moderation panel, and their religious affiliation are:
Daniel Vieira Catholic
David Bowie LDS
Lynn Diana Gazis Quaker
John Colton LDS
Paula Tobler LDS
In addition, Rob Perkins (LDS) acts as a substitute moderator when one
or more of the regular moderators are unavailable.
My Article Hasn't Shown Up. Where Is It? (4.)
Good question, and one that gets asked frequently. There are three main
parts to the answer. Let's look at all of them.
(a) It's in the moderation queue.
Remember that every article you submit is first e-mailed to the
moderation system before it can be posted.
(b) Moderated articles are always slower than unmoderated ones.
If you think about the mechanics of usenet, you can understand this one.
When you submit an article to an unmoderated newsgroup, it is sent
_first_ to your local news server. Your article is then sent by that
news server to other news servers in its "neighborhood". They, in turn,
sent in on to other news servers and, eventually, your articles will be
"propagated" to news servers all over the world.
Okay, so in an unmoderated group, you get to see your articles
immediately, and it takes longer for you to see articles posted by other
people running on other news servers.
Now remember that the article you submit to a _moderated_ newsgroup does
not go to your local news server; it goes to a moderation queue
somewhere else. Even if were accepted within minutes of being received,
it would appear first on the news server local to the moderation panel.
This server may be quite remote from your server, in terms of net
connections, and it may take hours, days, or weeks to arrive.
(c) It was not accepted.
The moderators may have found your article unacceptable and may have
rejected it. Rejected articles do not disappear, however. You will
receive an e-mailed notice for any rejected article, unless you have a
spam-blocker in your e-mail address without instructions on how to
overcome it (see Question 11).
How Can I Get My Article Accepted By The Moderators? (5.)
The simple answer to that question is: meet that standards set out in
the charter of the newsgroup.
Note: Acceptance of an article does not mean that the moderators agree
with the content of that article. Acceptance of an article only means
that it appears to meet the charter of the group. Do not confuse
approval of an article with agreement with its content.
Now to get your post accepted (here's the important part) it must meet
the purpose of the group. As mentioned in the Introduction, that is:
courteous discussion of issues pertaining to the LDS church. If what
you have written:
o Is not courteous,
o Is not a discussion, or
o Does not pertain to issues about the LDS church
then it probably will not be accepted. Trying to define the precise
standard of what comprises courtesy, or discussion, or the pertinence of
issues could be quite difficult. In its stead, let's look at a few of
examples of what each of these things is not.
(a) Discourteous posts
o Articles that attack or belittle an individual
o Angry, offensive, vulgar or profane language
o Articles intended to provoke non-courteous responses
o Articles containing encoded binary information
o Commercial advertisements
o Articles containing only an announcement or a published text
(c) Non-pertinent issues
o Articles not related to church practice, policy, programs,
doctrine, history, scriptures, lifestyle or culture.
o Personal items about individuals
o Regional topics of (at best) interest only to locals
How Can I Get My Article Rejected By The Moderators? (6.)
To have your article rejected by the moderators it must either be in
violation of the charter or, in the judgment of more than one moderator,
it must fail to meet the standards for articles as defined in the
charter. The full text of the charter is available on the world wide
web (URL can be found in a later section). An article will be rejected
as a violation of the charter if it contains:
o obscene or vulgar language
o encoded binary files
o cross-posting to multiple newsgroups
o quotations from, or attributed to, the LDS temple ceremony.
[More information on the last restriction is contained in a separate
FAQ: Temples and Temple Worship.]
In addition to the above restrictions, the charter requires the panel of
moderators to exercise judgment to exclude
o off topic posts
o inflammatory speech, including flames and trolls
o offensive content
o unwarranted repetition
_IMPORTANT_: One certain way to have your post rejected is to include
too many lines quoted from previous articles. Try to quote only the
pertinent parts of the previous post. If you have less to say about a
post than the amount of text you quote, then your post is likely to be
In the interests of encouraging discussion, the moderators may also
return your post for changes if it
o is poorly formatted or difficult to read
o is very, very long
o is mainly personal issues between yourself and another poster
How Much Crossposting is Too Much? (7.)
Any. Articles acceptable for soc.relgion.mormon may not include
crossposting to any other newsgroup. There are technical reasons
not to allow crossposting between more than one moderated group,
and practical reasons not to allow crossposting between s.r.m and
and unmoderated group. This is not a whimsical restriction; it
was carefully weighed and considered.
What Happens To Articles That Aren't Accepted? (8.)
Articles rejected by the moderators are returned to the original poster
as an e-mail message, assuming you do not have a spam-blocker in your
e-mail address, without instructions on how to overcome it (See
Question 11). No other action is taken on the article. If the author
intended to cross-post the article to multiple newsgroups (a violation
of the charter for this newsgroup and a reason why it was rejected),
it will not appear in the other newsgroups.
Why Did My Article Get Rejected? (9.)
Your article was rejected because more than one moderator judged it to
not meet the standards required by the charter for posts to the
newsgroup. Please note that JARED, the automoderator, can be one of the
moderators to reject a post. You will know your article was rejected
when you receive an e-mail notification of the rejection. You should
not assume that your article has been rejected based upon the fact that
you have not seen it appear in the group. If you are not sure what
could prevent your article from showing up, you missed part of this FAQ;
go back and start over.
The e-mail notice you receive will include information on why your
posted was rejected and which moderators reviewed the article, followed
by the original text of your article. You are welcome to edit your post
to meet the standards of the group and resubmit it.
Note: Rejection of an article does not mean that the moderators disagree
with the content of that article. Rejection only means that it does not
appear to meet the charter of the group. Do not confuse rejection of an
article with disapproval of, or disagreement with, its content.
Who Can I Talk To About My Rejected Article? (10.)
Rejected articles can be appealed to the panel of moderators. Send
your appeal to
srm-board [at] srm [dot] npl [dot] com
Please include the text of the rejection notice, and an explanation of
why you disagree with the decision. If you do not ask for a response,
you may not receive one. In other words, unsolicited criticism may not
generate a response.
If that address looks odd, it is. Please substitute the proper characters
to form the address.
What's The Best Way To Appeal My Article's Rejection? (11.)
The most effective way to appeal the rejection of an article is to reply
to the returned post message you received (or mail to the address above)
and explain why you feel your article should be accepted. Remember the
newsgroup exists to "provide a forum for courteous discussion of issues
pertaining to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
(Mormons)", as stated in the charter. If your post contained courteous
discussion of those issues, you could point out how the article would
contribute to the group.
It is not effective to argue why your post should not have been
rejected, especially if you do not offer reasons for acceptance.
In particular, using prior acceptance of other articles as a requirement
for acceptance of your submission not going to work. Acceptance of any
article does not establish a binding precedent for acceptance of future
This last point is particularly true for rebuttals of a previous
poster's comments. On occasion threads wind down to a continuous verbal
volley of "You said ...", "Did not", "Did too." At some point, the
moderators will decline to post the next article in this series. It is
always hard when someone else gets the last word, but please accept that
sooner or later _someone_ does get to say it. The more you stay on
topic and avoid taking shots at the other poster, the more closer you
will come to getting the last word. Appeals to the effect that you
didn't get to say nasty things to the person that just said nasty things
to you will get a sympathetic reading, but aren't likely to affect the
Do The Moderators Always Send Rejection Notices? (12.)
No, not always; for two reasons.
First, some people include a spam-blocker in their e-mail address.
People who have altered their e-mail address to prevent bulk e-mail
also may prevent our moderation system from sending them rejection
notices, if they do not include instructions on how to overcome it.
If you submit articles using an undeliverable e-mail address, then
returned mail from the moderators about your articles will be
We have also found that some of the bottom-feeding bulk
e-mail sites extract addresses from any response to off-topic
commercial posts. When we return these articles, we end up receiving
unwanted and unsolicited offers for unlikely commercial ventures. If
you intend to send blatant, off-topic commercial messages to the
newsgroup, let this notice serve as your official rejection notice.
I'm Having Trouble Submitting Articles. What Can I Do? (13.)
Not all newsreaders are created equal, nor are all configured alike.
In most cases, you can submit new articles or follow-up existing
articles by using the standard features of your newsreader. If that
process does not work with your software or configuration, you can
submit your articles directly by e-mailing them to the submission
srm-submit [at] srm [dot] npl [dot] com
This will place your articles in the queue for moderation.
No One Responds to My Articles. Are You Censoring the Replies? (14.)
There can be several reasons why no one is responding to your articles.
To begin, you should have paid closer attention to the section on why
articles might not show up as quickly as readers might prefer. In
particular, propagation anomalies may simply be hiding the responses
Another possible reason for lack of posted response to an article is
that the responses may indeed be rejected by the moderators. Was your
article close to the edge of what would be considered "on topic" for
this newsgroup? For example, discussions of how evolution can be
contrasted to or reconciled with scriptural accounts of creation are
likely to fall within the charter of the group; discussions of the
mechanics of evolution are less likely to do so.
Finally, of course, there is the possibility that no on found your
article fascinating enough to respond. Nah, couldn't happen.
Is There A Particular Format For Articles? (15.)
There is no set format for articles beyond the conventions required for
other news or mail articles (that is, a header of RFC 822-style images,
followed by a blank line, followed by the body of the message). Within
the body of the message, you should have only a plain text copy of your
article. [Users of browser-based newsreaders beware: your browser may
attempt to submit HTML-encoded articles by default. These articles
will not be accepted. Only submit plain text articles to s.r.m.]
Beyond format, there is the matter of style and grace. All posters to
soc.religion.mormon are encouraged to have style and grace.
Can I Post a Link to a Web Site? (16.)
The short answer is yes.
But the more than short answer is your post needs to be more than short,
If you want to direct the readers to some resource on the web you need
to include a description of what they will find on the other side of the
link. Why are you posting the link? What do you want people to find?
What should they expect? Answer those questions and your post should
be accepted (subject to the normal topicality, courteousness, and so on
criteria elsewhere herein described). Fail to do so and it could fail
to be approved.
Please note that this applies to links googling in the deja archives.
What is a Periodic Posting and Who Makes Them? (17.)
A Periodic Posting is, first and foremost, an article containing
information likely to be of interest to the readership of
soc.religion.mormon. Beyond that, it is also an article whose
information does not change, and whose value does not diminish,
substantially over time. This FAQ is an example of a periodic posting.
Although long time readers of s.r.m. will be quite familiar
with its content, new readers will (hopefully) benefit from it.
Period postings are made by the staff of s.r.m as a service to both the
authors of the posts and the patrons of the newsgroup. Any participant
who has an informational posting that could be of benefit to the group
is encouraged to send a note to the moderation board
and ask for the guidelines concerning periodic postings.
Are There Subjects That The Moderators Won't Allow? (18.)
Why, yes there are, and thanks for asking. All of us here at
soc.religion.mormon have, combined, more than a century of experience
participating in the various Usenet religion forums. In all that time,
we have learned that there are some topics that just do not lead to any
beneficial discussion. For example, a debate over which religious
groups should be called "Christian" is not likely to win friends or
influence posters. In general, the moderators take the position that
members of a religious group get to decide what to call themselves,
while individuals outside that body do not. If you attempt to post an
article that questions how others define themselves, you can expect that
it will be rejected as a disallowed topic.
Some Posts End with ObLDS. What is an ObLDS? (19.)
ObLDS stands for "Obligatory LDS". Every post submitted to this group
is expected to touch, at least tangentially, upon issue related to the
LDS church. Usenet culture has established this as an obligation on the
poster to provide some relevant content. The ObLDS is a humorous way of
acknowledging the obligation. For example, a short follow-up article
pointing out some (often unintentional) humor or irony in a previous
article might conclude with an ObLDS (or ObMormon) comment to attempt to
tie the comment in to the purpose of the group.
Humor, particularly the exquisitely pithy one-liner variety, is welcome
on soc.religion.mormon, though not necessarily encouraged.
Does the group have a motto? (20.)
Not really, but if it did it would be:
He's no crackpot either, even if it sounds like he is.
Which come from a post with the return address of student@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx,
so we really can't offer a lot of credit where it might be due if it were our
Where Can I Find The Charter For This Group? (21.)
The charter for soc.religion.mormon can be found on the s.r.m homepage:
Where Can I Find The FAQs For This Group? (22.)
That's a good question. You can find the current index of all
documents related to this group at
The following are also available:
Mormon Temples and Temple Worship FAQ
Moderation Policies and Procedures FAQ (this document)
SRM Acronyms, Abbreviations, and Buzzwords FAQ
Mormons and Other Christians FAQ
Do I Need a Disclaimer in My Article? (23.)
You will sometimes see disclaimers in the headings or signatures of
articles posted to soc.religion.mormon. Such disclaimers may be of some
value if the content of your article is related to your employment, and
even then their value may be questionable. But as someone who has been
seen wearing a belt with my suspenders, let me hasten to add:
This FAQ is provided as is without any express or implied warranties.
While taking every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information
contained herein, the author assumes no responsibility for any errors or
omissions, or for damages (real or imaginary) resulting from the proper
or improper use of the information contained in this FAQ.
This FAQ contains my opinions only and not necessarily those of my
employer, members of the moderation panel, nor any other person, living
or dead. Any other disclaimers omitted in error are hereby incorporated
by default. Always read and follow labeled directions.
Copyright (c) 1998-2005 by Craig Olson, all rights reserved. This FAQ may
be posted to any USENET newsgroup, on-line service, or mailing list as
long as it is posted in its entirety and includes this copyright statement.
This FAQ may not be distributed or included in commercial collections,
compilations or publications without express permission from the author.
Copies of this document are available on the s.r.m homepage
Note: Due to increasing amounts of Spam, we have changed the address for
these posts to an invalid address. To communicate with the panel,
please change "invalid" to "npl". Thanks.
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