I try to never post any Off Topic (OT) messages here, but I decided to do so
What I am hoping to research and learn about is what type(s) of newsgroup
moderation programs are out there in the event that I wanted to created a
"Moderated" Usenet newsgroup.
This is not a question about whether this newsgroup should or should not be
moderated even though I am sure that people here will end up responding
What I am wondering is whether there is software out there that can be used
in aiding a "Moderator" or group of moderators in moderating a Usenet
newsgroup to simplify and streamline the moderation process to make it quick
and painless. One reason for asking is that I sometimes participate in a
couple of moderated Usenet newsgroups that only have one or two moderators,
and it takes so long for messages to be approved for posting that most
people just give up on posting to those newsgroups. It is true that the
moderators are all volunteers, and they probably don't have the time to
moderate messages on even a daily basis let alone more frequently than that.
But, I thought that if there was some type of newsgroup moderation software
program out there that would allow the moderator to just set 90%-plus of the
posters as being "whitelisted" -- meaning automatic pass-through and posting
of their messages -- that would speed the posting process tremendously. My
thinking is that if the first time the moderator sees a normal post-able
message from someone, the moderator could just "whitelist" that poster, then
all further posts from that person would go through and be posted
immediately. The only time that a whitelisted poster would be changed to a
moderated poster would be if that poster posted complete obnoxious trash or
topics that have nothing at all to do with what the group is about. If such
software exists, then for all of the people here (just for example) who
routinely post on-topic, non-vulgar, non-trashy posts, their posts would go
just through automatically.
Again, I already know that a lot of people here would be opposed to any type
of moderation in this newsgroup, but I used this group as an example in case
I wanted to create a different moderated newsgroup. As everyone here knows,
there are a core of serious posters here who don't post complete vulgar
trash and who don't post political opinion posts etc. People's opinions on
a particular on-topic post would not be screened out or moderated -- just
the complete trash stuff, and the complete off-topic political opinion posts
etc. My real reason for asking this is in regard to another couple of
moderated newsgroups that I follow and sometimes post in, but for which the
moderation process is just plain too slow for people to even want to
participate in those groups.
Does anyone know of any such newsgroup moderation software or where I can
find out more about that?
That depends on just what you are expecting from the software.
Moderated newsgroups, of necessity, are handled differently than
unmoderated ones. Each message posted to an unmoderated group
simply goes straight to the poster's news server. From there, it
is propagated to other news servers using normal NNTP mechanisms.
Moderated groups, instead, route each post to a specific email
address. The moderator(s) receive those incoming messages just like
regular email. A moderator decides if the message is acceptable
and passes it along as "approved" -- in which case, it gets pushed
out to the news server in much the same way as an unmoderated message
A disapproved message is rejected (usually with some statement
of reason for the rejection so the original sender can elect to
try to resubmit).
So, you can use many tools that apply to automated handling of
email (esp mailing lists!) to handle some of the drudgery.
For example, you can preapprove certain posters (whitelist),
block certain posters (blacklist), filter messages based on
keywords (like profanity), require a "key phrase" included
in the message to indicate the poster has read the posting FAQ
(which is where the key phrase was mentioned!), etc.
[I've seen STUMP used in a few places]
Virtually all attempts at automating moderation fail, in some
way. They either get too aggressive (and discourage legitimate
posts) *or* are too easily hacked (thereby defeating the purpose
of moderation). In any case, you need a warm body that accepts
responsibility for making it work -- or the newsgroup fails.
[Damn few people want to pick up the mantle of moderator -- esp
for a failed group!]
Some years ago, I wrote a program that lets users share the
moderation duties (among themselves) for a *mailing* list.
This works with CLOSED lists (i.e., you can't join a list unless
invited -- for reasons that become obvious) and typically best
with very targeted lists (e.g., a group working on developing
or supporting a new product).
As every participant has to see every post in order to decide
for themselves if the post is appropriate, it can't discard
individual posts (like a moderated USENET group could). But,
individuals are free to censure specific messages. These
censures count against the original poster. So, if a poster
acquires enough criticism from enough *different* list members,
the poster looses his rights to post to the group.
Of course, to discourage abuses, each censure also dings the
person doing the complaining! Complain too much and *you*
lose *your* rights! (i.e., if you don't like what people
are saying -- despite the fact that OTHERS seem not to mind
it -- then you should stop reading the posts :> )
In the places where this has been used, it seems to work pretty well.
I think its sort of like the cold-war era "MAD" concept... folks
are always aware of it and, as a result, try to avoid it!
If you are interested in newsgroup moderation, I suggest you
visit one and see what it's like. Some are really disciplined;
others... not so much. :>
Thanks. I remember looking into STUMP before but I couldn't figure it out.
And I tried writing to the person who posted the STUMP software info but got
Just now, I tried doing a google search for ---> Usenet newsgroup
moderation software and got some results, including:
That had some interesting information, but it looks like it is 20 years old
and it all looked too complicated for me to be able to figure it out and how
I could do what I would like to do. It did look like -- if I knew how to
use the software etc. -- I would be able to "program" it to automatically
whitelist posters who post on-topic and not vulgar or trashy posts.
I'll keep searching to see what I can find.
In the FOSS (Free Open-Source Software) world, "You get what you pay for" :>
Often, folks throw something together to fit some need that THEY perceive.
Frequently, it's not a complete "product". If you're lucky, other folks
decide it's an idea worth pursuing and pick up the torch where you left off
(cuz most folks want to move on to the next "shiny object"!)
I think you should step back and ask yourself what you are trying to achieve.
And, how large your "audience" is likely to be.
E.g., the mailing list software that I mentioned upthread was intended for
very small, very dedicated groups of product "beta testers" -- people who
have an early exposure to some particular product (left-handed smoke shifter,
tent peg grease, etc.) and want to discuss issues that they've uncovered
or, perhaps, misunderstand.
They don't want to be bothered by others who have no experience with
the product (indeed, may not even know that it exists -- yet). And,
they might not want others to know that they are even interested in
the product (my software anonymizes the messages so -- unless you tell
someone your name and/or email address -- your identity is protected).
And, they typically have no patience for folks who want to rant:
"This product sucks!" If it does, then that will be apparent from the
test period. But, if the ranter is just frustrated and ignorant,
they usually have no patience for those sorts of unconstructive posts.
If you've got a subject that you think has some widespread appeal
that isn't already addressed somewhere in the USENET hierarchy, then
you might consider petitioning to start a new newsgroup. Moderation
is something you define in the proposed charter for the group. Will
moderation make folks MORE or LESS apt to participate?
You can, instead, opt to start a subscription (no fee involved) mailing
list. You can manage small lists yourself (even manually -- gack!).
Anything that grows in size (number of recipients, volume of messages)
may require you to find a hosting service as many ISPs will see lots
of mail from "your account" as a red flag (spammer, AUP violation, etc.).
Or, even a web forum or even just start a *blog* and invite folks to
comment about the issues that *you* present.
These (newsgroup moderation, mailing list, forum) tend to require some form
of hosting software. Chances are, *you* won't be running that on a machine
of your own (see ISP comments) so think about how deep you're willing to
tread into the quagmire...
I do know what I would like to achieve if it is possible and do-able.
I participate in other types of groups, including Yahoo groups etc. -- a few
of which I have created. Those are the closed -- single topic area -- types
of groups that I think you are describing below. But, they too, can be
cumbersome and complicated for people to join and follow.
And, I participate in a couple of moderated Usenet newsgroups, but as
mentioned before, the moderation process is too slow.
There is one Usenet style newsgroup that I participate in that continues to
work well. It's a computer related group that uses the NNTP style of
posting etc. called -- annexcafe.general.user2user . But, people have to
register to join, even though it does not require using a real name, and
people who post there don't see each other's real email address. All of the
posts there are sane, normal, on topic, and not trashy or crude. And, the
people who post there have a lot of knowledge. There are no trolls or bogus
posters because if anyone did post nonsense and crap, their registration
would just get deleted. And, the posts are instantaneous because they are
not moderated before being posted. The people who run it and similar groups
have their own servers or whatever and the groups are not found on the
general Usenet newsgroups lists.
Understandably -- when you consider that some one(s) have to decide they
are in the mood to read through some unknown number of posts to decide
which they think are appropriate to pass through. And, at the same time,
respond to complaints from folks who have NOT seen their posts appear
(yet) -- or, who have been notified that their post has been rejected.
Each day you *don't* do this means your backlog will be that much
larger the NEXT day!
This is similar to the mailing list software that I described. Posting
*to* the "list" is gated by that software (if you aren't "in the registration
database", your message is discarded). The issue then becomes one of
controlling that "registration database".
In my case, the members themselves control it (because I knew what a PITA
and thankless job it would be for someone to actively "moderate" it) so
anyone can effectively "retro-moderate" its content. The "twist" is
that exercising that sort of censorship comes at a personal cost: YOU
can find yourself removed from the list just as easily as the folks
you've been censoring! (i.e., carrot and stick approach to the problem).
In the case you describe (below), the registration database is controlled
by <someone> -- not really a moderator but more of an "administrator".
That;s what my mailing list software does: it "picks up" the mail addressed
to a particular account (special_mailing_list@somewhere), examines who it's
from, checks the registration database to verify the person is authorized to
post messages; then rewrites the message to replace their specific email
address with their "registered name -- c/o special_mailing_list@somewhere"
and Bcc's the message to all of the REAL email addresses listed in the
So, you can, conceivably, run the software on your smartphone (if your
smartphone can access email).
The only way to put a "gatekeeper" in the middle for USENET is to use
the moderation mechanism. This ties in to email (to connect to the
moderator) in a similar way.
The drawback with the USENET approach is that your group is now
very publicly visible -- both its existence *and* the content!
[If you want to have a list of product prototype testers that can
share comments and questions about a "yet undisclosed" product,
you don't want the list's existence to be easily known and you
almost certainly don't want its contents accessible, anonymously!]
I've found that I rely on private mailing lists for almost all of
my "technical" dialogues. It's a lot easier to express issues
(because you know EXACTLY who is reading your comments) AND a
lot easier to evaluate responses (because you know exactly who is
If someone posted an "OT" message, it would undoubtedly be met with
a fair bit of disdain ("If we wanted to talk politics, we'd go to
Why bother. By the end of this year, Newsgroups will be history.
There are something like 50,000 newsgroups, and of them, there are less
than 100 that still get any use. Of those still used, most posts are
politics. Even this newsgroup is being flooded with that sort of thing,
when it used to be mostly on topic.
I guess all the old usenet persons have either died, or sold out to that
miserable identity theft piece of crap called "Facebook".
One year from now, all newsgroups will be like ghost towns. If a few
posts do happen in any group, no one will be there to even read it. (And
it will be off topic garbage anyhow).
R.I.P. Usenet !
Yes, it is true that Usenet newsgroups are fading fast and have been for a
while now. Less and less people use them. And, some of the groups that
used to be good (like alt.social-security-disability, or something like
that) go annihilated by relentless spammers and trolls.
There are still a few groups left (like this one), but the spammers and
trolls may end up burying them too.
I don't hold out much hope except possibly for a few of the moderated
groups, but the moderated groups take so long for posts to be screened and
appear that they too are becoming dinosaurs.
Having posted to USENET for at least 25 years, now, this has always been
the case, to varying degrees.
But, unlike junk mail that falls into your mailbox of its own accord,
you have control over which posts you choose to open -- and, even
It's trivial to write a filter that looks for posts that begin with
"OT" and automatically DELETE them. You can likewise write filters
that delete posts that are crossposted (to particular groups or to
*any* other groups!).
And, of course, you can filter messages from folks YOU deem to be
not worth your time.
So, complaining about "having to read" something that you wished
you'd NOT read is like walking into a bar and complaining about all
the smoke! (I.e., don't go to that bar!) Otherwise, you're just
Other "communications media" are not immune to abuse. Mailing lists,
blogs, forums, even FB/twitter/etc. have lousy S/N (signal-to-noise)
There are no prequalifications for folks posting questions OR replies.
So, there's no guarantee the information you receive (*if* on-topic)
will be accurate, etc.
Think about what's been said, above. You're complaining about all this
"cruft" that you're likely to encounter. You don't want to use the
tools available to you (filters) *or* "self-discipline" to remove the
posts that you are pretty sure you'll be "disappointed with".
Yet, you want some *one* (or small number of ones) to put up with all
of this, on your behalf. AND, inevitably catch hell from folks who
see their posts censored, edited, etc. (some moderators will actually
elide portions of your post that they consider superfluous, inappropriate,
etc. -- without your consent).
Do you really think moderation is a viable long-term option? Esp when
there are no restrictions on who can TRY to post??
Deal with USENET like any other noisey information channel: use some
selection processes to decide what you want to address/read; who you
want to listen to; etc.
A tip: be wary of new posters as they can just as easily be old
posters who've realized they need to change their name in order
to be "heard, again". There's no reason you can't reply to a thread
*three* days after it was posted (and you can see who it attracts
by way of replies -- those folks who add information and those who just
whine about posts).
After all, isn't this how you deal with people in real life? You
don't respond to every crackpot you encounter -- esp if you've
encountered them before! OTOH, folks with genuine questions and/or
information tend to merit your repeat attention.
I already do a lot of what you suggested. I haven't tried doing all of the
filters, but I have done some and luckily I don't have to wade through
Colonel do-do etc.. And, yes, when I see a post marked "OT", and especially
when the subject is something political.
I do about the same thing, I abhor politics when it's posted on any
newsgroup except those intended. I already see far more of that than I
care to see, on tv and newspapers. I usually look at the subject on OT
posts, because some are not really OT. If they're car related, I like to
read those, and sometimes it's humor, which I often like to read, esp if
it's repair humor. But the filtering is a never ending job with all the
idiots who walk in here just to post trash.
When the newsgorups are dead and gone, I'll probably just switch over to
a cellphone with internet access, because I wont touch Facebook with a
10ft pole, and FB seems to hav become the whole internet now. I may use
the web to reference something, but I dont just go on the web to waste
time. I can do my occasional reference thing on the phone, and if I
really need to download something, I can take my laptop to any wifi
spot. So, my main reason for the cellphone internet would be to do
email, which I still do a lot.
I still remember when the entire internet was fun!!!!
Those days are gone....
The problem comes from folks who *don't*. Instead of ignoring posts
(off topic, flames, etc.) they encourage those exchanges. "Feeding
the Troll". So, the behavior gets reinforced. (Trolls that are
ignored eventually go away -- "no one is paying any attention to me!")
I've been using USENET just as a source of "unsolicited contacts" -- to
simulate "unsolicited telephone calls". This, so I could test some
telephone screening software I'm developing to see how effective it
is likely to be (I have just as little control over who posts on
USENET as I do over who tries to telephone me!). As the whole point of
that software is to "delete" undesired contacts (i.e., "don't bother
answering the phone, you don't want to talk to him/her!"), this results
in my USENET experience being severely filtered (automatically). Just
as I wouldn't want to "answer" those contacts if they came into my home
over the telephone lines! :>
[The statistics that BadGolferman posts monthly suggest almost half
of the posts (here) are being intercepted before my news reader
even *tries* to "offer them" to me/]
You have to consider the sorts of people that frequent particular
"venues" (newsgroups, mailing lists, forums, blogosphere, etc.).
Public venues tend to attract folks using the venue as an
alternative to a "social life" -- their SO won't let them hang
out at bars, they're retired/disabled/shut-in/underemployed/bored, etc.
So, they have a propensity to encourage this sort of dialogue.
By contrast, the technical lists that I participate in tend to have folks
who really don't have TIME for the list -- but, MAKE time as they consider
it a resource (that they would like to be able to call on, for help, when
THEY need it -- reputation becomes important; you can't take if you
aren't willing to give!). So, there's a balance between *prompt*
replies (technical issues often need a fair bit of thought before
formulating a coherent, accurate reply) and informative replies.
E.g., if someone asks how to trisect a circle, they'll get a reply
pretty quick (as many folks have already done this sort of thing).
OTOH, ask how to differentiate an 'L' from an upside-down '7' and
you'll probably have to wait a while for a reply worth using!
Do you have access to any of the services like the one you mentioned
elsewhere (annexcafe.general.user2user)? Would/could those folks offer
you what you seek?
I appreciate your thoughts and feedback on all of this.
The downside for the annexcafe newsgroups is that they are not connected to
the general Usenet newsgroup network. That means that people can't just go
to their news server (such as news.eternal-september.org or news.aioe.org )
and search newsgroups to find any of the annexcafe newsgroups. That means
that too few people from the general public would be able to find and use
any particular newsgroup there.
So, for example, if I wanted to create an alt.home.repair.moderated
newsgroup, placing it inside a private NNTP-based system like annexcafe
system wouldn't work since most people would never be able to find it.
And, to use the example of creating an alt.home.repair.MODERATED newsgroup,
I would only want to do it if:
1) the moderation system would be virtually automatic in most cases where
legitimate posters could be "whitelisted" and their posts would
automatically go straight through and be posted right away;
2) I wouldn't have to spend an exorbitant amount of time screening out the
obviously sick, demented, trashy, and obviously off-topic/political-opinion
3) I wouldn't want to spend any time screening posts that are generally
on-topic even if they represent ideas or contain comments that I wouldn't
personally agree with. In other words, I wouldn't want to be moderating the
content at all except to eliminate the obviously sick, demented, trashy, and
clearly off-topic/political-opinion posts.
If the above were possible, I think that type of modestly moderated
newsgroup would flow well and -- other than not seeing a bunch of total
garbage that some people post -- the readers and users would see an
easy-to-use, quickly responsive, and meaningful newsgroup.
As another example, there is a newsgroup called
alt.social-security-disability that still exists, but has been destroyed by
spammers and is no longer of use to anyone. It used to be an excellent
resource for learning about, understanding, and figuring out how social
security, SSDI, SSI, VA benefits, and disability benefits work. If it were
possible to create an alt.social-security-disability.MODERATED newsgroup
along the lines that I described above, it could be resurrected and would
once again become a meaningful and useful newsgroup.
One problem with the automatic "whitelist" system is something that I think
you may have already mentioned -- how to prevent spoofers and spammers from
just adopting the posting name of someone who is already whitelisted and
submit crap/trash/spam in that name. Somehow, I think the automatic
whitelist system would have to be specific enough to do something like also
identify the MAC ID of the poster who is whitelisted so a spoofer/spammer
couldn't just use the same name and get their crap/trash posts whitelisted.
They would have to connect to the server that is hosting the "private
newsgroup hierarchy". Just like you have to go to google.com to
SEARCH google. Just like *you* go to eternal-september.org to access
[Sorry, it's too early in the morning for me... what am I missing in your
They wouldn't be able to find it on a news server that wasn't participating
in that hierarchy.
Just like you can't participate in the "Home Repair Forum" without
going to <http://www.homerepairforum.com/ . Or, the Old Classic Car forum
without visiting <http://www.oldclassiccar.co.uk/forum/phpbb/phpBB2/
Granted, you can visit either of these just by pointing your browser at
the URL; by contrast, you'd have to configure a "news provider" in your
"news reader" software to access that "private" news service (assuming
they allow folks to connect to it without preregistering, etc.).
If you set up a mailing list, folks would have to go to a particular
"place" to join that list ("subscribe"). E.g., the FreeBSD mailing
lists are accessed via <https://lists.freebsd.org/mailman/listinfo/ .
If you set up a blog, then they'll have to come to your blog's web
page to read it (and comment on it).
My ISP doesn't host a news service any more (not enough demand to
justify the maintenance). So, I went looking for "public" NNTP
My ISP doesn't host a *mail* service any more (too much work, liability,
etc.) so I use other mail servers.
I guess I don't see the problem -- given that you have to *do* something
to get access to ANY news server (how did you find out about eternal
september?). Is it such an impediment to have a web page that tells
folks how to access that private hierarchy on that particular server?
("For OE users, do the following...")
That's relatively easy to do. STUMP has provisions for white and black
lists. But, someone would have to maintain those lists!
Ah, there's the rub. How do you decide what's sick, demented, trashy, OT,
etc.? I can write a subject line: "Something very pertinent to this group"
and fill the body with something entirely inappropriate (OhMiGosh... I lied!).
I can sidestep keyword/badword filters by exploiting the fact that people
can understand content that machines won't, taken literally:
trunnp iz n S-hole!
(ever wonder why you see posts where digits replace letters, etc.? p3ni5)
A good moderator doesn't inject personal bias into what is considered
"appropriate". However, a good moderator might prune posts to elide
OT stuff that is embedded in an otherwise appropriate post.
<Insert discussion of political campaign, here>
Entropy is a bitch. :> In order to provide the "order" you crave,
someone (something) has to exert effort to push back against the
This was the appeal of the user-moderated mailing list approach; the
folks most interested in keeping the list "on topic" had the tools
to do so! Rather than walking away, disgusted, when the list deteriorated,
you could actually take matters into your own hands and *do* something
about it (though at personal peril -- as is true of any moderator).
But, it's only as good as the "clientele" make it. I.e., if it
attracts kooks and wackjobs, then there's very little you can do
to keep things on-topic.
[For the "new product prototype" lists, you couldn't get ON the list
without having been SELECTED to evaluate the product! This goes
a long way to scraping off the "undesirables"...]
I suspect the easiest way to do so would be to create a "SSDI Forum"
and advertise its presence -- perhaps with a post on that newsgroup.
Of course, you risk drawing the undesirables -- which you will then
have to un-register.
If you're truly obsessed with "purity", you can exploit some credential
that is user-specific (e.g., your phone number -- not an email address
cuz you can have multiple of those!) and implement an
authentication/verification scheme based on that (call the number and
tell them what to type in on their confirmation form)
This is impractical -- unless you are protecting something that THEY
truly consider to be valuable!
Of course! And, to get that list of whitelisted users, they simply look
at the posts that were "approved"!
With a private news server, the server can require authentication before
allowing the connection (username, password).
Likewise, (with a private server) you can require a credential that is never
visible in the final post (e.g., "Tom, you must begin each post with the
word 'Frodbelg'. I will verify this against your name -- then, elide it
from the ACTUAL post.")
Authentication in open systems is always a challenge. E.g., what's to stop
me from acting *like* the moderator and sending MY posts directly to the
Unless you and I are on the same network segment, you can't "see"
my MAC address.
And, while you *could* see my IP address, that might change tomorrow...
or, an hour from now -- depending on how my ISP allocates IP addresses.
Authentication is usually handled by layering a suitable mechanism
in/on the actual data stream.
E.g., I can send you an email and *claim* to be someone else (by
forging the email headers -- with an appropriate server in the middle).
But, if I *sign* my message with *my* "key" -- which you can VERIFY
using public mechanisms -- then the headers no longer are part of
the authentication process (as they shouldn't be!). Instead, the
authentication is handled by this other mechanism.
[But, that requires support for that mechanism among your participants!]
This is how you "know" that iexplorer.exe is a genuine Microsoft program
and not something that *I* created (wipeharddisk.exe) and renamed to something
that would fool you!
You have to remember, all of these protocols were designed in a non-adversarial
envrionment. People WANTED to communicate. They didn't want impediments
that stood in the way.
And, access to The Network tended to be via semi-official gatekeepers
(school IT departments, etc.) so there was some level of accountability
(albeit loose) -- misbehave and you loose your privilege of access!
(you couldn't show up at the IT department desk wearing a wig and
marx brothers glasses/mustache claiming to be John Doe #7 to get yet
Look at some of the forums that are available and see what you think
about how "on-topic" they trend. I.e., if you find something that seems
well behaved, in practice, that would be something you might suggest
looking at in closer detail ("How would this format work for *me*?")
That's my point -- a private NNTP-based system like the annexcafe system
uses a news server that does not participate in the broader Usenet
hierarchy. So, placing a group there would make it virtually invisible to
the general Usenet-using public where people find newsgroups like the one
that we are on now. So, that wouldn't do what I would like to achieve.
That is probably my only option at this point. So, I may have to re-visit
the STUMP website and hosting service to see if I can figure it out and try
doing what I want to do.
I am not too concerned about that part. We all see some really sick,
demented, trashy, and obviously off-topic/political-opinion posts here in
this group. I am not talking about screening out anything that is in a gray
area -- I mean just blocking the really sick, demented, trashy, and
obviously off-topic/political-opinion posts. And, even if someone slips one
past the goalie, that would be an exception and that person could just be
blocked in the future.
About all of the alternative options -- mailing list groups, blogs, etc. --
I am not really interested in those even though I participate in such forums
and have created my own that are up and running as we speak. But, none of
them are NNTP-based forums. I am looking for an NNTP-based open forum that
can be fairly easily and automatically moderated to keep it basically on
topic and free from the obvious group-killing spam and crap posts.
Again, I appreciate all of your thoughts and feedback. Through what you
have written and what some others have written, I am coming to the
conclusion that the STUMP approach may be all that I need. And, since I
don't know enough geek stuff to do the free version on my own, I would
probably have to opt for the paid version.
P.S. An example of a moderated, easily located and accessible, NNTP-based
forum, there is one called: misc.taxes.moderated That newsgroup has only
on-topic posts and no complete crap posts, and it works fairly well because
the moderator(s) are able to turn posts around and post them fairly quickly.
I don't believe that they have an automatic "whitelist" system, but if they
did, it would probably make the newsgroup even more responsive. They could
do that because there are a small group of posters who have the right
knowledge and who do not post nonsense.
A similar group -- called misc.legal.moderated -- is somewhat functional,
but it takes so long for posts to show up that I think that many people have
given up on using that newsgroup. Ironically, I think the moderator(s) of
the above two groups may be the same individual(s)/people -- but I am not
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