RFD: rec.gardens.ecosystems Usenet newsgroup (fwd)

From: <roseguy@flash.net>
Subject: 2nd RFD: rec.gardens.ecosystems moderated

                     REQUEST FOR DISCUSSION (RFD)
                moderated group rec.gardens.ecosystems

This is a formal Request for Discussion (RFD) proposing the creation
of a new moderated group named rec.gardens.ecosystems. This is not a
Call for Votes (CFV); you cannot vote at this time. Procedural details
are below.

CHANGES from previous RFD:

Re-editing of moderation policy for greater clarity.

Three groups have been added to which a pointer to the RFD will be
posted after it has become availab;e in news.announce.newgroups.

Two additional sections and an additional appendix added to the FAQ

Newsgroups line:
rec.gardens.ecosystems    Ecosystems and organic gardening (Moderated)


Organic gardening is becoming increasingly popular with home
gardeners. Organic Gardening, the magazine, conducted a survey in 1995
showing that the number of home gardeners in the U.S. had grown to a
total of 78 million. A little over one third of those gardeners used
mostly organic gardening techniques, a little under one third used
mostly non-organic techniques, and the remaining one third used a
combination of organic and non-organic gardening methods. Organic
gardening was found to be the gardening system of choice for most
beginning gardeners and significant numbers of experienced gardeners
were moving toward the greater use of organic gardening techniques.

This popularity is also seen within the Internet community. The use of
environmentally friendly products and cultural practices for the home
garden are routinely discussed on the newsgroups: rec.gardens,
rec.gardens.roses, triangle.gardens, and alt.sustainable.agriculture.
The same is true in the U.K. with uk.rec.gardening. There are a number
of newsgroups on organic farming for the agricultural community plus a
number of newsgroups on ecology for the academic community. There is
also the Organic Gardening List, a news letter on organic gardening
from the University of Kentucky and the Environment List, a newsletter
on environmental issues from Cornell. In addition, there are a number
of related news letters from both private and commercial sources.
There are many webservers and home pages devoted to organic gardening
as well. All of these point to a potential for significant readership
and participation.

The goal of organic gardening is a healthy, vigorous garden that is in
harmony with nature. The purpose of rec.gardens.ecosystems is to
provide a forum on ways to achieve that goal in the home garden. The
selection of the name, "rec.gardens.ecosystems" was to give emphasis
to that purpose. It is recognized that there is a potential problem
involving cross posting particularly with rec.gardens.
Rec.gardens.ecosystems is proposed as a moderated group utilizing a
robomoderator primarily to minimize this problem. The robomoderator is
intended as the only moderator at work and it will refuse cross posted
articles and articles containing binaries automatically. The use of
human moderators will be minimized as much as possible.


Reasonable expectations in terms of scope and content:

Rec.gardens.ecosystems is intended as a newsgroup for the discussion
of the ways nature works within the garden. Successful organic
gardening is more demanding than non-organic gardening because it
requires a working knowledge of the ways the total natural community
interrelates with the physical and chemical environment of the home
garden. This is the basic meaning of the term, ecosystems. The reason
for selecting the name, "rec.gardens.ecosystems" was to emphasize that
the focus of this newsgroup is on gardening in cooperation with
nature. Michael Pollan said, "... the garden is a middle ground
between nature and culture." That middle ground should be a place
friendly to both sides.

Organic gardening can be defined as gardening with environmentally
friendly materials and environmentally friendly cultural practices.
Those materials considered as "environmentally friendly" are, for the
most part, those materials approved for use and listed in the
International Certification Standards of the Organic Crop Improvement
Association. A copy of that Standard will be included as Appendix A in
the group FAQ. Those practices that are considered as "environmentally
friendly" are those practices traditionally associated with organic
gardening and/or Integrated Pest Management.

Rec.gardens.ecosystems is also proposed as a newsgroup with a
Frequently Asked Questions or FAQ component. The FAQ will attempt to
answer the bulk of the questions asked by home gardeners employing
organic gardening techniques. Because the ecosystem of one area is
often so different from the ecosystem of another and because organic
answers tend to be so regional, the content of the FAQ will be based
on discussions in the group and on the existing knowledge and
experience of volunteers who help maintain the FAQ.
The basic content will be as follows:


     Section A: Basic Orientation & Definition of Terms
     Section B: Soils: Structure, use of Soil Amendments & Mulches
     Section C: Composting & Use of Compost
     Section D: Plant Nutrition
     Section E: Cultural Practices
     Section F: Botany for the Home Gardener
     Section G: Plant & Soil Disease; Treatment & Prevention
     Section H: Plant & Soil Pests; Treatment & Prevention
     Section I: Gardening for Wildlife
     Section J: Growing Edible Crops/Growing Organic Foods & Products
     Section K: Vegetarian & Vegan Gardening

     Appendix A: OCIA's International Certification Standard
     Appendix B: Recommended Reading
     Appendix C: Related Newsgroups, Websites, & Off-line Addresses
     Appendix D: Moderation Policy
     Appendix E: Glossary of Botanical Terms

An updated copy of the FAQ will be posted in rec.gardens.ecosystems
every two weeks. The FAQ Maintainers may decide to change the
posting frequentcy if and when the FAQ becomes available by other
means such as FTP, WWW or Automated E-mail.

Maintainer: Bill Robinson <roseguy@flash.net>
Maintainer: Ronald Zwaagstra <R.Zwaagstra@ppsw.rug>

Note:The FAQ maintainers will make a concerted effort to keep the
content of the FAQ current, relevant, and accurate. The information in
the FAQ can be used freely but at one's own risk. The FAQ maintainers
can not be held responsible for any damage caused by the information
in the FAQ.

Reasonable expectations of rec.gardens.ecosystems as a whole:

Gardening with just environmentally friendly materials coupled with
just environmentally friendly cultural practices and getting good
results requires a working knowledge of the ecosystems operating in
that particular garden. For the most part, it is a more complicated
way to garden. The reader should expect some of the discussions to be
relatively technical.

Moderation Policy:

The moderation policies for rec.gardens.ecosystems have a number of
goals. One goal is to eliminate or reduce cross postings. The only
crossposted articles allowed are administrative postings like RFDs
and CFVs. A second goal is to help the discussions stay focused on
ecosystems and organic gardening. A third goal is to discourage
inappropriate postings. The moderation system consists of a robo-
moderator supported by human moderators. The planed moderation
program is expected to meet these goals.

The robomoderator is intended as the primary "moderator at work". It
has the ability and is given the authority to perform three functions
during periods in which it is the primary moderator: 1.) To reject cross
posted articles or articles containing binaries, (PGP signatures O.K).
2.) To check whether the poster has engaged in off-topic postings (such
as, but not restricted to, =91flames' or non-authorized commercial
postings) and attempts to continue such postings even after an
explicit request by the moderating team has been sent that such
practice cease. In the event that both conditions are met, the article
is referred to the human moderators for consideration. 3.) To approve
and post all other articles independent of the human moderators.

Except for forged messages, the moderators will not cancel any
messages. The human moderators may update the robomoderator
so as to reduce the number of off-topic postings. It should be noted
that as the robomoderator is usally the only moderator at work, some
amount of off-topic (see below) posts should be expected.

The responsibilities of the human moderators are to maintain the
robomoderator and to handle those situations that require individual
attention. When the human moderators see a need to shift moderation
to their control, they will first post an advanced notice on
rec.gardens.ecosystems stating the intent to shift to human moderation
(assisted by the robomoderator) and state the reasons for doing so.
The human moderators take over for an unspecified length of time
and will be assisted by the robomoderatoro checking for cross-posts,
binaries, and approved posters. The human moderators may elect to give
auto-approval status to any number of posters during those periods of
human moderation. All human moderators have the right to accept or
reject articles for rec.gardens.ecosystems.

The reasoning behind the temporary shifting to human moderation is to
provide the human moderators with the means to deal with difficult
situations, these include but are not restricted to flamewars and a
high percentage of off-topic postings. Articles that are blatantly
commercial and have nothing to do with home gardening or articles that
contain foul or offensive language, e.g., flames,  are considered
inappropriate for rec.gardens.ecosystems. Articles that are aimed at
demeaning individuals as a result of their age, nationality, race,
religion, gender or sexual orientation are also considered
inappropriate. In the event that such an article should appear, the
human moderator would contact the author, attach a copy of the group
charter as a reference, and request the author's cooperation. In the
event that all efforts to gain cooperation fail, the human moderator
may elect to have all future articles from that author auto-referred
to human moderators for individual consideration. The author would be
notified by the human moderator if the decision was to reject the

Articles advocating the routine application of materials prohibited by
the International Certification Standards, as specified in Appendix A
of the group FAQ, are considered inappropriate as well. The same
general procedures as described above would be followed with the
exception that if such a posting would actually appear in
rec.gardens.ecosystems, the human moderator would also post an article
stating that the application of that material in that paticular way
violates the International Certification Standard.

As technology and circumstance change, it will undoubtedly be
necessary to update the moderation policy from time to time. In which
case, the changes would be posted to rec.gardens.ecosystems. The group
FAQ will also contain the most recent version of the moderation policy
in Appendix D.

Commercial Postings:

Articles announcing or promoting commercial products, services, or
publications by commercial sources may be posted provided that they
are appropriate in an organic gardening program. The articles must be
approved by the moderator prior to posting. Commercial postings
without pre-post approval will be considered as inappropriate and
treated as above.

Replacement of moderators:

Moderators may be replaced in a vote organized by an independent
vote-counter using the automated UseVote software. The voting period
lasts for a  period of 20 to 30 days, stated in advance in the Call
For Votes. The Call For Votes must appear in rec.gardens.ecosystems.
Moderators are replaced when the replacement candidate obtains a 2/3
majority with a minimal difference of 100 votes. The results of the
vote are published in rec.gardens.ecosystems.

The original proponent for a moderator replacement is allowed one
article in the group calling for support. The subjectline for that
Call For Support should read:"Moderator replacement, Call For
Support". The formal replacement process requires the support of at
least ten past-posters with the number verified by the moderator
group. A formal discussion on the replacement may then begin. The
subjectline for the formal discussion should read:"Moderator
replacement, Request For Discussion". Calls For Support and Requests
For Discussion will only be accepted when at least six months have
passed since the last request for discussion of moderator replacement.

Resignation of moderators, expansion of office:

Moderators in office may resign or choose to increase their number. In
such case, they may appoint a new moderator without a formal group
vote. Anyone who would like to volunteer to become a moderator should
notify one of the moderators. The moderators may ask the group for
their opinions regarding a candidate moderator. Those who would wish
to reply should do so by sending their comments directly to the
moderators by private e-mail rather than posting in the group. The
acceptance of a new moderator is then posted in

Conflicts between moderators:

The moderator team will be supervised by a Moderator Supervisor who is
not engaged in actual moderation. If the moderators have a conflict
that they can not resolve by themselves, the Moderator Supervisor
decides the issue. The proposed moderators propose the first Moderator
Supervisor. The Moderator Supervisor may propose their successors to
the moderating team. The moderating team must agree on the selection
of the follow-up supervisor.


MODERATOR INFO: rec.gardens.ecosystems

Moderator Supervisor: Don Chapman<don@bio-organics.com>
Moderator: Bill Robinson <roseguy@flash.net>
Moderator: Ronald Zwaagstra <R.Zwaagstra@ppsw.rug.nl>



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

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

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


The RFD has been posted to the following newsgroups:

sci.bio.conservaton,sci.bio.botany,sci.bio.ecology. After the
publication of the RFD in news.announce.newsgroups, the RFD will
also be posted in the following newsletters: Organic Gardening
List (OGL@ukcc.uky.edu), Environment-L (listproc@cornell.edu), and
Compost-L (listproc@wsu.edu). Pointers to the RFD will be posted to
bionet.plants, bionet.population-bio, and rec.gardens.edible.


Proponent: Bill Robinson <roseguy@flash.net>
Proponent: Ronald Zwaagstra <R.Zwaagstra@ppsw.rug.nl>