Table Of


The FAQs for

Charter and FAQ

You will need to have a Charter written before you propose a group. The "Bot" will not accept a proposal without a Charter.

The Charter is a document stating the purpose or intent of the group, and the "rules" or "guidelines" for what is and is not acceptable behavior in that particular group.

There is no spell-checker when you place your Charter on your proposal. So it is recommended that you first write it in an e-mail, and spell check it, and then Cut and Paste it into the Charter section on the proposal form. That way you wont have to go back and revise it just because of a typo or two.

Remember, this Charter will exist for the life of the group (if the group is voted in and created). So "calls for votes", and other temporary things should not be included. The Charter will be permanently placed on the page that lists all alt.discuss newsgroups, and will be available to be read for as long as the alt.discuss groups are in existance. So careful wording (no slang if possible) is recommended.

The FAQs are usually set up in a question & answer format, and cover things not necessarily covered in the Charter. (Though this whole site is a FAQ and is not set up in a specific question & answer format.)

When a group is initially proposed, a statement of intent or explanation of the group is to be provided within the Charter section of the proposal form. This WILL BE considered to be the Original Charter for the group. Therefore, consideration and caution are suggested when writing the explanation of the purpose of the group in the original Proposal.

A full Charter is recommended, because if you want people to vote on the group, it is only fair to give them all of the pertinent information.

Sometimes, the original proposer does not include the full Charter for one of four reasons:

1) The original proposer wants the whole group to be in on the creation of the Charter.

2) The original proposer wants to wait to see if the group will pass before putting in the time to create a full Charter.

3) The original proposer does not know he/she should write a Charter until getting to the proposal page.

4) The original proposer doesn't care so doesn't bother with a Charter and writes a one line explanation when proposing.

It is recommended that you read a number of Charters and FAQs prior to writing your own, so you can see what others have done before. You do not have to stick to any one style.

PLEASE NOTE: The proposal form does NOT accept extra line spaces or html. The charter reads as one long paragraph. A series of hyphens (dashes) ----- seperating what would normally be paragraphed is acceptable. It does get difficut to read one huge long paragaph, but that is what we get, so keeping that in mind when composing your Charter can help you to make it as legible as possible.

All Charters are to be considered copywritten by their creators. Though many may be used for layout of information purposes, none are to be reproduced without express permission by their authors.

Two examples (that I have written) are openmind and queenschamber . These are linked here as examples only. The actual written words are not to be copied.

The layout of information for the above charters is available in these two templates. template 1 and template 2 Please remember, the two actual charters above are copywritten and your own words will convey your purpose much better than mine will.

NOTE: These two templates are great for website and posted Charters, but not so good in layout for the official Proposal Charter. (see note above about how the official charter looks). These templates are good for seeing what kind of information to include in the Charter, but the actual layouts wont work on the official proposal form.

After playing with the Charter Form on the site, I have come up with a moderately reasonable design for use on the Form. Please go here to read the instructions, and to see how you can place your information so that it will make the most sense when posted and archived.

Tag Lines

There is a section on the bottom of the Proposal Form that allows for a one line "tagline" to be added to the Path listing, right underneath the name of the group. This space is for a very short explanation of the intent and purpose of the group.

The information in the tagline shows up when someone uses the Search Engine on the newsgroup access page (from the HomePage to Community to Discuss) so using words that others might search on will give you better exposure.

You have approximately 60 character spaces available on the line. So you will want to put as much information, in as short and concise a way as possible in that section.

Here are some examples of good and bad taglines:


Alien abduction, herbal healing, out-of-body experiences, and other new age topics

Insomniac and night owl support group


The purpose of this group is to discuss and talk about the ....
bad names

Why are the good ones good and the bad ones bad?
The good ones explain fully what the group is about, so if someone is interested, they will know right away. (These two examples are from the pre-alt.discuss days, the openmind example is longer than what is now available.)
The bad ones: the first is too long so you never get to what the group is about. The second one is unclear. Names of what? People? Newsgroups?

So when it comes to the Tagline you want to be very clear. Either a small sentence or a listing of applicable words is acceptable. Either will work.

For a large collection of early Charters and FAQs for the groups created prior to alt.discuss and transferred over when alt.discuss was originally created (see the "w" list ) go to PO-BOX's Charter Pages . This site also includes any alterations or changes to some alt.discuss groups' Charters that have happened over time. Changes to Charters once a group has been created are no longer being tolerated by the alt.discuss community, but for the first 2 years it was an acceptable practice.

For the current collection of alt.discuss Charters go to the "official" voting/proposing website at

Why write a Charter?

Charters are written for a few reasons.

It helps other people know what the group is all about.
You can point it out if someone is posting off-topic.
You can include the policy about flaming and trolling in it.
It sets the standard and the tone of the newsgroup.
It is the correct thing to do. You cannot propose a group without including some sort of Charter.

Do I need a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) also?

That is up to you. It depends on how specific you want the info to be.

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