The NoCeM FAQ. V0.93

This document is a draft copy, as this project is being developed. Feel free to send suggestions to .

I intend this to be a net-developed project. The client code that I have written is intended to demonstrate the standard-- eventually I hope people will rewrite and change it as needed.

Part I -- About the NoCeM concept itself.

Q: What is NoCeM?

A: NoCeM (pronounced No See 'Em) may well be:

I'm providing a standard to centralize on, but the final implementation will be up to the net at large to define.
Q: How does this work?

A: There are many people out there with opinions on what should be posted to Usenet. Some have very widespread support, such as spam cancellers. Others, such as those who would like to silence a point of view, are not supported. There are many situations that fall between those two.

Under the NoCeM model, any person on the net who sees something they think shouldn't have been posted can issue a NoCeM notice. However, just as with any other type of Usenet message, the weight the notice carries will be no greater than the poster's net.reputation. If people agree with the issuer's criteria AND also feel that this person is a good judge of that standard then they will accept his/her notices. Of course the opposite holds true.

When a NoCeM notice is accepted by a user it will perform a pre-specified action. Most likely it will mark that message as read in the user's newsrc. However, it could also be configured to: remove that message from the news spool, mark that message TO be read (if you always want to read what some person suggests), or display a random message from the list (to check up on an issuer). While I would prefer to have this operate on a per-user basis, if it's your machine, it's your decision.

Q: Isn't it possible that my admin/upstream feed can use this to censor what I see?

A: Unfortunately, yes. As has always been true, upstream feeds and your sysadmin always can control what you see. While I would discourage admins from applying NoCeM notices on their spools, it's their machine and it's their right to choose what traffic they carry. If you feel your admin/feed is exerting too much control over what you are seeing, then you probably should be seeking a new source of information.

Q: What keeps someone from forging a NoCeM notice?

A: The NoCeM standard specifies that all notices must be public key signed in order to be accepted. You use a special keyring to control who you give access to.

Q: What are the different ways NoCeM can be used?

A: As I see it, there are 3 major uses for this right now.

  1. Spam/EMP's can be marked for "hiding". Such notices should carry "Action: hide" headers, have "@@NCM" in the subject, and be crossposted to alt.nocem.misc.
  2. Spews can be dealt with the same way-- "Action: hide", "@@NCM" in the subject, and it should go to alt.nocem.misc and the newsgroup (at a minimum). This should also carry a "Newsgroup:" ncm header.
  3. A person can make him/herself a "pseudo moderator" of a group, by issuing notices just for one group. If you wish to do this:
    1. You should only mark articles for that group,
    2. you should post it with a subject of "@@newsgroup" (*NOT* @@NCM),
    3. it should be posted to alt.nocem.misc (and the newsgroup, if its denizens want it there.) and
    4. it should carry a "Newsgroup:" ncm header.

    This can be accomplished in two ways-- the usual "Action: hide" notices, or with "Action: show" notices. Using the latter will mark all messages in that newsgroup as read, except for those in the notice. (Currently, the "show" method is severely limited.) A future implementation will aim at special features of newsreaders, such as nn's .nn/select file.

Part II -- So you want to receive NoCeM notices???

Currently there are two clients for reading the notices - the Moose's perl NoCeM client, and the latest version of GNUs.

To get and use Moose's client, you need:

Furthermore, you must be on a unix system that has perl4 or perl5 installed. Your system must either permit direct file access to the spool, or must allow shell users to use NNTP. The only article database that is currently supported is NOV.

At the moment, there are no active efforts to add NoCeM capabilities to non-unix newsreaders. (although a number of authors did express interest.) If you would like to see this, contact the authors of your newsreader.

Part III -- So you want to issue NoCeM notices???

More info on the headers....

mandatory - stage 3 must check for this, and make sure it can handle the message format, before continuing. Therefore this should likely be the first header present. (Thus only the starting delimiter and version header need be backward compatible.)
Some indentifying string.
the body contains message-ids that the issuer wishes the user NOT to see. An admin might wish to erase such messages.
the body contains message-ids that are recommended for reading.
this will come with other headers that mention the detection method, threshold, and/or crossposting factors.
due to the controversial nature of this one, I'd say it should have it's own category.
Same as MMF/Spam.
??Used by people who are pseudomoderating.
some sort of unique string might be nice to help optimize.
notices that affect only one newsgroup should be tagged with the name of the newsgroup. For the moment, this does NOT replace the newsgroup listing in the body of the notice.

The End (for now...)