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Stop the Australian (Anti)Vaccination Network

ausadmin project

I've been reading USENET News since 1984, when the Net in Australia was confined to Universities and one or two commercial (but academic-related) sites. I've watched USENET go through some major upheavals over time.

In 1998 Phil Herring (also known as the Rev Doc), the person who volunteered to be "the one" to create aus.* newsgroups suddenly threw in the towel, and declared his "position" open. I was the only volunteer, and thus I was duly elected by a process of elimination of everybody else who was not interested (that's about 6 billion people).

I volunteered because I wanted to ensure that this important role would not be vacant. Without a single "trusted" person to issue the control messages, the aus.* newsgroup hierarchy would degenerate into disarray, with nobody really sure which groups were "real" or not, and with the likelihood that many important and worthwhile groups would not be created. In addition, I wanted to put an organisational structure into place which would ensure that in the future, should I decide to "call it quits" in this role, that others would be able to step in and take control with no disruption to the USENET community.

I want to see the Australian USENET groups grow into a strong and useful communication medium. ausadmin is my contribution toward that, and the release of the ausadmin software and website is intended to assist people around the world who want to foster other national hierarchies.

In 1998 I created a structure:

  • A domain news-admin.org to serve as an anchor for the maintainers of newsgroup hierarchies around the world.
  • A website, www.news-admin.org as a pointer to all hierarchies which were participating in this structure.
  • An australian website, aus.news-admin.org to provide information on Australian newsgroups and the voting process, current votes and past votes.

I also created software. This is the second time I have packaged the software, but really the first public release. The code is raw, it's ausadmin-specific, it's not well-documented - but it is also largely bug-free and it holds promise to be useful to other hierarchy maintainers.

If you aren't a USENET hierarchy maintainer, this software might not be much use to you. It's all perl though, and I used some techniques which you might find useful in your own software.


ausadmin-software-20020804.tar.gz (80K, mostly perl + docs)
This is the ausadmin code base, snapshot of 2002-06-29. This code maintains data structures representing existing newsgroups and proposals for new newsgroups. It generates checkgroups messages, creates and posts RFDs and CFVs, takes votes and tallies them to determine the results.
ausadmin-website-20020521.tar.gz (25K, HTML + perl CGI + PHP)
This is the contents of the aus.news-admin.org website, snapshot of 2002-05-21. The website is mostly dynamically generated by perl CGI and PHP code which reads the data structures mentioned above. The website is intended to provide the user with as much information as possible about the newsgroups which are under management.
README.html from the software distribution
Read this in case you want to know more. This document contains the full installation instructions (at least, as much as I could write in one night) so it gets pretty detailed.

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