[ih] Usenet query

Clem Cole clemc at ccc.com
Mon Jul 13 08:14:18 PDT 2020

I forwarded the question to Mary Ann Horton (who was then known as Mark).
 She was heavily involved in the development of B and C news.

On Mon, Jul 13, 2020 at 11:05 AM Mark Goodge via Internet-history <
internet-history at elists.isoc.org> wrote:

> Afternoon all (or morning all, depending on where you are and what time
> you're reading this).
> Was anyone here involved in the early days of Usenet, or the drafting of
> the various RFCs about it? If so, could you possibly help settle (or, at
> least, illuminate) a debate I'm involved in elsewhere about the purpose
> and uses of the "Organization:" header.
> To give some background, it's fairly common these days for Usenet
> providers to insert their own Organization header where one isn't
> already set by the user. For example, Eternal September populates that
> header with "A Noiseless Patient Spider", while AIOE, rather more
> prosaically, uses the header to identify itself as "Aioe.org NNTP Server".
> The question being debated is whether or not this is a valid use of the
> Organization header. On the one hand, there are those who assert that,
> by a strict reading of the RFCs, this header should only ever be added
> by the end user (or the owner of the end user's machine), and the Usenet
> provider shouldn't add it if the user omits it. In which case Eternal
> September et al are in breach of the RFCs. On the other hand, there are
> those who assert that the Organization can, legitimately, be the
> organisation which provides a person with Usenet access, in which case
> they are abiding by the RFCs. And, on the gripping hand, there are those
> who assert that since the RFCs which mention the Organization header do
> so purely descriptively, rather than making any kind of rule or
> recommendation (the relevant paragraphs contain neither MUST nor
> SHOULD), it's all irrelevant anyway because even if the RFCs described
> what was common practice at the time they were written, that doesn't
> necessarily have any bearing on contemporary practice.
> Can anyone shed any light on this?
> Mark
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