7. Newsgroup Creation

As was observed above in "What Netnews Is Not," Netnews as a whole is not a democracy. However, there is exactly one feature of Netnews that has a form of democracy: newsgroup creation.

A new newsgroup is unlikely to be widely propagated unless its sponsor follows the newsgroup creation guidelines; and the current guidelines require a new newsgroup to pass an open vote.

There are those who consider the newsgroup creation process to be a remarkably powerful form of democracy, since without any coercion, its decisions are almost always carried out. In their view, the democratic aspect of newsgroup creation is the precursor to an organized and democratic Netnews Of The Future.

On the other hand, some consider the democratic aspect of the newsgroup creation process a sham and a fraud, since there is no power of enforcement behind its decisions, and since there appears little likelihood that any such power of enforcement will ever be given it. For them, the appearance of democracy is only a tool used to keep proponents of flawed newsgroup proposals from complaining about their losses.

So, is Netnews on its way to full democracy? Or will property rights and mistrust of central authority win the day? Beats me.

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