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Administrivia - Happy Anniversary (Jim Griffith - Moderator)
(less than smirk, offense=people expecting a joke)

Yesterday was the eighth anniversary of rec.humor.funny, and I feel compelled
to say a few words about it and about the past few months.  While I'm rather
free with my administrivia in, Brad has founded the
tradition of a silent moderator, and I intend to perpetuate this, except at
anniversaries.  But be warned - this article is long, and it contains little
or no humor.  So if it doesn't interest you, you can hit 'n' now.

I've been moderating this newsgroup for a few months now, and it's definitely
different than moderating  With r.a.s.i., people
rarely get upset over the articles I accept.  With r.h.f., people usually
get upset, whether it's over an accepted or rejected article.  The experience
has certainly thickened my skin a bit.  And since I just accepted my first
rot13 joke, I suspect my skin's going to need to be even thicker shortly...
I do want to thank you folks for generally being merciful on me.  By and large,
it's been a good experience, and I look forward to doing this for some time.

I've already seen a common thread of personal mail sent to me, and I feel
inclined to share several common questions or complaints and my stock response
to them.  Hopefully, this will answer questions you may have without requiring
you to actually ask them.  Some of them may very well degenerate into rants,
and I apologize in advance.  

	- "This joke really offended me!"  Most recently, "I can't believe
	   you would post a joke which advocated stalking women!".

	Sigh.  First, read the monthly posting on the Editorial Policy on
	Offensive Material.  Then, note the keywords in the joke which
	offended you, which probably said "offense=<foo>", where "foo" is
	"women", "Conservatives", "Irish", or something along those lines.
	If you ever see a joke which is also labeled with the same "foo", hit
	'n' before reading it, because such an article will probably also
	offend you.

	The official policy is that r.h.f. is supposed to propagate
	particularly funny material, regardless of any other considerations
	(except, of course, the legality of posting the material).  Someone is
	invariably offended by most articles which appear in r.h.f., and
	eliminating all jokes which might be offensive would reduce the
	volume by 70% (keeping in mind that 67.35% of all statistics are made
	up on the spot).  I've even accepted jokes that offended *me*.  

	In short, "it's just a joke".

	If I fail to stick the "offense=" keyword on an article which warrants
	it, then by all means, let me know.  Beyond that, realize in advance
	that humor will occasionally offend, and read r.h.f. with that in mind.

	- "You're doing a good job, keep it up!".

	I'm glad that you feel that way.

	- "That joke sucked.  You've got a lousy sense of humor, you lifeless

	I'm sorry that you feel that way.

	But I do have to share an anecdote about this kind of comment.  I
	recently attended a USENET dinner, held in honor of Joel Furr touring
	the San Francisco Bay Area.  When I showed up, I introduced myself as
	Jim Griffith, but I didn't mention my moderatorships, and no one
	other than Joel recognized me.  So we were eating, and I was seated
	next to this attractive young lady from the alt.peeves sect of USENET,
	when the topic turned to rec.humor.funny (without any prompting from
	me).  And the young woman said "oh, you know, it's never really been
	funny, but since the new moderator started, I had to unsubscribe, it
	has gotten so bad".  And I sat there saying "uh huh, I know what you
	mean" while she was talking.  Once she finished, I said "you don't
	know who I am, do you?", and she said "oh, you're Jim, uh..." and I
	said "Griffith.  Yeah."  And she said "oh, I'm sorry."  Sigh.

	- "That joke appeared in <foo>, and it's copyrighted!"

	I apologize, and I'll post the appropriate attribution.  Keep in mind
	that it is impossible for me to know this in advance.  I have a
	reasonable chance of recognizing certain kinds of copyrighted works,
	but I cannot do it reliably.  I am considering several reactions to
	violated copyrights, but they can only be reactive.  There is no
	effective proactive way to prevent copyright violations.

	By and large, moderators fiercely protect copyrights.  I personally
	feel that the rampant copyright violations which occur daily are
	the biggest threat that USENET faces.  The Net as a whole has to clean
	up its act if it is going to get the legal respect it deserves.

	- "You posted this joke, which appeared in r.h.f. N years ago!"

	Again, I'm sorry.  I've been reading r.h.f. since the beginning, and
	I've read through the joke books twice now.  But I've also read jokes
	off of various mailing lists, and I can't always be sure that a joke
	is familiar because I read it in r.h.f.  Also, the joke books only
	include jokes rated at "chuckle" or higher, which is a small percentage
	of r.h.f.'s articles.  Brad has a search engine for looking for old
	jokes, and I use it religiously, but it cannot be used with 100%
	accuracy.  Jokes get changed in subtle or not-so-subtle ways which
	prevents most keyword searches from working.  Polish becomes Irish, 
	policeman becomes state trooper, etc.  Worse, jokes tend to have
	common themes, which makes searches harder.  A search for the word
	"balls" may return several hundred matches (go figure).

	People seem to believe that since I missed a repeat that they caught,
	then I must be incompetent.  They fail to realize that there have been
	thousands of articles posted to r.h.f. in the past eight years, and
	no one can remember them all.  They also don't see the hundreds of
	repeated jokes that I do screen out every week.  I'm doing my best
	to prevent it from happening, but nobody's perfect.  If you have a
	constructive solution to the problem, please let me know.

	- "That joke is really old.  Use some discretion, man!"  Similarly,
	  "That joke has been circulating the Net for months now!".

	That may very well be, but unless it's ancient (a la "why did the
	chicken cross the road?"), if it hasn't appeared in r.h.f. before
	and it's funny enough, I'll accept it, marking it "heard it".

	- "There are too many articles being posted!  Moderate, dammit!"

	The standard volume is 10 articles per week, excluding topical jokes,
	plus (currently) two issues of the True News Digest per week.  This
	hasn't significantly changed with the change in moderators.  If you
	are seeing a huge number of articles, then your news reader is probably
	breaking up the True News Digest into individual articles.  There isn't
	much I can do about that.  If you don't like the True News Digest, then
	you can killfile it.

	- "Can you please send me a copy of joke <foo>?"  Most recently,
	  "I missed parts 1-N of the True News Digest, can you email them
	  to me?"


	- "Pretty please?"


	- "I know it wasn't a joke.  I just wanted you to read it!"

	This is typically from someone who sent a personal comment to me at, and who received a form response saying "wrong
	address, try again".  People get upset because in either case I read
	the note, so why not just do the right thing?  Sigh.  I receive 50-100
	pieces of mail a day, and the two addresses are handled in different,
	automatic ways.  The choice is between each of you doing the right
	thing once, or my doing the right thing 50-100 times a day.  Take
	a wild guess which option I'm going to choose.

	It's really easy folks.  Send joke submissions (and joke submissions
	*only*) to  Send any notes meant for my eyes only to  I have little sympathy and no tolerance for
	people who can't get this right.

	- "Hey, Brad, ..."

	It's *Jim*, dammit, *Jim*.  Funny thing - people seem to get the name
	right when they have something to complain about...  Brad still takes
	a somewhat active role in rec.humor.funny.  He may read the occasional
	submission or letter to the moderator.  He's got some long-term 
	projects in the works.  And I couldn't hope to do the job if it
	weren't for the software he's written (which he still supports for me).
	But I am the only one who is guaranteed to read something sent as a
	submission or as a letter to the moderator.

I'd like to ask that you keep three things in mind.  First, realize that r.h.f.
is consistently one of the three most-read newsgroups, and such a high
readership means a high volume of mail sent to me.  As moderator, I easily
receive 50 pieces of mail every day.  Right now, I am maintaining a queue of
40+ articles waiting to be posted and an average yes/no response time of three
days.  This takes a lot of work, and it cannot be maintained if the readership
places unreasonable demands on me.  Please keep this in mind when sending me
personal (funny-request) mail.  I'm a working stiff like most of you (I work
as a software engineer for a firm in Silicon Valley called ETAK - the digital
mapping company), and I don't get paid for the several hours I spend every week
moderating r.h.f. and r.a.s.i.  So my favorite kind of personal mail is the
kind which doesn't require a response.

Second, my job as moderator is to serve the best interests of the readership,
whatever that may be.  As far as I know, I'm doing that, but the best interests
of the readership may very well change without my realizing it.  I can't
reasonably do my job without feedback from you.  If I am not filling the
readership's needs in some way, you need to let me know.  

Finally, this newsgroup would have no value at all if it weren't for those
of you who spend the time to submit those jokes that you consider funny
(even if I don't agree with you).  If you see a joke which tickles your
own particular fancy, let the reader know that you appreciate the effort.

I look forward to the ninth year of rec.humor.funny, and my first complete
year as moderator.  As always, live long and prosper (it had to be said...).

				Jim Griffith

(From the "Rest" of RHF)

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