INTERNET DRAFT to be NEWS                    Expires 19990101

                             News Article Format
                            USEFOR Working Group

Status of this Memo

     This document is an Internet-Draft.  Internet-Drafts are working
     documents of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), its
     areas, and its working groups.  Note that other groups may also
     distribute working documents as Internet-Drafts.

     Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six
     months and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other
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     Drafts as reference material or to cite them other than as
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     To view the entire list of current Internet-Drafts, please check
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     Shadow Directories on (Africa),
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     (US West Coast).

          It is hoped that this document will obsolete RFC 1036 and will
          become an Internet standard.

          This document is a successor to Henry Spencer's "Son of 1036"
          Draft, and has been referred to as "Grandson of 1036".

          Distribution of this memo is unlimited.


          This Draft defines the format of network news articles, and
          defines roles and responsibilities for humans and software.

          Network news articles resemble mail messages but are broadcast
          to potentially large audiences, using a flooding algorithm
          that propagates one copy to each interested  host  (or group
          thereof), typically stores only one copy per host, and does
          not require any central  administration  or  systematic
          registration  of  interested users.  Network news originated
          as the medium  of  communication  for  Usenet,  circa  1980.

          The term "Usenet" refers to the protocols established in RFC
          1036 and successors; the software implementing those protocols;
          the network of hosts exchanging traffic using that software;
          and also the traffic itself. Cooperating subnets are possible;
          these are groups of hosts which agree to hold each other and
          themselves to an internally adopted set of standards concerning
          protocol details or implementations. When a cooperating subnet
          does not exchange traffic with general Usenet hosts, then it
          is no longer a part of Usenet, but a separate entity.

          Since  then  Usenet has grown explosively, and most Internet
          sites participate in it.  In addition, the  news  technology
          is now in widespread use for other purposes, on the Internet
          and elsewhere.

          This document is intended to provide a definitive guide to the
          article format and interpretations thereof. Backward
          compatibility is a major goal, but where this document and
          earlier documents or practices collide, this document should be

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Definitions, Notations and Conventions
2.1 Definitions.
2.2. Textual Notations
2.3. Syntax Notation
2.4. Language

3. Relation To [MAIL] (RFC 822 etc.)

4. Basic Format
4.1 Overall Syntax
4.2. Syntax of News Articles
4.3. Headers
4.3.1. Names and Contents
4.3.2 Header Classes
4.3.3 Experimental Headers
4.3.4 Persistent Headers
4.3.5. Variant Headers
4.3.6. Header Classes Experimental Headers Persistent Headers Examples Comment Headers Variant Headers
4.3.7. White Space and Continuations
4.3.9. Undesirable Headers
4.4. Body
4.4.1. Body Format Issues
4.4.2. Body Conventions
4.5. Characters And Character Sets
4.5.1. Character Sets within Article Headers
4.5.2 Character Sets within Article Bodies
4.6. Size Limits
4.7. Example

5. Mandatory Headers
5.1. Date
5.2. From
5.2.1 Examples:
5.3. Message-ID
5.4. Subject
5.4.1 Examples:
5.5. Newsgroups
5.5.1 Forbidden newsgroup names
5.6 Path
5.6.1 Format
5.6.2 Adding an entry to the Path header.
5.6.3 The tail Entry
5.6.4 The Injecting Agent Entry
5.6.5 Delimiter Summary
5.6.6 Other formatting Issues Use of "!"
5.6.7 Suggested Verification Methods
5.6.8 Issues

6. Optional Headers
6.1 Followup-To
6.2 Expires
6.3. Reply-To
6.3.1 Examples:
6.4. References
6.4.1 Examples:
6.5. Control
6.6. Control Messages
6.6.1 The "newgroup" Control Message multipart/newsgroupinfo application/newsgroupinfo Initial Named Articles
6.6.2 The "rmgroup" Control Message
6.6.3 The "mvgroup" Control Message Single group Multiple Groups
6.6.4 The "checkgroups" Control Message Example:
6.6.5 application/newscheckgroups Examples
6.6.6 Cancel
6.6.7 ihave, sendme
6.6.8 Obsolete control messages.
6.7. Distribution
6.8. Keywords
6.9. Summary
6.10. Approved
6.11 Lines
6.12. Xref
6.13. Organization
6.14. User-Agent
6.14.1 Examples:
6.15 MIME headers
6.15.1 Syntax
6.15.2 Content-Transfer-Encoding
6.15.3 Content-Type Text Application Image, Audio and Video Multipart Message Character Sets
6.15.4 MIME within headers
6.15. Supersedes / Replaces
6.15.1 Message-ID version numbers chain procedure.
6.15.2 Implementation and Use Note
6.15.3 Transition
6.15.4 Replaced-by Examples Example
6.15.6 Dates
6.15.7 Issues
6.16 Archive
6.17. Obsolete Headers

7. Duties of Various Agents
7.1 Duties of an Injecting Agent.
7.1.1 Proto-articles.
7.1.2 Procedure followed by Injecting Agents.
7.1.3 Headers added by Injecting Agents.
7.2 Duties of a Relaying Agent
7.2.1 Unwanted and Invalid articles
7.3 Duties of a Serving Agent
7.3.1 Unwanted articles
7.4 Duties of a Posting Agent.
7.5 Duties of a Followup Agent
7.6 Duties of a Gateway

8. Propagation and Processing

9. Security And Related Issues
9.1 Attacks

10. Security Considerations

11. References:

1. Introduction

          Network  news articles resemble mail messages but are
          broadcast to potentially-large audiences, using a flooding
          algorithm  that propagates one copy to each interested host
          (or groups thereof), typically stores only one  copy  per
          host, and  does  not require any central administration or
          systematic registration of interested users.  Network news
          originated as the medium of communication for Usenet, circa
          1980.  Since then Usenet has grown explosively, and  many
          Internet sites  participate  in it.  In addition, the news
          technology is now in widespread use for other purposes, on the
          Internet and elsewhere.

          The  earliest  news  interchange used the so-called "A News"
          article  format.   Shortly  thereafter,  an  article  format
          vaguely  resembling  Internet  mail  was  devised  and  used
          briefly.  Both of those  formats  are  completely  obsolete;
          they  are  documented  in  appendix A for historical reasons
          only.  With publication of RFC 850 [rrr] in 1983, news
          articles came  to closely resemble Internet mail messages,
          with some restrictions and some  additional  headers.   RFC
          1036 in 1987 updated RFC 850 without making major changes.

          A Draft popularly referred to as "Son of 1036" was written in
          1992 by Henry Spencer. That document formed the original basis
          for this document. Much is taken directly from Son of 1036, and
          it is hoped that we have followed its spirit and intentions.

          As  in  this  document's  predecessors, the exact means used to
          transmit articles from one host to another is not specified.
          NNTP  [rrr]  is the most common transmission method on the
          Internet, but a number of others are in use,  including the
          UUCP protocol [rrr] extensively used in the early days of
          Usenet, FTP, tape archives, and physically delivered magnetic
          and optical media.

          Several  of  the mechanisms described in this document may seem
          somewhat strange or even bizarre at first reading.  As  with
          Internet  mail, there is no reasonable possibility of updating
          the entire installed base of news software promptly,  so
          interoperability  with  old  software  is  critical  and will
          remain so.  Compatibility with existing practice and
          robustness in  an  imperfect world necessarily take priority
          over elegance. Elegance is left to the implementors.

2. Definitions, Notations and Conventions

2.1 Definitions.

          An "article" is the unit of news, analogous to a [MAIL]

          A "poster" is the person or software that composes and submits
          a possibly compliant article to an injecting agent. The poster
          is analogous to [MAIL]'s author(s).

          A "posting agent" is software that assists posters to prepare
          articles, including adding required headers and determining
          whether the final article is compliant to this standard. If
          the article is compliant it passes the article on to an
          injecting agent for final checking and injection into the news
          stream.  If the article is not compliant or rejected by the
          injecting agent then the posting agent informs the poster with
          an explanation of the error.

          An "injecting agent" takes the finished article from the
          posting agent (often via the NNTP "post" command ) performs
          some final checks and passes it on to a relaying agent for
          general distribution.

          A "relaying agent" is software which receives allegedly
          compliant articles  from  injecting  agents and/or other
          relaying agents, and possibly passes copies on to other
          relaying agents and serving agents.

          A "serving agent" takes an article from a relaying agent and
          files it in a "news database" . It also provides an interface
          for reading agents to access the news database.

          A "reader" is the person or software reading news articles.

          A "reading agent" is software which presents articles to a

          A "newsgroup" is a single news  forum,  a  logical  bulletin
          board,  having a name and nominally intended for articles on a
          specific topic.  An article is "posted to" a single newsgroup
          or several newsgroups.  When an article is posted to more than
          one newsgroup, it is said  to  be  "crossposted"; note that
          this differs from posting the same text as part of each of
          several articles, one per newsgroup.  A  "hierarchy" is  the
          set of all newsgroups whose names share a first component.

          A newsgroup may be "moderated", in  which  case  submissions
          are  not  posted  directly,  but mailed to a "moderator" for
          consideration and possible posting.  Moderators are typically
          human but may be implemented partially or entirely in

          A "followup" is an article containing a response to the
          contents of an earlier article (the followup's "precursor").

          A "followup agent" is a combination of reading agent, and
          posting agent that aids in the preparation and posting of a

          A "reply agent" is a combination of reading agent and mailer
          that aids in the preparation and posting of an email response
          to an article.

          A "message ID" is a unique identifier for an  article, usually
          supplied by the posting agent which posted it.  It
          distinguishes the article from every other article ever posted
          anywhere.  Articles with the same message ID are treated as
          identical copies of the same article even if they are not in
          fact identical.

          A  "gateway"  is  software  which receives news articles and
          converts them to messages of some other kind (e.g. mail to a
          mailing list), or vice versa; in essence it is a translating
          relaying agent that straddles boundaries between different
          methods of message exchange.  The most common type of gateway
          connects newsgroup(s) to mailing list(s),  either
          unidirectionally  or  bidirectionally,  but  there are also
          gateways between news networks using this  document's  news
          format and those using other formats.

          A  "control  message"  is an article which is marked as
          containing control information; a relaying or serving agent
          receiving such an article may (subject to permissions  etc.)
          take actions beyond just filing and passing on the article.

          An article's "reply address" is the address to which mailed
          replies should be sent. This is the address specified in the
          article's From header (see section 5.2), unless it also has a
          Reply-To header (see section 6.3).

2.2. Textual Notations

          Throughout this document, [MAIL] is short for "the current RFCs
          governing electronic mail formats, beginning with the
          historical RFC 822 and continuing to its modern successors.

          "ASCII"  is  short  for "the ANSI X3.4 character set" [rrr].
          While "ASCII" is often misused to refer to various character
          sets  somewhat similar to X3.4, in this document, "ASCII" means
          X3.4 and only X3.4. ASCII is a 7 bit character set. Please
          note that this document requires that all agents be 8 bit clean;
          that is, they must accept and transmit data without changing
          or omitting the 8th bit.

          Certain words used to define the significance of  individual
          requirements are capitalized.  "MUST", "SHOULD", "MAY" and
          the same words followed by "NOT" should be read as having the
          same meaning as in RFC 2119.

          This document contains explanatory notes  using  the  following
          format.   These  may be skipped by persons interested solely
          in the content of the specification.   The  purpose  of  the
          notes  is to explain why choices were made, to place them in
          context, or to suggest possible implementation techniques.

          NOTE: While such explanatory notes may seem superfluous in
          principle,  they  often help the less-than-omniscient reader
          grasp the  purpose  of  the specification and the constraints
          involved.  Given the limitations of natural language  for
          descriptive purposes, this improves the probability that
          implementors and users will understand the true intent  of
          the specification  in cases where the wording is not entirely

          All numeric values are given  in  decimal  unless  otherwise
          indicated.   Octets  are  assumed  to be unsigned values for
          this purpose.

          Through this document we will give examples of various
          definitions, headers and other specifications. It MUST be
          remembered that these samples are for the aid of the reader
          only and do NOT define any specification themselves. In order
          to prevent possible conflict with "Real World" entities and
          people the top level domain of ".example" is used in all
          sample domains and addresses. The hierarchy of example.* is
          also used a sample hierarchy. Information on the ".example"
          top level domain is in [TEST-TLDS] .

2.3. Syntax Notation

          This document uses the Augmented Backus Naur Form described in
          [ABNF]. A discussion of this is outside the bounds of this
          document, but it is expected that implementors will be able to
          quickly understand it with reference to the defining document.

          This document is intended  to  be  self-contained;  all  syntax
          rules  used in it are defined within it, and a rule with the
          same name as one found in [MAIL] does not have the same
          definition.   The lexical layer of [MAIL] is NOT, repeat NOT,
          used in this  document,  and  its  presence  must  not  be
          assumed;  notably,  this  document  spells out all places where
          white space is permitted/required and all places where
          constructs resembling [MAIL] comments can occur.

          NOTE:  News  parsers  historically  have been much less
          permissive than [MAIL] parsers.

          Text  in  newsgroup  names, header parameters, etc. is
          case-sensitive unless stated otherwise.

          NOTE: This is at  variance  with  [MAIL],  which  is
          case-insensitive  unless  stated otherwise, but is
          consistent  with  news  historical  practice   and
          existing news software.  See the comments on backward
          compatibility in section 1.

2.4. Language

          Various constant strings in this document, such as header names
          and  month  names,  are derived from English words.  Despite
          their derivation, these words do NOT change when the  poster
          or  reader employing them is interacting in a language other
          than English.  Posting and reading agents  MAY translate
          as  appropriate  in  their  interaction  with  the poster or
          reader, but the forms that actually appear in  articles
          MUST be the English-derived ones defined in this document.

3. Relation To [MAIL] (RFC 822 etc.)

          The  primary  intent of this document is to completely describe
          the news article format. News articles were once considered as
          a subset of [MAIL]'s message format augmented by some new
          headers; this is no longer the case. News and [MAIL] have
          diverged. It is the intention of this document that gateways
          between [MAIL] and news still be capable of performing this
          function automatically.

          [MAIL] and news do follow some of the same standards, however.
          In particular, the MIME standards apply equally to news

4. Basic Format

4.1 Overall Syntax

          Much of the syntax of News Articles is based on the
          corresponding syntax defined by [MESSFOR], which is deemed to
          have been incorporated into this standard as required.
          However, there are some important differences arising from the
          fact that [MESSFOR] does not recognise anything other than
          US-ASCII characters, that it does not recognise the MIME
          headers [RFC2045], and that it includes much syntax described
          as "obsolete".

          The following syntactic forms supersede the corresponding
          rules given in [MESSFOR] and [RFC2045]:

          text            = %d1-9 /           ; all octets except
                            %d11-12 /         ; US-ASCII NUL, CR and LF
          ctext           = NO-WS-CTL /       ; all of <text> except
                            %d33-39 /         ; SP, HTAB, "(", ")"
                            %d42-91 /         ; and "\"
          qtext           = NO-WS-CTL /       ; all of <text> except
                            %d33 /            ; SP, HTAB, "\" and <">
                            %d35-91 /
          ftext           = %d33-57 /         ; all octets except
                            %d59-126 /        ; CTL, SP and ":"
          token           = 1*<any ftext except tspecials>
          tspecials       = "(" / ")" / "<" / ">" / "@"
                            "," / ";" / ":" / "
                            "/" / "[" / "]" / "?" / "="

          Wherever in this standard the syntax is stated to be taken
          from [MESSFOR], it is to be understood as the syntax defined
          by [MESSFOR] after making the above changes, but NOT including
          any syntax defined in section 4 ("Obsolete syntax") of
          [MESSFOR].  Software compliant with this standard MUST NOT
          generate any of the syntactic forms defined in that Obsolete
          Syntax, although it MAY accept such syntactic forms. Certain
          syntax from the MIME specifications [RFC2045 et seq] is also
          considered a part of this Standard (see ...).

          The following syntactic forms, taken from [RFC2234] or from
          [MESSFOR], are repeated here for convenience only:

          ALPHA           = %x41-5A /         ; A-Z
                            %x61-7A           ; a-z
          CR              = %x0D              ; carriage return
          CRLF            = CR LF
          DIGIT           = %x30-39           ; 0-9
          HTAB            = %x09              ; horizontal tab
          LF              = %x0A              ; line feed
          SP              = %x20              ; space
          NO-WS-CTL       = %d1-8 /           ; US-ASCII control characters
                            %d11 /            ; which do not include the
                            %d12 /            ; carriage return, line feed,
                            %d14-41 /         ; and whitespace characters
          WSP             = SP / HTAB          ; Whitespace characters
          FWS             = ([*WSP CRLF] 1*WSP)   ; Folding whitespace
          comment         = "(" *([FWS] (ctext / quoted-pair / comment))
                            [FWS] ")"
          CFWS            = *([FWS] comment) (([FWS] comment) / FWS )
          <">             = %d34              ; quote mark
          quoted-pair     = "\" text
          quoted-string   = *CFWS <"> *(FWS (qtext / quoted-pair)) <"> *CFWS
          unstructured    = *( [FWS] text )

4.2. Syntax of News Articles

          The overall syntax of a news article is:

          article         = 1*header separator body
          header          = header-name ":" SP header-content CRLF
          header-name     = 1*name-character *( "-" 1*name-character )
          name-character  = ALPHA / DIGIT
          header-content  = usenet-header-content / unstructured
               = <a header-content specifically defined in this standard>
          separator       = CRLF
          body            = *( *998text CRLF )
          nonblank-text   = 1*( [FWS] nbtext )
          nbtext          = qtext /           ; all of <text> except
                            "\" / <">         ; SP and HTAB

          An article consists of some headers followed by a body. An
          empty line separates the two. The headers contain structured
          information about the article and its transmission. A header
          begins with a header-name identifying it, and can be continued
          onto subsequent lines as described in section 4.3.2. The body
          is largely unstructured text significant only to the poster
          and the readers.

          NOTE: Terminology here follows the current custom in the news
          community, rather than the [MESSFOR] convention of referring
          to what is here called a "header" as a "header-field" or

          Note that the separator line must be truly empty, not just a
          line containing white space. Further empty lines following it
          are part of the body, as are empty lines at the end of the

4.3. Headers

4.3.1. Names and Contents

          Despite the restrictions on header-name syntax imposed by the
          grammar, relayers and reading agents SHOULD tolerate header
          names containing any ASCII printable character other than
          colon (":", ASCII 58).  [That brings it into line with
          <optional-field> as given in [MESSFOR].]

          Header-names SHOULD be either those defined in this standard,
          or those defined in [MESSFOR], or those defined in any
          extension to either of these standards, or other names
          beginning with "X-".  Software SHOULD NOT attempt to interpret
          headers not described in this standard or in its extensions.
          Relaying agents MUST pass them on unaltered and reading agents
          MUST enable them to be displayed, at least optionally.

          Posters wishing to convey non-standard information in headers
          SHOULD use header-names beginning with "X-". No standard
          header name will ever be of this form. Reading agents SHOULD
          ignore "X-" headers, or at least treat them with great care.

          The order of headers in an article is not significant.
          However, posting agents are encouraged to put mandatory
          headers (see section 5) first, followed by optional headers
          (see section 6), followed by "X-" headers and headers not
          defined in this standard or its extensions. Relaying agents
          MUST NOT change the order of the headers in an article.

          Header-names are case-insensitive. There is a preferred case
          convention, which posters and posting agents SHOULD use:
          each hyphen-separated "word" has its initial letter (if any)
          in uppercase and the rest in lowercase, except that some
          abbreviations have all letters uppercase (e.g. "Message-ID"
          and "MIME-Version"). The forms used in this standard are the
          preferred forms for the headers described herein. Relaying and
          reading agents MUST, however, tolerate articles not obeying
          this convention.

4.3.2 Header Classes

          There are four special classes of headers that may be present
          in an article:  Experimental, Persistent, Comment, and
          Variant.  All other headers are ephemeral.  These classes are
          significant in how newsreaders and servers should treat them
          when encountered.

4.3.3 Experimental Headers

          Experimental headers are headers which begin with "X-".  They
          are to be used by newsreaders proposing new headers for some
          utility or for comments to be propogated with the article.
          There are no established headers that are considered
          experimental headers; an established header cannot be

          Attempts to create new headers that are to be adopted as
          standard headers MUST begin their lives as experimental

4.3.4 Persistent Headers

          Persistent headers are headers which begin with "P-" (or
          "X-P-", hereafter referred to simply as "P- headers") which
          persist across followups either identically or by simple
          modification.  Headers with this behavior include:

          Content is carried over into all followups. Modified by
          content of Followup-To header.

          Content is carried over into all followups. Modified by
          prefixing with "Re: " if not already present. Also modified by
          user, often with a "(was: )" phrase preserving the previous

          Content is carried over into all followups. Modified by
          appending content of Message-ID header.

          NOTE: Though traditionally old newsreaders would treat
          Keywords as a persistent header, it is not a persistent
          header.  More modern newsreaders do not treat it as such.

4.3.5. Variant Headers

          Variant Headers are headers that are modified on articles when
          they are propogated.  Variant headers have a "V-" prefix.
          Variant headers may be experimental ("X-V-"), persistent
          ("P-V-"), or both ("X-P-V-").

4.3.6. Header Classes

          There are four special classes of headers that may be present
          in an article:  Experimental, Persistent, Comment, and
          Variant.  All other headers are ephemeral.  These classes are
          significant in how newsreaders and servers should treat them
          when encountered. Experimental Headers

          Experimental headers are headers which begin with "X-".  They
          are to be used by newsreaders proposing new headers for some
          utility or for comments to be propogated with the article.
          There are no established headers that are considered
          experimental headers; an established header cannot be

          Attempts to create new headers that are to be adopted as
          standard headers MUST begin their lives as experimental
          headers. Persistent Headers

          Persistent headers are headers which begin with "P-" (or
          "X-P-", hereafter referred to simply as "P- headers") which
          persist across followups either identically or by simple
          modification. Headers with this behavior include:


          Content is carried over into all followups. Modified by
          content of Followup-To header.


          Content is carried over into all followups. Modified by
          prefixing with "Re: " if not already present. Also modified by
          user, often with a "(was: )" phrase preserving the previous


          Content is carried over into all followups. Modified by
          appending content of Message-ID header.

          NOTE: Though traditionally old newsreaders would treat
          Keywords as a persistent header, it is not a persistent
          header.  More modern newsreaders do not treat it as such. Examples

Newsgroups: alt.test
Subject: Persistent Header Example
Message-ID: <>
P-Author-IDs: <johnsmith-site.example-unique>
User-Agent: experimental/0.1g (P-Author-ID Compliant)

From: jane@site.invalid (Jane Smith)
Newsgroups: alt.test
Followup-To: misc.test
Subject: Re: Persistent Header Example
Message-ID: <>
References: <>
P-Author-IDs: <johnsmith-site.example-unique>
User-Agent: modern/1.2 (Author-ID non-Compliant; P- header compliant)
Keywords: persistance, good ideas

From: andrew@isp.invalid
Newsgroups: misc.test
Subject: Further example (was: Re: Persistent Header Example)
Message-ID: <001@news.isp.example>
References: <> <>
P-Author-IDs: <johnsmith-site.example-unique> <andrew@isp.example>
User-Agent: codeveloper/2.0b (Author-ID Compliant) Comment Headers

          Comment headers are headers that are strictly local and MUST
          NOT be propogated outside of a restricted subnet for local
          testing purposes.  Comment headers have a prefix of "C-".  Due
          to their limited scope, they MUST NOT be combined with any
          other prefix, such as "X-C-" headers.  Headers with this
          behavior include:


          Used by servers to keep track of crossposted articles' article
          numbers in the crossposted-to news groups in the local news
          spool as an aid to newsreaders marking such articles as read. Variant Headers

          Variant Headers are headers that are modified on articles when
          they are propogated.  Variant headers have a "V-" prefix.
          Variant headers may be experimental ("X-V-"), persistent
          ("P-V-"), or both ("X-P-V-").

4.3.7. White Space and Continuations

          [The following text is taken from [MESSFOR], adapted to the
          different terminology used for this standard.]

          Each header is logically a single line of characters
          comprising the header-name, the colon with its following
          SP, and the header-content. For convenience, however, the
          header-content can be split into a multiple line
          representation; this is called "folding". The general rule is
          that wherever this standard allows for FWS (which includes
          CFWS, but not simply SP or HTAB) a CRLF followed by AT
          LEAST one SP or HTAB may instead be inserted.  For example,
          the header:

          Approved: Moderator of

          can be represented as:

               (Acting Moderator of

          NOTE: Though header-contents are defined in such a way that
          folding can take place between many of the lexical tokens,
          folding SHOULD be limited to placing the CRLF at higher-level
          syntactic breaks. For instance, if a header-content is defined
          as comma-separated values, it is recommended that folding
          occur after the comma separating the structured items, even if
          it is allowed elsewhere.

          Folding MUST NOT be carried out in such a way that any line of
          a header is made up entirely of WSP characters and nothing
          else.  [That is taken from a rather unsatisfactory line in
          section 3.2.4 of [MESSFOR] (which seems to allow WSP-only
          lines to arise from FWS but not from CFWS). The situation
          could arise where two FWS or CFWS could be adjacent, according
          to the syntax (I believe this is possible in [MESSFOR], which
          goes to show how sloppy their syntax is), or where FWS or CFWS
          is allowed at the end of a line.]

          The colon following the header name on the start-line MUST be
          followed by white space, even if the header is empty. If the
          header is not empty, at least some of the content MUST appear
          on the start-line. Posting agents MUST enforce these
          restrictions, but relaying agents SHOULD accept even articles
          that violate them.

          Posters and posting agents SHOULD use SP, not HTAB, where
          white space is desired in headers (some existing software
          expects this), and MUST use SP immediately following the
          colon after a header-name (this was an RFC 1036 requirement).
          Relaying agents SHOULD accept HTAB in all such cases, however.

          Since the white space beginning a continuation line remains a
          part of the logical line, headers can be "broken" into
          multiple lines only at FWS or CFWS. Posting agents SHOULD not
          break headers unnecessarily (but see section 4.6).


          Strings of characters which are treated as comments may be
          included in header contents wherever the syntactic element
          CFWS occurs. They consist of characters enclosed in
          parentheses. Such strings are considered comments so long as
          they do not appear within a quoted-string. Comments may be

          A comment is normally used to provide some human readable
          informational text, except at the end of an <address> which
          contains no <phrase>, as in

      (Fred Bloggs)

          as opposed to

               "Fred Bloggs" <>

          The former is a deprecated, but commonly encountered, usage
          and reading agents SHOULD take special note of such comments
          as indicating the name of the person whose <address> it is. In
          all other situations a comment is semantically interpreted as
          a single SP. Since a comment is allowed to contain FWS,
          folding is permitted within it as well as immediately
          preceding and immediately following it. Also note that, since
          quoted-pair is allowed in a comment, the parenthesis and
          backslash characters may appear in a comment so long as they
          appear as a quoted-pair. Semantically, the enclosing
          parentheses are not part of the comment token; the token is
          what is contained between the two parentheses.

          Since comments have not hitherto been permitted in news
          articles, except in a few specified places, posters and
          posting-agents SHOULD NOT insert them except in those places.
          However, compliant software MUST accept them in all places
          where they are syntactically allowed.

4.3.9. Undesirable Headers

          A header whose content is empty is said to be an empty header.
          Relaying and reading agents SHOULD NOT consider presence or
          absence of an empty header to alter the semantics of an
          article (although syntactic rules, such as requirements that
          certain header names appear at most once in an article, MUST
          still be satisfied). Posting and injecting agents SHOULD
          delete empty headers from articles before posting them;
          relaying agents MUST pass them untouched.

          Headers that merely state defaults explicitly (e.g., a
          Followup-To header with the same content as the Newsgroups
          header, or a MIME Content-Type header with contents
          "text/plain; charset=us-ascii") or state information that
          reading agents can typically determine easily themselves (e.g.
          the length of the body in octets) are redundant and posters
          and posting agents SHOULD NOT include them.

4.4. Body

4.4.1. Body Format Issues

          The body of an article MAY be empty, although posting agents
          SHOULD consider this an error condition (meriting returning
          the article to the poster for revision). A posting or
          injecting agent which does not reject such an article SHOULD
          issue a warning message to the poster and supply a non-empty
          body. Note that the separator line MUST be present even if the
          body is empty.

          NOTE: Some existing news software is known to react badly to
          body-less articles, hence the request for posting and
          injecting agents to insert a body in such cases. The sentence
          "This article was probably generated by a buggy news reader"
          has traditionally been used is this situation.

          Note that an article body is a sequence of lines terminated by
          CRLFs, not arbitrary binary data, and in particular it MUST
          end with a CRLF. However, relaying agents SHOULD treat the
          body of an article as an uninterpreted sequence of octets
          (except as mandated by changes of CRLF representation and by
          control-message processing) and SHOULD avoid imposing
          constraints on it. See also section 4.6.

4.4.2. Body Conventions

          A body is by default an uninterpreted sequence of octets for
          most of the purposes of this standard. However, a MIME
          Content-Type header may impose some structure or intended
          interpretation upon it, and may also specify the character set
          in accordance with which the octets are to be interpreted.

          NOTE: The syntax does not permit the NUL octet to appear in a
          body, and the octets CR and LF MUST ONLY occur together as
          CRLF.  See also section 4.6 for limits on the length of a

          It is a common practice for followup agents to enable the
          incorporation of the followed-up article (the "precursor")
          as a quotation. This SHOULD be done by prefacing each line
          of the quoted text (even if it is empty) with the character
          ">" (or preferably with "> "). This will result in multiple
          levels of ">" when quoted content itself contains quoted
          content. The followup agent SHOULD also precede the quoted
          content by an "attribution line" incorporating at least the
          name of the precursor's poster.

          The following convention for attribution lines, whilst not
          mandated by this Standard, is intended to facilitate their
          automatic recognition and processing by sophisticated reading
          agents. The following fields describing the precursor should,
          if present, be in the given order.

          A single Newsgroup name (the one from which the followup is
          being made) enclosed within <...> or <news:...>

          The precursor's Message-ID enclosed within <...> or <news:...>

          The precursor's poster's Name enclosed within "..."

          The precursor's poster's Email address enclosed within <...> or

          The fields may be separated by arbitrary text, they may be
          folded in the same way as headers, and they should be
          terminated by a ":" followed by two CRLFs. Example:

          On <> in <> on 24 Dec 1997 16:40:20 +0000
          "Joe D. Bloggs" <> wrote:

          NOTE: The use of the standard character ">" facilitates
          automatic analysis of articles. The inclusion of the
          Message-ID in the attribution would enable reading agents to
          retrieve the precursor by clicking on it. However, readers are
          warned not to assume that attributions are accurate,
          especially within multiply nested quotations.

          NOTE: Posters SHOULD edit quoted context to trim it down to
          the minimum necessary. However, followup agents SHOULD NOT
          attempt to enforce this beyond issuing a warning (past
          attempts to do so have been found to be notably

          A "personal signature" is a short closing text automatically
          added to the end of articles by posting agents, identifying
          the poster and giving his network addresses, etc. If a poster
          or posting agent does append such a signature to an article,
          it MUST be preceded with a delimiter line containing (only)
          two hyphens (ASCII 45) followed by one SP (ASCII 32). The
          signature is considered to extend from the last occurrence of
          that delimiter up to the end of the article (or up to the end
          of the part in the case of a multipart MIME body). Followup
          agents, when incorporating quoted text from a precursor,
          SHOULD NOT include the signature in the quotation. Posting
          agents SHOULD discourage (at least with a warning) signatures
          of excessive length (4 lines is a commonly accepted limit).

4.5. Characters And Character Sets

          Transmission paths for news articles MUST treat news articles
          as uninterpreted sequences of octets, excluding the values 0
          (ASCII NUL) and 13 and 10 (ASCII CR and LF, which MUST only
          appear in the combination <CRLF> which denotes a line

          NOTE: this correspponds to the range of octets permitted for
          MIME "8bit data" [RFC-2045].

          An octet, or a sequence of octets, may represent a character
          in some Coded Character Set (CCS) [RFC-2130] as determined by
          some Character Encoding Scheme (CES) [RFC-2130].

          If it comes to a relaying agent's attention that it is being
          asked to pass an article using the Content-Transfer-Encoding
          "8bit" to a relaying agent that does not support it, it SHOULD
          report this error to its administrator. It MUST refuse to pass
          the article and MUST NOT re-encode it with different MIME

          NOTE: This strategy will do little harm. The target relaying
          agent is unlikely to be able to make use of the article on its
          own servers, and the usual flooding algorithm will likely find
          some alternative route to get the article to destinations
          where it is needed.

4.5.1. Character Sets within Article Headers

          Within article headers, the CES is UTF-8 [ISO-10646 or
          RFC-2279] and hence the CCS is the Universal Multiple-Octet
          Coded Character Set (UCS) [ISO-10646] (which is essentially a
          superset of Unicode [UNICODE] and expected to remain so).
          However, interpreting the octets directly as ASCII characters
          should ensure correct behaviour in most situations.

          NOTE: UTF-8 is an encoding for 16bit (and even 32bit)
          character sets with the property that any octet less than 128
          immediately represents the corresponding ASCII character, thus
          ensuring upwards compatibility with previous practice.
          Non-ASCII characters from UCS are represented by sequences of
          octets greater than 127. Only those octet sequences explicitly
          permitted by [RFC 2079] shall be used. UCS includes all
          characters from the ISO-8859 series of characters sets
          [ISO-8859] (which includes all Greek and Arabic characters) as
          well as the more elaborate characters used in Japan and China.
          See the following section for the appropriate treatment of UCS
          characters by reading agents.

          Notwithstanding the great flexibility permitted by UTF-8,
          there is need for restraint in its use in order that the
          essential components of headers may be discerned using
          reading agents that cannot present the full UCS range. In
          particular, header-names MUST be in ASCII, and certain other
          components of headers, as defined elsewhere in this standard -
          notably <identifier>s (as in <message-id>s), <date-time>s,
          <domain>s <addr-spec>s and <path-item>s - MUST be in ASCII.
          <Comment>s, <phrase>s (as in <address>es) and <unstructured>s
          (as in <subject>s) MAY use other character sets. For
          <newsgroup-name>s see below.

          Where the use of non-ASCII characters, encoded in UTF-8, is
          permitted as above, they MAY also be encoded using the MIME
          mechanism defined in RFC-2047 [RFC-2047], but this usage is
          deprecated within news articles (even though it is required in
          mail messages) since it is less legible in older reading
          agents which support neither it nor UTF-8. Nevertheless,
          reading agents SHOULD support this usage, but only in those
          contexts explicitly mentioned in [RFC-2047].

4.5.2 Character Sets within Article Bodies

          Within article bodies, the CES and CCS implied by any
          Content-Transfer-Encoding and Content-Type headers [RFC-2045]
          SHOULD be applied by reading agents. In the absence of such
          headers, reading agents cannot be relied upon to display
          correctly more than the ASCII characters.  [Observe that
          reading agents are not forbidden to "guess", or to interpret
          as UTF-8 regardless, which would be the simplest course for
          them to take.]

          NOTE: It is not expected that reading agents will necessarily
          be able to present characters in all possible character sets,
          although they MUST be able to present all ASCII characters.
          For example, a reading agent might be able to present only the
          ISO-8859-1 (Latin 1) characters [ISO-8859], in which case it
          SHOULD present undisplayable characters using some distinctive
          glyph, or by exhibiting a suitable warning. Older reading
          agents that do not understand MIME headers or UTF-8 should be
          able to display bodies in ASCII (with some loss of human
          comprehensibility) except possibly when the
          Content-Transfer-Encoding is "8bit".

          NOTE: Be warned that it will never be safe to send raw binary
          data in the body of news articles, because the presence of
          ASCII NUL and changes of <CRLF> representation will inevitably
          corrupt it. Such data MUST be encoded (e.g. by using
          Content-Transfer-Encoding: base64).

          Posters SHOULD avoid using control characters in ASCII (or
          other CCSs) except for tab (ASCII 9), formfeed (ASCII 12), and
          backspace (ASCII 8). Tab signifies sufficient horizontal white
          space to reach the next of a set of fixed positions; posters
          are warned that there is no standard set of positions, so tabs
          should be avoided if precise spacing is essential. Formfeed
          signifies a point at which a reading agent SHOULD pause and
          await reader interaction before displaying further text.
          Backspace SHOULD be used only for underlining, done by a
          sequence of underscores (ASCII 95) followed by an equal number
          of backspaces, signifying that the same number of text
          characters following are to be underlined. Posters are warned
          that underlining is not available on all output devices and is
          best not relied on for essential meaning. Reading agents
          SHOULD recognize underlining and translate it to the
          appropriate commands for devices that support it. Reading
          agents MUST NOT pass other control characters or escape
          sequences unaltered to the output device.

          Followup agents MUST be careful to apply appropriate encodings
          to the outbound followup. A followup to an article containing
          non-ASCII material is very likely to contain non-ASCII
          material itself.

4.6. Size Limits

          The syntax provides for the lines of a body to be up to 998
          octets in length, not including the CRLF. All software
          compliant with this standard MUST support lines of at least
          that length, both in headers and in bodies, and all such
          software SHOULD support lines of arbitrary length. In
          particular, relaying agents MUST transmit lines of arbitrary
          length without truncation or any other modification.

          NOTE: The limit of 998 octets is consistent with the
          corresponding limit in [MESSFOR].

          In plain-text messages (those with no MIME headers, or those
          with a MIME Content-Type of text/plain) posting agents SHOULD
          encourage the practice of keeping the length of body lines to
          within 79 characters at most, and preferably to within 72
          characters (to allow room for quoting in followups). However,
          posting agents MUST permit the poster to include longer lines
          if he so insists.

          NOTE: Plain-text messages are intended to be displayed "as-is"
          without any special action (such as automatic line splitting)
          on the part of the recipient. The limit (72 or 79) is
          expressed as a number of characters (as they will be displayed
          by a reading agent) rather than as the number of octets used
          to encode them.

          Posting agents SHOULD fold headers by inserting CRLF followed
          by 1*WSP at positions (preferably higher-level ones - see
          4.3.2) where this is syntactically allowed so as to keep, so
          far as is possible, all header lines within 79 characters.
          Likewise, injecting agents SHOULD fold any headers generated
          automatically by themselves. Relaying agents MUST NOT fold
          header lines (i.e. they must pass on the folding as received).

          NOTE: There is NO restriction on the number of lines into
          which a header may be split, and hence there is NO restriction
          on the total length of a header (in particular it may, by
          suitable folding, be made to exceed the 998 octets
          restriction pertaining to a single header line).

          NOTE: This standard provides no upper bound on the overall
          size of a single article, but neither does it forbid relaying
          agents from dropping articles of excessive length. It is,
          however, suggested that any limits thought appropriate by
          particular agents would be more appropriately expressed in
          megabytes than in kilobytes.

4.7. Example

          Here is a sample article:

Path: server.example,unknown.site2.example@site2.example,,site.example,
Newsgroups: example.announce,
Message-ID: <9urrt98y53@site.example>
From: Ann Example <a.example@site1.invalid>
Subject: Announcing a new sample article.
Date: Fri, 27 Mar 1998 12:12:50 +1300
Approved: example.announce moderator <jsmith@site.invalid>
Reply-To: Ann Example <a.example+replies@site1.example>
Expires: Wed, 22 Apr 1998 12:12:50 -0700
Organization: Site1, The Number one site for examples.
User-Agent: ExampleNews/3.14 (Unix)
Keywords: example, announcement, standards, RFC 1036, Usefor
Summary: The URL for the next standard.

Just a quick announcemnt that a new standard example article has been
released; it is in the new USEFOR draft obtainable from


Ann Example <a.example@site1.invalid>       Sample Poster to the Stars
"The opinions in this article are bloody good ones" - from J Clarke.

5. Mandatory Headers

          An article MUST have one, and only one, of each of the
          following headers: Date, From, Message-ID, Subject,
          Newsgroups, Path.

          NOTE: [MAIL] specifies (if read most carefully) that there
          must be exactly one Date header and exactly one From header,
          but otherwise does  not  restrict multiple appearances  of
          headers.   (Notably, it permits multiple Message-ID
          headers!)    This appears singularly useless,  or even
          harmful, in the context of news, and much current  news
          software  will  not tolerate multiple appearances of mandatory

          Note also that there are situations, discussed in the
          relevant parts  of  section  6,  where  References,  Sender,
          or Approved headers are mandatory. In control articles,
          specific values are required for certain headers.

          In the discussions of the individual headers, the content of
          each is specified using the syntax notation.  The convention
          used is that the content of, for example, the Subject header
          is defined as <Subject-content>.

          NOTE: see also Section 7.1.1

5.1. Date

          The Date header contains the date and time that the article
          was submitted for transmission.  The content syntax is
          defined in the Message Format Standard [MESSFOR].

               Date-content = date-time

5.2. From

          The From header contains the electronic address(es), and
          possibly the full name, of the article's author(s) . The
          format of the From header is defined in the Message Format
          Standard [MESSFOR].

          All mailboxes in the From-content field MUST either belong to the
          posters(s) of the article ( or the poster(s) are authorized by
          the owners to use the mailboxes) or end in the top level
          domain of ".invalid".

               From-content = mailbox-list

5.2.1 Examples:

From: John Smith <jsmith@site.example>
From: John Smith <jsmith@site.example>, dave@isp.example
From: John Smith <jsmith@site.example>, andrew@isp.example,
From: Jan Jones <jan@please_setup_your_software_correctly.invalid>
From: Jan Jones <joe@anonymous.invalid>
From: dave@isp.example (Dave Smith)

          NOTE: the last example is in an obsolete syntax.

5.3. Message-ID

          The  Message-ID  header contains the article's message ID, a
          unique identifier  distinguishing  the  article  from  every
          other article. The format of the Message-ID header is defined
          in the Message Format Standard [MESSFOR] . An article's
          message ID MUST be unique and MUST NEVER be reused.

               Message-ID-content = msg-id

5.4. Subject

          The Subject field contains a short string identifying the
          topic of the message. When used in a followup, the field body
          SHOULD start with the string "Re: " ( a "back reference" )
          followed by the contents of the pure-subject of the precursor.

          subject-content = [ back-reference ] pure-subject CRLF
          pure-subject = nonblank-text
          back-reference = %x52.65.3A.20        ; which is a case-sensitive
                                                 "Re: "

          The pure-subject MUST NOT begin with "Re: ". The default
          subject-content of a followup is the string "Re: " followed by
          the contents of the pure-subject of the precursor. Any leading
          "Re: " in the pure-subject MUST be stripped.

          Followup agents SHOULD remove instances of non-standard
          back-reference (such as "Re(2): ", "Re:", "RE: ", or "Sv: ")
          from the subject-content when composing the subject of a
          followup and add a correct back-reference in front of the

          Followup agents MUST NOT use any other string except "Re: " as
          a back reference. Specifically, a translation of "Re: " into a
          local language or usage MUST NOT be used.

          Agents SHOULD NOT depend on nor enforce the use of back
          references by followup agents.  For compatibility with legacy
          news software the subject-content of a control message MAY
          start with the string "cmsg ", non-control messages MUST NOT
          start with the string "cmsg ".

5.4.1 Examples:

          In the following examples, please note that only "Re: " is
          mandated by this DRAFT. "was: " is a convention used by many
          English-speaking posters to signal a change in subject matter.
          Software should be able to deduce this information from

Subject: Film at 11.
Subject: Re: Film at 11
Subject: Use of Godwin's law considered harmful (was: Film at 11)
Subject: Godwin's law (was: Film at 11)
Subject: Re: Godwin's law (was: Film at 11)

5.5. Newsgroups

          The Newsgroups header's content specifies which newsgroup(s)
          the article is posted to:

          Newsgroups-content = newsgroup-name *( ng-delim newsgroup-name)
          newsgroup-name = *FWS component *( "." component ) *FWS
          component = component-start [*component-rest component-start]
          component-start = lowercase / digit
          lowercase = <Unicode Letter, Lowercase> / <Unicode Letter, Other>
          uppercase = <Unicode Letter, Uppercase> / <Unicode Letter, Titlecase>
          digit = <Unicode Number, Decimal Digit> / <Unicode Number, Other>
          component-rest = component-start / "+" / "-" / "_"
          ng-delim = ","

          where the <Unicode ...> items are as described in [UNICODE].

          The inclusion of folding white space within a newsgroup-name
          is a newly introduced feature in this standard. It MUST be
          accepted by all conforming implementations (relaying agents,
          serving agents and reading agents). On the other hand, posting
          agents MUST NOT generate such whitespace and injecting agents
          MUST NOT accept such whitespace (except for experimental
          postings to 'test' newsgroups or within cooperating subnets)
          until after AGREED IMPLEMENTATION DATE. After AGREED
          IMPLEMENTATION DATE such agents MAY generate   such whitespace
          anywhere and SHOULD generate it in the form of <CRLF WS> so as
          to keep the length of lines in the relevant headers (notably
          Newsgroups and Followup-To) to no more than than 79
          characters. Before AGREED IMPLEMENTATION DATE, injecting
          agents MAY reformat such headers by removing whitespace
          inserted by the posting agent, but relaying agents MUST NOT do

          A newsgroup name consists of one or more components.
          Components MAY contain non-ASCII letters, but these MUST be
          encoded in UTF-8 and not according to RFC-2047. A component
          MUST contain at least one letter (and must, according to the
          syntax, begin and end with a letter or digit). Components
          SHOULD begin with a letter. Composite characters (made by
          overlaying one character with another) and format characters,
          as allowed in certain parts of Unicode and needed by certain
          languages, must use whatever canonical conventions apply to
          those parts of Unicode (such conventions are not
          defined in this Standard). The use of "_" in a component is
          deprecated. Serving agents MAY refuse to accept newsgroups
          using that component.

          NOTE: Components composed entirely of digits would cause
          problems for the commonly used implementation technique of
          using the component as the name of a directory, whilst also
          using sequential numbers to distinguish the articles within a

          NOTE: Uppercase letters MUST NOT be used. Although converting
          ASCII uppercase letters to their lowercase counterparts is
          straightforward enough, it would be unreasonable to expect
          software to do the same in parts of Unicode for which it was
          not configured (in general, a table lookup would be required).
          Thus software MAY attempt to convert uppercase letters
          according to the mappings defined by [UNICODE], but this
          behaviour is not required.

          Whilst there is no longer any technical reason to limit the
          length of a component (formerly, it was limited to 14
          characters) nor to limit the total length of a newsgroup-name,
          it should be noted that these names are also used in the
          newsgroups line (...) where an overall limit applies, and
          moreover excessively long names can be exceedingly
          inconvenient in practical use. Those responsible for the
          management of the various netnews hierarchies SHOULD therefore
          set reasonable limits for the length of a component and of a
          newsgroup name. In the absence of such explicit policies,
          figures of 30 characters and 72 characters respectively are

          NOTE: The newsgroup-name as encoded in UTF-8 should be
          regarded as the canonical form. Reading agents may convert it
          to whatever character set they are able to display (see 4.5.2)
          and serving agents may possibly need to convert it to some
          form more suitable as a filename. Simple algorithms for both
          kinds of conversion are readily available.

          Posters SHOULD use only the names of existing newsgroups in
          the Newsgroups header, because newsgroups are not created
          simply by being posted to. However, it is legitimate to
          cross-post to newsgroup(s) which do not exist on the posting
          agent's host, provided that at least one of the newsgroups
          DOES exist there, and followup agents MUST accept this
          (posting agents MAY accept it, but SHOULD at least alert the
          poster to the situation and request confirmation). Relaying
          agents MUST NOT rewrite Newsgroups headers in any way, even if
          some or all of the newsgroups do not exist on the relaying
          agent's host.

5.5.1 Forbidden newsgroup names

          The following newsgroup-names MUST NOT be used:

          Newsgroup-names having only one component (reserved for
          newsgroups whose propagation is restricted to a single host,
          or the administrative equivalent).

          "poster" (because it has special meaning in the Followup-To
          header (see section 6.1).)

         "newsgroups" (likewise)

          "junk" (frequently used for pseudo-newsgroups internal to
          serving agents)

          "control" (likewise)

          Any newsgroup-name beginning with "control." (likewise)

          Any newsgroup-name containing the component "ctl" (likewise)

          "to" or any newsgroup-name beginning with "to." (reserved for
          test messages sent on an essentially point-to-point basis (see
          also the ihave/sendme protocol described in section 7.2)

          Any newsgroup-name containing the component "all" (because
          this is used as a wildcard in some implementations)

          A newsgroup SHOULD NOT appear more than once in the Newsgroups
          header. The order of newsgroup names in the Newsgroups
          header is not significant.

5.6 Path

          The Path header shows the route a message took from its entry
          into the USENET system to the current system. It is a list of
          site identifiers with the origin on the right. Each relaying,
          injecting or serving agent that processes the article adds one
          or more entries to this header.  Aside from tracing the route
          articles take in moving over the network, Path is used
          primarily to allow relaying systems to not send articles to
          sites known to already have them, in particular the site they
          came from.  This improves the efficiency of links.  Path is
          also used for USENET statistics gathering and flow tracking.
          Finally the presence of a "%" delimiter in the Path header can
          be used to identify an article injected in conformance with
          this standard.

5.6.1 Format

          path-content    =       old-path / new-path

          old-id          =       1*( ALPHA / digit / "-" | "." | "_")
          old-path        =       old-id *(punctuation old-id)
          punctuation     =       LWSP / %x21-2f / %x3a-40 / %x5b-60 / %x7b-7f
                                              ; These are ! " # $ % & ' ( ) *
                                              ;   + , - . / : ; < = > ? @ [ \
                                              ;   ] ^ _ ` { | } ~ DEL
          new-delims      =       [FWS] ("@" / "/" / "," ) [FWS]
          new-path        =       post-injection "%" pre-injection
          delim-plus-id   =       [FWS] "!" [FWS] old-id
                                  / new-delims site-id
          post-injection  =       *(site-id 1*new-delims) site-id
          pre-injection   =       site-id *delim-plus-id
          site-id         =       ALPHA word      ; UUCP name
                                  / ALPHA         ; for "x" tail entry
                                  / "." word      ; other registered name
                                  / <FQDN>        ; as per RFC 1034
                                  / <dotted-quad> ; numeric IP address rep
                                                  ; specified in rfc820 etc.
                                  / "[" dotted-quad "]"
                                  / "[" <ipv6-numeric> "]" ; per RFC1884
          word            =       1*(ALPHA / digit / "-" / "_")

5.6.2 Adding an entry to the Path header.

         When a system receives a message from another system, it MUST
         add its own unique name (path-identity or site-id) and a
         delimiter to the beginning of the Path string. In addition, if
         needed, folding-whitespace MAY be added.

         The path-identity added MUST be unique. To this end it should
         be one of:

         1. A name registered previously in the UUCP maps database
         (found in the newsgroup comp.mail.maps), containing no dot

         3. The fully qualified domain name or MX record, retrievable
         via the Internet DNS service.

         4. An encoding of an IP address -- dotted quad or for IPv6 as
         per RFC1884. These encodings using SHOULD NOT be used prior to

         Whichever form is chosen, a site SHOULD use a form which can be
         verified using one of the schemes described below by all sites
         to which it will forward news articles. If all forwarding is by
         NNTP or other internet based protocols, then the FQDN or IP
         address encodings are advised. For the purposes of comparison,
         FQDN entries should be put in an all-lower-case canonical form.

         Because RFC1036 specified any punctuation or whitespace could
         act as delimiter, programs SHOULD accept this, with the
         exception that IPv6 addresses containing colons MUST be treated
         as a single unit. Modern programs MUST generate only the set
         "!,%@" plus optional additional whitespace.

         When a site receives an article from another site, it SHOULD
         (MUST after draft-implementation-date ), verify the identity of
         the source site. When processing an article from a source, the
         leftmost entry of the Path line should be extracted, converted
         to a canonical form, and tested to see if    it matches the
         canonical form of the verified identity of the source. If it
         does, a "," should be used as the delimiter, and thus the
         comma, and then the receiving site's path-identity MUST be
         prepended to the Path line.

         The method of verification is up to the site. Any method of
         suitable authenticity may be chosen, with the consideration
         that in the event of problems at the source site, the relaying
         site may be called upon to reliably identify it.

         If the leftmost entry does not match the verified identity of
         the source, then the receiving site should prepend an "@"
         delimiter, then a simple form of the verified identity of the
         source, then a "," delimiter and then the receiving site's own
         path-identity.  This adding of two identities to the line
         should not be done if the provided and verified identities
         match.  For articles received from an internet source, the
         unique 32 bit IPv4 address or properly verified FQDN, whichever
         is shorter, is encouraged for the generated ID.

5.6.3 The tail Entry

         For historical reasons, the rightmost entry in the Path string
         generated by most systems is not a site name, but a "user
         name". However, the Path string is not an E-mail address and
         MUST NOT be used to contact the user.  Injecting agents MAY
         place any string here that is not a path-identity. If no
         meaning is anticipated the string "x" SHOULD be used.

         RFC1036 suggested that the last entry could be a site name,
         requiring software to check it when feeding, but said it also
         should have a user-id for very old systems. As of this
         specification, a systems MUST NOT treat the tail entry as a

         Typically this field will be the only entry on the Path string
         generated by a poster, or if not generated by the
         posting-agent, by the injecting agent, which will prepend a "%"
         and then its own verifiable path-identity.  The percent divides
         the verified part of the Path line from any entries provided
         prior to injection into the news network.  There may be more
         than one entry to the left of the percent, and all but the last
         are to be treated as sites.

         Injecting Agents SHOULD use the tail entry for local
         authentication information on the source of an article. For
         example, if they wish to store an encoding of the IP address of
         a source machine connecting to do the injection, and/or the UID
         of an invoking user or any other such information, they may
         encode it in the tail entry, provided they do so in a manner
         that will not match any site identifier. (e.g. ending with a
         dot) .

5.6.4 The Injecting Agent Entry

          The injecting agent's path identity is a special case. This
          identity MUST be a FQDN which can be used as a domain for
          E-mail connections (ie.  it should have either an A or MX
          record). See the Duties of an Injection Agents section 7.1
          and RFC 2142.

5.6.5 Delimiter Summary

          A summary of delimiters and the meaning they imply for the
          name on the right, or in addition, the name to the left.

          , Verified or generated identity.

          @ Name failed verification test. Name on left is identity
            generated by site further to the left.

          % Optional pre-injection entries followed by tail entry.
            Commonly just the tail entry, either "x" or an encoding
            of login identity. Name on left is FQDN of site that
            handles mail for Injecting Agent. The presence of two "%"
            in a path indicates a double-injected error.

          ! Entry is unverified. Identity on left is an old-style
            system not conformant with this specification.

          Folding Whitespace MUST NOT be used as the sole delimiter.

          Other Treat as "!" as per RFC1036

          "/" Reserved for future use, treat as ","

          ; Semicolon is reserved for the generation of extensible headers.

          : The colon is a valid delimiter for legacy systems, however,
            inside an IPv6 numeric address, surrounded in square brackets,
            it is a part of the path-identifier.

          _ This should not be treated as punctuation (a delimiter),
            contrary to RFC1036. Treat as part of identifiers.

5.6.6 Other formatting Issues

           The Path header MUST NOT be truncated.

           Whitespace MAY be present in the Path to make it easier to
           represent. However, there is no requirement to do so.
           Whitespace MUST not be used as a delimiter. Use of "!"

           Old USENET relaying and injecting programs almost all delimit
           Path: entries with the "!" delimiter, and these entries are
           not verified. As such, the presence of "%" as a delimiter
           will indicate the article was injected by software conforming
           to this standard, and the presence of "!" as a delimiter will
           indicate the message passed through systems developed prior
           to this standard. Prior to the draft-implementation-date,
           messages with mixed sets of delimiters will be common. After
           that date, all messages should have no "!" delimiters prior
           to the "%" delimiter.

5.6.7 Suggested Verification Methods

          Sites attempting to verify an incoming entry SHOULD take the
          following approaches for common transports. They are not
          required, but not following them may lead to wasteful
          double-entry Path additions.

          If the incoming article arrives through some protocol local to
          the site, such as UUCP, that protocol MUST include a means of
          verifying the article source site, and this should match. In
          UUCP implementations, commonly each incoming connection has a
          unique login name and password; that login name could be used
          to build a suitable verified identifier.

          Here is an example of a suitable verification method for an
          article arriving via a TCP/IP protocol such as via NNTP:

          1. If it is an encoding of an IP address, it should be decoded
          into a canonical form. If that address does not match the
          source's IP, a reverse-DNS ( PTR record) lookup
          should be done on the provided address, followed by a regular
          DNS "A" record lookup on the returned name. That A record may
          contain several IP addresses. So long as one matches the IP
          address from the path, and another matches the source IP
          address, this is considered a match.

          2. If it is a internet DNS style FQDN, then the name should be
          looked up with DNS. The A records MUST contain an IP address
          that is the verified address of the source.

          3. (It should be noted that when generating a name after a
          non-match, if an FQDN is desired, simply doing a reverse DNS
          (PTR) lookup on the IP address is not sufficient to generate
          the FQDN.  The returned name must be mapped back to A records
          to assure it matches the source's IP address.)

5.6.8 Issues

         There is no firm way to tell a path entry generated by new
         software, and one generated by old software assuming that any
         delimiter is valid.  However, use of "!" by old software has
         become effectively universal.

         Sites are not strictly required to use a standard form for
         their path entry, but if they don't, path lines out of that
         site get longer due to the adding of the identity. However,
         groups of associated sites wanting a common identity may decide
         to use that and let the receiver add the specific site.

6. Optional Headers

          The headers appearing in this section have established
          meanings. They MUST be interpreted according to the
          definitions made in this document. None of them are required to
          appear in every article. All of the headers appearing in this
          document MUST NOT appear more than once in an article.  Headers
          not appearing in this document (i.e. X-headers, headers defined
          by cooperating subnets) are exempt from this requirement. See
          "Responsibilities of Agents" for a clear picture.

6.1 Followup-To

          The Followup-To header contents specify  which  newsgroup(s)
          followups should be posted to:

               Followup-To-content = Newsgroups-content / "poster"

          The syntax is the same as that of the Newsgroups content, with
          the exception that the magic word "poster" means that
          followups should  be  mailed to the article's reply address
          rather than posted. In the absence of Followup-To, the default
          newsgroup(s) for a followup are those in the Newsgroups header
          and for this reason the Followup-To header should not be
          included if it just duplicates the Newsgroups header.

6.2 Expires

          The  Expires  header  content specifies a date and time when
          the article is deemed to be no longer useful and  should  be
          removed ("expired"). The content syntax is the same as that of
          the Date content which is defined in the Message Format
          Standard [MESSFOR] .

               expires-content = date-time

          A Expires header SHOULD only be used in an article if the
          requested expiry time is earlier or later than the default
          would normally be for that article. Local policy for each
          serving agent will dictate when this header is obeyed and
          authors SHOULD NOT depend on it being completely followed.

6.3. Reply-To

          The Reply-To header content specifies a reply address(es) to
          be used for personal replies for the author(s) of the article
          when this is different from the author's address(es) given in
          the From header.  The format of the Reply-To header is defined
          in the Message Format Standard [MESSFOR] .

          In the absence of Reply-To, the reply address(es) is the
          address(es) in the From header.  For this reason a Reply-To
          SHOULD NOT be included if it just duplicates the From header.

          Use of a Reply-To header is preferable to including a similar
          request in the article body, because reply agents can take
          account of Reply-To automatically.

          "Reply-To: <> " MAY be used to indicate that the poster does
          not wish to recieve email replies.

                Reply-To-content = From-content

6.3.1 Examples:

Reply-To: John Smith <jsmith@site.example>
Reply-To: John Smith <jsmith@site.example>, dave@isp.example
Reply-To: John Smith <jsmith@site.example>, andrew@isp.example,
Reply-To: Please not not reply <>

6.4. References

          The References header content lists optionally CFWS-separated
          message ids of precursors. The format of the References header
          is defined in the Message Format Standard [MESSFOR].

          A followup MUST have a References header, and an article that
          is not a followup MUST NOT have a References header. In a
          followup, if the precursor did not have a References header,
          the followup's References content MUST be formed by the
          message ID of the precursor. A followup to an article which
          had a References header MUST have a References header
          containing the precursor's References content, plus the
          precursor's message ID appended to the end of the list
          (separated from it by optional CFWS).

          Followup Agents SHOULD NOT trim message ids out of the
          References content unless the number of message ids exceeds 31
          in which case message ids SHOULD be trimmed until there are
          only 31.

          Trimming SHOULD be done by removing the sixth (6th) message-id
          and any incomplete or otherwise broken message-ids. If
          Followup Agents trim any message-ids out of the References
          content, then they MUST leave the first five and the last nine
          message ids and they SHOULD also leave any message ids
          mentioned in the body of the article intact.

          NOTE: Software writers should be aware that the number of
          messages ids in this header may exceed 31 and software must be
          able to handle this without problem.

                References-content = msg-id [msg-id...]

6.4.1 Examples:

References: <i4g587y@site1.example>
References: <i4g587y@site1.example> <kgb2231+ee@site2.example>
References: <i4g587y@site1.example><kgb2231+ee@site2.example>
References: <i4g587y@site1.example> <kgb2231+ee@site2.example>

6.5. Control

          The Control header content marks the article as a control
          message, and specifies the desired actions (other than the
          usual ones of filing and passing on the article):

          Control-content = verb *( FWS argument ) verb = 1*( ALPHA /
          DIGIT ) argument = 1* ftext

          The verb indicates what action should be taken, and the
          argument(s) (if any) supply details. In some cases, the body
          of the article may also contain details. The next section
          describes the standard verbs.

6.6. Control Messages

          The following sections document the group control messages.
          "Message" is used herein as a synonym for "article" unless
          context indicates otherwise.  Group control messages are a
          special class of control messages, that request the group
          configuration on a server be updated.

          All of the group control messages MUST have an Approved header
          (section 6.10). They SHOULD use one of the authentication
          mechanisms defined in section TBD.

          The execution of the actions requested by control messages is
          subject to local administrative restrictions, which MAY deny
          requests or refer them to an administrator for approval. The
          descriptions below are generally phrased in terms suggesting
          mandatory actions, but any or all of these MAY be subject to
          local administrative approval (either as a class or
          case-by-case). Analogously, where the description below
          specifies that a message or portion thereof is to be ignored,
          this action MAY include reporting it to an administrator.

          Relaying Agents MUST propagate even control messages they do
          not understand.

          In the following sections, each type of control message is
          defined syntactically by defining its arguments and its body.
          For example, "cancel" is defined by defining cancel-arguments
          and cancel-body.

6.6.1 The "newgroup" Control Message

          newgroup-ctrl         = "newgroup" FWS groupname [ FWS flags ]
          flags                 = "moderated"
          groupname             ; defined in [NEWS]

          The "newgroup" control message requests the specified group be
          created or changed. The text "moderated" is appended to mark
          the group as moderated. The message contains a
          "multipart/newsgroupinfo" (section 6.6.1 body) part containing
          machine- and human-readable information about the group.

          The newgroup command is also used to update the description
          line or moderation status of a group.

          NOTE: It is also possible to send newgroups for existing
          groups that don't change anything to ensure the group exist on
          all systems ("booster" newgroups). Implementations might want
          to test for this condition before attempting to update their
          configuration. multipart/newsgroupinfo

          The "multipart/newsgroupinfo" body structure contains
          information about a (new) newsgroup.

          The MIME content type definition of "multipart/newsgroupinfo"

          MIME type name:           multipart
          MIME subtype name:        newsgroupinfo
          Required parameters:      boundary (see [MIME2])
          Optional parameters:      none
          Encoding considerations: "7bit" or "8bit" is sufficient and
                                    MUST be used to maintain compatibility.
          Security considerations:  to be added

          A "multipart/newsgroupinfo" body part contains the following

          1. An "application/newsgroupinfo" part (section
          containing the name and description line of the group(s). This
          part is mandatory.

          2. Other parts containing useful information about the
          backgrounds of newsgroup message.

          3. Parts containing initial named articles for the
          newsgroup. See section for details. application/newsgroupinfo

          The "application/newsgroupinfo" body part contains a short
          information on a newsgroup, i.e. the group's name, it's
          description and the moderation flag.

          NOTE: This part has a format that makes the whole
          "multipart/newsgroupinfo" structure compatible with [1036BIS].

          The MIME content type definition of "application/newsgroupinfo"

          MIME type name:            application
          MIME subtype name:         newsgroupinfo
          Optional parameters:       none
          Encoding considerations:  "7bit" or "8bit" is sufficient and
                                     MUST be used to maintain compatibility.
                                     Note that the descriptions may use [MIME3].
          Security considerations: to be added

          The content of the "application/newsgroupinfo" body part is
          defined as:

          groupinfo-body     = descriptor-tag CRLF 1*( description-line CRLF )
          descriptor-tag     = %x46.6F.72 SP %x79.6F.75.72 SP
                               %x6E. SP
                             ; case sensitive "For your newsgroups file:"
         description-line    = newsgroup-name [ 1*WSP description
                             [ 1*SP group-flags ] ]
         description         = nonblank-text / encoded-word
         moderation-flags    = [ moderated-literal ]
         moderated-literal   = %x28.4D.6F.
                                ; case sensitive "(Moderated)"

         group-flags = [ "<" addr-spec ">" 1*SP ] "(Moderated)"

         The "application/newsgroupinfo" is used in conjunction with the
         "newgroup" (section 6.6.1) and "mvgroup" control messages (section
         6.6.3) as part of a "multipart/newsgroupinfo" (section 6.6.1) MIME

         Moderated newsgroups SHOULD be marked by appending the case
         sensitive text " (Moderated)" at the end.

         NOTE: Due to the line lenght limit in [MAIL], [NEWS] and
         [NNTP], a description line can have a maximum length of 998

         NOTE: In some hierarchies, there exist conventions that set a
         far lower limit, often in characters.

         NOTE: Usually, the description length is limited in a way that
         the newsgroup name, the tab (interpreted as an 8-character tab
         that takes one at least to column 24) and the description
         without flags fit into the first 79 characters.

         NOTE: Servers that use an "newsgroups" file will store the
         group descritpions there as is, i.e. without any conversion of
         charsets   or encoding.

         NOTE: The descriptions will also be used with the [NNTP] LIST
         NEWSGROUPS command. The descriptions will be sent as is, i.e.
         without any conversion of charsets or encoding. Initial Named Articles

         Some parts of a multipart/newsgroupinfo structure MAY contain
         an initial set of named articles. These parts are identified by
         the Article-Name header just like normal named article
         postings.  The named articles are filed separately as single
         postings, where the headers of the enclosing control message
         are copied to every part that contains a named article except

         Content-* and Article-* headers MUST be taken from the body part.

         The message id MUST be changed by inserting /partX before the @
         sign, where X is the number of the body part, starting with 0.
         The Control header of the enclosing message header MUST be
         stripped.  It MAY be replaced by a "Control: named" header.
         Signatures (Auth, X-Auth...) of the enclosing message SHOULD be
         stripped.  They MAY be replaced by a signature of the own site.

         The resulting articles are for internal use of the server and its
         users only, they MUST NOT, repeat MUST NOT be forwarded to other

         Nested multipart/* structures are allowed, they are not
         recursively expanded to separate articles.

6.6.2 The "rmgroup" Control Message

         rmgroup-ctrl  = "rmgroup" FWS groupname

         The "rmgroup" control message requests the specified group be
         removed from the list of valid groups. The Content-Type of the
         body is unspecified; it MAY contain anything, usually an
         explaining text.

         NOTE: It is also possible to send rmgroups for nonexisting,
         bogus groups to ensure the group is removed on all systems
         ("booster" rmgroups). Implementations might want to test for
         this before attempting to update their configuration.

6.6.3 The "mvgroup" Control Message

         mvgroup-ctrl  = "mvgroup" FWS ( mvgrp-groups / mvgrp-hrchy)
         mvgrp-groups  = groupname [ FWS groupname ]
         mvgrp-hrchy   = groupnamepart ".*" FWS groupnamepart
         groupnamepart = groupname    ; syntactically Single group

         The "mvgroup" control message requests the first specified
         group to be moved to the second group. The message contains a
         "multipart/newsgroupinfo" (section body part containing
         machine- and human-readable information about the new group.

         When this message is received, the new group SHOULD be created
         and all articles, including named articles, SHOULD be copied or
         moved to the new group, then the old, now empty group SHOULD be

         NOTE: For servers that use a file system directory structure to
         organize message storage, this operation is quite efficiently
         implemented as a single directory rename operation.

         If the old group does not exist, the message is ignored unless
         the new group does not exist either, in which case the new
         group is created just as for a "newgroup" message.

         An indication that the old group was replaced by the new group
         MAY be left back in the server's configuration and be made
         available to clients.

         NOTE: For servers that use an "active" file this means an entry
         in the form "oldgroup xxx yyy =newgroup" is created.

         NOTE: If the old group did not exist, this is considered a
         local configuration error. Therefore it is the best to correct
         this error when a mvgroup is received.

         If the old group does not exist, the message is ignored unless
         the new group does not exist either, in which case the new
         group is created just as for a "newgroup" message.

         If both groups exist, the groups MAY be "merged". If this is
         done, it MUST be done correctly, i.e. implementations MUST take
         care that the messages in the group being deleted are
         renumbered accordingly to avoid overwriting articles in one
         group with those of the other and that crossposted articles
         don't appear twice. Otherwise, the old group is just deleted.

         In all cases, information transported in the
         "multipart/newsgroupinfo" body part is applied to the new group.

         Named articles are taken from the mvgroup message, the new
         group (if already existent) and the old group in this

         As a special case, the second name, i.e. the one of the new
         group MAY be omitted. In this case, only the information of the
         group is updated according to the contained
         "multipart/newsgroupinfo". Multiple Groups

         If the first name ends with the character sequence ".*", the
         newgroup message requests a whole (sub)hierarchy to be moved.
         The same procedure as for single groups (section applies
         to every matched group; however, some systems might be able to
         optimize the process.

         NOTE: For servers that use a file system directory structure to
         organize message storage, this process can be optimized by
         renaming the parent directory instead of every group's

         To avoid recursion, the new groups' names MUST NEVER match the
         old groups name pattern; i.e. moving a whole (sub)hierarchy to
         a subhierarchy of the original hierarchy is explicitly

6.6.4 The "checkgroups" Control Message

         The "checkgroups" control message contains a list of all valid
         groups in a complete hierarchy. The "Control:" header has the
         following format:

         checkgroup-ctrl = "checkgroups" [ FWS chkscope ] [ FWS chksernr ]
         chkscope        = 1*( ["!"] newsgroup-name-part )
         chksernr        = "#" 1*DIGIT

         The chkscope parameter(s) specifies the (sub)hierarchy(s) for
         which this "checkgroups" message applies. Example:
Control: checkgroups de !de.alt #248

         NOTE: "Old" software is known to ignore this parameter. Thus a
         "checkgroups" message SHOULD also contain the groups of other
         subhierarchies the sender is not responsible for. "New"
         software MUST ignore groups which don't fall into the scope of
         the "checkgroups" message.

         If no scope for the checkgroups message is given, it applies to
         all hierarchies for which group statements appear in the

         "Checkgroups" messages MAY also contain a serial number, which
         can be any positive integer (i.e. just numbered or the date in
         YYYYMMDD).  It SHOULD increase by an arbitrary value with every
         change to the group list and MUST NOT ever decrease.

         NOTE: This was added to circumvent security problems in
         situations where the Date header can not be signed.

         The body of the message is an "application/newscheckgroups" part
         containing the list of ALL valid groups (and MAYbe deletion
         confirmations) for the specified hierarchies.

6.6.5 application/newscheckgroups

         The "application/newscheckgroups" body part contains a complete
         list of all newsgroups in a top level hierarchy, their
         description lines and moderation status.

         The MIME content type definition of
         "application/newscheckgroups:" is:

         MIME type name:           application
         MIME subtype name:        newscheckgroups
         Optional parameters:      none
         Encoding considerations:  "7bit" or "8bit" is sufficient and
                                   MUST be used to maintain compatibility.
                                   Note that the descriptions may use [MIME3].
         Security considerations:  to be added

         The content of the "application/newscheckgroups" body part is
         defined as:

         checkgroups-body = *( invalidation CRLF ) 1*( valid-group CRLF )
         invalidation     = "!" groupname *( "," *WSP groupname )
         valid-group      = description-line
         description-line      ; see section

         The "application/newscheckgroups" content type is used in
         conjunction with the "checkgroups" control message (section Examples

         A "newgroup" with bilingual charter and policy information:

From: admin@example.invalid (example.all Administrator)
Newsgroups: example.admin.groups,example.admin.announce
Date: 27 Feb 1997 12:50:22 +14:00 (EST)
Subject: Group created.
Approved: admin@example.invalid
Control: newgroup moderated
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: multipart/newsgroupinfo; boundary="nxtprt"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit

This is a MIME control message.
Content-Type: application/newsgroupinfo

For your newsgroups file: Information on the example.* hierarchy <>

Content-Type: multipart/alternative ;
differences = content-language ;
boundary = nxtlang
Article-Name: charter

Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
Content-Language: en

The group contains regularly posted information on
the example.* hierarchy.
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit
Content-Language: de

Die Gruppe enthõlt regelmõ~Kig versandte
Informationen ³ber die example.*-Hierarchie.

plain "rmgroup":

From: admin@example.invalid (example.all Administrator)
Newsgroups: example.admin.groups, example.admin.announce
Date: 4 Jul 1997 22:04 +02:00 (PST)
Subject: Deletion of example.admin.obsolete
Message-ID: <rmgroup-example.admin.obsolete-19970730@example.invalid>
Approved: admin@example.invalid
Control: rmgroup example.admin.obsolete

The group example.admin.obsolete is obsolete. Please remove it from
your system.

plain "mvgroup":

From: admin@example.invalid (example.all Administrator)
Newsgroups: example.admin.groups, example.admin.announce
Date: 30 Jul 1997 22:04 +02:00 (CEST)
Subject: Moving example.oldgroup to example.newgroup
Message-ID: <mvgroup-example.oldgroup-19970730@example.invalid>
Approved: admin@example.invalid
Control: mvgroup example.oldgroup example.newgroup
Content-Type: multipart/newsgroupinfo; boundary=nxt

Content-Type: application/newgroupinfo

For your newsgroups file:
example.newgroup The new replacement group.

The group example.oldgroup is replaced by example.newgroup.
Please update your configuration.

more complex "mvgroup" for a whole hierarchy:

The charter of  the group contained a reference to, which is also being moved. So the charter is

From: admin@example.invalid (example.all Administrator)
Newsgroups: example.admin.groups, example.admin.announce
Date: 30 Jul 1997 22:04 +02:00 (PST)
Subject: Deletion of example.admin.obsolete
Message-ID: <>
Approved: admin@example.invalid
Control: mvgroup* example.conversation
Content-Type: multipart/newsgroupinfo; boundary=nxt; chartas=1

Content-Type: application/newgroupinfo

For your newsgroups file:
example.conversation.boring Boring conversations.
example.conversation.interesting Interesting conversations.
example.conversation.jokes Jokes and funny stuff.
example.conversation.jokes.d Discussion about example.conversation.jokes.

Article-Name: example.conversation.jokes: charter

This group is to publish jokes and other funny stuff.
Discussions about the articles posted here should be redirected
to example.conversation.jokes.d; adding a Followup-to: header
is recommended.

6.6.6 Cancel

         The cancel message requests that one or more target articles be
         "canceled" ie be withdrawn from circulation or access. This
         message MAY be issued by entities which processed the target
         article(s) while it was still a proto-article (ie posters,
         posting agents, moderators and injecting agent. See also
         Gateways[2.1] ). Other entities MUST NOT use this method to
         remove articles.

         NOTE: A separate method for other entities to cancel articles
         will be defined in a later draft.

               cancel-arguments  = 1*( message-id CFWS )
               cancel-body       = body

         The argument(s) identify the article(s) to be cancelled, by
         message-id.  The body SHOULD contain an indication of why the
         cancellation was requested. The cancel message SHOULD be posted
         to the same newsgroup(s), with the same distribution(s), as the
         article(s) it is attempting to cancel.

         In order for a cancel message to remove an article either:

         1. The mailing addresses from the From line of the cancel
         message and the target article match and the target article is
         otherwise unauthenticated.

         2. At least one authentication method of the target article
         MUST be matched by the cancel message plus the mailing addresses
         from the From line of the cancel message and the target article
         MAY match.

         NOTE: The Sender, From or Approved headers MUST NOT be used as
         an "authentication method" within the meaning of the previous
         paragraph.  If the above conditions are satisfied then the
         relaying or serving agent SHOULD delete the target article
         completely and immediately (or at the minimum make the article
         unavailable for relaying or serving) and also SHOULD reject any
         copies of this article that appear. See also section 7 on
         duties of Serving and Relaying agents.

6.6.7 ihave, sendme

        The  ihave  and  sendme  control  messages implement a crude
        batched predecessor of the NNTP [rrr]  protocol. They are
        largely obsolete  in the Internet, but still see use in the UUCP
        environment, especially for backup feeds that  normally are
        active only when a primary feed path has failed.

        NOTE:  The  ihave and sendme messages defined here have
        ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH  NNTP,  despite similarities of

        The two messages share the same syntax:

               ihave-arguments   = *( message-id space ) relayer-name
               sendme-arguments  = ihave-arguments
               ihave-body        = *( message-id CRLF )
               sendme-body       = ihave-body

        Message IDs MUST appear in either the arguments or the body, but
        NOT both.  Relayers SHOULD  generate  the  form  putting message
        IDs  in  the  body, but the other form MUST be supported for
        backward compatibility.

        The ihave message states that the named relaying agent has
        received articles with the specified message IDs, which may be
        of interest to the relaying agents receiving the ihave message.
        The sendme message requests that the agent receiving  it send
        the articles having the specified message IDs to the named
        relaying agent.

        These control messages are normally sent essentially as
        point-to-point messages, by using "to." newsgroups (see section
        5.5.1) that are sent only to the relaying agent the messages are
        intended  for.  The two relaying agents MUST be neighbors,
        exchanging news directly with each other.  Each relaying agent
        advertises its new arrivals to the other using ihave messages,
        and each uses sendme messages to request the articles it lacks.

        To reduce overhead, ihave and sendme messages SHOULD be sent
        relatively  infrequently and SHOULD contain reasonable numbers
        of message IDs.  If ihave and sendme are being used to implement
        a  backup  feed,  it may be desirable to insert a delay between
        reception of an  ihave  and generation of a sendme, so that a
        slightly slow primary feed will not cause large numbers of
        articles to be requested unnecessarily via sendme.

6.6.8 Obsolete control messages.

          The following forms of control messages are declared obsolete
          by this document:


6.7. Distribution

          The Distribution header specifies geographical or
          organizational limits to an article's propagation:

          Distribution-content = distribution *( dist-delim distribution)
          dist-delim = ","
          distribution = positive-distribution / negative-distribution
          positive-distribution = *FWS distribution-name *FWS
          negative-distribution = *FWS "!" distribution-name *FWS
          distribution-name = 1*letter

          [That is more restrictive than Henry, omitting '+', '-' and
          '_', but more liberal in allowing uppercase letters, which in
          fact are commonly used, and in not specifying any 14 character

          A distribution is case-insensitive (i.e. "US", "Us" and "us"
          all specify the same distribution). In the absence of a
          Distribution header, the default Distribution-content is
          "world". However, "world" SHOULD NOT be explicitly mentioned
          unless a negative-distribution is also present, as in
          Distribution: world, !us "All" MUST NOT be used as a

          Articles MUST NOT be passed between relaying agents unless the
          sending agent has been configured to supply and the receiving
          agent has requested to receive BOTH of (a) at least one of the
          newsgroups in the article's Newsgroups header, and (b) at
          least one of the positive-distributions in the article's
          Distribution header and none of the negative-distributions.
          Exceptionally, ALL relaying agents are deemed willing to
          supply or accept the distribution "world", and NO relaying
          agent should supply or accept the distribution "local".

          Posting agents SHOULD NOT provide a default Distribution
          header without giving the poster an opportunity to override
          it. Followup agents SHOULD initially supply the same
          Distribution header as found in the precursor.

          All the two-letter country names (e.g. "us") commonly used as
          top-level domain names may be used as distributions, but the
          common non-country top-level domain names (such as "edu" and
          "com") are NOT distributions, moreover top-level
          newsgroup-names (such as "comp" and "soc") are NOT
          distributions. Apart from the above, distribution-names are a
          matter for negotiation between the relaying agents or
          cooperating subnets involved.

6.8. Keywords

          The Keywords field contains a comma separated list of
          important words and phrases intended to describe some aspect
          of the content of the article. The format of the Keywords
          header is defined in the Message Format Standard [MESSFOR] .

          NOTE: The list is comma seperated NOT space seperated.

6.9. Summary

          The Summary header content is a short phrase summarizing the
          article's content.

            summary-content  =  non-blank-text CRLF
            non-blank-text = 1*(FWS text)

          The summary SHOULD be terse.  Authors SHOULD avoid trying to
          cram  their  entire  article into the headers; even the
          simplest query usually benefits from a sentence or two of
          elaboration and context, and not all reading agents display
          all headers. On the other hand the summary should give more
          detail than the Subject.

6.10. Approved

          The Approved header content indicates the mailing addresses
          (and possibly the full names) of the persons or entities
          approving the article for posting:

          Approved-content = From-content

          An Approved header is required in all postings to moderated
          newsgroups. If this header is not present then relaying and
          serving agents MUST reject the article.

          An Approved header is also required in certain control
          messages, to reduce the probability of accidental posting of
          same; see the relevant parts of section 6.6.

          Please see section 7.1 on how injecting agents should treat
          posts to moderated groups that do not contain this header.

6.11 Lines

          The Lines header content indicates the number of lines in the
          body of the article:

          Lines-content = 1*digit

          The line count includes all body lines, including the
          signature if any, including empty lines (if any) at beginning
          or end of the body. (The single empty separator line between
          the headers and the body is not part of the body) . The "body"
          here is the body as found in the posted article as transmitted
          by the posting agent.

          Reading agents SHOULD NOT rely on the presence of this header,
          since it is optional (and some posting agents do not supply
          it). They MUST NOT rely on it being precise, since it
          frequently is not.

6.12. Xref

          The Xref header content indicates where an article was filed
          by the last server to process it:

               Xref-content = server 1*( CFWS location )
               server = server-name
               location = newsgroup-name ":" article-locator
               article-locator  = 1*

          The serving agent's name is included so that software can
          determine which serving agent generated the header. The
          locations specify what newsgroups the article was filed under
          (which may differ from those in the Newsgroups header) and
          where it was filed under them. The exact form of an article
          locator is implementation-specific.

          NOTE: The traditional form of an article locator is a decimal
          number, with articles in each newsgroup numbered consecutively
          starting from 1.  NNTP demands that such a model be
          provided, and there may be other software which expects it,
          but it seems desirable to permit flexibility for unorthodox

          An agent inserting an Xref header into an article MUST delete
          any previous Xref header(s). A relaying agent MUST only create
          and/or relay an Xref header if it correct on all the receiving
          agents the article is forwarded to. Serving agents SHOULD
          insert this header unless the information in it (apart from
          the serving name) is correct in which case it should be left

          An agent MUST use the same name in Xref headers as it uses in
          Path headers.

6.13. Organization

          The Organization header content is a short phrase identifying
          the author's organization:

          organization-content = nonblank-text CRLF

          NOTE: Posting and injection  agents are discouraged from
          providing a default value for this header unless it is
          acceptable to all posters using these agents. Unless this
          header contains useful information ( including some indication
          of the authors physical location) posters are discouraged from
          including it.

6.14. User-Agent

          The User-Agent header contains information about the user
          agent (typically a newsreader) generating the article. This is
          for statistical purposes and tracing of standards violations
          to specific software needing correction. Although OPTIONAL,
          user agents SHOULD include this header with the articles they

          The field MAY contain multiple product tokens and comments
          identifying the agent and any subproducts which form a
          significant part of the user agent such as external agents
          used for message composition, separated injecting agents (such
          as those used by offline newsreaders), and significant
          libraries that are part of such agents. The products are
          listed in order of their significance for identifying the
          application, not necessarily in chronological order of
          handling prior to injection. Injecting agents MAY include
          product information for servers (such as INN/1.7.2), but
          servers MUST NOT generate or modify this header to list

          User-Agent MUST NOT be modified after injection, but MAY be
          stripped or have its contents replaced prior to re-injection
          by another user agent such as an anonymizing gateway.

          User-Agent = "User-Agent:" SP User-Agent-content
          User-Agent-content = product *(CFWS product) [CFWS]

          At least one product MUST be present. The first token MUST NOT
          be a comment. Comments relate to the previously named product,
          not the product following it.

          product = token ["/" product-version] product-version = token

          Product tokens should be short and to the point -- they MUST
          NOT be used for information beyond the canonical name of the
          product and it's version. Although any token character MAY
          appear in a product-version, this token SHOULD be used only
          for a version identifier (i.e., successive versions of the
          same product SHOULD differ only in the product-version portion
          of the product value). Product tokens MUST identify products.

          NOTE: Variations from RFC 1945:

          1. product token is required and MUST be first,

          2. use of other text in the syntactic usage of the product
          token which is not a token is forbidden,

          3. comment allows quoted-pair,

          4. "{" and "}" are allowed in token (product and
          product-version) in news,

          5. octets from character sets other than ASCII are allowed.

          NOTE: Comments should be restricted to information regarding
          the product named to their left such as platform information
          and should be concise. Use as an advertising medium (in the
          mundane sense) is discouraged.

          Recipients of header field TEXT containing octets outside the
          US-ASCII character set may assume that they represent UTF-8

          NOTE: Variation from RFC 1945: UTF-8 replaced ISO-8859-1 as
          charset assumption.

6.14.1 Examples:

User-Agent: tin/1.2-PL2
User-Agent: tin/1.3-950621beta-PL0 (Unix)
User-Agent: tin/unoff-1.3-BETA-970813 (UNIX) (Linux/2.0.30 (i486))
User-Agent: tin/pre-1.4-971106 (UNIX) (Linux/2.0.30 (i486))
User-Agent: Mozilla/4.02b7 (X11; I; en; HP-UX B.10.20 9000/712)
User-Agent: Microsoft-Internet-News/4.70.1161
User-Agent: Gnus/5.4.64 XEmacs/20.3beta17 ("Bucharest")
User-Agent: Pluto/1.05h (RISC-OS/3.1) NewsHound/1.30
User-Agent: inn/1.7.2
User-Agent: inews
User-Agent: telnet

          NOTE: Some current web proxy applications append their product
          information to the list in the User-Agent field. This is not
          recommended on the web and is forbidden for news, since it
          makes machine interpretation of these fields ambiguous.
          User-Agent is not intended to be a total audit trail of what
          software has handled the article.

          NOTE: Some existing web clients fail to restrict themselves to
          the product token syntax within the User-Agent field when
          using this header on the web. Such abuses are forbidden for

          NOTE: This header supersedes the role performed redundantly by
          "X-" headers such as X-Newsreader, X-Mailer, X-Posting-Agent,
          X-Http-User-Agent, and other headers previously used on USENET
          for this purpose. Use of these "X-" headers SHOULD be
          discontinued in favor of the single, standard User-Agent
          header which is to be used freely both in news and mail.

          NOTE: There are slight changes to the original HTTP defined
          format to the User-Agent header as noted, but headers in
          strict, common-sense compliance with RFC 1945 are compliant to
          this specification. The syntax from RFC 1945 is preferred,
          including the requirement that products and comments be
          separated by a space.

6.15 MIME headers

6.15.1 Syntax

          The following headers, as defined within [RFC 2045] and its
          extensions, may be used within articles conforming to this


          Insofar as the syntax for these headers as given in [RFC 2045]
          does not specify precisely where whitespace and comments may
          occur (whether in the form of WS, FWS or CFWS), the usage
          defined in this Standard, and failing that in [MESSFOR], and
          failing that in [RFC 822] MUST be followed. In particular,
          there MUST NOT be any WS between a header-name and the
          following colon and there MUST be a SPACE following that

          The meaning of the various MIME headers is as defined in [RFC
          2045] and [RFC 2046], and in extensions registered in
          accordance with [RFC 2048]. However, their usage is restricted
          as described in the following sections.

6.15.2 Content-Transfer-Encoding

          Posting agents SHOULD specify "Content-Transfer-Encoding:
          8bit" for all articles not written in pure ASCII or whose
          content type implies binary. They MAY use "8bit" encoding even
          when "7bit" encoding would have sufficed. They SHOULD specify
          "base64" when the content type implies binary (i.e. content
          intended for machine, rather than human, consumption).

          Posting agents SHOULD NOT specify encoding "quoted-printable",
          but reading agents MUST interpret that encoding correctly.
          Encoding "binary" MUST NOT be used because this Standard does
          not mandate a transport mechanism that could support it
          (exceptions might be made in closed networks with alternative
          transport arrangements).

          Injecting and relaying agents MUST NOT change the encoding of
          articles passed to them. Gateways SHOULD ONLY change the
          encoding if absolutely necessary.

6.15.3 Content-Type

          Network news is primarily a means of sharing textual
          information amongst a wide audience in a timely manner. The
          network is largely self regulating and operates by the
          consensus of its membership rather than by the dictate of any
          central authority (indeed, this lack of centralised control is
          seen as one of the overall strengths of the system). There are
          practices which, whilst being technically unexceptionable, are
          politically undesirable (or contrary to established

          Insofar as there exist authorities empowered (by common
          consent or otherwise) to define what is and is not proper in
          various hierarchies or newsgroups or cooperating subnets,
          those authorities ought to establish, by means of rules,
          guidelines, charters or whatever else, the practices
          considered acceptable within their domains. In particular they
          ought to establish which of the more exotic content types are
          likely to be inappropriate. In the absence of such specific
          guidance, the following default recommendations are offered
          as an indication of best practice at the present time. Text

          "Content-Type: text/plain" is the expected type for any news
          article. Attention is drawn to the recommendations and limits
          on line lengths set out in section 4.6. Indeed, in any "text"
          content type the lines as transmitted (i.e. including any
          formatting instructions) ought to observe the recommendations
          set out in that section for the benefit of readers who can
          only see it in its transmitted form.

          While "Content-Type: text/enriched" [RFC 1896] can be
          considered acceptable in news articles, "Content-Type:
          text/HTML" is not appropriate since it relies on protocols
          currently unavailable to many reading agents. Application

          Generally speaking, the application content types are
          inappropriate for use outside of specialised newsgroups and
          subnets, especially where vendor-specific application
          subtypes are involved.

          "Application/octet-stream" is only appropriate in newsgroups
          where binaries are customarily accepted. Image, Audio and Video

          Likewise, these content types are only appropriate in
          newsgroups where binaries are customarily accepted. Multipart

          "Content-Type: multipart/mixed" (also "multipart/parallel")
          may be used freely in news articles.

          The use of "Content-Type: multipart/alternative" is deprecated
          (on account of the extra bandwidth consumed and the difficulty
          of quoting in followups).

          "Content-Type: multipart/digest" is recommended for any article
          composed of multiple messages more conveniently viewed as
          separate entities. The "boundary" should be composed of 28
          hyphens (ASCII 45) (which makes each boundary delimiter 30
          hyphens, or 32 for the final one) so as to accord with current
          practice for digests [RFC 1153].

          "Content-Type: multipart/signed" [RFC 1847, RFC 2015] is the
          preferred method for the bodies of news articles that are to
          be digitally signed. However, encryption (as in
          "multipart/encrypted") is unlikely to be appropriate in a
          medium normally directed at such a wide readership. Message

          The Content Types "message/rfc822" and "message/news" are
          unlikely to be of much use within news articles, but attention
          is drawn to the benefits of using "message/news" in gatewaying
          from mail to news and vice versa. In particular, news articles
          mailed to moderators SHOULD be totally encapsulated within an
          email message using "message/news". Moreover, use of
          "message/news" in conjunction with a suitable Transfer
          Encoding forms a convenient way of "tunnelling" a news article
          through a transport medium that does not support 8bit

          [This paragraph needs further work. Both message/news and
          application/news-transmission are recognised by IANA, but the
          distinction between them is not clear and their present
          definitions are out of date and omit to state that base 64 etc
          encodings are permitted (RFC 2046 is silent on that issue). We
          should take the opportunity to rewrite those specifications
          and include them (or at least one of them) in the present

          "Content-Type: message/partial" MAY be used to split a long
          news article into several smaller ones, but this usage is
          deprecated on the grounds that modern transport agents should
          have no difficulty in handling articles of arbitrary length.
          If this feature is used, then the "id" parameter should be in
          the form of a unique message-id (but different from the
          Message-ID of any of the partial articles). The second and
          subsequent partial articles should contain References headers
          referring to all the previous parts (note that these headers
          will be discarded upon reassembly of the parts). Contrary to
          the requirements specified in [RFC 2046], the
          Transfer-Encoding should be set to 8bit at least in each part
          that requires it.

          "Content-Type: message/external-body" could be appropriate for
          texts which it would be uneconomic (in view of the likely
          reader- ship) to distribute to the entire network. Character Sets

          In principle, any character set may be specified in the
          "charset=" parameter of a content type. However, character
          sets other than "us-ascii", "iso-8859-1" (and the
          corresponding parts of UTF-8) ought only to be used in
          hierarchies where the language customarily used so required
          (and whose readers could be expected to possess agents capable
          of displaying them).

6.15.4 MIME within headers

          Since the headers of news articles are expected to use the
          UTF-8 character set, they SHOULD NOT normally be encoded using
          the MIME mechanism defined in RFC-2047 [RFC-2047].
          Nevertheless, reading agents SHOULD support that usage.

          It is to be noted, however, that RFC-2047 encoding would be
          required were a news article to be transmitted as a mail
          message without first encapsulating in as a "message/news" as
          suggested above.

6.15. Supersedes / Replaces

          These two headers take a list of message-ids (msgid-list) that
          the current article is expected to replace or supersede. All
          listed articles MUST be treated as though a "cancel" control
          message had arrived for the message, except as detailed below.

          These headers are essentially synonyms, with a change in
          behavior - Replaces uses the old article's message-id for
          the more recently arrived article, rather than creating a
          new article.

          The  Supersedes header content specifies articles to be
          cancelled on arrival of this one:

               Supersedes-content = message-id *( FWS message-id )

          NOTE: There is no "c" in "Supersedes".

          Older software supported only Supersedes, and with only one
          Message-ID. Until Multi-Super-Date, software SHOULD generate
          Supersedes with only one Message-ID, and cancel control
          messages SHOULD be issued if needed for other IDs.

          If the header is "Replaces" the new successor article SHOULD
          effectively over-write the predecessor(s) so that any attempt
          to read them shows the successor. Newsreaders should not show
          the article as an "unread" article unless the replaced
          articles were themselves all unread. A Replacement is
          considered a minor change, unworthy of being brought to the
          attention of a person who read one of the predecessors.
          Newsreaders and database systems MAY provide access to
          predecessors of articles if they wish, but this should not be
          part of the course of normal newsreading, and is in fact

          Systems MAY treat Replaces as a synonym for Supersedes, if
          they do not implement the semantics of Replaces.

          If the header is "Supersedes" then the old articles SHOULD
          simply be deleted, as in a cancel, and the new article
          inserted into the system like any new article.

          Attempts to fetch a replaced or superseded article either by
          number or by Message-ID SHOULD retrieve instead the most
          recent successor. Some indication that a newer version than
          was asked for has been delivered MAY be provided. It is
          particularly encouraged that NNTP servers implement delivery
          of successor upon requests by message-IDs so that WWW "news:"
          and "msg:" URLs continue to work even when an article has a

          It is expected that "Replaces" will become the common header
          for routine article changes and corrections, with Supersedes
          used for periodic postings (possibly every N periodic
          postings) or updates that make major changes to an article.

          As with a cancel, systems MUST NOT delete or replace articles
          unless the poster of the successor is authorized to cancel the

6.15.1 Message-ID version numbers chain procedure.

NOTE: Sections 6.15.1 - 6.15.4 may be published as a separate
      recommendations document.

          Tools superseding or replacing messages should arrange so that
          the Message-ID of a replacement follows the following set of
          rules, generating what are known as "version-number"

           1. If the Local-Part of the predecessor's Message-ID ends in
           "%v=<n>", where <n> is an integer version number, the new
           message-ID should replace the <n> with the integer <n+1>.

Message-ID <foo%v=3@example.invalid> is replaced by

           2. If the Local-Part of the predecessor's Message-ID does not
           end in "%v=<n>", then the string "%v=1" should be appended to
           the Local-Part to generate the successor Message-ID.

Message-ID <foo@example.invalid> is replaced by

6.15.2 Implementation and Use Note

          Typically a news database will store a "pointer" of some sort
          between replaced/superseded articles and their immediate
          successor or most recent successor. Such pointers may be
          expired along with other records in a news system's message-id
          lookup database. In addition, if a "version-number" Message-ID
          is found, and the "root" version (without the "%v=" tag, or
          with a "%v=0" tag) is not present on the server, a pointer
          from that root to the most recent successor SHOULD also be
          stored, and kept so long as there is a current successor in
          the system. (Systems should check for both root forms, trying
          the "%v=0" form first, and the tagless form 2nd.)

          Thus when a request for an article comes in that is not
          present (due to superseding or replacement) a check can be
          made for a pointer record for that Message-ID, or failing
          that, if the ID has a version-number, for a pointer record for
          the root versionless ID. Such pointers can be followed to the
          most recent successor.

6.15.3 Transition

          Prior to Multi-Super-Date, a message may contain both a
          Replaces field and a Supersedes field. This should be treated
          as a Replaces, with the Supersedes added to assure that older
          systems still at least remove the predecessor.

6.15.4 Replaced-by

          This header takes a message-id as argument.

          Prior to Multi-Super-Date, if there is a need to Supersede by
          use of a simple Cancel control message (due to inability to
          use multiple IDs in the Supersedes header) then such control
          messages may contain a "Replaced-by" header indicating the
          Message-ID of the successor the message that was cancelled.
          Systems maintaining pointers from predecessors to successors
          should use this record to update their pointers.

          Note this header goes only on the cancel control message, not
          the successor. The successor should have a Replaces and/or
          Supersedes listing the most immediate predecessor. Examples

          The first edition of an FAQ is posted with a Message-ID of the
          form: <examplegroup-faq@example.invalid>. The next version, a week
          later, has:

Message-ID:     <examplegroup-faq%v=1@example.invalid>
Supersedes:     <examplegroup-faq@example.invalid>

          The next one, another week later has:

Message-ID:     <examplegroup-faq%v=2@example.invalid>
Supersedes:     <examplegroup-faq%v=1@example.invalid>

          The next one, another week later has:

Message-ID:     <examplegroup-faq%v=3@example.invalid>
Supersedes:     <examplegroup-faq%v=2@example.invalid>

          Note that the long spacing between issues means the
          multi-entry Supersedes is there primarily to preserve pointer
          records at sites not using the version-number system for

          Under the above, requests for the root (original) message-ID
          will return the most recent FAQ. On systems using the
          version-number system (which is optional) requests for any
          Message-ID in the chain will return the most recent, for all
          time. As such the URL "" will
          always work, making it suitable to appear in HTML. Example

          A user posts a message <> to the net.
          She notices a typo, and 2 minutes later, posts with:

Message-ID:     <myuniquepart%v=1@example.invalid>
Replaces:       <myuniquepart@example.invalid>

          3 minutes later she sees another typo, and posts:

Message-ID:     <myuniquepart%v=2@example.invalid>
Replaces:       <myuniquepart%v=1@example.invalid>

          The two bad versions will be replaced with the 3rd, even if a
          site never sees the 2nd due to batching or feed problems, and
          requests for the original will return the 3rd.

          During transition, she adds a Supersedes header to the 3rd
          message, with the first (direct predecessor) ID. She issues a
          Cancel message as well:

Control: cancel <myuniquepart@example.invalid> Replaced-by:

6.15.6 Dates

          Multi-Super-Date ... in one year. (1036-spencer required
          multiple-ID supersedes, so by now just about everybody should
          already support it, is this true?) "Replaces" active --
          whatever date we are putting for general compliance with this
          spec by news database systems.

6.15.7 Issues

          No syntax for the internals of message-ids has been declared
          on the net. However, there is no harm if a conforming
          message-id matches the syntax. The syntax has been designed so
          that additional flags may be added to a message-id if desired,
          in a general "%keyword=value" form prior to the at-sign.

          Permanent message-ids as created by this system may even be
          implemented by smart NNTP servers which fetch old messages
          from other servers, increasing the availability of USENET
          messages considerably.

          Unfortunately, it will be some time until any new feature is
          widely deployed.

6.16 Archive

          This optional header is a signal to automatic archival agents
          on whether this article is available for long-term storage.
          Agents which see "Archive: no" MUST NOT keep the article past
          the Expires date. Any other text indicates conditions that an
          agent SHOULD follow in order to archive the article.

          Archive-content = "no" | CFWS

6.17. Obsolete Headers

          Persons writing new agents SHOULD ignore any former meanings
          of these headers.


7. Duties of Various Agents

          The following section sets out the duties of various Agents
          involved in the creation, relaying and serving of Usenet

          Agents which write to the Path header MUST conform to RFC2142
          with respect to contact addresses especially the "usenet" and
          "abuse" addresses.

7.1 Duties of an Injecting Agent.

          An injection agent is responsible for taking a proto-article
          from a posting agent and either forwarding it to a moderator
          of injecting it into the relaying system for access by

          As such a Injecting Agent is considered responsible for
          ensuring that any article it injects conform with the policies
          and rules of this document and any newsgroups that an article
          is posted to.

          To this end injection agents MAY cancel articles which they
          have previously injected.

7.1.1 Proto-articles.

          A proto-article is one that is created by a posting agent and
          has not been injected into the news system by an injecting
          agent. Only one copy of a proto-article MUST exist. A
          proto-article has the same format as a normal article except
          that some of the compulsory headers MAY be missing.  A
          proto-injected article MAY have the following headers missing:
          "Message-Id: " , "Date: " and "Path: " . These header MUST not
          contain invalid values, they MUST either be correct or not
          present at all.

          A proto-article MUST NOT contain the "!" or "%" character in
          the Path header.

          Proto-articles SHOULD NOT contain the Originator-Info header.
          See reference [draft-newman-msgheader-originfo-x.txt] on this
          header for more information.

7.1.2 Procedure followed by Injecting Agents.

          A injecting agent receives proto-articles from posting and
          followup agents. It verifies them, adds headers where required
          and then either forwards them to a moderator or injects them
          by passing them to serving or relaying agents. An injecting
          agent SHOULD only accept articles from trusted agents.

          An injecting agent MAY reject articles in which headers contain
          "forged" email addresses, that is, addresses which are not
          valid for the known source, and do not end in ".invalid".

          If an injecting agent receives an otherwise valid article that
          has already been injected it SHOULD either act as if it is a
          relaying agent or pass the article on to a relaying agent
          completely unaltered. It MUST NOT forward an already injected
          article to a moderator. Articles SHOULD NOT be injected twice.

          An injecting agent accepts a proto-article checks it and does
          one of the following:

          (a) If the article is invalid, incorrectly formatted or
          unacceptable due to site policy the posting agent MUST be
          informed (such as via a [NNTP] 44x response code) that posting
          has failed and the article MUST NOT be injected nor forwarded
          to a moderator.

          (b) If the Newsgroups line contains one or more moderated
          groups and the article does NOT contain an Approved header
          then the injecting agent MUST forward the article to the
          moderator of the first (leftmost) moderated group listed in
          the Newsgroups line via email. The injecting agent MUST also
          add headers as detailed below.

          (c) If the proto-article is not posted to any moderated
          newsgroups or the Approved header is correctly present then
          the injecting agent should convert the proto-article to an
          injected article (see below) and forwarded it to one or more
          relaying or serving agents.

7.1.3 Headers added by Injecting Agents.

          When an injecting agent forwards and article to a moderator or
          injects it it MUST do the do the following:

          The message-id and Date headers (and their content) MUST be
          added if not already present. The Path header MUST be
          correctly added if the article is being injected but SHOULD
          NOT be added if it is being forwarded to a moderator.

          If the Originator-Info header is already present in the
          proto-article then it MUST be removed if incorrect and a
          correct one MAY added.

          The Injecting Agent MUST verify the poster in some way. The
          Path header (section 5.6) MUST be correctly used and some
          other secure standard method  (such as the Originator-info
          header) MAY be used.

          The Injecting Agent MAY add other headers not listed in this
          draft but MUST NOT alter, delete or reorder any headers
          already present in the article except the Originator-Info
          header (see above). The Injecting Agent MUST NOT alter the
          body of the article in any way.

7.2 Duties of a Relaying Agent

          A relaying Agent accepts injected articles from injecting and
          other relaying agents and passes them on to relaying agents or
          serving agents according to mutually agreed policy. Relaying
          Agents SHOULD only accept articles from trusted agents.

          A relaying agent MAY reject articles in which headers contain
          "forged" email addresses, that is, addresses which are not
          valid for the known source, and do not end in ".invalid".

          A relaying agent MUST perform checks on an article to ensure
          it complies with this standard. If the article is invalid,
          unwanted (see below) or unacceptable due to site policy the
          agent that passed the article to the relaying agent SHOULD be
          informed (such as via a [NNTP] 43x response code) that
          relaying failed. In order to prevent a large number of error
          messages being sent to one location relaying agent MUST NOT
          inform any other external entity that an article was not
          relayed UNLESS that external entity has specificly requested
          that it be informed of these errors.

          In order to prevent overloading relaying agents SHOULD NOT
          query an external entity (such as a key-server) in order to
          verify an article.

          When an article is received the relaying agent MUST verify the
          previous entry in this header and add their own entry(s)
          according to the syntax defined in the Path section 5.6.
          Relaying agents MUST NOT alter,   deleted or rearrange any
          part of an article expect for the Path and Xref Headers.

          Article which match mutually agreed criteria should be passed
          onto neighboring relaying and serving agents.

          NOTE: It is usual for relaying and serving agents to restrict
          the Newsgroups, Distributions, age and size of articles they
          wish to receive.

7.2.1 Unwanted and Invalid articles

          Relaying Agents MUST reject all articles that do not have all
          mandatory headers present with legal contents or which have
          illegal contents in optional headers.

          Relaying Agents SHOULD reject any articles that have already
          been sent to it (a database message-ids of recent messages is
          usually kept and matched against) or which are too old (from
          the Date header) for it to determine if they have already been
          sent to it. Relaying Agents SHOULD NOT forward articles to
          sites whose path-identity is already in the Path header.

          Relaying Agents SHOULD also reject any articles that have been
          Canceled, Superseded or Replaced by their author or another
          trusted entity.

7.3 Duties of a Serving Agent

          A Serving Agent takes an article from a relaying or injecting
          agent and files it in a "news database" . It also provides an
          interface for reading agents to access the news database. This
          database is normally indexed by newsgroup with with articles
          in each newsgroup numbered consecutively starting from 1. See
          [NNTP] for more information on this format.

          NOTE: Control messages are usually filed in the separate
          pseudo-newsgroup "control" or a pseudo-newsgroup in a
          hierarchy under "control." (ie "control.cancel" ) . Serving
          Agents SHOULD do this if they serve articles via NNTP.

          Serving Agents are encouraged to only allow access to trusted
          reading agents.

          Serving Agents SHOULD generate a correct Xref header for
          crossposted articles and MUST prepend a correct path-identity
          into the Path header of all articles.

7.3.1 Unwanted articles

          Serving Agents MUST reject all articles that do not have all
          mandatory headers present with legal contents or which have
          illegal contents in optional headers.

          Serving Agents SHOULD reject any articles that have already
          been sent to it (a database message-ids of recent messages is
          usually kept and matched against) or which are too old (from
          the Date header) for it to determine if they have already been
          sent to it.

          Serving Agents SHOULD also reject any articles that have been
          Canceled, Superseded or Replaced by their author or another
          trusted entity and delete any of these articles that they
          already have in their news database.

7.4 Duties of a Posting Agent.

          A posting agent is used to assist the poster in creating a
          valid proto-article and forwarding it to an injecting agent.

          Postings Agents SHOULD ensure that proto-articles they create
          are valid usenet articles according to the standards of this
          document and other policies.

          Posting agents meant for use by ordinary posters SHOULD reject
          any attempt to post an article which cancels, Supersedes or
          Replaces another article if the target article not by the

7.5 Duties of a Followup Agent

          A followup Agent is a special case of a Posting Agent and as
          such is bound by all the Posting Agent's requirements plus
          additional ones.  Followup Agents MUST create valid followups,
          Followups have additional requirements from normal articles
          for the syntax of the References and Subject headers and the
          body format.

          Followup Agents MUST by default follow the FollowUp-To header
          when deciding which newsgroups a followup is posted to,
          however the poster MAY override the default if they wish.

          Followup Agents MUST NOT attempt to send email to any address
          ending in ".invalid".

          Followup Agents SHOULD NOT email copies of the followup to the
          author of the precursor (or any other person) unless this has
          been explicitly requested.

7.6 Duties of a Gateway


8. Propagation and Processing

          Most aspects of news propagation and processing are
          implementation-specific.   The  basic propagation algorithms,
          and certain details of how they  are  implemented,
          nevertheless need to be standard.

          There  are  two  important principles that news implementors
          (and administrators) need to keep in mind.  The first is the
          well-known Internet Robustness Principle:

               Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what
               you send.

          However, in the case of news there is an even more important
          principle, derived from a much older code of  practice,  the
          Hippocratic  Oath  (we  will  thus call this the Hippocratic

               First, do no harm.

          It is VITAL to realize that decisions which might be  merely
          suboptimal  in a smaller context can become devastating
          mistakes when amplified by the actions of  thousands  of
          hosts within a few hours.

          In the case of gateways, the primary corollary to this is:

               Cause no loops.

9. Security And Related Issues

          There is no security. Don't fool yourself. USENET is a prime
          example of an Internet Adhocratic-Anarchy; that is, an
          environment in which trust forms the basis of all agreements.
          It works.

          Articles which are intended to have restricted distribution
          are dependent on the goodwill of every site receiving them.
          The "X-No-Archive: yes" header is widely recognized as a
          signal to automated archivers not to file an article, but that
          cannot be guaranteed.

          The Distribution header makes provisions for articles which
          should not be propagated beyond a cooperating subnet. The key
          security word here is "cooperating". When a machine is not
          configured properly, it may become uncooperative and tend to
          distribute all articles.

9.1 Attacks

          The two categories of attacks that news is most vulnerable to
          are Denial-of-Service and exploitations of particular
          implementations. Many have argued that "spam", massively
          crossposted or reposted articles constitutes a DoS attack in
          its own regard. This may be so.

          Sending off-topic messages is a matter for individual hierarchies
          and newsgroups to control. It is a violation of this DRAFT to
          "forge" an email address, that is, to use a valid email address
          which you are not entitled to use. All invalid email addresses
          used in headers MUST end in the ".invalid" top-level-domain.
          This facility is provided primarily for those who wish to remain
          anonymous, but do not care to take the additional precautions of
          using more sophisticated anonymity measures.

          It is possible that legal penalties may apply to sending
          unsolicited commercial email and/or news articles. Check with
          your local legal authorities.

10. Security Considerations

          Section 9 discusses security considerations.

11. References:

   Eastlake, D. ; Panitz A. Reserved Top Level DNS Names,
   draft-ietf-dnsind-test-tlds-xx.txt, May 1998

   American National Standard for Information Systems - Coded
   Character Sets - 7-Bit American National Standard Code for
   Information Interchange (7-Bit ASCII). ANSI X3.4, 1986.

   International Standard - Information Processing - 8-bit
   Single-Byte Coded Graphic Character Sets - Part 1: Latin
   alphabet No. 1, ISO 8859-1, 1987. Part 2: Latin alphabet
   No. 2, ISO 8859-2, 1987. Part 3: Latin alphabet No. 3, ISO
   8859-3, 1988. Part 4: Latin alphabet No. 4, ISO 8859-4,
   1988. Part 5: Latin/Cyrillic alphabet, ISO 8859-5, 1988.
   Part 6: Latin/Arabic alphabet, ISO 8859-6, 1987. Part 7:
   Latin/Greek alphabet, ISO 8859-7, 1987. Part 8:
   Latin/Hebrew alphabet, ISO 8859-8, 1988. Part 9: Latin
   alphabet No. 5, ISO 8859-9, 1990. Part 10: Latin alphabet
   No. 6, ISO 8859-10, 1992.

   International Standard - Information technology -
   Universal Multiple-Octet Coded Character Set (UCS) - Part
   1: Architecture and Basic Multilingual Plane. ISO/IEC
   10646-1, 1993.



 [RFC-822] e-mail message format
   Crocker, David H.: Standard for the format of ARPA
   Internet text messages. RFC 822, 1982-08-13.

 [RFC-850] netnews message format (obsolete)
   Horton, Mark R.: Standard for interchange of Usenet
   messages. RFC 850, 1983-06.

 [RFC-976] UUCP mail interchange
   Horton, Mark R.: UUCP mail interchange format standard.
   RFC 976, 1986-02.

 [RFC-977] NNTP
   Kantor, Brian; Lapsley, Phil: Network news transfer
   protocol - a proposed standard for the stream-based
   transmission of news. RFC 977, 1986-02.

 [RFC-1036] netnews message format
   Horton, Mark R.; Adams, R.: Standard for interchange of
   Usenet messages. RFC 1036, 1987-12.

 [RFC-1036BIS] netnews message format (memo)
   Spencer, Henry: News article format and transmission.

 [RFC-1884] IP v6
   Hinden, Robert M.; Deering, Stephen E.: IP version 6
   addressing architecture. RFC 1884, 1995-12.

 [RFC-2045] MIME, part 1
   Freed, Ned; Borenstein, Nathaniel S.: Multipurpose
   Internet mail extensions (MIME), part 1: format of
   Internet message bodies. RFC 2045, 1996-11.

   Bradner, Scott: Key words for use in RFCs to indicate
   requirement levels. RFC 2119, 1997-03.

 [RFC-2130] character-set memo
   Weider, Chris; Preston, Cecilia; Simonsen, Keld;
   Alvestrand, Harald T.; Atkinson, Randall; Crispin, Mark;
   Svanberg, Peter: The report of the IAB character set
   workshop. RFC 2130, 1997-04.

 [RFC-2142] standard mailbox names
   Crocker, David H.: Mailbox names for common services,
   roles and functions. RFC 2142, 1997-05.

 [RFC-2234] ABNF
   Crocker, David H.; Overell, Paul: Augmented BNF for syntax
   specifications: ABNF. RFC 2234, 1997-11.

 [RFC-2279] UTF-8
   Yergeau, Francois: UTF-8, a transformation format of ISO
   10646. RFC 2279, 1998-01.

 [UNICODE] Unicode
  The Unicode Consortium: The Unicode Standard - Version 2.0.
  Addison-Wesley, 1996.

          Author's Address

          The Usenet Format Working Group (

          Deliberations were archived at

          Chair:      Simon Lyall,
          Editor:     Dan Ritter,

          Members (alphabetical):

A. Deckers (
Ade Lovett (
Andrew Gierth (
Bill Davidsen (
Bill McQuillan (
Brad Templeton (
Brian Hernacki (
Brian Kelly (
Bryan Ford (
Buddha Buck (
Charles Lindsey (
Chris Newman (
Christian Weisgerber (
Christopher Sedore (
Claus Andre Farber (lists/usenet-format/
Clive D.W.  Feather (
Curt Welch (
D. J.  Bernstein (
Dave Barr (
Dave Hayes (
Dave Mack (
David C Lawrence (
David desJardins (
Denis McKeon (
Dirk Nimmich (
Doug Royer [N6AAW] (dougr@basilisk.Eng.Sun.COM)
Egil Kvaleberg (
Eivind Tagseth (
Erik van der Poel (
Erland Sommarskog (
Evan Champion (
Fergus Henderson (
Frederic SENIS (
Fredric Logren (
Greg Berigan (
Harald Alvestrand (
Heiko Schlichting (
Heiko W.Rupp (
Hrvoje Niksic (
Ian Davis (
Ian G Batten (
John Moreno (
John Stanley (
Jon Ribbens (
Jonathan Grobe (
Kai Heingsen (
Karl Kleinpaste (
Keeth Herron (
Kent Landfield (
Kristian =?ISO-8859-1?Q?K=F6hntopp?= (
Lars Magne Ingebrigtsen (
Leonid Yegoshin (
Mark Hittinger (
Mark Sidell (
Martin Forssen (
Martin J. Duerst (
Maurizio Codogno (
Mick Brown (
Mustafa Soysal MS57 (
Oo Hovers (
Paul Eggert (
Paul Overell (
Per Abrahamsen (
Pete Resnick (
Peter =?ISO-8859-1?Q?Br=FClls?= (pb@Ecce-Terram.DE)
Peter Heirich (
Ralph Babel <>
Richard Clayton (
Robert Elz (kre@muari.OZ.AU)
Russ Allbery (
R. Kelley Cook (
Seth Breidbart (
Shmuel Metz (
Simon Fraser (
Stan Barber (
Sylvan Butler (
Terje Bless (
Thomas Roessler (
Tim Skirvin (
Todd Michel McComb (
Tom Hughes (
Vera Heinau (
Wayne Davison (
Wolfgang Schelongowski (

Expires 19990101