The Good Net-Keeping Seal of Approval (q.v.).

GNKSA is a set of requirements and suggestions that all newsreaders should support (considering RFCs, basic netiquette that can possibly be enforced by the program, and "user-friendliness" to certain extent).

GNKSA is the basic "quality metric" of Usenet software. Most modern newsreaders pass GNKSA/2.0 requirements.

Here's the summary (from the GNKSA 2.0 document):

  1. Display all essential header information
  2. Provide clear, separate commands for new posting, followup, and e-mail reply
  3. Provide cross-posting functionality
  4. Allow users to change essential headers
  5. Ensure followups and e-mail replies contain a correct Subject
  6. Direct followups to the correct newsgroups
  7. Make sure followups contain valid References
  8. Direct e-mail replies to the correct address
  9. Allow the user to change her mind about whether to post or mail
  10. Provide adequate quotation and attribution facilities
  11. Provide a user-specified "Subject: " header
  12. Provide a valid "From: " header
  13. Allow users to both cancel and supersede their own articles (and no others!)
  14. Try to respect the 80-character line-length conventions
  15. Separate signatures correctly, and don't use excessive ones
  16. Try to prevent obvious user errors
  17. Post human-readable articles unless ordered otherwise
  18. Provide self-protection
  19. Be kind to servers, leave room for others

Home page, as of writing: http://www.gnksa.org/

Described as "Basic Hygiene for Usenet Software", the Good Net-Keeping Seal of Approval is intended to ensure that news readers are at least minimally idiot-resistant. Whether it succeeds at that goal is a judgment call, but its requirements are for the most part sound (if a bit heavy-handed at times).

To avoid the whole cut-and-paste thing, I'll point out that the full text of the GNKSA is at http://www.newsreaders.com/gnksa/. The actual document is fairly long, but most of it boils down to:

  • Display important headers (From:, Newsgroups:, Subject:, and a couple others
  • Make it crystal clear to whom, and to where, you're replying
  • Allow users to easily make new posts, reply publicly, and reply privately, and make sure they know which is which and what they're doing
  • Allow users to cancel or supersede their own articles, and not anyone else's (which makes GNKSA software pretty much useless for newsgroup moderators, but that's another story)
  • Respect netiquette: 80 characters per line, no obnoxious .signatures
  • Make sure what you see is what you post
  • Generally try to prevent the user from being a complete idiot

Software to be awarded the GNKSA includes tin, slrn, and Gnus. Software that failed to pass the test includes Outlook Express, Free Agent and trn.

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