Altopia - We do news!




Frequently Asked Questions

If you have questions not answered here, please send them to support@altopia.com.

Q: Do you log what groups or articles customers read?

A: No. But do not consider this to be a license to perform illegal activities. You should not use Altopia for illegal activities and you should know that law enforcement and network providers/ISPs are able to monitor your interactions with our servers if they "sniff" your sessions.

Q: Do you log what customers post?

A: Yes. We log data which associates a message-id to a customer account. This data is kept for a month except in cases in which we are requested to archive specific records for a longer period of time.

Q: Do you limit post frequency?

A: Yes. New customers are limited to 100 posts per day. Customers may request an increase to this limit if needed, via email to support@altopia.com.

Q: Do you censor?

A: No.

Q: Do you honor cancels?

A: No. If you are a customer of Altopia services, we will propagate your cancel messages, but they will not be honored locally. We do not honor cancels because we have found that many messages are canceled by those who would not like the message content to be read, and not by the message originators themselves.

Q: Why do you not allow your customer to cancel messages posted by other people?

A: We believe that if someone feels they need to cancel someone else's posts, they should run their own news server and take on the full burden of the complaints resulting from their actions. If you observe a customer of Altopia canceling other people's posts, please forward information about this to abuse@altopia.com so that we can take action to stop it.

Q: What is your policy on unsolicited advertising?

A: We have a strict policy against unsolicited advertising. Our customer agreement says that customers will be charged $10 per complaint received about unsolicited advertising originating from their account. In addition, we may terminate a customer's account for unsolicited advertising or disable their posting ability.

Q: Do you consider make money fast (MMF) schemes to be unsolicited advertising?

A: Absolutely.

Q: Why do you carry groups that appear to be focused on illegal activities?

A: It is our belief that a group name in of itself is not illegal and that what is actually in a group does not necessarily correspond to a group name. In general we do not remove groups, even if they become inactive. It is possible for illegal messages to be posted to any group on Usenet and we have no way of monitoring or controlling this. If you believe something illegal is happening, please consider contacting law enforcement so that the posters of such material can be prosecuted appropriately.

Q: I've seen cancels for unsolicited advertising come out of Altopia. What's up with that?

A: Occasionally, we are asked by the owner of an account, from which unsolicited advertising was posted, to issue cancels for the posts. We include the phrase "Canceled at the request of the author." in these cancel messages.

Q: What is your policy on child pornography?

A: Customers are required to follow the law which applies to Altopia and/or the customer. We encourage people to report child pornography to the appropriate law enforcement agency so they may then contact us and follow-up as they determine appropriate. We do not review messages that are on or have passed through the server because that action in of itself can be illegal. Further, we are not in a position to know what is child pornography and what is not. If you do not know which agency to report child pornography to, please call the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children's Cyber Tipline (http://www.cybertipline.com/) at 1-800-843-5678.

Q: What is your policy on copyrighted material?

A: Customers are required to follow the copyright law which applies to Altopia and/or the customer. If you have believe that a customer of Altopia has violated a copyright you should contact the copyright holder directly. We do not review messages that are on or have passed through the server. We are not in a position to know what is a copyright violation and what is not. Copyright holders should contact us directly for any violations, in accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Title 17 U.S.C. 512(c)(2), Altopia Corporation's Designated Agent for receipt of any claims of copyright infringement is Chris Caputo. Altopia Corporation's Designated Agent may be contacted at any of the following:

1700 7th Ave Ste 116 #300
Seattle, WA  98101-1323
206-367-4320 (voice)
206-367-4319 (fax)
copyright@altopia.com

Notice of any claimed infringing materials must comply with applicable law.

Q: What is your policy on message floods?

A: If a customer of Altopia is flooding, we will disable their posting ability. If an incoming flood is making a group or groups available on Altopia be unusable, we may delete the message flood or prevent it, so as to make the group(s) be usable.

Q: What is your policy on non-advertising excessive multi-posting (EMP)? (Revised September 12th, 2008.)

A: We do not allow excessive multi-posting. We define an excessive multi-posting to be substantively identical messages which have been posted more than four times in a 30-day interval.

Q: What is your policy on binaries in non-binary groups?

A: We do not have a policy against binaries in non-binary groups and we rely on customers to operate in a way that they feel is appropriate for Usenet and/or the groups they are participating in.

Q: What is your policy on off-topic postings?

A: We do not have a policy against off-topic postings and we rely on customers to operate in a way that they feel is appropriate for Usenet and/or the groups they are participating in.

Q: What is your policy on a customer posting with a bogus return address?

A: We feel customers have a right to decide whether to be anonymous or not and so we do not have a problem with a customer posting with a bogus return address. The news server software does require that a return address be in Internet standard format, such as foo@bar, but the address does not have to be real. We do require that customers verify that the address they choose to use is not actually someone else's valid address or domain. For example, bar@foo.com is actually a valid email address, because foo.com is a registered domain.

Q: What is your policy on forgery?

A: We have a policy against a customer of Altopia making posts in a way that uses the email address of another user on Usenet or the Internet, in an attempt to deceive readers of the true identity of the poster, without that email address owner's permission. In addition, if you are the victim or witness to a forgery, you may want to contact the appropriate law enforcement agency so they may then contact us and follow-up as they feel appropriate.

Q: What is your policy on Path: pre-loading?

A: If a customer of Altopia performs Path: pre-loading on their Path: lines with valid (or valid looking) site names before "news.alt.net" they should end their path-preloading with "news.alt.net", so that it appears twice and it is obvious the post originated at Altopia. An exception to this is made for customers who pre-load a site name that they own or have permission to use. For example:

Path: ...!news.alt.net!valid_looking_site_name!news.alt.net

Q: What is your policy on headers referencing sites without permission? (Added July 27th, 2008.)

A: We have a policy against a customer of Altopia adjusting the headers of a post so that it uses a registered Internet domain without the domain owner's permission, in an attempt to deceive readers of the true source of the post.

Q: Why don't posts from your site contain an NNTP-Posting-Host: header?

A: We feel customers have a right to decide whether to be anonymous or not and so we do not add the NNTP-Posting-Host: header to customers' posts.

Q: What is your policy on postings to moderated newsgroups without the permission of the moderator?

A: We do not have a policy against this and we rely on customers to operate in a way they feel is appropriate for Usenet and/or the groups they are participating in. We may disable the ability of a customer to post to a newsgroup without moderator approval if we believe they are taking advantage of this ability in a manner that is not responsible. We do not send postings of this type to peers unless they specifically ask us to, and we encourage peers to not send them to their peers unless they have permission to do so. If you are negatively affected by this policy, please consider the following:

If you're a reader, we recommend you configure your newsreader to filter out postings with "mpost.alt.net" or the generic "notmoderator" in the Path: line. Alternatively, you may want to ask your admin to change their configuration or switch to a news server that does not receive "notmoderator" type postings.

If you're a moderator, do what you feel is necessary to manage the group you moderate, such as using PGPMoose. If you are a recognized moderator who uses Altopia to inject posts, contact support@altopia.com if you would like your injections to not contain the "mpost.alt.net" and "notmoderator" Path: flags.

If you're a site admin, configure or use appropriate software (ex. PGPMoose) to avoid storing unapproved postings or instruct your news peers to not send you postings which have "notmoderator" in the Path:. Altopia only sends these postings to sites which have requested them.

Q: What if I don't like one of your customers or what they are saying on Usenet? Will you delete them for me if I complain enough?

A: No. Also, if you feel one of our customers is using the service for illegal purposes, please contact law enforcement and not us.

Q: I don't like your policies so I am going to get a Usenet Death Penalty issued for your site. What say you?

A: We say that it is your right to protest our presence on Usenet. We feel that the positive contributions of Altopia customers to Usenet far outweigh the occasional negative contributions. It is each Usenet site's right to decide which servers to reject postings from, as long as it is done in a way that does not affect the rights of other Usenet sites.

Q: What if a Usenet Death Penalty issued against Altopia is active instead of passive?

A: We believe that active-UDPs cause more and more sites to cease honoring cancels, and thus backfire.

Q: I am going to complain to your upstream sites because I disagree with your views. What say you?

A: If our upstream sites decide not to accept postings from us, that is their right. We feel that the positive contributions of Altopia customers to Usenet far outweigh the occasional negative contributions and we believe our upstream sites will realize this. We have a waiting list of sites that would like to directly peer with us and so although we appreciate the relationships we have with our current direct peers, we will not be adversely affected if they decide to stop peering with us.

Q: I am going to complain to your bandwidth providers because I disagree with your views. What say you?

A: We work hard to make sure that we do not violate the provisions of any contracts we have with bandwidth providers. If a bandwidth provider decides they do not want our business, we will take it elsewhere as necessary.

Q: Why don't you allow customers under 18 to use your service?

A: We require a customer agreement to be signed with us before we create an account. In the eyes of the law, people under 18 are unable to enter into a binding agreement.

Q: One of your customers is harassing me. What should I do?

A: You should probably ask them to stop or try to ignore them. If that does not work, you might want to consider contacting an appropriate law enforcement agency. We are unable to control what customers say on Usenet, nor are we able to determine whether harassment is taking place.

Q: One of your customers is libeling me. What should I do?

A: We do not have a way of knowing whether what is said is true or not and so we rely on you to pursue legal action against a poster if you believe a poster's actions are illegal and/or libelous. If you would like us to archive evidence, of which account was used to make a post, for future retrieval via a court order or subpoena, please let abuse@altopia.com know along with the message-id for the post of interest.

Q: Why do you allow customers so much freedom?

A: We believe that the more responsibilities we take away from a customer, the more irresponsible they will act. By attempting to maximize freedom, we believe our customers will act responsibly and not abuse that freedom. In our 13+ years of existence (as of 9/2008), this has proven to be the case.

Q: Is it true you are trying to position yourself as a common carrier?

A: Yes. Although it is unknown whether Usenet service providers have common carrier status, we are trying to position ourselves as one. We do not monitor the content of Usenet that flows through or originates at Altopia. We recommend complaints of a legal nature be taken to the appropriate law enforcement agency. We do attempt to restrict unsolicited advertising, but this is done after the event has occurred and not in a way that alters the event.

Q: Is this site a Site of Virtue?

A: No. If you would like more information on what a Site of Virtue is check out http://www.jetcafe.org/~dave/usenet/.