RFD: rec.sport.baseball.analysis

RFD: rec.sport.baseball.analysis

Post by Charles M Kozier » Wed, 11 May 1994 08:56:17


This article is a formal RFD for the creation of the new group
rec.sport.baseball.analysis.  Enclosed is the proposed charter
for the new group.

I want to thank everyone who has contributed, directly or
indirectly, to the definition of this charter.  In particular,
I want to thank Gary Huckabay and Jim Mann for reviewing
preliminary versions of this charter and suggesting improvements.

All comments, criticisms and suggestions are encouraged, on the
net or in email (the latter if further discussion is not
warranted on the comments--use your own discretion).

PLEASE NOTE: follow-ups set to *news.groups*.  That is
where discussion of the r.s.bb.a RFD should occur.  If you
want to participate in the RFD, subscribe to news.groups now
if you haven't already.

---8<-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Proposed Charter for newsgroup rec.sport.baseball.analysis (moderated)
**********************************************************************

[Version 1.0 - 5/6/94]

Moderator(s): TBD

1  Purpose of rec.sport.baseball.analysis (rsba)
------------------------------------------------

The purpose of rsba is to provide a forum for the intelligent,
reasonable discussion of baseball and baseball-related topics, with an
emphasis on analysis.

"Analysis" covers a wide range of thought and discussion.
It need not be statistical.  The guidelines for what is
appropriate for inclusion are defined below, but they boil
down to the following three conditions:
1. The post must contain an opinion;
2. The opinion must be accompanied by a reason or a justification; and
3. The post must meet at least basic standards for Usenet conduct.

For example, "Frank Thomas just hit a grand slam!" is a fact,
not an opinion.  "Frank Thomas should not have been MVP last year"
is an opinion, but with no explanation, and would not be accepted.
"Frank Thomas shoud not have been MVP because Olerud batted as
well and his defense was better" *would* be OK.

Posts without opinions, and opinions without justifications,
properly belong on rec.sport.baseball (rsb).  (Posts that
don't meet basic standards for Usenet conduct probably belong
somewhere in the alt.* hierarchy.)

The intent here is to create a group where ideas can be exchanged in a
mutually respectful environment.  It is not anticipated that everyone
will agree; in fact, they probably won't.  It *is* expected that
all posters will explain why they feel the way they do, and will respect
others' right to have a differing opinion.  Of primary concern here
is the elimination of name calling, insults, and flame wars.

2  Moderation of rec.sport.baseball.analysis
--------------------------------------------

rsba will be a moderated newsgroup.  This is for two general
reasons.  The first is to ensure that postings comply with
the *content* guidelines for the group.  The second is to ensure
that they comply with the *conduct* guidelines for the group.

The moderator is the sole judge of the appropriateness of
any given posting for the group.  It is expected that the
moderator will act in accordance with the "Guidelines for
moderator conduct", as described later in this Charter.

3  Content guidelines for rec.sport.baseball.analysis
-----------------------------------------------------

Subjects that deal with baseball and include commentary that
could reasonably be termed "analysis" are appropriate for
inclusion in rsba.  Where analysis is only part of the posting,
the moderator will use his or her discretion in deciding
whether to accept, reject, or request modification.

The following general subjects are appropriate for posting to
rec.sport.baseball.analysis.  This is not a comprehensive list;
it is provided for illustrative purposes:
 1. Analyses of particular players/teams; opinions on them with justifications.
    Includes the minor leagues/farm systems/player development.  Can be either
    subjective or objective.  Includes evaluations of the past or projections
    for the future.
 2. Discussions of the relative value or merit of players/teams.
 3. Analyses of methods, techniques and tools for evaluating players/teams.
 4. Requests for information related to baseball analysis that cannot
    be easily answered by examining the rec.sport.baseball FAQ.
 5. Analyses of the game of baseball itself; rules, stadium changes,
    league changes, scoring, etc.
 6. Discussions of managerial strategy.
 7. Assessments of the worthiness of awards recipients.
 8. Discussions of baseball economics or politics.
 9. Analyses of baseball media and reporting.
10. Discussions of the psychological factors in baseball and their effects.
11. Discussions of baseball ethics/morals/attitudes.
12. Discussions about fans, team rivalries, etc.
13. Analyses of scoring and rules where a clear-cut answer is
    not a matter of fact available in the MLB rule-book.

The following general subjects are NOT considered appropriate for
rsba.  Again, this is not a complete list:
 1. Opinions without justifications or reasoning.
 2. Purely informational postings that either list statistics or
    describe factual data.  It is anticipated that at some point
    a rec.sport.baseball.info or .data will be created to
    centralize this useful reference material.
 3. Birthday lists.
 4. Quizzes and contests.
 5. Injury reports that are only factual and do not contain analysis
    (reports that analyze the effect on the team are fine).
 6. Fantasy baseball (rec.sport.baseball.fantasy).
 7. Computer game discussions.
 8. Baseball fiction (but discussion of or reviews of fiction would
    be fine.)  A newsgroup may be set up specifically for this in the
    future, perhaps called rec.sport.baseball.muse.
 9. Updates on players or teams that are solely data or factual information.
10. Requests for information that are not related to baseball analysis
    and/or are covered in the FAQ.  Includes requests for player status.
11. Off-topic posts; empty posts; "this is a test" posts; binaries.
12. Commercial adverti***ts.
13. For-sale notices.
14. Discussions of the value of collectibles (analysis of the merit of
    the collectibles business and its impact on baseball would be fine).
15. Anecdotes from particular games that are only factual and contain
    no opinions.
16. Arguments over rules where the answer can be obtained by picking
    up and reading a rulebook (e.g. "what are the rules for a save").

The moderator reserves the right to retain some flexibility in the
application of these guidelines.  For example, while in general
contests do not belong on rsba, the moderator may allow the posting
of a request for participation in one at the start of the season,
and a notification of the existence of results on rec.sport.baseball
or rec.sport.baseball.info at the end of the year.

4  Conduct guidelines for rec.sport.baseball.analysis
-----------------------------------------------------

Conduct guidelines exist to ensure the efficient and
civil exchange of ideas and opinions.  While it is
acknowledged that this is a *sport* discussion environment,
it is still expected that posters will make every effort
to address other readers in the same manner they would use
if they were speaking to them in person.  The moderator has
the right and responsibility to reject postings that are
excessively inflammatory in nature.

It is also expected that posters will adhere to basic posting
etiquette in order to reduce wasted bandwidth and confusion.

The following are some basic guidelines for posting
conduct on rsba.  Once again, they are not conclusive.
Judgment in this area is particularly difficult.
Benefit of the doubt must be given to the moderator,
who will act in the best interests of the group
while adhereing to the "Guidelines for moderator
conduct":
 1. Blatant insults toward other posters or readers, or identifiable
    groups thereof, are considered unacceptable.  A good rule of
    thumb to use is: "criticize the posting, and not the poster".
    If you must attack, target the words, and not the writer.
 2. Insults directed toward players, managers or media figures
    are not considered unacceptable, provided that they are not
    represented as fact, and that the opinions are justified.
    That is, the post must still meet the basic criteria for
    being acceptable to an analysis group.
 3. Postings may be rejected if they have an unacceptably low
    ratio of new material to included material.  The author
    then has the option of editing out some of the quoted
    material and resubmitting the article.
 4. Postings that are considered incomprehensible due to language,
    posting software or transmission problems, may be rejected
    by the moderator.
 5. Postings that follow-up a previous article but do not add
    a new, explained opinion (whether in agreement or not) may
    be rejected.
 6. Postings written in all-caps or with excessive line lengths
    (>80 characters) are discouraged, and the moderator may
    request that such formatting not be used unless the poster
    has an unresolvable technical problem.
 7. Postings that are partly compliant with the content guidelines
    may be returned to the writer for editing, depending on
    the proportion of acceptable content.

5  Guidelines for moderator conduct
-----------------------------------

While the moderator has final say on what is acceptable for
inclusion in the group, the desire is not that he or she employ
personal whim in making these decisions.  The intent here is
government by rules, and the moderator is expected to adhere to
both the Charter in general, and the following moderator
guidelines in particular:
1. The moderator will conduct himself or herself in a
   fair, unbiased and professional manner.
2. In making decisions based on adherence to conduct
   standards, the moderator will act in a conservative
   manner.  The intent is not to make those guidelines
   overly restrictive, but rather to eliminate
...

read more »

 
 
 

RFD: rec.sport.baseball.analysis

Post by Joel Ir » Sat, 14 May 1994 03:56:29

Here's my $0.02 on the RSBA debate:  
Why not create rec.sport.baseball.data now and disallow stats postings
to rec.sports.bb.analysis?

IMO,  there should only be a  moderated RSBA group if a very low-traffic
and moderated rec.sport.bb.data (RSBD) group is created at the same time
as a stats library with daily injury report/DL.  RSB will still exist for those
who prefer to hash and rehash theories and team-loyalties on a day-
to-day basis.  RSB will also be useful as a late-breaking news-wire for
injury-reports, etc.  As for myself, though, I simply don't have the time to
sort through 200 posts/day to find the 10 or so I need (stats & reasonable
discussion).

Until RSBD exists, everyone who wants stats with their analysis will
still have to wade through ump*** posts on RSB every week.  The
alternative is to pollute RSBA with stats postings, which, IMO, will
eventually defeat the purpose of RSBA (namely,  to reduce the volume
and to increase the quality of information posted).  

Thats about it.  Comments?  My gut feeling is many lurkers (like me) on
RSB will agree with me.  If so, post to news.groups so we can do this the
right way.  
----------------------------------------------------

(who's not a politician but sure sounds like one in this post)

 
 
 

RFD: rec.sport.baseball.analysis

Post by Gary Pretend Huckab » Sun, 15 May 1994 09:09:59

Quote:

>>> } the whole distinction between raw data and analytical data is where most
>>> } people have a problem with r.s.bb.a.

>You got that right.

That's been made clear.  But I think Charles, Jim, and I, have addressed
these concerns in the most constructive and consistent way possible.
I don't know what more we can do.

Quote:
>Why not change its definition right now and also change the name
>to r.s.bb.moderated/discussion?  The new charter would be:

r.s.bb.discussion is not acceptable.  The very description of
rec.sport.baseball specifically says 'discussion about major
league baseball'.  Obviously then, r.s.bb.d is redundant at best.

Quote:
>        Old Charter + Weekly "Traditional" Stats Posting + Disabled List

This is not why we are attempting to create r.s.b.a, and I would argue
that the people on r.s.bb.fantasy are probably more interested in these
things than the general population on r.s.b. or any proposed r.s.b.a.

Quote:
>at least until r.s.bb.data is created, at which time, the stats (any
>mostly-numerical post) would be moved to r.s.bb.data.  Follow-ups
>from r.s.bb.data would then be directed to r.s.bb or
>r.s.bb.moderated/discussion/analysis as appropriate.  

Unrealistic, IMO.

Quote:
>>    I understand what r.s.bb.a is trying to be.  And I agree with it in
>>principle.  But I think the distinction between "raw" and "analytical" is
>>the real stumbling block, as you will readily admit.  For the newbie, DA and
>>EqA and other "homegrown" data don't seem any more special that batting
>>average.  And by including one and not the other, it seems arbitrary.  

>"The distinction IS ARBITRARY!!," the non-newbie shouted.  

No, in fact, the distinction is very definitely not arbitrary.  Look
for a new revision of the charter soon.  

Quote:
>Why don't you just *eliminate* the gray area once-and-for-all (as well as
>the worries about ghetto-ization) by stealing my idea for r.s.bb.moderated
>(outlined above).  Not that my idea is really original, of course---it simply
>makes the most sense and has a high benefit/detriment ratio (disclaimer:
>I'm not a stat-head  ;-)

I proposed rec.sport.baseball.moderated about a month ago, and we
held lengthy discussions about it.  The general consensus:  Yes, we
all want a moderated newsgroup, but not just for moderation's sake,
because it's elitist, and a great many persons had serious misgivings
about the title of the newsgroup.

At this point, I'd have to say it's death out for r.s.b.analysis.
Changing the title again isn't going to solve anything, and pretty
much puts us back at square one.

It's time to recognize something:  I knew that once we finished the
charter, no matter what was in it, there were going to be things in
it that people didn't like, and details are easy to attack.  There's
a lot of stuff in the charter that I'm not nuts about, either, but
I'm willing to compromise in order to create a new and better newsgroup.

There's no charter that Charles, Jim, and I can put together that isn't
going to have problems.  We've been through a great deal of discussion
already, and we've really made a good faith effort to address all the
issues we could.  We are updating the charter as I write.  We don't want
excessive grey areas, but we also know we can't get rid of them altogether.

All that being said, I couldn't support r.s.b.a. more.  Overall, it's
the best hope for a usable baseball newsgroup that I see, and I'm not
willing to ditch it and start from scratch at this point because people
are concerned about a small percentage of posts, of which a small percentage
may be fuzzy.

It's going to be rec.sport.baseball.analysis.  If the grey area regarding
original statistics is so bothersome that it stands in the way of election,
then we'll nix *all* statistics absent accompanying commentary, if that's
what people want.

We're open to compromise, and we really do appreciate the input.

My personal view is that a batting average or RBI list does not contain
sufficient implicit analysis, and that OPI or DA does.  I don't see
that as arbitrary.  Your mileage may vary.

Of course, how many posts does this really affect?  Usually, there's
some analysis thrown in with this data, so the point is largely moot
anyway.  I hope this small perceived flaw doesn't completely sour
you on support for the newsgroup.

Quote:
>I'm afraid that if r.s.bb.a is created as is being discussed, most people will
>still sift through r.s.bb to get all the stats and information they want,
>so why bother creating r.s.bb.a at all?

Because a great many people perceive rec.sport.baseball as not being
worth the effort, and want a moderated forum in which to discuss
baseball and baseball related issues, without having to labor through
hundreds of other posts.

I know I wouldn't be spending this kind of time on it if I didn't think
it was worth the effort.

--
*   Gary Huckabay   * "I love you, you love me, we're a happy family!" *
*  AB R H BI BB SO  *           - Lundy the Dinosaur.                  *
*   4 0 1  0  0  1  * "Rec.sport.baseball.cut.don.kings.hair would     *
*    May 11, 1994   *  probably get you more readers." - G. Basalla.   *

 
 
 

RFD: rec.sport.baseball.analysis

Post by David M. Ta » Sun, 15 May 1994 13:07:19

I'm one of the people who believes that pure data postings frequently
germinate into interesting discussion/analysis.  I'd hate to have the
data split from the discussion, either by moderation or by charter.

One possible approach that has been used successfully in other groups is
a keyword-coding approach.  Raw data could be included in r.s.bb.a with
a keyword entry of DATA, and those who wish to skip all raw data entries
can do so with even a Pleistocene newsreader.  

Alternatively, we could institute a keyword system on r.s.bb, allowing
people to browse the current horrific volume more effectively.  (Many
readers pressed for time already do this, in effect, browsing for names
of prominent posters.)  Possible keywords might include DATA, RATINGS,
SCHEDULE, WOOF (or equivalent :^) ), TRIVIA, CONTEST, ECON, HISTORY, and
any others that might be decided upon publicly.  Use of the keywords would
be voluntary, but people who didn't use them wouldn't get read by those
who sort their news that way.

How many RBI leader boards get posted in a season, anyway?  I don't see
the additional volume from those articles creating a problem for the
moderators, and people who feel that their untimely appearance (once a
week should be the maximum frequency) is a problem could kill them through
keywords.

Summary: there aren't that many data posts.  Crosspost them to r.s.bb.a
with a keyword flag DATA, and everybody's happy.  While we're at it, set
up a set of other useful keywords to help the readers of r.s.bb cope with
the volume.

--
         David Tate          | "                 Let me play the field,    

     _The_DH_of_Venice_      |  And let my cap's bill rather heat with sun
 Act I, scene i, lines 79-82 |  Than my ***cool on mortifying bench..."

 
 
 

RFD: rec.sport.baseball.analysis

Post by David M. Ta » Mon, 16 May 1994 01:26:48


Quote:

>} One possible approach that has been used successfully in other groups is
>} a keyword-coding approach.  Raw data could be included in r.s.bb.a with
>} a keyword entry of DATA, and those who wish to skip all raw data entries
>} can do so with even a Pleistocene newsreader.  
>An interesting idea, but one that I do not support.  To me, this is an
>admission that these posts are not analysis and don't belong, but that they
>will be included anyway as an exception, with an identifier.  The problem
>is that this opens the doors for oodles of other exceptions, and requires
>the moderators to both decide which exceptions to keep and to insert
>these keywords.

OK, that's a valid reason.  You've convinced me.

Quote:
>} Alternatively, we could institute a keyword system on r.s.bb, allowing
>} people to browse the current horrific volume more effectively.  (Many
>} readers pressed for time already do this, in effect, browsing for names
>} of prominent posters.)  Possible keywords might include DATA, RATINGS,
>} SCHEDULE, WOOF (or equivalent :^) ), TRIVIA, CONTEST, ECON, HISTORY, and
>} any others that might be decided upon publicly.  Use of the keywords would
>} be voluntary, but people who didn't use them wouldn't get read by those
>} who sort their news that way.
>In my original "magnum opus" analysis of rec.sport.baseball.moderated,
>I made three alternative suggestions.  The first was some voluntary
>actions on r.s.bb and met with little approval (and rightly so, as it
>wasn't that well thought-out).  The second was r.s.bb.a.  The third
>was creating an r.s.bb.m where all submissions were accepted but where
>the moderator inserted keywords much in the way that you suggest.
>I received not a single comment on that third alternative.  

This is not the same as your third alternative, and is much more concrete
than your first alternative was at that time.  

Quote:
>This indicates
>to me the level of interest people have in this sort of a concept,
>although I pre-agree that the idea could have just gotten lost in the
>shuffle.  

Don't forget the very strong anti-moderation fervor that the original CFV
stirred up.  Many people were probably implicitly rejecting alternative #3
as part of their blanket rejection of any moderated group.  Much of this
was due to a mistaken impression that the idea was to *replace* r.s.bb; I
agree with you that keeping raw data out of r.s.bb.a is one way to help
alleviate fears that it is intended as a Star Chamber.

Quote:
>However, I do think it rather unrealistic to think that people
>are going to suddenly start having the high level of discipline required to
>insert keywords, when many don't even have the basic level required to
>not call other posters names, to cut down on quoted text, or to look in
>the FAQ answers list for answers to obvious FAQs.  If this discipline
>level existed nobody would probably be calling for a moderated
>group in the first place.

The beauty of the keyword system is that it is perfectly voluntary.  Nobody
is 'censored', even in the broad sense in which that word has been flung
about in this discussion.  And yet, a self-selected subset of the readers of
the group can use the system profitably, simply by not reading anything that
doesn't come with a keyword identifier.  Those posters who choose not to
participate in the keyword system, or who lack the self-discipline to do so,
are nearly invisible to readers who have any sort of decent newsreader, and
therefore are self-censoring.  Those posters who deliberately abuse the
keyword system, putting misleading identifiers on their articles, invite
KILLfile membership (although of course no one is *obligated* to stop
reading their posts).

Furthermore, those postes who do not wish to participate in the keyword
system, and who do not choose to filter their own reading based on keywords,
will notice almost no difference in the operation of the group.  Everybody
wins, it seems to me.

Of course, if we were going to do this, a formal revision of the r.s.bb
charter would probably be in order.  What is the mechanism for this?  Is
a formal call for votes required?  I'll have to check into the details
(or, if one of you newly-experienced moderators-to-be knows the answer,
I'd be happy to be enlightened).

--
         David Tate          | "                 Let me play the field,    

     _The_DH_of_Venice_      |  And let my cap's bill rather heat with sun
 Act I, scene i, lines 79-82 |  Than my ***cool on mortifying bench..."

 
 
 

RFD: rec.sport.baseball.analysis

Post by Charles M Kozier » Sun, 15 May 1994 22:58:17


Quote:
} I'm one of the people who believes that pure data postings frequently
} germinate into interesting discussion/analysis.  I'd hate to have the
} data split from the discussion, either by moderation or by charter.

Again, I disagree.  I almost *never* seen an interesting discussion or
analysis develop from the numerous boxscores that are routinely
posted, or the long lists of raw, routine stats, or most of the
other purely factual postings in r.s.bb.  I am not saying that these
are not of value to some posters.  I *am* saying that the ratio
of follow-on discussion to original data posting is very low.

The really interesting discussions and analysis develop from posts that
include raw data along with some *discussion, analysis or opinions*,
things that others can sink their teeth into.  And these posts
are explicitly allowed in r.s.bb.a.

I would also point out that far *more* interesting discussion/analysis
can also derive from woofs, flames and purely factual player updates.
Those aren't analysis either, and won't be in r.s.bb.a for that reason.

Quote:
} One possible approach that has been used successfully in other groups is
} a keyword-coding approach.  Raw data could be included in r.s.bb.a with
} a keyword entry of DATA, and those who wish to skip all raw data entries
} can do so with even a Pleistocene newsreader.  

An interesting idea, but one that I do not support.  To me, this is an
admission that these posts are not analysis and don't belong, but that they
will be included anyway as an exception, with an identifier.  The problem
is that this opens the doors for oodles of other exceptions, and requires
the moderators to both decide which exceptions to keep and to insert
these keywords.

There are *many* types of data posted on r.s.bb.  Many of the supporters
of r.s.bb.a have indicated that they do not want to see these in the
group.  I understand that not all people agree with this, but
given that we have no choice but to make a decision, we must choose
to be both consistent to the basic defined purpose of the group ("analysis")
and its original intent.

Quote:
} Alternatively, we could institute a keyword system on r.s.bb, allowing
} people to browse the current horrific volume more effectively.  (Many
} readers pressed for time already do this, in effect, browsing for names
} of prominent posters.)  Possible keywords might include DATA, RATINGS,
} SCHEDULE, WOOF (or equivalent :^) ), TRIVIA, CONTEST, ECON, HISTORY, and
} any others that might be decided upon publicly.  Use of the keywords would
} be voluntary, but people who didn't use them wouldn't get read by those
} who sort their news that way.

In my original "magnum opus" analysis of rec.sport.baseball.moderated,
I made three alternative suggestions.  The first was some voluntary
actions on r.s.bb and met with little approval (and rightly so, as it
wasn't that well thought-out).  The second was r.s.bb.a.  The third
was creating an r.s.bb.m where all submissions were accepted but where
the moderator inserted keywords much in the way that you suggest.

I received not a single comment on that third alternative.  This indicates
to me the level of interest people have in this sort of a concept,
although I pre-agree that the idea could have just gotten lost in the
shuffle.  However, I do think it rather unrealistic to think that people
are going to suddenly start having the high level of discipline required to
insert keywords, when many don't even have the basic level required to
not call other posters names, to cut down on quoted text, or to look in
the FAQ answers list for answers to obvious FAQs.  If this discipline
level existed nobody would probably be calling for a moderated
group in the first place.

Quote:
} How many RBI leader boards get posted in a season, anyway?  I don't see
} the additional volume from those articles creating a problem for the
} moderators, and people who feel that their untimely appearance (once a
} week should be the maximum frequency) is a problem could kill them through
} keywords.
}
} Summary: there aren't that many data posts.  Crosspost them to r.s.bb.a
} with a keyword flag DATA, and everybody's happy.  While we're at it, set
} up a set of other useful keywords to help the readers of r.s.bb cope with
} the volume.

It's not a matter of how many RBI leader boards there are.  They are
excluded because they don't belong in the group, not because there
are 10 of them a day.  If you let in RBI leader boards, even with
keyword flags, you end up having to let in a whole lot of other
things, the sum total of which *will* have significant volume.
If we let in RBI leaders, on what basis are we going to exclude
all the other items that are irrelevant to analysis but of which
"there aren't that many"?  How long until people say "the boxscore
posts aren't analysis but I like them and the volume is low, so
why can't we include them and tag them with 'BOXSCORE'"?  And
then "the birthday lists aren't analysis but I like them and the
volume is low, so why can't we include them and tag them with
'BDAY'"?  Repeat for: transactions lists, standings, injury
reports, Japanese league standings, all-star voting standings,
etc., etc.  Pretty soon the people who wanted r.s.bb.a to be
for analysis will be filling my mailbox with "what on *earth*
is going on here?"

Add up all the exceptions and there *will* be a lot of them.
And the consistent rules we are all working so hard to define
for r.s.bb.a will become all but meaningless.

cheers,

-*-
charles