FidoNet Policy Document
Version 4.07 June 9, 1989

This policy document has been accepted by vote of the FidoNet coordinator
structure, and is the current FidoNet policy document until superceded.

(There are no differences between this version and 4.06 except the statement

1  Overview

This document establishes the policy for sysops who are members of the
FidoNet organization of electronic bulletin board systems.  FidoNet is
defined by a NodeList issued weekly by the International Coordinator.

Separate policy documents may be issued at the zone, region, or net level to
provide additional detail on local procedures.  Ordinarily, these lower-level
policies may not contradict this policy.  However, with the approval of the
International Coordinator, local policy can be used to implement differences
required due to local conditions.  These local policies may not place
additional restrictions on members of FidoNet beyond those included in this
document, other than enforcement of local mail periods.

1.0  Language

The official language of FidoNet is English.  All documents must exist in
English.  Translation into other languages is encouraged.

1.1  Introduction

FidoNet is an amateur electronic mail system.  As such, all of its partici-
pants and operators are unpaid volunteers.  From its early beginning as a few
friends swapping messages back and forth (1984), it now (1989) includes over
5,000 systems on six continents.

FidoNet is not a common carrier or a value-added service network and is a
public network only in as much as the independent, constituent nodes may
individually provide public access to the network on their system.

FidoNet is large enough that it would quickly fall apart of its own weight
unless some sort of structure and control were imposed on it.  Multinet
operation provides the structure. Decentralized management provides the
control.  This document describes the procedures which have been developed to
manage the network.

1.2  Organization

FidoNet systems are grouped on several levels, and administration is decen-
tralized to correspond with these groupings.  This overview provides a
summary of the structure; specific duties of the coordinator positions are
given later in the document.

1.2.1  Individual Systems and System Operators

The smallest subdivision of FidoNet is the individual system, corresponding
to a single entry in the nodelist.  The system operator (sysop) formulates a
policy for running the board and dealing with users.  The sysop must mesh
with the rest of the FidoNet system to send and receive mail, and the local
policy must be consistent with other levels of FidoNet.  Users

The sysop is responsible for the actions of any user when they affect the
rest of FidoNet.  (If a user is annoying, the sysop is annoying.)  Any
traffic entering FidoNet via a given node, if not from the sysop, is consid-
ered to be from a user and is the responsibility of the sysop.  (See section
2.1.3.)  Points

A point is a FidoNet-compatible system that is not in the nodelist, but
communicates with FidoNet through a node referred to as a bossnode.  A point
is generally regarded in the same manner as a user, for example, the bossnode
is responsible for mail from the point.  (See section 2.1.3.)  Points are
addressed by using the bossnode's nodelist address; for example, a point
system with a bossnode of 114/15 might be known as 114/15.12.  Mail destined
for the point is sent to the bossnode, which then routes it to the point.

In supporting points, the bossnode makes use of a private net number which
should not be generally visible outside of the bossnode-point relationship.
Unfortunately, should the point call another system directly (to do a file
request, for example), the private network number will appear as the caller's
address.  In this way, points are different from users, since they operate
FidoNet-compatible mailers which are capable of contacting systems other than
the bossnode.

1.2.3  Networks and Network Coordinators

A network is a collection of nodes in a local geographic area, usually
defined by an area of convenient telephone calling.  Networks coordinate
their mail activity to decrease cost.

The Network Coordinator is responsible for maintaining the list of nodes for
the network, and for forwarding netmail sent to members of the network from
other FidoNet nodes.  The Network Coordinator may make arrangements to handle
outgoing netmail, but is not required to do so.

The Network Coordinator is appointed by the Regional Coordinator.  Network Routing Hubs

Network Routing Hubs exist only in some networks.  They may be appointed by
the Network Coordinator, in order to assist in the management of a large net-
work.  The exact duties and procedures are a matter for the Network Coordina-
tor and the hubs to arrange, and will not be discussed here, except that a
network coordinator cannot delegate responsibility to mediate disputes.

1.2.4  Regions and Regional Coordinators

A region is a well-defined geographic area containing nodes which may or may
not be combined into networks.  A typical region will contain many nodes in
networks, and a few independent nodes which are not a part of any network.

The Regional Coordinator maintains the list of independent nodes in the
region and accepts nodelists from the Network Coordinators in the region.
These are compiled to create a regional nodelist, which is then sent to the
Zone Coordinator.  A Regional Coordinator does not perform message-forwarding
services for any nodes in the region.

Regional Coordinators are appointed by the Zone Coordinator.

1.2.5  Zones and Zone Coordinators

A zone is a large geographic area containing many regions, covering one or
more countries and/or continents.

The Zone Coordinator compiles the nodelists from all of the regions in the
zone, and creates the master nodelist and difference file, which is then
distributed over FidoNet in the zone.  A Zone Coordinator does not perform
message-forwarding services for any nodes in the zone.

Zone Coordinators are selected by the Regional Coordinators in that zone.

1.2.6  Zone Coordinator Council

In certain cases, the Zone Coordinators work as a council to provide advice
to the International Coordinator.  The arrangement is similar to that between
a president and advisors.  In particular, this council considers inter-zonal
issues.  This includes, but is not limited to: working out the details of
nodelist production, mediating inter-zonal disputes, and such issues not
addressed at a lower level of FidoNet.

1.2.7  International Coordinator

The International Coordinator is the "first among equals" Zone Coordinator,
and coordinates the joint production of the master nodelist by the Zone

The International Coordinator acts as the chair of the Zone Coordinator
Council and as the overseer of elections -- arranging the announcement of
referenda, the collection and counting of the ballots, and announcing the
results for those issues that affect FidoNet as a whole.

The International Coordinator is selected by the Zone Coordinators.

1.2.8  Top-down Organization.  Checks and Balances.

These levels act to distribute the administration and control of FidoNet to
the lowest possible level, while still allowing for coordinated action over
the entire mail system.  Administration is made possible by operating in a
top-down manner.  That is, a person at any given level is responsible to the
level above, and responsible for the level below.

For example, a Regional Coordinator is responsible to the Zone Coordinator
for anything that happens in the region.  From the point of view of the Zone
Coordinator, the Regional Coordinator is completely responsible for the
smooth operation of the region.  Likewise, from the point of view of the
Regional Coordinator, the Network Coordinator is completely responsible for
the smooth operation of the network.

If a person at any level above sysop is unable to properly perform their
duties, the person at the next level may replace them.  For example, if a
Regional Coordinator fails to perform, the Zone Coordinator can replace him.

To provide for checks and balances at the highest level of FidoNet, there are
two exceptions to this top-down organization.  Zone Coordinators and the
International Coordinator are selected by a majority vote of the coordinators
at the level below.  Similarly, decisions made by the International Coordina-
tor can be reversed by the Zone Coordinator Council, and decisions made by