General Guidelines for Relay Usage 8/04/86
RELAY provides real-time communication between multiple users at
institutions in the BITNET, EARN, and NetNorth networks. Use of
networks for any purposes not directly related to the research,
instructional, and/or administrative tasks for which your userid
been authorized by your institution may result in the termination
your ability to use the Relay.
Depending on the network-access policies of your institution and
usage policies of the network in which your institution resides,
unauthorized use of these networks may, alternatively, result in
termination of your userid or its ability to communicate over
networks for ANY purpose.
INTERNAL use, using and/or limiting the Relay conferencing system
communication either wholly within one node, or within one
over several nodes and/or servers, is the total responsibility
NETWORK-WIDE use, using one or more Relay servers to communicate
another Relay server(s) at another institution(s), falls under
established guidelines presented herein. Failure to adhere to
guidelines, or where general network usage guidelines may have
violated may result in the loss of your ability to use Relay; or
such actions are not administered by the local host institution
result in expulsion of that server from the authorized sitelist.
Background Information and User Responsibilities
Relay is a distributed message server which, by selective
redistribution of messages, provides real-time conferencing
while minimizing the overhead on the network links. Since the
load of uncontrolled message traffic on the network can affect
of files, stringent controls over Relay use are mandatory. Most
measures are enforced by Relay automatically, but some are
the responsibility of the user. These include:
Repeated violations of the above may result in the termination
ability to use the Relay.
- Each Relay server provides service to a specific collection
one or more nodes designated as a "service area". To
which Relay server(s) you may use, issue the following
In BITNET : TELL RELAY AT BITNIC /SERVERS
In EARN : TELL RELAY AT DEARN /SERVERS
In NetNorth: TELL RELAY AT CANADA01 /SERVERS
- Excessive queries, channel changes, and other commands which
be processed by Relay generate considerable overhead in some
and should be kept to a reasonable number. In addition, you
direct your queries to only your assigned Relay(s).
- File backlogs, Relay host CPU saturation, link failures, and
downtime may make Relay temporarily unavailable or
such instances you should wait until your Relay is
available; it is
not proper to redirect signons or Relay links in such cases
the alternate path will generate a greater network load than
- Proper and considerate behavior should be observed at all
Misuses in this category include, but are not limited to:
- Disguising your identity in a /SIGNUP by not specifying your
full name, or by specifying someone else's name.
- Transmitting rude or obscene language.
- Channel scanning; attempting to locate a private channel
first obtaining an invitation from a user on that
- Annoying other Relay users by transmitting excessive and/or
repetitive messages (including the use of 'picture'
- Failing to cease an activity in response to a request to do
from any individual designated as the 'Relay Operator'
Relay User Classification System
Due to previously high volumes of message traffic and the
the use of Relay for casual conversation, users will be
one of two distinct classes:
General user class can only be granted by the host Relay contact
designate. Users from other institutions must submit adequate
of authorization to request general classification, usually by
from the listed administrator or contact from the user's
The host Relay contact (or designate) may require additional
or place further constraints on such services.
- Public user class. Any user may obtain public access to
Relay by a
standard /SIGNUP command. Public users are limited to the
channels 0-999 and are additionally subject to channel
period shutdowns, and limited hours of operation. In
prime time period (8:00 AM - 6:00 PM local time of the host)
be closed to the public.
- General user class. A user may, in certain circumstances,
the general user class for full access to Relay. General
restricted to only academic conferencing activities. Abuse
general class will result in the loss of general user
General user class is usually restricted to
Corrective Actions -- Relay Operator Responsibilities
The day-to-day maintenance and operation of a Relay server is
by the "Relay Operator", an individual or group of individuals
responsible to the institution's network administrative
Relay Operator is also responsible for implementing corrective
temporarily or permanently terminate a user's access to the Relay
cases of violation of the guidelines described in other sections
Actions that can be taken by any Relay Operator against offending
of any and all Relay servers:
Actions that can be taken only by the Relay Operator of the
user's Relay server:
- sending an offending user a warning notification by message
- forcing the offending user from the current Relay session;
- temporary lockout (2 days or less) of the offending user.
Any corrective action taken by a Relay Operator against an
of another institution's Relay server, other than single
instances of an
abusive user being forced as a warning, should be documented by
mail to that server's Relay Operator outlining the reason for the
- temporary lockout (over 2 days) of the offending user;
- permanent lockout of the offending user from Relay use.