This article is from the Pratchett Newsgroups FAQ, by Orin Thomas firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
If you haven't already done so, now is as good a time as any to read
the guide to Net etiquette which is posted to news.announce.newusers
You should be familiar with acronyms like FAQ, FTP and IMHO, as well
as know about smileys, followups and when to reply by e-mail to postings.
Posting a question covered in a well circulated FAQ shows a disregard
for polite nettiquette. If you note that someone is asking an FAQ then
email them and say - "did you know they have this thing called a FAQ?"
Posting a short story of Terry's is not only bad nettiquette but will
earn you a visit from Lawyers. We are not kidding. Do not do it.
More recently afp has been subjected to several flame wars where people
have hurled abuse at one another under the mistaken impression that the
rest of us actually care. Your views on sex, religion, race and politics
are of no interest to the group. Your negative views on other posters are
also of no interest to the group.
Be very aware now that online defamation law is now gaining ground.
If you flame a poster who has earnt a significant reputation it is
very possible that you will be hit by a defamation lawsuit. A
defamation is an imputation that harms a reputation. Also it is
very important to note that defendants are almost never awarded
costs - hence if you are hit with a defamation suit, you will
most likely have to pay your own legal fees. Finally, given that
the internet is multi-jurisdictional, a particularly vindictive
plaintiff might choose to sue you in a country where defamtion
laws are especially strict. Just because the US has a form of
free speech doesn't mean that Australia or the UK does as well.
You have been warned.
As a further addendum to this particular passage. One AFPer
has threatened a defamation suit against an ISP and a particular
poster. This threat was later withdrawn.
Whilst the law might acknowledge your right to litigate such
a problem - be aware that the newsgroup probably will not. You
will want to be standing on extremely solid ground before you
launch, or threaten, a defamation action. If you are launching
it against a group regular - you might as well kiss your future
postings goodbye. That may seem unfair to say - but groups do
tend to watch after their own. Defamation litigation should be
your utter last resort - and is guarenteed to do your reputation
worse harm than any imputations made in someone's original post.
If you post about religion and it don't involve a turtle named "OM"
... well ... you have been warned. Though I must admit it does get
you added to quite a few killfiles very quickly.
Flaming Pterry is just stupid and is likely to give you a mailbox full
of bile. We like him. We probably don't like you. Nuff Said.