This article is from the Go FAQ, by Morten PAHLE firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
The newsgroup is an excellent place to post questions regarding
positions that have come up in play, or problems seen in books.
It sometimes makes sense to include a diagram showing the local
position, with stones, as well as the sequence of moves played /
Following these guidelines will make sure readers understand what you
are trying to show:
- Do not use HTML or other formatting. The use of pure ascii makes
sure that the diagrams do not become distorted. For the same reason,
do not use <tab>s, but only spaces.
- Always edit (and read) news posts using a fixed-width font, such as
Courier. With a variable-width font, others will see the post
different from you, which means diagrams and other "ASCII pictures"
will not line up properly. Using a fixed-width font ensures others
see the message as you intended it.
- A White stone is given as O (capital o), a black stone is given as #
- The goban is represented by a set of dots/periods (.), one for each
intersection. The lines on the grid itself are not shown.
- For clarity, it is useful to mark the hoshi (star) points, with
commas (,) or plusses (+) (according to personal taste)
- Make sure it is obvious where the edge is (if relevant). Either make
a mention of it ('bottom left corner') or draw the board edges on
the diagram using |, - and +.
- Use spaces between characters.
- Sequences of moves are shown with numbers - 1,2 etc. Make sure you
state whether 1 is black or white
- Because of this, it is not advisable to show more than 9 moves on
one diagram. If you want to show more, you should use more diagrams,
each one giving the 'end position' of the last one as 'start
position' of the new one.
- Variations are shown with letters. 'a', 'b', etc.
- If it is relevant, make sure you state how many prisoners have been
taken. Since 'white:3, black:13' is easily misunderstood, write it
out: 'white has taken 3 prisoners, black 13.'
- Most people will read the posts on a screen, and it can be awkward
to scroll back up to see the diagram when reading the discussion
below. Try not to have the text too far away from the diagram.
- Include a description of those aspects of the position you want to
An example: . . . . . . .| . . O . . . .| . # O + O . .| . . # # O . .| . . . . . . .| . . . . . . .| -------------+