This article is from the soc.history.medieval FAQ, by Stephan Schulz firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
Usenet is an entirely open medium. Everybody can read this group and
everybody can post to it. This means that the groups will occasionally
see trolls (strong worded postings intended only to provoke a lot of
replies), flames, and off-topic posts. The best way to deal with this
kind of postings is usually to ignore it. In case of repeated and
significant violation of the charter you can send a polite email to
the offender, perhaps with a copy to the postmaster at his site.
If you personally object to some people or some subjects, most news
readers allow the use of a KILL-file that can be used to filter out
undesirable postings. Check the documentation of your news reader or
look at the FAQ sheets in news.software.readers.
In order to improve the communication on this group you might want to
keep the following in mind:
- Extensive cross-posting (posting to more than one group) often leads
to different threads on the same topic. Consider to use a
Follow-Up header to confine discussion to the most appropriate group.
- People hate to read things again and again. Thus, try to avoid large
quotes. Quote only what you respond to. Mark deletions with three
dots or a short summary of what you deleted, if you think the
context is important. In particular, don't quote large amounts of
text and add "me too" at the bottom. More particularly, don't quote
large amounts of text and add "me too" at the TOP!
- Use descriptive Subject lines. "History", "Test" or "Hi there" are
not particularly useful.
- If you change the topic of a thread, or if it has drifted until it
has nothing to do with the Subject header line, you should consider
a new subject line as well. Add "(was: "old_subject")" to the new
- Try to format your lines to 72 characters. Most terminals and
windows are 80 characters wide, and quoting will often indent your
text a couple of times. Lines wrapping around on the screen are very
hard to read.
- Don't try to pass on your homework assignments. Requests like
"Please tell everything about the Crusades, my paper is due
tomorrow!" are usually met with well deserved sarcasm. Try to be
specific and to give enough information to allow the reader to
anticipate your problems.
- Do not post binaries in the group. While the charter does not
explicitly forbid it (it apparently sliped past both me and the
news.groups crowd), binaries belong only in the hierarchies
explicitly intended for them. The reason for this is to allow news
servers with limited resources to avoid these (very expensive)
postings. Post pointers to the Web instead. In the case that you do
not have any web space, Drew Nicholson has offered to put your
(on-topic, reasonably sized ("but I won't put up any 8 mb BMPs"))
binaries up on his web site. Email them to him as an attachment
(preferably in a widely recognized format such as JPEG or
PNG) at DREWSKI@techsanctuary.org. He will send you back a URL,
pointing to the binary, for you to post to the group.
For more information on the appropriate behaviour on and the structure
of Usenet check out the introductory postings in
news.announce.newusers. This might pay off even if you think you are
an experienced user or if you read them a couple of years ago. You
might also want to check out the excellent alt.atheism FAQ on logical
arguments. It is regularly posted to alt.atheism and
alt.atheism.moderated (and, of course, to news.answers), and a
sligthly reworked copy ("The Atheism Web: Logic and Fallacies") can be
found on the WWW at http://www.infidels.org/news/atheism/logic.html