This article is from the Puzzles FAQ, by Chris Cole email@example.com and Matthew Daly firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
If the puzzle that you want to post came from a photocopy, or an e-mail
from a friend, it is likely that the puzzle has been in rec.puzzles
before, perhaps even very recently. Before you post any puzzle to
rec.puzzles, you should take the following steps to ensure that the puzzle
is not a chestnut:
o If you haven't read the articles that are regularly posted to the
newsgroup news.announce.newusers, please do so. You will learn
about some general rules and principles that apply to virtually
all newsgroups, like a ban on posting most binary files and MIME
attachments, and sending e-mail instead of posting if your message
is intended only for one person.
o Read the newsgroup for at least a week (Reading for some time before
posting is proper etiquette for ANY Usenet newsgroup. If you didn't
realize that, all the more reason for you to go back and read
o Read the FAQ, with particular focus on sections 2 and 3.
o If you have access to a Usenet archive like http://www.deja.com
check some obvious keywords to see if your puzzle has been discussed
in the past several months.
o Look through the rec.puzzles archive (see Section 5 below).
o Ask the rec.puzzles oracle (see Section 6 below).
If what you really want is not to pose your question for the puzzlement of
rec.puzzles readers, but rather simply to find out the answer to the
puzzle (presumably fairly quickly), you'll generally get a faster
turnaround from the archives and/or the oracle than posting to the