More Information on the Usenet FAQ Archive

[ By Archive-name | By Author | By Category | By Newsgroup ]
[ Home | Latest Updates | Archive Stats | Search | Help ]

    Search the FAQ Archives
0 - 3 - 4 - 7 - A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z

This is an archive of Usenet postings to the newsgroups *.answers in both Hypertext and text formats. This archive is evolving like most things in life. In keeping with the spirit of FAQs, here are answers to some frequently asked questions.

Archive Related Questions:

FAQ Author Related Questions:

General Questions:

Now a question for you...
And a disclaimer...

Archive Related Questions

What is this Archive and how is it built ?

The Usenet newsgroup news.answers is a repository for periodic informational postings called Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). news.answers is a moderated newsgroup meaning that if you want to post to news.answers, you must follow the guidelines established by the *.answers moderation team.

The master archive for the newsgroup can be found at (aka RTFM)

The entire WWW HTML news.answers archive is rebuilt each day from a mirrored copy of RTFM's ftp archive of news.answers.

Each FAQ is converted into a single hypertext document. All FAQs are scanned for various references, and have hypertext links automatically inserted when such references are found.

Some FAQs are formatted in the Digest Message Format specified in RFC1153. Others support the Minimal Digest Format, while others have formatted their FAQ in another format. Those that support RFC1153 or the Minimal Digest formats are also split into multiple pages.

The build procedure completely rebuilds the articles after it has updated the mirrored textual copy here. Both the the original text versions as well as the HTML versions are available. The Mirror software is setup to "do deletes" so if an FAQ is removed from, it will be removed from the mirrored copy as well prior to the HTML rebuild. The process is a bit inefficient but the trade off is having to deal directly with the removal process. This way its avoided.

Turning text into selectable URLs makes the HTML'ed FAQs a lot more useful.

How many FAQs are available in the archive?

There are now over 4000 separate FAQ files, written by over 1500 authors and covering over 2150 newsgroups.

For more exact statistics, see the statistics page. It is an accurate reflection generated during the most recent archive rebuild.

How is the FAQ archive organized?

The FAQ archive here is really two different archives, the HTML based FAQs and an FTP mirrored archive.

There are two different ways to access the HTML based FAQs, via the Index files or via the full text search capabilities.

There are different types of Index files.

What was used to create the HTML FAQs

The FAQs were converted with software written using C, Perl and Shell scripts. They were written by Kent Landfield.

What sorts of things are converted to links?

As many references as possible are being converted to hypertext links. The conversion is done both in headers and in the body of the faqs.

See the "Hyperlink Insertion Count section of the Statistics page for a more complete listing of what's converted.

NOTE: These links are created without verification of the existence of the hypertext document. If the the information in the FAQs is accurate, the links will make the document much more useful.

If there are things we are not linking in today that you would like to see, please let us know and we'll see what we can do about adding them.

What digest formats are supported ?

Support has been added for the Digest Message Format specified in RFC1153 and the Minimal Digest Format.

What's a Section, and How is it Formatted? in the Suggested Minimal Digest Format FAQ describes a useful format that a good deal of the FAQs are already posted in.

What about supporting other formats ?

I have not had the time to learn about the other formats being used. I fully expect to support the widely known formats in the future if there is a demand for it.

FAQ Author Related Questions

How can I get my FAQ to appear in the archive

This archive is updated automatically from a local ftp mirror of the master FAQ archive site at MIT. If your FAQ is distributed via the news.answers newsgroup then it will automatically appear in this archive. For more details on posting your FAQ to news.answers, please refer to:

What if there is an error in my FAQ ?

If there has been some mistake in the conversion to HTML, please let us know immediately at We will assure that your FAQ is converted correctly.

My FAQ has a homepage where the community can get the most current copy. Will that be supported here ?

If you have an HTML version of your FAQ and would like to refer to it then simply use the URL: Auxiliary header documented in the *.answers submission guidelines. The archive software scans the FAQs for URLs and converts them to hypertext links. If you specify the URL for your document's homepage in an Auxiliary URL: header it will be included automatically and available from within the index files as well.

Another benefit to using the Auxiliary URL: header is that it alerts the reader to the existence of the document's homepage very early in the document.

What about FAQs that aren't posted to news.answers?

If you are unable to post your FAQ via news.answers and would like your FAQ to appear in this archive then please send it to and let us know of your request. It can be inserted into the archive manually.

PLEASE NOTE: You are strongly encouraged to go though the minimal process of getting it approved for posting to a *.answers newsgroup. You are taking your time to write and maintain it. Make sure you are getting the widest possible exposure for your work thus allowing more people to benefit from it.

Can I provide you with a hypertext copy ?

As stated above... it is better for all if the process is automated. That way there are no concerns about timely updates. If you have used the URL: auxiliary header, the index will point to the location you specified in the URL: header.

If the FAQ is not being posted to news.answers (see the encouragement above), then a hypertext copy is preferred.

Will I have trouble deleting my FAQ when I quit posting it ?

The Mirror software used here keeps an exact copy of the RTFM master FAQ archive and is setup to "do deletes". In other words, if the *.answers moderation team removes your FAQ from the RTFM FAQ archive, it will be removed from my copy of the FAQ archive prior to the next HTML build.

(The answer to your question is NO, as long as you notify the *.answers team that you want it deleted.)

How can I help ?

Here are a couple things you can do to make this resource more accurate and useful for all.

  1. First, tell your friends about it, and get them to use it.

  2. Send us your great ideas and constructive criticism.

  3. If you are an FAQ author:
    • Please try to follow the *.answers guidelines as closely as possible concerning article header usage.

    • If you have a home page for your FAQ, use the URL: header to assure the software here, which generates the archive index files, is able to list your FAQ's home page accurately.

    • Consider converting your FAQ to digest format so that it can be available in both forms.

    • Tell us immediately if there is some sort of conversion problem with your FAQ or it's associated index entries. We have worked very hard to assure your documents are converted correctly. If there is a problem we will correct it immediately. Just let us know.

  4. If you want to be an FAQ author read the section on where to get more information about FAQs
If you have other ideas about helping, please contact us at We look forward to discussing them with you.

General Questions

Is it ok to make links to the FAQs in this archive?


The only thing to consider is the remote possibility of FAQ renaming. All the pages in this archive are automatically generated so if an FAQ is moved or renamed, the existing pages for it will disappear when the HTML archive is rebuilt. The renaming is totally up to the *.answers moderation team and is not a local archive decision. (With that said, it really doesn't happen very often...)

What problems may I encounter reading the pages?

The hypertext links to URLs are added without verification. This may cause things to be turned into bogus links.

If the information is wrong or out of date in a specific FAQ on RTFM then it will be here as well. Best to inform the specific FAQ author/maintainer of the situation so the problem can be corrected.

Why can't I read the newsgroups listed in the FAQs?

In the past, has converted the news: and newsgroup references into the proper URL for the news/nntp protocol. That was useful if you had a previously configured news site. Most people did not...

Now the HTML pages have the newsgroup names converted into Google hyperlinks. This allows you to read the newsgroups directly and you do not need to have a preconfigured news server. This is a recent addition at Please let us know what you think about it.

Where can I find more information on FAQs ?

FAQ Resources on the Net

First, a Big Thanks to the *.answers moderation team <> who organize and manage *.answers. Without them this archive wouldn't exist.

The following are excellent places to get additional information on FAQs.

If you know of other FAQ related net.resources, please let us know at and we'll add it here so others can benefit from it.

The maintainers of the WWW FAQ archive are not directly associated with the news.answer newsgroup moderation team.

The maintainers of this archive are NOT the authors or maintainers of the individual FAQs. To correct or contribute to these documents, send email to the specific document maintainers identified in each FAQ.

[ By Archive-name | By Author | By Category | By Newsgroup ]
[ Home | Latest Updates | Archive Stats | Search | Help ]

© 2008 FAQS.ORG. All rights reserved.