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alt.callahans ADMIN: New Patron's Guide to Posting, Part 1 of 2

( Part1 - Part2 )
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Archive-name: callahans/intro/part1
Last-modified: 1994/05/24
Version: 1.7
Posting-frequency: 2 weeks

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
[If you don't want to see this post every 2 weeks, please program your
KILL file to search for "New Patron's". Do NOT kill the keyword "ADMIN".]

Hello there, welcome to Callahan's!

This is a post especially for new patrons of alt.callahans.  It doesn't
explain what the group is about - for that see the Allabout file - but
it gives some very helpful hints and tips on interacting in Callahan's.
EVERYONE new to alt.callahans should read this file carefully.


(Part 1) Section 1.  Netiquette.
*** Quoted Material
*** Replying: Follow-up Post or E-mail?
*** Line Length
*** Subject Line Keywords
*** Editing the Subject Line
*** The Signature
*** Posting Large Files
*** Using Other People in Posts
*** Callahan's is International
*** Posting for Other People
*** Other People's Netiquette

(Part 2) Section 2.  Social Aspects of The Net.
*** Tolerance
*** Net Romance
*** People Ignoring You
*** Net Addiction
*** Net Burnout
*** Hate Mail

(Part 2) Section 3.  Technical Matters.
*** KILL Files
*** Redirecting Replies
*** Other Good Advice for New Net Users
*** Using Your Editor/News-Software

Section 1.  Netiquette.

This section is concerned with net-etiquette ("netiquette") matters.
If you follow these simple guidelines, you'll be helping everybody to
handle their newsreading with a minimum of fuss and frustration.  It's
a good idea to make these suggestions part of your normal news posting
habits, because people with bad netiquette often get abused or "flamed"
on groups which are less friendly than Callahan's.

*** Quoted Material

When you follow-up to an article, please edit out everything from the
quoted article except the specific points to which you are replying.
This includes the quoted person's signature!  It's nice to see a
_little_ of a previous article for a reminder, but most patrons will
already have read the whole thing before, and won't need to read it all
over again.  It can be extremely annoying to see a page or more of
quoted text, and then only two original lines at the end of the article.

In many newsgroups, it is considered EXTREMELY rude to quote as much as
a whole screenful (about 15 lines, with headers) before you start your
own text.  It is almost always possible to get away with quoting much,
much less than that.  Many people read news via slow modem lines, or by
downloading the articles in bulk.  Excessive quoting costs all of these
people both time and money.  Please be considerate.

If you do quote someone, please include a blank line between the end of
the quoted material and your reply.  Although it looks like a blank line
on a screen, that extra carriage return is only one character - so it
makes almost no difference to the true length of your message, and it
makes it _so_ much easier for readers to see where you have started

*** Replying: Follow-up Post or E-mail?

Before you reply to a post, ask yourself whether replying by e-mail
will be okay.  Many times (but not all!) it will be appropriate to send
your response by private e-mail.  This has two advantages: It cuts down
on traffic in the newsgroup; and it makes your message seem more
personal to the recipient.

E-mail replies are especially appropriate for simple messages of
congratulation or commiseration for personal events, or welcomes to
new patrons.  Much of the interaction of Callahan's goes on "behind the
scenes".  You can get to know someone in the newsgroup, but you really
start making new friends when you trade e-mail.

Another thing to consider when replying is that somebody else might
already have said what you're about to say.  This can often be the case
if someone asks a question with a specific answer.  It's a good idea to
_mark_ any posts to which you might want to reply, keep reading through
to the end of the day's posts, and then go back and answer them only if
you haven't seen anyone else do so.

*** Line Length

When you type your posts, PLEASE hit the <Return> key before you reach
the end of each line of text.  Most terminals display lines which are 80
characters in length, so you should include carriage returns at around
the 72--75 character mark.  If you do not do this, then many people will
be unable to read anything which extends beyond the 80th character on
each line!  It may not be a problem on the terminal you use, but it can
be on many others.

Some editors can be configured to automatically insert carriage returns
as you approach the end of a line.  Check local information to see if
you can do this with your editor.  Do not confuse this with word-
processors which do line-wrapping - this doesn't actually insert
carriage returns!  If you often use such a word-processor, be extra
careful to insert the returns.

*** Subject Line Keywords

Here in Callahan's we have some generally agreed _keywords_ which people
put in the Subject line to make it easier to know what sort of post you
are seeing.  This is important because some people don't want to read
extended threads...  or, some people want to read a particular thread
and have trouble when the subject changes.  If you read a few posts,
you'll probably see keywords in action.

Keywords are (usually) upper-case words inserted at the beginning of
the Subject line.  Some examples are: TOAST, HELLO, ADMIN, GOODBYE,
PARTY, FUN, SOAPBOX.  For a more complete list, and what to use them
for, see the Guide to Keywords in Callahan's.  If you're new here, you
should definitely use the HELLO keyword in your very first post!

Most posts, however, probably won't have a keyword.  CHAT, which is a
signal in some other groups, is not necessary in Callahan's...  because
that is what we do, mostly.

*** Editing the Subject Line

Most of the time when you reply to a post, there is no need to change
the Subject line.  For example:

Someone posts:   Subject: Pudding Fight
Don't reply:     Subject: More Fights With Pudding

The reason for this has to do with the way Subject threads are related
in many newsreaders.  The programs would think these were two totally
different topics!

However, if the Pudding Fight turns into a discussion of Sexy Food,
it's a good idea to change the subject line to reflect that.  Example:

  Subject: Sexy Food [was: Pudding Fight]

This is being considerate to people who aren't interested in sexy
food, but who like pudding (or vice versa).   :)

*** The Signature

Many forms of news software allow you to define a signature file, which
is appended to all your posts.  A lot of people use them to say who they
are and a little about themselves.  This can be a good idea, but it is
important not to go overboard!  Remember that people are going to see
this _every_ time you post.  As a general guideline, signature files
should be kept to roughly 4 or fewer lines in length.  (Some news-
posting software actually chops longer signatures down to the first 4
lines!)  Going too far above that number is likely to get you an e-mail
reminder or two from Callahan's people, and nasty flames from others if
you post to different newsgroups.  Large signatures are another thing
which cost many news readers precious time and money.

*** Posting Large Files

Occasionally people have a very large file of some sort which they wish
to share.  It may be a long story, or a graphics or sound file.  There
are a few simple guidelines on this:

1. NEVER post a file which humans cannot read.  This applies to graphics
   and sound files, which are almost invariably huge in size.  There are
   newsgroups especially designed for such posts, and they form the only
   exception to this rule.  You can find them under alt.binaries.* and
2. If you have a long text post, you should split it up into parts, with
   each part about 300 lines long.  This is a rough guideline, and can
   vary a bit either way.  There is some general Net wisdom, however,
   that people rapidly lose interest in posts over about 200 lines.
3. If you really want to share a graphics file or something similar, you
   can post a description of it and either a pointer to where interested
   people can find it themselves or an offer to send it by e-mail.  This
   can also apply to text files found on other newsgroups.  Just tell
   people where to find it - don't post it again!

*** Using Other People in Posts

If the flow of action in a post you are doing requires a few words
spoken by someone else, don't be tempted to have a specific patron say
them.  You can use Mike, our fictional bartender, or you can have a
"generic" patron (also known as "someone") say them.  NEVER put words
into other people's mouths.  If you really need input from a specific
patron, send them e-mail and CLEAR IT WITH THEM FIRST.  Better still,
ask them what they would really say in the given situation.

Similarly, NEVER describe actions of other patrons without their prior
consent.  Often there will be things like on-going party posts, in which
patrons collectively engage in some virtual activity.  These tend to be
organised by e-mail amongst the participants, so that's okay.  If you
want to join in, it's better to e-mail the participants first.

If you do post something with other patrons doing things in it, it's a
good idea to include a small note mentioning the fact that they have
agreed to be in your post.  If you don't, others might think you have
done it rudely, without permission.  Note that this guideline only
applies if you want patrons to _do_ things.  If you just walk into the
bar and say something to a particular person, that's fine.

On a related point, don't bring people you know in RL (Real Life) into
Callahan's in any way without their consent.  You can talk about them
(heck, we talk about RL people a lot!), but don't use them as extras in
the bar unless they want to be there, _and_ know what you're posting.

*** Callahan's is International

Callahan's reaches all sorts of places: USA, Canada, UK, Australia,
Ireland, New Zealand, Germany, France, Norway, South Africa, Singapore,
Sweden, South Africa, and certainly many more countries.  (Those are
just the ones from which we've seen people post!)  And with almost no
exceptions, everything posted on Callahan's is appropriate for world-
wide distribution.  So please make sure your posts get sent with "world"
distribution set.  If your newsposting program defaults to some other,
more localised distribution, _please_ change it to "world" every time
you post.

Note that "world" distribution is even appropriate for local RealSpace
gatherings, because we like to hear what fun things our friends are up
to, and because occasionally someone _will_ happen to be visiting the
right country at the right time!  It's happened before!

Another point to note: Many readers may be unfamiliar with your local
slang, jargon, customs, commercial products, politics, sport, etc.  It
can be surprising how much of your regular life is foreign and unknown
to people in other countries - even when you supposedly speak the same
language!  So be prepared to explain things to curious questioners who
want to learn about your culture, and maybe even volunteer explanations
before you are asked.  And _never_ assume people will know what you are
talking about if you refer to something cultural.

*** Posting for Other People

Sometimes a patron who loses news access for some reason (either
permanently or temporarily) might ask you to pass on a message to the
newsgroup.  Since we're like a big family here, it's nice to hear news
from people who can't post - but please don't "do them a favour" by
editing their words.  Just pass on their words verbatim, whether or not
you think the spelling, grammar or style is correct.

This is important for two reasons.  Firstly, we never complain to people
about spelling/grammar/style, because personal nuances serve to identify
our friends to us.  We don't have the advantage of recognising someone's
voice, but a familiar writing style can be just as evocative.  Secondly,
by editing someone's words, you might accidentally change their meaning.
It's both easier, and kinder, to just leave it how it is.

*** Other People's Netiquette

Sometimes, someone will forget and leave a Subject line the same when
they go off on a complete tangent, or quote three screenfuls of text, or
use a keyword the wrong way.  It is NOT considered good form to point
out these mistakes in public.  You will probably make more of a fool of
_yourself_ this way.  However, if you want to, you can send them a
_polite_ e-mail reminding them to be careful, but do it _tactfully_ and
don't send reminders to people who obviously forgot because they were
feeling really sad or depressed when they posted.  If you don't think
you can do it tactfully, leave it to someone else.

*** end of part 1

- Danger Mouse.

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