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Archive-name: forsale/dc-forsale-faq
Posting-Frequency: three times per month

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==    DC.FORSALE     Frequently Asked Questions and Posting Guidelines    ==
==    Version 1.11                                        May 31, 1995    ==
==    Maintained by                        J.D. Falk <>    ==
==    Posting Frequency                                Twice per month    ==
==            Based on the PHL.FORSALE FAQ by Adrian Cybriwsky            ==

	This document is intended to answer questions and clarify
unofficial but generally accepted policies for the local USENET newsgroup
titled ''. 

	If this document has been e-mailed to you, chances are that you
have violated one of the generally accepted guidelines of ''. 
Most likely, you have posted an inappropriate out-of area message to the

	You may receive more than one copy of this document.  While the 
official _maintainer_ of the document is J.D. Falk <>, a 
number of others have decided to send it out as well, with the idea that 
reinforcement of ideas never hurts.

	Please realize that this is not a flame.  It is always possible 
that I, being a human being, will incorrectly assume that your posting is 
inappropriate when actually it was -- most often because it was 
crossposted to a whole lot of other '*.forsale' groups, OUTSIDE of the 
D.C. area.  So long as you follow the guidelines and suggestions below, 
you can rest assured that you are being a good net.citizen.

	The author of this document makes no claims as to the accuracy of
this document.  In short, it is provided "as is."  However, I have
endeavored to keep it as factual and usable as possible, so please feel
free to EMail me or the rest of the members of the Guideline
Advisory Committee <> with any comments you may have. 

	This document is divided into three sections, as follows.  The
disclaimers and such, including the copyright notice and appropriate
licenses, appear at the end for easier access to the meaty stuff. 

Part I - '' related issues
     1.  What is ''? 
             1.1 what is meant by "dc"? 
     2.  What kinds of posts are acceptable to ''? 
     3.  What kinds of posts are unacceptable to ''? 
             3.1 possible ramifications of posting unacceptable material
     4.  special case posts
             4.1 commercial postings
             4.2 legally questionable items/services wanted/forsale
             4.3 discussion
     5.  If my post is unsuitable for '', where might it better go?

Part II - FAQ related issues
     1.  Who is the author of this document / who died and made him king,
         boss, judge, etc.? / Why was this FAQ written? 
     2.  Who is the Advisory Committee?
     3.  General Disclaimer 
     4.  How is this FAQ be distributed? (USENET, WWW, FTP, EMail) 
     5.  How may I distribute this FAQ?
     6.  Can I use this FAQ as a basis of a FAQ for my (other, regional)
     X.  Future FAQ matters 

I.1  What is ''? 
        '' is a USENET newsgroup devoted exclusively to the sale
        and trade of items of specific interest to Washington, D.C. 
        metro area [see I.1.1] residents.  

I.1.1 What is meant by "dc"? 
        The "dc" of '' is generally regarded as including the
        city of Washington, D.C. and its suburbs in Maryland and 
        Virginia, as well as areas as distant as Baltimore, Maryland,
        Richmond, Virginia, Martinsburg, West Virginia, and the state of
        Delaware.  '' is analogous to New York City's 
        '', Philadelphia's '', and Baltimore,
        Maryland's ''.  It is very rare that a posting should
        include more than one of these newsgroups, though Baltimore
        postings are commonly crossposted to '' due to the poor
        propagation of '' (not all Baltimore systems carry the
        newsgroup.)  Almost never is there a reason that a posting should
        include more than two of these local newsgroups -- messages meant
        for a wider audience should be posted to newsgroups meant for wider
        propagation (see 1.5.)

I.2 What kinds of posts are acceptable to ''? 
        Offers of sale/barter/giveaway of goods/services, notice of auction,
        desire to purchase/barter goods/services that are of specific
        interest to peoples residing in the area defined in I.1.1 should
        comprise the majority of posts to ''.  The items must be of
        particular interest to Washington, D.C. metro area residents as 
        defined by the notion that either the item is relatively 
        immobile/unshippable [couches, cars, grand pianos], located 
        exclusively in the D.C. area [apartments, real estate], of 
        particular interest to area residents [Books such as "Guide to
        to D.C. Restaurants"], or the buyer/seller does not want to deal 
        with shipping out of area [perhaps the seller/buyer prefers
        dealing face-to-face.] 

I.3 What kinds of posts are unacceptable to ''? 
        Basically, posts that would be better served in other regional
        newsgroups or more general or item-specific newsgroups are
        unacceptable to ''.  This includes: 
          - Economics 101 textbooks from U. Cal Berkeley
          - Dorm refrigerators from the University of Michigan
          - "Want to buy any memory" from anywhere in the world [try one of
            the* newsgroups]
          - "286-12 System, Loaded!" from South Florida
          - Real estate in Birmingham, U.K.
          - anything offered by someone out of the D.C. area to be shipped 
            into D.C., but not of any more particular interest to D.C. 
            residents than to Chicago residents. 
        Additionally, notices of software available via the Internet are
        generally not appreciated. 
	It's not a question of whether the item CAN BE SHIPPED into D.C.;
        with the great numbers of courier services available these days
        (_all_ of which have offices here in the Nation's Capital),
        absolutely anything can, conceivably, be shipped here.  The 
        question that should be asked before posting to '' is 
        whether the item could just as well go into a different 
        newsgroup, such as one with broader scope (such as 
        '') or different, more appropriate regional focus. 

I.3.1 What are possible ramifications of posting inappropriate material? 
        We KNOW that posting to a large number of regional forsale groups
        will undoubtedly give your item wider exposure and hence you will
        have a better chance of getting a good price for it. However, there
        are several reasons why you shouldn't: 
          - Imagine if everybody did.  The regional newsgroups would become
            effectively mirrors of ''.  The Internet is a self-
            policing entity relying on the intelligence and common
            sense of users to keep it afloat... and you would be destructive
            rather than constructive. 
          - As such, it is incredibly poor netiquette. 
          - Readers of '' may take it upon themselves to write a
            letter to your system administrator [root@..] indicating
            your rudeness.  In turn, your system administrator may, at his
            discretion, reduce your Internet access, account privileges,
            etc.  The sysadmins I've contacted on this and related issues
            have unanimously concluded that this FAQ is in the right, and 
            have thanked me for bringing this matter to their attention.  
            This included system administrators of university sites, 
            large online services, and smaller private access providers.  
          - as if this were not enough, please realize that the vast 
            majority of experienced 'net users truly abhor this type of
            breach of netiquette -- not because it is commercial, but 
            because it makes the 'net a noisier, less pleasant place.
	  - as mentioned at the top of this document, if you have had this 
	    FAQ e-mailed to you, chances are that you have breached rules of 
            netiquette as perhaps outlined in this FAQ.  Please take the 
	    information contained herein to heart, and let the e-mail to you be 
	    considered a first and only warning.

I.4 Special Case Posts
        A number of posts are marginally acceptable in ''.  That
        is to say, there is no clear consensus as to whether or not they are
        acceptable to ''.  It must be noted that as they are
        only marginally acceptable, out-of-D.C. posts of these sort are 
        often the /most/ frowned upon. 

I.4.1 Commercial Postings
        Commercial postings are offers to buy or sell by corporate or sub-
        corporate, profit-driven entities.  This includes long distance
        phone service providers, tee-shirt printers, COMPUTER-RELATED ITEM
        MANUFACTURERS AND RESELLERS, lawyers, real-estate agents, travel
        agents, and others.  It is my opinion that the larger the commercial
        entity, the less justified it is in posting to '', as this
        is in violation of the "flea-market" air of the newsgroup.

	Local small businesses, vendors and service organizations should
	feel free to post to so long as the product or service
	they are selling is indigenous to the DC metro area.  Please keep
	in mind though that even though this is a great opportunity for
	inexpensive advertising, many people who pay for their
	Internet/Usenet connectivity view this as advertising at their
	(the recipients') expense, just like unsolicited faxes.  Please
	limit your posts to once a week if you do not have anything
	significant to change in the ad.  News articles are usually
	archived on most sites for several days.  Posting more frequently
	wastes space on someone else's machine--your low cost advertising
	is being underwritten by other folks, who then have to pass the
	costs along to their users (your prospective customers), so keep
	that in mind. 
        Out-of-D.C. commercial postings are in EXTREME violation of

 	Note:  In various *.forsale groups, there have been a few cases of 
        commercial entities posting under the guise of an individual, 
        private seller.  If you have direct knowledge of the fact that a 
        seller is indeed a commercial entity, you may be justified in 
        posting a followup to the original message stating that that is 
        indeed the case.  Similarly, you may be justified in some cases 
        in writing to the user's system administrator if you believe that 
        the user's use of his account for commercial purposes may be in 
        violation of that user's system policies.  Most educational sites 
        (designated by the .edu domain), for example, do not allow 
	commercial posts by their users.  It must be noted that George
        Washington University (* is included in this -- for
        some strange reason a large number of commercial posts have been
        seen from that site over the years, but we've been told by
        GWU administrators that these users are always dealt with.

I.4.2 Legally-Questionable Goods/Services
        It is generally viewed as poor netiquette to post legally 
	questionable offers for goods/services to ''.  This includes
	offers of sale of drugs, child pornography, weapons, sex, etc.  Please
	use your best judgment before posting desire to buy or sell items of
        this sort.  Sellers of pornography (including those "harmless" old
        Playboys you have in your attic) to minors is probably against the
        law in most places.  If you have a legitimate goal of buying/selling
        items of an adult nature, please respect readers' sensibilities by
        using descriptions of an adult nature only where absolutely
        necessary.  It may be best if posts of an adult nature ask for
        readers to email the seller for further information.  

I.4.3 Discussion
        For the most part, discussion in '' should be kept
        to a minimum.  However, messages telling of sales gone bad might be
        appropriate if they are not written provocatively as to degenerate
        into 'flame-wars.' If somebody offers a Chevrolet for sale, however,
        messages discussing the advantages of Fords to Chevrolets are
        not appropriate.  In a similar vein, if somebody offers a memory
        chip for sale for $55, please do not follow up with a message stating
        that that is a ridiculous price unless you personally are prepared
        to sell the same item for less.  Give free market mechanisms a little
        room to operate!

I.5 If my post is unacceptable to '', where might it better go? 
        If your post is of a forsale/trade/want to buy nature, it might be
        better placed in: 
                - [all items, net-wide]
                -* [computer related items net-wide]
                - *.marketplace [specific classes of items, such as autos,
                    comic books, aviation items, etc.  net-wide.]
                - biz.marketplace [nothing but commercial postings, often
                - a more appropriate local forsale group. 
        Please consult your system administrator [root@yoursite] if you need
        help in locating an appropriate newsgroup.  

I.6 Common Pitfall(s)
        - When posting to '', please avoid from making posts with
          the message body "title says it all."  Chances are, a potential
          customer's newsreader might not be able to display as long a title
          as you have entered.  If you are in a rush to post your sale,
          the least you should do is repeat the title in the message body. 

II.1 Who is the author of this document / who died and made him king, etc. /
     Why was this FAQ written.
        J.D. Falk <> maintains the '' version of
        this FAQ.  It is heavily based on a similar FAQ for '', 
        written by Adrian Cybriwsky <>.  There
        has also been much input from other people.
        Nobody died and made us kings, and as such this document does not
        necessarially represent any sort of established "laws."  It is our
        best attempt towards bringing some form of order to a category
        of newsgroups which, given the rash of inappropriate posts of late,
        definitely needs it.
        Each draft of this document has been posted to '',
        'dc.general' (general discussion about the Washington, D.C. area),
        and 'dc.config' (discussion about the dc.* newsgroups.)  At this
        time, I have received *NO* dissenting opinions from ''
        readers, and many compliments and offers of thanks.  It is clear
        that the readers of '' appreciate this FAQ.
	However, if you don't like this FAQ, please feel free to make
        polite suggestions to the author(s) (either privately or in
        'dc.general'), or write your own.

II.2 Who is the Guideline Advisory Committee?
        Because it is best not to rely totally on one person's judgment
        in all issues, the Guideline Advisory Committee was
        formed by a number of concerned D.C.-area users, and is open
        to the public.
        The committee can be reached at <>.  If you
        would like to join, or for other information, contact Michael
        Faurot <>.

II.3 General Disclaimer. 
        J.D. Falk, Adrian Cybriwsky, and the members of the 
        Guideline Advisory Committee make no legally enforceable claims as
        to the accuracy of this document.  As such, he/they are not
        responsible if reading it, downloading it, printing it out,
        or even being in the same room with it causes you to go blind, 
        your computer to implode, or your dog to hate you.  

II.4 How is this FAQ distributed? 
	This FAQ is posted automatically three times per month to
	'' and 'dc.general' by the maintainer, J.D. Falk
        <>.  It can also be obtained more immediately via the 
        following methods:
          World Wide Web <>
          FTP, filename '/pub/jdfalk/forsale/'
          EMail	Send a message to <> containing
		nothing but the words "get dcfadv" (the
		subject line will be ignored.)  It may take as long as
		a full day before you receive the document.
		Or, send a message to <> with a subject line
		of "gimme" (no quotes, body will be ignored.)

II.5 How may I distribute this FAQ?
	Please see the copyright notice below.  If it is unclear or you have
	any questions, contact the FAQ maintainer at <>.

II.6 Can I use this FAQ as a basis for my (other, regional) newsgroup? 
        Yes.  In fact, this FAQ is directly based on the '' 
        FAQ, and includes a great many quoted portions from that document.
	However, please cite the authors where appropriate.  In fact,
        this entire document may be used as a FAQ for another newsgroup with
        only place names changed.  However, I do not wish to be responsible
        for answering questions in regards to newsgroups from Buffalo to San
        Luis Opisbo, so if you are going to use this FAQ for your newsgroup,
        make sure you set it up so I won't have to.  I would also appreciate
	your telling me that you are indeed going to use the FAQ.

II.X Topics to be covered in future versions of this FAQ include: 
          -  Somebody has ripped me off, what should I do? 
          -  Anything else people bring up.  

This document is not complete, but I'll post it as a start.  Just remember
the Golden Rule:  If you don't like it, write your own damn FAQ.  (or make
polite suggestions about improving mine.) Also, you are free to contact the Advisory Committee or post publically in 'dc.general', where
any major revisions are discussed before going into effect. 

This document is Copyright (c) 1995 by J.D. Falk, all rights reserved. 
Permission is granted to reproduce it electronically on any system
connected to the various networks which make up the Internet, USENET, and
FidoNet, so long as it is reproduced in its entirety, unedited, and with
this copyright notice intact. 

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