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[] r.g.f.cyber FAQ (newbies, please read) [META]

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Note: This post is the first attempt at integrating this FAQ with the
automated FAQ system run by news.answers. The odd subject line is in
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Frequently Asked Questions for
Version: 1.1.4
Date: 2/1/00
Keeper: Wordman ( (remove the leading "da" to send mail)

"Better to light a match than to curse the darkness."


1.1: What this post is

Posted at the beginning of each month, this post answers questions
often asked about the newsgroup It lays down
guidelines for posting messages, and attempts to answer common
questions before they are asked, preventing unneeded and unwanted 
traffic. This FAQ is also available on the web at:

1.2: What this post is not

This post is not intended to answer questions about individual games
often discussed on r.g.f.cyber. Other FAQs (listed below) are
available for that job.

1.3: What is

A forum dedicated to "cyberpunk" genre and other near-future
role-playing games, is the proper place to discuss
Cyberpunk, Shadowrun, CyberSpace, GURPS: Cyberpunk, RIFTS and
other such games. (You might take issue with some of the games on this
list; if so, make sure you read item 3.2 below before acting on that
thought.) Naturally, topics common to the whole genre are also

The charter of is:

This group is for discussing various aspects of cyberpunk genre
roleplaying and the rules of different cyberpunk roleplaying games.

All discussion of general roleplaying aspects, cyberpunk roleplaying
not involving rules of any cyberpunk roleplaying game, or aspects of
cyberpunk roleplaying appearing often in other games (like weapons,
they appear in other games, but not smartgun links, as they are mostly
found in cyberpunk but no other games) belongs to .misc or some more
appropriate group (like .advocacy).

Cyberpunk discussion not involving roleplaying or roleplaying games
might do better in alt.cyberpunk or some group in alt.cyberpunk

Some cyberpunk roleplaying games are Shadowrun, Cyberpunk 2020, GURPS
Cyberpunk. This list is not exclusive since I don't know all cyberpunk
RPGs on the market. These are just examples of cyberpunk roleplaying

The group officially began as a moderated group called On February 28, 1993, after jumping through all of
the hoops needed, was changed to
and was made unmoderated.

Generally, posts about Shadowrun and Cyberpunk are the most common on
r.g.f.cyber, with little representation from other games.

As an unmoderated host to discussion on multiple gaming systems,
r.g.f.cyber must rely on the good will of its posters to keep the
peace. Most readers of r.g.f.cyber are interested in a single gaming
system, or a single aspect of the genre, and could care less about the
rest. It can be irritating, therefore to have to wade through posts
for other games. (You may be thinking that the natural thing would be
to break this group into smaller sections; if so, make sure you read
item 3.1 below before acting on that thought.) This FAQ outlines what
you can do to make r.g.f.cyber more useful for yourself less annoying
for others.

1.4: Killfiles

One of the most useful aspects of most newsreaders is their ability to
automatically ignore posts that you are not interested in. Your
newsreader allows to set up a list of rules (called a killfile) that
posts can be filtered through, leaving you with only the news on
topics you are interested in.

At least that's the theory. In practice, killfiles usually only
operate by looking at what's in the subject line of a post for certain
patterns. It can be tough to define the right patterns for filtering
out unwanted stuff, unless everyone in a given newsgroups puts a
special tag in their posts, giving a rough idea of content.

The entire purpose of this FAQ is to define such tags for For this to work, it is extremely important that
you follow these guidelines, and that you encourage others to as well.


2.1: Tags

Always begin your post with a tag to indicate its content. The tag
must be enclosed in [square brackets] and must be one of the ones
listed below. On r.g.f.cyber, most people are interested in particular
games, so most of the tags are defined with that in mind. One other is
worth note as well: most cyber games do not use magic, but one of the
most popular games on r.g.f.cyber, Shadowrun, does. This has caused a
great deal of friction on the list, so this is addressed by these tags
as well. The tags are the following:

[GEN]   General discussion about the cyber game genre. Not game
[CP]    Discussion about Cyberpunk
[SR]    Discussion about non-magical aspects of Shadowrun
[SRMAG] Discussion about magical aspects of Shadowrun, including
[SRED]  Discussion about Shadowrun's crossover with EarthDawn
[OSYS]  Discussion about any other gaming system.
[META]  Discussion about itself. No game content.

These tags have been chosen based on the traffic this group
historically gets. It may be that a system in the [OSYS] category may
become popular enough to generate tons of traffic on the list, at
which time a new tag will be chosen for it.

2.2: Not using tags

If you do not use subject tags, either through ignorance or
immaturity, there is no official punishment. Since this is not a
moderated list, very little can be done to you, at least officially;
however, you will gain the ire of a large number of people. Many will
probably let you know about it. Many more will probably add your name
to their killfile and ignore you ever after. It also not unheard of
for flagrant news abuse to result in the abuser's ISP yanking the
user's account.

That said, please keep in mind that some who don't use tags do so
simply because they don't know any better. Please cut people a little
slack, at least on a first offence. Let them know the way of things
respectfully, until they get it right, or until they prove themselves
unworthy of respect.

2.3: Follow-ups to posts that do not use tags

If you are responding to a post that does not happen to have a tag,
for whatever reason, please insert an appropriate tag into the subject
of your response. For example, in responding to a post with the title
"Spell Question", please make the subject of your post "Re: [SRMAG]
Spell Question".

2.4: Netiquette

Basic manners go a long way on the net. True, being faceless, you can
be as rude as you like on the net, but no one's impressed. Still, its
worse to be unintentionally bad-mannered, and many resources on the
net will tell you how to avoid this. In a nutshell, here is quick
summary of things to avoid unless you like getting flamed:

When you post, have something to say. Don't just follow a post with
"me too".

When replying to a post, trim as much as you can out of the post
you are quoting. Only include the sentences you are actually
responding to. Nothing makes you look dumber than quoting 900 lines of
a post, then adding a sentence to the end.

Similarly, if you quote a post, make sure the quoted portion comes
before your response to it, not after.

There is a difference between e-mail and news: learn what it is.
Never post a message that is destined for a single person.

Do not cross-post. If you don't know what this is, don't learn. If
you do, make sure you know what you're doing before you do it.

Post on topic. alt.pets.cats is a great place to talk about your
kitty Whiskers. People on, however, don't care and
will strongly indicate as much.

Use the tags described above.

Read the rest of this FAQ and don't post any of the questions
answered in it to the list. If you really have a burning issue about
this list that you think the world should hear, send it by e-mail to
me first.

Don't write in all capital letters. IT LOOKS LIKE YOU'RE YELLING.

2.5: Old Posts

2.5.1: What Good are Old Posts?

Old posts are good for answering those niggling, annoying little
questions that seem to pop up constantly. Often, the answer to simple
questions can be found with a search through newsgroup archives. By
finding the answer there, you save valuable bandwidth. Also, searching
can help you learn what questions not to ask as well, along with
learning the ways of the groups if you are a new user.

2.5.2: Where do I find Old Newsgroup Posts?

The most popular place to find them is the DejaNews archive located at This is a web-based search engine allowing
keyword searches. Another popular choices is Remarq.

2.5.3: Should I Respond to the Old Posts I Find?

The simplest answer to give would be a resounding 'no'. If it isn't a
current message on your usual news server, then odds are that it isn't
on many other servers for reference any longer as well. Please avoid
answering messages over 1 week old, or alternatively, handle it
privately through Email or be kind enough to quote the entirety of the
message you are answering as a reference for the benefit of the
newsgroup readers at large.


3.1: Let's split this group!
Frequency: Once per year (usually in October)

Many new subscribers get this brilliant idea each fall (sometimes more
often). I admit that I brought it up as a newbie myself. Like everyone
since, I got horribly flamed for it. Every time this issue comes up,
right or wrong, eventually people generally realize one or more of the

following points:

The process for creating a group in the rec hierarchy is arduous,
and the guidelines are set up such that any vote taken by a group as
small as will likely have no effect whatsoever.

All suggestions for what the new groups should be called are almost
universally bad, but for different reasons. Generally, a consensus
cannot be reached on a new hierarchy.

People who support the split support it for totally different
reasons. Some desire a split along game lines. Others are sick of
discussions about magic. Etc. Others would read all of the split
groups anyway, so don't see the point. Since 1990, I have never seen
any of these opinions even come close to a majority.

If everyone, or even a majority of people, used defined subject
tags, there would be no major problem.

3.2: What is cyberpunk?
Frequency: Twice per year

This question can have many variants, such as "Is Shadowrun
cyberpunk?" and so on. Asking it is much like asking "What is the
nature of God?": you will get hundreds of a opinions, and none of them
will make any difference at all.

"Cyberpunk" entered popular use when describing a genre of
science-fiction which most feel started with (and some would say ended
with) William Gibson's _Neuromancer_. Like most things on this group,
there has never been consensus on the exact definition of cyberpunk, a
word that now means many things to many people. There does not even
seem to be a consensus on the basic concept of cyberpunk either. When
this question has been discussed previously, however, the following
are usually mentioned as elements of cyberpunk:

A dystopian future with an economically stratified society.
Technology evolving faster than a society's ability to handle it.
Often, but not always, some form of melding of technology and

The truth is probably in there somewhere. Maybe not. The important
thing is to remember that when you find it, it will be _your_ truth,
not everyone else's. You may be very proud of your truth, perhaps
rightfully so, but crowing or pondering about it on r.g.f.cyber will
get you a rap in the mouth. No one is interested in going down that
road any more.

Since Shadowrun deals with magic, many claim it is not cyberpunk. Who
cares. For the purposes of this FAQ, Shadowrun is cyberpunk _enough_
to warrant being in this newsgroup. No one wants to talk about it any
more, either.

Maybe that is the true meaning of cyberpunk: no one cares.

One last point about the word cyberpunk: it is also used to describe 
the game Cyberpunk 2020 by R. Talsorian games. To avoid confusion 
bewteen the game and genre, the game Cyberpunk 2020 is usually 
capitalized ("Cyberpunk") while the genre is kept in lowercase 

3.3: Where can I find FAQs for specific games?


    The ShadowFAQ:


Changes since v1.1.3 (1/1/99):
Some link fixes.

Changes since v1.1.2 (4/28/98):
Grammar/spelling fixes.
Changed URL for Shadowrun FAQ.

Changes since v1.1.1 (11/18/97):
Added quote.
Grammar fixes.
Added comment about "Cyberpunk" vs. "cyberpunk"

Changes since v1.1 (11/7/97):
Reorganized tags, putting META lower down.

Changes since v1.0 (11/4/97):
Added Old Posts section.
Added HTML reference.

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM