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rec.games.frp.dnd FAQ: 2/9 -- Netiquette

( Part1 - Part2 - Part3 - Part4 - Part5 - Part6 - Part7 - Part8 - Part9 )
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Archive-name: games/roleplay/dnd/part2
Posting-frequency: monthly
Last-modified: December 2003
URL: http://users.rcn.com/aardy/faq/rgfdfaq.html

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                            REC.GAMES.FRP.DND FAQ
                                   Part 2

                                 Netiquette
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
* designates topics which have been updated.
+ designated topics which have been added.

  B1: What is this "netiquette" thing anyway?
  B2: So, what's the deal with this board?
  B3: Are there any gaming groups in my area?
  B4: "...Me, too!"
  B5: Why should I play *D&D instead of Rolemaster, Torg, or some other 
      RPG?
  B6: "D&D IS EVIL & SH*T, DON'T PLAY IT."  What do I do when this gets 
      posted?
  B7: Do those "MAKE MONEY FAST" ideas really work?  
  B8: If X fought Y, who would win?
  B9: Where can I buy/sell old books, modules, & other stuff?
  B10: How do I get past a certain point in this D&D computer game?
  B11: Some people's posts go off the right edge of the screen; is my 
       newsreader broken or something?
  B12: How creative should I get with my .signature file?
  B13: Do I have to be an elementalist mage to post a "flame" or start a 
       "flamewar"?
  B14: Where can I post this?
  B15: Is all "d20" discussion on-topic here?
  B16: Why hasn't anyone responded to my posts?
  B17: I posted a question; why hasn't anyone answered it?
  B18: Why isn't anyone talking about Al-Qadim?
  B19: Would anyone like to start a campaign here on the newsgroup?
  B20: I missed a message; could someone please repost it?
  B21: Why are people telling me to stop writing my responses above the post
       I'm responding to?
  B22: What's wrong with posting with MIME or in HTML?
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
B1:  What is this "netiquette" thing anyway?

A:    "Netiquette is not just about the niceties of behavior or avoiding
      embarassment.  Netiquette is like the double yellow line in the
      middle of a highway."  --Howard Rheingold

      Netiquette is shorthand for "net etiquette".  Usenet is a cooperative
    community that only works for as long as people are cooperating.  
    Thus, over the years each newsgroup and Usenet as a whole have 
    created sets of rules and customs, essentially deciding what will and 
    will not generally be tolerated by other posters--what constitutes 
    good "net manners", if you will--in order for the maximum amount of 
    readers to get the maximum enjoyment from each group.  Examples of 
    netiquette issues include what the proper newsgroups for certain 
    topics are, and what constitutes a good general posting style.
      Usenet is all about communication.  It is divided into separate
    hierarchies and newsgroups so that it is easier to find the topic you
    wish to discuss.  Netiquette is not just about good manners, it is
    also the basis for the most effective communication in this medium.  If
    your posts are polite and easy to read, it is much more likely that 
    people will want to communicate with you.  If your posts make you 
    look arrogant, or merely careless, clueless, or sloppy, few people 
    will want to take the time to muddle through what you have to say to 
    find the kernels of your posts.  And those that do will not be very
    inclined to give you the benefit of the doubt.
      Many types of behavior which are acceptable elsewhere are not 
    acceptable on Usenet; you can easily discover these potential 
    pitfalls by reading through the files listed in the Note to New Users 
    at the beginning of this FAQ.  There are also many behaviors which 
    may be acceptable on other newsgroups which are not acceptable here, 
    and some things that are done here that may or may not be acceptable 
    in any other groups on Usenet.  Many of these are described in this 
    section of the FAQ.  The best way to understand what is and is not 
    acceptable is to read through the entire FAQ and read every message 
    in the group for at least two weeks before making your first post.  
    As a poster to this group, it is your responsibility to learn the 
    customs of Usenet and this group, hopefully before you write that 
    first post.
      The individual "rules" of netiquette exist for various reasons, 
    which include:

      To avoid looking like a clueless wonder or a total jerk, and thus 
        avoid being treated as such by the rest of the readers of the 
        group;
      To help make everyone's posts clear, legible, and able to be read 
        and understood by the greatest number of people with the least 
        amount of effort by all concerned; and
      To prevent a discussion group from becoming a clearing-house where
        anything can be discussed, thus making it extremely difficult to 
        find posts that actually deal with the topic of the group

      Netiquette does not actually prevent anyone from posting whatever 
    they darn well please; nothing and no one can do that, short of 
    forging cancels.  However, it is a good idea to follow netiquette, or
    at the very least take the time to learn why a given rule exists 
    before challenging it.

      Breaking the customs (whether on purpose or on accident) may 
    not seem like much to you in many cases, but it will usually cost 
    you in terms of credibility and, to some extent, popularity.  You 
    appear as if you didn't bother to take the time or effort to find out 
    about those things that this group considers important, behavior-wise.
    This turns most posters off--you'll already have one strike 
    against you, making it that much more likely that you'll annoy or
    even anger the other posters, so they won't be in the mood to read
    what you're trying to say.  Besides, if you can't be bothered to 
    listen to the group, why should the group take the time to listen to 
    you?
      Occasional mistakes or lapses of reason happen to everyone, and most 
    people know to take this into account when considering a response to 
    a post.  If a poster consciously decides to use bad netiquette, 
    though, especially after the error of his ways has been explained to 
    him, that poster should be prepared to take flak for his decision, and 
    be neither surprised nor indignant when the rest of the readers of the 
    newsgroup bring societal pressures to bear on the "rogue" element to 
    help him become a productive member of the microcommunity that is the 
    newsgroup.
      If the decision to breach netiquette is due to an informed 
    disagreement over what "proper" netiquette should be, arrived at after 
    carefully reading of the existing documents and pondering the 
    possible reasons behind the current rule and ramifications of
    changing that rule, that is one thing.  Pure orneriness and/or total 
    cluelessness is another matter altogether, and will usually prompt 
    rebukes from other members of the group.  This does not give everyone 
    license to flame away whenever they see a breach of netiquette; that 
    in itself is bad netiquette--a gentle reminder and suggestion of how 
    to improve matters is usually a lot more productive than an outright 
    flame.

B2:  So, what's the deal with this board?

A:  Once and for all, this is not AOL, nor Compuserve, nor Prodigy, nor
    Delphi, nor GEnie, nor Fidonet, nor a BBS.  It is Usenet, one of the 
    networks which is joined to the Internet.  Specifically, this is one 
    newsgroup from among the 22,000+ total newsgroups which make up 
    Usenet.  It is not a listserv (although there is an AD&D listserv, and 
    some other newsgroups are Usenet gateways for listservs), bboard, board,
    list, SIG, or base; several of those terms may technically describe
    Usenet, but they are no more "correct" than referring to the right
    side of a ship as anything other than starboard.  This is a
    "newsgroup"--"group" for short--which is part of the Big 8, rec.*,
    rec.games.*, and rec.games.frp.* hierarchies of newsgroups.

B3:  Are there any gaming groups in my area?

A:  Usenet is read by people around the world, from New Zealand to Norway.
    If you're looking for players in Galveston, Texas, it is pointless to 
    ask people in Germany to come over and play.  Doing so only wastes 
    bandwidth, time, and money for everyone outside of your neighborhood 
    who reads your request, and tends to really annoy people.  This is true
    even if you think your gaming group is so good that people will want to
    travel thousands of miles every week just to game with you.
      There are several methods you can use to get your request out to
    the people who are most likely to be interested in your request for
    games or gamers, while reducing to almost nil the amount of potential
    aggravation for the majority of the people reading this group.  Please
    use one of these courses of action.
      The main method is to post the request on the newsgroup
    rec.games.frp.announce.  Anyone looking for a group, or any groups
    looking for players may read that group for announcements of this
    nature, thus leaving more space in this group for discussions pertaining
    to the game itself--as well as making the announcements easier to find,
    by fact of only having to page through a couple of dozen posts per week
    to find a particular one rather than the couple of hundred posts per
    day of rec.games.frp.dnd.  In this, the set-up is similar to
    rec.games.frp.marketplace, and people who know how the hierarchy is
    arranged know to watch that group for such announcements.  If your
    newserver does not get rec.games.frp.announce, try writing your
    newsadmin and requesting that it be added to your site's feed.
      Another good method is to use one of the web pages set up for 
    finding gamers in your area.  One such is the "Internet
    RolePlayer Registry" section of AccessDenied, located at
    <http://www.accessdenied.net/dev/entry.htm>, another is Effie Rover's
    Game Finder at <http://www.rpggateway.com/cgi-bin/gamefinder/index.cgi>,
    and another is at <http://www.rpg.net/etrigan/rpg.html> and is run by
    Etrigan.  Wizards of the Coast also runs a "Players Registry" of its own
    at <http://nafsasp.wizards.com/Registries/TSR/Welcome.asp>.  Either
    look into the existing requests to see if there are already people in 
    your area looking for games or gamers, or input a request of your own 
    and wait for any results.
      If neither these methods seems very palatable to you, then I 
    suggest you find a local-area-only newsgroup (such as a university-, 
    city-, or country-specific one; an example would be something along
    the lines of chi.wanted for a Chicago-specific group), or inquire if
    there is a message board in your local gaming shop and post a note
    there.  These two actions are guaranteed to go only to the people most
    likely to respond to your requests.

B4:  "...Me, too!" 

A:  A post that does nothing but quote back the previous post in its
    entirety and simply adds on "Me too" wastes the time of everyone
    who reads it.  If you translate the wasted time into man-hours, you
    get a heck of a lot of wasted time.  When you figure into the equation
    all of the people who pay by the message for Usenet access, it
    translates into a lot of lost money as well.  If you see something you
    agree with, send the poster e-mail.  If you want a copy of something,
    send the owner of whatever it is an e-mail message.  Don't post it.
    This is simply good netiquette.  I would ask that all new readers
    please peruse "Ask Emily Postnews," regularly posted to the
    newsgroup news.announce.newusers. 'Nuff said.

B5: Why should I play *D&D instead of Rolemaster, Torg, or some other RPG?

A:  This is a group for discussing *D&D, in all the forms it has taken 
    over the years.  It is not a place to discuss the relative merits of 
    those games when compared to non-TSR games.  This includes discussion 
    about why people should stop playing *D&D and switch to some other 
    game, as well as discussion of which edition of *D&D is the best or
    worst.  It just so happens, however, that there is a newsgroup which is
    dedicated solely to discussions of which game systems are the best 
    and/or worst to play.  It's just a few steps north of here, and is 
    called rec.games.frp.advocacy.  Try it, you might like it.  The
    discussion there mainly centers around meta-game issues--i.e. what is
    the best game mechanic for a given action--rather than invective-filled
    flame-fests, so consider yourself warned.
      For other notes on where to post certain topics, see the question
    below and the newsgroups listing and descriptions in Section 6 of this
    FAQ.

B6:  "D&D IS EVIL & SH*T, DON'T PLAY IT."  What do I do when this gets 
    posted?

A:  Most likely, some poor schmuck walked away from his computer and a 
    friend decided to play a practical joke, or someone is just trying to
    yank your chain.  The best thing to do in such cases is to ignore it.
    That's right, don't even bother commenting on how much flamebait the
    unlucky poster is.  Doing so just diverts time and energy away from
    discussion of our favorite game, and makes serious postings that much
    harder to find.

    For a hyperbolic, tongue-in-cheek take on this issue (which really
    is a parody, regardless of what the page may claim to the contrary),
    read Niilo Paasivirta's Game of Satan essay at
    <http://www.co.jyu.fi/~np/rpg/DnD/>.

B7:  Do those "MAKE MONEY FAST" ideas really work?

A:  No.  Nyet.  Absolutely not.  Negatory on that, good buddy.  The "Make 
    Money Fast" schemes you usually see posted are almost always "Ponzi 
    schemes," a.k.a. "pyramid schemes."  The person who starts the pyramid 
    of names may make the money he describes, but the poor schmucks at the 
    bottom tend to actually lose money.  Since the offer promises returns, 
    and most people who reply don't see a red cent, the U.S. government 
    considers such schemes to be fraud.  Currently, if you send such a 
    letter out via snailmail, you can be arrested for using the U.S. Mail 
    for fraudulent purposes and end up doing jail time; the FCC is working 
    on getting the sending of such messages over the Internet to be wire 
    fraud, due to the fact that the Internet uses telephone lines for 
    propagation.  Currently, the U.S. federal laws on fraud & wire fraud 
    do not take the Internet into account, but several state laws do.  So 
    spreading such schemes over the Internet is not technically illegal 
    everywhere in the U.S. ... yet.  And if your state is one that frowns 
    on such things, you'd best watch your step.
      The easiest thing for everybody is to simply ignore the message.  
    Since they are typically simultaneously posted to hundreds or 
    thousands of newsgroups, the original poster will probably not see 
    your witty discussion.  Sending a private e-mail to the postmaster at 
    the poster's site may be a good idea, but posting replies, even wildly 
    humorous ones, just takes up bandwidth with useless topics.  Just say 
    "No" to "Make Money Fast" schemes.

B8:  If X fought Y, who would win?

A:  This type of question is most often found in the form "Enterprise vs.
    Death Star," or, more appropriately, "10th level fighter vs. 10th 
    level mage," "Raistlin vs. Elminster," or "Driz'zt vs. Da Bears."  
    (For da record, even wit' a mini-Ditka, Da Bears take it, 42-3; Da 
    Bears let da elf have a last-second field goal so he don't feel so 
    bad.  Pass da brats, will ya?)  Asking this type of question is also a 
    sure-fire way to not make any friends among the long-time posters.
      When it comes to fiction, the one true answer is...whomever the
    writer/poster wants to win, wins.  Alternatively, in novels that
    feature one of *D&D's big hitters, a la Driz'zt or Raistlin, if
    cross-world dueling actually happens, it generally ends in a draw so
    that no group of fans feels that their hero got shafted.  It may seem
    fun to speculate, but when because this is fiction, there is no sure
    way of determining a winner. Picking one just gets the fans of the
    character you picked to lose mad (and usually flaming) at you.  In any
    case, almost every combination of X vs. Y has already been done to
    death on the group.  It is not in the group's best interest to discuss
    such things further.
      For characters with published statistics, it is possible to use
    probability and statistics to determine the average result of repeated
    clashes between the chosen characters.  Average number of hits,
    average damage per hit, average number of rounds it takes for one to
    win.  However, because of the way statistics work, the average result
    doesn't tell you what the actual result of any single fight would be,
    only what it likely would be.  Because the game also involves strategy,
    magic, and luck statistics can only get you so far; after that, the
    winner is decided by characters' (and players') preparation,
    craftiness, and actual dice roll results, and you're right back into
    the realm of fiction and thus endless (and unwinnable) debate.
      In the case of one class archetype vs. another, the argument can go 
    on and on ad nauseam, as everyone can come up with some reason for 
    each one to win over all the others, even when statistics are
    involved.  What it usually comes down to, since the main classes are
    pretty much balanced, is whichever character wins the initiative, gets
    luckier with the dice, or has more time to prepare, wins the battle.
    End of argument.

B9:  Where can I buy/sell old books, modules, & other stuff?

A:  Rec.games.frp.marketplace is dedicated to the buying and selling of
    gaming material of any nature.  If there is a book you've always been
    looking for, or if you want to sell off some of your books, please 
    post in rgfm.  Such posts do not belong on rgfd, and only serve to 
    make the natives restless and the poster the recipient of numerous 
    flames.
      If you are thinking of checking out rec.games.frp.marketplace in 
    hopes of finding those items you've always been looking for, a place 
    to look first is <http://www.acaeum.com>; they list almost every 
    D&D/AD&D item to ever be printed, with a suggested or average actual 
    price for each.
      If you are looking to buy gaming material, and have been unlucky in
    finding what you are looking for in rec.games.frp.marketplace, you
    may want to try an on-line store which traffics in gaming material; a
    list of those which are suggested most often when this question arises
    is contained in Section 6 of this FAQ, as part of the issue of *D&D web
    pages.  Additionally, there are almost always several auctions of
    *D&D books and modules going simultaneously on web sites such as eBay,
    at <http://www.ebay.com/>.
      For other notes on where to post certain topics, see the list below 
    and the newsgroups listing and descriptions in Section 6 of this FAQ.

B10: How do I get past a certain point in this D&D computer game?

A:  As the old BASIC games used to go, "Thank you for playing... hope you
    had fun!"  Sorry, but such questions really can't be answered here, as 
    this group is for the discussion of role-playing games, not computer 
    games.  Try comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.rpg, comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.adventure,
    (or comp.sys.mac.games.adventure, for MacUsers), rec.games.video.sega,
    rec.games.video.nintendo, or rec.games.video.3do.
      Walkthroughs of many of the SSI games, including Eye of the 
    Beholder II, III, and Dark Queen of Krynn are available through the
    Web at <http://www.gamesdomain.com/walkthru.html>; many
    other computer games, including the Bard's Tale series and Baldur's
    Gate, are also represented there.  Further information on the SSI
    games can be found at <http://www.ssionline.com> and
    <http://www.interplay.com>.  The latter web page also leads to
    information about Baldur's Gate.

B11: Some people's posts go off the right edge of the screen; is my 
    newsreader broken or something?

A:  Please, please, PLEASE remember to hit return every 75 characters 
    or so. Many machines either do not allow lines longer than 80 spaces
    or do not wrap lines correctly.  A 75 space line allows for easy 
    reading, as many newsreaders will just ignore all characters in a 
    line after character 80, and then followup markers won't cause lines to
    run over 80 characters as quickly.

B12: How creative should I get with my .signature file?

A:  A signature file, or, for the UNIX-inclined, .signature (.sig for 
    short), is a file that your newsreader can automatically attach onto 
    the end of every Usenet post you make.  It is intended to contain such 
    information as your name, Internet address(es), other contact methods, 
    and so forth, that you would otherwise have to manually type in each 
    time you want to post.  Many people also include witty quotes or 
    comments, ASCII pictures, and other such fun bits.
      However, once you see the same .sig twenty times in one day (or one
    week, month, etc.), it can get quite tiresome.  This is especially 
    true for large sigs, and/or ASCII art.  In the interest of preserving
    everyone's sanity, Usenet as a whole has unofficially adopted the 
    standard of a four-line by 80 column .sig (otherwise known as the 
    McQuary limit, named for George McQuary, one of the regulars over in
    alt.fan.warlord).  That is, if you can't fit it into four lines of text
    or less, each of which is 80 characters long or less, it probably isn't 
    worth saying.  This standard is flexible somewhat, as tasteful .sigs of
    five or six lines are usually tolerated.  Anything longer than that
    wastes bandwidth and quickly becomes a target for flames.  Anything
    longer than 80 characters per line will usually get mangled by 
    newsreaders and end up almost completely incomprehensible--see the 
    previous question for more information.
      For some reason which I just cannot fathom, people on this group 
    seem to have a propensity towards the use of ASCII representations of 
    dragons, castles, swords, and other such fantasy elements in their 
    .sigs.  This sort of thing is cute once, but quickly begins to grate 
    on one's nerves, especially those people who end up having to pay to 
    see a screen of nothing but someone else's .sig.  Besides, if you've 
    seen one sword .sig, you've seen them all.  If you feel the creative 
    urge, stop over in alt.fan.ascii-art in order to relieve it; don't do
    it here, as it takes up bandwidth better spent discussing *D&D.  If 
    you insist on keeping a gigantic .sig, with several comments and 
    quotes, a multi-screen ASCII picture, all 15 ways to reach you from 
    various points on the Internet, your snail-mail address, and your 
    work and home phone numbers, then rgfd is not really the place for 
    you.  If this fits you to a 'T', then you need to hie yourself over 
    to alt.fan.warlord, the Home of the Big .Sig.
      While on the subject of .signature files, please remember to
    delete the signature files from posts you respond to.  You are the 
    one writing the message so your signature is the only important one; 
    no one needs to see or get confused by multiple different .sigs.
    If readers want to know who wrote any text you are quoting from the
    previous message, they have to look no further than the very first 
    line of the post, where "Someone (someone@foo.bar.com) wrote:" is
    added by almost every newsreader in existence--and if your newsreader
    does not add that line, you should always try to add it yourself, so
    that others can easily determine to whom you are responding.

B13:  Do I have to be an elementalist mage to post a "flame" or start a 
      "flamewar"?

A:  No you don't, and trust me, you don't want to try.  Nor do you want to 
    be on the receiving end of one.
      A flame is a nasty, inflammatory message.  It does very little except
    repeatedly insult another poster or a group of people, or the recipient
    if it is sent via e-mail.
      A flamewar is a flame in response to a flame in response to a flame,
    and so on, ad nauseum.
      Neither flaming nor getting involved in flamewars is conducive to 
    a long net.life or a good net.reputation.  Some topics are "hot 
    buttons", which can do very little but devolve into flamewars.  Many 
    have very little to do with *D&D except tangentially.  Some examples 
    are homosexuality, the place of women in society, religion, rape, and
    ethics & what constitutes "good" or "evil".  In general, if one of
    these topics comes up, don't bother posting!  Each of these has been
    discussed to death in the past, whether or not you were here to see
    it.  (If you weren't here for one of these discussions, but still want
    to read about it, please see the Usenet archives at
    <http://groups.google.com/advanced_group_search> rather than posting
    about it.)  Very few posters here want to see more flamewars start,
    especially on these topics, so staying as far as possible from them is
    a good idea.
      There are also some rgfd-specific touchy subjects which, in general,
    are best to simply stay as far away from as possible.  Some examples 
    of these are the whole copyright issue, combat realism, which version
    of *D&D is the best/worst, whether *D&D is better/worse than any other
    RPG, and just about any other topic discussed either in this section
    or in later sections of the FAQ.
      There are several methods you can use to avoid flaming someone.  
    First and foremost, do not post while you are angry.  If a post 
    incenses you so much that you are moved to flame the living daylights 
    out of the poster (or if you notice that you are so angry you can't 
    type straight), then stop.  Don't post.  Count to ten.  Save the 
    message for later reading and go on to the next message, or take a 
    break from Usenet altogether.  Then, when you've had a chance to calm 
    down, read the post again and decide if it really deserves a reply, or 
    if everyone is better off if you just ignore it altogether.
      If you notice that one person's posts consistently get under your 
    skin, or if one topic really gets you hot under the collar (or for 
    that matter, is just something in which you have zero interest), you 
    should seriously consider using a killfile.  That way, you would not 
    see any posts by that poster, or with that topic at all, and would 
    therefore have little temptation to burst into a flame.  If you are 
    unsure how to use a killfile with your newsreader, consult the help 
    manual, or ask your friendly local sysop, as it changes too much from 
    newsreader to newsreader to list all the possibilities here.

B14:  Where can I post this?

A:  There are several types of posts which are technically about *D&D, but
    do not belong on rec.games.frp.dnd.  Some of them are dealt with in 
    more detail above and in other sections of the FAQ, but here is a 
    thumbnail guide to posting *D&D-related material.  Please observe 
    these guidelines, as it will make everybody happier in the long run.

      *D&D-related programs/binaries:   alt.games.frp.dnd-utils,
                                        or rec.games.frp.archives
      Discussion about *D&D programs:   alt.games.frp.dnd-utils
      TSR--They Suck, Really:           alt.flame.tsr
      SSI/TSR computer games:           comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.rpg
      "Test--Please ignore":            misc.test
      Which RPG is the best:            rec.games.frp.advocacy
      Which RPG is the worst:           rec.games.frp.advocacy
      Which game company is best/worst: rec.games.frp.advocacy
      Convention announcements:         rec.games.frp.announce
      Announcement of PBEM openings:    rec.games.frp.announce
      Gamers wanted in Area "X":        rec.games.frp.announce
      Fiction:                          rec.games.frp.archives
      Resources for *D&D (net.books):   rec.games.frp.archives
      New rules for combat, init, psi:  rec.games.frp.archives
      Multiple spells, monsters, NPCs:  rec.games.frp.archives
      Unfinished resources for *D&D:    rec.games.frp.archives, 
                                        or r.g.f.dnd
      Very short resources for *D&D:    rec.games.frp.archives, 
                                        or r.g.f.dnd
      Discussion of *D&D resources:     rec.games.frp.dnd
      Discussion of *D&D, etc.:         rec.games.frp.dnd
      Buyout of TSR proposed by WotC:   rec.games.frp.industry
      How to get an RPG published:      rec.games.frp.industry
      Copyright and RPGs:               rec.games.frp.industry
      For sale:                         rec.games.frp.marketplace
      Wanted to buy:                    rec.games.frp.marketplace
      Dragon Dice:                      rec.games.trading-cards.*
                                        or alt.games.dice

      When you post items in rec.games.frp.archives or if you post a
    program/binary in alt.games.frp.dnd-utils, it is suggested that
    you post a short note in rgfd pointing out where to go to find
    your post.
      However, this sort of short advertisement is discouraged
    (but permitted) when you post a sale in rec.games.frp.marketplace,
    and is strongly discouraged when you post items in r.g.f.announce.
    There isn't any need to post ads for sales on r.g.f.marketplace
    or for announcements on r.g.f.announce, because people who want
    sales or announcements should already know to monitor those groups.
    The basic type of material on r.g.f.archives or a.g.f.d-u changes 
    from week to week, so that the contents of the groups aren't as 
    predictable as "sales are on r.g.f.marketplace" or "con/game
    announcements are on r.g.f.announce."

B15: Is all "d20" discussion on-topic here?

A:  All 3rd ed. D&D is d20, but not all d20 is 3e D&D.  This newsgroup is
    specifically for discussion of D&D. Thus, some d20 discussion is
    appropriate for this newsgroup, but not all d20 discussion is
    appropriate for this newsgroup.
      The exact position of the line between on-topic and off-topic for
    d20 discussions is in about the same place it is for every topic
    that is discussed on this newsgroup, from history to movies to
    religion to alignment to guns to politics to other RPGs.  By and large,
    that means that if the discussion is about how to take elements from
    other d20 games and integrate them into D&D, then that is on topic;
    if the discussion is about other d20 games in their own right,
    without any meaningful references to D&D, then that is off-topic.
      For most non-D&D d20 discussion, see rec.games.frp.misc or
    rec.games.frp.moderated.

B16: Why hasn't anyone responded to my posts?

A:  Because Usenet is an asynchronous medium.  In other words, when you 
    send out a post, it spreads throughout the net, taking various routes 
    to get to all of the many newservers in the world.  It can arrive on
    some sites within minutes, or take days to get to those same sites--or
    arrive in minutes on some sites and never arrive on other sites.
    Sometimes technical problems at one site will delay the routing of
    messages to any sites further on down the chain.  In any case, the vast
    majority of people reading Usenet are not constantly on-line and
    reading.  It could be some time before people read a given message,
    even if it has already been sitting on their site for a while.  So
    don't expect immediate responses.  This is not a chat area, where
    people can always quickly respond to anything that is said.
      In addition, it is possible that no one found anything in your post
    that they wanted to respond to.  One of the largest causes of this are
    unqualified endorsements, e.g. a post whose entire message is "I think
    Planescape is cool.  Does anybody else?".  There isn't any substance to
    such a post, thus there isn't much to respond to, except to say, "Yes",
    and most people won't bother posting such trivial answers when there
    are tougher questions to answer, such as "Why can't mages wear armor?"  
    Also, many people do not take the time to answer every post.  Thus, it 
    is very possible for the entire group to skim over a given post, 
    assume that someone else will respond, and go on, leaving no responses 
    to an otherwise good post.  It happens to everybody on the group at 
    one time or another.  Just wait for a week or so, then try something 
    else.
      There is also a possibility that your posting program has a glitch,
    and your messages are not getting out.  If you suspect this is the 
    case, do not post "test" messages to rgfd.  Test messages should be 
    posted in misc.test, or any of the other *.test groups.  An 
    autoresponder will tell you if the world saw your *.test post, whereas 
    you'd have to guess if the world saw your test post in rgfd.  Remember, 
    however, that many newsreaders will not allow you to see your own 
    messages, in which case it will seem as if they are not getting out when
    they actually are.
      If you suspect any of the above has happened, the best thing to do 
    is wait a few days.  If no one has responded after a week, do not 
    repost the same message!  Try writing on another topic, or following 
    up to someone else's message and adding something to the conversation 
    rather than adding an "I agree" and nothing else.  If you suspect your 
    posting mechanism is broken, check with a local sysadmin and/or try 
    posting to misc.test.  Multiple postings of the same post, "I agree" 
    messages, and "Test--do not followup" messages do nothing but clutter 
    the group.  For everyone's sake, don't bother.

B17: I posted a question; why hasn't anyone answered it?

A:  This newsgroup averages around 200-300 new posts per day, 7 days a
    week, 52 weeks per year.  Most people who read the group see only a
    list of subject lines of new messages, and then pick and choose which
    they will read. If you want an answer to your question, you need to
    first immediately pique the interest of the people in the group who
    might know the answer, by using a descriptive subject line.  The
    following are NOT descriptive subject lines.
        * Rules question
        * Newbie to group
        * Question
        * I had a thought...
        * Character question
        * Is this on topic?
        * 3e question
        * !!1!!Important Question!!!1!
        * I need your help
        * AoO question
        * How does combat work?
        * This group
     None of those reveal anything about the topic of the question.  You
     need to distill out the main topic of your question and put that in
     the subject line.  Note, however, that many people only see the first
     40 or so characters in a subject, so you also have to be concise, and
     include the most important information first, especially if your
     question has to do with an edition other than the current one. Subject
     tags can also help.
     Here are some examples.
         * AoOs for reach weapons on hasted characters
         * Does dispel magic bypass spell resistance?
         * What is the charter for this group?
         * 2E: Depowering bladesingers
         * S&F: Typo in Master Samurai attack bonus progression?
     These give enough information that anyone browsing a list of subject
     lines will have a good idea what to expect inside your post.
       When you have a descriptive subject, be sure to actually include your
     question in the body of your post.  It doesn't matter if the subject
     line says it all, saying "The subject line says it all" or leaving
     the body empty only annoys the people reading your post.  Annoyed
     people are far less likely to provide helpful answers and more likely
     to provide flames.  For most rules questions, it is also a good idea
     to show that you've tried to answer it on your own; include what
     resources you've looked at, provide page numbers for what you think
     are relevant (or contradictory) rules, and generally show that you've
     already done your homework and are genuinely confused.  Otherwise,
     you're more likely to get responses of "Read the Manual" or "Search
     the Web" as you are helpful answers.  For questions about possible
     house rules, include what house rules you've tried and what the
     results were, as well as a brief description of the characters in
     your group.
       If your question is in reply to another post, and the topic of
     your question has little to do with the original subject line, you
     should change the subject to reflect this shift.  It is usually a good
     idea to keep the original subject at the end of the subject line,
     in the manner of "New Topic (was: Old Topic)", to show the provenance
     of the discussion thread.  If the topic shifts again, you only need
     to keep the most recent previous subject; otherwise, the subject line
     gets too cluttered, which tends to annoy regular readers, and annoyed
     readers are less likely to provide good answers, if they even read
     your post in the first place.
       For a more in-depth discussion of how to write questions that are
     the most likely to elicit responses, see "How to Ask Questions the
     Smart Way, by Eric S. Raymond, at
     <http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html>.  Though it is
     centered on computer hardware and software questions, the basic
     netiquette of asking questions is thoroughly examined there.  It
     also includes a section on why people who respond to your question
     may seem unnecessarily short-tempered or mean-spirited that is just
     as applicable in a role-playing game discussion group as it is in a
     computer-related discussion group.

B18: Why isn't anyone talking about Al-Qadim?

A:  It is difficult for any group to discuss every conceivable topic all 
    the time.  There are many topics which have come and gone, and, while 
    they may be of interest to people, simply aren't being discussed at 
    this point.  This isn't a snub on those topics, but rather a rest from 
    them.  If there is a topic you feel isn't discussed enough, try 
    bringing it up--but not in the form of the wording of this question.  
    You might be surprised at the number of responses you get.

B19: Would anyone like to start a campaign here on the newsgroup?

A:  No.  This newsgroup is intended solely for discussion of the *D&D 
    games, not actually playing them.  Besides, there is already more 
    than enough traffic as it is, without having an entire live, ongoing 
    campaign added into the mix.  In any case, the charter for this
    group precludes doing this, and the vast majority of readers are
    perfectly happy with this situation.
      If you are interested in roleplaying through Usenet, be sure to 
    look into alt.dragons-inn, where that sort of thing is the entire
    purpose of the newsgroup.
      If you are simply looking for an on-line game, there are several
    possibilities to check out, including PBEMs, MUDs, IRC, and ICQ.  See
    the Resources section of this FAQ, as well as several questions 
    elsewhere in the FAQ for more information on roleplaying via 
    the Internet.

B20: I missed a message; could someone please repost it?

A:  Probably, but it's easier on most other people--who'd rather see 
    something new than a repost of the same-old same-old--if you can 
    search the Usenet archives before requesting (or making) a repost.
    Google.com (<http://groups.google.com/advanced_group_search>) has all
    posts to rec.games.frp.dnd (and almost every other group in their
    newsfeed) archived back to April 1995, and regularly adds all new posts
    that have been sent to the group.  When searching for a recent post to
    rgfd, you will want to create a filter, filling in rec.games.frp.dnd
    in the Forum box, as well as any other pieces of information you can
    use in order to narrow down the records searched and make it more
    likely that you will find the post you're looking for. Therefore, as
    long as you have any web access at all, you don't need to ask for
    someone to repost anything--the information is there for the finding.
      A final note: Every posted version of this FAQ since its first
    posting in April, 1995 is available on Google.com; so if you miss a
    section, or are viewing the Web version and can't wait for the next
    update to that version, the newest version is still available to you.
    However, be forewarned that it often takes them a few days to load
    larger messages, so you may have to wait that long after it is posted
    to be able to retrieve the most recent version.

A:  Because it's difficult to understand the context of a topic that way.  

B21: Why are people telling me to stop writing my responses above the post
     I'm responding to?

A:  It also wastes bandwidth to include the entire original post for the
sake
    of writing a (usually) brief comment.  This isn't Jeopardy!, and
    Karnak the Magnificent does not read this group--it is bad form
    to make someone guess the question (and thus the context of your
    comments) from your answers.  Regardless of the default behavior of your
    newsreader, proper Usenet etiquette is to delete everything of the
    original post to which you are not directly responding (including the
    .sig), mark the original text in some way (usually by prefixing each
    line with ">"), include an attribution line indicating who wrote the
    post you are responding to, and include your comments after the original
    comments, interspersing them among the original text (with a blank line
    between the old text and your text), if appropriate.  An example of
    this posting style:

        Vecna (vecna@greyhawk.stanford.edu) wrote:
        > That Strahd, he's not a nice guy.  I heard he even killed his
        > brother because he was in love with his brother's wife-to-be!

        Yup, it's true.  Turns out it was all part of a pact with the
        powers of the Mists (whom you might remember from their important
        role in the movie The Fog), which caused him to become a vampire.

        > I wonder what it would take to "convince" him to step down
        > as the Lord of Barovia.

        If I were you, I'd be more careful when saying that; the Mists
        have ears...

        --
        Acererak
        acererak@ayoh-hell.com
        Making life hell for adventurers since 1979.

    Some newsgroups, especially alt.* newsgroups, have elected not to follow
    this general standard.  That does not affect in the least the way the
    standard is applied here.

B22: What's wrong with posting with MIME or in HTML?

A:  Many newsreaders do not support MIME, and most do not support HTML.
    Posting with MIME and/or in HTML makes your message extremely difficult
    to read in a plain-text-only medium such as Usenet.  MIME is more
    appropriate for e-mail and for binaries newsgroups, HTML is more
    appropriate for the web, and plain text is more appropriate for Usenet.
    Here is what a typical MIME-encoded message looks like to a
    typical reader of Usenet:

        This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
        --------------8A600275790AF65CF5948270
        Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
        Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

        Hi all, I was wondering what sorts of things are discussed here.

        --------------8A600275790AF65CF5948270
        Content-Type: text/x-vcard; charset=us-ascii;
         name="aardy.vcf"
        Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
        Content-Description: Card for Aardy
        Content-Disposition: attachment;
         filename="aardy.vcf"

        begin:vcard
        n:;Aardy
        x-mozilla-html:FALSE
        adr:;;;;;;
        version:2.1
        email;internet:aardy@foo.com
        x-mozilla-cpt:;15152
        fn:Aardy
        end:vcard

        --------------8A600275790AF65CF5948270--

    Here is what a typical HTML message looks like to a typical reader of
    Usenet (>, <, and & changed to }, {, and # to be sure that no web-based
    newsreaders try to render this as an HTML document):

        {!doctype html public "-//w3c//dtd html 4.0 transitional//en"}
        {html}
        #nbsp;
        {p}LuckyDuck wrote:
        {blockquote TYPE=CITE}A short tale of a bountiful treasure,
        discovered by one lucky adventurer...
        {p}Last week, I went into my local gaming store.#nbsp; I was
        checking through
        {br}their RPG section and found a bunch of used 1st edition AD#amp;D
        modules,
        {br}including Tomb of Horrors ($5 each) as well as a mint
        condition copy of the
        {br}D#amp;D Rules Cyclopedia (for $10).
        {br}---------------------------------------------------------------
        {br}LuckyDuck
        {br}Netscape Forever!
        {br}---------------------------------------------------------------
        {/blockquote}
        Well, at least you have some shops where they sell d#amp;d books.
        Not even the novels show up around here... I would kill even
        for a 10-year-old used book..
        {br}#nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;
        #nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;
        #nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;
        #nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;
        #nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;
        Green-Eyed Monster
        {p}--
        {p}"What-- me worry?"
        {p}"Don't steal. The government doesn't like
        {br}#nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;
        #nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;#nbsp;competition."
        {br}#nbsp;{/html}

    Either is bad enough by itself, but when the two are combined, it is
    virtually guaranteed that most people will either completely ignore your
    message and go on to the next--as it's too much bother to try to find
    and read the post with all that extra stuff all over--or ignore the
    topic of your post and complain about the format.  Since Usenet is
    all about effective communication, this is not something you want to
    do.  If your newsreader defaults to using HTML (this includes most
    Microsoft newsreaders and most web browsers with built-in newsreading
    capabilities), you will want to find a way to turn off this "feature."
    If your newsreader defaults to using MIME (this includes most
    newsreaders which use HTML or have "V-Card" capability), you will want
    to find a way to turn off this "feature" as well.

***End Part 2***


-- 
Aardy R. DeVarque
Feudalism: Serf & Turf
Rec.games.frp.dnd FAQ: http://users.rcn.com/aardy/faq/rgfdfaq.html

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM