Search the FAQ Archives

3 - 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 - Internet FAQ Archives

*.answers submission guidelines
Section - 1. Probably all you'll need to know

( Single Page )
[ Usenet FAQs | Web FAQs | Documents | RFC Index | Business Photos and Profiles ]

Top Document: *.answers submission guidelines
Previous Document: 0. What is this document?
Next Document: 2. More detail and special cases
See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge

1.1 What to do

First, make sure your article is appropriate for the newsgroups, then 
modify the headers of your posting to conform to the guidelines in 
Section 1.4 (and appropriate sections of Section 2).  Submit it to us 
(see Section 1.5), wait for approval, and then begin cross-posting your 
article (see Section 1.6).
1.2 Sample posting headers

    A. Full

    Here is what the headers of a FAQ might look like, as submitted to
    us.  For more information, see the checklist and the guidelines
    themselves, Sections 1.3 and 1.4.

From: (Joe R. Programmer)
Subject: [] Welcome - read this first!
Summary: This posting describes the newsgroup, including 
         where to find more information.  It should be read by anyone who
         wishes to post to the newsgroup.
Expires: Fri, 1 May 1995 00:00:00 GMT
Supersedes: <foo-faq/>

Archive-name: foo/welcome
Posting-Frequency: monthly
Last-modified: 1992/03/25
Version: 2.5
Copyright: (c) 1995-1996 Joe Programmer
Maintainer: Joe Programmer <> and Cathy Code <> 

    The line separating the normal header from the auxiliary header
    must be completely blank, i.e., with no tabs or spaces; there must
    also be one or more lines immediately following the auxiliary
    header which are completely blank.

    B. Minimal

    A minimal set of headers which would still meet these guidelines
    might look like this:

Followup-To: poster
Subject: Resource Guide (v. 1.0)

Archive-name: bar/resource-guide

1.3 Checklist

Following is a checklist for your *.answers submission.  Please go
through all the questions; if you're not positive you can say "yes" to
all of them, look at the relevant sections of this article, and
correct your submission accordingly.  (Even if you can say "yes" to
them all, please look over Section 1.4, the Guidelines, anyway.
They're not that long, and they're packed with vitamins and minerals.)

Newsgroups line
    Does the posting have a properly-formatted Newsgroups line with at
        least one newsgroup other than the *.answers newsgroups?
    Does the Newsgroups line contain news.answers?
    Are the *.answers newsgroups at the end of the Newsgroups line, with
        news.answers last?
    Does the Newsgroups line contain all necessary *.answers newsgroups?
    Does the Newsgroups line contain only necessary *.answers newsgroups?

Subject line
    Does the posting have an informative Subject line?
    Is important information in the Subject line near the beginning?

Followup-To line
    Does the posting have a valid Followup-To line?
    Does the Followup-To line not have any *.answers newsgroups?

From line
    Does the posting have a From or Reply-To line with your correct
        email address? 

Summary line
    If your posting has a Summary, and if it's on more than one line,
        does each line after the first start with a tab or space?

Auxiliary header
    Does the posting have an auxiliary header with (at least) an
        Archive-name line?
    Is the auxiliary header separated from the main header by exactly
        one completely blank line?
    Is the auxiliary header separated from the body of your posting by 
        at least one completely blank line?
    Are all the headers in the auxiliary header in a valid format?

Other information
    Have you told us the frequency of your posting?
    If you want to subscribe to faq-maintainers, have you done so?
    If you want to subscribe only to faq-maintainers-announce, have
        you told us so?

1.4 The guidelines

The *.answers guidelines don't cover the format or content of your
article at all, as long as it's periodically posted, human-readable
information of some sort, and not overly commercial. (Unbiased
discussions of commercial products are welcome, but advertisements
aren't appropriate in *.answers.)  See Section 2.6 for suggestions
about formats, though.

What the guidelines do specify is some of the headers.

    A. Normal Usenet header lines

    In addition to the headers below, your posting can contain any of
    the standard Usenet headers.

        a. Newsgroups (REQUIRED)



        Include the "home" (appropriate, non-*.answers) newsgroup(s)
        for your posting, the corresponding *.answers newsgroup(s) for
        the hierarchies of those home newsgroup(s) (e.g., if you post
        to any soc.* groups, include soc.answers), and news.answers
        (even if you're not posting to any news.* newsgroups).  Your
        posting must have at least one "home" newsgroup.  Put all the
        *.answers groups at the end, and news.answers last.  Put a
        single space after the colon, and no spaces, tabs, or carriage
        returns anywhere else in the line.  (Many news programs can't
        handle multi-line Newsgroups headers.)

        b. Subject (REQUIRED)


Subject: [] Welcome - read this first!
Subject: Foo FAQ, v. 1.1 (modified 07/11/95)

        Make sure your subject is understandable to someone who isn't
        familiar with the topic being discussed and doesn't know which
        home newsgroup it came from.  Put important information near
        the beginning, so news readers that truncate Subjects don't
        cut it off.  Don't start with "The" or "FAQ", or your posting
        won't alphabetize nicely.  Unless you think your posting will
        be read by many people who don't know what the acronym means,
        using "FAQ" instead of "Frequently Asked Questions" will be
        more legible. 

        Your Subject must have the exact same capitalization,
        punctuation, and spacing every time, but a date or version
        number can change, as long as the format stays constant.

        c. Followup-To (REQUIRED)


Followup-To: poster

        Include a Followup-To header so followup postings don't get
        sent to *.answers newsgroups or to the moderators.  It can
        contain one or more of the home newsgroup(s), or, if you want
        followups sent directly to you, the word "poster".  Do NOT put
        an email address in the Followup-To line.

        d. From (REQUIRED) 


From: (Joe R. Programmer)

        Your posting should have a From line.  On nearly all systems,
        the From line will automatically contain your correct Internet
        address.  If it doesn't, see section 2.1B.

        e. Summary (OPTIONAL)


Summary: This posting describes the newsgroup,
     including where to find more information.  It should be read by
     anyone who wishes to post to the newsgroup.

        You are encouraged to put a summary of the contents of your
        article in the Summary line of the header.  There have been
        discussions about using the Summary lines of the postings in
        *.answers to construct a short "catalog" of the information
        available, so think of the Summary line as a catalog entry for
        your posting.

        Your Summary can span multiple lines, as long as every line
        after the first one STARTS with a space or tab.

    B. Auxiliary header lines

    The auxiliary header looks like the main message header (i.e., has
    lines of the format "Line-name: line value"), but it's separated
    from the main message header by exactly one completely blank line,
    as well as followed by a completely blank line separating it from
    the body of the message.  The "Line-name" part can't contain any
    spaces; use hyphens instead.

        a. Archive-name (REQUIRED)


Archive-name: foo/welcome
Archive-name: foo-faq/reading-list

        Your posting must include an auxiliary header with an
        Archive-name line.  Choose a name that's reasonably
        comprehensible to someone outside the field; try to avoid
        abbreviations.  The archive name should describe what's in the
        posting, not necessarily the name of the newsgroup it's in.
        If you're not sure what name to use, take a guess, and we'll
        suggest a different one if we think it would fit better.  For
        multiple-part postings or diffs (files of changes), see
        Sections 2.4 and 2.5.

        Separate words with hyphens, and put slashes between name
        components.  Try to keep each component under 14 characters,
        or at least put the important parts in the first 14
        characters.  Don't use spaces, tabs, punctuation (apart from
        hyphens (-), slashes (/), and underscores (_)), or all
        uppercase.  Only use slashes to show levels in the hierarchy,
        since when your posting is archived, components between
        slashes will become directory and subdirectory names.

        To make the archives more useful, we encourage collecting
        similar postings in the same directory; for example, there are
        a number of FAQs about Macintosh computers and software in the
        archive, all of whose names begin with "macintosh/".  To see
        some of the directories that already exist, look at the index
        of the archives (see Section 4.5 for how to get it).  Don't
        worry too much about finding just the right place for your
        posting; we will suggest a new name for it if we think it fits
        into one of the existing directories.

        Your posting will be archived in several different places at, but the most stable one is derived from your
        archive name: /pub/faqs/ARCHIVE-NAME

        b. Posting-Frequency (OPTIONAL)


Posting-Frequency: monthly (except June)

        If you specify this line, updates you make to it will be
        automatically copied into the "List of Periodic Informational
        Postings" (see Section 3.2).  You can describe your posting
        frequency however you like.

        If you don't choose to include a Posting-Frequency header, you
        still have to let us know how often you plan to post, so we
        can put the information in the List of Periodic Informational
        Postings.  If it isn't obvious from the Subject or Summary of
        your FAQ, you can tell us the frequency in a separate note.

        Please note that you're welcome and encouraged to keep posting
        regularly even if your FAQ hasn't changed between postings.
        If you don't post at least every three months, and you don't
        tell us to expect your FAQ less often than that, it may
        disappear from the archive because the automatic
        archive cleanup scripts assume it's out of date.

        For advice on how often to post and some comments about
        posting frequently, see Section 2.2.

        c. Last-modified, Version, URL, Copyright, Maintainer (all


Last-modified: March 25, 1995
Version: 2.5
Copyright: (c) 1995-1996 Joe Programmer
Maintainer: Joe Programmer <> and Cathy Code <> 

        You can have other lines in the auxiliary header, if you
        want. Some common ones are "Last-modified:", "Version:", and
        "Copyright:", which should be self-explanatory.  A "URL:" line
        could contain a World Wide Web "address," if you have one for
        your FAQ.  (See Section 2.7B for information about HTML
        versions, including some automatically created ones.)  The
        required "From:" header in the main headers (see Section
        1.4A) will usually give the name and email address of the
        maintainer, but if you want to provide more information, or if
        your FAQ is being posted by someone else (see Section 2.8A),
        you may wish to add a "Maintainer:" header.

        Our archive scripts and other software "know" about these
        particular auxiliary headers, and may attempt to handle them
        in special ways.  Although it's not specifically required, it
        would be best if you stuck to these exact header names for
        information which fits these categories, rather than using
        arbitary variations on the themes.  However, if you have other
        types of information to include, you can create new auxiliary
        headers as you see fit.

        You may put any text you want in these and other unrequired
        headers, in any format you like, as long as the name of the
        header doesn't have any whitespace; use hyphens instead (i.e.,
        "Last-modified: " instead of "Last modified: ").

        [However, some formats may enable additional functionality on
        certain archives.  For example, several formats have been
        proposed for auxillary header lines to allow citation of
        multiple, not just one, URL's, or which would allow the poster
        to control what descriptive text will be displayed for the
        hyperlinks corresponding to those URL's after conversion of
        the posting by one of the Web-based archives.  See the
        faq-maintainers mailing list for continuing discussion.  If
        consensus is reached, examples will be included in future
        versions of this document.]

1.5 Submitting your article

    A. How actually to submit your postings

    After you've changed your posting to follow the guidelines, there
    are three ways to submit it to the *.answers moderators for
    approval, listed below from most to least recommended.

    If your posting does not contain a Posting-Frequency line in the
    auxiliary header, please also email us at telling us how often you plan to
    post.  You should also ask any questions you may have or make any
    comments or explanations by sending us email at that time.

    Maintainers of FAQs and other periodic informational postings are
    strongly urged to join the faq-maintainers mailing list.  See
    Section 2.3 for more information.

        1. The automated FAQ-checker

        The recommended method is to use the FAQ-checker, which will
        automatically check to be sure that your posting follows these
        guidelines and send you a message explaining what's wrong if
        it doesn't.  If your posting passes, the FAQ-checker will send
        it on to us.  Articles which have been "okayed" by the
        FAQ-checker can be processed by us more quickly.

        To use the FAQ-checker, put your whole FAQ, including all the
        regular and auxiliary headers, in the BODY of a message sent
        to  (If you're counting on
        your news software to include a From: line for you, you'll
        have to add it by hand for this submission.)  That means that
        your final message will have three sets of headers: the email
        headers which tell it to go to the FAQ-checker, the main
        headers for your news posting, and the auxiliary header which
        includes the Archive-name.  

        Note that the faq-checker doesn't understand MIME, so you
        can't just attach your posting to your email.  If your mail
        software has an "encode" or "quoted-printable" option, turn it
        off, and make sure there are no stray 8-bit characters
        (accents, "smart" quotes, em dashes, etc.) in your file.  You
        should also be sure your mailer doesn't split long lines
        (e.g., your Newsgroups: header).  If the faq-checker can't
        find lines that you know are present in your submitted file,
        chances are either your lines are being wrapped or your
        message is being MIME encoded.

        If you want to have your posting checked, but for some reason
        you don't want to submit it just yet, include the word
        "ignore" in the Subject of your email to the FAQ-checker.
        It'll send you the same diagnostic reply, but it won't
        actually send your posting to us, even if it has no problems.
        Otherwise, you can use whatever you like as the Subject of
        your email.

        2. Cross-posting

        If your mailer won't send your submission correctly (for
        instance, it insists on splitting long lines) or you're
        concerned that your news software won't handle the post
        properly, you can also submit it for approval by cross-posting
        it to all the newsgroups you would eventually like to post it
        to -- unless you're posting to another moderated newsgroup
        too, in which case see Section 2.8B.  Please send the file
        exactly as you plan to post it.  As long as you don't have
        approval from a newsgroup moderator, your posting will be
        mailed to us and will NOT show up in any newsgroup, even if
        you list other newsgroups on the Newsgroups line besides
        *.answers groups.  Therefore, you can and should place ALL
        Newsgroups to which you intend to post in the Newsgroups line,
        in the order they'll be in when you post.

        If you are taking over an existing posting (i.e., the old
        maintainer has given responsibility to you for posting), be
        sure to remove any existing approval headers before posting it
        as a submission, or we won't receive it.

        3. Direct submission

        If you have problems with the other submission methods, you
        can send your posting to us by email to
        instead.  Only articles should go to that address, not
        comments or questions.  For any other *.answers-related
        messages, use news-answers-request@MIT.EDU.

    B. What will we do with your submission

    We'll either agree that the posting belongs in *.answers as-is,
    ask you to make minor modifications to its headers in order to
    make it acceptable, or reject it as inappropriate for *.answers.
    If you are asked to make modifications, please do so and resubmit
    the posting to us using one of the three methods above.

    Note: the *.answers moderators are all volunteers, doing *.answers
    moderation in our (sometimes rare) spare time; we receive
    thousands of submissions, correspondence, and other email each
    month in our roles as *.answers moderators.  Therefore, we can't
    always process submissions and other *.answers-related
    correspondence immediately.  As of February 1995, all submissions
    and e-mail to the *.answers moderation team are automatically
    acknowledged with a return-receipt message to assure submitters
    that we have received their articles and will review them
    eventually, usually in the order that they were received.

    If you do not receive an acknowledgment message from us within 48
    hours or so, one of two things has likely happened:

    1. If you posted your submission, your news site is misconfigured
       and did not send us your posting.  You may have to mail it to or
       instead (see Section 1.5) and send a bug report to your local
       news administrators (usenet@site, where site is your local
       domain, works in most cases).

    2. We received your article, but our acknowledgment message
       bounced because the From: address in your news article was
       invalid.  Confirm that it is correct and send us a short
       followup message to asking if we
       received it. If E-mail to us does not bounce, and does not
       result in an acknowledgment message from us, your site may
       have serious configuration problems that need to be brought to
       the attention of its administrators (postmaster@site in most

    [Special note to America On-Line submitters: There is a
    configuration problem in the AOL news server that prevents our
    filter program, which is based on Procmail, from sending the
    acknowledgment message.  The reasons are somewhat complex, but
    the general idea is that AOL is doing something non-standard with
    its mail-header formatting that fools Procmail into thinking that
    AOL submissions might cause a mail loop if they were automatically
    replied to.  The simplest fix is for AOL to change this to
    something standard.  We have brought this to their attention and
    eagerly await a solution.]

    Because of the potential length of delays involved in getting your
    postings approved, in the meantime you will probably want to
    continue posting your posting in its home newsgroup(s) on its
    regular schedule, so that it remains available to the readers

    Please do not send email to any individual moderator's address,
    even if he or she was the member of the moderation team who dealt
    with you most recently; this will only delay the processing of
    your submission.  Always direct your questions, comments, or
    flames to news-answers-request@MIT.EDU for anything which is
    related to *.answers.

1.6 What to do next

Once your posting has been approved for *.answers, you will cross-post 
it directly to all group(s) yourself, by including a special header.  
We will explain how to do this in our approval email to you.  (Note 
that we are intentionally being somewhat vague.  When we approve your 
posting for *.answers, we will provide more specific instructions.)  
The *.answers moderators will NOT be posting your articles for you; it 
is up to you to do so.  There are several ways to have it posted 
automatically; see Section 2.7A for more information.

After your posting has been approved, if any of the required headers,
the maintainer, or the frequency changes, you will probably have to
let us know and wait for reapproval before posting with the changes.
You'll get more detail on this when we approve your posting, or you
can see the "*.answers post-approval guidelines" document (see Section
4.4).  You don't need to notify us if you only change the contents or
style of the body of your post.

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic:


Top Document: *.answers submission guidelines
Previous Document: 0. What is this document?
Next Document: 2. More detail and special cases

Single Page

[ Usenet FAQs | Web FAQs | Documents | RFC Index ]

Send corrections/additions to the FAQ Maintainer:
news-answers-request@MIT.EDU (*.answers moderation team)

Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM