Top Document: *.answers submission guidelines
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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: email@example.com (Joe R. Programmer) Newsgroups: misc.foo, soc.culture.foo Subject: [soc.culture.foo] Welcome - read this first! Followup-To: misc.foo,soc.culture.foo Summary: This posting describes the newsgroup soc.culture.foo, including where to find more information. It should be read by anyone who wishes to post to the soc.culture.foo newsgroup. Expires: Fri, 1 May 1995 00:00:00 GMT Supersedes: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Archive-name: foo/welcome Posting-Frequency: monthly Last-modified: 1992/03/25 Version: 2.5 URL: http://some-site.org/my_faq.html Copyright: (c) 1995-1996 Joe Programmer Maintainer: Joe Programmer <email@example.com> and Cathy Code <firstname.lastname@example.org> 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: From: email@example.com Newsgroups: misc.bar Followup-To: poster Subject: misc.bar 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) ------------------------ Example: Newsgroups: misc.foo, soc.culture.foo 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) --------------------- Examples: Subject: [soc.culture.foo] 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) ------------------------- Examples: Followup-To: soc.culture.foo Followup-To: misc.foo,soc.culture.foo 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) ------------------ Example: From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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) --------------------- Example: Summary: This posting describes the newsgroup soc.culture.foo, including where to find more information. It should be read by anyone who wishes to post to the soc.culture.foo 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) -------------------------- Examples: 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 rtfm.mit.edu, but the most stable one is derived from your archive name: /pub/faqs/ARCHIVE-NAME b. Posting-Frequency (OPTIONAL) ------------------------------- Example: 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 rtfm.mit.edu 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 OPTIONAL) ---------------------------------------------------------- Example: Last-modified: March 25, 1995 Version: 2.5 URL: http://some-site.org/my_faq.html Copyright: (c) 1995-1996 Joe Programmer Maintainer: Joe Programmer <email@example.com> and Cathy Code <firstname.lastname@example.org> 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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. (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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 cases). [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 there. 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.
Top Document: *.answers submission guidelines
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