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*.answers submission guidelines
Section - 2. More detail and special cases

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2.1 More optional headers

    A. Expires, Supersedes (both OPTIONAL)


Expires: Fri, 1 May 1995 00:00:00 GMT
Supersedes: <foo-faq/>

    It is a good idea to use Expires and Supersedes header lines to
    make sure that each version of your posting stays around until the
    next time it is posted, and so that each posting replaces the
    now-outdated previous posting.

    The Expires header should contain a date (in the above format)
    which is far enough into the future that a new version of the
    article will be posted before the one you're posting now expires.
    The Supersedes header should contain the Message-ID of the
    previously-posted article.  Please note that 'Supersedes' does not
    contain the letter 'c' -- most Usenet software will ignore
    Supersedes: headers that use a variant spelling of the word.

    It's easiest to include these by using an automated posting script
    or server (see Section 2.7A).  We've shown both headers in the
    format the post_faq package would use.

    B. Reply-To (OPTIONAL)


Reply-To: (Foo FAQ Comments Address)

    If you want mail about the posting to go to a different address
    than the rest of your mail, put the other address in a Reply-To

    Likewise, if your news system doesn't put your correct email
    address in the From line, then you will need to either use a
    posting package (see Section 2.7A) or use a Reply-To line so that
    you can get responses to your post.

    C. Other archive names (OPTIONAL)


Misc-foo-archive-name: culture-reading-list
Soc-culture-foo-archive-name: reading-list

    As noted above, the software which builds the periodic
    informational postings archive on automatically uses
    the "Archive-name:" line for a posting's file name, when saving it
    in any newsgroup ending in ".answers" (news.answers,
    rec.aviation.answers, etc.).  In other archive locations, the file
    name is usually derived from the posting's Subject.

    However, if you have a line of the form
    "Newsgroup-name-archive-name: name" in your posting's auxiliary
    header ("Newsgroup-name" should be replaced with an actual
    newsgroup name, replacing periods with hyphens), the specified
    archive name will be used to save in the specified newsgroup.
    Such a newsgroup-specific archive name overrides the generic
    "Archive-name:" line.

    If your posting already has an Archive-name line for other
    purposes which is not a valid *.answers archive name and you do
    not want to change it (e.g., you are already using an Archive-name
    line to specify where your posting should be archived on sites
    which archive *.sources newsgroups), you can use a
    "News-answers-archive-name:" header line instead.

    For example, if you have this in your normal header:

    Subject: [] Welcome - read this first!

    and this in your auxiliary header:

    Archive-name: foo/welcome
    Misc-foo-archive-name: welcome

    then the posting will be saved as "foo/welcome" in the directories
    misc.answers/, soc.answers/, and news.answers/ (because they are
    all *.answers newsgroups and will use the Archive-name line), but
    as "welcome" in  (It will also be archived under its
    Subject line in

    If you do decide to specify additional newsgroup-specific archive
    names in your posting, please follow the guidelines for archive
    names given in Section 1.4B.

2.2 Posting frequency

The frequency with which you post is left to your discretion.  Some
maintainers find that monthly posting, with an Expires header (see
Section 2.1A) to prevent postings from going away before their
replacement is posted, is sufficient.  Some other newsgroups are so
busy that weekly posting is needed.

Regardless, 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.

If you choose to post more frequently than once or twice a month, you
might want to consider not cross-posting to *.answers every time you
post, especially if your FAQ is very long or has many parts (this
overrides our previously expressed desire that you keep your
Newsgroups line static).  [Note, however, that if you do this, you
can't use Supersedes every time you post, since a posting in just the
home newsgroup(s) should not supersede the posting in both the home
newsgroup(s) and *.answers.  You might then want to only use a
Supersedes line in the version you cross-post to *.answers, and live
with the fact that there might be multiple copies of your postings in
the home newsgroup(s), which isn't that big a problem.  If you don't
understand this parenthetical comment, don't worry about it.]

Another possibility is to post the complete informational posting(s)
relatively infrequently, while posting a shorter pointer to it (e.g.,
providing instructions for getting it from archives) more frequently.
Such reminder postings could be posted in the home newsgroups(s) as
often as needed and would not need to be cross-posted to *.answers,
since the full FAQ would be posted there occasionally.  You could also
keep the full FAQ on a WWW page and only ever post a brief pointer,
which would then go to *.answers as well.

When submitting your posting, please be sure to let us know the 
frequency at which you intend to post it to its home newsgroup(s), as 
well as the frequency at which you intend to cross-post it to *.answers 
(if different).  The best way for this is to put this information into 
the Posting-Frequency lines of the auxiliary header -- you can describe 
your frequency in any format that a person reading it will understand.

If possible, pick some random time of the week or month to do your 
posting.  For example, don't automatically decide to post it on the 
first of the month.  This would cause a flood of postings in *.answers 
(and on the Usenet in general) at certain times of the month, and would 
be big enough to overwhelm some smaller news sites and many readers of 

2.3 Mailing lists for periodic informational postings maintainers

All administrative requests related directly to the faq-maintainers
mailing list should be sent to,
using the commands described below.  Requests related to the
faq-maintainers-announce list should be sent to that list's
maintainers at

Official archives of the faq-maintainers list are available from at <>.  Unofficial
archives are also available by FTP from
<> or in
searchable form on the World Wide Web at
<> .

    A. faq-maintainers

    Maintainers of FAQs and other periodic informational postings are
    encouraged to join the faq-maintainers mailing list, which is used
    for discussion about the *.answers newsgroups and the maintenance
    of Usenet periodic informational postings.  Anyone can subscribe
    to these mailing lists -- in particular, you're welcome to
    subscribe before you even submit your posting to us, or if you
    never plan to.

    Traffic on faq-maintainers tends to come in bursts -- it averages
    three to four messages per day, but during a burst there may be as
    many as several dozen messages in a few hours, and in between such
    bursts, there may be a week of no messages at all.

    To subscribe, send email to faq-maintainers-request@faqs.orgOA
    with the command "subscribe" in the Subject line.  For information
    about other commands, send the command "help".  If you have
    problems subscribing or unsubscribing, send email to the list
    administrators at <>.

    B. faq-maintainers-announce

    If you don't want to be on the discussion list, you may wish to
    join the faq-maintainers-announce list, which will be used only
    for announcements, instead.  Note that subscribers to the
    faq-maintainers list automatically receive all messages sent to

    Traffic on faq-maintainers-announce is very low; it is not unheard
    of for many months to pass with no messages except for a periodic
    copy of the mailing lists policy document.

    To subscribe only to faq-maintainers-announce, send email to (read by humans).

2.4 Multiple part postings

    A. Header example

    This is what the headers from part 2 of a 2-part posting might
    look like:

From: (Joe R. Programmer)
Subject: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), Part 2/2
Reply-To: (FAQ Comments address)
Summary: This posting contains a list of Frequently Asked
   Questions (and their answers) about Foo computers.  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/>
References: <foo-faq/>

Archive-name: foo-faq/part2
Posting-Frequency: monthly
Last-modified: 1995/03/25
Version: 2.5 (text)

    B. Subject (REQUIRED)


Subject: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), Part 2/2

    For postings which are being split into multiple parts, you should
    indicate in each posting's Subject line which part that particular
    posting is, and how many parts total there are.  Use regular
    Arabic numerals instead of Roman numerals, because they're more
    easily sorted and manipulated by software.

    C. Archive-name (REQUIRED)


Archive-name: foo-faq/part1
Archive-name: foo-faq/part2

Archive-name: bar-faq/intro
Archive-name: bar-faq/history
Archive-name: bar-faq/references

    Multi-part postings should be named "name/part1", "name/part2",
    etc.  If the parts of the postings are split by topic rather than
    by size, then you can use short topic names instead.  See Section
    1.4B for more examples.  If you plan to post one or more diffs
    (files of changes) for your files, please see Section 2.5.

    D. Summary (OPTIONAL)

    If you have a group of related postings or a multi-part posting,
    you should consider either keeping your summaries in each posting
    short (describing only that posting's contents), or having a
    completely identical summary for all the postings, describing what
    topics the postings collectively cover.  If someone uses your
    Summary lines to construct a catalog, as mentioned above, having
    identical summaries will allow automatic elimination of redundant
    summary text in the catalog.

    E. References (OPTIONAL)


References: <foo-faq/>

    If you are posting a multi-part posting or a series of related
    postings, it is a good idea to add a "References:" line to all of
    the postings except the first one, making the contents of that
    line the Message-ID of the first posting in the series.  People
    who use threaded news readers will then be able to manipulate the
    entire series as a single thread, including (for example) saving
    the entire thread to a file with one command.  The posting tools
    mentioned in Section 2.7A all support an option for doing this.

2.5 Diffs (lists of changes to other files)


Archive-name: foo-faq/part1
Archive-name: foo-faq/diff

A diff is a file containing only changes to a larger posting.  If you 
post a diff for a one-part posting, then the original posting should be 
named "name/part1" (or "name/faq", or whatever else has been approved) 
and the diff should be named "name/diff".

If you post multiple diffs for multi-part postings, they should be 
named "name/diff1", "name/diff2", etc.  (If you want to use just one 
diff for multi-part postings, use "name/diff" as its name.)

2.6 FAQ formats

These guidelines DO NOT specify a required format for the bodies of
periodic informational postings.  Maintainers are free to choose
whatever format they want (assuming that it is human-readable) for the
bodies of their postings.  However, you should try to keep your
posting well organized and easy to read.

Articles which contain HTML tags won't be necessarily be rejected, but
they must be coded so that the text remains easily readable in its
original form, without an HTML browser.  Since HTML ignores whitespace
nearly everywhere, it's relatively easy to separate tags from the
actual content and keep the file readable.

A few formats have been suggested for FAQs.  One which has been
proposed is the "minimal digest format"; see Section 4.3 for how to
get a copy.  For other format ideas, browse some of the postings in
the *.answers newsgroups.

These guidelines also DO NOT specify lower or upper limits for the size 
of an acceptable posting.  However, a pragmatic lower limit is set by 
the requirement that the articles be reasonably useful to people.  As 
for a pragmatic upper limit, maintainers may wish to consider that part 
of their audience may not be able to access too large articles due to 
intermediary news (and gateway) software problems (64kB is a common 
magic size).

2.7 Maintenance tools

Two World Wide Web sites which maintain lists of FAQ maintenance tools 
and information resources are David A. Lamb's page of FAQ Maintenance 
Aids, at
and Infinite Ink's Writing FAQs and Periodic Postings, at

    A. Automatic posting

    Many maintainers post their files by hand with no problems.
    However, several packages are available if you want to automate
    the process.  These all provide options for including Expires,
    Supersedes, and References headers and posting multiple parts, as
    well as posting on any of a variety of schedules.

        a. mail-to-news server

        No matter what system you use, you can use the FAQ server
        which we run: you use it by mailing your periodic
        informational postings and various commands to it, and it
        posts them periodically for you, at intervals you specify.
        This is a good solution if your site does not have Perl, or
        you cannot conveniently install either of the other two
        software packages, or your local news server won't let users
        post to a moderated newsgroup at all.

        For more information about the FAQ server, send e-mail to with "help" (without the quotes) in
        the Subject line of your message.  Note that before you send
        your posting to the faq-server, you should get it approved by

        b. post_faq

        One useful tool for automatically posting your posting at a
        frequency you choose is the FAQ poster written by Jonathan
        Kamens, which requires the utility program Perl.  Post_faq
        takes an article with its static headers (i.e., the headers
        that don't change each time the article is posted), adds
        dynamic headers to it, and posts the article.

        It is available from via anonymous FTP as
        /pub/post_faq/post_faq.shar, or via mail server (send e-mail
        to with "send post_faq/post_faq.shar"
        in the body).  The post_faq program is currently maintained by
        the *.answers moderators.

        c. auto-faq

        Another utility, auto-faq, provides more functionality,
        including automatic building and insertion of all headers.  It
        also requires Perl.  Originally written by Ian Kluft, it is
        now maintained by Paul W. Schleck.  If you are looking for
        something with a high level of automation to assist you in
        your FAQ maintenance and posting, you might want to try
        auto-faq instead of post_faq.  The latest version as of the
        writing of this text is 3.3.1.  It may be freely used and
	distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License
        (GPL).  It may be obtained from:

	For further assistance with this particular package, send
	e-mail to  To subscribe to the user's
	mailing list, send e-mail to
	with "subscribe auto-faq-users" in the message body.  An
	acknowledgment and welcome message will follow shortly.

    B. HTML conversion

    All postings on news.answers are automatically converted to HTML
    by, and made available at, several World Wide Web sites; for a
    good list, see Infinite Ink's page, listed under the Section 2.7

    If you want to make your own HTML version, there are a number of
    ways to convert among formats, including HTML, plain text, LaTeX,
    SGML, troff, WordPerfect, and Nisus.  See the WWW page of FAQ
    Maintenance Aids, listed under the Section 2.7 heading, for more

2.8 Special cases

    A. What if you can't follow the guidelines, or don't want to?

    If, for technical reasons, you cannot post your article on a
    regular basis with the required header formats, you may want to
    look into using the faq-server mail-to-news server to
    automatically post your article(s).  (See Section 2.7A.)

    Some maintainers choose to have another person post their article
    for them, such as a non-*.answers newsgroup moderator, or a friend
    who posts other periodic postings.  Be careful with this method,
    as it may lead to confusion as to who is really maintaining the
    post, or to misunderstandings as to when and how the article is to
    be posted.

    Finally, if you decide not to follow the guidelines at all, you
    cannot cross-post your article to the *.answers newsgroups.
    However, if it's a periodic informational posting, we would be
    glad to list it in the List of Periodic Informational Postings and
    archive it at anyway.  See Section 3.2 for more

    B. Posting to multiple moderated newsgroups

    If you want eventually to post to both *.answers AND one or more
    other moderated groups, you need separate approval from each of
    the separate moderators.  Wait for approval from each (including
    us) before actually posting.  Some moderators require that all
    articles posted to their newsgroup be posted through them; others
    allow people who are also posting to *.answers to post themselves,
    as *.answers itself does.

    We prefer that you obtain approval from any other moderators
    before submitting your article to us, in case they refuse your
    request and you have to remove one or more groups from your
    Newsgroups: header.  Once you have received their responses, you
    should submit your posting to us via e-mail.  If you try to submit
    it by posting, it will probably be sent to the moderator of the
    first moderated newsgroup on the Newsgroups line, which, if you've
    followed the guidelines correctly, will NOT be one of the
    *.answers newsgroups.  So, submit your posting to us by mailing it
    to either the FAQ-checker (see Section 1.5A1) or the direct
    submission address (see Section 1.5A3). ONLY SUBMISSIONS SHOULD BE
    MAILED TO THOSE ADDRESSES.  For any other *.answers-related
    messages, use news-answers-request@MIT.EDU.

    If you're posting to more than one other moderated newsgroup, note
    that you will have to submit your file to their moderators by
    email as well.  If you post it, it will either be forwarded to the
    first moderator in the list again, or if you've included approval
    headers, it may be posted to moderated newsgroups for which it is
    not yet approved.  Needless to say, that tends to upset people.

    C. uk.answers

    The uk.answers newsgroup forms part of the global *.answers system,
    but has its own specific requirements and a separate moderator.

    If you would like to crosspost your FAQ to uk.answers, please refer to, and then submit your FAQ to, and NOT to the *.answers moderation
    team. The moderator of the uk.answers will then liase with the *.answers
    moderators to ensure that your FAQ meets the requirements of both

    The *.answers moderators will not accept or approve any posting to
    uk.answers without the prior approval of the uk.answers moderator.

    D. Posting to a foreign-language newsgroup

    Postings in languages other than English are welcome, but we would
    prefer that you use an English (or bilingual) Subject or Summary.

    There is one exception to the above rule of always cross-posting to
    the corresponding *.answers groups: articles cross-posted into a
    nation-specific hierarchy in a different language than normally
    used in that hierarchy.  Such an article should not go into the
    corresponding *.answers group for that newsgroup's hierarchy.  At
    present, the only such case is de.answers, which is for
    German-language periodic informational postings only.  For
    example, an English-language posting may be cross-posted to a de.*
    group if the maintainer feels it is useful there, but it should
    not be cross-posted to de.answers.

    E. Using PGP or other authentication

    If you wish to put an authentication wrapper such as a PGP
    signature on your post, you will need to start the
    authentication section after the blank line following the
    auxiliary header.  A PGP-signed post would look like this:

Subject: FAQ

Archive-name: pets/rocks


Welcome to!  Please read this FAQ before posting here. 
[Rest of the body of the FAQ.]

Version: 2.6.2


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