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Changes since last posting - ADDED section on Microsoft Outlook Express This FAQ is formatted as a digest. Most news readers can skip from one question to the next by pressing control-G. Following is a list of helpful hints and posting information. All new readers of rec.arts.tv.soaps.* are encouraged to read the FAQs, which are posted monthly. They are also available through anonymous ftp from rtfm.mit.edu under /pub/usenet/news.answers/tv/soaps/faq/part1 thru part 4, or send email to email@example.com with any or all of: send usenet/news.answers/tv/soaps/faq/part1 send usenet/news.answers/tv/soaps/faq/part2 send usenet/news.answers/tv/soaps/faq/part3 send usenet/news.answers/tv/soaps/faq/part4 in the body of the message. Send comments, corrections, additions to me, questions to the newsgroup (I don't know everything and can't answer everything). THANKS. These instructions/questions are broken up into the following sections: Part I: Subject line and Newsreaders 1. The Subject Line 2. Special Abbreviations 3. KILL Files (rn, trn, nn, and tin) 4. readnews Information 5. vn Information 6. vnews Information 7. ANU news Information 8. netnews Information 9. Cleveland Freenet Information 10. gnus Newsreader Information 11. Outlook Express Information Part II: Other soap resources on the internet 12. Soap mailing lists 13. WWW (World Wide Web) pages pertaining to soaps 14. Is there an ftp archive for rec.arts.tv.soaps.* from which I can retrieve past posts? Part III: rats*-specific questions 15. What does [acronym] stand for? 16. Where's such-and-such an update? 17. Can I borrow a tape of so-and-so episode? 18. Why doesn't each show have its own newsgroup? 19. Do the soap writers/actors read rec.arts.tv.soaps.*? Part IV: Technical questions 20. How to post via email 21. Signature files 22. Spoiler protection (Ctrl-L usage) 23. How can you get the text of previous posts into your own post? (Quoting) 24. Retrieving lost articles/replies 25. Inappropriate posts (ie advertisements, trolls) 26. Pointers to more information for new posters (and old!) First major hint - if you use trn or rn to read your news, type h for help. Read the instructions. They really do help. Second major hint - There are a lot of different ways of reading and responding to news, and tons of different editors. For operating details, ask the sys or news admin at your own site for the best source of accurate information. Part I: Subject line and Newsreaders Subject: 1. The Subject Line: (this applies to everyone who posts in these groups) Whenever you post about a specific soap, please put the standard soap abbreviation in the beginning of the subject line. Be sure that if you are replying to another post, you check the subject line. If the original poster has inadvertently omitted the abbreviation - add it! WARNING: Microsoft Internet News will often *delete* the abbreviation in the subject line. The complete list of soap abbreviations can be found in the monthly posting *** REC.ARTS.TV.SOAPS POSTING GUIDELINES ***. If it is no longer available on your system, you can retrieve it from the archives by sending mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with "send usenet/news.answers/tv/soaps/abbrevs" in the body of the message. If you have a general comment (not specific to one soap, like the soap opera awards or the soap opera magazine) you can just indicate the subject in the subject line (or use "ALL", "ABC", etc. in the subject line). If you reply to a post which is a general comment, don't change the subject line for no reason. For example: some one posts: >Subject: ALL: Soap Opera Digest - comments ...and some one will reply: >Subject: ALL: More Comments on Soap Opera Digest Don't do this! The reason for all these rules has to do with the way the KILL file works. (Sorry! I only know how to do this if you use rn or trn to read your news.) In the rn, trn, and nn news programs, you can set up a KILL file to automatically delete articles of a given Subject. The KILL file is explained in section 3 below. Subject: 2. Special Abbreviations - to be used after the soap abbreviation in the Subject line. [Soap-Abbreviation]: SPOILER Many of the soap subgroups have adopted this abbreviation to indicate that the article contains spoilers that may have been obtained from the soap magazines or anywhere else besides the show itself. Make sure you use this if you reply to articles with spoilers, or if you mention spoilers you have heard on the net! And PLEASE don't put spoiler information in the subject line itself (like "Adam & Brooke leaving AMC!") - some people try to avoid reading spoilers, so they can be surprised by the show. This abbreviation need not be used once the show has aired, but if you intend to post on the same day your show airs, please put the date of the show in your subject line so that people who tape & watch after work can still be surprised. [Soap-Abbreviation]: TAN Many of the soap subgroups have adopted the TAN abbreviation (short for TANgent) to indicate that the article contains personal comments, not necessarily related to the soap. This way if you are not interested in hearing about how many cats a person has, etc., you can put this subject in your kill file (explained below). [Soap-Abbreviation]: [FAC, FAWC, FOC, FGC, FDOC, FSC, or FYRC] Several of the soap subgroups have recently adopted the above abbreviations to denote when they are talking "in character". For example, if a poster is "FAC Dixie" (Favorite AMC Character Dixie), and they want to post as if they really _were_ Dixie, they would use the abbreviation "AMC: FAC" in the subject line. FOC = Favorite OLTL Character; FGC = Favorite General Hospital Character; FDOC = Favorite DOOL Character; FAWC = Favorite Another World Character; FSC = Favorite Sisters Character; FYRC = Favorite Young & Restless Character. F*C originated from rec.arts.disney's FDC (Future Disney Cabinet), and was introduced on r.a.t.s. by Ashley Lambert-Maberly. Subject: 3. KILL Files: - for rn, trn, nn, and tin users In rn & trn, the easiest way to start a KILL file is, whenever you see an article that you aren't interested in, to type [Shift] K The subject will then automatically go into a local KILL file. If the KILL file doesn't already exist, one will be created. Then any time an article with that subject comes up, it will automatically be deleted. "nn" users can also type [Shift]-K, which takes you through the process of deciding whether you want to kill or auto-select, do it to the subject or name of the poster, how long to kill/select, and what exact words or which post you would like it applied to. tin users can create and add to a kill file by pressing ^K, and "filling in" the online form. Here is a complete KILL file: WARNING!! This will delete all soaps! You will want to make sure you DON'T include the abbreviations for the soaps that you want to see articles about. NOTE - the description in () should NOT be included in the KILL file. It is only for your reference. /: *30/:j (Thirty Something) /alt.flame/h:j (in response to a rash of posts that came from alt.flame) /: *AMC/:j (All My Children) /: *ATWT/:j (As the World Turns) /: *AW/:j (Another World) /: *B&B/:j (Bold and Beautiful) /: *BB/:j (sometimes used for Bold and Beautiful) /: *B & B/:j (sometimes used for Bold and Beautiful) /: *BH/:j (Beverly Hills 90210) /: *CITY:/:j (The City [previously "Loving"] - now cancelled) /: *COR/:j (Coronation Street) /: *DAL/:j (Dallas) /: *Dark/:j (Dark Shadows) /: *DOOL/:j (Days of Our Lives) /: *DAYS/:j (sometimes used for Days of Our Lives - DOOL is preferred, tho, because it's not a real word (and thus better for killfiles)) /: *EE/:j (East Enders) /: *GEN/:j (Generations) /: *GH/:j (General Hospital) /: *GL/:j (Guiding Light) /: *HDR/:j (used for orphan posts which need the proper soap abb. added) /: *HF/:j (Home Front) /: *KL/:j (Knots Landing) /: *LA/:j (LA Law) /: *LGO/:j (Life Goes On) /: *LOV/:j (Loving - now cancelled) /: *LUV/:j (sometimes used for Loving - now cancelled) /: *MP/:j (Melrose Place) /: *OJ/:j (OJ-trial - a RealLife "soap") /: *OLTL/:j (One Life to Live) /: *PC/:j (Port Charles) /: *PF/:j (Picket Fences) /: *PP/:j (Pacific Palisades) /: *RW3/:j (Real World - 3rd iteration) /: *SANDS/:j (Shifting Sands - the net.soap.) /: *SAV/:j (Savannah) /: *SB/:j (Santa Barbara - now cancelled) /: *SC/c:j (Swan's Crossing or Second Chances) /: *SIS/c:j (Sisters) /: *SUBE/:j (Sunset Beach) /: *SOAP/:j (Soap) /: *Y&R/:j (Young and Restless) /: *Y & R/:j (sometimes used for Young and Restless) You can edit the KILL file by typing: [Ctrl] k while you are in the news. If the file gets too big it will take too long to go through. You will want to keep only the first word in the KILL file. For example, if an article with the Subject "GH - Tuesday's Update" appears and you are not interested in General Hospital, type [Shift] K, and: /: *GH - Tuesday's Update/:j will be put in the KILL file. Then type [Ctrl] k, and edit the file to say: /: *GH/:j Then all the General Hospital articles will be deleted the next time you read news. Some people have told me that they need to put a back-slash (\) in front of characters "&" and "." in their kill files to get them to work properly. Also, some people use "/c:j" to make the KILL case-sensitive. Your mileage may vary. To learn more about KILL files, send email to email@example.com with "send usenet/news.answers/killfile-faq" in the body of the message. Subject: 4. readnews Information On my particular system, I have both "rn" and "readnews" available. You might want it see if you have "rn" available. I like "rn" much better; I will explain why in the following paragraphs. To find out what is available, look at the man pages. Type: "man readnews" and "man rn" This will also give you a lot of interesting information. If "rn" is not available, or if you like "readnews" better, there is a function that is similar to the KILL file in "readnews". Instead of KILLing articles of a given subject, you read only articles with a given subject(s). For example, on my system, if you read All My Children, One Life to Live, and Generations, type: readnews -t OLTL AMC GEN Rita sent email to me (thanks Rita) indicating that her system works slightly differently from mine. She would have to type: readnews -n rec.arts.tv.soaps -t OLTL AMC GEN This way you would not have to go through all the articles about the other soaps. The only problem is, if someone doesn't use the standard soap abbreviation, or if there is a different subject, like "Soap Opera Digest Awards" then you would miss the article. That's why I like "rn" better. In "rn", I KILL all the standard soap abbreviations except for those I read (AMC and GEN). That way, I get everything except the other soaps, instead of only my soaps. Try reading the man page and experimenting. If you figure anything else out, let me know, and I will share the info with everyone else when I post the "FAQ" info each month. [The above section was probably written by Sandra Macika. If you positively know who wrote it, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org. Rita Prisco (email@example.com) also contributed to the above section.] Subject: 5. vn Information Hi, I am Dorothy. I thought I was the only person who was using VN instead of RN. Nothing anybody ever said on the NET about using RN made any sense to me because VN is -different- -- KILL FILES meant nothing to me, at least how to get them to work. So I read through the pitifully inadequate DOC that came with the VISUAL NEWS READER (2/1/85) to see if I could find something that would make reading the news easier and more fun and most of all FASTER. I found the "marker method" which took a long time to figure out, but I use it all the time now and it has made VN a pleasure instead of a pain. I will try to describe it so will make sense to you. It isn't easy putting things like this into words. Say you are in rec.arts.tv.soaps with your cursor at the beginning article. If you are like me, you only care about two or three soaps -- mine are AMC, OLTL, and GH. I also like to read through the misc. ramblings -- they are fun, too. Use the small j to run through the group of articles. When you come to one you want to read, hit the small x. This will put a * beside the article. Keep doing this until you have everything you want to read marked with the *. Next step is to press [Ctrl] r -- the program will prompt you with words like string to search? Type in an * and hit Return. Your VN reader will only present you with the articles you have selected, one by one in order. If you make a boo-boo and mark the wrong article simply hit small x again and it will unmark it. A capital X will unmark all articles. I suppose you know this already but if you do a small k, it will move the cursor backwards to an article you may have missed marking the first time. You do *not* have to unmark to update the entire page. It took me awhile to "get into the rhythm" of the process, but it is second nature now and gets me through the reading in a fraction of time it used to take. I hope this works for you as well. I am sure as hell no computer programmer so I didn't understand KILL files or any of that stuff, but this works just great for me. Don't hesitate to E-mail me back. I am sure no expert, but if I can help at all, I would be glad to hear from you. Dorothy |```````````````````````````| | Dorothy (Dot) | | firstname.lastname@example.org | ````````````````````````````` Subject: 6. vnews Information Hi. Are you using VNEWS? If so, this is what you have to do to filter out soaps in which you aren't interested. (I find it easiest to do a "d" first, and get the directory of the whole group. It makes the rest of it run faster.) At the command prompt, type: k/whatever subject you do not want to read. It must be a lower case k. (Another r.a.t.s.-er has noted that you can use an upper case K if you want to "KILL" a subject permanently.) Do this for each soap in which you are not interested. For me, that means I do: k/amc <CR> (where <CR> means I hit the return key. NOT THE ENTER KEY) k/y&r <CR> k/oltl, etc., etc. email@example.com (E Grace Noonan) Subject: 7. ANU news Information Here's information on the killfile for ANU News on the VAX/VMS system: To see what subjects/threads are already in your killfile, type SHOW KILL. To kill a subject thread, type KILL. It will prompt you for a newsgroup; hit return. It will add that subject to your killfile in a manner that looks like this: (using "Pure Soap: Did you see it?" as an example) TAG: 1 rec.arts.tv.soaps S:*Pure Soap: Did you see it? The * means that any post with those words and ANYTHING before it will be killed; that is how it gets rid of all of the RE: reply posts. To make it so you can kill ALL "Pure Soap" articles, you would type MODIFY KILL 1 (or if the TAG is number 6, you would use MODIFY KILL 6). It then prompts you to edit the kill: newsgroup: rec.arts.tv.soaps (hit return) Subject: *Pure Soap: Did you see it? (you edit this part) What you do here is use delete or backspace to erase the line until it just lists Pure Soap, then you add another * at the end, to kill ANY post relating to Pure Soap: (To kill the subject header for all messages for one soap, the kill filter will have to be edited down to *soapabbreviation*.) Subject: *Pure Soap* (now when it looks like that you hit return) It will also prompt for Header and From, but you won't really need those... To effectively kill all of the articles tagged, you then type READ/NEW/FOLLOWUP (or READ/NEW - tho sometimes this won't work for filtering - I don't know why) when you want to read your messages. You still will have the messages available on your account, but using READ/NEW/FOLLOWUP will skip them and list them as having been read. Try NumKey "0" for READ/NEW and NumKey "." for READ/NEW/FOLLOWUP Got it? :) If you decide you want to read the Pure Soap articles again, just type CLEAR KILL 1 (or 6 or 37 or whatever) and when you READ/NEW/FOLLOWUP it will once again read those articles for you. A separate kill tag must be set up for each soap/subject that you want to kill. For information on how to quote text, see section 22 in this FAQ. Good luck! [thanks to Kate, formerly of exodus.valpo.edu] Subject: 8. netnews Information Hello! I've been a lurker and occasional poster on RATS for a few months now. I've read the FAQ's and found some of the info quite helpful (I now know what A&Dw/SOM means!) However, I use netnews to read RATS and, as far as I know, I can't use a Kill file. I can create something called an ignore file, but this just excludes posts from certain people, not posts about certain subjects. What does help is a function key called "SortSubj". (It's F14 on my keyboard.) This sorts all the articles by subject and makes it a lot easier to find the articles I want to read (mostly AMC, and the ALL, ABC, etc. articles.) Also on netnews I can search for articles I want to read by typing a slash followed by a word that might appear in the subject heading of articles that I would want to read, for example: /AMC. I'm not sure if everyone using netnews is offered these features. I would suggest checking the help screens to find out if you do have the "SortSubj." function. (Thanks to Diana Kiel for writing the above section) Subject: 9. Cleveland Freenet information This is information gathered from some of the Cleveland Freenet users, who do not have killfiles. If you're on a different Freenet, these hints may or may not work for you. For information on how to quote text, see section 22 in this FAQ. There is a "File Kill" area at the top of Usenet News (where you chose Usenet News (read)), but that only kills messages from a person's ID that you don't wish to read, not a subject. However, after reading a post, at the prompt you can type "k" and it will put "R" in front of all older posts that you're not interested in, marking them as read. You can pull up headers and choose what you want to read. "-" goes to the previous screen, and "+" pulls up the next screen. Here's an example of how to read the posts for one soap (GH): Find the first GH post, type in the number, and read it. Then you can either answer it or hit "s" (search) to read all articles in the same thread. When you're told that there aren't any related posts left, hit "k" to kill all the GH posts you read plus all posts older than that. No other KILL works. Then you must hit either the next number or "+" to go to the next page. If you have been reading all of the posts in a thread, and are tired of reading that thread and don't want to read any more postings for the same thread, press "z" (for "zap#.) This will mark all of the rest of the postings in this thread as having been read, and will return you to the first posting of the thread. (Word of warning!!! this can cause the access to usenet to abort in Youngstown Freenet, but it works fine in Cleveland Freenet) Here's another method someone on the Cleveland Freenet uses: If you type in a slash key, that is the command for search. You will be prompted for a search string, and then you will be able to read a post matching that string. From then on in, you type <slash> <return>, then <return> again (the search string you put in before stays as current search string). SO if you want to read AMC posts, you would type "/ <CR>" then "AMC <CR>". Then read the post, or type "/ <CR> <CR>" to go to the next one. Then when you are done you can type z to zap up to the current post as read. (Thanks to Dan Galvin, Beverly Harris, Rick Kitchen, and Brenda Matlin) Subject: 10. gnus Newsreader Information (Written by John P. Mann, firstname.lastname@example.org) Due to the lack of information on the gnus news reader in the FAQ, I thought it would be useful to post this information. I figured out how to only read the articles with certain Subject(s). Instead of using the standard gnus KILL file format: (gnus-kill "Subject" "AMC") .. .. .. (gnus-kill "Subject" "Y&R") (gnus-expunge "X") Use the following format which marks all articles to be killed, and unmarks only the ones you want to read: (gnus-kill "Subject" "") (gnus-kill "Subject" "GL" "^[U") (gnus-kill "Subject" "ALL" "^[U") (gnus-expunge "X") The tricky part is getting the escape key (^[) into the file. This depends on the editor you are using. For emacs you just type Ctrl-Q and then hit the escape key. For vi, you use Ctrl-v instead. I assume that any gnus user is in emacs, so those two editors should be sufficient for everybody. I find this method much nicer, because I don't have to sift through ridiculous posts about gays in the military, etc... I feel missing a few GL posts because the poster didn't include GL in the subject is a small price to pay. By the way, in case someone doesn't know how to use KILL files in emacs, just look in the info pages of emacs. The KILL file generally goes in your News directory and is named rec.arts.tv.soaps.KILL You can edit it while reading news by typing Esc-k (also known as M-k). Subject: 11. Outlook Express Information (Written by "ElmerCat" <email@example.com>) OutlookExpress (v5) has very powerful features for filtering messages, but it took a bit of setting up to get the results I wanted: First, Create a new message rule to ignore the soaps you are not interested in: 1) - From the "Tools" menu, select "Message Rules" - "News" 2) - Press "New" 3) - In the first list-box, check the item "Where the Subject line contains specific words" 4) - In the second list-box, check the item "Mark the message as Watched or Ignored" 5) - In the #3 text-box, click on the highlighted "specific words". 6) - Enter as many soap prefixes as desired for the soaps you are not interested in. (e.g.: If you don't like Guiding Light or As The World Turns, enter: "Gl:", "GL-" and "ATWT". Do not enter just "GL" because it will ignore any "GL" in the subject such as: "Glad Cricket changed her hair") 7) - Also, in the #3 text-box, click on "watched or ignored". 8) - Select the option to "ignore". 9) - Give the rule a name in #4 text-box such as: "Ignore Undesirable Soaps". 10) - Press "Apply Now", select your new rule and press "Apply Now". Next, define a new custom view to hide ignored messages.: 1) from the "Views" menu, select "Current View" - "Define Views". 2) - Press "New" 3) - In the #1 list-box, check the item: "Where the message is Watched or Ignored" 4) - In the #2 text-box, click on "watched or ignored". 5) - Select the option: "ignore". 6) - Also, in the #2 text-box, click on "show/hide". 7) - Select the option: "hide". 8) - Give the custom view a name in #3 text-box such as: "Hide Ignored Messages". 9) - Select the new view and press "Apply View". As you read the newsgroup and encounter undesireable messages that have slipped through your filtering, don't have the proper soap prefix or that you just don't want to see, tag them as "Ignored" by clicking twice on the "Watch/Ignore" field so that the "no-entry" symbol appears. Newly ignored messages will not automatically disappear from the message list. To hide them, switch to the "Show All Messages" view and then back to the "Hide Ignored Messages" view. As you can see when setting this up, there are many other things that Message Rules can do to customize how the newsgroup appears to you. If anyone is having trouble with this or would like more information I will be glad to help. BE AWARE: Microsoft Outlook Express often strips the abbreviations in the subject line (ie AMC, GL) - to get around this, you must add the abbreviations back in before you hit "Post." ==== compilation copyright 1994-1999, Margaret D. Gibbs. Use and copying of this information are permitted as long as (1) no fees or compensation are charged for use, copies or access to this information, and (2) this copyright notice is included intact. ==== -- Margaret D. Gibbs "Practice random kindness and firstname.lastname@example.org senseless acts of beauty"