[FAQ] "Why don't we make more Creatures newsgroups?"

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Feb 5, 2004, 1:22:03 AM2/5/04
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FAQ: "Why don't we make more Creatures newsgroups?"
(Version 0.1) (by Mae Tang <maetang at nu-it.demon.co.uk>)

(1) What's this FAQ about?
(2) So why don't we make more Creatures newsgroups?
(3) If we don't want more Creatures newsgroups, what
other alternatives are there?

(1) What's this FAQ about?

Every once in a while on alt.games.creatures, we see this question being
asked. When this happens, the regulars usually have to explain their
reasons for disagreeing yetagain. So for our mutual convenience, here they
all are in one FAQ! ;^) Please read this before you ask the question
(again), and then see if some of the reasons given don't make sense to you.
If you can think of alternatives, then feel free to propose them, but you
should probably be aware that this question has been asked and turned down
on this group many, many times previously (Dejanews archives will give you
the (gory?) specifics). Having said that:

(2) So why don't we make more Creatures newsgroups?

Usually, the arguments for and against more Creatures newsgroups are as

(a) "I only have Creatures 1 / Creatures 2. I don't want to read all these
posts about a game I don't have. Why can't we have an alt.games.creatures2
and an alt.binaries.games.creatures2 newsgroup as well?"

It's been suggested on more than one occasion, that we split the Creatures
hierarchy further by adding in alt.games.creatures2 and
alt.binaries.games.creatures2. (If Creatures 3 comes out in 1999, then you
can add in 2 more groups to that suggestion as well).

[NOTE: Creatures 3 did come out, as well as Docking Station,
Creatures Adventures and Creatures Playground, so you can add those.]

Usually, the arguments against that suggestion are as follows:

- You'd have to get alt.config to agree that 2-4 more groups were needed
and justified. The process of coming up with evidence for this could be
very difficult. You would have to show that the volume of posts for
Creatures 1 and 2 _each_, are enough to justify adding in a new group that
would take C2 posters away from the original. Given that 2-300 posts a day
here is a fairly high number for Usenet, if divided evenly between 1-3 (if
we factor in C3 eventually) groups, that's not a very high number. Consider
that some groups out there can get 1000-2000 a day. Is 2-300 here really so

[NOTE: This was written in the days of yore, when 2-300 posts a day
really WAS the kind of traffic the group got.]

And then we'd have to consider a.g.c.'s sibling group,
alt.binaries.games.creatures. This group doesn't get so many messages each
day. We probably wouldn't have enough evidence to convince alt.config that
we needed another 1-2 groups just for C2 or C3 binaries.

- The risk of cross-posts between all 4-6 groups would be high. As it is,
we often get newbies who are unsure, based on the name of the group alone,
where they should post their questions, or binaries. At times, to hedge
their bets, newbies cross-post their questions and attachments to both
groups at once, as they are unaware that:
- most people on a.g.c. also read a.b.g.c
- text threads are usually inappropriate on a.b.g.c., while
- binaries are never welcome on a.g.c..

If this happens with 2 groups, you can imagine the problems we would have
with 4-6 seperate groups. Do you really want to download the same
question / thread / binary 4-6 times because a confused newbie decided to
cross-post to all Creatures-related groups? Even if we leave out the
confused newbies, what about discussions / topics that may relate to more
than one of the games? Which group would those go to? eg: Stories,
factions, off-topic discussions, news about Cyberlife or new releases,
questions such as: which game is better?, etc. Chances are that people
would end up cross-posting such wide-ranging and general threads between
all groups, causing havoc on the cross-posting front.

- Having 4-6 groups about Creatures would mean that regulars would have to
stretch their resources between 4-6 groups instead of only 2. By resources
I mean things such as: time taken to read and reply to questions; time
taken to download and upload posts; FAQs that are posted regularly to the
groups; archives of the binaries groups, and so on. Many people with a high
input on a.g.c. - people who answer newbie questions regularly, who post
FAQs, who answer complex technical questions about the game (cobbling,
genetics) - have said before that they would not be able to spare the time
or attention to deal with more groups on a daily basis. That means that
we would lose some of the more helpful members of the community, who are
extremely valued because they are so active in regularly giving their
input here. If you've ever had help from someone on a.g.c. on a question
which you couldn't answer on your own, you probably appreciated the time
and care that person took to reply to you. Isn't that worth a little more
trouble in filtering posts on a.g.c.?

Basically, by general consensus here, filtering really is the answer to
question (a). As pointed out in various FAQs, people who post to a.g.c. are
encouraged to add designations such as : [C1], [C2], [OT], [faction],
[story] and [FAQ] to their subject lines. All you have to do if you don't
want to read any of the posts in those categories, is to filter out posts
according to those designations.

[ALEX'S NOTE: There used to be a FAQ on subject tags, posted by
Kinninson, but this too has disappeared...]

It's relatively easy to set up a filter as opposed to dealing with
alt.config, or cross-posts between 4-6 groups on a regular basis. And,
the regulars will still be the same happy, helpful bunch you know and
love so well (<--- that should be tagged: [fiction], I know. ;^)). If
you find that there are a bunch of newbies that are posting on a.g.c.
without adding such tags to their subject lines, then you too! can help
out by reminding them politely to start doing that. People usually
only need to be told once, or directed to the relevent FAQ to get the

(b) "I'm not interested in the Creatures fiction on this group. Why don't
we make an alt.games.creatures.fiction group, just for those posts?"

The first 2 reasons for question (a) also apply here: justifying this to
alt.config (even harder: "A newsgroup for fiction about a game?" and, there
aren't that many stories posted here each week), and the risk of cross-
posts. The third reason also applies to some extent. Many of the regular
story posters on a.g.c. have said that they would rather stop writing and
posting stories, rather than having to post them on a seperate group. Even
if you don't like stories, it only takes a moment to set up a filter for
the [story] or [fiction] designation that writers usually use. The same
goes for off-topic posts, which are very tolerated on a.g.c. (see other
FAQs about the tolerance given to off-topic posts on a.g.c.). Learn to
filter for the [OT] designation if you dislike off-topic posts.

(3) If we don't want more Creatures newsgroups, what other alternatives
are there?

On the personal level, we encourage people to use filters (see above). In
a wider sense, however, there are alternatives to creating new newsgroups
which you might like to consider (alt.config would be very likely to
suggest these to you anyway, if you posted there about adding to the
Creatures hierarchy):

- Message boards. If you can't find what you want or like on a.g.c., you
can always set up, or look for message boards relating to the game. These
may suit your needs more.

- Mailing lists. You can always set up a mailing list for a particular
aspect of the game that you are specifically interested in, eg: stories,
C1, C2, genetics, cobbling, etc. There are already some mailing lists
related to such specific aspects of the game that you may wish to look
for as well. This FAQ isn't going to plug these, but you can ask around
on a.g.c., or check out various webpages for more details.

- Chat and ICQ. There are already existing Creatures Chat sessions, and
many players are happy ICQ-ing each other. If you can't find a chat which
you like, you can always set one up yourself, and be as particular about
what you want to see discussed as you like.

[NOTE: JRChat (http://www.lummoxjr.com/chat/), #agc
(http://www.watson1999-69.freeserve.co.uk/agcchat.html) on irc.slashnet.org
and #creatures on irc.fanfic.com seem to be the major chat centres at the
moment. There's no ICQ list, but a few people leave their number in their

Basically, all of those alternatives are about creating new channels of
communication, or about using existing ones which you may find more
suitable. Feel free to suggest other alternatives if they occur to you.

Mae Tang
replace "nospam" with "nu-it" for a valid e-mail address)
End of FAQ

Alex Watson
Alex's Creatures - http://www.watson1999-69.freeserve.co.uk/
Reply to me[AT]watson1999-69.freeserve.co.uk, not deadspam.
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Feb 12, 2004, 1:22:03 AM2/12/04
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