Dear Emily Postnews (An alternate USENET netiquette guide)

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Brad Templeton

Aug 18, 1988, 9:05:06 PM8/18/88

"Dear Emily Postnews"

Emily Postnews, foremost authority on proper net behaviour,
gives her advice on how to act on the net.


Dear Miss Postnews: How long should my signature be? -- verbose@portal

A: Dear Verbose: Please try and make your signature as long as you can. It's
much more important than your article, of course, so try and have more lines
of signature then actual text.

Try and include a large graphic made of ASCII characters, plus lots of cute
quotes and slogans. People will never tire of reading these pearls of wisdom
again and again, and you will soon become personally associated with the joy
each reader feels at seeing yet another delightful repeat of your signature.

Be sure as well to include a complete map of USENET with each signature,
to show how anybody can get mail to you from any site in the world. Be
sure to include ARPA gateways as well. Also tell people on your own site
how to mail to you.

Aside from your reply address, include your full name, company and
organization. It's just common courtesy -- after all, in some newsreaders
people have to type an *entire* keystroke to go back to the top of your
article to see this information in the header.

By all means include your phone number and street address in every single
article. People are always responding to usenet articles with phone
calls and letters. It would be silly to go to the extra trouble of including
this information only in articles that need a response by conventional

Dear Emily: Today I posted an article and forgot to include my signature.
What should I do? -- forgetful@myvax

A: Dear Forgetful: Rush to your terminal right away and post an article
that says, "Oops, I forgot to post my signature with that last article.
Here it is."

Since most people will have forgotten your earlier article, (particularly
since it dared to be so boring as to not have a nice, juicy signature) this
will remind them of it. Besides, people care much more about the signature
anyway. See the previous letter for more important details.

Also, be sure to include your signature TWICE in each article. That way
you're sure people will read it.

Dear Ms. Postnews: I couldn't get mail through to somebody on another
site. What should I do? -- ea...@beaver.dam

A: Dear Eager: No problem, just post your message to a group that a lot
of people read. Say, "This is for John Smith. I couldn't get mail through
so I'm posting it. All others please ignore."

This way tens of thousands of people will spend a few seconds scanning over
and ignoring your article, using up over 16 man-hours their collective
time, but you will be saved the terrible trouble of checking through
usenet maps or looking for alternate routes. Just think, if you couldn't
distribute your message to 9000 other computers, you might actually have
to (gasp) call directory assistance for 60 cents, or even phone the person.
This can cost as much as a few DOLLARS (!) for a 5 minute call!

And certainly it's better to spend 10 to 20 dollars of other people's
money distributing the message then for you to have to waste $9 on an
overnight letter, or even 22 cents on a stamp!

Don't forget. The world will end if your message doesn't get through,
so post it as many places as you can.

Q: What about a test message?

A: It is important, when testing, to test the entire net. Never test merely
a subnet distribution when the whole net can be done. Also put "please
ignore" on your test messages, since we all know that everybody always
skips a message with a line like that. Don't use a subject like "My
sex is female but I demand to be addressed as male." because such
articles are read in depth by all USEnauts.

Q: Somebody just posted that Roman Polanski directed Star Wars. What should
I do?

A: Post the correct answer at once! We can't have people go on believing
that! Very good of you to spot this. You'll probably be the only one
to make the correction, so post as soon as you can. No time to lose, so
certainly don't wait a day, or check to see if somebody else has made the

And it's not good enough to send the message by mail. Since you're the
only one who really knows that it was Francis Coppola, you have to inform
the whole net right away!

Q: I read an article that said, "reply by mail, I'll summarize." What should
I do? -- weemba@brahms

A: Post your response to the whole net. That request applies only to dumb
people who don't have something interesting to say. Your postings are much
more worthwhile than other people's, so it would be a waste to reply by mail.

Q: I collected replies to an article I wrote, and now it's time to
summarize. What should I do?

A: Simply concatenate all the articles together into a big file and post
that. On USENET, this is known as a summary. It lets people read all
the replies without annoying newsreaders getting in the way.

Q: I saw a long article that I wish to rebut carefully, what should I do?

A: Include the entire text with your article, and include your comments
between the lines. Be sure to post, and not mail, even though your article
looks like a reply to the original. Everybody *loves* to read those long
point-by-point debates, especially when they evolve into name-calling and
lots of "Is too!" -- "Is not!" -- "Is too, twizot!" exchanges.

Q: How can I choose what groups to post in?

A: Pick as many as you can, so that you get the widest audience. After all,
the net exists to give you an audience. Ignore those who suggest you should
only use groups where you think the article is highly appropriate. Pick
all groups where anybody might even be slightly interested.

Always make sure followups go to all the groups. In the rare event that you
post a followup which contains something original, make sure you expand
the list of groups. Never include a "Followup-to:" line in the header,
since some people might miss part of the valuable discussion in the
fringe groups.

Q: How about an example?

A: Ok. Let's say you want to report that Gretzky has been traded from
the Oilers to the Kings. Now right away you might think
would be enough. WRONG. Many more people might be interested. This is
a big trade! Since it's a NEWS article, it belongs in the news.* hierarchy
as well. If you are a news admin, or there is one on your machine, try
news.admin. If not, use news.misc.

The Oilers are probably interested in geology, so try sci.physics. He
is a big star, so post to sci.astro, and because they are also
interested in stars. Next, his name is Polish sounding. So post to
soc.culture.polish. But that group doesn't exist, so cross-post to
news.groups suggesting it should be created. With this many groups of
interest, your article will be quite bizarre, so post to talk.bizarre as well.
(And post to comp.std.mumps, since they hardly get any articles there.)

You may also find it is more fun to post the article once in each group.
If you list all the newsgroups in the same article, some newsreaders will
only show the the article to the reader once! Don't tolerate this.

Q: How do I create a newsgroup?

A: The easiest way goes something like "inews -C newgroup ....", and while
that will stir up lots of conversation about your new newsgroup, it might
not be enough.

First post a message in news.groups describing the group. Hold discussion
for a short while, and then ask for a vote. Collect votes for 30 days.
Every few days post a long summary of all the votes so that people can
complain about bad mailers and double votes. It means you'll be more
popular and get lots of mail. At the end of thirty days if you have 100
more yes votes than no votes you may create the group.

No matter what the group, it is not necessary to get the approval of
admins at backbone sites. They will be happy to create any group if it
passes the above test.

To liven up discussion, choose a good cross-match for your hierarchy and
group. For example, comp.race.formula1 or would be good
group names. If you want your group created quickly, include an interesting
word like "sex" or "bible."

Q: I cant spell worth a dam. I hope your going too tell me what to do?

A: Don't worry about how your articles look. Remember it's the message
that counts, not the way it's presented. Ignore the fact that sloppy
spelling in a purely written forum sends out the same silent messages that
soiled clothing would when addressing an audience.

Q: How should I pick a subject for my articles?

A: Keep it short and meaningless. That way people will be forced to actually
read your article to find out what's in it. This means a bigger audience for
you, and we all know that's what the net is for. If you do a followup, be
sure and keep the same subject, even if it's totally meaningless and not
part of the same discussion. If you don't, you won't catch all the people
who are looking for stuff on the original topic, and that means less
audience for you.

Q: What sort of tone should I take in my article?

A: Be as outrageous as possible. If you don't say outlandish things,
and fill your article with libelous insults of net people, you may not
stick out enough in the flood of articles to get a response. The more
insane your posting looks, the more likely it is that you'll get lots
of followups. The net is here, after all, so that you can get lots of

If your article is polite, reasoned and to the point, you may only get
mailed replies. Yuck!

Q: The posting software suggested I had too long a signature and too many
lines of included text in my article. What's the best course?

A: Such restrictions were put in the software for no reason at all, so
don't even try to figure out why they might apply to your article. Turns
out most people search the net to find nice articles that consist of
the complete text of an earlier article plus a few lines.

In order to help these people, fill your article with dummy original lines
to get past the restrictions. Everybody will thank you for it.

For your signature, I know it's tough, but you will have to read it in
with the editor. Do this twice to make sure it's firmly in there.

Q: They just announced on the radio that Dan Quayle was picked as the
Republican V.P. candidate. Should I post?

A: Of course. The net can reach people in as few as 3 to 5 days.
It's the perfect way to inform people about such news events long after
the broadcast networks have covered them. As you are probably the only
person to have heard the news on the radio, be sure to post as soon as you

Q: I have this great joke. You see, these three strings walk into a bar...

A: Oh dear. Don't spoil it for me. Submit it to rec.humor, and post it
to the moderator of rec.humor.funny at the same time. I'm sure he's
never seen that joke, and I know he loves to have jokes sent to rec.humor
and rec.humor.funny at the same time.

Q: What computer should I buy? An Atari ST or an Amiga?

A: Cross post that question to the Atari and Amiga groups. It's an
interesting and novel question that I am sure they would love to
investigate in those groups.

Q: What about other important questions? How should I know when to post?

A: Always post them. It would be a big waste of your time to find a
knowledgeable user in one of the groups and ask through private mail if
the topic has already come up. Much easier to bother thousands of people
with the same question.

Q: What is the measure of a worthwhile group?

A: Why, it's Volume, Volume, Volume. Any group that has lots of noise in
it must be good. Remember, the higher the volume of material in a group,
the higher percentage of useful, factual and insightful articles you
will find. In fact, if a group can't demonstrate a high enough volume,
it should be deleted from the net.

Q: My fanzine isn't doing well in the readership surveys because it is only
quarterly. What can I do?

A: Simply have the articles take three months to expire, so that they
always show up in the surveys. All those sites probably aren't using their
disk space for anything useful, so what not use it to boost your ego?

Q: What does foobar stand for?

A: It stands for you, dear.
Brad Templeton, Looking Glass Software Ltd. -- Waterloo, Ontario 519/884-7473

Brian Kantor

Aug 19, 1988, 1:29:16 PM8/19/88
I hereby nominate Brad for the Best Article of the Month award.
- Brian

Paul Traina

Aug 19, 1988, 4:58:57 PM8/19/88
From article <11...@ucsd.EDU>, by br...@ucsd.EDU (Brian Kantor):

> I hereby nominate Brad for the Best Article of the Month award.
> - Brian

I secund the nomination!


Paul Traina / 26 Castillian Dr.
ComDesign / >------+------< Santa Barbara
Network Equipment / California, 93117

Home: Work:
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"I am the greatest!" -- Muhammad Ali

"Now, isn't that special!" -- Church Lady


(I'm sorry, I couldn't resist... grin)
(I promise I won't do it again mom...)

Paul Traina To believe that what is true for
{uunet|pyramid}!comdesign!pst you in your private heart is true for all men, that is genius.

Larry Blair

Aug 19, 1988, 5:15:50 PM8/19/88
Interesting article (except the part about my .sig :-)). Gee... can I be
the first to point out that it was x-posted to rec.humor with no Followup-To.
Good bye news.admin for another 2 weeks.

Btw, I think you forgot:

q. it's such a bother to press the shift and return keys. should i make
the effort?

A. No, readability's not important, so use all lower case letters. No
paragraph is truly complete unless it spans at least 24 lines and putting
a blank line between paragraphs is a blatant waste of net bandwidth.
* * O Larry Blair ames-----\
* * O VICOM Systems Inc. pyramid---\
* * O 2520 Junction Ave. uunet!ubvax!vsi1!lmb
* * O San Jose, CA 95134 sun-------/
* * O +1-408-432-8660 +1-800-538-3905

the up with which she will not put

Aug 19, 1988, 5:17:07 PM8/19/88
Gee, Emily, you forgot to mention smiley faces!
Everyone needs to know about those :-) :-)

Bravo to you for crossposting to rec.humor
without editing the Followup-To: line.
This way, you'll get a lot of extra volume
in news.admin from people those fine rec.humor
subscribers, and we all know that news.admin
needs VOLUME VOLUME VOLUME! In order to
help this along, I'm crossposting to talk.bizarre,
since we know that EVERYTHING that is even VAGUELY
removed from the USENET norm should get
crossposted there. Oh, and let's not forget
all those fine folks in alt.flame, who are
always interested in helping out the newies.

Your advising cousin,

Annie Pnews

//ichael R. //ayne

Aug 20, 1988, 9:52:52 PM8/20/88

Well, I'm saving this and plan to mail it to people who insist on
those lovely 47 line signatures. I suppose that if a number of people did
it, they might get the idea. Note that some people in the backwaters of
the net really DO need to specify their net.address. I do since I know
that umix trashes mine all the time. `Course, I keep it to 2 lines...

/\/\ \/\/
Michael R. Wayne --- TMC & Associates --- wa...@teemc.uucp
INTERNET: uunet!umix!teemc!wayne

Kurt L. Reisler

Aug 22, 1988, 11:31:47 AM8/22/88
In article <11...@ucsd.EDU> (Brian Kantor) writes:
>I hereby nominate Brad for the Best Article of the Month award.
> - Brian

Seconded. If there are no objections, I move we vote by acclaimation.

- Kurt

Jim Kimble

Aug 23, 1988, 8:04:10 PM8/23/88
In article <13...@agate.BERKELEY.EDU> (the up with which she will not put) writes:
>Gee, Emily, you forgot to mention smiley faces!
>Everyone needs to know about those :-) :-)
>Bravo to you for crossposting to rec.humor

And you forgot to mention how fasionable it is to compose your articles
only 40 columns across.

--Jim Kimble

"ALPO costs 49 cents a can. That's over 7 dog dollars!"

UUCP: {hplabs!hp-sdd, sdcsvax, nosc}!crash!jkimble
ARPA: crash!jkimble@nosc
INET: jki...@crash.CTS.COM

Joe Bob Willie

Aug 24, 1988, 10:58:40 AM8/24/88

passed by acclaimation. as soon as i get my hands on the usenet
map for looking, i'll send brad a box of gen-u-swine chili fixin's
from mckinney, tx. let's all send him stuff he really doesn't want
in the mail ;-)

- john.
j...@rpp386.uucp (The Beach Bum at The Big "D" Home for Wayward Hackers)
"Never attribute to malice what is adequately explained by stupidity"
-- Hanlon's Razor

Daniel Hinojosa

Aug 25, 1988, 9:41:07 AM8/25/88
In article <3...@pigs.UUCP> ha...@pigs.UUCP (Joe Bob Willie) writes:
>In article <7...@hadron.UUCP> k...@hadron.UUCP (Kurt L. Reisler) writes:
>|In article <11...@ucsd.EDU> (Brian Kantor) writes:
>|>[nomination for the Best Article of the Month award.]
>|[stuff deleted]
>|Seconded. [stuff deleted]
>[passed by acclaimation.]

Okay gang, I had an "indescretion of youth", ie., the youth
of my life here on the net, by passing by the article
"Dear Emily Postnews". I'm sorry, I apologize,(head hung,
much groveling here... )

Will someone do me the favor of either re-posting this bit
of net glory, or mailing it to me at:

I will be most thankful. and now back to our regularly
scheduled programming...

" |You know it's going to be a bad year, when your wife
(---) |has to defend you by insisting that you are not a
o | whimp.
mutant pukes for nukes! |Thought occoured on seeing Mrs. Bush on Meet the press.


Aug 26, 1988, 9:04:36 AM8/26/88

In article <5...@comdesign.CDI.COM> p...@comdesign.CDI.COM (Paul Traina) writes:
>From article <11...@ucsd.EDU>, by br...@ucsd.EDU (Brian Kantor):
>> I hereby nominate Brad for the Best Article of the Month award.
>> - Brian
>I secund the nomination!
[something deleted b-)]
>Paul Traina To believe that ...

Me three ???

Derek Carr,

(If Philips wanted me to speak for them I they'd pay me more)

Scott A. McIntyre

Aug 27, 1988, 6:31:38 PM8/27/88
+-In article <4...@achel.UUCP>, de...@achel.UUCP (Derek Carr) wrote:-

| In article <5...@comdesign.CDI.COM> p...@comdesign.CDI.COM (Paul Traina) writes:
| >From article <11...@ucsd.EDU>, by br...@ucsd.EDU (Brian Kantor):
| >> I hereby nominate Brad for the Best Article of the Month award.
| >> - Brian
| >
| >I secund the nomination!
| [something deleted b-)]
| >Paul Traina To believe that ...
| Me three ???
| Derek Carr,

I hate to say this, but I missed the post that everyone seems to be
ranting over...did anyone save it? If so, please mail it to me!


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