Scotch-Irish-L ArchivesArchiver > Scotch-Irish > 1997-11 > 0878706851
From: linda Merle <>
Subject: MetaFaq -- Test to follow!
Date: Tue, 04 Nov 1997 21:14:11 -0800
Posting-Frequency: 1st of the month
Basic newsgroup and mailing list "Netiquette"
This is a regular posting which outlines the basic newsgroup and mailing
list "Netiquette" which should be followed by anyone who wishes to post
to the soc.genealogy.* hierarchy of newsgroups and mailing lists.
This document is part of a regular series of postings which are sent to
all appropriate groups and mailing lists. This particular document is
posted on the first of every month.
The latest version of this document is available from the following
* Via the WWW at the URL
* Via email by sending the following text in the body of a message to
If you have any comments or additions, or would like to suggest further
topics to be included, then please contact John Woodgate,
Tim Pierce, Pat Boren, Alf Christophersen, William Mills, Richard
Pence, Hugh Ainsley, Alexandre Meissonnier, Randy Klear, Dave
Sadler, Carl Cason, Margaret J. Olson, Jim Eggert.
Changes For This Version (1.8 - 1997/08/25)
Amended details of the surnames newsgroups. Added a section on
Copyright And Disclaimer
Copyright (c) 1996,1997 by John Woodgate. All rights reserved.
This document may be freely redistributed in its entirety without
modification provided that this copyright notice is not removed. It may
not be sold for profit or incorporated in commercial documents without
the prior written permission of the copyright holder. Permission is
expressly granted for this document to be made available for file
transfer from installations offering unrestricted anonymous file
transfer on the Internet.
This document is provided AS IS without any express or implied warranty.
The author may be contacted at 50 Great Meadow Road, Bradley Stoke,
Bristol, BS12 8DA, England.
* Common Courtesies
* Patience and Tolerance
* Subject Lines
* Personal Privacy
* Requests For Information
* Replying To A Message
* Signature Files
* Mailing Lists
* Attaching Files
* Dealing with Junk Mail
* Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
* Further Information
Read carefully what you receive to make sure that you understand the
Read carefully what you send, to make sure that your message will not be
Know your audience. Make sure that the person or list of people you are
sending your message to are right ones to be communicating with.
Many readers have very limited, and in some cases expensive electronic
mail facilities. Be particularly careful not to cause unnecessary
traffic, or to send unnecessary long messages.
Please DO NOT send "test messages." The system works. If you must test
it, at least send a valid message, with useful information or questions.
In fact there is a newsgroup called misc.test, set up specifically for
test messages. If you post to this group, you will get email responses
from a number of servers around the world which will allow you to judge
how quickly and thoroughly your posts propagate.
Patience And Tolerance
Remember that not all readers have English as their native language, so
make allowance for possible misunderstandings and unintended
Remember that the absence of visual clues normally associated with face
to face communication provides an ideal environment for being
Be tolerant of newcomers. None of us were born knowing all.
If you are using humour or sarcasm, make sure to clearly label it as
such. Humour is usually indicated by a smiley e.g. :) or (grin).
Always include a descriptive subject line in your message. Use the
Subject: line to get attention and make sure it describes the main point
of your message. Avoid very long subjects as some newsreaders only
display the first 30 characters or so. If you are seeking information
about a family, include the surname in UPPERCASE in the Subject: line.
Remember that with many messages each week, many people use the subject
line to decide if they should read your message or not. "Need help" or
"Genealogy" are not good subject lines. Likewise, not everybody who
reads this newsgroup lives in the same country as you. Please give an
indication of the country or countries you are interested in together
with a date range.
Keep messages to only one subject. Second subjects within a single
message are often missed.
The information contained in the subject line should also be included in
the message itself as some news readers display the subject line on a
different screen to the message body.
Please be careful about the information you post to the newsgroup or the
mailing list. For example, if somebody asks you to look up some names
and addresses in the local telephone directory, send the results
directly to the requester.
Please be very careful about the amount of detail you post to the world.
Consider if you would like to have the details of your birth,
particularly if your parents weren't married at the time, broadcast to
the world. And that is quite mild compared to some of the skeletons you
might dig up.
As use of the Internet grows, we are beginning to see it being abused.
Please think carefully before you post private details about yourself,
or any present day individual to the world.
Request For Information
Be specific, especially when asking questions. If you ask about a
person, identify when and where the person might have lived. You are
much more likely to get a helpful reply if your message summarizes what
efforts you have already made yourself to find the answer to your
Please do not post to this newsgroup or mailing list messages which
should be more appropriately addressed to one of the other groups in the
soc.genealogy hierarchy. And please avoid posting the same message to
several newsgroups or mailing lists in the hierarchy, except when its
content is equally relevant to each such newsgroup.
Avoid cluttering your message with excessive emphasis (such as stars,
exclamation marks "!", etc). It can make the message hard to follow.
=46or straightforward queries which are simply seeking further
about a particular surname, or a named individual, it is recommended
that the gorup of newsgroups soc.genealogy.surnames.* be used rather
than any other newsgroup or mailing list. This is because
soc.genealogy.surnames newsgroups are moderated as well as archived. The
moderators ensure that subject lines are given in an informative and
stylized format, providing details of dates and locations as well as the
surname in question. This is aimed at facilitating searches of the
entire large archive of messages that have ever been sent to the
newsgroup, searching for all messages which relate to a given family.
=46or those people who are restricted to using email only, the
soc.genealogy.surnames newsgroups are also available as mailing lists.
Please keep line lengths to about 72 characters to avoid problems with
word wrap on replies. Most mail programs prepend the included lines with
a '> '. It doesn't take many replies to extend the line over the normal
80 characters display size.
Replying to a message
=46eel free to answer questions or provide clarification or comments in
response to any posting you see on the newsgroup or mailing list.
However, please "FOLLOW-UP" to the posting ONLY if you think your
comments will be of interest to other readers and you wish your answer
sent to all the newsgroup and mailing list readers. Otherwise please use
the 'Reply' function on your newsreader to respond directly to the
poster. If your newsreader doesn't allow 'Reply', note the e-mail
address of the original poster and send an e-mail directly to that
If you want to start a personal correspondence with the poster of a
message, look in the header of the note and find the "FROM:" or "REPLY
TO:" field where you will find that person's email address. You can then
send your note directly to that person.
Many newsreaders and mail programs provide easy means of replying to the
poster of a particular message, and/or of posting a follow-up message,
handling all the complications of message addressing automatically.
Please make sure that you do not post a follow-up message accidentally,
when your intention was merely to reply directly to the poster.
If you are responding to a message, either include the relevant part of
the original message, or make sure you unambiguously refer to the
original contents. It is very common for people to read your reply
before they read the original message. However, please avoid
unnecessarily lengthy quotations from the messages to which you are
One point to bear in mind is that most Internet Service Providers delete
messages after 2 or 3 days. You cannot rely on any one message being
received by another subscriber. It is this very lack of permenance which
makes it vital to register any surnames you are interested in in the
soc.genealogy.surnames newsgroup so that it can be added to the archive.
Always 'sign' your message with your name and your preferred e-mail
address. This is especially important because some e-mail and newsreader
software do not always convey the originator's full e-mail address.
While you may certainly include your regular mail address in your
postings, you may wish to give this out only in personal replies, when
Please DO NOT include a list of the surnames you are researching in your
signature file. If the messages are archived (and most newsgroups are
archived) and somebody is searching for your surname, they need to find
it only once; hopefully it will have your address with it as well. If
they are searching, and get too many hits, then they may not request all
the messages and therefore may miss seeing your message.
Some newsgroups are also linked, or gatewayed, to a mailing list. This
means the all messages sent to the newsgroup are also sent to the
mailing list. Thus people who can only use email can still take part in
There is always a separate email address to send messages to the mailing
list to that you use to subscribe, or talk to the computer. The computer
often uses the name LISTSERV or LISTPROC. The mailing list address will
be something list GENUKI-L, or GENMSC-L. If you use the wrong address,
you will end up sending messages to the computer, which will ignore
them, and commands to the mailing list, which EVERYBODY will see.
A lot of the newer mail and news programs provide a mechanisim which
will allow you to 'attach' a file to your message. This can be a photo,
a sound recording or even a complete family history book in your
favourite word processor format. Even if you are sure everybody will be
able to read it, the odds are that once it has passed through the
internet it will be impossible to for anybody to understand without a
lot of work. Please don't do it.
Sending GEDCOM files, Tiny Tafels, Decendent lists and any large lists
should also be avoided. Not everybody has access to the Internet via
their workplace or college. Some people have to pay for their access
time. Downloading large files which they are not going to be interested
in is a waste of their time and money. Much better to post a short
message saying that you have the information if they are interested and
then send it to just those people who request it.
Including files in any format other than straight ASCII is to be
avoided. The use of uuencoded files, zipped files or even HTML files are
likely to mean that nobody will read your message. In some groups it
will result in the message being rejected.
Dealing with Junk mail
It is an unfortunate fact of life that with the expansion of the
Internet we are all likely to receive junk mail at some point. Because
the majority of the newsgroups and mailing lists are not moderated, then
there is little that can be done to automatically stop these messages.
So what can you do when you recieve junk mail?
=46irstly, do not post a message to the newsgroup or mailing list that
arrived in. This will just increase the 'noise' in the group or list. If
the message came directly to you, then you are in a better position to
do something. Here are a list of suggested steps you might take:
* Never buy anything from someone who sends you unsolicited
advertising by email. Many of these offers are fraudulent and the
advertising method is by definition, underhand. If nobody bought
from them, they would quickly stop.
* Learn how to reveal the 'full headers' in a mail message. This will
show you the route the message took to you. Most mail systems show
just the basic information ("To", "From", "Subject", "Date", etc).
Even if the "From" address shows as , the message may
not have come from AOL, the advertiser may not ever have had an
account on AOL. By examining the full headers, in the vast majority
of cases you can see where the message really came from.
* Forward the message, including the full headers, to the services
that handled the message complaining that you don't want such mail.
Send it to the following addresses: abuse@[domain] and
postmaster@[domain]. For example, if the message came through
Interramp, then send the messages to , and
. Why two addresses? Many ISPs don't have
an 'abuse' address; If they don't then you should encourage them to
implement one. They are all required to have a postmaster account.
* If the postmaster gets thousands of complaints about this kind of
activity, then they will soon realize that it is not worth it to
allow these kinds of people to access their systems. If you want
your message to to be taken seriously, then be polite. Verbal abuse
could lose you your account!
Other types of junk mail include chain mail, virus warnings and the
like. If you get a message that requests, often urgently, that you
spread the message far and wide, that's a good sign to delete it. These
often claim that they are 'helping a good cause', like the cancer struck
kid that wanted to get into the Guinness Book of Records by getting as
many cards in the mail as possible. The child exists and got 16 MILLION
cards in the first year - 1990!
The virus warnings mails are fake too and keep going despite being years
old. The 'Good Times', 'Deeyenda', 'Irina' and 'Ghost.exe' warnings are
all hoaxes and spreading them around causes nothing but resource drains,
bother and sometimes panic in the people you send them to.
=46requently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Read the Frequently Asked Question list (FAQ) for the appropriate
newsgroup or mailing list before posting anything. A list of the FAQs
available for the soc.genealogy.* newsgroups can be found in the
Genealogy Meta-FAQ which is available via the WWW at the URL
http://www.meertech.demon.co.uk/genuki/meta-faq.htm. It is also
avaialable via email by sending the following message:
Subject: <Leave Blank>
The Meta-FAQ is posted periodically to all soc.genealogy.* newsgroups.
Users new to Usenet should also read the informational postinmgs
available in the news.announce.newusers newsgroup and at the URL
If you want more information, there is a very good web page on
Netiquette at the URL <http://www.fau.edu/rinaldi/netiquette.html>
On the topic of junk mail, take a look at the following URLs
Netiquette / V1.8 - 1997/08/25 /
|MetaFaq -- Test to follow! by linda Merle <>|