These guidelines are meant to help you to get the most from uk.d-i-y and from newsgroups in general. There may seem rather a lot of points but many of them are just common sense. There should be enough here to keep you on the straight and narrow but for more background reading take a look at the RFCs, the Internet RFC/STD/FYI/BCP archives, and in particular, at RFC 1855, and everything to do with usenet in the UK at http://www.usenet.org.uk/

UK.D-I-Y Posting Guidelines

  1. COMMERCIAL ADVERTISING IS FORBIDDEN ON UK.D-I-Y.
    Please read "Can I advertise on uk.d-i-y?" in the Introduction to see the reasons behind our policy on advertising.
  2. Before posting anything to the uk.d-i-y newsgroup you should lurk for a couple of weeks first to get a feel for the culture of the newsgroup, the way it operates and individuals interact, and to ensure that your questions have not been asked umpteen times in the last few days before you dive in!
  3. Sometimes people ask for an email response to their questions. This is generally frowned upon because there is sure to be someone else who finds the topic of interest. It is only really appropriate if a person has problems reaching newsgroups or web archives (e.g. Google) - in that case, responses should be made to uk.d-i-y and copied by email. Note that some people will only respond publicly, and by preferring email responses, the poster is missing out on all the rest that is on offer!
  4. We welcome ASCII art in uk.d-i-y: a picture is worth a thousand words, and many people produce masterpieces from standard keyboard characters in order to illustrate their postings. However, do make sure you use spaces rather than tab characters, because the latter can be expanded to differing numbers of spaces, and so ruin the diagram. Oh, and if you can never make sense of ASCII art, it is because your newsreader is using a proportionately-spaced, rather than a fixed spacing, font (like Courier).
  5. Do not post "binaries" (encoded files such as HTML or images) to uk.d-i-y. It is forbidden across the whole uk.* hierarchy. Post plain text only: if your newsreader can post in HTML, switch this option off. If you need to illustrate a point with a diagram or photo and ASCII art is inadequate then pop it onto a website and provide a pointer to it in your posting.
  6. Please do not post "test" messages to uk.d-i-y. There are newsgroups such as news:uk.test specifically for testing purposes.
  7. If you're looking for goods or services, or if you are a private DIY-er trying to dispose of some relevant item or material, please indicate where you are. It seems obvious, but people often don't.
  8. It is quite dispiriting for anyone who sits down and spends half an hour crafting and researching a reply only to receive no acknowledgement of his effort. Send a "thank you" by email! Or enter into the spirit of newsgroups - if replies are helpful then tell us in what way they've helped - if replies have not helped then explain why! But only reply to uk.d-i-y if you can add something to the thread otherwise you are wasting bandwidth.
  9. DIY is very diverse so use appropriate subject titles to avoid people downloading stuff they are not interested in. If a thread is changing tack then rename it if it would be useful to others. In that case, use the form: "New subject (was Old subject)".
  10. Please do not cross-post your questions to uk.d-i-y and multiple other newsgroups as our cultures may be completely incompatible. If you must address disparate newsgroups, send individual messages to each. Cross-posting a question on paths, sheds, walls, ponds etc to news:uk.rec.gardening is a reasonable exception.

Some More General Posting Guidelines

  1. Please try to give enough background information to allow people to answer your questions correctly and without wasting their time speculating about information you have not given.
  2. Please only quote the minimum amount of material in your follow-ups to give context, and delete the rest. It is usually most effective to break quoted material up into bite-sized chunks: quoting a paragraph, replying to it, quoting another paragraph, replying, and so on. Delete the excess but take care that any quoted material is correctly attributed to their authors .
  3. Include a signature at the bottom of your message. This will guarantee that any newsreaders which strip header information will not delete the only reference in the message of how people may reach you. Signatures should be of the form:
    --
    No more than four lines, each a maximum of
    75 characters long, of name, email address,
    web address, icq# number, disclaimer,
    company services, or amusing anecdotes etc.


    Note that the "-- " should actually be dash, dash, space.
  4. Save bandwidth! YOU might have a free internet feed but the majority of us have to pay to receive our news and it's more than annoying if half of it is junk, irrelevant or unnecessarily repetitious!
  5. Consider that a large audience will see your posts, possibly including your present or your future employers. Take care in what you write. Remember that newsgroups are archived on News Servers, and that your words may be stored for eternity and very visibly.
  6. Assume that individuals speak for themselves, and what they say does not represent their organisation (unless stated explicitly).
  7. Remember that news takes system resources (e.g. memory and bandwidth). Pay attention to any specific rules covering their uses your organisation may have.
  8. Messages and articles should be brief and to the point. Don't wander off-topic, don't ramble and don't send mail or post humourless messages solely to point out other people's errors in typing or spelling.
  9. Forgeries and spoofing ("sporging") are to be abhorred.
  10. Since newsgroups proliferate by distributing the postings from one host to another, it is possible to see a response to a message before seeing the original. If you've posted something and don't see it immediately, don't assume it's failed and re-post it. It will most likely eventually appear in its own sweet time or when any network blockage has cleared.
  11. Be careful when you reply to postings. You may accidentally send a personal response to a great many people, embarrassing all involved. If you find a personal message has gone to a newsgroup, send an apology to the person and a brief one to the group.
  12. Avoid posting articles which are no more than gratuitous replies to replies or "Me too" messages.
  13. Don't send large files to newsgroups unless the group is specifically for "binaries". Otherwise put them on a website and point readers to them.
  14. Don't get involved in flame wars. Just walk away from them.
  15. If you are caught in an argument, keep the discussion focused on issues rather than the personalities involved. The world is full of jumped-up, arrogant little upstarts but you will earn greater respect, live longer, be happier and be more prosperous by sticking dispassionately to the facts!
  16. If you should find yourself in a disagreement with one person, make your responses to each other via mail rather than continue to send messages to the list or the group. If you are debating a point on which the group might have some interest, you may summarise for them later.
  17. Use emoticons such as  :-)  ;-)  :-o  etc. particularly to indicate humour. See below.
  18. If you redirect replies to other newsgroups using "Follow-up-To:" in the header of your posting, warn readers! It is normally assumed that a message posted to a specific group will have its follows sent to that group.
  19. Content of a follow-up post should ideally exceed quoted content. Similarly, avoid posting "what a load of old codswallop" messages unless you can substantiate your claim with reasoned arguments. Without such arguments you will be regarded with as much contempt as any Troll who gets his kicks from trying to start fights.
  20. Send mail when an answer to a question is for one person only. The whole world is probably NOT interested in a personal response.
  21. Consider using Reference sources (Computer Manuals, Newspapers, help files) before posting a question. But asking a Newsgroup where answers are readily available elsewhere often generates grumpy "RTFM". See below.

Acronyms

Acronyms are words formed from the first letters of words in common phrases. Here are a few examples in everyday use:

  • AFAIK As far as I know
  • AKA Also known as
  • BAK Back at keyboard
  • BTDT Been there done that
  • BFN Bye for now
  • [bg] Big Grin
  • BTW By the way
  • DAMHIK Don't ask me how I know
  • FWIW For what it's worth
  • FYI For your information
  • [g] Grin
  • GMTA Great minds think alike
  • HTH Hope this helps
  • IAE In any event
  • IANAL I am not a lawyer (but ...)
  • IIRC If I recall correctly
  • IMO In my opinion
  • IMHO In my humble (honest) opinion
  • IOW In other words
  • IYSWIM If you see what I mean
  • LOL Lots of laughs or Laugh out loud
  • OIC Oh I see
  • OTOH On the other hand
  • PITA Pain in the arse
  • ROTFL Rolling on the floor laughing
  • RTFM read the flipping manual
  • SWIM See what I mean
  • THX Thanks
  • TIA Thanks in advance
  • TLA Three lettered acronym
  • TTFN Ta-ta for now
  • [vbg] Very Big Grin
  • WRT With regards/respect to

Emoticons

Emoticons are shorthand symbols used in email and newsgroup postings to illustrate mood / tone / humour (hence emotion icon) in what would otherwise be a 'cold' medium. Use them or your true meaning may be misconstrued!

Here are a few of the more useful ones:

:) or :-)
smiley
;-)
wink /not serious
:( or :-(
frown

:\ or :-\

Smirk
:-@
Swearing / distasteful
:O or :-o
Surprise / Realisation / Yelling (depends on context)
>-|
Frown / displeased
:-|
No feelings/don't care / so what? (some people use this for frown)
<:-)
Feeling stupid; asking beginners question (wearing dunces hat); or wizard
O:-)
Feeling superior; making innocent remark (halo above head)
:-P
Poking tongue out
:-]
Not impressed
:-[
Disappointed
>:-)
Bad / naughty / devilish
:-?
licking lips
:-x
Kiss OR Not Telling (make sure you know which!)
<grin>
or <g>
Grin!
(-:
Smile (user is left-handed or Australian)
:-*
Kiss
:->
Very happy
:-<
Terribly sad
:'-(
Crying
:-/
Thinking
:-D or :-))
Big smile
8-)
Glasses (boggle eyed)
B-)
Sunglasses (dazzled)