Netiquette, by Virginia Shea, page 66
If you're getting started with USENET newsgroups, check out the many useful articles in the
newsgroups. Do this before you
post anything anywhere.
Lurk for a while before you post.
"Lurking" is reading the discussion group correspondence without actually participating. Don't worry; despite the sinister tone of the word, lurking in cyberspace is not frowned upon -- in fact, it's encouraged. Lurking gives you an idea of who the participants are and what the tone of the discussion is. It helps you avoid mistaking a joke for a serious statement, or posting a comment only to find out that a virtually identical statement appeared in the group yesterday.
Get and read a copy of the
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) document for the group, if it has one. FAQs are incredibly useful documents, often containing more information than many basic textbooks. (They're better written than most textbooks, too.) The FAQ will give you a base level of knowledge that most of the other people in the discussion group share. You can get the FAQs for many
USENET newsgroups by anonymous
FTP from the Internet site
(Note for the online edition: Most FAQs for USENET newsgroups are available in Worldwide Web form at
When you start
posting, post appropriate comments and questions. Try to fit in with the
tone and style of the discussion group. That doesn't mean you should erase the few traces of individuality that remain to you after years of formal schooling. Just behave like a participant in a constructive discussion.
Make sure you're in the right newsgroup. If you think that Barney the dinosaur is the best thing to happen to children's TV since Kermit the frog, don't waste your time in the USENET newsgroup
alt.barney.dinosaur.die.die.die. And don't post notes saying "I HATE CATS" to
rec.pets.cats. Nobody there cares.
When someone writes something that makes you mad (and someone will), resist the impulse to flame back. One angry response can beget a long and nasty flame war.
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