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Message-ID: [email protected]> Newsgroups: humanities.answers From: [email protected] (*.answers moderation team) Reply-To: [email protected] (*.answers moderation team) Subject: *.answers submission guidelines Date: 19 Aug 2006 04:40:09 GMT  Archive-name: news-answers/guidelines Version: $Id: guidelines,v 2.57 2005/03/15 14:30:12 dalamb Exp $ Posting-Frequency: monthly Copyright: see Section 5  [The most recent copy of this document can be obtained via anonymous FTP as  If you do not have access to anonymous FTP, you can get a copy by sending email to [email protected] with the command  "send faqs/news-answers/guidelines" in the message.]    Subject: 0. What is this document?  This document describes what you need to do in order to cross-post an article to news.answers and, if appropriate, one or more of the other moderated *.answers newsgroups (alt.answers, comp.answers, de.answers, humanities.answers, misc.answers, rec.answers, sci.answers, soc.answers, and talk.answers).  If you're not familiar with these newsgroups, please read the posting "Introduction to the *.answers newsgroups".  For help with writing the FAQ itself, try the "FAQs about FAQs".  See Section 4 for how to get a copy of either of these.  These guidelines are pretty long, but you probably won't need to read all of them.  Please at least read all of Section 1, "Probably all you'll need to know," before submitting your posting.  If you have problems, you're submitting a multi-part posting, or you'll be doing anything fancy at all, read the appropriate sections of Section 2 as well.  We can help you better and more quickly if you follow the guidelines as closely as you can.  Please note that you DO NOT need to follow these guidelines if you are not interested in cross-posting to the *.answers newsgroups.  Although we encourage authors of appropriate postings to submit them for cross- posting into *.answers, there are numerous reasons why authors may choose not to do so.  If you don't want to cross-post your article but you'd like it listed in the List of Periodic Informational Postings and archived at and various mirrors anyway, see Section 3.2.  CONTENTS  Subject: 1. Probably all you'll need to know ============================================ 1.1 What to do 1.2 Sample posting headers 1.3 Checklist 1.4 The guidelines        A. Normal Usenet header lines            a. Newsgroups (REQUIRED)                 b. Subject (REQUIRED)            c. Followup-To (REQUIRED)            d. From (REQUIRED)            e. Summary (OPTIONAL)        B. Auxiliary header lines            a. Archive-name (REQUIRED)            b. Posting-Frequency (OPTIONAL)            c. Last-modified, Version, URL, Copyright, Maintainer (all                   OPTIONAL)  1.5 Submitting your article 1.6 What to do next  Subject: 2. More detail and special cases ========================================= 2.1 More optional headers        A. Expires, Supersedes (both OPTIONAL)        B. Reply-To (OPTIONAL)        C. Other archive names (OPTIONAL) 2.2 Posting frequency 2.3 Mailing lists for periodic informational postings          maintainers 2.4 Multiple part postings        A. Header example        B. Subject        C. References (OPTIONAL)        D. Archive-name        E. Summary 2.5 Diffs (lists of changes to other files) 2.6 FAQ formats 2.7 Maintenance tools        A. Automatic posting        B. HTML conversion 2.8 Special cases        A. What if you can't follow the guidelines, or don't want to?        B. Posting to multiple moderated newsgroups        C. uk.answers        D. Posting to a foreign-language newsgroup        E. Using PGP or other authentication  Subject: 3. Appendix ==================== 3.1 The archive 3.2 The List of Periodic Informational Postings 3.3 Why we have guidelines  Subject: 4. Where to find related documents =========================================== 4.1 Introduction to the *.answers newsgroups 4.2 FAQs about FAQs 4.3 Minimal Digest Format 4.4 *.answers post-approval guidelines 4.5 Archive index 4.6 List of Periodic Informational Postings  Subject: 5. About this posting ==============================    Subject: 1. Probably all you'll need to know ============================================  1.1 What to do  First, make sure your article is appropriate for the newsgroups, then  modify the headers of your posting to conform to the guidelines in  Section 1.4 (and appropriate sections of Section 2).  Submit it to us  (see Section 1.5), wait for approval, and then begin cross-posting your  article (see Section 1.6).   1.2 Sample posting headers      A. Full     -------      Here is what the headers of a FAQ might look like, as submitted to     us.  For more information, see the checklist and the guidelines     themselves, Sections 1.3 and 1.4.  From: [email protected] (Joe R. Programmer) Newsgroups:,, misc.answers,  soc.answers, news.answers Subject: [] Welcome - read this first! Summary: This posting describes the newsgroup, including           where to find more information.  It should be read by anyone who          wishes to post to the newsgroup.  Archive-name: foo/welcome Posting-Frequency: monthly Last-modified: 1992/03/25 Version: 2.5 URL: Copyright: (c) 1995-1996 Joe Programmer Maintainer: Joe Programmer <[email protected]> and Cathy Code <[email protected]>       The line separating the normal header from the auxiliary header     must be completely blank, i.e., with no tabs or spaces; there must     also be one or more lines immediately following the auxiliary     header which are completely blank.      B. Minimal     ----------      A minimal set of headers which would still meet these guidelines     might look like this:  From: [email protected] Newsgroups:, misc.answers, news.answers Subject: Resource Guide (v. 1.0)  Archive-name: bar/resource-guide  1.3 Checklist  Following is a checklist for your *.answers submission.  Please go through all the questions; if you're not positive you can say "yes" to all of them, look at the relevant sections of this article, and correct your submission accordingly.  (Even if you can say "yes" to them all, please look over Section 1.4, the Guidelines, anyway. They're not that long, and they're packed with vitamins and minerals.)  Newsgroups line     Does the posting have a properly-formatted Newsgroups line with at         least one newsgroup other than the *.answers newsgroups?     Does the Newsgroups line contain news.answers?     Are the *.answers newsgroups at the end of the Newsgroups line, with         news.answers last?     Does the Newsgroups line contain all necessary *.answers newsgroups?     Does the Newsgroups line contain only necessary *.answers newsgroups?  Subject line     Does the posting have an informative Subject line?     Is important information in the Subject line near the beginning?  Followup-To line     Does the posting have a valid Followup-To line?     Does the Followup-To line not have any *.answers newsgroups?  From line     Does the posting have a From or Reply-To line with your correct         email address?   Summary line     If your posting has a Summary, and if it's on more than one line,         does each line after the first start with a tab or space?  Auxiliary header     Does the posting have an auxiliary header with (at least) an         Archive-name line?     Is the auxiliary header separated from the main header by exactly         one completely blank line?     Is the auxiliary header separated from the body of your posting by          at least one completely blank line?     Are all the headers in the auxiliary header in a valid format?  Other information     Have you told us the frequency of your posting?     If you want to subscribe to faq-maintainers, have you done so?     If you want to subscribe only to faq-maintainers-announce, have         you told us so?  1.4 The guidelines  The *.answers guidelines don't cover the format or content of your article at all, as long as it's periodically posted, human-readable information of some sort, and not overly commercial. (Unbiased discussions of commercial products are welcome, but advertisements aren't appropriate in *.answers.)  See Section 2.6 for suggestions about formats, though.  What the guidelines do specify is some of the headers.      A. Normal Usenet header lines     -----------------------------      In addition to the headers below, your posting can contain any of     the standard Usenet headers.          a. Newsgroups (REQUIRED)         ------------------------          Example:  Newsgroups:,, misc.answers,  soc.answers, news.answers          Include the "home" (appropriate, non-*.answers) newsgroup(s)         for your posting, the corresponding *.answers newsgroup(s) for         the hierarchies of those home newsgroup(s) (e.g., if you post         to any soc.* groups, include soc.answers), and news.answers         (even if you're not posting to any news.* newsgroups).  Your         posting must have at least one "home" newsgroup.  Put all the         *.answers groups at the end, and news.answers last.  Put a         single space after the colon, and no spaces, tabs, or carriage         returns anywhere else in the line.  (Many news programs can't         handle multi-line Newsgroups headers.)          b. Subject (REQUIRED)         ---------------------          Examples:  Subject: [] Welcome - read this first! Subject: Foo FAQ, v. 1.1 (modified 07/11/95)          Make sure your subject is understandable to someone who isn't         familiar with the topic being discussed and doesn't know which         home newsgroup it came from.  Put important information near         the beginning, so news readers that truncate Subjects don't         cut it off.  Don't start with "The" or "FAQ", or your posting         won't alphabetize nicely.  Unless you think your posting will         be read by many people who don't know what the acronym means,         using "FAQ" instead of "Frequently Asked Questions" will be         more legible.           Your Subject must have the exact same capitalization,         punctuation, and spacing every time, but a date or version         number can change, as long as the format stays constant.          c. Followup-To (REQUIRED)         -------------------------          Examples:           Include a Followup-To header so followup postings don't get         sent to *.answers newsgroups or to the moderators.  It can         contain one or more of the home newsgroup(s), or, if you want         followups sent directly to you, the word "poster".  Do NOT put         an email address in the Followup-To line.          d. From (REQUIRED)          ------------------          Example:  From: [email protected] (Joe R. Programmer)          Your posting should have a From line.  On nearly all systems,         the From line will automatically contain your correct Internet         address.  If it doesn't, see section 2.1B.          e. Summary (OPTIONAL)         ---------------------          Example:  Summary: This posting describes the newsgroup,      including where to find more information.  It should be read by      anyone who wishes to post to the newsgroup.          You are encouraged to put a summary of the contents of your         article in the Summary line of the header.  There have been         discussions about using the Summary lines of the postings in         *.answers to construct a short "catalog" of the information         available, so think of the Summary line as a catalog entry for         your posting.          Your Summary can span multiple lines, as long as every line         after the first one STARTS with a space or tab.      B. Auxiliary header lines     -------------------------      The auxiliary header looks like the main message header (i.e., has     lines of the format "Line-name: line value"), but it's separated     from the main message header by exactly one completely blank line,     as well as followed by a completely blank line separating it from     the body of the message.  The "Line-name" part can't contain any     spaces; use hyphens instead.          a. Archive-name (REQUIRED)         --------------------------          Examples:  Archive-name: foo/welcome Archive-name: foo-faq/reading-list          Your posting must include an auxiliary header with an         Archive-name line.  Choose a name that's reasonably         comprehensible to someone outside the field; try to avoid         abbreviations.  The archive name should describe what's in the         posting, not necessarily the name of the newsgroup it's in.         If you're not sure what name to use, take a guess, and we'll         suggest a different one if we think it would fit better.  For         multiple-part postings or diffs (files of changes), see         Sections 2.4 and 2.5.          Separate words with hyphens, and put slashes between name         components.  Try to keep each component under 14 characters,         or at least put the important parts in the first 14         characters.  Don't use spaces, tabs, punctuation (apart from         hyphens (-), slashes (/), and underscores (_)), or all         uppercase.  Only use slashes to show levels in the hierarchy,         since when your posting is archived, components between         slashes will become directory and subdirectory names.          To make the archives more useful, we encourage collecting         similar postings in the same directory; for example, there are         a number of FAQs about Macintosh computers and software in the         archive, all of whose names begin with "macintosh/".  To see         some of the directories that already exist, look at the index         of the archives (see Section 4.5 for how to get it).  Don't         worry too much about finding just the right place for your         posting; we will suggest a new name for it if we think it fits         into one of the existing directories.          Your posting will be archived in several different places at, but the most stable one is derived from your         archive name: /pub/faqs/ARCHIVE-NAME          b. Posting-Frequency (OPTIONAL)         -------------------------------          Example:  Posting-Frequency: monthly (except June)          If you specify this line, updates you make to it will be         automatically copied into the "List of Periodic Informational         Postings" (see Section 3.2).  You can describe your posting         frequency however you like.          If you don't choose to include a Posting-Frequency header, you         still have to let us know how often you plan to post, so we         can put the information in the List of Periodic Informational         Postings.  If it isn't obvious from the Subject or Summary of         your FAQ, you can tell us the frequency in a separate note.          Please note that you're welcome and encouraged to keep posting         regularly even if your FAQ hasn't changed between postings.         If you don't post at least every three months, and you don't         tell us to expect your FAQ less often than that, it may         disappear from the archive because the automatic         archive cleanup scripts assume it's out of date.          For advice on how often to post and some comments about         posting frequently, see Section 2.2.          c. Last-modified, Version, URL, Copyright, Maintainer (all                 OPTIONAL)          ----------------------------------------------------------          Example:  Last-modified: March 25, 1995 Version: 2.5 URL: Copyright: (c) 1995-1996 Joe Programmer Maintainer: Joe Programmer <[email protected]> and Cathy Code <[email protected]>           You can have other lines in the auxiliary header, if you         want. Some common ones are "Last-modified:", "Version:", and         "Copyright:", which should be self-explanatory.  A "URL:" line         could contain a World Wide Web "address," if you have one for         your FAQ.  (See Section 2.7B for information about HTML         versions, including some automatically created ones.)  The         required "From:" header in the main headers (see Section         1.4A) will usually give the name and email address of the         maintainer, but if you want to provide more information, or if         your FAQ is being posted by someone else (see Section 2.8A),         you may wish to add a "Maintainer:" header.          Our archive scripts and other software "know" about these         particular auxiliary headers, and may attempt to handle them         in special ways.  Although it's not specifically required, it         would be best if you stuck to these exact header names for         information which fits these categories, rather than using         arbitary variations on the themes.  However, if you have other         types of information to include, you can create new auxiliary         headers as you see fit.          You may put any text you want in these and other unrequired         headers, in any format you like, as long as the name of the         header doesn't have any whitespace; use hyphens instead (i.e.,         "Last-modified: " instead of "Last modified: ").          [However, some formats may enable additional functionality on         certain archives.  For example, several formats have been         proposed for auxillary header lines to allow citation of         multiple, not just one, URL's, or which would allow the poster         to control what descriptive text will be displayed for the         hyperlinks corresponding to those URL's after conversion of         the posting by one of the Web-based archives.  See the         faq-maintainers mailing list for continuing discussion.  If         consensus is reached, examples will be included in future         versions of this document.]  1.5 Submitting your article      A. How actually to submit your postings     ---------------------------------------      After you've changed your posting to follow the guidelines, there     are three ways to submit it to the *.answers moderators for     approval, listed below from most to least recommended.      If your posting does not contain a Posting-Frequency line in the     auxiliary header, please also email us at     [email protected] telling us how often you plan to     post.  You should also ask any questions you may have or make any     comments or explanations by sending us email at that time.      Maintainers of FAQs and other periodic informational postings are     strongly urged to join the faq-maintainers mailing list.  See     Section 2.3 for more information.          1. The automated FAQ-checker         ----------------------------          The recommended method is to use the FAQ-checker, which will         automatically check to be sure that your posting follows these         guidelines and send you a message explaining what's wrong if         it doesn't.  If your posting passes, the FAQ-checker will send         it on to us.  Articles which have been "okayed" by the         FAQ-checker can be processed by us more quickly.          To use the FAQ-checker, put your whole FAQ, including all the         regular and auxiliary headers, in the BODY of a message sent         to [email protected]  (If you're counting on         your news software to include a From: line for you, you'll         have to add it by hand for this submission.)  That means that         your final message will have three sets of headers: the email         headers which tell it to go to the FAQ-checker, the main         headers for your news posting, and the auxiliary header which         includes the Archive-name.            Note that the faq-checker doesn't understand MIME, so you         can't just attach your posting to your email.  If your mail         software has an "encode" or "quoted-printable" option, turn it         off, and make sure there are no stray 8-bit characters         (accents, "smart" quotes, em dashes, etc.) in your file.  You         should also be sure your mailer doesn't split long lines         (e.g., your Newsgroups: header).  If the faq-checker can't         find lines that you know are present in your submitted file,         chances are either your lines are being wrapped or your         message is being MIME encoded.          If you want to have your posting checked, but for some reason         you don't want to submit it just yet, include the word         "ignore" in the Subject of your email to the FAQ-checker.         It'll send you the same diagnostic reply, but it won't         actually send your posting to us, even if it has no problems.         Otherwise, you can use whatever you like as the Subject of         your email.          2. Cross-posting         ----------------          If your mailer won't send your submission correctly (for         instance, it insists on splitting long lines) or you're         concerned that your news software won't handle the post         properly, you can also submit it for approval by cross-posting         it to all the newsgroups you would eventually like to post it         to -- unless you're posting to another moderated newsgroup         too, in which case see Section 2.8B.  Please send the file         exactly as you plan to post it.  As long as you don't have         approval from a newsgroup moderator, your posting will be         mailed to us and will NOT show up in any newsgroup, even if         you list other newsgroups on the Newsgroups line besides         *.answers groups.  Therefore, you can and should place ALL         Newsgroups to which you intend to post in the Newsgroups line,         in the order they'll be in when you post.          If you are taking over an existing posting (i.e., the old         maintainer has given responsibility to you for posting), be         sure to remove any existing approval headers before posting it         as a submission, or we won't receive it.          3. Direct submission         --------------------          If you have problems with the other submission methods, you         can send your posting to us by email to [email protected]         instead.  Only articles should go to that address, not         comments or questions.  For any other *.answers-related         messages, use [email protected]      B. What will we do with your submission     ---------------------------------------      We'll either agree that the posting belongs in *.answers as-is,     ask you to make minor modifications to its headers in order to     make it acceptable, or reject it as inappropriate for *.answers.     If you are asked to make modifications, please do so and resubmit     the posting to us using one of the three methods above.      Note: the *.answers moderators are all volunteers, doing *.answers     moderation in our (sometimes rare) spare time; we receive     thousands of submissions, correspondence, and other email each     month in our roles as *.answers moderators.  Therefore, we can't     always process submissions and other *.answers-related     correspondence immediately.  As of February 1995, all submissions     and e-mail to the *.answers moderation team are automatically     acknowledged with a return-receipt message to assure submitters     that we have received their articles and will review them     eventually, usually in the order that they were received.      If you do not receive an acknowledgment message from us within 48     hours or so, one of two things has likely happened:      1. If you posted your submission, your news site is misconfigured        and did not send us your posting.  You may have to mail it to        [email protected] or [email protected]        instead (see Section 1.5) and send a bug report to your local        news administrators ([email protected], where site is your local        domain, works in most cases).      2. We received your article, but our acknowledgment message        bounced because the From: address in your news article was        invalid.  Confirm that it is correct and send us a short        followup message to [email protected] asking if we        received it. If E-mail to us does not bounce, and does not        result in an acknowledgment message from us, your site may        have serious configuration problems that need to be brought to        the attention of its administrators ([email protected] in most        cases).      [Special note to America On-Line submitters: There is a     configuration problem in the AOL news server that prevents our     filter program, which is based on Procmail, from sending the     acknowledgment message.  The reasons are somewhat complex, but     the general idea is that AOL is doing something non-standard with     its mail-header formatting that fools Procmail into thinking that     AOL submissions might cause a mail loop if they were automatically     replied to.  The simplest fix is for AOL to change this to     something standard.  We have brought this to their attention and     eagerly await a solution.]      Because of the potential length of delays involved in getting your     postings approved, in the meantime you will probably want to     continue posting your posting in its home newsgroup(s) on its     regular schedule, so that it remains available to the readers     there.      Please do not send email to any individual moderator's address,     even if he or she was the member of the moderation team who dealt     with you most recently; this will only delay the processing of     your submission.  Always direct your questions, comments, or     flames to [email protected] for anything which is     related to *.answers.  1.6 What to do next  Once your posting has been approved for *.answers, you will cross-post  it directly to all group(s) yourself, by including a special header.   We will explain how to do this in our approval email to you.  (Note  that we are intentionally being somewhat vague.  When we approve your  posting for *.answers, we will provide more specific instructions.)   The *.answers moderators will NOT be posting your articles for you; it  is up to you to do so.  There are several ways to have it posted  automatically; see Section 2.7A for more information.  After your posting has been approved, if any of the required headers, the maintainer, or the frequency changes, you will probably have to let us know and wait for reapproval before posting with the changes. You'll get more detail on this when we approve your posting, or you can see the "*.answers post-approval guidelines" document (see Section 4.4).  You don't need to notify us if you only change the contents or style of the body of your post.    Subject: 2. More detail and special cases =========================================  2.1 More optional headers      A. Expires, Supersedes (both OPTIONAL)     --------------------------------------      Examples:       It is a good idea to use Expires and Supersedes header lines to     make sure that each version of your posting stays around until the     next time it is posted, and so that each posting replaces the     now-outdated previous posting.      The Expires header should contain a date (in the above format)     which is far enough into the future that a new version of the     article will be posted before the one you're posting now expires.     The Supersedes header should contain the Message-ID of the     previously-posted article.  Please note that 'Supersedes' does not     contain the letter 'c' -- most Usenet software will ignore     Supersedes: headers that use a variant spelling of the word.      It's easiest to include these by using an automated posting script     or server (see Section 2.7A).  We've shown both headers in the     format the post_faq package would use.      B. Reply-To (OPTIONAL)     ----------------------      Example:  Reply-To: [email protected] (Foo FAQ Comments Address)      If you want mail about the posting to go to a different address     than the rest of your mail, put the other address in a Reply-To     header.      Likewise, if your news system doesn't put your correct email     address in the From line, then you will need to either use a     posting package (see Section 2.7A) or use a Reply-To line so that     you can get responses to your post.      C. Other archive names (OPTIONAL)     ---------------------------------      Examples:  Misc-foo-archive-name: culture-reading-list Soc-culture-foo-archive-name: reading-list      As noted above, the software which builds the periodic     informational postings archive on automatically uses     the "Archive-name:" line for a posting's file name, when saving it     in any newsgroup ending in ".answers" (news.answers,     rec.aviation.answers, etc.).  In other archive locations, the file     name is usually derived from the posting's Subject.      However, if you have a line of the form     "Newsgroup-name-archive-name: name" in your posting's auxiliary     header ("Newsgroup-name" should be replaced with an actual     newsgroup name, replacing periods with hyphens), the specified     archive name will be used to save in the specified newsgroup.     Such a newsgroup-specific archive name overrides the generic     "Archive-name:" line.      If your posting already has an Archive-name line for other     purposes which is not a valid *.answers archive name and you do     not want to change it (e.g., you are already using an Archive-name     line to specify where your posting should be archived on sites     which archive *.sources newsgroups), you can use a     "News-answers-archive-name:" header line instead.      For example, if you have this in your normal header:      Newsgroups:,,misc.answers,soc.answers,news.answers     Subject: [] Welcome - read this first!      and this in your auxiliary header:      Archive-name: foo/welcome     Misc-foo-archive-name: welcome      then the posting will be saved as "foo/welcome" in the directories     misc.answers/, soc.answers/, and news.answers/ (because they are     all *.answers newsgroups and will use the Archive-name line), but     as "welcome" in  (It will also be archived under its     Subject line in      If you do decide to specify additional newsgroup-specific archive     names in your posting, please follow the guidelines for archive     names given in Section 1.4B.  2.2 Posting frequency  The frequency with which you post is left to your discretion.  Some maintainers find that monthly posting, with an Expires header (see Section 2.1A) to prevent postings from going away before their replacement is posted, is sufficient.  Some other newsgroups are so busy that weekly posting is needed.  Regardless, you're welcome and encouraged to keep posting regularly even if your FAQ hasn't changed between postings.  If you don't post at least every three months, and you don't tell us to expect your FAQ less often than that, it may disappear from the archive because the automatic archive cleanup scripts assume it's out of date.  If you choose to post more frequently than once or twice a month, you might want to consider not cross-posting to *.answers every time you post, especially if your FAQ is very long or has many parts (this overrides our previously expressed desire that you keep your Newsgroups line static).  [Note, however, that if you do this, you can't use Supersedes every time you post, since a posting in just the home newsgroup(s) should not supersede the posting in both the home newsgroup(s) and *.answers.  You might then want to only use a Supersedes line in the version you cross-post to *.answers, and live with the fact that there might be multiple copies of your postings in the home newsgroup(s), which isn't that big a problem.  If you don't understand this parenthetical comment, don't worry about it.]  Another possibility is to post the complete informational posting(s) relatively infrequently, while posting a shorter pointer to it (e.g., providing instructions for getting it from archives) more frequently. Such reminder postings could be posted in the home newsgroups(s) as often as needed and would not need to be cross-posted to *.answers, since the full FAQ would be posted there occasionally.  You could also keep the full FAQ on a WWW page and only ever post a brief pointer, which would then go to *.answers as well.  When submitting your posting, please be sure to let us know the  frequency at which you intend to post it to its home newsgroup(s), as  well as the frequency at which you intend to cross-post it to *.answers  (if different).  The best way for this is to put this information into  the Posting-Frequency lines of the auxiliary header -- you can describe  your frequency in any format that a person reading it will understand.  If possible, pick some random time of the week or month to do your  posting.  For example, don't automatically decide to post it on the  first of the month.  This would cause a flood of postings in *.answers  (and on the Usenet in general) at certain times of the month, and would  be big enough to overwhelm some smaller news sites and many readers of  *.answers.  2.3 Mailing lists for periodic informational postings maintainers  All administrative requests related directly to the faq-maintainers mailing list should be sent to [email protected], using the commands described below.  Requests related to the faq-maintainers-announce list should be sent to that list's maintainers at [email protected]  Official archives of the faq-maintainers list are available from at .  Unofficial archives are also available by FTP from  or in searchable form on the World Wide Web at  .      A. faq-maintainers     ------------------      Maintainers of FAQs and other periodic informational postings are     encouraged to join the faq-maintainers mailing list, which is used     for discussion about the *.answers newsgroups and the maintenance     of Usenet periodic informational postings.  Anyone can subscribe     to these mailing lists -- in particular, you're welcome to     subscribe before you even submit your posting to us, or if you     never plan to.      Traffic on faq-maintainers tends to come in bursts -- it averages     three to four messages per day, but during a burst there may be as     many as several dozen messages in a few hours, and in between such     bursts, there may be a week of no messages at all.      To subscribe, send email to [email protected]     with the command "subscribe" in the Subject line.  For information     about other commands, send the command "help".  If you have     problems subscribing or unsubscribing, send email to the list     administrators at <[email protected]>.      B. faq-maintainers-announce     ---------------------------      If you don't want to be on the discussion list, you may wish to     join the faq-maintainers-announce list, which will be used only     for announcements, instead.  Note that subscribers to the     faq-maintainers list automatically receive all messages sent to     faq-maintainers-announce.      Traffic on faq-maintainers-announce is very low; it is not unheard     of for many months to pass with no messages except for a periodic     copy of the mailing lists policy document.      To subscribe only to faq-maintainers-announce, send email to     [email protected] (read by humans).  2.4 Multiple part postings      A. Header example     -----------------      This is what the headers from part 2 of a 2-part posting might     look like:  From: [email protected] (Joe R. Programmer) Newsgroups:, comp.answers, news.answers Subject: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), Part 2/2 Reply-To: [email protected] (FAQ Comments address) Summary: This posting contains a list of Frequently Asked    Questions (and their answers) about Foo computers.  It    should be read by anyone who wishes to post to the newsgroup.  Archive-name: foo-faq/part2 Posting-Frequency: monthly Last-modified: 1995/03/25 Version: 2.5 (text) URL:      B. Subject (REQUIRED)     ---------------------      Example:  Subject: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), Part 2/2      For postings which are being split into multiple parts, you should     indicate in each posting's Subject line which part that particular     posting is, and how many parts total there are.  Use regular     Arabic numerals instead of Roman numerals, because they're more     easily sorted and manipulated by software.      C. Archive-name (REQUIRED)     --------------------------      Examples:  Archive-name: foo-faq/part1 Archive-name: foo-faq/part2  Archive-name: bar-faq/intro Archive-name: bar-faq/history Archive-name: bar-faq/references      Multi-part postings should be named "name/part1", "name/part2",     etc.  If the parts of the postings are split by topic rather than     by size, then you can use short topic names instead.  See Section     1.4B for more examples.  If you plan to post one or more diffs     (files of changes) for your files, please see Section 2.5.      D. Summary (OPTIONAL)     ---------------------      If you have a group of related postings or a multi-part posting,     you should consider either keeping your summaries in each posting     short (describing only that posting's contents), or having a     completely identical summary for all the postings, describing what     topics the postings collectively cover.  If someone uses your     Summary lines to construct a catalog, as mentioned above, having     identical summaries will allow automatic elimination of redundant     summary text in the catalog.      E. References (OPTIONAL)     ------------------------      Example:       If you are posting a multi-part posting or a series of related     postings, it is a good idea to add a "References:" line to all of     the postings except the first one, making the contents of that     line the Message-ID of the first posting in the series.  People     who use threaded news readers will then be able to manipulate the     entire series as a single thread, including (for example) saving     the entire thread to a file with one command.  The posting tools     mentioned in Section 2.7A all support an option for doing this.  2.5 Diffs (lists of changes to other files)  Examples:  Archive-name: foo-faq/part1 Archive-name: foo-faq/diff  A diff is a file containing only changes to a larger posting.  If you  post a diff for a one-part posting, then the original posting should be  named "name/part1" (or "name/faq", or whatever else has been approved)  and the diff should be named "name/diff".  If you post multiple diffs for multi-part postings, they should be  named "name/diff1", "name/diff2", etc.  (If you want to use just one  diff for multi-part postings, use "name/diff" as its name.)  2.6 FAQ formats  These guidelines DO NOT specify a required format for the bodies of periodic informational postings.  Maintainers are free to choose whatever format they want (assuming that it is human-readable) for the bodies of their postings.  However, you should try to keep your posting well organized and easy to read.  Articles which contain HTML tags won't be necessarily be rejected, but they must be coded so that the text remains easily readable in its original form, without an HTML browser.  Since HTML ignores whitespace nearly everywhere, it's relatively easy to separate tags from the actual content and keep the file readable.  A few formats have been suggested for FAQs.  One which has been proposed is the "minimal digest format"; see Section 4.3 for how to get a copy.  For other format ideas, browse some of the postings in the *.answers newsgroups.  These guidelines also DO NOT specify lower or upper limits for the size  of an acceptable posting.  However, a pragmatic lower limit is set by  the requirement that the articles be reasonably useful to people.  As  for a pragmatic upper limit, maintainers may wish to consider that part  of their audience may not be able to access too large articles due to  intermediary news (and gateway) software problems (64kB is a common  magic size).  2.7 Maintenance tools  Two World Wide Web sites which maintain lists of FAQ maintenance tools  and information resources are David A. Lamb's page of FAQ Maintenance  Aids, at and Infinite Ink's Writing FAQs and Periodic Postings, at     (primary)     (mirror)      A. Automatic posting     --------------------      Many maintainers post their files by hand with no problems.     However, several packages are available if you want to automate     the process.  These all provide options for including Expires,     Supersedes, and References headers and posting multiple parts, as     well as posting on any of a variety of schedules.          a. mail-to-news server         ----------------------          No matter what system you use, you can use the FAQ server         which we run: you use it by mailing your periodic         informational postings and various commands to it, and it         posts them periodically for you, at intervals you specify.         This is a good solution if your site does not have Perl, or         you cannot conveniently install either of the other two         software packages, or your local news server won't let users         post to a moderated newsgroup at all.          For more information about the FAQ server, send e-mail to         [email protected] with "help" (without the quotes) in         the Subject line of your message.  Note that before you send         your posting to the faq-server, you should get it approved by         us.          b. post_faq         -----------          One useful tool for automatically posting your posting at a         frequency you choose is the FAQ poster written by Jonathan         Kamens, which requires the utility program Perl.  Post_faq         takes an article with its static headers (i.e., the headers         that don't change each time the article is posted), adds         dynamic headers to it, and posts the article.          It is available from via anonymous FTP as         /pub/post_faq/post_faq.shar, or via mail server (send e-mail         to [email protected] with "send post_faq/post_faq.shar"         in the body).  The post_faq program is currently maintained by         the *.answers moderators.          c. auto-faq         -----------          Another utility, auto-faq, provides more functionality,         including automatic building and insertion of all headers.  It         also requires Perl.  Originally written by Ian Kluft, it is         now maintained by Paul W. Schleck.  If you are looking for         something with a high level of automation to assist you in         your FAQ maintenance and posting, you might want to try         auto-faq instead of post_faq.  The latest version as of the         writing of this text is 3.3.1.  It may be freely used and 	distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License         (GPL).  It may be obtained from:  	For further assistance with this particular package, send 	e-mail to [email protected]  To subscribe to the user's 	mailing list, send e-mail to [email protected] 	with "subscribe auto-faq-users" in the message body.  An 	acknowledgment and welcome message will follow shortly.      B. HTML conversion     ------------------      All postings on news.answers are automatically converted to HTML     by, and made available at, several World Wide Web sites; for a     good list, see Infinite Ink's page, listed under the Section 2.7     heading.      If you want to make your own HTML version, there are a number of     ways to convert among formats, including HTML, plain text, LaTeX,     SGML, troff, WordPerfect, and Nisus.  See the WWW page of FAQ     Maintenance Aids, listed under the Section 2.7 heading, for more     information.  2.8 Special cases      A. What if you can't follow the guidelines, or don't want to?     -------------------------------------------------------------      If, for technical reasons, you cannot post your article on a     regular basis with the required header formats, you may want to     look into using the faq-server mail-to-news server to     automatically post your article(s).  (See Section 2.7A.)      Some maintainers choose to have another person post their article     for them, such as a non-*.answers newsgroup moderator, or a friend     who posts other periodic postings.  Be careful with this method,     as it may lead to confusion as to who is really maintaining the     post, or to misunderstandings as to when and how the article is to     be posted.      Finally, if you decide not to follow the guidelines at all, you     cannot cross-post your article to the *.answers newsgroups.     However, if it's a periodic informational posting, we would be     glad to list it in the List of Periodic Informational Postings and     archive it at anyway.  See Section 3.2 for more     information.      B. Posting to multiple moderated newsgroups     -------------------------------------------      If you want eventually to post to both *.answers AND one or more     other moderated groups, you need separate approval from each of     the separate moderators.  Wait for approval from each (including     us) before actually posting.  Some moderators require that all     articles posted to their newsgroup be posted through them; others     allow people who are also posting to *.answers to post themselves,     as *.answers itself does.      We prefer that you obtain approval from any other moderators     before submitting your article to us, in case they refuse your     request and you have to remove one or more groups from your     Newsgroups: header.  Once you have received their responses, you     should submit your posting to us via e-mail.  If you try to submit     it by posting, it will probably be sent to the moderator of the     first moderated newsgroup on the Newsgroups line, which, if you've     followed the guidelines correctly, will NOT be one of the     *.answers newsgroups.  So, submit your posting to us by mailing it     to either the FAQ-checker (see Section 1.5A1) or the direct     submission address (see Section 1.5A3). ONLY SUBMISSIONS SHOULD BE     MAILED TO THOSE ADDRESSES.  For any other *.answers-related     messages, use [email protected]      If you're posting to more than one other moderated newsgroup, note     that you will have to submit your file to their moderators by     email as well.  If you post it, it will either be forwarded to the     first moderator in the list again, or if you've included approval     headers, it may be posted to moderated newsgroups for which it is     not yet approved.  Needless to say, that tends to upset people.      C. uk.answers     -------------      The uk.answers newsgroup forms part of the global *.answers system,     but has its own specific requirements and a separate moderator.      If you would like to crosspost your FAQ to uk.answers, please refer to, and then submit your FAQ to     [email protected], and NOT to the *.answers moderation     team. The moderator of the uk.answers will then liase with the *.answers     moderators to ensure that your FAQ meets the requirements of both     groups.      The *.answers moderators will not accept or approve any posting to     uk.answers without the prior approval of the uk.answers moderator.      D. Posting to a foreign-language newsgroup     ------------------------------------------      Postings in languages other than English are welcome, but we would     prefer that you use an English (or bilingual) Subject or Summary.      There is one exception to the above rule of always cross-posting to     the corresponding *.answers groups: articles cross-posted into a     nation-specific hierarchy in a different language than normally     used in that hierarchy.  Such an article should not go into the     corresponding *.answers group for that newsgroup's hierarchy.  At     present, the only such case is de.answers, which is for     German-language periodic informational postings only.  For     example, an English-language posting may be cross-posted to a de.*     group if the maintainer feels it is useful there, but it should     not be cross-posted to de.answers.      E. Using PGP or other authentication     ------------------------------------      If you wish to put an authentication wrapper such as a PGP     signature on your post, you will need to start the     authentication section after the blank line following the     auxiliary header.  A PGP-signed post would look like this:  From: [email protected] Newsgroups:, rec.answers, news.answers Subject: FAQ  Archive-name: pets/rocks  -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----  Welcome to!  Please read this FAQ before posting here.  [Rest of the body of the FAQ.]  -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE----- Version: 2.6.2  iQCVAwUBL2E0vC5ipJ3oD2fRAQHF6QQAjzRwH+BKUyX28fS7Y9SBR5Nzhy2F0Elf ZS7nqBR8hqcPRgDKIyb/q/Wf+pLL+e4FsgPVg1XTHDvc4jjB3GfQVcXXmYPospGA y2FP4obc+MsqwwNP1day2WLxvwnDYwBB5DFsQhtlEpRBfs+8PsGzJRWhgo3avRYj nhveWBivxFo==48L4 -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----    Subject: 3. Appendix ====================  3.1 The archive  All postings in the List of Periodic Informational Postings (LoPIP; see Section 3.2), including all the documents about the *.answers newsgroups themselves, are archived at (  A posting does not have to be cross-posted to any *.answers newsgroups to be stored in the archive, it just has to be in the LoPIP.  In particular, any PIP which is submitted to the *.answers moderators, and for which we can determine the author, Subject, and at least one newsgroup, will be listed in the LoPIP and archived at  Any file at the archive can be obtained by anonymous FTP  or using an email file server.  To request a file, send email to mail- [email protected] containing:      send usenet/FILENAME  in the body of the message.  If you want to find out more about the mail server, send a message to it containing "help".  Most postings are stored under several different filenames, using hard links to save space.  For a posting which is cross-posted to news.answers, the most stable name will be the one derived from its archive name: /pub/faqs/ARCHIVE-NAME  Other informational postings which do not have archive names are saved  in directories corresponding to their Newsgroups, under names derived  by replacing spaces in their Subject lines with underscores.  For  example, a file with the following headers      Subject: Foo Faq (v. 2.5)     Newsgroups:  will be stored as /pub/usenet/ as well as in several other places.  3.2 The List of Periodic Informational Postings  Unless you tell us otherwise, we will add any postings submitted to *.answers to the "List of Periodic Informational Postings" (LoPIP) articles which appear in news.answers and news.lists.misc, and thus begin archiving them at  Even if you don't want to submit your posting for *.answers at this time, we would be glad to add it to the LoPIP.  You don't need to follow any guidelines (apart from appropriateness); just send us a copy of the full headers of your posting, and keep us updated with any changes.  All posts listed in the LoPIP are archived at whether or not they are cross-posted to *.answers.  If you would like to get a copy of the LoPIP postings, to see what  they're like or to check if your posting is already listed, see the  instructions in Section 4.6.  3.3 Why we have guidelines  These *.answers submission guidelines serve to ensure that three  overall goals, established when the *.answers newsgroups were created,  are met by postings which appear there.      A. Automatic archiving     ----------------------      One of the main points for having *.answers newsgroups is that     they can be archived automatically in order to build up a database     of periodic informational postings.  Requirements such as the     "Archive-name:" line further that goal.  Listing home newsgroups     first in the Newsgroups header also helps by providing better key     information for index lists and catalogues of periodic     informational postings.      B. Appropriateness     ------------------      Only PERIODIC, INFORMATIONAL postings that are intended to be read     by people belong in the *.answers newsgroups.  Requirements in the     guidelines such as a valid "Followup-To:" line (to help prevent     replies to particular periodic informational postings from     appearing in the *.answers newsgroups or being mailed to the     moderators) further this goal.  Likewise, listing the home     newsgroup(s) first in the Newsgroups line minimizes accidental     postings to the *.answers newsgroups from people using buggy     newsreaders.      C. Usefulness to people     -----------------------      The postings should be as useful as possible, both for the people     who read them in the home newsgroups and for the people who read     them in the *.answers newsgroups.  Requirements such as     descriptive "Subject:" lines and carefully chosen "Newsgroups:"     lines further this goal.    Subject: 4. Where to find related documents ===========================================  Any file listed here can be obtained in the listed newsgroups, by  anonymous FTP from, or by email.  To request a file from  the mail server, send email to [email protected] containing:     send FILENAME  where FILENAME is the complete file name listed below.  4.1 Introduction to the *.answers newsgroups  Subject: Introduction to the *.answers newsgroups Newsgroups: news.announce.newusers, news.answers, .... File name: /pub/faqs/news-answers/introduction  4.2 FAQs about FAQs  Subject: FAQs about FAQs Newsgroups: news.announce.newusers, news.newusers.questions, news.answers File name: /pub/faqs/faqs/about-faqs  4.3 Minimal Digest Format  Subject: FAQs: A Suggested Minimal Digest Format Newsgroups: news.admin.misc,, news.answers File name: /pub/faqs/faqs/minimal-digest-format  4.4 *.answers post-approval guidelines  Subject: *.answers post-approval guidelines Newsgroups: news.answers, .... File name: /pub/faqs/news-answers/postapproval-guidelines  4.5 Archive index  (not posted to any newsgroups) File name: /pub/usenet/news.answers/index  4.6 List of Periodic Informational Postings  There are twenty "List of Periodic Informational Postings" postings.   Part 1 contains introductory information.  Subject: List of Periodic Informational Postings, Part */20 Newsgroups: news.lists.misc, news.answers File names: /pub/faqs/periodic-postings/*  The mail server will accept wildcards in this format, so sending this file name, with the '*', will get you all the parts.    Subject: 5. About this posting ==============================  (c) Copyright 1991-2002 by the *.answers moderators, all rights reserved.  Redistribution of this document is hereby freely granted so long as the document is redistributed in its entirety (here interpreted as all text which were not automated generated by software as part of the distribution process); in particular, with attributions and this copyright notice.  We would appreciate hearing about any interesting redistributions.  Comments about, suggestions about or corrections to this posting are   welcomed.  If you would like to ask us to change this posting in some  way, the method we appreciate most is for you to actually make the   desired modifications to a copy of the posting, and then to send us the  modified posting, or a context diff between the posted version and your  modified version (if you do the latter, make sure to include in your  mail the "Version:" line from the posted version).  Submitting changes  in this way makes dealing with them easier for us and helps to avoid  misunderstandings about what you are suggesting.  Many people have in the past provided feedback and corrections; we  thank them for their input.  Remaining ambiguities, errors, and  difficult-to-read passages are not their fault. :)   ----------------        [email protected] (David Alex Lamb)       [email protected] (Nick Boalch)        [email protected] (Jonathan I.  Kamens) [Emeritus]       [email protected] (Ping Huang) [Emeritus]       [email protected] (Pamela Greene) [Emeritus]           -- the *.answers moderation team <[email protected]>  ------------------------------  End of "*.answers submission guidelines" Digest *********************************************** 
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