The L-Space-Web: AFPA on the Web
Frequently Asked Questions

Version 1.40, last modified June 3rd 1997

Special note regarding commercial announcements

There are an increasing amount of postings to afp.announce which are of a commercial nature - "commercial" in this case meaning real, profit-making enterprises such as publishers, rather than non-profit making entities such as, ooh, conventions. I've had a few instances of companies posting multiple advertisements for the same thing, and also of over-keen employees posting things which it turned out they weren't supposed to. Therefore, I've decided that commercial organisations will be allowed one announcement per product/event/whatever, and multiple advertisements will be bounced. Also, it would be beneficial if companies anticipating more than one or two announcements could nominate one person who will be posting these announcements and let me know who they are. And finally, hey, I'm promoting your stuff for free here, so any free stuff that's going would doubtless be appreciated. *grin* --

  1. What's AFPA for?
    What you'd expect it to be for. Vaguely importantish announcements concerning Terry Pratchett and his works, happenings, book releases, tours, important happenings, pissups, anything as long as it's Pratchettish and not answered in the FAQ.

  2. When was this group created?
    November 1994, after the usual alt.config discussions (no objections, it was a normal pregnancy and birth). The readership of AFP felt that there was a need for a moderated, low-traffic (well, lower than AFP) group for important stuff. I could not but obey...

  3. Who moderates it?
    Andy Fawcett,, and Robert Collier, do, bless'em. In case of dispute, acts as comoderator. This doesn't happen very often, though, as few spammers are dumb enough to complain. Mail to the moderators should be addressed to

  4. Dear Friend, My name is Dave Rhodes. In 1991 my car was...
    No thanks. Unsolicited advertising will only be posted if it's Pratchett-related. Clarecraft, CMOT and their kin are Allowed. MAKE.MONEY.FAST, Green Card spams, Skinny Dip and so on are not. A particularly dim view will be taken of those mass-posters who bypass the moderation system. Spammers WILL be reported to abuse@site, or as necessary.

  5. Does anyone have the words to A Wizards Staff Has A Knob On The End'? Or The Hedgehog Can Never Be Buggered At All?
    Yes. Lots of people do. The answer can be found in the FAQ, which pops up with mysterious regularity in both AFP and AFPA.

  6. Anyone got the rules to Cripple Mr Onion?
    See (6). If I'm in a benevolent mood then you'll get a pointer to the FAQ. If I'm not then your article will probably get dropped unceremoneously in the bit bucket. In summary, if you're new to the group then please, please read the AFP FAQ before asking questions, especially in the .announce group. There's a large possibility that it's been answered in the past.

  7. Has anyone noticed that in Mort, Mort is Death in French?
    Quite probably. If you have a great new annotation which everyone just has to know about immediately, first take a look at the Annotated Pratchett File (APF), maintained by the excessively spare time-endowed Leo Breebaart, and available from the L-Space Web, right here. If you find that your annotation isn't in there, we'd love to hear about it.

  8. My site doesn't carry AFPA, sigh. I feel deprived.
    Quite a lot of sites have become, quite sensibly, choosy about creating new alt groups. AFPA was discussed and newgrouped following all the rules, so most sites should have it. If yours doesn't, send a polite message to your sysadmins asking if there's any chance they could carry it. It's a low traffic group, and most people will happily create it on their systems if requested. In the case of more drastic problems (leaf sites not being able to carry it as their upstream feed doesn't have it) this will need a little more negotiation. Talk very nicely indeed to your sysadmins. Ply them with drink.

  9. Hey! I submitted my article a whole TWELVE HOURS ago and it hasn't been posted, you useless git!
    Chill. I do this as a particularly warped hobby. I'm not in front of my computer all the time, and approving articles takes time. If I'm in a hurry, it might just have to wait. Still, this doesn't mean I can't get a decent turnround - most articles should be turned round in <24 hours, and if I'm at work and things are reasonably quiet, they might get out in under an hour. Your articles are generally approved quicker if you're nice to me, format your submissions properly (see 11) and don't send me messages like the one above (it has happened). If you're really nice to me and ply me with drink, then your articles may move faster. Free drink, expensive scotch (Islay malt particularly appreciated), money, whatever.[1]

  10. How should my postings be formatted?
    There's been a bit of an increase recently in badly formatted postings. I don't have the time to tidy up people's spolling mistooks, line lengths, etc, for them, so please read the following hints on "how to not get your article returned for being messy". I might start bouncing people's articles soon if they don't conform at least vaguely these guidelines.

    1. Postings should be less than 80 characters wide. The following device, known as a clueler, gives some idea of the acceptable page width for usenet articles. Thanks to Wolfgang Schelongowski,

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    2. Use a fixed-width font (i.e. Courier) for composing articles, rather than a proportional one like Times. In particular, do NOT try and do ASCII art like maps in a proportional font - it will come out as a complete mess on most people's screens. In short, don't assume anybody's using the same font as you are.

    3. Provide a meaningful Subject: header - for instance, "Oxford Meet 17 August - Details" is much more meaningful than "Announcement", which still appears on a depressing proportion of submissions.

    4. Don't put important information like dates of meets only in the subject line of an article -- put it prominently in the body as well. If it's hard to find, some people (like this moderator) might get confused and start sending you mail.

    5. Articles with no valid return email address will NOT be posted. This is because i) it's a violation of the RFC, and ii) I don't like it.

    6. It sounds petty, but please check your spelling, grammar and punctuation to be at least legible. It makes your article look that much nicer..

  11. I don't want junk email! I'm going to mangle my email address so spammers can't get at me!
    Articles submitted with a mangled email address in an attempt to foil spammers will be fixed before posting, or rejected if I can't work out how to fix them. Posting mangled headers is not the solution to the spam problem, it's giving in to the spammers. See 11(e) as well. Anyone wishing to discuss this should take it up with me via email.

  12. What is the charter of this crappy group, anyway?
    View it if you really want to know.

[1] For the humourless, this is a joke. You _don't_ have to bribe the moderator. (I wouldn't say no, though..)

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