: What Is AFP?


What is AFP?

A semi-mythical account of the history of a newsgroup called Based on ancient scrolls and oral lore.


  1. In the beginning al-Goreh [1] created the net.
  2. And the Usenet was without form, and void.
  3. And some people said, let us make us a newsgroup, where fans of Terry Pratchett can talk and rejoice: and there was a newsgroup.
  4. And the newsgroup prospered and brought forth funny jokes, profound thoughts, and hedgehogs.
  5. And the people saw that this was jolly good.
  6. And the people said: let us call us afpers, for that is our nature.
  7. And the afpers were fruitful and multiplied.
  8. It came to pass that a great wickedness fell over afp, and irrelevant was not separated from relevant, and a great flood of threads about pubic wigs and roundabouts covered afp.
  9. The prophet Orin spake unto afp thusly: Let us make us another newsgroup, three hundred cubits times fifty cubits times thirty cubits, where quiet, constructive and relevant discussion about books of Terry Pratchett is fostered.
  10. And this newsgroup was named alt.books.pratchett.
  11. And the people saw that this, too, was jolly good.
  12. And both groups prospered, and the newbies were clueful, the jokes were funny, the discussions had substance and the land flowed milk and honey.


  1. These are the names of the twelve tribes of afp:
  2. Old Farts, Geeks and Pit-bulls.
  3. Analysts, Humanists and Cynicists.
  4. Jokers, OLFers[2] and Panto-boys[3].
  5. Scapegoats, Empty Barrels and Newbies.
  6. Now behold, the twelve tribes did not agree upon what is appropriate in afp and what is not appropriate.
  7. Verily, let us study the group charter, some people said.
  8. Nay, said the others, for the charter is obsolete after founding of alt.books.pratchett.
  9. Verily, the atmosphere is getting inflammable, do lets cool down, some people said.
  10. Nay, said the others, for we should not fear controversy.
  11. And an afper turned against an afper, and there was plenty of groaning and grievance, and their language was confounded so that one did not understand the point of the other.
  12. Let us go, the Old Farts said, for there is no more place for us here. Our newsgroup hath become an abomination.
  13. Come, the Old Farts said, for there is a Newsgroup of Promise over there
    and that newsgroup we shall call
  14. And the Old Farts went away to the Newsgroup of Promise, and there was a great cry throughout the land of afp, such as there never has been before, or since.
  15. And the Old Farts placed a moderator with a flaming sword at the gates of


  1. The Old Farts in looked around and murmured: Why came we forth out of afp into this wilderness? In afp we at least had some flesh to bite.
  2. Come, let us return to afp, the Old Farts said. Mayhap the wickedness there has lifted.
  3. And the Old Farts returned to afp, and people from all twelve tribes looked around themselves and said: Perhaps we really could do with some order, discipline and guidelines around here.
  4. And the sages of afp went up unto a mountain. And behold! when they came down they had The Ten FAQs carved upon stone tables.
  5. And The Ten FAQs gave the children of afp the Rules, would they not be like the unwashed heathen around them in lesser newsgroups.
  6. And the FAQs said: thou shalt tag thy posts. R is for relevant, I for irrelevant.
  7. Thou shalt write thy reply below the text that is replied to, and thou shalt snip the superfluous quotations.
  8. Thou shalt not post fanfiction, binaries, or spam into pratchett newsgroups
  9. Thou shalt not use spamtraps; spamtraps are an abomination.
  10. Thou shalt most of all think before thou postest.
  11. This, and many other things did the FAQs say.
  12. And the afpers abided by the sacred word of FAQs; and they prospered greatly.

Numbers [4]

  1. And this is the size and scope of afp-community.
  2. Five active newsgroups.
  3. Three IRC channels.
  4. Two Discworld conventions.
  5. Five Clarecraft Discworld-events.
  6. Fourscore and seven smaller meetings.
  7. A dozen and a half marriages, or other pair bondings.
  8. Three births.


  1. This is the history of afp, of nine years, seven months and twenty days.
  2. The group has waxed and the group has waned and there has been laughter and there has been heart-break.
  3. So rejoice, O Newbie, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer in casting threads, and panto-threads, and afproposals.
  4. And be not afraid of the Old Farts if they murmur: We already have done this topic to death, we have.
  5. But know then, that if thou stayest, thou too will see it all many times over; for there is no new thing under the sun, and some afp-threads are as recurrent as a very recurrent thing.
  6. And thou, Old Fart, say not that the former days were better than these. For the days may have been better or the days may have been worse, but who can tell for certain when it is you who are not the same any more.
  7. Live wisely and joyfully all your days, O children of afp, hearken the FAQs, and keep thy feet out of thine mouths.

[1] from old Aramaic: gh'orgh'ed (a.): satiated, stuffed

[2] OLF: one line followup

[3] pantomime: a peculiar, allegedly humourous, British tradition. Some scholars maintain panto is a sinister initiation rite, and not humourous as such.

[4] the figures in Numbers are poorly supported by historical records, and most scholars think they are more or less fictional. The author of Numbers probably had an ideological agenda: promoting the controversial idea of AFP and its outgrowths as a 'community'.

Disclaimer: I am not liable of anything I have written.

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