From: Karen <>
Subject: [FAQ] History Monks - the Fanfiction list for Pratchett fans
Summary: This FAQ describes the History Monks mailing list for Pratchett fanfiction.
Followup-To: poster
Organization: I live in hope
Keywords: Pratchett Discworld FAQ fanfiction
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This FAQ is currently edited by Karen but the content and ownership is
shared equally by all the list maintainers of the History Monks
fanfiction mail list.

History Monks - the Fanfiction list for Pratchett fans.

     * Introduction
     * FAQ
     * Thanks and acknowledgements


'Can we post fanfiction here?' is a very Frequently Asked Question on
the Pratchett Usenet groups, to which the answer is 'no'.  There is some
confusion at times on the Usenet Pratchett groups and also elsewhere as
to whether fanfiction is acceptable to Terry at all.

Here is a comment on the subject of fanfiction from Terry himself.
The quote is from 23 Jan 1999, when Terry wrote on abp:

"I don't actually object to fan fiction, which by its very nature uses
copyrighted and trademarked material, provided that it's put somewhere
where I don't trip over it (so not to a.f.p. or a.b.p, please) isn't
done for money, and isn't passed off as 'official' in any way. I can't
really object to people writing their own DW
scenarios, etc, for other gamers -- the problems would only begin if
they got too proprietorial about them.

Everything works if people are sensible."

So there you have it - Terry doesn't want to fall over fanfic on the
newsgroups where he is a regular participant but out of his line of
sight is acceptable. Consequently it was deemed a Good Thing to revive
the defunct fanfiction mail list and make it available for those who
wish to write fanfiction and share their writing with their fellow fans.
This list is such a  place, out of his line of sight on abp/afp.

If you wish to join the list, please read the information below which is
sent to every new member joining the list.

At the time of drafting this FAQ it is anticipated by the list
maintainers that this newly recreated mail list will be a forum for the
discussion of events, actions and relationships in any of the worlds or
settings which appear in the Pratchett writings. In short,  it is for
Pratchett fanfiction of any rating or category. Writing need not be
restricted to the Discworld but can involve any of Terry's universes or

The name of History Monks was simply inspired by their ability to
rewrite Discworld History in interesting ways, this is your opportunity
to do the same for all of Terry's worlds and characters.

Other relevant topics that branch off from these discussions or other
matters such as general speculation or which may have resulted in
unwelcome friction on the main Pratchett newsgroups are also welcome.

Its early days for this list and we, the admins, are as curious as you
list members to see which direction the fanfiction will take, but since
some of the discussions may turn out  to be of a nature generally
considered to be 'adult' list membership is restricted to over sixteens.
If you are under sixteen, or if you would find the discussion of the
topics described above offensive, please unsubscribe  unless you have
the explicit permission of your parent/guardian in which case your
subscription should be managed by them on your behalf.

We are sorry but with the state of legislation in some areas we need to
take these basic precautions.

The list maintainers are esmi, Julia Jones and Karen, with Leo Breebaart
in supporting role handling the underlying SmartList infrastructure and
making the tea and can be reached at
Over time we hope that other list members will want to take on the role
for periods of time.

This FAQ is maintained in the editorial and practical sense by Karen but
the content is a shared production with esmi and Julia plus the odd
pedant from Leo. It will doubtless change significantly over the next
couple of years as the list develops its own character and new admins
come along.

Now that the formalities have been taken care of, please do come on in,
pull up a chair and grab a beverage of choice and get writing!

History Monks FAQ

Version 1.0, Oct 22th, 2003
Last update 20th April 2004

Current list maintainers: Karen/hypatia, Julia Jones and esmi can be
reached at

Please send questions about administrative matters (rules, subscribing,
changing addresses) to the admin address.

Send messages you want to post to the list to:

     * Purpose
     * Subscribing
           o Who may join
           o How to subscribe
     * How this list works - aka 'The Rules'
           1. Who can post and how does it work?
           2. Acceptable subject matter
           3. Tagging, Rating and Spoilers
           4.  Message size and format.
           5. Feedback
           6. Copyright
           7. Archiving
           7a.  "Naughty" Words and unacceptable behaviour toward others.
           9. Advertising History Monks existence.
           10.  Membership list availability
           11. The Launch Event
           12. Finally
     * Administrivia


The History Monks fanfiction list was created to replace the defunct list.   It became apparent from increasing
questions about and interest in fanfiction on the Pratchett Usenet
groups that there was a demand for a reliable and accessible forum where
fans can post their ideas and writings and receive feedback from their
fellow fans.

Like its predecessor, History Monks is a forum for the free discussion
of events, actions and interpersonal relationships involving characters
from Pratchett's writings. This may develop to include discussion of sex
or other topics considered to be 'adult'. Other topics that branch from
these discussions, or other topics that might result or have resulted in
unwanted friction on the main Pratchett Usenet groups (eg speculative
ideas) are also welcome.

This list is intended as a supplement to the main Usenet groups and
online resources, not a replacement for any of them.

Note: history-monks is a privately owned list. The list maintainers
don't plan on removing anyone from the list unless forced to by flagrant
violations of the rules, but they *are* the final arbiters should it be
necessary. Sorry, but that's the way it is.


     * Who may join

There are no special qualifications for membership. Everyone over the
age of 16 who asks to join will be added to the distribution list as
soon as we can take care of the administrivia. No one will be kept out
for "historical" reasons, and no one can be blackballed by any other
person(s) except the list maintainers; everyone starts fresh.

Under sixteens may only participate via a sponsoring adult who will hold
the membership and who currently has parental responsibility for the
under sixteen. This is due to the potential that some storylines and
discussions may include content which is generally perceived as 'adult'.

"Honorary" members: on rare occasions someone who wants to be a member
of history-monks cannot subscribe directly, usually because of health
problems or lack of an internet connection. Cases such as this need to
be discussed with the list maintainers. If they decide it is suitable,
the person is considered an Honorary Member and can have the messages
delivered to them through a sponsoring member. This is quite separate
from the 'guardianship' issue.

     * How to subscribe

      send an empty message with the word "subscribe" as the subject to"

You will receive a confirmation message in email. Once you have replied
to that message, you will be subscribed, be sent the welcome messages,
and start receiving list messages.

     * How to unsubscribe

     send an empty message with the word "unsubscribe" as the subject to

You will receive a confirmation message in email. Once you have replied
to that message, you will be unsubscribed.


1. Who can post and how does it work?

History Monks  is a closed list, only members can post messages. It is
however unmoderated and so members are expected to police themselves

Hitting 'reply' to a history-monks message sends your message to the
full list. We have chosen this for the convenience of the majority BUT
it also presents the danger of sending a message to the list when you
really only meant to comment to one person.

Over the years the current list maintainers have administered many mail
lists with 'reply-to' defaulting to the whole list. We have seen a
handful of cases when those mistakenly posted messages included comments
about other list members of, shall we say, a less-than-charitable nature
or were simply embarrassing to the poster. This is simply human and a
fact of life.  As list maintainers, we have some say over what happens
onlist, but none over others' private thoughts, opinions or e-mail
messages. We are not gods. Of course if you believe hard enough this may
change but for the moment we are sadly mortal.

We also cannot 'unpost' messages. So, if your intent is to mail

2. Acceptable subject matter.

Anything that derives from the worlds, events and interpersonal
relationships of the Pratchett characters is welcome.

Topics that have been inappropriate  for the Usenet groups, possibly by
virtue of getting too close to fanfic or speculation or simply being a
bit 'flamey' are also permitted.

Pratchett based  fanfiction and parody of any category and rating is

Occasional digressions and off topic threads are fine, but if a thread
goes way off topic and looks like it will stay that way, then it's time
to move it to private mail. The list maintainers' word is final on this.

3. Tagging, Rating and Spoilers.

This list is in the early stages.  We ask subscribers to use a couple of
basic tags in their subject headers:

       a) If your story or post contains spoilers for any Pratchett book
please mention this in the subject using the format [SPOILERS for book
n] with a few lines of space as well. The lines of space are  for those
posters whose mail readers display the text immediately along with the
headers.  If you observe this convention then anyone whining about
spoilers in your post will get little sympathy from the list
maintainers.  If you post huge spoilers without warning the list
maintainers' sympathy will be with the readers.

       b) If your story contains sexual or other adult content or
anything you consider may need a warning please also mention this in the
header in the format [WARNING - some sexual/slash/violent/etc content]

This is a fanfiction list. Be aware that someone else simply killing off
your favourite character does not in itself justify a warning. Its a
tough world in fantasy land.

4.  Message size and format.

Please keep your posts to the list to 25k or less. Stories of any length
are welcome, simply send them as a series of posts and include info in
the subject line to indicate which order to read them in. For example:
"Rincewind's Cookie Cutter Vengeance, part 3/12."   Content warnings
could go into a "part 0/12" post if the author wishes, along with any
other notes s/he wishes to make.

To protect against any accidental spreading of viruses, the list
software will not forward messages that aren't in plain text, meaning
especially no html coding. If messages you send do not appear on the
list, this is the most likely cause, and you should check the help file
and option menus of your mail list program to be sure you are sending
plain text.

For the same reason, messages with attachments are not forwarded either.
When you want to post a story or other text that you have in a file on
your computer, what you should do is cut and paste that text into the
body of your message.

If you want to share something that cannot be done in plain text-- for
example, a piece of art or a scanned photograph -- you should put the
item onto a web page and then just put the URL for that page into a
message to list.

5.  Feedback.

The list is here to encourage both writing and constructive feedback.
The words are chosen carefully.  Writers, readers and critics should be
able to share their words and experiences and opinions, and hopefully
develop their skills and enjoyment.  If you only want adulation and
applause you are posting to the wrong place. If you want feedback on
what people enjoyed or otherwise about your story then you are posting
to the right place.
Critics remember similarly - the word 'constructive' is relevant.
Posting a response which says  'That is crap' does not constitute
constructive anything. A response which gives feedback on both strengths
and weaknesses is helpful.
If you would like general guidance on how to criticise writing
constructively then please hop along and take a look at:


Critters is a mine of useful information on criticism and using that
criticism effectively.

6. Copyright

All material posted here is copyright to the individual authors of such
posted material. Therefore, list members may not quote material posted
to this private list in any other forum, or circulate such material in
any other way without first obtaining the formal written consent of the
copyright holder -- that is, the author of the material in question.

This scary-looking legal notice is just intended to make sure everyone
knows and is playing by the same set of rules. It was written for Space
City (one of the Blakes 7 fan lists) by Mimi Panitch, after kindly
researching copyright law, and we're using it because it's a good idea.

List members on fanfic lists will often post about sensitive subjects
and ideas that they wouldn't want to be quoted on in less friendly
forums or public forums. Sometimes writers post fiction which they may
later want to rework for submission to zines or other publications. With
the "no quoting outside the list without permission" rule, writers need
not worry so much about their privacy or losing control over their
creations, and the rest of us get to enjoy their posts, which they might
otherwise hesitate to share.

So, quoting from posts while responding to them *here* or in private
mail to the author is fine, but PLEASE ASK before you do anything else,
like forwarding Rincewind stories to your friend who isn't on the list,
because you know she'd just love them or continuing a story started by
someone else..

Fandom runs on trust. Please don't abuse ours and your fellow list

7. Archiving

To protect both the privacy of the members and their individual
copyrights, there is no automatic public archive of the history-monks
messages but there will be a private archive available to members.

Authors are free to make their stories available to a wider audience by
submitting them to the fanfiction section of the L-Space Web site
(<>) which will be available
soon, or in any manner they choose such as submitting them to zines or
public web sites or putting them on their own web pages.

Some members will be likely to keep private archives on their own
computers. Many members will be likely keep copies of just the stories
they particularly liked so they can reread them later, other members
will inevitably have backlogs of messages they haven't yet read &
deleted, and at least one member keeps a full archive of every message
she receives as a normal practice on all her mail lists. Everyone who
keeps list material archived is required to make every effort to protect
it from being passed to anyone who is not 'entitled' to read it, that
is, to a person who would not have access to it already in the normal
course of events.

This means it *is* all right to pass messages along to list members who
need a copy due to practical reasons such as software or machine
problems and can't access the member archives.  The test for 'acceptable
forwarding' is, Was the person a member of history-monks when the
message was posted or are they now subscribed?   If a person was
accidentally unsubbed, or had to step away from email for a short period
but intended to return then they can still be regarded as a member.

Guidance for members on searching the archives will be placed on the

Despite the rules to protect the privacy and copyright of HM posts,
there is still the possibility that due to someone's mistake, a virus, a
hacker, or other unfortunate accident of that nature, posts to HM may be
read by non-members. If having the contents of a message revealed would
have a devastating impact on your life, the only way to be totally safe
is to NOT post it in the first place. You own your words here as

7a.  "Naughty" Words and generally unacceptable behaviour toward others.

History Monks is aiming to be welcoming and friendly and a place where
people can enjoy and develop their interests.

While there are no forbidden words (this is an over sixteens list after
all), bear in mind that gratuitous use of obscenities is likely only to
result in your being ignored. Gratuitous rudeness, sniping and net
copping, 'stirring' and complaining about the topics others are
discussing will also most likely result in your being ignored by
everyone except the list maintainers.  This *isn't* Usenet and the list
maintainers' decisions are final.

The basics - No ads for non-Pratchett items or services (ads for
Pratchett zines/your own writing on a website/writing event etc are ok
within reason but please try to restrict them to .sig files), no calls
for violently overthrowing governments, no libel, the normal
restrictions on Net posting.

The major reason this list exists is to provide a place where Pratchett
related fanfiction in all its forms, including speculation, can be
discussed without incurring the problems that such topics can cause on
the newsgroups or some more restricted lists. It is intended as a place
where discussion can be vigorous without being hurtful.

Trolling  violates the spirit of this mail list. If you want to engage
in verbal combat, there are thousands of newsgroups and mailing lists
where such behaviour is appreciated. There is no need to turn
history-monks into another clone of the same.

9.      Advertising History Monks existence.

History Monks info will be listed with this FAQ and any supporting
information on the Lspace Web. The address will be added as soon as the
page is in place.

You are welcome to advise fellow fans and writers of its existence but
we emphasise that the list is quite specifically for those interested in
the Pratchett canon and fanfiction of all forms which emanates from
Pratchett's writings. Anyone looking anything else on this list will be

Whilst fanfiction itself is not wanted on the Usenet groups mentioning
the fanfiction list is entirely OK and it may be publicised on these and
other relevant groups.  It may be publicised more formally by
announcements from list maintainers from time to time.  You are welcome,
encouraged even, to recruit Pratchett  fannish friends that you think
would enjoy the list and contribute to it, and may freely forward copies
of this FAQ to them.

10.  Membership list  *proposal* to be discussed after the list has been
active for six months.

The membership list will be accessible to all members but no one else.
In many ways, fanfiction mail lists can be analogous to a private groups
discussion. People may come and go freely, but those conversing may wish
to know who is there and receiving their posts.  New members are
encouraged to say 'Hi' to the list, maybe with a few lines to say which
characters or books particularly interest them.  To assist the new
members with this, the list maintainers will make an introductory post
once every couple of months to welcome  the new members and invite them
to say  their piece.  "Honorary" members may reply via their sponsoring

11. The History Monks Launch Event *Proposal*

This list was finally relaunched in April 2004 as an overdue Hogswatch
present to the fans. In the first year to help kick off  the new list we
thought a launch event could be held.

The goal of the event is to have as many people as possible post a piece
of fiction. Of any length --  full length stories, character sketches,
ideas, paragraphs, parodies.  The idea is just to join in, write
something and be a part of the write-fest.  We will have a theme, non
compulsory - just there to help you come up with ideas.

If this is a success it might be nice to make it a regular Winter event.
Its your list - we will ask you after the event.

12. Finally, although the list maintainers are not by any means
dictators, they are the final arbiter when it comes to list rules and
policy and the interpretation thereof, and the final decision makers
should it become necessary to remove someone from the list. After all,
they are doing the work and any trouble will come looking for them

99. Anyone referring to the Admins as the Auditors will have their
Returns very closely inspected  indeed...

101.  Anyone who talks about 'plot bunnies' will be sent the recipe for
rabbit pie :}


There is a small but ceaseless amount of administrative work that has to
be done to keep the list running smoothly. The major duty is to help
people with subscribing and changing their mail address and switching in
and out of membership for short periods etc.

In addition the list maintainers might be called on to remind members of
the rules if they are being broken, and to unsubscribe a member if s/he
continues to break the rules. Based on experience of other lists the
reminders are only very rarely needed and none of us have ever needed to
forcibly unsubscribe anyone from a mail list.

The list maintainers also welcome new members and will kick off the
Launch Event  as described above.

The list maintainers also occasionally update the FAQ as new issues
Changes to the list or the way it is run will be discussed on the list
in order to ensure that there is a general agreement by members. If
opinions are very mixed on any issue then the Admins can call for a vote
on the issue.

There are three list maintainers, which allows them to cover for each
when Real Life needs take priority. It is anticipated that over time new
people will be willing to take on an admin role on the list, possibly
serving for a fixed time.


General Note: This FAQ was originally drafted by Karen/hypatia for the
History Monks and drew extensively on the FAQ for Freedom City - Blakes
7 fanfiction list. It was then redrafted to be actually useful after
esmi and Julia read it and sent lists of corrections :). It will no
doubt be revised many times in the future as new topics arise and new
list maintainers take over.

We wish to express a huge 'Thank You' to the maintainers of the Freedom
City mail list. They have generously allowed us to use their own FAQ to
help draft this one and this initial version has made considerable use
of that consent and kept some large chunks relating to regular fanfic
and mail list issues with minimal change. The history-monks may be
different in orientation but we know a good FAQ when we see one :}

Last updated on 20th April 2004

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