From: MegaMole <>
Subject: [FAQ] The One True Afpmeet FAQ
Summary: This FAQ documents what you can expect when you attend
        or organise one of afp's real-life meets.
Followup-To: poster
Organization: L-Space
Keywords: Pratchett Discworld FAQ afpmeet
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X-Archive-name: pratchett/afpmeet-faq
X-Posting-Frequency: monthly (on the 14th)
X-Last-modified: 24 May 2004
X-Version: 2.7
X-URL: <>

Archive-name: pratchett/afpmeet-faq
Posting-Frequency: monthly (on the 14th)
Last-modified: 24 May 2004
Version: 2.7
URL: <>


For the Edification of Confused Mole-titudes
Version 2.7: Revised by MegaMole 24/May/04 - EditPlus2 still rocks.

Credits: Mike Knell, Darrell Ottery, Leo Breebaart, Suzi Holyoake,
Patrick Dersjant, Jos Dingjan, Meg Thornton and AFP in general.


0.1     What is an afpmeet?

When Colm Buckley came over from Ireland to London in 1992, he announced
the fact to afpers and they all met up to have a good time.
This was the first afpmeet.  These are where ANYONE who wants to come meet up,
drink, laugh, make new friends, gossip, eat and talk.

Hereafter "afper" means anyone who is, or has ever been, a Comm^W^W
connected with

0.2     The Scope of this FAQ

This FAQ covers all aspects of meets; organising, announcing and
attending.  This FAQ also includes details of other valuable sources of
information.  It mentions in passing; consult
the AFPA FAQ for more details at:




1.1     Where is it?
1.2     What do I bring with me?
1.3     What should I not bring with me?
1.4     What should I expect?
   1.4.1        Find the Afper
   1.4.2        Oi, You!  What do you think of the Death of Rats?
   1.4.3        Talk to me...  I'm only little...
   1.4.4        I'm not sho drun' asyouthinkIam, ofisiler...


2.2     But Mummy, where am I going to sleep?
2.3     Why is that geek taking down my particulars?
2.4     That's not me with that traffic cone, honest!
2.5     What Other People Said: The Gory Details


3.1     Is there any interest?
3.2     Picking my Spot (urgh)
   3.2.1        In Pubs
   3.2.2        At Events
3.3     Posting Your Announcement - AFPA
3.4     Posting Your Announcement - Mailing Lists
3.5     Posting Your Announcement - What to announce



1.1  Where is it?

Consult AFP or (see 3.3).  Meet announcements
will be tagged [ANNOUNCE] (and often [F]).  If you want to go, contact
the POSTER if you don't understand any or all of the directions.

The generic announce page <>
provides an index of all online resources.  Instructions for how to
subscribe to an alert service giving notification of all up-coming meets
are on <>.

Again: if you want to know about a meet, mail or phone the meet organiser.

1.2     What do I bring with me?

Yourself.  Any friends, partners or relatives that you think might
enjoy the experience.  Relationships that survive afpmeets can be quite
robust.  There is a long tradition of bringing sweeties and chocolate-
covered stuff to meets, the odder the better.

But see 1.3 below.  Mostly you buy your own drinks.  So bring
(a) money.
(b) Fluffy toys are welcome.  The sillier or slimier the better.
(c) A digital camera for those all-important JPEGs and GIFs (see
section 2.4).
(d) Pterry books, Con T-shirts and the like.  Valuable recognition

1.3     What should I not bring with me?

Into pubs: meals and drink.  Staff will disapprove, and may chuck you
out.  Not clever.  The more anal pubs don't like chocolate, either.
Into any meet: Bad attitude/vibes/karma.  Afpmeets are there for
people to have a good time.  Anyone turning up and being drunk, (too)
loud, rude or obnoxious may expose themselves to irony, sarcasm or
silence.  But DO introduce yourself, or you may get ignored for
entirely different reasons (see 1.4.3).

1.4     What should I expect?

This section outlines the things any novice afpmeeter may find when
they venture into the unknown.

1.4.1   Find the Afper

You're in a strange place; you know nobody.  But you are aware that
there are Pratchett fans about.  What do you do?

Possible answers:
Look for the meet organiser as described in the announcement;
Look for anything listed in 1.2 above.

1.4.2   Oi, You!  What do you think of the Death of Rats?

Occasionally you may be recognised as an afper by a complete stranger.
So don't be offended if someone asks you who or what you are, and
then starts wibbling, geeking or being [R]elevant.  Again,
introductions help.

1.4.3   Talk to me...  I'm only little...

A note for more established afpers - if you see a lonely newbie or
otherwise unrecognised personage looking like he/she wants to belong,
do make the effort to say hi and include them.  Hugs can do wonders.

Just like AFP, there are certain taboos - politics, religion, money,
outrageously inflammatory statements.  People may not appreciate
complete strangers pontificating about their exhaustive knowledge of a
well-known subject (e.g. systems administration) in their spare time.

Clearly, if several afpers are in a "closed group" huddle talking
about intimate personal details, don't butt in.  Many afpers are good
friends in real life, and often spend large parts of meets gossiping.
Just use a bit of common sense, and join less risky conversations.
If people aren't being welcoming now, pick a different time; if they
never take the trouble to welcome you, kick them inna fork ;-).

1.4.4   I'm not sho drun' asyouthinkIam, ofisiler...

People enjoy themselves at meets.  But they don't usually get so drunk
that they need to be carried home, or to use their hosts' bathroom as
a dumping ground for the contents of their stomach, or freak out every
member of the appropriate sex by staring wistfully at their action
areas.  Again, use common sense.

Whatever happens, stick close to your host(s) or CSP (CrashSpace
Provider).  Especially in unfamiliar towns and areas.  You may end up
being accommodated by Her Majesty's Constabulary, the Gardai or similar.



You've done the meet.  The pub has closed.  Now what?


Sometimes meets will end up going somewhere for food when the drinking
establishment closes (about 11.30 in the UK, later elsewhere).  But go
with the flow and check with your host(ess) before zooming off.  Food
can often be the best part of the meet, but it's no use doing it
unless other people come along.  And don't miss the last transport home!

2.2     But where am I going to sleep?

If you're travelling any sort of distance, you should have arranged
somewhere to sleep beforehand if you anticipated staying the night.
DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE.  It's not worth it.

If crashing, remember that in general all that is offered is a roof,
the space (often shared with other afpers) and perhaps tea and toast
in the morning.  So bring your own sleeping bag/bedding, and be nice
to the room.  It's also considered polite to thank your hosts, treat
them to things, and reciprocate if they're coming to a meet in your

2.3     Why is that geek taking down my particulars?

At meets there will usually be one or more people with Psions,
notebooks or other devices.  A meet report will often be posted to
AFP, visible in the afpmeet archive (qv 2.5).  It may be accompanied
by a quote file.  It can be wise to get in first with *your* version
of events...  and not to end up with books about mammoths.  Don't ask.

2.4     That's not me with that traffic cone, honest!

There may also be digital cameras at meets.  They have a habit of
going off at inopportune moments.  The images generated may appear
later on websites, for general viewing.

2.5     What Other People Said: The Gory Details

An archive of afpmeet reports is available at
<>.  Or newsgoogle.



Guidelines for anyone rash enough to organise one of these things.  It
doesn't matter if you've only been on afp a week or 5 years, Go ahead.
Make my day, punk.

3.1     Is there any interest?

The first thing to do is check there aren't any competing meets in
your area at similar dates.  It is best to do this by looking at previous
newsgroup posts and/or checking news archives.

If you want to invite specific people, give them enough time to think
about it and guess, or negotiate, a mutually convenient time.
Statements of intent to hold a meet should be posted AT LEAST ONE
MONTH before the meet is scheduled to happen.  This allows busy afpers
time to decide whether or not they want to come, and doesn't leave
them dropping everything (tinkle) for the coming weekend.

Note that a statement of intent is often not an official [ANNOUNCE] -
it's just a sounding-out process.

Remember to remind people when the event approaches.  Reminders should
be posted one month, one week, and perhaps even one day before the

Decide whether you can offer crashspace.  It would be appreciated by
those people, but not necessarily by the neighbours.

3.2     Picking my Spot (ewww...)

Afpmeets are usually held In The Pub or At an Event.  Meets may also
take place in afpers' houses; this is more common in Forn Parts (.de,
.nl, .au, .za, Wales).  Holders of HosueMeets will describe crash space
arrangements in their preliminary announcement.

But always think carefully about where you want to meet and stay with,
often, complete strangers.

3.2.1  In Pubs

Make sure the pub you pick has:
* A beverage popular with afpers;
* Seating for however many afpers you think will come;
* An atmosphere conducive to animated and silly discussions.

The pub landlord and/or -lady will no doubt be thrilled at the level
of custom; however, take care not to offend their delicate
sensibilities by doing anything too outrageous.  It may also be
sensible to choose a pub that is not your local if you fear for your
future drinking.  And to avoid spekkie fights.

Pol maintains a Good AFPub Guide at .  This
contains directions to afpubs in such places as London, Cambridge,
Nottingham, Bath, Reading and Oxford.

Submissions to this should contain the name of the Pub/Inn/Venue, the
postcode (if in the UK, for the map link) and a set of directions
which would allow people to get to the location from a convenient

Submissions should be sent to him at .

3.2.2  At Events

Events concerning Pterryplays, signings, chocolate, music, SF,
fantasy, real ale and other such things (read: subjects frequently
discussed on AFP) are good value for afpmeets.  Non-UK afpers often
use events as excuses for meets of geographically separated folk.

So you've planned your meet and prepared all the groundwork.  Now you
need to tell people about it.  Otherwise nobody will turn up.

3.3  Posting Your Announcement: AFPA

Luckily, we have our own newsgroup,, where
you post to announce things.  It has its own FAQ (blimey!) at

What do I mean by announcing things? Using the [ANNOUNCE] tag together
with the [F], or occasionally [R] or [G], tag to reflect the content
of your announcement.  Please do not use the [ANNOUNCE] tag if your
announcement is not going to be posted to
This can confuse afpers and irritate the moderators.

CC your post to <> to make sure that your details
are published.

AFPA is moderated by Andy "Tap" Fawcett and Rob Collier, who can be
contacted on <>.  They do this in their spare time
and cannot always approve an announcement instantly, or even soon.

3.4     Posting Your Announcement - Mailing Lists

In addition to afpa, which maintains The General List of All
Announces, people in particular countries have made their own
arrangements.  You should copy any [ANNOUNCE] to whichever (if any)
list is relevant.

* .uk - UK
See the UK meet mailing list maintained by Karen.  Send an email to
<> headed "Subscribe" to join, or visit the
mailing list URL for more info:
<> .

* .ie - Ireland
See the Ireland meet mailing list maintained by Sorcha.  Send an email
to <> headed "Subscribe" to join.

* .be, .ne, .lu - Benelux:
See the Benelux meet mailing lists maintained by Jos Dingjan, on
Jos's address is <>.  Send an email to
<> headed "Subscribe" to join, or for
more info visit the mailing list URL

* .de - Germany
See the German meet mailing list maintained by Uwe Milde <>.
To join the list, write an e-mail to <>,
headed "Subscribe".  List posts should be sent to <>.  The administrative address for requests etc.
is <> .

* .au - XXXXians:
Contact Meg "The Magpie" Thornton on <> for
more info.  You may get redirected to someone a bit nearer your state.

I am still waiting for the Azerbaijani meet organiser to come forward.

3.5      Posting Your Announcement - What to Announce

The general rule, enforced by the moderators, is that at least the
following must go into an [ANNOUNCE] subject line:

[ANNOUNCE] [F] $meet_title $date.

Meets are usually given a title ($meet_title) relevant to either their
location (say AFPCam), or their theme (say Meet inna Queueueue).

E.g.  '[ANNOUNCE] [F] AFPOxford 2.3, 18 June 1999'

The text of the announcement should contain the date, time, location,
directions by road (if applicable), directions by rail or tube, e-mail
of meet organiser, how to recognise meet organiser (see section 3.1,
crashspace information (if applicable), ticket cost of event (if
applicable) and anything special to bring.

The moderators will usually send you a polite reminder if you've left
anything out.  Help them by being complete and succinct.  Format your
posting clearly and keep within 65 characters per line; your words may
well be quoted in future.

The full postal address and/or phone number of the venue should also
be included if possible.  If you use map images, DON'T post them on
afp: supply the URL, or invite interested parties to e-mail you.  If
you don't have space for maps, use a site like Mapquest, Multimap or
Streetmap to supply URLs.

Wait for your announce to appear on afpa.

And that's all.


* FAQ by MegaMole (<>, <>) *
 * Feel free to contact this mole for guidance if required.  *
 * This text is freely reproducible if attributed properly.  *