Category : Information about the Internet from the early 1990's
Archive   : USEGATE.ZIP
Filename : USENET.RUL

Output of file : USENET.RUL contained in archive : USEGATE.ZIP
From pacbell!ames!haven!purdue!spaf Sun Dec 25 12:21:37 PST 1988
Article 319 of news.announce.newusers:
Path: hoptoad!pacbell!ames!haven!purdue!spaf
>From: [email protected] (Gene Spafford)
Newsgroups: news.announce.newusers
Subject: Rules for posting to Usenet (Updated: 17 August 1988)
Message-ID: <[email protected]>
Date: 11 Oct 88 02:55:07 GMT
Expires: 9 Jan 89 02:55:06 GMT
Organization: Dept. of Computer Sciences, Purdue Univ.
Lines: 185
Approved: [email protected]
Supersedes: <[email protected]>

Original-from: [email protected] (Mark Horton)
[Most recent change: 17 August 1988 by [email protected] (Gene Spafford)]

This message describes some of the rules of conduct on Usenet. The rules
vary depending on the newsgroup.

Some newsgroups are intended for discussions and some for announcements
or queries. It is not usually a good idea to carry on discussions in
newsgroups that are designated otherwise. It is never a good idea to
carry on "meta-discussions" about whether a given discussion is
appropriate -- such traffic mushrooms until nobody can find articles
that belong. If you are unhappy with what some user said, send him/her
mail, don't post it.

Before posting, think about where your article is going. If it's
posted to a "comp", "news", "misc", "soc", "sci", "rec" or "talk"
newsgroup, it will probably go to the USA, Canada, Europe, Korea, and
Australia. Certain articles are only of local interest (e.g. used car
ads) and it is inappropriate to post them to the whole world. Use the
"Distribution" feature to restrict distribution to your local area. If
you don't know how to use this feature, read "Frequently Submitted
Items" in another article in news.announce.newusers.

Don't post announcements regarding major news events (e.g. the space
shuttle has just exploded!) to news groups. By the time most people
receive such items, they will long since have been informed by
conventional media. If you wish to discuss such an event on the net,
use the "misc.headlines" newsgroup.

Announcement of professional products or services on Usenet is allowed;
however, since someone else is paying the phone bills for this, it is
important that it be of overall benefit to Usenet. Post to the
appropriate newsgroup -- comp.newprod -- never to a general purpose
newsgroup such as "misc.misc". Clearly mark your article as a product
announcement in the subject. Never repeat these -- one article per
product at the most; preferably group everything into one article.
Advertising hype is especially frowned upon -- stick to technical
facts. Obnoxious or inappropriate announcements or articles violating
this policy will generally be rejected. This policy is, of course,
subject to change if it becomes a problem.

Some newsgroups are moderated. In these groups, you cannot post
directly, either by convention or because the software prevents it. To
post to these newsgroups, send mail to the moderator. Examples:

Newsgroup Moderator Purpose
--------- --------- -------
news.announce.important stargate!announce Important announcements for everyone
comp.std.unix uunet!std-unix Unix standards discussion
comp.std.mumps plus5!std-mumps ANSI Mumps standards discussion
comp.unix mcdchg!modunix Discussion of Unix* features and bugs

Some newsgroups have special purpose rules:

Newsgroup Rules
--------- -----
news.announce.important Moderated, no direct postings, important things only.
misc.wanted Queries, "I want an x", "Anyone want my x?". No
discussions. Don't post to more than one xxx.wanted.
Use the smallest appropriate wanted (e.g. used car
ads to nj.wanted.)
Requests for sources, termcaps, etc. should go to the
"comp.sources.wanted" newsgroup.
rec.humor Clean humor only; anything offensive must be rotated;
no discussions -- humor only. Discussions go in
rec.arts.movies Don't post anything revealing part of a movie
without marking it (spoiler) in the subject.
rec.arts.* Same as movies -- mark spoilers in the subject line.
news.groups Discussions about new groups: whether to create
them and what to call them. Don't post yes/no
votes, mail them to the author
misc.test Use the smallest test group possible, e.g.
"test" or "ucb.test". Say in the body of the
message what you are testing.

It is perfectly legal to reproduce short extracts of a copyrighted work
for critical purposes, but reproduction in whole is strictly and
explicitly forbidden by US and international copyright law. (Otherwise,
there would be no way for the artist to make money, and there would
thus be less motive for people to go to the trouble of making their art
available at all. The crime of theft is as serious in this context as
any other, even though you may not have to pick locks, mask your face,
or conceal merchandise.)

All opinions or statements made in messages posted to Usenet should be
taken as the opinions of the person who wrote the message. They do not
necessarily represent the opinions of the employer of that person, the
owner of the computer from which the message was posted, or anyone
involved with Usenet or the underlying networks of which Usenet is made
up. All responsibility for statements made in Usenet messages rests
with the individual posting the message.

Posting of information on Usenet is to be viewed as similar to
publication. Because of this, do not post instructions for how to do
some illegal act (such as jamming radar or obtaining cable TV service
illegally); also do not ask how to do illegal acts by posting to the

If you have a standard signature you like to append to your articles,
put it in a file called .signature in your home directory. "postnews"
and "inews" will automatically append it to your article. Please keep
your signatures concise, as people do not appreciate seeing lengthy
signatures, nor paying the phone bills to repeatedly transmit them. 2
or 3 lines are usually plenty. Sometimes it is also appropriate to add
another line or two for addresses on other major networks where you can
be reached (e.g., ARPA, CSnet, Bitnet). Long signatures are
definitely frowned upon. DO NOT include drawings, pictures, maps, or
other graphics in your signature -- it is not the appropriate place
for such material and is viewed as rude by other readers.

If you post an article and remember something you've left out or
realize you've made a factual error, you can cancel the article and (if
cancelled quickly enough) prevent its distribution. Then you can
correct whatever was wrong and post a new copy. In "rn" and
"readnews", an article that you posted can be cancelled with the "C"
command. Be aware, however, that some people may have already read the
incorrect version so the sooner you cancel something, the better.

If the news system rejects a followup due to "more quoted lines than
new text," please do not use "filler" lines to make up for this.
Instead, if after careful editing, you have more to quote than to
write, change the citation character. For example, in the display
editor vi, you could use the incantation:
:%s/^>/ Be careful not to do the very similar:
:%s/>/ which will affect >'s that are not being used as the citation
character. (In particular, it will damage the "References" line in the
article header.)

In preparing an article, be aware that other people's machines are
not the same as yours. The following is a list of things to keep
in mind:
* Except for source, keep your lines under 80 characters, and
under 75 if possible. (most editors have a fill or format
mode that will do this for you automatically)
* Right justified text may look "prettier" is some sense, but it
is almost always harder to read than leaving ragged right
margins; don't justify your articles.
* Most special control characters will not work for most readers.
In fact, the tab and space characters are about the only ones
you can be sure work consistently, and tabs aren't always the
same from machine to machine.
* Pictures and diagrams should not use embedded tabs.
* Refer to articles by Message-ID, and never by article number.
* What you think is the previous article is unlikely to be so elsewhere.
* Submissions in a single case (all upper or all lower) are
difficult to read.

In general, when a mailing to somebody fails, DON'T post a message
about it! Think for a moment: you are trying to send something to
someone on ONE system. Your message might go through (at most) TEN
systems on the way there. Posting a message in the news sends it to
over 7800 systems throughout the world! There is no way to justify
adding to the news load of nearly 8000 machines simply because you
cannot determine how to get your mail through.

If your message is important, contact someone who knows more about the
mail system and who might be able to help you get your message
through. Your local system administrator, for instance, or the admin
of the next site "upstream," might be able to help. You can also send
mail to "postmaster" at one of the major Usenet sites. Almost all of
these people would rather see an occasional plea for help in their
mailbox than read another broadcast in the news system. If your
message is *really* important, pick up the phone and try to call the
other person.
Gene Spafford
NSF/Purdue/U of Florida Software Engineering Research Center,
Dept. of Computer Sciences, Purdue University, W. Lafayette IN 47907-2004
Internet: [email protected] uucp: ...!{decwrl,gatech,ucbvax}!purdue!spaf

  3 Responses to “Category : Information about the Internet from the early 1990's
Archive   : USEGATE.ZIP
Filename : USENET.RUL

  1. Very nice! Thank you for this wonderful archive. I wonder why I found it only now. Long live the BBS file archives!

  2. This is so awesome! 😀 I’d be cool if you could download an entire archive of this at once, though.

  3. But one thing that puzzles me is the “mtswslnkmcjklsdlsbdmMICROSOFT” string. There is an article about it here. It is definitely worth a read: