Archiver > GEN-BENELUX > 1997-08 > 0870534986

From: <>
Subject: [FAQ] Basic Newsgroup & Mailing List "Netiquette"
Date: 2 Aug 1997 08:16:26 -0700

Archive-name: genealogy/netiquette
Posting-Frequency: 1st of the month
Last-Modified: 1997/01/02
Version: 1.7

Basic newsgroup and mailing list "Netiquette"


This is a regular posting which outlines the basic newsgroup and
list "Netiquette" which should be followed by anyone who wishes to
post to
the soc.genealogy.* hierarchy of newsgroups and mailing lists.

This document is part of a regular series of postings which are sent
to all
appropriate groups and mailing lists. This particular document is
posted on
the first of every month.

The latest version of this document is available from the following

* Via the WWW at the URL
* Via email by sending the following text in the body of a message

get netiquet

If you have any comments or additions, or would like to suggest
topics to be included, then please contact John Woodgate,

Contributions by:
Tim Pierce, Pat Boren, Alf Christophersen, William Mills, Richard
Pence, Hugh Ainsley, Alexandre Meissonnier, Randy Klear, Dave
Carl Cason, Margaret J. Olson.
Changes For This Version (1.7 - 1997/01/02)
Added Dealing with Junk mail

Copyright And Disclaimer

Copyright (c) 1996,1997 by John Woodgate. All rights reserved.

This document may be freely redistributed in its entirety without
modification provided that this copyright notice is not removed. It
may not
be sold for profit or incorporated in commercial documents without
the prior
written permission of the copyright holder. Permission is expressly
for this document to be made available for file transfer from
offering unrestricted anonymous file transfer on the Internet.

This document is provided AS IS without any express or implied

The author may be contacted at 50 Great Meadow Road, Bradley Stoke,
BS12 8DA, England.


* Common Courtesies
* Patience and Tolerance
* Subject Lines
* Personal Privacy
* Requests For Information
* Replying To A Message
* Signature Files
* Mailing Lists
* Attaching Files
* Dealing with Junk Mail
* Further Information

Common Courtesies

Read carefully what you receive to make sure that you understand the

Read carefully what you send, to make sure that your message will not

Know your audience. Make sure that the person or list of people you
sending your message to are right ones to be communicating with.

Many readers have very limited, and in some cases expensive
electronic mail
facilities. Be particularly careful not to cause unnecessary traffic,
or to
send unnecessary long messages.

Please DO NOT send "test messages." The system works. If you must
test it,
at least send a valid message, with useful information or questions.
In fact
there is a newsgroup called misc.test, set up specifically for test
messages. If you post to this group, you will get email responses
from a
number of servers around the world which will allow you to judge how
and thoroughly your posts propagate.

Patience And Tolerance

Remember that not all readers have English as their native language,
so make
allowance for possible misunderstandings and unintended discourtesies.

Remember that the absence of visual clues normally associated with
face to
face communication provides an ideal environment for being

Be tolerant of newcomers. None of us were born knowing all.

If you are using humour or sarcasm, make sure to clearly label it as
Humour is usually indicated by a smiley e.g. :) or (grin).

Subject Lines

Always include a descriptive subject line in your message. Use the
line to get attention and make sure it describes the main point of
message. Avoid very long subjects as some newsreaders only display
the first
30 characters or so. If you are seeking information about a family,
the surname in UPPERCASE in the Subject: line.

Remember that with many messages each week, many people use the
subject line
to decide if they should read your message or not. "Need help" or
"Genealogy" are not good subject lines. Likewise, not everybody who
this newsgroup lives in the same country as you. Please give an
of the country or countries you are interested in together with a date

Keep messages to only one subject. Second subjects within a single
are often missed.

The information contained in the subject line should also be included
in the
message itself as some news readers display the subject line on a
screen to the message body.

Personal privacy

Please be careful about the information you post to the newsgroup or
mailing list. For example, if somebody asks you to look up some names
addresses in the local telephone directory, send the results directly
to the

Please be very careful about the amount of detail you post to the
Consider if you would like to have the details of your birth,
if your parents weren't married at the time, broadcast to the world.
that is quite mild compared to some of the skeletons you might dig up.

As use of the Internet grows, we are beginning to see it being abused.
Please think carefully before you post private details about
yourself, or
any present day individual to the world.

Request For Information

Be specific, especially when asking questions. If you ask about a
identify when and where the person might have lived. You are much more
likely to get a helpful reply if your message summarizes what efforts
have already made yourself to find the answer to your question.

Please do not post to this newsgroup or mailing list messages which
be more appropriately addressed to one of the other groups in the
soc.genealogy hierarchy. And please avoid posting the same message to
several newsgroups or mailing lists in the hierarchy, except when its
content is equally relevant to each such newsgroup.

Avoid cluttering your message with excessive emphasis (such as stars,
exclamation marks "!", etc). It can make the message hard to follow.

For straightforward queries which are simply seeking further
about a particular surname, or a named individual, it is recommended
the newsgroup soc.genealogy.surnames be used rather than any other
or mailing list. This is because soc.genealogy.surnames is a
moderated as
well as archived newsgroup. The moderators ensure that subject lines
given in an informative and stylized format, providing details of
dates and
locations as well as the surname in question. This is aimed at
searches of the entire large archive of messages that have ever been
sent to
the newsgroup, searching for all messages which relate to a given

For those people who are restricted to using email only, the
soc.genealogy.surnames newsgroup is also available as the GENNAM-L
list. You can send messages to it by using the address

Please keep line lengths to about 72 characters to avoid problems
with word
wrap on replies. Most mail programs prepend the included lines with a
'> '.
It doesn't take many replies to extend the line over the normal 80
characters display size.

Replying to a message

Feel free to answer questions or provide clarification or comments in
response to any posting you see on the newsgroup or mailing list.
please "FOLLOW-UP" to the posting ONLY if you think your comments
will be of
interest to other readers and you wish your answer sent to all the
and mailing list readers. Otherwise please use the 'Reply' function
on your
newsreader to respond directly to the poster. If your newsreader
allow 'Reply', note the e-mail address of the original poster and
send an
e-mail directly to that person.

If you want to start a personal correspondence with the poster of a
look in the header of the note and find the "FROM:" or "REPLY TO:"
where you will find that person's email address. You can then send
your note
directly to that person.

Many newsreaders and mail programs provide easy means of replying to
poster of a particular message, and/or of posting a follow-up message,
handling all the complications of message addressing automatically.
make sure that you do not post a follow-up message accidentally, when
intention was merely to reply directly to the poster.

If you are responding to a message, either include the relevant part
of the
original message, or make sure you unambiguously refer to the original
contents. It is very common for people to read your reply before they
the original message. However, please avoid unnecessarily lengthy
from the messages to which you are responding.

One point to bear in mind is that most Internet Service Providers
messages after 2 or 3 days. You cannot rely on any one message being
received by another subscriber. It is this very lack of permenance
makes it vital to register any surnames you are interested in in the
soc.genealogy.surnames newsgroup so that it can be added to the

Signature Files

Always 'sign' your message with your name and your preferred e-mail
This is especially important because some e-mail and newsreader
software do
not always convey the originator's full e-mail address. While you may
certainly include your regular mail address in your postings, you may
to give this out only in personal replies, when necessary.

Please DO NOT include a list of the surnames you are researching in
signature file. If the messages are archived (and most newsgroups are
archived) and somebody is searching for your surname, they need to
find it
only once; hopefully it will have your address with it as well. If
they are
searching, and get too many hits, then they may not request all the
and therefore may miss seeing your message.

Mailing Lists

Some newsgroups are also linked, or gatewayed, to a mailing list.
This means
the all messages sent to the newsgroup are also sent to the mailing
Thus people who can only use email can still take part in the

There is always a separate email address to send messages to the
list to that you use to subscribe, or talk to the computer. The
often uses the name LISTSERV or LISTPROC. The mailing list address
will be
something list GENUKI-L, or GENMSC-L. If you use the wrong address,
you will
end up sending messages to the computer, which will ignore them, and
commands to the mailing list, which EVERYBODY will see.

Attaching Files

A lot of the newer mail and news programs provide a mechanisim which
allow you to 'attach' a file to your message. This can be a photo, a
recording or even a complete family history book in your favourite
processor format. Even if you are sure everybody will be able to read
the odds are that once it has passed through the internet it will be
impossible to for anybody to understand without a lot of work. Please
do it.

Sending GEDCOM files, Tiny Tafels, Decendent lists and any large lists
should also be avoided. Not everybody has access to the Internet via
workplace or college. Some people have to pay for their access time.
Downloading large files which they are not going to be interested in
is a
waste of their time and money. Much better to post a short message
that you have the information if they are interested and then send it
just those people who request it.

Including files in any format other than straight ASCII is to be
The use of uuencoded files, zipped files or even HTML files are
likely to
mean that nobody will read your message. In some groups it will
result in
the message being rejected.

Dealing with Junk mail

It is an unfortunate fact of life that with the expansion of the
Internet we
are all likely to receive junk mail at some point. Because the
majority of
the newsgroups and mailing lists are not moderated, then there is
that can be done to automatically stop these messages. So what can
you do
when you recieve junk mail?

Firstly, do not post a message to the newsgroup or mailing list that
arrived in. This will just increase the 'noise' in the group or list.
If the
message came directly to you, then you are in a better position to do
something. Here are a list of suggested steps you might take:

* Never buy anything from someone who sends you unsolicited
by email. Many of these offers are fraudulent and the advertising
method is by definition, underhand. If nobody bought from them,
would quickly stop.
* Learn how to reveal the 'full headers' in a mail message. This
show you the route the message took to you. Most mail systems
show just
the basic information ("To", "From", "Subject", "Date", etc).
Even if
the "From" address shows as , the message may not
have come
from AOL, the advertiser may not ever have had an account on
examining the full headers, in the vast majority of cases you
can see
where the message really came from.
* Forward the message, including the full headers, to the services
handled the message complaining that you don't want such mail.
Send it
to the following addresses: abuse@[domain] and
postmaster@[domain]. For
example, if the message came through Interramp, then send the
to , and . Why two
addresses? Many ISPs don't have an 'abuse' address; If they
don't then
you should encourage them to implement one. They are all
required to
have a postmaster account.
* If the postmaster gets thousands of complaints about this kind of
activity, then they will soon realize that it is not worth it to
these kinds of people to access their systems. If you want your
to to be taken seriously, then be polite. Verbal abuse could
lose you
your account!

Other types of junk mail include chain mail, virus warnings and the
like. If
you get a message that requests, often urgently, that you spread the
far and wide, that's a good sign to delete it. These often claim that
are 'helping a good cause', like the cancer struck kid that wanted to
into the Guinness Book of Records by getting as many cards in the
mail as
possible. The child exists and got 16 MILLION cards in the first year

The virus warnings mails are fake too and keep going despite being
old. The 'Good Times', 'Deeyenda', 'Irina' and 'Ghost.exe' warnings
are all
hoaxes and spreading them around causes nothing but resource drains,
ans sometimes panic in the people you send them to.

Further Information

If you want more information, there is a very good web page on
Netiquette at
the URL <>;

On the topic of junk mail, take a look at the following URLs

Netiquette / V1.7 - 1997/01/02 /


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