Not so Frequently Asked Questions in

This FAQ is available on the World Wide Web at It is also posted in ASCII form to every two weeks or so. The World Wide Web version is easier to read.

Last Modified: Thu 4th June 1998.

The Questions

Questions marked with an asterisk [*] are loaded questions that people don't really ask, but we want you to read the answers to.
  1. What is all about?
  2. [*] How do I make my articles enjoyable to read?
  3. What kinds of things should I avoid posting?
  4. [*] How long should I read the group before posting?
  5. How do I get rid of the spam?
  6. WTF are all those abbreviations?
  7. What's a boink?
  8. Are there pages on the web?
  9. [*] Bonus Question: What's the difference between a nerd and a geek?
  10. New! [*] All these in-jokes and flaming of newcomers: you're just a bunch of cliquey gits.

1. What is all about?

See the Mini-FAQ for a good description. Basically, we're a chat group, and most of us seem to share common interests and a similar sense of humour.

By the way, you don't have to live in the UK to post, and you don't have to be single. I don't fit either category.

2. How do I make my articles enjoyable to read?

By making an effort and being considerate to your readers.

3. What kinds of things should I avoid posting?

Anything that annoys people. To be more precise:

There are probably other rules too, but they escape me. However, if you do something so obnoxious that it inspires me to write a new rule, you could win a major prize. Go ahead, punk. Make my day.

4. [*] How long should I read the group before posting?

Glad you asked! The rules for Usenet used to be: Read a group for at least two weeks before posting. Well, things have moved on a bit since then, but you should probably have read the group for a few days before joining in. And when you do, you'll be most appreciated if you just join in a conversation, rather than starting a thread of your own. Oh, and if you don't like what you see, just ignore us and move on. Please.

5. How do I get rid of all the spam?

Use a kill file. If your news reader doesn't support kill files, then get one that does. It's not rocket science.

If you use a package called Turnpike, David Reid has written an FAQ on how to get rid of spam at

A good way of getting rid of spam, is to kill anything posted to five or more newsgroups. Many news readers allow you do it with some variant of this:

    Newsgroups: .*,.*,.*,.*,.*
You should read the manual for your browser to check the exact syntax.

If your news reader does not allow you to kill articles like this, then you can use some common patterns used in the subject lines:

    Subject: .*\$\$\$\$.*
    Subject: .*\!\!\!\!.*
    Subject: .*\$\$\$.*\$\$\$.*
    Subject: .*\!\!\!.*\!\!\!.*
    Subject: .*\?\?\?.*\?\?\?.*
    Subject: .*SWM.*
However, some people who use this kind of idea have later found that they have missed genuine threads.

6. WTF are all those abbreviations?

    AFAIK      As Far As I Know.
    <AOL>      Going into AOL user mode.  Example: <aol>Me too!!!</aol>
    BTW        By The Way
    C|N>K      Coffee through Nose onto Keyboard.
    DIMU?      Did I Mess Up?
    FWIW       For What It's Worth
    ^H^H^H     See below, under "Deletia"
    HNG        Horny Net Geek
    HTH        Hope This Helps.  Usually follows a non-helpful comment.
    LDR        Long Distance Relationship
    LOL        Laugh(ing) Out Loud.
    MOTAS      Member of the appropriate (other, same) sex
    ROTFL      Rolling on the floor laughing.
    RTFM       Read The Manual.
    [TM]       TradeMark -- usually after a Stock Phrase Of Some Kind[TM].
    UTS        Unattended Terminal Syndrome.
    WTF        What The Fuck
    YAxAICM5Fy You Are x And I Claim My 5 Free y.
    YM         You Mislept.
There are also a number of stock words, phrases and themes.
A group get-together. See below.
Used as "I mean X, but I'm saying Y". For example, "He is a fool^H^H^H^Hfine upstanding member of the community!" Each ^H means "delete a character backwards". Superstars use ^W to delete whole words at a time: "My personal prejudice^Wexperience suggests that [...]"
The resident group deity. For example, "Thank Kay she didn't do it with a banana!"
The resident group Evil Incarnate.
Common mislepping of "newsgroup". Yes, it is intentional.
A joke message designed to fool people into flaming the poster. Try to ignore them.
Used to inform someone that they have messed up and are now resident in a kill-file

7. What's a boink?

It's like a bash, only cuter.

A boink is a get-together of people from the group. These highlights of the geek social calendar happen whenever people get around to organising them, but usually about once every two months, on average.

One particularly successful boink that has happened three years in a row now is Auchenboink, organised by Simon Brooke, and held at his house in Auchencairn.

New! For those living within travelling distance of Bradford there is a monthly to make sure it's definitely on when you think it is.

8. Are there pages on the Web?

There most certainly are! See for a list of them.

9. [*] What's the difference between a nerd and a geek?

Some people on like geeks, but not nerds. According to Nick Leverton, the difference is that a geek is a nerd who knows the difference between a nerd and a geek. HTH.

New! 10. [*] All these in-jokes and flaming of newcomers: you're just a bunch of cliquey gits.

Some of the people who post have been regulars here for over four years. They've met each other many times, so it's not surprising that it can seem hard to break in. But lots of people do seem to manage it - whenever you may be reading this, it's a certainty that at least one of those "regulars" will have made their first posting within the last few weeks. Many of us try to make a point of welcoming genuine new posters - and the more so if they make an attempt to join in the conversations.

We do get fed up with adverts, which are NOT permitted here. Sometimes this spills over and someone who just wanted to join in gets roasted - especially if a regular poster has had a bad day and misinterprets a newcomer's post. This is sad, and we have periodic group omphaloskepsis about it.

Not everyone gets a reply first time (it took the author of this bit about a dozen postings over a fortnight before anyone replied). But if you like the conversation, stick around, read and take part. As with life, you get out of a newsgroup what you put into it. If you want to make real, lasting friends, this is a good place to do it.


The original FAQ was written and maintained for the first three years of the group's history by Duncan Campbell. You can find it at

This version is currently falling into disrepair under Pete Bevin. Although Nick Leverton supplied the text for question 10 and James Kemp tidied up a few other wee bits.

Thanks to Paul Carpenter for posting the FAQ to the group regularly.