, sharon@foo.bar.com wrote:
> I agree, I think that basketweaving's really catching on,
> particularly in Pennsylvania. Here's a list of every person
> in PA that currently engages in it publicly:
line ... etc ...

This is a severe example (potentially a horribly long article), but
proves a point. When you quote another person, edit out whatever
isn't directly applicable to your reply. {But not changing their
words, of course. } This gives the reader of the new article a better
idea of what points you were addressing. By including the entire
article, you'll only annoy those reading it. Also, signatures in the
original aren't necessary; the readers already know who wrote it (by
the attribution).

Avoid being tedious with responses---rather than pick apart an
article, address it in parts or as a whole. Addressing practically
each and every word in an article only proves that the person
responding has absolutely nothing better to do with his time.

If a ``war'' starts (insults and personal comments get thrown back
and forth), take it into email---exchange email with the person
you're arguing with. No one enjoys watching people bicker
incessantly.

Crossposting

The Newsgroups: line isn't limited to just one group---an
article can be posted in a list of groups. For instance, the line

Newsgroups: sci.space,comp.simulation

posts the article to both the groups sci.space and
comp.simulation. It's usually safe to crosspost to up to three
or four groups. To list more than that is considered ``excessive
noise.''

It's also suggested that if an article is crossposted a
Followup-To: header be included. It should name the group to
which all additional discussion should be directed to. For the above
example a possible Followup-To: would be

Followup-To: sci.space

which would make all followups automatically be posted to just
sci.space, rather than both sci.space and comp.simulation. If every
response made with a newsreader's ``followup'' command should go to
the person posting the article no matter what, there's also a
mechanism worked in to accommodate. The Followup-To: header should
contain the single word poster:

Followup-To: poster

Certain newsreaders will use this to sense that a reply should never
be posted back onto The Net. This is often used with questions that
will yield a summary of information later, a vote, or an
advertisement.

Recent News

One should avoid posting ``recent'' events---sports scores, a plane
crash, or whatever people will see on the evening news or read in the
morning paper. By the time the article has propagated across all of
Usenet, the ``news'' value of the article will have become stale.
(This is one case for the argument that Usenet news is a misnomer.
{Note that the Clarinet News service (Clarinet) offers news items in
a Usenet format as a precise alternative to the morning paper, et.
al.)

Quality of Postings

How you write and present yourself in your articles is important. If
you have terrible spelling, keep a dictionary near by. If you have
trouble with grammar and punctuation, try to get a book on English
grammar and composition (found in many bookstores and at garage
sales). By all means pay attention to what you say---it makes you who
you are on The Net.

Likewise, try to be clear in what you ask. Ambiguous or vague
questions often lead to no response at all, leaving the poster
discouraged. Give as much essential information as you feel is
necessary to let people help you, but keep it within limits. For
instance, you should probably include the operating system of your
computer in the post if it's needed, but don't tell everybody what
peripherals you have hanging off of it.

Useful Subjects

The Subject: line of an article is what will first attract
people to read it---if it's vague or doesn't describe what's contained
within, no one will read the article. At the same time,
Subject: lines that're too wordy tend to be irritating. For
example:


Good
Subject: Building Emacs on a Sun Sparc under 4.1

Good
Subject: Tryin' to find Waldo in NJ.

Bad
Subject: I can't get emacs to work !!!

Bad
Subject: I'm desperately in search of the honorable Mr. Waldo in the state
of...

Simply put, try to think of what will best help the reader when he or
she encounters your article in a newsreading session.

Tone of Voice

Since common computers can't portray the inflection or tone in a
person's voice, how articles are worded can directly affect the
response to them. If you say

Anybody using a Vic-20 should go buy themselves a life.

you'll definitely get some responses---telling you to take a leap.
Rather than be inflammatory, phrase your articles in a way that
rationally expresses your opinion, like

What're the practical uses of a Vic-20 these days?

which presents yourself as a much more level-headed individual.

Also, what case (upper or lower) you use can indicate how you're
trying to speak---netiquette dictates that if you USE ALL CAPITAL
LETTERS, people will think you're ``shouting.'' Write as you would in
a normal letter to a friend, following traditional rules of English
(or whatever language you happen to speak).

Computer Religion

No matter what kind of computer a person is using, theirs is always
the best and most efficient of them all. Posting articles
asking questions like What computer should I buy? An Atari ST or an
Amiga? will lead only to fervent arguments over the merits and
drawbacks of each brand. Don't even ask The Net---go to a local user
group, or do some research of your own like reading some magazine
reviews. Trying to say one computer is somehow better than another is
a moot point.

The Anatomy of an Article

Frequently Asked Questions

A number of groups include Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) lists,
which give the answers to questions or points that have been raised
time and time again in a newsgroup. They're intended to help cut
down on the redundant traffic in a group. For example, in the
newsgroup alt.tv.simpsons, one recurring question is Did you notice
that there's a different blackboard opening at the beginning of every
Simpsons episode? As a result, it's part of the FAQ for that group.

Usually, FAQ lists are posted at the beginning of each month, and are
set to expire one month later (when, supposedly, the next FAQ will be
published). Nearly every FAQ is also crossposted to news.answers,
which is used as a Usenet repository for them.

The Pit-Manager Archive

MIT, with Jonathan Kamens, has graciously dedicated a machine to the
archiving and storage of the various periodic postings that are
peppered throughout the various Usenet groups. To access them, FTP to
the system pit-manager.mit.edu and look in the directory
/pub/usenet.

``Be it true or false, so it be news.''
Ben Jonson, News from the New World

-----
Telnet

Telnet is the main Internet protocol for creating a connection
with a remote machine. It gives the user the opportunity to be on one
computer system and do work on another, which may be across the street
or thousands of miles away. Where modems are limited, in the majority,
by the quality of telephone lines and a single connection, telnet
provides a connection that's error-free and nearly always faster than
the latest conventional modems.

Using Telnet

As with FTP (Anonymous FTP), the actual command for negotiating a telnet
connection varies from system to system. The most common is
telnet itself, though. It takes the form of:

telnet somewhere.domain

To be safe, we'll use your local system as a working example. By now,
you hopefully know your site's domain name. If not, ask or try
to figure it out. You'll not get by without it.

To open the connection, type

telnet your.system.name

If the system were wubba.cs.widener.edu, for example, the
command would look like

telnet wubba.cs.widener.edu

The system will respond with something similar to

Trying 147.31.254.999...
Connected to wubba.cs.widener.edu.
Escape character is '^]'.

The escape character, in this example ^] (Control-]), is the
character that will let you go back to the local system to close the
connection, suspend it, etc. To close this connection, the user
would type ^], and respond to the telnet> prompt with the command
close. Local documentation should be checked for information on
specific commands, functions, and escape character that can be used.

Telnet Ports

Many telnet clients also include a third option, the port on
which the connection should take place. Normally, port 23 is the
default telnet port; the user never has to think about it. But
sometimes it's desirable to telnet to a different port on a system,
where there may be a service available, or to aid in debugging a
problem. Using

telnet somewhere.domain port

will connect the user to the given port on the system
somewhere.domain. Many libraries use this port method to offer their
facilities to the general Internet community; other services are also
available. For instance, one would type

telnet martini.eecs.umich.edu 3000

to connect to the geographic server at the University of Michigan
(Geographic Server). Other such port connections follow the
same usage.

Publicly Accessible Libraries

Over the last several years, most university libraries have switched
from a manual (card) catalog system to computerized library catalogs.
The automated systems provide users with easily accessible and
up-to-date information about the books available in these libraries.
This has been further improved upon with the advent of local area
networks, dialup modems, and wide area networks. Now many of us can
check on our local library's holdings or that of a library halfway
around the world!

Many, many institutions of higher learning have made their library
catalogs available for searching by anyone on the Internet. They
include Boston University, the Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries
(CARL), and London University King's College.

To include a listing of some of the existing sites would not only be
far too long for this document, it would soon be out of date.
Instead, several lists are being maintained and are available either
by mail or via FTP. Also, the Internet Resource Guide (IRG) also
describes a few libraries that are accessible---IRG for further
information.

Art St. George and Ron Larsen are maintaining a list of
Internet-accessible libraries and databases often referred to as
``the St. George directory.'' It began with only library catalogs
but has expanded to include sections on campus-wide information
systems, and even bulletin board systems that are not on the
Internet. The library catalog sections are divided into those that
are free, those that charge, and international (i.e. non-U.S.)
catalogs; they are arranged by state, province, or country within
each section. There is also a section giving dialup information for
some of the library catalogs. It's available for FTP (Anonymous FTP)
on nic.cerf.net in the directory
cerfnet/cerfnet_info/library_catalog. The file internet-catalogs has
a date suffix; check for the most current date. The information is
updated periodically.

Billy Barron, Systems Manager at the University of North Texas,
produces a directory as an aid to his user community. It complements
the St. George guide by providing a standard format for all systems
which lists the Internet address, login instructions, the system
vendor, and logoff information. The arrangement is alphabetic by
organization name. It's available for FTP on vaxb.acs.unt.edu in the
subdirectory library as the file libraries.txt.

For announcements of new libraries being available and discussion on
related topics, consult the Usenet newsgroup
comp.internet.library (Usenet News to learn how to read
news).

Bulletin Board Systems

The Cleveland Freenet

Freenets are open-access, free, community computer systems. One such
system is the Cleveland Freenet, sponsored by CWRU (Case Western
Reserve University). Anyone and everyone is welcome to join and take
part in the exciting project---that of a National Telecomputing Public
Network, where everyone benefits. There's no charge for the
registration process and no charge to use the system.

To register, telnet to any one of

freenet-in-a.cwru.edu
freenet-in-b.cwru.edu
freenet-in-c.cwru.edu

After you're connected, choose the entry on the menu that signifies
you're a guest user. Another menu will follow; select Apply for
an account, and you'll be well on your way to being a FreeNet member.

You will need to fill out a form and send it to them through the
Postal Service---your login id and password will be created in a few
days. At that point you're free to use the system as you wish. They
provide multi-user chat, email, Usenet news, and a variety of other
things to keep you occupied for hours on end.

Directories

There are a few systems that are maintained to provide the Internet
community with access to lists of information---users, organizations,
etc. They range from fully dedicated computers with access to papers
and research results, to a system to find out about the faculty
members of a university.

Knowbot

Knowbot is a ``master directory'' that contains email address
information from the NIC WHOIS database (Whois), the PSI White
Pages Pilot Project, the NYSERNET X.500 database and MCI Mail. Most
of these services are email registries themselves, but Knowbot
provides a very comfortable way to access all of them in one place.
Telnet to nri.reston.va.us on port 185.

White Pages

Book of the day: - Full Text Free Book (Part 1/2)