Posting Guidelines

By Peter Howkins 2nd Jun 2005.

With assistance from Richard Hallas and Paul Vigay.

Preamble: Over the recent year, the quality of posts to the comp.sys.acorn usenet hierarchy and RISC OS mailing lists has deteriorated markedly. The reason for this isn't entirely clear, although part of the blame lies with grumpy old men and geeks who live on the weirder end of the autism/aspergers spectrum.

Correct posting style has been around for about 20 years. It was democratically decided, and designed to enable as much clarity as possible in what remains a somewhat limited medium for communication. If you weren't around 20 years ago to vote on this, tough, we're too set in our ways to live with even the slightest difference now.

Posting Correctly

These rules are based on current practice, try to follow them and you'll fit right in.
  1. Pick a fight with someone on the groups, doesn't matter who. Continue your personal vendetta for several years.
  2. When in a debate about the comparative merits of systems the anecdote you heard down the pub is much more useful than the opinion of someone who's used the system day in, day out, for the last 5 years.
  3. When referring to Microsoft always use MickeySoft or Micro$oft. It makes you seem more mature and reasoned.
  4. Post links to your news site in every reply you make.
  5. Always, when in discussion with someone, make sure you get the last word in.
  6. Post at least 30 times a day.
  7. Spam is perfectly fine, as long as it comes from nice RISC OS companies.
  8. Remember, it's not FUD, it's 'advocacy'.
  9. With prices like *that* of course it's 'in stock'.
  10. Everyone always knows every synonym for everything they need to find. So you are perfectly justified in telling people to 'bog off and use google' when they ask a question.
  11. The topics for discussion are limited to those laid out in the newsgroups charter, except for when the old lags want to have a chin wag about what ever is on their mind. Fox Hunting, education and transport are all perfectly valid, whereas talking about the Windows side of a RISC OS emulator is strictly verboten.
  12. Remember, if you've not been using these groups for at least 8 years then your opinion on what is appropriate for these groups is worth nothing.
  13. If there's a mailing list for a product then you should talk about it there, never mind that half the users of the product aren't subscribed, it's got a crappy interface, it's an nightmare to setup, its archives aren't publicly available and you need to be invited. Of course these mailing lists are never used to stop the public finding out how hideously buggy these products are.
  14. Be sure to criticise other people's lack of care, poor understanding of English grammar and inability to spell whenever they make any kind of typo. Always remember to demonstrate that your own command of grammar and punctuation is at least one order of magnitude more inept than that of the person you're criticising. Include as many typographical gaffes of your own as possible, to reinforce this point.
  15. If you think you're starting to lose an argument, change the subject. No one ever notices.
  16. If you're starting to lose an argument, tell the other person to stop changing the subject.
  17. Never surrender, never apologise. People love someone who never backs down, no matter how spectacularly wrong they are.
Finally, think before you post. Think, is it worth all the grief?