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Welcome to alt.gothic for WebTV users

Greetings. This information has been assembled specifically for WebTV users who are visiting the newsgroup alt.gothic for the first time, or for those who've lurked here and would like to contribute but feel intimidated. If this is *not* new to you please read it anyway. You never know, there may still be something you find useful.

Before I continue, there's something I want to address. There is a perception on this group, and on Usenet in general, that WebTV users are a bunch of clueless dolts. Contrary to popular opinion among WebTV'ers, this is NOT because all computer users are elitist snobs who look down at us because we don't have an expensive computer.

Blanket generalizations like that are never true, and this is no exception. ( Please ignore the fact that the previous statement was a blanket generalization :)

The reason we are regarded so poorly is due in large part to the behavior of some users. They wander across Usenet ignoring FAQ's and pretending that netiquette doesn't apply to them. When others point out what they're doing wrong and try to clue them in they take it as a personal attack and tend to respond with a childish temper tantrum. This only aggravates the situation and leads to some really hard feelings. Constructive criticism is just that; constructive. Please take it in the spirit intended.

It is true that there are a few isolated individuals out there who actually will attack people just because they're on WebTV ( or AOL ). Ignore them. Getting baited into a meaningless flamewar serves no purpose at all. You can rise above that, and will be the better for it.

There are generally accepted rules on Usenet, which were created by a concensus of the users who post there. They are NOT designed just to spite WebTV'ers, and anyone who either can't or won't follow them will find themselves chastized for it. Again people: It's not anything personal against us. The rules were designed to make the newsgroups manageable for everyone.

Now the technical part.


First the real basic stuff:

There are help features built into your WebTV that you can access via the buttons on the sidebar. Please familiarize yourself with them as soon as you can. They cover many of the basics of reading and posting to Usenet. These include suggestions for getting along with the other users of these groups.


1) Where are you?

You are on Usenet, which is a worldwide network of discussion groups. For specific information on Usenet please go here: news:news.announce.newusers WebTV refers to it as the "discuss" feature. It is not a part of the WebTV network. It is a separate entity which has been around for many years and predates the World Wide Web. Alt.gothic is at least 8 years old ( Possibly older, I don't remember exactly ), and many of the people who are regulars there have been posting for years. That, combined with the high volume of posts to the group, means that there are very few questions that haven't been asked over and over again. Things like "Is such and so gothic?" or "What is gothic" or "I do this or that, am I gothic?" have been done to death. Rather than ask them again, and probably get flamed like crazy, try going to http://www.dejanews.com and look up the information. Alt.gothic is archived there going back 5 years or so.

A note on terminology: This is a newsgroup, not a chat room. ( unless you're David or Dinty H. :) It is not a website either. Usenet is separate from either IRC ( Internet Relay Chat ) or the World Wide Web. Knowing and using the correct terminology keeps people from making negative assumptions about you.

That brings me to the subject of the Frequently Asked Questions ( or FAQ ) pages relating to alt.gothic. The FAQ's are your friends. They were set up to explain the rules that are specific to this newsgroup. Most groups have one, and they're all different. Whenever you come across a new group it always pays to find the FAQ and read it over carefully. You'll save a lot of time and trouble later. If you can't find the FAQ a short post asking "Will someone please send me a copy of the FAQ?" should provide you with it.


2) Where are these FAQ's?

THE BIG, RATHER ESSENTIAL, LIFE-SAVING FAQS:

The basic alt.gothic Frequently Asked Questions:
http://www.darkwave.org.uk/faq/ag

If you think you're funny, read this:
http: //thingy.apana.org.au/~fun/goth/oneliner.txt

Alt.Gothic Special Forces - we're fascist net.cops. Deal.
http://www.zenweb.com/pan/panstuff/ agsffaq.htm

New to Usenet newsgroups? READ THIS - *all* of it! news:news.announce.newusers

OTHER GROUPS
The alt.gothic.fashion FAQ - essential only if you choose to wear clothes
http://www.toreadors.com/gothfash.html

Goffick Pics? Check out the alt.binaries.gothic FAQ!
http://www.zenweb.com/pan/panstuff/abgfaq.htm

Important note: There are several other gothic newsgroups. Some of these groups are for goths from other countries. It is considered really bad form to post to these groups from the states, so please don't do it. The international goths who want to talk with us ( and there are quite a few of them ) post to alt.gothic. The rest formed their own groups so they wouldn't have to put up with some of the more irritating parts of a.g. Please respect that.


3) WebTV specific issues relating to Usenet:

3a) Quoting text when replying to a post.

When replying to a post it is necessary to quote the relevant parts of that post. This helps people figure what you are referring to. Other newsreaders do not arrange posts in the same way WebTV does, so the post you are replying to isn't always viewable to others. WebTV allows you to cut text out of a message and paste it into your reply. This makes quoting very easy. For specific instructions on how to do this please go here: http://www.geocities.com/~by2000/links.html and click on "cut copy and paste". Actually, you should check out the rest of the site as well. It's the WebTV helpsite of Paul Erickson, and it's set up to help WebTV'ers figure out nearly anything they want to know.

3b) Posting in HTML, and why you shouldn't do so:

For purposes of this issue there are two different kinds of groups on Usenet. Binary and non-binary groups. Binary groups are set up to post images, and the people who use them expect the slowdown that accompanies the huge amounts of information posted there. Non-binary groups are text-only. The people who post and read there have a reasonable expectation of speed when downloading posts. If you post in HTML this slows the whole group down and inconveniences everyone.

There is another reason not to post in HTML. Most people have their newsreaders set for text only. This means that the HTML shows up as code, rather than images and sounds. It makes the posts hard to read, and also makes the reader think you're a dimwit for posting that way. Save the HTML for your own web pages. There are plenty of free web hosting services out there, and you can write code 'till your hands fall off :)

The one place where posting in HTML is acceptable is the WebTV specific heirarchy alt.discuss. To get a list of the alt.discuss groups hit the "go to" button. Delete the http:// text and type in the following: news:alt.discuss. This will give you a complete listing.

3c) Anonymity, and why there isn't any:

There are some people with WebTV who find it amusing to post harassing and disruptive things to newsgroups. This is referred to as Trolling. ( If you're one of those people you might want to pay special attention here.) Some of them even believe that they're anonymous because they post through Dejanews with one of their free e-mail accounts.

Well, that's nothing like the truth. Any computer user can read the complete headers of anything you post, rather than the truncated version WebTV allows us to see. It's all too obvious where the post originated. When you signed up for this service you agreed to abide by the WebTV Terms of Service ( TOS ). Read the TOS carefully and you'll find that you can lose your service, with NO WARNING, if you violate those terms.

If enough people complain to WebTV about you, they will eventually take action, and you'll be left with a $100 doorstop. Kind of a waste for the few cheap thrills one might gain from Trolling, eh? Additionally, if you create a new user account with which to cause trouble and then delete it immediately thereafter, WebTV network still has a record of this.

Read the information in the AGSF FAQ to get a better handle on how alt.gothic deals with trolls.


Now a bit about me, and my experience on alt.gothic. I'm golab. That's golab@webtv.net. Please e-mail me if you have any other questions. I am always happy to help. I've been posting to alt.gothic for over a year now, and have really enjoyed it. I've "met" a lot of interesting people, and really enjoy reading and posting there. With a few very minor exceptions I have never been treated badly just because I'm on WebTV. I think I got maybe two flames about WebTV and those were very early on. Now being flamed for my opinions is a whole different story. That's going to happen to anyone, regardless of what they're using to read a.g. Different people have different opinions.

By the way, I shouldn't have to say this but I know how some people are. If you happen to think sending harassing e-mail is funny I know a trick to read the complete headers of a message and I WILL foreward it to WebTV.


If you want to know more about my a.g. experience you could go to the Asylum page on my website.

Well, that's about it I suppose. I hope that you found this information useful, and that you take what I wrote to heart. There is no reason why WebTV users can't get along on alt.gothic just like anyone else. If you've got something interesting to add to the discussion, please do. It doesn't matter what device you use to get there. What matters is what you've got to say. The people on alt.gothic come there to talk about a broad variety of different things. If they didn't want to, they would turn off their computers and do something else. Become part of that, or lurk if that's more your thing. Just don't feel like you're not welcome because you're on WebTV.


Credits: I want to thank the following people for their suggestions and help in the creation of this page: David Gerard, for coming up with the idea in the first place, as well as his comments on the result. Necr0angel, Pan, Sexbat and several of my fellow WebTV'ers for their helpful comments and suggestions. Finally, I'd like to thank the creators of the weekly Welcome to Alt.Gothic message for the FAQ section of this page, which I copied word for word. Why mess with success?