From: Karen <>
Subject: [FAQ] {M} {I} {G} {R} {A} {F} - tagging and how it works
Summary: This FAQ documents the system of Subject tags used in the Pratchett
        newsgroups to keep the traffic manageable.
Followup-To: poster
Organization: I live in hope
Keywords: Pratchett Discworld FAQ netiquette subject tags keycodes
X-Autoposter: This FAQ was autoposted by <>
X-Archive-name: pratchett/subject-tag-faq
X-Posting-Frequency: weekly (on Wednesday)
X-Last-modified: 27 May 2006
X-URL: <>

Archive-name: pratchett/subject-tag-faq
Posting-Frequency: weekly (on Wednesday)
Last-modified: 27 May 2006
URL: <>

This and all the other FAQs for Pratchett newsgroups and things
Pratchett related may be found at:


Additionally, if you are unable to find the answer to your query in the
relevant FAQ, or have a more general query or request, there is a Help
Facility to be reached by mailing:


General advice on subscribing to and reading afp using a proper
newsreader or Google Groups can be found here:


                       * Alphabetti Spaghetti *

AFP's [X] subject tags for threads - how and when to use them. You may
find it useful to keep a copy of this handy for a while. can be a fairly heavy-traffic newsgroup. In addition,
afp'ers tolerate off topic posts and don't restrict their contributions
to matters strictly to do with Terry Pratchett, and his writings.

The tags make it easier to sort the large numbers of posts. You can
visually sort the threads into the main categories of interest and avoid
those of least interest. It also enables automatic selection, sorting or
kill-filing, for those with newsreaders with a kill-file  facility [1].

NB if you are forced to post through Google Groups be warned that it
strips out the tags and the quoted content of the last post. You will
need to return both to your reply manually :-(   When adding a tag, if
you eliminate the space between the tag and the subject line it should
be preserved, even on Google. (using the Google 'options' to display as
tree, show original etc may help you.)

Feedback to Google to point out how unhelpful this is to usenet groups
may eventually convince them to return to something more suitable to
newsgroups who use a tagging convention.

The following guidelines should help you but if all else fails please
remember the zeroth law of tagging. It doesn't merit outraged nitpicking
reactions to untagged or wrongly tagged articles - a courteous
explanation or reminder is ample. Our articles are in practice more
likely to be read if tagged correctly but its not a hanging offence to
make a simple mistake and shouldn't be treated like one :-

0) Tagging was devised to serve afp and afpers. Not the other way round.

1) Please add tags when starting a thread, or when following up to a
 thread where a tag has been lost. The tag is most useful at the
 beginning of the subject so that it can aid sorting.

2) Please change the tag, as the subject matter changes eg from [R] to
 {I} [remove the old tag completely, or else "deactivate" it by changing
 the square brackets to some other symbol, e.g. This FAQ has square
 brackets around the actual tag which is [FAQ] and curly brackets are
 used to "deactivate" the other tags.

3) One is enough!  Multiple tagging can generally be avoided by reading
 the definitions below, if in doubt feel free to ask.

4) Please *don't* introduce use of new tags. Such proposals should be
 discussed on group first. Many new tags have been suggested before -
 try looking on google groups before suggesting new tags, its a
 regular subject :-} Similarly please stick to the "[X]" format.

5) NB for those who are new to afp but are familiar with tagging, the
 [Q] tag for questions is not in use on these groups.

Currently recognised tags are:

   [A] - Annotation - articles commenting upon, or explaining
      references in Terry Pratchett's novels and shorter stories. Leo
      Breebaart (, and his able assistant Mike Kew
      ( use [A] tagged articles to help them select
      additions to the awesome Annotated Pratchett File which may be
      obtained from <> Please check the
      APF before submitting new annotations.

   [R] - Relevant - articles (other than annotations) that are directly
      related to and are discussing Terry's works, publications,
      theatrical productions, films, websites, and other activities
      based upon them, including the companion maps, art & craftwork,
      inasmuch as they relate to the original works and each other.

   [I] - Irrelevant - threads whose subjects are not directly related to
      Terry's works, publications or other "spin-offs" nor to afp fan
      activity, nor to afp-the-newsgroup. Please bear in mind that [I]
      is not intended as a licence to repeatedly introduce contentious
      or other subjects for their own sake - consider  whether the
      subject has already been aired recently and is still of wider

   [M] - Meta - These are for the discussion of issues relating to afp
      itself and how it operates. Please look at them when they arise -
      this is your group. They are the forum for discussing changes to
      the way your usenet community operates (eg how tagging is used,
      FAQ issues etc), as well as activity on the newsgroup and matters
      generally within the group itself which may be of concern/interest
      to subscribers. Fresh eyes often make particularly valuable
      contributions to these discussions.

   [F] - Fan - details of afp fan activity, normally "in real life" (or
      as close as afpers get to the same), frequently involving
      hostelries and other establishments serving alcoholic beverages
      and/or curries...Also, reports on such activities, links for
      pictures etc, proposals for repeat events and other activities,
      information about fandom  services, resources etc.

   [C] - Cascade - content-free, "articles" deliberately building up a
      "cascade", or visual effect. Please remember the negative effect
      of cascades upon afp as well as bandwidth wasted, before starting
      another cascade and at the least, retag it and trim quotation to
      the references, plus the cascade itself. Where a cascade arises
      from another thread please retag it promptly.

   [G] - Game - articles about the discworld computer games and, by
      extension, about earlier discworld games, and those as-yet
      unwritten whether board-, computer-, jigsaw- or fantasy role-
      playing- games...TCoM is on

 [ANNOUNCE] - an article cross-posted from,
      and also cross-posted to alt.books.pratchett; plus followups.
      This may be [F], [G], [M] - or even [R]. [to make an announcement
      to afpa send it to the moderator Submissions
      should be sent in with clear subjectlines, repeating all important
      information from subjectlines in the main body of the text. There
      is a FAQ for submissions to afpa which you may find useful.]
      For meet related activities it is also a good idea to mail the
      relevant meet mail list with copies of announcements and the
      additional details for speedier spreading of information. See:


 [FAQ] - an article of fundamental importance to the way a newsgroup
      works - from Frequently Asked Questions. These should be
      considered the supporting documents of the afp community and are
    . periodically posted to afp; available at

Guidelines specific to Alt.books.pratchett:

Please read the "ABP Posting Guidelines" for detailed information
specific to ABP. These comments relate to the use of tagging
specifically. This is now posted regularly to ABP as a FAQ.

All posts should be relevant to the works of Terry Pratchett so the [R]
and [I] tags are effectively redundant on posts specific to ABP. [R] is
obviously still needed for posts crossed to AFP, [I] cross-posts from/to
AFP would inevitably be off topic for ABP and so should not be made. The
tag most commonly in use on ABP is the [A] tag, which distinguishes
annotations from other relevant posts.

Where threads become [I] they may be crossed to AFP to continue the [I]
discussion on that group *if* the thread is likely to be of interest to
the readers of AFP (of which you may well be one) - please remember to
change/add the tag and set followups to AFP.  Elsewise let it die out or
cross to a more appropriate group instead. Or of course there is always
"follow-up to poster"...

Finally, speculation about future developments is now acceptable on ABP.
BUT please remember to include a subheader [SPECULATION] inside the post
just above the speculative section. This is not a "tag" as such and does
not need to be added to the heading unless the entire post is
[SPECULATION]. Currently speculation is considered unacceptable on AFP -
please remember this if cross posting threads there - add the [R] and
excise the [SPECULATION]. There is also now a 'speculation mail list'

General comments:

If you are new to usenet and everything seems strange, and hard to
follow, lurking a while, reading threads as they develop, and also
reading the other FAQ's (such as the  short "Welcome FAQ's") should
help. The main newsgroup FAQ, the afp-faq, maintained by Orin Thomas, is
a useful reference  whilst lurking and subsequently.

Then when posting - think about last week's posts. Which do you actually
remember? Which do *you* wish you had written? Which of your own posts
will you be pleased to see in the *public archives* in years to come?
And remember - you are never obliged to follow up a post.

Thanks to Julie Ellis for tidying up the FAQ formatting for me :)

  [1] - afp-help can probably answer questions on how to killfile
     using most of the popular offline newsreaders in use - but please
     check the documentation first, then ask of your 'net software's
     publisher, or your isp's help/support desk (or line), if they were
     the provider: they are more likely to have the detailed answers
     already. This link may also help: