Frequently Asked Questions for

Version: 1.1.4
Date: 2/1/00
Keeper: Wordman (

"Better to light a match than to curse the darkness."


1.1: What this post is

Posted at the beginning of each month, this post answers questions often asked about the newsgroup It lays down guidelines for posting messages, and attempts to answer common questions before they are asked, preventing unneeded and unwanted traffic. This FAQ is also available on the web at:

1.2: What this post is not

This post is not intended to answer questions about individual games often discussed on r.g.f.cyber. Other FAQs (listed below) are available for that job.

1.3: What is

A forum dedicated to "cyberpunk" genre and other near-future role-playing games, is the proper place to discuss Cyberpunk, Shadowrun, CyberSpace, GURPS: Cyberpunk, RIFTS and other such games. (You might take issue with some of the games on this list; if so, make sure you read item 3.2 below before acting on that thought.) Naturally, topics common to the whole genre are also welcome.

The charter of is:

This group is for discussing various aspects of cyberpunk genre
roleplaying and the rules of different cyberpunk roleplaying games.

All discussion of general roleplaying aspects, cyberpunk roleplaying
not involving rules of any cyberpunk roleplaying game, or aspects of
cyberpunk roleplaying appearing often in other games (like weapons,
they appear in other games, but not smartgun links, as they are mostly
found in cyberpunk but no other games) belongs to .misc or some more
appropriate group (like .advocacy).

Cyberpunk discussion not involving roleplaying or roleplaying games
might do better in alt.cyberpunk or some group in alt.cyberpunk

Some cyberpunk roleplaying games are Shadowrun, Cyberpunk 2020, GURPS
Cyberpunk. This list is not exclusive since I don't know all cyberpunk
RPGs on the market. These are just examples of cyberpunk roleplaying

The group officially began as a moderated group called On February 28, 1993, after jumping through all of the hoops needed, was changed to and was made unmoderated.

Generally, posts about Shadowrun and Cyberpunk are the most common on r.g.f.cyber, with little representation from other games.

As an unmoderated host to discussion on multiple gaming systems, r.g.f.cyber must rely on the good will of its posters to keep the peace. Most readers of r.g.f.cyber are interested in a single gaming system, or a single aspect of the genre, and could care less about the rest. It can be irritating, therefore to have to wade through posts for other games. (You may be thinking that the natural thing would be to break this group into smaller sections; if so, make sure you read item 3.1 below before acting on that thought.) This FAQ outlines what you can do to make r.g.f.cyber more useful for yourself less annoying for others.

1.4: Killfiles

One of the most useful aspects of most newsreaders is their ability to automatically ignore posts that you are not interested in. Your newsreader allows to set up a list of rules (called a killfile) that posts can be filtered through, leaving you with only the news on topics you are interested in.

At least that's the theory. In practice, killfiles usually only operate by looking at what's in the subject line of a post for certain patterns. It can be tough to define the right patterns for filtering out unwanted stuff, unless everyone in a given newsgroups puts a special tag in their posts, giving a rough idea of content.

The entire purpose of this FAQ is to define such tags for For this to work, it is extremely important that you follow these guidelines, and that you encourage others to as well.


2.1: Tags

Always begin your post with a tag to indicate its content. The tag must be enclosed in [square brackets] and must be one of the ones listed below. On r.g.f.cyber, most people are interested in particular games, so most of the tags are defined with that in mind. One other is worth note as well: most cyber games do not use magic, but one of the most popular games on r.g.f.cyber, Shadowrun, does. This has caused a great deal of friction on the list, so this is addressed by these tags as well. The tags are the following:

  • [GEN] General discussion about the cyber game genre. Not game specific.
  • [CP] Discussion about Cyberpunk
  • [SR] Discussion about non-magical aspects of Shadowrun
  • [SRMAG] Discussion about magical aspects of Shadowrun, including PhysAds
  • [SRED] Discussion about Shadowrun's crossover with EarthDawn
  • [OSYS] Discussion about any other gaming system.
  • [META] Discussion about itself. No game content.
  • These tags have been chosen based on the traffic this group historically gets. It may be that a system in the [OSYS] category may become popular enough to generate tons of traffic on the list, at which time a new tag will be chosen for it.

    2.2: Not using tags

    If you do not use subject tags, either through ignorance or immaturity, there is no official punishment. Since this is not a moderated list, very little can be done to you, at least officially; however, you will gain the ire of a large number of people. Many will probably let you know about it. Many more will probably add your name to their killfile and ignore you ever after. It also not unheard of for flagrant news abuse to result in the abuser's ISP yanking the user's account.

    That said, please keep in mind that some who don't use tags do so simply because they don't know any better. Please cut people a little slack, at least on a first offence. Let them know the way of things respectfully, until they get it right, or until they prove themselves unworthy of respect.

    2.3: Follow-ups to posts that do not use tags

    If you are responding to a post that does not happen to have a tag, for whatever reason, please insert an appropriate tag into the subject of your response. For example, in responding to a post with the title "Spell Question", please make the subject of your post "Re: [SRMAG] Spell Question".

    2.4: Netiquette

    Basic manners go a long way on the net. True, being faceless, you can be as rude as you like on the net, but no one's impressed. Still, its worse to be unintentionally bad-mannered, and many resources on the net will tell you how to avoid this. In a nutshell, here is quick summary of things to avoid unless you like getting flamed:

    1. When you post, have something to say. Don't just follow a post with "me too".
    2. When replying to a post, trim as much as you can out of the post you are quoting. Only include the sentences you are actually responding to. Nothing makes you look dumber than quoting 900 lines of a post, then adding a sentence to the end.
    3. Similarly, if you quote a post, make sure the quoted portion comes before your response to it, not after.
    4. There is a difference between e-mail and news: learn what it is. Never post a message that is destined for a single person.
    5. Do not cross-post. If you don't know what this is, don't learn. If you do, make sure you know what you're doing before you do it.
    6. Post on topic. alt.pets.cats is a great place to talk about your kitty Whiskers. People on, however, don't care and will strongly indicate as much.
    7. Use the tags described above.
    8. Read the rest of this FAQ and don't post any of the questions answered in it to the list. If you really have a burning issue about this list that you think the world should hear, send it by e-mail to me first.
    9. Don't write in all capital letters. IT LOOKS LIKE YOU'RE YELLING.

    2.5: Old Posts

    2.5.1: What Good are Old Posts?

    Old posts are good for answering those niggling, annoying little questions that seem to pop up constantly. Often, the answer to simple questions can be found with a search through newsgroup archives. By finding the answer there, you save valuable bandwidth. Also, searching can help you learn what questions not to ask as well, along with learning the ways of the groups if you are a new user.

    2.5.2: Where do I find Old Newsgroup Posts?

    The most popular place to find them is the DejaNews archive located at This is a web-based search engine allowing keyword searches. Another popular choices is Remarq.

    2.5.3: Should I Respond to the Old Posts I Find?

    The simplest answer to give would be a resounding 'no'. If it isn't a current message on your usual news server, then odds are that it isn't on many other servers for reference any longer as well. Please avoid answering messages over 1 week old, or alternatively, handle it privately through Email or be kind enough to quote the entirety of the message you are answering as a reference for the benefit of the newsgroup readers at large.

    3.0: QUESTIONS

    3.1: Let's split this group!

    Frequency: Once per year (usually in October)

    Many new subscribers get this brilliant idea each fall (sometimes more often). I admit that I brought it up as a newbie myself. Like everyone since, I got horribly flamed for it. Every time this issue comes up, right or wrong, eventually people generally realize one or more of the following points:

    1. The process for creating a group in the rec hierarchy is arduous, and the guidelines are set up such that any vote taken by a group as small as will likely have no effect whatsoever.
    2. All suggestions for what the new groups should be called are almost universally bad, but for different reasons. Generally, a consensus cannot be reached on a new hierarchy.
    3. People who support the split support it for totally different reasons. Some desire a split along game lines. Others are sick of discussions about magic. Etc. Others would read all of the split groups anyway, so don't see the point. Since 1990, I have never seen any of these opinions even come close to a majority.
    4. If everyone, or even a majority of people, used defined subject tags, there would be no major problem.

    3.2: What is cyberpunk?

    Frequency: Twice per year

    This question can have many variants, such as "Is Shadowrun cyberpunk?" and so on. Asking it is much like asking "What is the nature of God?": you will get hundreds of a opinions, and none of them will make any difference at all.

    "Cyberpunk" entered popular use when describing a genre of science-fiction which most feel started with (and some would say ended with) William Gibson's _Neuromancer_. Like most things on this group, there has never been consensus on the exact definition of cyberpunk, a word that now means many things to many people. There does not even seem to be a consensus on the basic concept of cyberpunk either. When this question has been discussed previously, however, the following are usually mentioned as elements of cyberpunk:

    1. A dystopian future with an economically stratified society.
    2. Technology evolving faster than a society's ability to handle it.
    3. Often, but not always, some form of melding of technology and mind/body.

    The truth is probably in there somewhere. Maybe not. The important thing is to remember that when you find it, it will be _your_ truth, not everyone else's. You may be very proud of your truth, perhaps rightfully so, but crowing or pondering about it on r.g.f.cyber will get you a rap in the mouth. No one is interested in going down that road any more.

    Since Shadowrun deals with magic, many claim it is not cyberpunk. Who cares. For the purposes of this FAQ, Shadowrun is cyberpunk _enough_ to warrant being in this newsgroup. No one wants to talk about it any more, either.

    Maybe that is the true meaning of cyberpunk: no one cares.

    One last point about the word cyberpunk: it is also used to describe the game Cyberpunk 2020 by R. Talsorian games. To avoid confusion bewteen the game and genre, the game Cyberpunk 2020 is usually capitalized ("Cyberpunk") while the genre is kept in lowercase ("cyberpunk").

    3.3: Where can I find FAQs for specific games?


    The ShadowFAQ:

    4.0: HISTORY

    Changes since v1.1.3 (1/1/99):
    Some link fixes.
    Changes since v1.1.2 (4/28/98):
    Grammar/spelling fixes.
    Changed URL for Shadowrun FAQ.
    Changes since v1.1.1 (11/18/97):
    Added quote.
    Grammar fixes.
    Added comment about "Cyberpunk" vs. "cyberpunk"
    Changes since v1.1 (11/7/97):
    Reorganized tags, putting META lower down.
    Changes since v1.0 (11/4/97):
    Added Old Posts section.
    Added HTML reference.