"Better to light a match than to curse the darkness."
Posted at the beginning of each month, this post answers questions often asked about the newsgroup rec.games.frp.cyber. 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:
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.
A forum dedicated to "cyberpunk" genre and other near-future role-playing games, rec.games.frp.cyber is the proper place to discuss Cyberpunk 188.8.131.52, 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 rec.games.frp.cyber is:
-- BEGIN CHARTER 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 hierarchy. 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 games. -- END CHARTER
The group officially began as a moderated group called rec.games.cyber. On February 28, 1993, after jumping through all of the hoops needed, rec.games.cyber was changed to rec.games.frp.cyber 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.
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 rec.games.frp.cyber. For this to work, it is extremely important that you follow these guidelines, and that you encourage others to as well.
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:
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.
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.
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".
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:
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.
The most popular place to find them is the DejaNews archive located at http://www.dejanews.com. This is a web-based search engine allowing keyword searches. Another popular choices is Remarq.
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.
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:
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:
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").
The ShadowFAQ: http://come.to/ShadowFAQ
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.