Subject: uk.singles Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Newsgroups: uk.singles Summary: Explanation of common terms and abbreviations used on uk.singles (and many other conversational newsgroups) and general hints for posting articles there. Frequency: fortnightlyish Last-modified: 19/3/1997 Acknowledgements: thanks to the compilers of the soc.singles FAQ from which some material has been used, particularly a warm hand to the long-departed and much-missed Karl Greenow (who's now living a life of wedded bliss on distant shores) for his many contributions and recollection of the previously posted suggestions for the FAQ. Also, to anyone else who's made contributions, especially that awfully handsome, witty, charming, intelligent, and modest chap called Duncan who started the uk.singles FAQ and has maintained it since. List of Questions: [* denotes altered questions] *Q: Where I can get hold of a copy of the Spice Girls' latest single? Q: Can you tell me what the best pre-packed cheese slices are then? Q: Just what does "single" mean anyway? Q: Do I have to be single to post on uk.singles? Q. I'm not from the UK, may I post to uk.singles? Q: What is a 'boink'? Q: What's the difference between soc.singles and uk.singles? Q: Should I post personal ads on uk.singles? Q: What should I put in a personals ad then? Q: What about binaries? Q: What's this heightist nonsense about people being "tall enough"? Q: There are some posters who really blow my goat, should I respond to their illogical, ill-conceived, inflammatory rhetoric about my curtains? Q: Have any couples been formed as a result of uk.singles? Q: Why is uk.singles so popular? Q: I know some really good sex techniques. Shall I post them here? Q: Aha! A poster with a female name. Shall I send email to her, saying that she sounds like a groovy chick and I'm hung like a stallion? Q: Just what is appropriate on uk.singles? Q: What's that about Earl Grey shooting onto keyboards? Q: Is there anything that should be avoided? Q: Who is this god person of whom people speak? Q: I'm still confused, can you help me? Q: Is this a heterosexual newsgroup? Q: Isn't uk.singles very cliquey? I'll probably be ignored if I'm not in with the in-crowd. Q: Just who are the people posting here? Q: How come there are cats occasionally posting to this group? Q: I've been reading uk.singles for a while and think that Duncan Campbell is a realy nice guy who I'd like to get to know better or even meet. What should I do? Q: Relationships between men & women seem very confusing in the post-feminist '90s, what are the rules? Q: Can you tell me some more about finding a relationship? Q: Can I impersonate other uk.singles subscribers? Q: If I can't impersonate other subscribers, can I make up new ones to create the impression that there are lots of interesting people here? Q: I've already posted twice to uk.singles asking for female readers to send me e-mail, what should I do? Q: Speaking of dates, I don't have time to vacuum beforehand, what do you suggest? Q: I'm in trauma at the moment. I found my first grey hair this week. Q: I'm going bald. Is there anything you'd recommend? Q: But what if I still want to get laid and no one on any of the other newsgroups will have me? Q: Is there a uk.singles web site? Q: What is this "editing" stuff I keep hearing about? Q: How about editing subject headers? Q: The newsgroup line is rather full. What should I do? Q: How come nice guys don't get laid? Q: I met a girl last week at a party; do you think she likes me? Q: How do I get hold of the FAQ? Q: Why isn't uk.singles as good as it used to be? Q: Why's this FAQ so long and messy? Some common (and not-so-common) abbreviations used: AFAIK As Far As I Know AOL Ass(Arse)holes On Line BTW By The Way FAQ Frequently Asked Question(s) FOAF Friend Of A Friend (Generally used for apocryphal stories.) FOMCL Falling Off My Chair Laughing FWIW For What It's Worth FYI For Your Information GSOH Good/Great Sense Of Humour HNG Horny Net Geek HTH Hope This Helps IMHO In My Humble Opinion (engineers often prefer to use JMHO) IMNSHO In My Not-So-Humble Opinion IRC Internet Relay Chat LDR Long Distance Relationship LJBF Let's Just Be Friends (now considered a verb) LTR Long Term Relationship MOTAS Member Of The Appropriate Sex MOTIS Member Of the Inappropriate Sex MOTOS Member Of The Opposite Sex MOTSS Member Of The Same Sex MSN MoronS Network NG News Group OTOH On The Other Hand POSSLQ Person of Opposite Sex Sharing Living Quarters ROTFL Rolling On The Floor Laughing SNAG Sensitive New-Age Guy SO Significant Other UTS Unattended Terminal Syndrome Sie Gender-neutral pronoun equivalent to "She or He" Hir Gender-neutral pronoun equivalent to "Him or Her" or possessive pronoun equivalent to "His or Her" Q: Where I can get hold of a copy of the Spice Girls' latest single? A: Sorry, but uk.singles in not to do with black plastic discs with a hole in the middle and a spiral groove etched onto the surface to enable the reproduction of (sometimes) groovy sounds. Q: Can you tell me what the best pre-packed cheese slices are then? A: Neither is uk.singles anything to do with dairy products. Q: Just what does "single" mean anyway? A: In the context of uk.singles, it means "without a partner"; whether a marital partner, cohabitee, SO or any other of the myriad terms used. Q: Do I have to be single to post on uk.singles? A: No. In fact, a surprisingly large number of posters are in couples. The only requirement is that you have been single at some time in your life, know someone who was, or are interested in some of the subjects that single people have been known to talk about. Please realise, though, that there are a lot of quite fragile people here who don't wish to be reminded how lovely it is to be in a relationship. That said, angst of any form is always *most* welcome, along with donations of chocolate. Q. I'm not from the UK, may I post to uk.singles? A: Extra-terrestrials are welcome, provided you behave. There have been large numbers of sad bastards who've come barging in from AOL (America On-Line), and now more from MSN, posting and have given a bad name to the others, who are actually nice people (except those from MSN) but have been tarred with the same brush. As this is essentially a UK group, other groups such as soc.singles may be more appropriate for some people. Q: What is a 'boink'? A: Any publicly announced gathering of uk.singles participants and lurkers. The original largest having been held at Oxford and York, and organised by Duncan Campbell. There have also been several mini-boinks, and some other larger boinks recently, not organised by Duncan Campbell. Anyone is free to announce/suggest venues and dates. Calls for boinks were originally met with overwhelming apathy, but are happening more frequently now. Q: What's the difference between soc.singles and uk.singles? A: Soc.singles is dominated by neurotic Americans who are in touch with their feelings and able to express their wants and desires openly to others (in theory). Uk.singles is full of sad & lonely inhabitants of the UK. Generally, soc.singles has more "I like so & so, what should I do about it?" postings and uk.singles has more "Why doesn't anyone want to have a relationship with me?" Make of that what you will. Q: Should I post personal ads on uk.singles? A: Uk.singles is a place for holding boring conversations which are intended to demonstrate why (most of) the posters are single in the first place. The place for UK personal ads is uk.adverts.personals. Since its inception, uk.singles has seen very few personal ads and those which have appeared have almost exclusively been posted by males looking for females, while a proportion of the ads have also been from those suffering from the condition known as Unattended Terminal Syndrome. Regardless of their origin, they have been scorned or mocked, and their perpetrators roundly condemned. Q: What should I put in a personals ad then? A: Write that you are rich, live in a large house and have lots of chocolate and a cat (and maybe a horse). But, for heaven's sake, don't post it to uk.singles. Q: What about binaries? A: Forget it. This isn't a binaries group. So there. Q: What's this heightist nonsense about people being "tall enough"? A: It's a phrase of discretion used originally by Kay Dekker at school, to be used when spotting talent. Thus, "tall enough" has become a phrase indicating aesthetic approbation if not always an expression of actual carnal desire. Q: There are some posters who really blow my goat, should I respond to their illogical, ill-conceived, inflammatory rhetoric about my curtains? A: Be strong, and try to control yourself. Do not respond to their articles, they'll only continue to post more of the rubbish. If you don't feel able to control yourself, try putting them into your KILLFILE. That way you won't notice their articles, and you'll sleep contented in your bed tonight. Not that you ever sleep in anyone else's, of course. Q: Have any couples been formed as a result of uk.singles? A: Yes, there have, amazingly enough, and several resulting in marriage too. That being the case, the purpose of uk.singles is not for the participants to become more appropriately subscribers to uk.couples. Like any group of people, some are likely to end up forming relationships with each other. Just not so likely. Q: Why is uk.singles so popular? A: Search me, all sorts of sad bastards tend to end up here. Can't get rid of some of them. Then there are some you've never noticed before suddenly posting that they've never been so insulted in all their born days and are off now. Q: I know some really good sex techniques. Shall I post them here? A: Explicit sexual postings *may* contravene certain Acts for which action *may* be taken. And anyway, the consensus that has formed around this group is that discussion tends less to the physical and more to the spiritual. That said, there's always a little innuendo popping up. Q: Aha! A poster with a female name. Shall I send email to her, saying that she sounds like a groovy chick and I'm hung like a stallion? A: Direct email propositioning is bad manners and unwelcome. It can also be tantamount to harassment, and any woman receiving dodgy email should complain to the sender's postmaster, as the sender is probably also doing the same to other women in the vain belief that the Internet is full of women just gagging for such inadequate sad gits. Many females will feel loth to post here if they feel they will be inundated with tacky and unsavoury email. Mailing *anybody* is fine, as long the real-life standards of decency and manners are maintained. Which is also something to be borne in mind when posting. Q: Just what is appropriate on uk.singles? A: Apart from what has been mentioned above, pretty much anything goes. Think of uk.singles as the electronic version of something that's partway between a cocktail party and a soap opera. Except here all the guests have bags over their heads and communicate by leaving messages on a sofa, where some messages become irretrievably lost down the back. Appropriate posts should be both interactive and entertaining, posing an open question about some aspect of the human condition as it applies to singleness. Or replying to another contributor's post and adding an observation that sheds light on a different aspect of the issue under discussion or just makes some people out there laugh and shoot Earl Grey out through their noses onto their computer keyboards. Q: What's that about Earl Grey shooting onto keyboards? A: Ah yes, a warning should be added for readers of uk.singles that people are recommended to neither eat nor drink whilst reading articles, as there have been numerous reports of monitors being covered in various edible substances. Q: Is there anything that should be avoided? A: If there are to be any rules, trying to be non-judgemental on other people's views should be one. Discussion is fine, illogical rhetoric tends to get peoples' backs up, especially slanging matches on God, vegetarianism, football, curtains, tea, etc., and it's very boring indeed for the rest of us. Also, avoid messages that are pretty much content-free, so don't, quote an entire message only to append "Yeah, what she said". No test messages either. Instead post something to uk.test and you'll get confirmation messages from various sites around the UK and elsewhere to let you know your posting software is working. Only post spelling flames if you can turn the spelling error into an outrageously (or just slightly) witty observation. Also, bear in mind that this being a public forum, posting an article here is rather like writing an article in a newspaper. Anyway, this being a public forum it is best not to mention names or other personal information. Laws of libel relating to electronic publication are being formulated, so it's best to err on the side of caution. Furthermore, it's best not to smugly post how wonderful your newfound relationship is. Q: Who is this god person of whom people speak? A: Look, I said no slanging matches on religion, but seeing as you ask, God is just the anthropomorphisation of the benevolent side of the basic good/evil dichotomy in the human psyche, subverted by those who use mass hysteria and mental blackmail to increase their power base and indoctrinate a people with their selected (and selective) moral code. Q: I'm still confused, can you help me? A: The essential unwritten laws of uk.singles are as follows: 1. Never take yourself too seriously. 2. If you want to say anything serious, pretend it's a joke. 3. If you want to make a joke, pretend you're being serious. 4. If you're looking for a partner, pretend you're not. 5. If you're not looking for a partner, pretend you are. 6. If you can succeed in confusing yourself, there's a good chance you'll have confused all the other members of the group as well. 7. If anyone flames you, ignore them. 8. If you feel irresistibly impelled to flame someone, say "sorry". 9. You can never use too many smileys 10. There must be a tenth.... 11. Smileys are for humourless Americans who couldn't recognise irony if it came up to them and bit them on their big fat bottoms. Except that these are no longer unwritten laws, because they're written down. Q: Is this a heterosexual newsgroup? A: Actually, asexual is probably nearer the mark. People are single whatever their sexual orientation, so no-one should feel barred. Q: Isn't uk.singles very cliquey? I'll probably be ignored if I'm not in with the in-crowd. A: In truth, there is no "in-crowd", or at least there wasn't. Certainly some people post more than others, and groups of people do tend to reply to each others articles, and know each other personally. Still, the consensus is, or was, that more does make for merrier. Remember that every poster on uk.singles had to post his or her first message sometime and, even now, it's no more difficult for you to press the followup-key than it is for anyone else. Sometimes it helps just to read the newsgroup for a while--get a feel for what's going on and what the other posters are like, what sorts of topics have already been beaten to death many times over and what sorts of insights, knowlege, and experience you might have to add that others might not think of. When you do decide to leap into the fray and post something, don't be discouraged if it doesn't get a response right away, everybody posts stuff that is ignored or not followed up. There is nothing malicious in this - many more people read here than post. Q: Just who are the people posting here? A: Pete Bevin used to post a "Who's Who" at certain intervals, but that's now ancient history. Simon Brooke (email@example.com) has resurrected the list at: http://www.intelligent.co.uk/~simon/singles/ww/ where you'll need the username `singles' and the password `auchenboink' to access it. The list's a little bear at the moment, but to make it large and full of grizzly detail, go along to it and add your details. Q: How come there are cats occasionally posting to this group? A: If you'd read Felidae (by Akif Pirincci) you'd realise that cats can use computers too, so it's quite likely that they'll post here. Q: I've been reading uk.singles for a while and think that Duncan Campbell is a realy nice guy who I'd like to get to know better or even meet. What should I do? A: This is really quite simple. All you have to do is reply via e-mail to one of his posts. Chances are that he'll reply and you can strike up an e-mail conversation with him. If the conversation goes well, then you could even arrange to meet him somewhere, if he manages to get permission from Sue. Also, he has to be back by 10. Q: Relationships between men & women seem very confusing in the post-feminist '90s, what are the rules? A: 1. Men are bastards. 2. Women are too. 3. Not all are. 4. But you never meet those who aren't. 5. Not all are all of the time. 6. But you don't meet them when they aren't. 7. If someone says they'll, phone, write, or call round, they won't. 8. If they say you can still be friends anyway, you won't be. 9. err... 10. That's it. Q: Can you tell me some more about finding a relationship? A: Sigh. One of the most important long-term choices we make as humans is our choice of mate. We spend years and lots of money preparing for our careers. However, when it comes to relationships we invariably bury our heads in the sand and expect everything to come out for the best. Q: Can I impersonate other uk.singles subscribers? A: It's possible to do it, but is very ill-advised because if done maliciously can cause great distress as well as confusion. Besides, it's extremely naughty and very bad nettiquette. Attempting to forge headers is silly, and a waste of time, as over 70% of the active posters know how to decipher your attempts, and thus may well email your postmaster with a copy. Q: If I can't impersonate other subscribers, can I make up new ones to create the impression that there are lots of interesting people here? A: If you do, then you're very sad & lonely indeed. In which case, this is the newsgroup for you. Q: I've already posted twice to uk.singles asking for female readers to send me e-mail, what should I do? A: First of all, get a life. Secondly, what do you expect? Do you really think that some intelligent, attractive, witty woman is going to e-mail you in response to some newbie writing that he wants female readers to send e-mail to him. I mean, it's just like stepping into someone's drawing room in the middle of a cocktail party and shouting out "Hey everyone, I want to talk to some women." Q: Speaking of dates, I don't have time to vacuum beforehand, what do you suggest? A: All you need is an eight-inch piece of wood. Before your guest comes, run it around the carpet, and it will leave tracks indistinguishable from those left by a vacuum cleaner. Q: I'm in trauma at the moment. I found my first grey hair this week. A: You'll get over it. I know I did. Depending on what sort of hair you have you may be able to hide it without drastic styling or dyeing. Q: I'm going bald. Is there anything you'd recommend? A: Well, you can try using certain styling techniques to help lessen the effect of the baldness. Remember, combing half a dozen strands of hair from one side of the head over to the other is not, I repeat, not, effective at disguising baldness. Q: But what if I still want to get laid and no one on any of the other newsgroups will have me? A: Simply post a message expressing a stunningly profound observation that is fundamental to the human condition as it relates to singleness, one that is unobvious yet clarifies many of the more confusing interactions between singles and MOTAS and is expressed with succinctness, humour, an easy, flowing writing style, and--perhaps most importantly--good spelling and the effective use of an editor. Some days we'll just settle for someone who can spell and use an editor. Then, wait for fan mail while composing your next opus. An alternative way of generating an immediate response is to have a female name, or one that might be misconstrued as one. Q: Is there a uk.singles web site? A: The uk.singles WWW site is at: http://www.mimir.com/singles which has some pictures of Menya from the YorkBoink and more recently pictures of people at more recent boinks, along with lots of other "useful" information and links. Q: What is this "editing" stuff I keep hearing about? A: "Editing," which is most commonly used in the phrase "please learn how to edit your messages," refers to deleting unnecessary quoted material. So, only quote text from the original message if it pertains to what you're trying to say. Many people out there, upon seeing huge reams of quoted material, will simply skip over to the next message without bothering to read your sterling prose at the end. With that in mind, don't swing to the other extreme by editing out all of the quoted material so that your reply has absolutely no context and the reader wonders what on earth you are talking about or replying to. Q: How about editing subject headers? A: This is an important and much-neglected art. Often the topic will have strayed far from its original one and a discussion on why Henry Kelly is such a wanker on classic FM will be carried out under the heading "Is Zeinab Badawi sexy or what?" Q: The newsgroup line is rather full. What should I do? A: As the subject under discussion may in time stray far from the Subject header, so may it stray from relevance to any crossposted newsgroups. (Also, subjects stray far from the area of uk.singles and should really be continued on other groups, paricularly uk.misc.) So, it is a good idea to edit the newsgroups (and followups) field so that only groups with an interest in the subject are sent the article. Q: How come nice guys don't get laid? A: Nice guys do get laid; it's guys who whine a lot who generally don't. Q: I met a girl last week at a party; do you think she likes me? A: Yes, she likes you. Either that or she doesn't; sometimes it's hard to tell with people--they're so, so, human. If you'd like to find out you might want to consider asking her. Q: How do I get hold of the FAQ? A: Simple really, it's kept at the following WWW site: http://www.cs.york.ac.uk/~campbell/pub/singles/faq More recently, email to firstname.lastname@example.org message of get singles index end Q: Why isn't uk.singles as good as it used to be? A: Times change, and people come and go, conversations develop. It'd be pretty boring if the group repeatedly regurgitated the same old material. The new environment will never be to everyone's liking, so you can just lurk, unsubscribe, or try to initiate your own threads. Q: Why's this FAQ so long and messy? A: Some of us have jobs to do, you know, and we can only get around to tidying up the FAQ once in a blue moon. Still, people are welcome to suggest alterations to tidy things up. That said, it's even more up-to-date now than it was before.