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Library: The Beginner's Guide to the BatMUD News System

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Author: Yari
Date:Nov 2 1995

                     BatNews

  The Batmud news system is a very powerful tool for information 
distribution.  To use the system is extraordinarily easy, I shall first 
outline the steps to use the news system for the first time, then how to 
read news, then how to post news.  Following the nuts and bolts 
discussion, I shall post a quick guide to my own view on news etiquette.

Section I:  Your first news session.

  The first news session is quite boring, actually.  As a new news user, 
it is often easy to get bogged down by the hordes of information that 
will be waiting for you.  This is easily remedied, as I shall now show 
you.

  To enter the news system, you type the command 'news read'
you will be greeted with something like this:

>news read
Adding new group(s)
Reading new news...
****  110 unread articles in inform--read now? [yncuq?] 

  The functional part of this line is the '[yncuq?]'.  These letters are 
the commands that you have at your disposal, that answer the question of

whether or not you want to read now.  The function of these letters 
changes somewhat depending on where you are in the news system.  in the 
line I mentioned before, the one that asks if you wish to enter a 
newsgroup, their functions are as follows: 

y = yes [Return does the same thing as y]
n = no
c = catch up [throws out all unread articles, lists them as read]
u = unsubscribe
q = quit news system
? = help

  Upon your first news read, you will want to toast all the past 
articles.  The amount of articles that you are facing would take forever 
to read through, I recommend using the c command on all groups and 
starting fresh.  Hitting 'c' and then return will toast the newsgroup 
until you get new articles, as they are posted.

Section II:  Reading news in general.

  Reading news from day to day is a very simple process.  When you type 
'news read', it will automatically search and see what news is waiting 
for you, then bring it up group by group.  Here, the line that will 
greet you for each group is like so:

news read
Reading new news...
****    1 unread articles in general--read now? [yncuq?]
[Hit return or y]
general: article 1 (of 1)--what next? [rpnchq?]

  The internal newsgroup command line is a bit different from the 
external one.  The commands '[rpnchq?]' break down like so:
r = read [Return key does the same thing]
p = go to previous article
n = go to next article, skipping the one you are currently on
c = catch up [kill all unread articles, mark them as if you read them]
h = show headers of next ten articles (very useful)
q = quit this particular newsgroup, go back to external news prompt
? = help

  In groups where there are many posts, you might wish to use the 'h' 
command, it allows you to choose which articles to read based on author 
and subject.  Each newsgroup follows the same format, when you have 
completed reading the news, you will see:

No more groups.
SAVED.

Section III: Sending news.

  The news editor is among the most reviled pieces of code that the 
world has ever seen.  This is not entirely unearned, the news editor can 
be daunting for the novice user, but it need not be.  The editor is a 
large topic, and I wont get into its finer points here, you may read the 
help files for that, but I will tell you how to post a simple message.

  The command for sending is, logically, 'news send'.  The format for 
entering a news send command is 'news send <group> <header>'.
Examples:

news send test test message
news send general Reinc rules stink
news send ideas-wanted mage idea

  This will enter you into the news editor, which will look somewhat 
confusing.  For your first post, ignore the mumbo-jumbo and just type 
the message you wish to post.  When you are finished with your message, 
enter a '.' on a blank line, you will get a prompt asking you:

What next (s - send, c - cancel, e - edit, v - view):

Which is pretty self-explanatory.

News Etiquette:

  The news system is becoming extremely overburdened, and this book 
certainly won't help that, but keeping the large part of the mud in the

darkness of ignorance is not the solution.  The solution is perhaps some

self-moderation in the way posts are written or responded to.  When you 
begin your newsing, it is wise to lurk for a while, perhaps get familiar 
with the issues that are currently being posted about, before you jump 
in with your two cents.  Chances are that your idea, no matter how 
brilliant, has been thought of and posted on.  There are many people who 
play bat, and the ideas come from all over.  

  Most newsgroups, with the exception of the test group, are pretty much

strictly business.  Ideas go to ideas-wanted, etc, posting flames in a

non-flame group is pretty much frowned upon.  Test group has been taken 
over by a bunch of people who think they are funny(uh.. well, *I* know I 
am, they all just *think* they are ;).  

  The test group got started on this track by the Archwizards, back when 
the news system was new, and only a very few people ever used it.  Dire 
and a few others decided to post inside jokes to test group...the rest 
is history.

  Large posts should have some space in them, to make their content more 
easily read.  Try to organize any long posts enough so that you can set 
up some paragraph structure.  This benefits everyone who reads it, for 
your post will most likely make more sense, since you took a moment to 
organize your thoughts, as well as being easier to read.

  Basically, this is just common internet news etiquette, with a Bat 
spin.  Use common sense about how you post, and the news system will 
benefit all around.

Yari Shidosha, the Captain of Fighters (Noble Friend)



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