alt.fan.pratchett : What Is AFP?
What is AFP?
A semi-mythical account of the history of a newsgroup called
alt.fan.pratchett. Based on ancient scrolls and oral lore.
- In the beginning al-Goreh  created the net.
- And the Usenet was without form, and void.
- And some people said, let us make us a newsgroup, where fans of Terry
Pratchett can talk and rejoice: and there was a newsgroup.
- And the newsgroup prospered and brought forth funny jokes, profound
thoughts, and hedgehogs.
- And the people saw that this was jolly good.
- And the people said: let us call us afpers, for that is our
- And the afpers were fruitful and multiplied.
- It came to pass that a great wickedness fell over afp, and irrelevant
was not separated from relevant, and a great flood of threads about pubic
wigs and roundabouts covered afp.
- The prophet Orin spake unto afp thusly: Let us make us another
newsgroup, three hundred cubits times fifty cubits times thirty cubits,
where quiet, constructive and relevant discussion about books of Terry
Pratchett is fostered.
- And this newsgroup was named alt.books.pratchett.
- And the people saw that this, too, was jolly good.
- And both groups prospered, and the newbies were clueful, the jokes
were funny, the discussions had substance and the land flowed milk and
- These are the names of the twelve tribes of afp:
- Old Farts, Geeks and Pit-bulls.
- Analysts, Humanists and Cynicists.
- Jokers, OLFers and Panto-boys.
- Scapegoats, Empty Barrels and Newbies.
- Now behold, the twelve tribes did not agree upon what is appropriate
in afp and what is not appropriate.
- Verily, let us study the group charter, some people said.
- Nay, said the others, for the charter is obsolete after founding of
- Verily, the atmosphere is getting inflammable, do lets cool down, some
- Nay, said the others, for we should not fear controversy.
- And an afper turned against an afper, and there was plenty of groaning
and grievance, and their language was confounded so that one did not
understand the point of the other.
- Let us go, the Old Farts said, for there is no more place for us here.
Our newsgroup hath become an abomination.
- Come, the Old Farts said, for there is a Newsgroup of Promise over
and that newsgroup we shall call alt.talk.mended-drum
- And the Old Farts went away to the Newsgroup of Promise, and there was
a great cry throughout the land of afp, such as there never has been
before, or since.
- And the Old Farts placed a moderator with a flaming sword at the gates
- The Old Farts in alt.talk.mended-drum looked around and murmured: Why
came we forth out of afp into this wilderness? In afp we at least had some
flesh to bite.
- Come, let us return to afp, the Old Farts said. Mayhap the wickedness
there has lifted.
- And the Old Farts returned to afp, and people from all twelve tribes
looked around themselves and said: Perhaps we really could do with some
order, discipline and guidelines around here.
- And the sages of afp went up unto a mountain. And behold! when they
came down they had The Ten FAQs carved upon stone tables.
- And The Ten FAQs gave the children of afp the Rules, would they not be
like the unwashed heathen around them in lesser newsgroups.
- And the FAQs said: thou shalt tag thy posts. R is for relevant, I for
- Thou shalt write thy reply below the text that is replied to, and thou
shalt snip the superfluous quotations.
- Thou shalt not post fanfiction, binaries, or spam into pratchett
- Thou shalt not use spamtraps; spamtraps are an abomination.
- Thou shalt most of all think before thou postest.
- This, and many other things did the FAQs say.
- And the afpers abided by the sacred word of FAQs; and they prospered
- And this is the size and scope of afp-community.
- Five active newsgroups.
- Three IRC channels.
- Two Discworld conventions.
- Five Clarecraft Discworld-events.
- Fourscore and seven smaller meetings.
- A dozen and a half marriages, or other pair bondings.
- Three births.
- This is the history of afp, of nine years, seven months and twenty
- The group has waxed and the group has waned and there has been
laughter and there has been heart-break.
- So rejoice, O Newbie, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer in casting
threads, and panto-threads, and afproposals.
- And be not afraid of the Old Farts if they murmur: We already have
done this topic to death, we have.
- But know then, that if thou stayest, thou too will see it all many
times over; for there is no new thing under the sun, and some afp-threads
are as recurrent as a very recurrent thing.
- And thou, Old Fart, say not that the former days were better than
these. For the days may have been better or the days may have been worse,
but who can tell for certain when it is you who are not the same any
- Live wisely and joyfully all your days, O children of afp, hearken the
FAQs, and keep thy feet out of thine mouths.
 from old Aramaic: gh'orgh'ed (a.): satiated, stuffed
 OLF: one line followup
 pantomime: a peculiar, allegedly humourous, British tradition. Some
scholars maintain panto is a sinister initiation rite, and not humourous
 the figures in Numbers are poorly supported by historical records,
and most scholars think they are more or less fictional. The author of
Numbers probably had an ideological agenda: promoting the controversial
idea of AFP and its outgrowths as a 'community'.
Disclaimer: I am not liable of anything I have written.
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