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alt.fan.utena Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Updated 5 October 2005
Current version: 2.2
Original Author: SenshiNeko
Editor: Death Quaker (mistress@deathquaker.org)
This document also available in text format: http://www.deathquaker.org/utena/AFUFAQ.txt

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1. About the FAQ

The purpose of the FAQ is to provide members of alt.fan.utena with posting guidelines for the newsgroup as well as answer questions specifically about alt.fan.utena. It is important to note that this FAQ is not intended to answer ALL questions about the Revolutionary Girl Utena series, for such a thing is not possible. If you want to know more about Utena, visit one of the informational Web sites listed in section 8.

Please mention the FAQ to anyone who might need to read (or review) it!

Suggestions for and corrections to the FAQ are welcome. Please post your suggestions to the FAQ thread or e-mail Death Quaker at mistress@deathquaker.org.



2. Introduction to alt.fan.utena

Welcome to the Usenet newsgroup "alt.fan.utena" (AFU)!

This newsgroup was proposed on alt.config by Jennifer Brill on 10 July 1999, with a revised proposal posted on 14 July with the assistance of SenshiNeko. The alt.fan.utena newsgroup control message was posted on 16 July 1999, a copy of which can be found at http://www.deathquaker.org/utena/AFUcontrol.txt

This newsgroup is for the discussion of the anime series Revolutionary Girl Utena / Shoujo Kakumei Utena, including the original Japanese television series and feature film, the commercial English subtitled/dubbed adaptation by Central Park Media/Software Sculptors, the two manga series by Chiho Saito, and other Utena-related materials.

It is good practice with ANY newsgroup to simply lurk for a while (at least a week) in order to get the unique "feel" of it. With any newsgroup you are new to, reading several days' worth of posts will give you a pretty good idea of how things go there. When you feel comfortable and would like to make your presence known to the group, then feel free to make an introduction post. It is up to you: you can post a simple "Hi, I'm new" (by itself or when responding to a thread), or you can post a full-fledged introduction telling a little about yourself and perhaps a bit about how you became interested in Utena. It's always good to know when new people arrive in the group!

Although AFU is not moderated, we ask that new arrivals please follow the posting guidelines described in sections 3 and 4 of this FAQ.



3. General Newsgroup Etiquette

For primers and beginners' information about Usenet and good newsgroup etiquette, try the "Usenet Info Center Launch Pad": http://www.ibiblio.org/usenet-i.

3a. Binaries

This is a "discussion group" and thus only text-based posts are allowed – this means no pictures, programs, word processing documents, or HTML coding. There are many reasons for this, two of which are particularly of note: first, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) often don't provide a lot of space for discussion groups since they are intended to be text-based. If large binary files start appearing, then there will be less space available for the discussions, which will expire from your server much sooner. Secondly, some people download all new posts to newsgroups to read them offline, and binaries can cause long delays and great inconvenience during downloading.

This does not mean that we do not want to see your images; it just means you should not post them to AFU. The best thing to do is paste them into your own Web space and post a message to AFU telling us where they are, or post a link to the site where you found the picture (but don't direct-link to the picture on someone else's site! Let's not encourage bandwidth theft. Just post the link to the main page and tell us how to get to the picture from there). There are anime binaries newsgroups, but these are lately riddled with porn, so they are not recommended for use for discussion at AFU.

3b. Spelling and Grammar, Typing in All Caps, Alternating Type, and "l33t" speak

Please proofread your posts; we don't expect perfect spelling or grammar by any means, but your spelling and punctuation need to be clear enough so that your posts make sense. if u rite lyk this u wil prolly be ign0rd.

Typing in "proper" upper/lower case style is much more pleasant and easier to read for everyone. If you type everything in UPPER CASE or AlTeRnAtInG tYpE, people will think that you are yelling at them, a troll, insane, 8 years old, or stupid.

Likewise, do not write in "l33t" speak or anything similar (beyond the occasional joking around in the stats thread ~_^). It's hard to read and generally indicates that you even have less of a life than the rest of us.

3c. Replying to posts

When replying to a post, please quote the parts that you are referring to so that readers of the message thread can follow the ongoing discussion. Your reply should follow (i.e., be underneath) the quoted material. Please do not "top post" or put your message above all that you are replying to.

Don't quote a big post and then only add only a line or two of your own. Edit to remove unneeded parts, but indicate that you did so by marking the cut areas with the word "snip" (you can set this word apart with karets or dashes to show it's not part of your normal text). Be careful not to edit quoted material so that it looks like someone said something that they didn't or that one person is attributed with saying something they didn't say.

Replying to a post by simply saying "Me too" or its equivalent (the dreaded One Word Reply) doesn't add anything to the discussion. If you absolutely must throw in your brief comment of agreement, please contact the poster you are replying to directly by email.

Likewise, if you engage in a lengthy off-topic discussion in which only one other person is participating, it's probably best if you take the discussion into email. This is NOT to censor anyone or discourage discussion, but to help encourage community interaction and on-topic material over off-topic "public" conversations that seem exclusive by nature. Obviously, off-topic conversations happen and it's not the end of the world (no pun intended) when they happen; just please use your common sense and think about what's more appropriate for the public forum and what's more appropriate for an email conversation. If you're not sure it's appropriate for community discussion, then take it to email.

If someone posts something you want to reply to, but there are already other replies to that post, read those replies before posting your own. This avoids redundancy. This avoids redundancy.

If you are replying to a cross-posted message, remove the groups that are not necessary to your reply. This is especially the case if the thread is being "spammed" and you want to keep the spammers out of newsgroup-relevant discussions.

3d. Spam, Trolls and Misdirected Posts

It can not be stressed enough, DO NOT REPLY to Spam or Trolls.

Spam:
Spam is usually an advertisement of some sort for something that has nothing to do with the newsgroup it is posted in.

Troll:
A troll is someone posting a message solely for the purpose of being insulting or starting an argument. They often cross post messages to groups that have nothing to do with each other just to start a flame war between them. You have no idea how easily it is done. The only weapon against trolls is ignoring them. Replying to trolls ONLY encourages them to post more, no matter how witty or devastating you think your reply may be. If you feel you must take action, email a complaint to the troll's internet service provider, usually [abuse@isp.xxx].

Misdirected Posts:
These are sent by people, for example, who would send posts about sailing and sailboats to alt.fan.sailor-moon.

It is in our best interest not to reply to any such posts, this way they will disappear from AFU faster.

3e. Test Posts

If you need to test the workings of your newsreader or server, please use a test group instead of AFU, such as "alt.test". Likewise, do not reply to a test message either; email the person to tell them of their success.

3f. [BRACKETS]

Many subject lines of posts will use text within brackets to identify special kinds of posts. This helps people find certain posts, as well as ignore others. There are examples of these below in section 5.



4. Posting Guidelines for alt.fan.utena

4a. Subjects and Subject Lines

Ideally, all posts to AFU should be Utena-related in some way. If a thread drifts away from the topic of Utena (or if one is off-topic to begin with), please mark it [OT] for "off-topic." This lets people know that the post is about something other than Utena and AFU. Many people use the [OT] indicator to filter out off-topic posts, so please ONLY use [OT] and NOT various versions like [Sorta-OT], [99% OT], [OTish].

Please see section 5 for examples of other bracketed subject indicators we use to help identify post topics.

4b. Cross Posting

Refrain from cross-posting to multiple newsgroups. If you reply to a message that was originally cross-posted, remove the newsgroups that are not relevant to your reply.

4c. Language and Subject Matter

Utena is rated PG-13, and therefore we must always be aware that relatively young people may visit the newsgroup. Thus, the language and descriptions we use should generally be age-appropriate for Utena's younger viewers. As a rule of thumb, try to stick to language and descriptions that would be permissible to air on the original TV series if and when at all possible. If you feel you must use expletives, please "self-censor" by replacing letters in the expletive with asterisks (e.g., s**t).

If you are posting a more explicit fan work or otherwise desire to post material featuring uncensored strong language, expletives, and explicit violence or sexual situations, head your post with an appropriate rating or warning, e.g., [R], [NC-17], [STRONG LANGUAGE], etc.

Hentai (i.e., sexually graphic) material MUST be labeled [LEMON] or [NC-17]; please consider carefully before posting (most "lemon" material at AFU is fairly mild and usually humorous in nature). Extremely explicit hentai material is NOT appropriate for AFU.

4d. SPOILER information

Please do not assume every person visiting AFU has seen Utena in its entirety in all its forms. If you are discussing explicit plot descriptions of any official Utena-related story, with the sole exception of the Student Council arc of the TV series (i.e., episodes 1-13), you must put [SPOILERS] at the beginning of your subject header along with your topic. Do not put spoiler information in the subject header either. Please put SPOILER SPACE (roughly 20 or 30 blank lines) at the top of the text before your spoiler information. That way people who don't want to learn about something that happens before they don't get to see it, don't. Remember, people are becoming fans of Utena every day, so give them a chance to see/read it unspoiled.

Spoilers include all major plot points. Examples would include

ALSO, if an OT discussion of another anime occurs, please use spoiler warnings as appropriate here as well. We have obviously not all seen the same anime series and would not like to be spoiled by someone's irresponsible offhand comment. Really, likewise for popular video games, movies, etc. Use your common sense.

4e. Character (and Real People) Bashing

In summary first: Character discussion good. Character bashing bad. AFU member bashing Very Bad.

We all have characters we dearly love and furiously hate, and we all like to vent our feelings about those characters, be the feelings positive or negative. Of course, especially with a series like Utena, where everything is wide open to interpretation, fans' views on any one character (or anything else in the series, for that matter) can vary widely, and a character you utterly loathe may be someone else's favorite favorite character. It's amazing how easily feelings can be hurt and resentments can build if fans start flaming each other back and forth over whether a character is a "good" one or not.

HOWEVER, on the other hand, no one should ever feel like they can't express an opinion on a character just because they know someone else feels differently about it.

AFU thrives on discussion, but it needs to be kept on a reasonably mature level. If you want to write a post about a character's flaws, do so, but please do it in such a way so as not to irrationally insult the character – and moreover, the people who like that character – for no reason. Likewise, if someone expresses an opinion on a character you disagree with, please express your disagreement in a mature manner and not go on about what a moron jerk the other poster is. It is not acceptable to make a post about a character and/or someone's feelings about them that consists of nothing but name-calling and expletives. And just realize that if you do express a strong opinion on a character, you probably will be challenged to back up that opinion with evidence from the series.

Of course, AFU members have been known maybe, perhaps, occasionally, to slightly tease another AFU member about conflicting opinions on characters – but do make sure in that case the other people know you are teasing!

Please remember that in the end – as much as some of us would like to overlook the fact – they are just animated drawings, and they are not worth hurting real feelings over.



5. Subject Indicators used on AFU

As already discussed above, there are times when one should put a subject indicator in brackets before writing the title of a post. Please remember to use only brackets, not parentheses or anything else. Doing so will help readers who filter certain kinds of posts using these indicators.

***Note: In Google Groups, bracketed titles get dropped at the beginning of subject lines as listed in the subject index. The brackets do appear in a thread's "tree" (at the left side of the page after you click on a thread to read; select the "view as tree" option so you can see this. You can also add bracketed titles to the end of your subject line as they will not disappear, although you should still put them in the beginning as well.

[AFU]
Use this when your post is about the newsgroup itself or membership as a whole.

[D-FIC]
Short for "dialogue fiction"; an informal, usually impromptu piece of fan fiction written in scripted dialogue format; usually these are derived out of other AFU discussions and often include self-inserted characters among the characters in the series.

[FANFIC]
This identifies that this post is a story based on Utena, written by a fan.

[FS], [FT], [FS/T], [WTT], [WTB], [AUCTION], [EBAY]
For sale and/or trade; to buy; or on auction, at eBay.

[MST]
A fan parody in the style of Mystery Science Theater 3000: someone takes a fanwork and inserts humorous observational dialogue commenting on just how bad it is.

[OT]
Off-Topic. Anything you post that is not about Utena or AFU should be marked with this indicator. Again, do not deviate with indicators like "[OT-ish]" to help people using filters.

[R], [NC-17]
Shows that the content of the post isn't for younger readers.

[POLL]
A poll, obviously. This is to gather the preferences and opinions of those on the newsgroup. It's also a good way to generate more discussion, as long as the SAME poll doesn't reappear every week. ^^;;;

[PSA]
Public service announcement.

[RANT]
A (usually very long) essay-like post or complaint.

[SPOILER]
This post may give away major plot points, read at your own risk!

[STATS]
An indication that a long, off-topic thread is about to be formed. ~_^

[WWW]
Web page announcements, URL updates, etc.

[make your own]
If you don't see an identifier that suits your post, make up your own. Keep it as short as possible and be sure to use [brackets].



6. AFU Lingo

You will note some unusual lingo in many AFU members' signatures (.sig files) and strange characters alongside people's posts. Below is a brief explanation of such "codes"; you do not need to feel obligated to adopt any of these, but feel free to if you wish.

6a. The Utena Code

Some AFU members' .sigs feature an odd string of characters that looks like this:

UtenaCode(1.01) U:6 F:Hi++Ju+:pSC D:Sa-Na X:*:a[SC][BR-]++ M:f"Shi no Aphrodite"/"Baiser"/"Virtual Star Hasseigaku" (Banyu Inryoku)

This the "Utena Code" (this one in particular is SenshiNeko's, the author of both the Utena Code and the original version of this FAQ), a geekish shorthand to let AFU know in a quick line how obsessed you are with the series, who your favorite and least favorite characters are, what your favorite story arcs are, etc.

Here is the Google Groups link to version 1.01 of the Utena Code so you can understand others' Utena Codes and write one yourself. http://groups-beta.google.com/group/alt.fan.utena/browse_frm/thread/4e553cdac4033f4b/d613b09aa9dd40cf?q=%22Utena+code%22&_done=%2Fgroup%2Falt.fan.utena%2Fsearch%3Fq%3D%22Utena+code%22%26start%3D10%26&_doneTitle=Back+to+Search&&d#d613b09aa9dd40cf

6b. "AFU no. . .", "Keepers," and "Princes"

Some members of AFU have the title "AFU no [character name]." This means they've "adopted" the character for themselves, perhaps because they feel a kinship with a character or play a "role" at AFU similar to the role the character plays. For example, Chibi_Bob is "AFU no Anthy" ("AFU's Anthy") because he is usually quiet but occasionally shows up to say blithe, yet cryptic things.

"Keepers" are similar to the "AFU no. . ." concept except the member has chosen a specific trait of a character to associate with, rather than the character as a whole. SailorBill is energetic like Wakaba, so he is "Keeper of Wakaba's Genkiness." A longer form is "AFU no Wakaba, Keeper of Her Genkiness."

"Princes" are members who have taken an Utena character "under their wing," so to speak, to, in the words of founding Prince Sephigirl, "defend them like Utena defends Anthy or to protect them like Dios did for the girls of the world." Princes believe in their adopted character's good traits and will point them out to help prevent unfounded bashing of that character. They usually also happen to think the character is pretty hot ~_^ (but that's not technically a requirement).

6c. Animoticons and other things

Many AFUers, and anime fans in general, use "animoticons" rather than ordinary email emoticons to characterize their posts. Fans new to anime may be confused by these; some of them include

^^ – anime smile
^_^ – cute anime smile
^_____^ – broad grin
#^_^# – blushing
o_0 – shock
o_o? – Huh?
;_; – tears
^^; – smiling with nervous sweatdrop
._.;;; – nervous with many sweatdrops
~_^ – wink
^o^ or ^0^ – laughing
^_^|/ – applause
>_< – irked/frustrated
=^_^= – kitty
H_H or h_h – Hentai/ecchi (perverted/porny)
//~_^\\ – Touga winking @O-O@ – Scary Mirror-Glasses Anthy

Go to the next section of the FAQ.

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Death Quaker's Realm All original materials © 2005 R. Pickard. Revolutionary Girl Utena and all related concepts belong to Chiho Saito, Be-Papas, Shogakukan, Shokaku, TV Tokyo
Contact: mistress@deathquaker.org