WHAT IS ALT.COFFEE ? is a flow of posts (properly known as
articles) in a heirarchy known as a newsgroup in a
system known as Usenet, which is propagated over tens
of thousands of servers worldwide generally via a
protocol known as NNTP.

WHAT ALT.COFFEE is not. is not a "site." It is not a web forum.
It is not affiliated in any way with Google or Google
Groups. It is not e-mail.


Usenet etiquette (or Net Etiquette, or Netiquette)
evolved as a way to insure smooth communication
between people using literally hundreds of different
versions of newsreaders across different operating
systems, on different hardware.

You see certain message headers a certain way on
Google Groups but that's not the way everyone else
sees them. You see certain threading characteristics
in Outlook Express, but that's not the way everyone
else sees them. You may be able to go back and read
articles you've already read in Mozilla Thunderbird,
but some readers "delete" messages by default once
they've been read.
There are literally hundreds of thousands of
different configurations of different newsreaders.

In days gone by, it was often the case that you
could read the answer posted on Tuesday before you
ever saw the question posted on Monday. With today's
higher network speeds, this is pretty rare, but it pays
to keep in mind that on servers off the beaten track,
it's still possible.

What do you make of a post consisting of the words,
"I don't think I agree in general. Point 3) seems
especially nonsensical though I actually do agree
with 5)."

Without context, such a post is completely meaningless.
Netiquette helps prevent such lack of context.

For these reasons and many more, it is a really,
really, really good idea to learn and follow the
rules of Netiquette.

One of the better essays on this subject was posted
to news.newusers.questions. Although it covers e-mail
as well as usenet, it should be a must read for everyone
posting via google. Must read for anyone new to usenet.
Highly recommended even for old hands:

For Google users:

You can quote text by clicking "Show Options" before
hitting "Reply." This will include the appropriate
attribution, as well as including the quoted text, and
most importantly, it will ensure you're replying to the
right post (i.e., the threading on regular newsreaders
will flow the way it's supposed to).

Simple rule to know what to keep and what to snip:
If it clarifies the article when viewed as a stand-
alone post, keep it.
If it clutters the post with extraneous content, lose

When you hit "Post Message" it sometimes takes
awhile. Be patient. Don't repost when you don't see
your article after 30 seconds.

Remember, Netiquette is, at its root, all about clarity
in communication.