Frequently-Asked Questions for ShadowRN

This document contains the list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for the mailing list ShadowRN, devoted to discussions of the role-playing game Shadowrun and its various spin-offs. Full instructions on how to subscribe as well as related information is provided within.

You will note that this FAQ does not contain information about the Shadowrun game specifically. This FAQ is dedicated to the list itself and serves as an introduction to the community created by list-discussion.

Thanks for your interest,

Virtually,
The ShadowRN Listowner

Gurth <gurth@xs4all.nl> "Fearless Leader"


Version something.2 (3 February 2010, based on version 1.10 of 01-13-94)

Compiled by the former fearless leader: Robert Hayden; modified and updated by the current fearless leader: Gurth (and with thanks to Damion Milliken for suggestions)


  1. Introduction
  2. ShadowRN Lexicon of Commonplace Terminology
  3. Miscellaneous Information

Introduction

What is ShadowRN?

ShadowRN is a discussion list for the role-playing game Shadowrun, which was first published by FASA Corporation, then by FanPro, and currently by Catalyst Game Labs. Discussion can cover all four editions of the game as well as house rules, and is not limited to a specific version or edition. The list is also open to discussion about derived or related games, such as the various Shadowrun computer games or the Shadowrun Trading Card Game, as well as subjects related to the setting or the game of Shadowrun in a broad sense.

The game of Shadowrun takes place in Seattle some 60 to 70 years in the future. Cybernetics, virtual reality, and biotechnology are available to the public. Furthermore, magic exists and is controlled by mages and shamans, and mythical beings once again roam the land. Megacorporations, with the power of small nations, rule the politics and hold the ultimate stranglehold on the underclass. Surviving in the world of Shadowrun takes as much courage as it does skill.

And perhaps just a little luck.

What is a Mailing List?

A mailing list is a discussion group whose members stays in contact using e-mail. Such a list consists of a list server, which is a computer program that "listens" to a certain e-mail address—in this case, <shadowrn@understairs.nl>. When any of the listmembers sends an e-mail message to that address, the list server receives it and automatically sends it on to all the mailing list's members.

In order to be a member of a mailing list, all you need is an e-mail program (also known as a "mailer"), such as Eudora, Mozilla Thunderbird, Outlook, Pegasus Mail, Pine, or similar.

How do I Subscribe to ShadowRN?

To subscribe, you must send a control message to the Majordomo list server at understairs.nl. To do this, send e-mail with the following parameters:

In a little while you should get e-mail instructing you how to confirm your subscription request. Simply follow the instructions and you will soon start getting regular postings.

How do I Post to ShadowRN?

To post to ShadowRN, you send your posting via e-mail to shadowrn@understairs.nl

How do I unsubscribe from ShadowRN?

To unsubscribe, you must send a control message to the Majordomo list server at understairs.nl. To do this, send e-mail with the following parameters:

In a little while you should get e-mail confirming your unsubscription request.

Other Important Majordomo Commands

There are several commands you can give to the Majordomo list server in order to change how your subscription works. Rather than explain these here, you can retrieve them by sending the following e-mail message:

Why am I Getting Deleted from the List for no reason?

99% of the time, the reason you are deleted from the list (by the listowner) is because for some reason mail is bouncing off of your account.

Usually this is caused by one of two reasons. Either A) your account is filled and can't hold any more or B) for some reason your account is not available (either the machine or your account is down). When this happens, it causes an error message to be sent back to the list. The list software attempts to detect error messages and route them to the listowner. Sometimes, though, the error is not detected by the listserv software and the error gets reported to the list. This causes the error message to get sent our to all subscribers, including the person who is bouncing mail. This leads to a loop that really messes things up.

Thus, standard procedure when an error message is reported it to delete the subscription of the person causing the error.

Once the problem has been fixed (you are back on the net or have room), you are, of course, free to join the list again.

Another reason is because you have sent spam to the list. Sending spam will result in immediate deletion of your account!

HELP! Mail from the list has stopped coming, but I'm still subscribed!

Mail has an annoying characteristic in that, while most of the time it is instantaneous, there are times when it can take up to two weeks to go from one computer to another that is located a few meters away (much like snail mail, eh?).

If mail suddenly suddenly stops coming, wait at least 24 hours before you contact the listowner. Very likely, a system is down somewhere between you and the list, and as soon as that comes back up, you will get all of the old messages.

Also note that the listowner won't be able to help at all in terms of mail not arriving. All he can do is to verify that you are indeed subscribed, anything beyond that is under the control of someone else.


More Information About the List

A Disclaimer

By nature of the topic of this list (cyberpunk fiction and role-playing), it should be warned that discussions often contain violent, sexual or adult themes, as well as anarchistic political discussions. The responsibility (blame?) for each posting falls entirely into the hands of the original poster. The listowner and administration assume no liability for the contents of postings.

Off-Topic Postings (and policies related to them)

While the topic of this list is specifically related to Shadowrun, it has been determined that the topic encompasses far more than the specific rules within the published game books. Part of the all-important part of any role-paying game is the atmosphere that the players find themselves in. Often, this cannot be adaquately explained within the written rules.

To this end, there is a very liberal posting policy with regards to topics. This is to allow everyday babble and observations to create a virtual society of sorts on the list, and to give all who participate in an opportunity to explore that society.

Thus, you will often see postings that are only vaguely related to Shadowrun being posted. While there are no hard-set rules with regards to what off-topic postings are permitted, it should be reminded that we all come here because of our interest in Shadowrun, so postings should at the very least be of interest to all, and be within the umbrella of being source material for the Shadowrun society.

Officially, the following actions will take place with regards to off-topic postings.

  1. Non-Shadowrun threads that live for more that 24 hours will be pointed out by the listowners. At that time, either make the thread once again Shadowrun relevant or take it to private e-mail.
  2. If after 48 hours, the thread still continues, the listowner will start deleting people from the list. If that happens, you are free to come back, but at the very least, the deletion will serve as a warning to stay relevant.

Persons who repeatedly violate the rules and disrupt the use of the list by others will be be dealt on a case-by-case basis, but action can include (but is not limited to): temporary removal from the list (for example, six months), permanent removal from the list or notification to the violator's sysadmin or service provider.

About Flaming

The New Hacker's Dictionary defined the Flame as:

  1. vi. To post an e-mail message intended to insult and provoke.
  2. vi. To speak incessantly and/or rabidly on some relatively uninteresting subject or with a patently ridiculous attitude.
  3. vt. Either of senses 1 or 2, directed with hostility at a particular person or people.
  4. n. An instance of flaming. When a discussion degenerates into useless controversy, one might tell the participants "Now you're just flaming" or "Stop all that flamage!" to try to get them to cool down (so to speak).

Flaming is highly discouraged on the ShadowRN list, because in the end it only only wastes everyone's time, bandwidth and quota, and seldom if ever leads to any resolution of problems. If a discussion reaches the point where people are calling everyone names or insulting, a warning will be issused from the listowner saying something along the lines of "take it to private e-mail". If the flamers continue to flood the list with their hate-mail, they will be deleted from the list.

One of the other problems is that often someone "insults"" someone in a satirical way. This is something that happens quite often in the real world, but the real world has the benefit of body-language and tone-of-voice to show that it is only polite joking. In order to make sure that your humorous flame isn't taken seriously, make sure you include a smiley or some other indication to show that you are only joking.


ShadowRN Lexicon of Commonplace Terminology

Compiled by: Doctor Doom; edited for more current times by Gurth.

Language and Abbreviations

The lingua franca of ShadowRN is English, and so posts should be made in this language. However, ShadowRN has listmembers from all over the world, and English is not the native language of all of them. For this reason, members are expected to be lenient about grammar and spelling mistakes, odd-seeming phrases that are probably direct translations of expressions in another language, etc.

In the interest of ease of reading, messages sent to the ShadowRN list should use normal spelling and not use excessive abbreviations or "leet-speak". In other words, write "you are" instead of "u r", "to" rather than "2", and so on. On the other hand, the use of common Internet abbreviations is not discouraged; here is a list of typical ones you might encounter:

AFAICR
As Far As I Can Remember (or Recall)
AFAIK
As Far As I Know
FYI
For Your Information
IIRC
If I Recall (or Remember) Correctly
IME
In My Experience
IMHO
In My Humble Opinion
IMO
In My Opinion
LOL
Laughing Out Loud
OTOH
On The Other Hand
ROFL
Rolling On the Floor Laughing
TBH
To Be Honest
YMMV
Your Mileage May Vary

THWAP

The sound a wet carp makes when someone is struck with it; also the act of striking someone with a wet carp.

The term was first used in the latter part of the year the list became operational, when our Fearless Leader, Robert Hayden, was experiencing considerable problems with his mailer, such that all were receiving several copies of EVERY posting he dispatched.

Howls of discontent were heard across the node. Tempers were raised. Flames were exchanged.

On Thursday, 22 October 1992 (21:03:17 CET), Hayden, in an attempt to soothe the raising ire of the other members as well as offer an apology, infused a bit of levity in his requesting pardon for the inconvenience, to wit:

You can thwap me with a wet carp if it will make you feel better.

And thus the concept was born. Immediately many list members latched upon this rather novel idea. The first actual THWAP was invoked by Doctor Doom on 22 October 1992, 15:31:00 CST, rapidly followed by Harlequin and Flare. A legend was begun…

Since then, its has been used so frequently that the idea took on a life of its own, and it is now a legitimate term, even if only jargon. Thwaps are generally brought to bear upon especially bizarre, silly, or munchkinous ideas, although their invocation usually indicates a degree of levity and good-spiritedness. Thwaps are not meant for spite—that purpose is served by flames.

Understairs

In ages long past and almost forgotten (approximately 1997, or possibly 1996), Gurth at some point made a remark for which he expected to be thwapped, and decided to comment that he was hiding under his stairs in order to avoid it.

Soon after, other listmembers, beginning with David Buehrer, started using Gurth's stairs to hide under as well. After this, the available space was soon expanded to include a refrigerator, comfortable chairs, a recreation room, and all sorts of other enhancements, and became a bit of an imaginary virtual hangout for anyone wanting to hide from anything on the list.

Understairs.nl then made an appearance in the 1999 Shadowrun book, Corporate Download, on page 70 to be precise; without this, it is unlikely the domain name would ever have been registered at all…


Miscellaneous Information

Logs of old messages

Logs of all messages posted to the ShadowRN list since October 2007 are available from lists.firedrake.org/shadowrn/, with a big thanks to listmember Roger Burton West.

Past Addresses

The ShadowRN list has had other addresses in the past, references to some of which can still be found on the net. The current list is a continuation of the one initially hosted at HEARN.nic.SURFnet.nl (until about 1996), then at listproc.iTRiBE.net (until 8 February 1999), followed by jackpoint.org (until approximately 8 January 2000), and it was last hosted at dumpshock.com (technically until late October 2007, but in practice until early May 2007). Due to various reasons it has been moved to understairs.nl, becoming operational on 27 October 2007.

Unfortunately, logs of the old lists are not currently available.

HTML Messages and Attachments

Please send only plain-text messages to the ShadowRN list. Many modern mailers are set up to send formatted messages using HTML or some other method to "beautify" messages by including fonts, images, etc. Listmembers should not use these "features" when sending e-mail to the ShadowRN list, because the only mail format every mailer is guaranteed to understand is plain text.

Much the same goes for attachments: do not send attachments with your messages to ShadowRN. Not everyone has a fast internet connection or unlimited download quota, so if you have a file you want to share with the rest of the list, it will be better to put it up for download at a web or FTP site instead of sending it to everyone.

Quoting Messages

When replying to a message sent to the list, include the relevant parts in your reply so everyone knows exactly what you are replying to, but delete the parts that are not important to your reply (including, but not limited to, the original poster's signature). This is mainly to avoid excessively long posts that only contain replies to certain parts of the original message, and thereby waste both bandwidth and disk space all around.

Clearly indicate the original text of the message you are quoting. All good mailers can do this automatically by prepending each line with a >-mark. If your mailer does not follow this practice, check its preferences or options.

Top-replying is not allowed! This is because top-replying means others will essentially be reading a conversation in reverse, as they will see the reply before they see the original remark or question.

Thus, the following practice should not be used:

No, it's a first-edition book so you'll need to change
just about everything.

---------- Original Message ----------------------------------
From: Joe <joeblow@renraku.co.jp>
Date: Fri, 15 Oct 2060, 20:52:15 +0200

Can I use the Street Samurai Catalog with SR4?

Instead, reply like this:

On Fri, 15 Oct 2060, 20:52:15 +0200, Joe wrote:

> Can I use the Street Samurai Catalog with SR4?

No, it's a first-edition book so you'll need to change
just about everything.

Topic Drift & Off-Topic Threads

A lot of the time, the topic of a thread will change from the original, to something else entirely. For example, a thread may start about cars in Shadowrun, but after a while is about lifestyle costs. In such a case, please change the subject line for messages you post in reply to the thread. It's best to do this by giving a new subject, and placing the old one in brackets behind it, preceded by "was:", like so:

Subject: Lifestyle costs (was: Re: Cars in Shadowrun)

Once the thread has been going for a while under its new title, you can also choose to remove the "was:" part.

Similarly, a thread often goes off topic, for example a thread about Shadowrun cars becoming about real-world cars. When you make a post that will take the thread off topic, put "[OT]" in front of the subject line, and possibly combine it with the topic drift method show anbove, like this:

Subject: [OT] Real-world cars (was: Re: Cars in Shadowrun)

Digest Version

The ShadowRN list is also available in a digest version. Normally, you will receive each message sent to the list as a separate message; if you subscribe to the digest, you will instead receive one large message every so often containing several different posts. Note that the digest is not sent out at regular intervals—that is, you will not necessarily receive a message every day. Instead, the digest is sent out any time when the total size of sent messages since the last digest has exceeded 40 kilobytes. If there is a lot of list traffic, that may mean you get several digests per day.

To subscribe to the digest version, follow the normal subscription procedure, but send your subscription request to shadowrn-digest-request@understairs.nl instead of the address given there.

Filtering

Most mail readers allow you to have your incoming mail pass through a filter. This filter will allow you to sort or delete mail based on subject or sender or many other parameters. The exact requirements vary with each mail reader program, so no specifics can be given here. However, look through your mailer's preferences or options to find filters or rules that you can set.

To sort your ShadowRN mail, you want to sort by who the mail is addressed to, as the list server maintains the From line as being the person that wrote the posting. All messages from ShadowRN will have shadowrn@understairs.nl as the To line.

As an added tip, it works better to filter on shadowrn@ than on the full address, because this way you will likely not have to change your filter rules should the list move to a new address.