Section N- Newsgroup stuff

A list of invaluably useless knowledge relating not directly to Douglas Adams, but to the 'whole new world' that they call the newsgroup. Hopefully this will explain away some, but not all, of the in-jokes and mysterious little quirks.

Information about Douglas Adams' personal involvement (or lack of) with the newsgroup can be found at B.3.4. Does Douglas Adams read the newsgroup?

N.1. Acronyms

Like almost any Usenet newsgroup, many of the people posting to the newsgroup use acronyms to save time and make life easier. Here're a few you might not follow.

N.1.1. 'DNA' & 'Bop Ad'

'DNA' stands for Douglas Noel Adams. 'Bop Ad' is another name for Douglas Adams, and is based around the way he signs his name (see B.1.2. Why is he sometimes called Bop Ad?).

N.1.2. 'TDV'

'TDV' stands for The Digital Village, the company that Douglas Adams is currently an integral part of. Their web site is at

N.1.3. 'IIRC', 'AFAIK', 'OTOH', 'IMHO'

These are a few standard acronyms used widely across Usenet and yet when they appear in they still get questioned occasionally.

AFAIK- As Far As I Know
IIRC- If I Remember Correctly
IMHO- In My Humble Opinion
OTOH- On The Other Hand

And while you're here why not suffer a needless plug for the Great Abbreviations Hunt at

N.2. Why is it sometimes referred to as a 'newsfroup'?

There was a freak mental power surge on the group a few weeks ago which manifested itself as a slight kink in the left middle finger of everyone who reads the group on a regular basis. This means that every once in a while, when attempting to touch-type 'g', they type 'f' which is nearby. The affliction is an unfortunate one, and is talked about in hushed tones on the group. The freak mental power surge was the result of the simultaneous receipt by all newsgroup readers of yet another sodding "when's the new book due out?" post, and everyone flipped.

This isn't actually quite true, but it's definitively inaccurate.

Actually it's an attempt by some people to infuse the word 'froup' (a shortening of 'froody group') into 'everyday' use. Tim Allen lays claim to having started it, stating that's common "on the older newsgroups, populated with people of the Hacker Nature and other assorted Old Geeks, to call a newsgroup a newsfroup. It began as a simple typo, and has become standard usage." Froup even has an entry in the Jargon File.

N.3. Phrases worse than 'Belgium'

'Belgium' may be universally accepted as a bad word, but here's a selection of other words and phrases which, should you attempt to use them within the forum of or to any of its members, will result in you being immediately slaughtered, murdered, killed and made dead.

This list was only recently given birth to and there are plenty of other words and phrases not listed here that will result in serious injury when applied.

N.4. How not to panic in thirty different languages

Based on a list compiled by Jon Nelson, last updated early September '98, but which now needs a new maintainer because Jon's busy looking after his newborn (congrats, Jon). Now there're thirty-six different ways; the target is still forty-two. Discussion on the newsgroup continues apace.

1. Don't panic  (English)
2. Ne paniquez [or] Ne paniquez pas [or] Pas de panique [or yet another
way is] Paniques pas (French)
3. Niente panico [or] Non lasciarsi prendere dal panico  (Italian)
4. Nao se apavore  (Portugese)
5. No asustase [or] No se atierre (Spanish)
6. Tippanikjax  (Maltese)
7. Psyhraimia  (Greek)
8. N bodh scaoll ort (Irish Gaelic)
9. Ny gow aggle  (Manx Gaelic)
10. Ta det rolig  (Norwegian)
11. Ta det lugnt [or] Ingen panik (Swedish)
12. Undg panik [or] Slap af [or] Tag det roligt  (Danish)
13. Geen paniek [or] Raak niet in paniek  (Dutch - Netherlands)
14. Niet panikeren  (Dutch - Flemish)
15. Moenie paniek nie  (Afrikaans)
16. Keine panik  (German)
17. Slappadu af  (Icelandic)
18. l htile  (Finnish)
19. Ne panikui [or panikuy]  (Russian)
20. Tea paanikasse sattuv  (Estonian)
21. Nincs gz  (Hungarian)
22. Nedelat panika [or] Nedelat zdeseni  (Czech)
23. Nie panikuj [or] Nie panika  (Polish)
24. Al tilahetz [when addressing a male, or] Al tilahtzi [when
addressing a female, or] Bli panika [if you're an American and don't
mind sounding like one]  (Hebrew)
25. Natarse  (Farsi)
26. Ghabarao mat  (Hindi/Urdu)
27. Ghabari beda  (Kannada)
28. Awate nasanna [or] Awatenaideh [or] Shinpai suruna [or] Panikku wo okosuna  (Japanese)
29. Uoki maka'u kuhewa  (Hawaiian)
30. Tenang saja [or] Menenangkan [or] Tidak kelabakan  (Indonesian)
31. Noli pavere [or] Nolite pavere (Latin)
32. Ne paniku  (Esperanto)
33. Non affolla vos  (Interlingua)
34. Ontday anicpay  (Pig Latin)
35. Dubon't Pubanubic  (Pig Greek)
36. yIlImQo'  (Klingon)

There is even a small Windows applet (written by Oliver White) to display these phrases, to be found at

N.5. Who are all you weird people?!

A list of self-written biographies of a small number of people on the newsgroup has recently started being written. It can be found here:

Please note the slightly changed URL to before.

There is also an ICQ list, recently started, for all Douglas Adams fans. It can be found at:

N.6. What is the message tagging (eg. "[B]") about?

This is a recently introduced colour code to help people identify the different kinds of post that are made to the newsgroup. Each different kind of post has a different colour, and the first letter of the colour should be put in the subject line within square brackets.

The colours are blue for relevant posts, brown for irrelevant posts, and black for really irrelevant posts.

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