UK Business Agriculture FAQ

Introduction and Intent

This FAQ aims to explain how, where, when and why you should post to; how to fit in and contribute to discussion, where to post and under which threads, when you should join in, and why we'd like to see your opinions.

What's an FAQ then?

In brief, a FAQ is a body of frequently asked questions with answers. This 'newsgroup' FAQ does not attempt to answer all questions but those answers most likely to be needed by a newcomer to the group. It may also be a reminder to those who post regularly... It tells you more at the Uk Usenet homepages ( ) - go and look there.

What are all these abbreviations?

The thing that gets at most people when they first look at the Usenet newsgroups is that people appear to be talking a different language.

Now, while this may be true if you're looking at a de.* newsgroup (from Germany), it's normally not. All that's happening is that people are using abbreviations.

Most commonly used abbreviations can be found at - a page from the official UK Usenet web site. Of course, this is far (far, far, far) from a comprehensive list, and there are many abbreviations which are used on uk.b.a that you'll never find archived anywhere. The best thing to do is get a general idea that G means 'grin', ROTFL means 'roll on the floor laughing', and so on, and try and work them out for yourself.

Specific abbreviations that must be explained are:

uba or ukba or uk.b.a. -

u.n.n.c or uknnc or ... -

u.n.n.a or ... -

(It gets very tedious writing out newsgroup names in full! )

Where can I find out about Usenet generally?

Again, go to the UK Usenet pages at you may also like to subscribe to the group news.announce.newusers which carries a lot of very useful information.

Anything else I need to know?

Yes. Apart from reading thoroughly every page of <grin> you should also subscribe to the group.

And you should, of course, read and digest this FAQ.

Does uk.b.a have a charter?

It does indeed. And it is thus:

Charter for unmoderated group

This newsgroup is for the discussion of and exchange of information within the agricultural industry in the U.K.

Advertising is forbidden with these exceptions

Personal advertisements for related items, services and jobs are welcome but should be brief.

Within the context of "exchanging information", commercial suppliers of relevant goods and services, agricultural organisations, advisory services, etc. may post brief messages which contain information they might reasonably feel was of interest to readers.

Commercial suppliers are required to restrict their "advertising" to web sites, the location of which may be posted in short messages to the newsgroup.

Commercial suppliers are requested to limit their postings to one message at a time or to include the word "Trade" in their headers.

All other advertising is banned.

Encoded binaries (e.g. pictures, compressed files, etc.), are forbidden, except for cryptographic signatures (e.g. PGP) which should be kept as short as possible. Posts must be in plain text, HTML is forbidden.

Proponent: Alistair Wilson -----

Why should I keep to this then?

I'll reply by asking a question. Why shouldn't I come round to your house and burn it down?

As everyone knows, if society is to function, there must be certain rules that everybody abides to. uk.b.a is such a community - it's made of individuals, and unless you're taking part in a responsible and grown-up manner, those individuals won't want to know you. There would then be no point in reading or posting to uk.b.a.

More to the point, if people consistently post against the charter, their Internet service provider (ISP) receives a complaints email that their behaviour is antisocial (since that's what it is), and you might have your newsfeed removed. So be warned.

It all seems a bit confusing - is it really?

Yes. Horrendously. Discussions rarely stay with the subject line for long, and, as you'd expect with a group of friends talking in a pub, things often descend into friendly banter between topics.

The purposes of the newsgroup can be neatly compressed to:

i) Somewhere to talk about agriculture in the uk

ii) Somewhere to talk

iii) Somewhere.

Don't worry if it seems confusing, you'll get the hang of it.

Who should use this newsgroup?

The charter says "This newsgroup is for the discussion of and exchange of information within the agricultural industry in the U.K" however agriculture is a global thing so contributions are welcome from people interested in UK agriculture from anywhere in the world.

How to Post to uk.b.a?

a) What's the best way to start off then?

There is no best way to start off. I personally started by replying to a message already there. A lot of others start by posting a new thread to introduce themselves;

The best way of all, however, is to just read, and not post to, the group for a couple of weeks (known as 'lurking').

This way you can find out what goes on and the appropriate posting manners ...

b) Can I just join in *anywhere* ?

Yes. If anything was meant to be completely private, it would be sent over email. Feel free to add to any thread, or start a new one if necessary.


Where on the Internet is the most appropriate place to advertise livestock or other farming related things for sale in the UK ? was a question asked recently

Alaistair's answer was

"Right here to begin with. "Adverts" such as that are welcome here. We are all interested in who has what for sale and how much are they asking for it. :-)

I recall Jim drawing attention to a dispersal sale in his area some months back. That sort of thing is welcome as well. Any markets wants to put something drawing attention to special sales, etc. go ahead. Anything which is likely to be of interest to the group is OK. Its the unsolicited irrelevant stuff which usually has "$" signs in it somewhere anyway which annoys us all.

To recap, "this newsgroup is for the use of all who have an interest in the uk agricultural industry". If you fall into that category, you are free to put on any message you like so please do so."

There are a few things which should be explained in more detail ...

What's crossposting?

Crossposting is posting a message to more than one group at a time.

Before posting a message, look at the newsgroups box on your message.

If it contains more than one newsgroup name you are crossposting (also referred to as xposting).

Apply common sense when crossposting! Crossposting to other agriculture groups can widen the discussion, but crossposting to groups like*lls serves no purpose!

What's snipping?

When replying to someone's message, they won't want to have to read through their entire message just to find your comments. So delete the parts of their message which are irrelevant, and it'll be easier to read for everyone.

Also, it helps if you write your replies directly under the part of the posting you're replying to, not simply at the top.

What newsreader's best?

Many people recommend Agent (from as an excellent newsreader, for both beginners and experts alike.

On the other hand a lot of people use Microsoft Outlook Express, which is provided free with Internet Explorer!

Once you've got on your feet you'll be able to experiment more. Please take the time to use your ISP's support system and the other recommended help websites listed on this site to aid in setting up your newsreader software.

How should it be set up?

Make sure it's posting in plain text, not HTML (the standard used for internet browsing). Nobody appreciates HTML posts, as they are huge and cannot be seen by a large amount of people.

For help configuring your newsreader to post plain text see

Why don't some email addresses work?

Many people who post to newsgroups get tired of receiving huge amounts of junk email because of releasing their email addresses onto the internet. Some companies (boo, hiss) have automated retrievers which scan newsgroups for addresses and add them to their lists.

As a result, you may find many addresses of the form or or which are designed to ensure the user's real address won't be harvested. Normally instructions for decoding these are at the bottom of posts - for example:

'replace nospam with jumper to reply'

or 'before you reply remove .my-bra.'

Is his name really Quark?

Probably not. Remember, who you're communicating with may not be how you imagine them. He may well be Quark , a tough, rough, mean Ferengi - or he may in fact be little Amy Cherub, an 11-year-old girl from Colchester. You can never know.

It's safer to not give out huge amounts of information about yourself over the internet. Phone numbers are risky; addresses (as in real addresses) a definite no-no. Be wary about what you reveal.

What's a kill file?

This was another Question asked recently .....

Oz replied :-
"Look under 'help' in your newsreader. Basically it allows you to read the newsgroup and never have to see messages from or about whatever you put in it.

It allows you to avoid downloading posts from people you find obnoxious

or to reduce the volume of traffic. Some where on your newsreader you

should find this facility (help is a good place to start).

Generally you can 'kill' on a variety of criteria such as 'author' (eg

'Oz' would reduce traffic), 'length' (eg over 2k), 'in header' (eg AOL

might remove some odd people) etc.

Once you have done this you will never see these posts again. "

David Aldred wrote :-

"Microsoft, in its usual attempt to re-invent and create new terminology

for everything veteran net.users invented years ago and take for

granted, doesn't call them killfiles.

The functionality is called 'message rules' in Outlook Express 5 : if you

look at that section in MSOE Help it tells you how to set them up".

and Jim Webster wrote :-

"For OE4 go to the Tools menu, when it drops down look for Newsgroup filters

(between address book and accounts) and click on that, it is pretty self

explanatory. "

Where to Look on uk.b.a?

I seem to have started in the middle of a conversation..........

Indeed, it's not unusual. Any subject line with a 'Re:' at the beginning is a reply to something else - and quite often this is 95% of the group.

But it doesn't matter, really, since you can join in at any point as long as you've been watching the thread for a couple of days first.

Hence the recommendation to lurk.

Or, as recommended above, just start a new thread - ask a question, or whatever - and you'll soon be involved in discussion.

The answer to my question's not here ...

Well, the only way to get your question answered is to ask it. You want to know of the best sheep wormer? Post the question and it may well be answered. And probably by half a dozen people, each offering a different answer ...

It might not be of course - there might not be anyone who knows about sheep there, for example. Don't assume everyone's ignoring you - just ask the question a bit differently ('wormer' instead of 'sheep wormer') and after people have replied try and narrow down the responses a bit.

I seem to disagree with everything said ...

Then oppose it. The whole idea is to discuss issues - it'd be a boring world if everyone agreed on everything!

Won't I get shouted at?

Not if you actually present an argument. Just saying 'shut up' hardly inspires confidence in your view, and you're likely to be ignored.

Do remember, however, that this is a public forum, and anyone has the right to reply to and oppose your reasoning. So don't be worried if everyone seems to disagree with you - just think of it as a whole group to convince through reasoned argument.

Just don't say that everyone else smells.

So what other advice would you give?

Think about what you post. The people on the group don't know you, and they'll form their impressions of you from what you post. If you post arrogantly, you'll be thought of as an arrogant person, even if you're not.

And don't post anti-socially. Be friendly and people will be friendly back. Accept that others have different opinions.

A few people post a lot, don't they?

Yes. You have to wonder where they get the time.

As is found in any walk of life, some people participate more in conversation than others. Some speak in more elaborate ways, some feel the need to contribute to everything, a lot prefer to simply read what's going on and post very occasionally.

Everyone who posts to the group on-charter has an equally valid voice, and nobody should feel intimidated because they're opposed by one of those who posts more - the self-appointed 'regulars'.

How old is this newsgroup?

It was created in March 1999

Who created it?

The proponent the group was Alistair Wilson. Our eternal thanks to him!

Credits : Who wrote this FAQ, then?

This FAQ was written in the first instance by Denis Fuller with help from Quark and Gnasher, during November 1999. Thanks must go to Tim Miller of uk.local.southwest for providing a FAQ to modify and to Charles Collinson for some initial advice and comments

Who else contributed?

After the initial draft this FAQ was posted to uk.b.a for comments.

Special thanks must be given to:

( the regulars of ukba who commented)

for all their comments and constructive advice.

I've found a mistake in it ...

Then email , who holds the FAQ, and tell them. Note this is only for spelling mistakes, or the like, and not its that you disagree with. Any such bits must be debated on uk.b.a before they are changed.

This FAQ will be constantly revised. The only sections which may not be deleted, only added to, are the Credits - to ensure all those who put hard work in are recognised.

Feel free to suggest FAQ improvements to uk.b.a


You should have fun posting to uk.b.a. That is, after all, the whole point of the exercise.

Have a nice time, it's looking bright out.

This document may be freely distributed and reproduced as long as it

remains wholly unaltered and includes this notice. If you do

redistribute this document, especially on a commercial basis, please

contact the poster of this FAQ before doing so.

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