alt.culture.malta FAQ Part 1

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Archive-name: cultures/malta/faq
Posting-Frequency: monthly
Last-modified: 15-October-2008
Version: 4.01
Introduction – about alt.culture.malta Newsgroup, FAQ, Charter

This is Version 4.01 of the FAQ for the alt.culture.malta newsgroup, the FAQ was launched in 1996.

Welcome to alt.culture.malta. This FAQ is regularly posted to the alt.culture.malta,alt.answers and news.answers newsgroups approximately once a month, and the most up-to-date version is also available at the alt.culture.malta web site ( The FAQ is an attempt to answer questions that are asked on alt.culture.malta. This and other faqs are available at It can also be obtained by ftp from MIT’s RTFM server: Additions have been made, new information has been collated from newsgroup theads which can be found in the newsgroup archive (, as well as reworded and edited,

The Maltese newsgroup alt.culture.malta was set up for the discussion of anything related to Malta, or the Maltese islands. It may be used by web page creators as a springboard for URL announcements of Maltese websites. Created on the 25th October 1996, this is now another good place where to submit a message describing your new Maltese web page; to discuss your site updates, or simply to discuss anything to do with Malta or Maltese. The newsgroup is robomoderated. The alt.culture.malta web page can be found at the URL

To get more information and search for Maltese WWW sites, other resources such as mailing lists, and more general information on Malta, you might visit Malta Network Resources ( You can access searchable archives for Maltese newsgroups from MNR. MNR was originally delegated from (the now defunct) original ‘Virtual Tourist’ (the world list of web servers).

Somebody wrote ng – what does ng mean?
‘ng’ simply means (USENET) ‘newsgroup’ (informally called just group).
What is the point of the group?
The description of alt.culture.malta is ‘Discussion on Malta and the Maltese’, which includes Malta, Gozo and Comino, the Maltese abroad. The point of a newsgroup is given by its name. ‘Alt’ is a series of groups all about different topics, ‘culture’ means that the newsgroup discusses things pertaining to particular cultures, ‘malta’ means that this is a newsgroup for discussion of anything connected to Malta and the Maltese. For more details on what one can post about, check the Charter or read on below.
I cannot connect to alt.culture.malta. HELP!
The list of newsgroups carried by your service provider (ISP) is generally the responsibility of the news administrator. Since this group is relatively quite new, not all news administrators will have added it to their lists. If the newsgroup is still unavailable at your site, please contact your news administrator (e.g. by sending an email message) and request that it be carried. Regular booster messages will be sent out to help the group get the widest possible coverage. You might access it by using a web site which allows access to alt.culture.malta – examples include Malta Network Resources, Google Groups ( and Newsguy ( Note that Newsguy does not archive old postings, Google Groups only stores posts from a few years back and does not archive the first two years of this newsgroup completely. Only Malta Network Resources ( has a complete archive of the group. You now may read alt.culture.malta using Malta Network Resources, using your browser (the url is given above). You also can read postings and post to alt.culture.malta by joining scmalta-l which is the public Malta mailing list (, and send email to the list. There are some other lists but they are private. Email to scmalta-l is gatewayed (two way) into the alt.culture.malta newsgroup. This list is currently offline. In other words, you can read the group by subscribing to the mailing list (using email) and vice versa you can read the mailing list by subscribing to the newsgroup, or through the web using Malta Network Resources.
What is the malta.* hierarchy?
The malta.* hierarchy is the national hierarchy of Maltese newsgroups. New newsgroups have been added recently. Please find the most up to date information on the malta.* hierarchy and the “Adding malta.* hierarchy to a news server FAQ” from
Why has alt.culture.malta been set up? What is its purpose?
It was originally set up as a new unmoderated Maltese newsgroup since there is a demand for a newsgroup where to discuss Maltese topics. Anything related to Malta, Gozo, the Maltese Islands, Maltese culture, tradition, history, future, current events in Malta, whatever is Malta-related can be discussed. It was favourably discussed in the alt.config newsgroup before it was created, unlike the older alt.malta which was not and was always rmgrouped. The alt.malta newsgroup is obsolete. Please don’t post to it, so the rest of us won’t miss anything. Even discussion of Maltese WWW sites and announcements of Maltese Web resources physically located in Malta and abroad may take place on the newsgroup. alt.malta is technically “defunct” (a rmgrouped newsgroup) and still exists only in a few isolated pocket locations, it does not generally propagate any more (if at all) since most sites have now dropped it replacing it with alt.culture.malta. Yes, discussing Maltese dogs is allowed. The newsgroup was upon general consensus and after an informal voting successfully changed to a moderated one due to spammers attempting to overrun the group. It is preferred that you post in English, it will be understood by most people on the group. Don’t let this stop you from posting in Maltese however. Using Maltese fonts in usenet posts might not be a good idea as there is no way to specify the font apart from using html which is not recommended as usenet is mainly an ascii medium (binaries excepted).
How many people will see my post?
It is not known for sure how many people view USENET or any individual group. But trust me, many people will see it so please try to be professional.
Where is the newsgroup located or hosted?
The answer is nowhere, or everywhere. This is how Usenet works, messages get duplicated (propagated) from server to server. It is not like a website. It is a distributed system.
Is the newsgroup archived?
Yes, go to for the only authorised (and the most complete) archive. It is also searchable from the main page. Not all posts are available at the moment. You can also view an archive in Google Groups.
What is the connection with soc.culture.malta? Does soc.culture.malta exist? Was it voted for? Where can we discuss the RFD again?
soc.culture.malta was proposed and discussed some years ago, as a robomoderated newsgroup (i.e. software approves postings basically). A vote was held but due to lack of support, the vote failed. If you were in favour, or against, this newsgroup, you are encouraged by the author of this FAQ to use alt.culture.malta instead.
Any hints on group behaviour we should know about?
Well, one should make factual statements without adding colour to inflame anyone. If one adds a few pejorative adjectives to a factual statement then it becomes caustic and serves no purpose other than to inflame. The outcome is people will lose respect for one’s writings and ignore them. Which one would think would not be what the writer wishes. The other possible outcome is that people will complain to the moderator. Then the moderator has a problem, which the moderator does not want. So a good critical article on a subject will be read and discussed.
What is the alt.culture.malta charter?
The charter of alt.culture.malta describes what the Maltese newsgroup is to be used for. The topic is anything related to Malta, anything Maltese, or the Maltese islands. It may be used for URL announcements of Maltese websites. So this is another good place where to submit a message describing your new Maltese web page. The newsgroup is (robo)moderated. The charter also explains the moderation policy. The charter can be found at
What is the moderation policy?
It is stressed at the outset that posts to alt.culture.malta are not moderated according to their content. The group is moderated by a robomoderation program under the control of the human moderator and program maintainer. People may post with “unreplyable” or “munged” email addresses e.g. “[email protected]”. Messages posted to alt.culture.malta should be related to Malta or the Maltese in some way. Some civil and informal unrelated discussion is allowed among regular or new posters, otherwise messages must be on topic and courteous to the regular and new posters. Authors of rejected posts are notified via email by the robomoderator. As soon as one posts, the robomoderator notifies the poster that the posting has been received. This can be turned off by following the robomoderator’s instructions.
Off topic messages as specified above, should be introduced “Off topic:” in the subject header. ECP/EMP and binaries, Make money fast schedules, sex advertisements are explicitly not allowed. Maltese URL announcements are allowed. Personals should be sent to a different newsgroup, soc.personals which exists for that purpose, with the exception of penpals which are welcome.
One copy of all messages will be posted to alt.culture.malta only after being approved by the robomoderator at the submission address alt-culture-malta @ , and will be also be posted on the SCMALTA-L mailing list. First-time posters will, upon having their initial post approved, be placed on auto-approve, so their subsequent postings will be automatically preapproved. The robomoderation does not focus on content. Of course, should an approved poster start spamming for instance, he/she will be removed from the autoapproval list. The preapproval list is only used for pre-approving posts to alt.culture.malta and for verifying voters for group votes. It may not be sold, given away, or used as a mailing list. It started as empty and was added only as above. Every poster may request to be removed from the preapproval list. List entries may be aged out after a term determined by the space available on the moderating host, to be not less after a year. In rare cases a person who reponds abusively to the robomoderator’s auto-replies, will be put on the robomoderator’s ignore list.
Therefore no crossposting will be allowed except for on-topic RFD/CVF’s.
After submission,if the article has not been posted yet,you may contact the moderator (see below) and request a STOP POST on your article, hoping you reached me on time. Once posted the only thing that can be done is the issuing of a cancellation. I cannot guarantee that it has not been posted on servers, or added to any archive servers on the Internet. Everything will be done as time permits, and no guarantees are made. After all not all sites will honour cancel messages.
Messages that are not approved will be returned to the sender as far as possible, with an automatic response as far as possible, occasionally noting why it did not meet with approval, and offering suggestions.
Once returned to the sender, the moderator’s decisions are final, but you may resubmit your messages for reconsideration, with appropriate changes made. The moderator is not responsible for any articles lost while being transmitted over the Internet, therefore you should keep a copy of any submitted messages. Copyrighted material submitted that is keeping with fair use provisions of copyright laws is permissible so long as it is informative, educational and related to Malta or Maltese.
Posting Delays:
When posting to alt.culture.malta your article will not appear in the group immediately. Posts to alt.culture.malta are forwarded to the robomoderator that checks that you are on the auto-approval list (see above). If not (i.e. you have posted for the first time) the human moderator has to approve your posting. Subsequently your next posts will be auto-approved by the robomoderator.
It then sends the post to the Usenet gateway (and to SCMALTA-L). From the news gateway the article must make its way back to your news server. If you would like to be certain that your posts are reaching the group, you may subscribe to the SCMALTA-L mailing list. To do so send an e-mail message to majordomo AT cis DOT um DOT edu DOT mt that reads subscribe scmalta-l If getting timely and complete information is important to you, you may want to consider following via the mailing list. E-mail is much faster and more reliable than news propagation. The mailing list SCMALTA-L and the newsgroup alt.culture.malta mirror each other (except for some other Maltese mailing list digests which are posted to the newsgroup only – to get those by email you can subscribe to those lists). Note scmalta-l is due to be revived with a new name.
If your posts do appear on the group immediately, it’s likely your provider doesn’t have the group set as moderated at your site. In that case your posts are not being distributed to the full group. You should ask your news administrator to set the group as moderated using the address alt-culture-malta @ (no spaces). Another way around this problem is to send your posts as an e-mail message to the mailing list (currently unavailable).
Everything sent to the mailing list is automatically distributed to the group, through the robomoderator and with the same rules.
What is the Moderator direct contact address?
The official moderator address is [email protected], but being the author of this document also, I can be contacted also as specified at the end of this FAQ.

Above: Malta’s fortifications (swar) are said to be the largest of the whole world.

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truly good picture.

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