Re: Info on Hypertext format ?

Thomas A. Fine <>
Date: Mon, 22 Feb 93 20:05:11 -0500
From: Thomas A. Fine <>
Message-id: <>
Subject: Re: Info on Hypertext format ?
X-Mailer: Perl Mail System v1.2
>Someone from the DESY computer centre assured me
>that this was the Hyper-FAQ to the WWW-wizards. I hope
>to pass your kill-file nevertheless. [The same person
>did not have any clue how to answer my question.]
>I wanted to start a FAQ for one of the hepnet.* newsgroups.
>Since the freeHEP server at is tied to
>WWW, and it also archives the hepnet hierarchy, my question
>is: how do I format my FAQ in Hypertext?
>	Besides the question, I also have an information to
>give: on the faq-maintainers mailing list, there is a BIG
>debate right now on standard formats for FAQs. The discussion
>was started by Thomas A. Fine's posting to the list which I
>repost here--though I don't assume that the WWWmasters haven't
>heard about it. In the future, the project he outlines may be
>the cheapest way of getting your FAQ into Hypertext, but right
>now the possibility does not seem to exist.

Ha!  You can't get rid of me.  Well, I'll answer your question, and
then for all the WWW people out there, I'll give a project status.

The software to handle the format I posted already exists.  If you
want to conform to that, you can do that, and I can send you the software.

Or you can rummage through the web and figure out how to format things
yourself.  It's not a huge amount of material, but there are some finer
points you have to know.

Or you can wait until I finish my editor.  At this rate, who knows when
that will be.  I haven't had time to work on it in a month, even though
it is 90 percent complete.  It certainly won't be until after I get
the FAQ stuff relatively settled (see below).

Well, I sent my proposed format to the faq-maintainers mailing list to
see what sort of reaction I would get.  Ouch.  Not all bad though.  Some
people may choose to use my format.  At any rate, many people pointed
me at the digest format, while other unsubscribed from the mailing list.
:-)   :-(

The digest format is a format for encapsulating lots of little articles
into one big article.  It was designed for mailing lists (See RFC 1153).
Its use for FAQs is dubious at best (each question becomes a separate
article).  At any rate no one conforms precisely (or in the ballpark)
to the standard.  And 90 percent don't try to use it at all.  Still that
seems to be the direction people are going.

So, I'm working up some conversion software that will deal with their
whimsical excuse for the Digest format.  It will buy me about 30-40
FAQs right off the bat, and hopefully help sell the idea.