Last Updated: 16th August 2002
This list of frequently asked questions was written by long-time readers
of RASSM to answer some of the most common concerns of new readers to the
newsgroup about Star Wars and the RASSM group in general.
Suggestions for the improvement of this FAQ are always welcome.
If you have a question about this FAQ, post it to RASSM or e-mail the
authors of the FAQ.
- 1. What is RASSM?
- 2. Newsgroups and Netiquette
- 3. Common Abbreviations
- 4. Commonly asked Star Wars Questions
- 5. Commonly asked RASSM questions
- 1. What is RASSM?
- RASSM is an acronym for the Usenet newsgroup
its participants are known as RASSMers. It is a place where Star Wars
fans can discuss the movies, Expanded Universe, and anything related
to them, providing that there is not another forum for the discussion.
RASSM is an unmoderated newsgroup, but people are asked to follow
the general guidelines of netiquette.
- 2. Newsgroups and Netiquette
- 2b. Are there any other Star Wars newsgroups?
- Other Star Wars newsgroups in the RASS.* hierarchy are:
There are also Star Wars groups on the alt.* hierarchy, some of which overlap RASSM as far as topics are concerned and some which many RASSMers prefer certain discussions be diverted.
rec.arts.sf.starwars.collecting.customizing - custom made items
rec.arts.sf.starwars.collecting.vintage - vintage collectibles
rec.arts.sf.starwars.collecting.misc - new/current collectibles
rec.arts.sf.starwars.games - all Star Wars games
rec.arts.sf.starwars.info - announcement group (moderated)
Yahoo! provides a listing of web-based newsservers that allow
posting and reading of Usenet newsgroups, if your ISP does not
have a newsserver of its own. Some of these services
are free and some are not. Of interest is Google Groups
the usenet archive formerly known as DejaNews.
alt.binaries.starwars - any attached/binary file (.jpg, .wav, .zip, etc.)
alt.fan.porkins - dedicated to the character Porkins
alt.fan.starwars - alt group counterpart to RASSM
alt.fan.wedge - dedicated to the character Wedge
alt.starwars.xvt - X-wing vs. TIE fighter game
alt.startrek.vs.starwars - any Star Trek vs. Star Wars debate
- 2a. What does it mean to be "on charter"?
The rec.arts.sf.starwars.misc Charter: "This newsgroup will be open to
discussion of all miscellaneous issues and topics pertaining to Star
Wars not covered by other newsgroups in the rec.arts.sf.starwars
Therefore, the "misc" in rec.arts.sf.starwars.misc does not
mean any miscellaneous topic pertaining to Star Wars. If in
doubt, consult the FAQs of the various rec.arts.sf.starwars.*
newsgroups to determine the appropriate place/location for your post.
- 2c. What are binaries and why can't they be posted here?
- Binaries are files that you attach to your message. (Examples: .jpg,
.gif, .wav, .mid, .zip, .doc, .txt) Binaries should never be
posted to non-binary newsgroups. If there is a binary that you wish
to share with everyone, post it to the appropriate binary newsgroup,
such as alt.binaries.starwars, or put it on a website and then post
a message to RASSM indicating the location of said binary.
- 2d. Why can't "For Sale/For Auction/For Trade/Wanted" messages be posted here?
- For Sale/For Auction/For Trade/Wanted posts are *off charter* and not
welcome in RASSM. Such posts should be directed to one of the
sci-fi marketplace newsgroups. If you happen to make such a post to RASSM,
expect to have someone notify you, via e-mail or RASSM, that such posts
don't belong in RASSM.
- 2e. What is HTML and why should I not post in it?
- HTML stands for "hypertext markup language" and is used for creating web pages. People who use web browsers to read newsgroups are able to see messages encoded in HTML with different fonts, colors, italics, etc. However, those who don't use a web browser cannot see the HTML code and will see something similar to this:
<!doctype html public "-//w3c//dtd html 4.0 transitional//en"><BR><html> stuff typed here
<blockquote TYPE=CITE> someone says something<br>that's quoted.
Newsgroups are text-based forums so HTML is discouraged. Web
browsers such as Internet Explorer and Netscape have the HTML feature
for e-mail and posting set on by default. Visit [http://www.houghi.org]
if you need assistance in turning the HTML feature in your browser off.
- 2f. What is crossposting and why should I not do it?
Crossposting is posting the same message to multiple newsgroups at the
same time. It is considered poor netiquette to crosspost even if the
message is on charter/on-topic for the selected newsgroups. If there
is something that should be posted to multiple newsgroups, then the
message should be sent to each newsgroup one at a time instead of
posting to all of them at once.
- 2g. What is a spoiler? How do I post spoilers?
- Often, when something new appears in the Star Wars universe, people try
to avoid discussion of it because they want to remain unprepared to
experience it themselves, i.e. they don't want it to get spoiled for
them. Examples of this is news concerning the prequels, new books, or
new videos games. This also applies to non-Star Wars subjects; if it's
new, give it a spoiler warning. Discussion is encouraged, but you are
still asked to be polite and give the following courtesies:
- No spoilers in the subject header
Good: "Prequel Casting Rumor SPOILER"
Bad: "Michael Mierzwa cast as young Ackbar in Episode 2: It's
CALAMARI! Sushi's made out of Calamari!"
- Spoiler Space. Put about 25 blank space lines between the header of
your post and the body, topped with a line like "Prequel
Spoiler". This ensures that those wishing to remain unspoiled
have a second chance if they miss your subject line.
- 2h. What is a troll?
A troll is an individual who makes a post to a newsgroup with the
express purpose of eliciting a specific response from the individuals
in that particular newsgroup. Often, trolls will crosspost to several
newsgroups in an attempt to cause a flamewar (see 2i) between the posters
of those groups. Usually, it is quite easy to determine if someone is
attempting to troll a newsgroup and the best way to interact with a troll
is to ignore him/her as they don't get any satisfaction from a lack of
- 2i. What is a flame? What is a flame war?
A flame is a harsh insult, often laced with profanity. A flamewar is
when two or more individuals decide to flame each other on Usenet,
thereby exposing everyone else to their fight. Flame wars quickly
flare up once everyone not involved gets sick of the fight and decides
to have their own fit about it. This can cause a chain reaction that,
if not contained, can cause a newsgroup to go "nuclear." The best
way to deal with a flame is to ignore it. If one is unable to do that,
then respond via e-mail and keep it out of the newsgroup.
- 2j. What is a killfile?
A killfile is a newsgroup filter which allows an individual to filter
out messages by other individuals. They are usually reserved for trolls,
spammers, and individuals a person just can no longer tolerate. Information on
using killfiles/filters can be found in the help section of your
- 2k. How much do I quote in my reply?
Quote no more than absolutely necessary to reply. Threads with 2000+
lines of quoted text and ten lines of original text are not looked
kindly upon. In fact, if a thread is at over the 2000+ line mark, it's
probably gone completely off-topic and should be taken to email. (This
means you, Balance Point threaders.)
- 3. Common Abbreviations
- There are two main types of abbreviations that you might come across:
- a) those in the subject headers often called "tags", which are used to help people see what a post is about
- b) those within posts.
- 3a. Headers Used on RASSM
- [COMIC]: about the Star Wars comic books
[FANFIC]: fan fiction
[NRG]: Novel Reading Group; it contains spoilers for the Star Wars novels
[OFF/OT]: the post is largely off-topic
[ORHP]: Official RASSM Homepage
[RASSM]: deals with issues concerning the newsgroup
[RASSMCon]: reports and information about meetings between RASSMers
[REPOST]: a repost of an old thread
[SITH WAR _]: part of an ongoing role play story
[SPECULATION]: indicates someone is speculating about what might happen in the prequels
[SPOILER]: something in this thread reveals information about a movie, novel, or comic that may not be common knowledge
[WWW]: World Wide Web; message contains web page information
- 3b. Within posts
- AFAIK: As Far As I Know
AGFFA: A Galaxy Far, Far Away
BTM: Behind the Magic; A comprehensive guide to the Star Wars universe put out by Lucasarts
CG(I): Computer Graphics
EU: Expanded Universe (novels & comics)
FACPOV: From A Certain Point Of View
GL: George Lucas
IIRC: If I Recall Correctly
IMHO: In My Humble Opinion
IMO: In My Opinion
LA or LEC: LucasArts Entertainment Company (Lucas's game company)
LFL: Lucasfilm Limited (Lucas's movie company)
LOL: Laughing Out Loud
NRG: Novel Reading Group
ORHP: Official RASSM Homepage
ROTFL: Rolling on the Floor Laughing
MTFBWY(A): May the Force Be With You... Always
SP?: Stands for spelling; person is unsure about their spelling
SW: Star Wars
WEG: West End Games (former makers of the Star Wars role playing game)
WOTC: Wizards of the Coast (current makers of the Star Wars role playing game)
- ANH: Episode IV, A New Hope; also SW or SW:ANH
(T)ESB: Episode V, The Empire Strikes Back
ROTJ: Episode VI, Return of the Jedi
SE: Special Editions (SW:SE = Star Wars Special Edition)
TPM: Episode I, The Phantom Menace
Some Ship Names:
- DS: Death Star
MF: Millennium Falcon
SD: Star Destroyer
SSD: Super Star Destroyer/Executor
XW: X-Wing (also YW, AW, BW, EW, etc.)
T/F: TIE fighter (also T/B, T/A, T/I, T/D, etc.)
Some Novel Names (SEE NRG FAQ for more novel abbreviations):
- SOTE: Shadows of the Empire by Steve Perry (1996)
SoTME: Splinter of the Mind's Eye by Alan Dean Foster (1978)
- 4. Commonly asked Star Wars questions
- Was "Episode IV: A New Hope" on the original release of Star Wars in 1977?
No, in 1977 Star Wars was originally titled "Star Wars". The title
"Episode IV: A New Hope" did not appear until the 1981 re-release,
although some fans swear they saw it earlier than that.
- 4b. What's wrong with Ewoks/Gungans?
Ewoks and Gungans are disliked by many because they feel that they
only exist to sell product and not further the plotline in their
respective Star Wars films.
- 4c. Did you see the ice cream maker in ESB? Does Luke yell "Carrie!"?
Is George Lucas in Beverly Hills Cop 3? Was that ET in TPM? What's symbolic about 1138?
The above are just a few examples of bloopers and easter eggs which
can be found in the Star Wars saga. A blooper is some minor mistake in the
film that was never corrected during the editing process. An easter egg is a
surprise placed in a film by a member of the production crew. For more
information on bloopers and easter eggs in the Star Wars films, visit the
Star Wars Blooper Guide [http://www.egosystem.com/starwars/index.html]
- 4d. Is Boba Fett dead?
- According to the post-ROTJ novels & comics, Boba Fett is the only
person to survive the Sarlaac. His first post-ROTJ appearance was in
Marvel #81. The second source which revealed that he survived was
the Dark Empire comic series by Dark Horse where he explained
his escape by merely saying "the Sarlaac found me somewhat
indigestible." However, his escape from the Sarlaac wasn't documented,
in one of the novels, until several years later in the
anthology Tales From Jabba's Palace. You will find that about half the
people have no problems with this explanation for Boba Fett's survival while the
other half are content to believe Boba Fett met his fate in the Sarlaac as
implied in the movie.
- 4e. What is canon?
Canon is the authorized or accepted truth or rule. The views on canon
can range from people who say only the movies are canon to those who
think everything under the sun that was released about Star Wars from
film to radio drama to comic to novel is canon. Most people are
somewhere in between, picking and choosing what they decide depicts the
"true" Star Wars universe. Since George Lucas and the rest of Lucasfilm
have never officially stated what they authorize as canon, there's
absolutely nothing that will back up your claim on what may be
considered canon in the Star Wars universe other than people's
opinions. Remember: everyone is entitled to their own opinion whether
or not you agree with them.
- 4f. Is [insert actor/actress] dead?
To the best of our knowledge, only the following actors have passed away:
Shelagh Fraser (Aunt Beru in ANH)
d. Sep. 13, 2000, 77 y.o.
Alec Guinness (Obi-Wan Kenobi in ANH, ESB and RotJ)
d. Aug. 6, 2000, 86 y.o.
Jack Purvis (Chief Jawa in ANH, Ugloste in ESB, Teebo in RotJ)
d. Nov. 1997, 60 y.o.
Don Henderson (General Tagge in ANH)
d. Jun. 22, 1997, 64 y.o.
Jeremy Sinden (Gold 2 in ANH)
d. May 29, 1996, 46 y.o.
Moray Bush (Dengar in ESB)
d. in 1995
Sebastian Shaw (Anakin Skywalker in RotJ)
d. Dec. 23, 1994, 89 y.o.
Peter Cushing (Grand Moff Tarkin in ANH)
d. Aug. 11, 1994, 81 y.o.
Alex McCrindle (General Dodonna in ANH)
d. Apr. 20, 1990, 78 y.o.
Eddie Byrne (Commander Willard in ANH)
d. Aug. 21, 1981, 70 y.o.
Notable crew members that have passed away:
Richard Marquand (Director RotJ)
d. Sept. 4, 1987, 49 y.o.
Leigh Brackett (Writer ESB)
d. Mar. 18, 1978, 62 y.o.
- 4g. I remember/have heard about a Star Wars TV special in the 70's
that had Boba Fett in it. Where can I get a copy?
The Star Wars Holiday Special is a 2-hour TV special that aired on CBS on
November 17, 1978. It stared all of the main SW cast except Alec Guinness.
It includes an 11 minute cartoon segment which was Boba Fett's first
appearance. That's the only redeeming thing most SW fans can find in the
Holiday Special. Most of the show is simply awful. It has musical segments
by Carrie Fisher, Bea Arthur and many outtakes of ANH special effects. It
centers loosely around Chewbacca trying to get home to see his family for
The Holiday Special, made by Nelvanna, is based on a story treatment,
entitled "The Story of The Faithful Wookie", written by George Lucas.
However, Lucas has been quoted that he wishes he could get his hands on
every copy floating around out there...so he can take a hammer to them
all. It was only aired once and never officially released on video
although there are many bootleg copies around.
- 4h. When will Episode I or the Original Trilogy be released on DVD?
The Episode I DVD was released in October 2001. Currently, there is no timetable for the release of
the Original Trilogy on DVD.
- 4i. What is the title of Episode II?
The title of Episode II is "Attack of the Clones".
- 4j. When will Episode II be released in theatres?
Episode II was released, in the United States, on May 16, 2002.
Release dates for other countries can be found at
- 5. Commonly asked RASSM questions
- 5a. Does anyone from Lucasfilm post to or read RASSM?
To the best of our knowledge, no one from Lucasfilm posts to RASSM.
There may be one or two that sporadically read RASSM. George Lucas
does not post to or read RASSM.
- 5b. Do any of the authors post to or read RASSM?
- In the past, authors such as Kevin J. Anderson,
Michael P. Kube-McDowell, Michael A. Stackpole
& Ann C. Crispin have participated in RASSM.
Some of these authors have left the
group due to personal (not professional) criticisms received during
their stay and caution other authors who are considering participating
in RASSM from doing so. However, the majority of RASSMer's do welcome
the authors to the group and appreciate their efforts to "mingle"
with the fan community.
Also, some members of the Dark Horse Comics staff which work on the
various Star Wars comics series do lurk and occasionally post. Dan
Wallace, author of the Essential Guide to Planets and Moons, has been
known to pop in every now and then. Last, but not least, Rich Handley,
who contributes to various Star Wars publications, can often be found
- 5c. Is it okay to post my fan-fiction to RASSM?
- Posting fan-fiction is definately encouraged on RASSM, but many
RASSMers, either on their own moral accord or for want of staying on
Lucasfilm's good side, do have their limits as to the content of the
fan-fiction. Quoted from article entitled "Scotty, Beam Down the
Lawyers" by Jennifer Granick in the October 1997 issue of Wired
Magazine on page 86: "While making no long-term policy, Marc Hedlund, director
of internet development for Lucasfilm, says the company tolerates the
publication of fan fiction, so long as the stories are not for
commercial gain, and don't sully the 'family' image of the Star Wars
- 5d. What's wrong with Star Wars vs. Star Trek threads?
First, Star Wars vs. Star Trek threads are off charter. Second,
they violate the no crossposting rule. Third, they create all sorts
of problems for everyone involved. However, if you are still inclined
to partake in one of these discussions, alt.startrek.vs.starwars
exists for all your debating wants and needs.
- 5e. Who/What is Gonk?
- In Star Wars: A New Hope where C-3PO and R2D2 are lamenting their life struggles in the jawa sandcrawler, the camera pans around this droid junk pile where you'll notice a droid, which bears a striking resemblance to a trashcan, wobbling back and forth giving a deep, mechanical "gomp... gomp... gomp..." In a "Where's Waldo" fashion, this droid appears throughout
the original trilogy. That's Gonk.
- 5f. What are the Sith Wars?
- A war between the Lords of the Sith in the Star Wars mythos? Nope,
guess again. What once began as a fun spirited insult match between two
people, the Sith Wars has grown into a large role playing story with a
very loose basis in the Star Wars universe that several RASSMers
participate in. The last story, Sith War v8.1, began in spring 2001 and is
still in progress. Recently named "Sith War 2002".
To learn more about the Sith Wars go to:
Rakelle's Sith War I and III archive
The Official RASSM Home Page's Sith War Archive
Rogue Jedi's Hangout with Sith War IV archive and FAQ
President Waterfall's Sith War v8.1 Archive of DOOM
An alternate Sith War 8 archive
Sith War IX collection by the Jedi Hacker:
Rainbow Heron's Sith War 2002 Archive:
- 5g. What are these references to the Gonk War, ART, and other ongoing stories?
The Sith Wars are not the only ongoing story that RASSMers have immersed
themselves in. You'll see RASSMers discuss threads they have
participated in as if they were trading old war stories. Some of the
more famous ones include the Gonk War, the soap opera As RASSM Turns
(ART), the Official RASSM Movies (ORMs), the Chucky Waldman trial, and
the RASSM Summit. For more information on some of these past events,
visit the History Section of the ORHP [http://www.shavenwookie.com/orhp/].
- 5h. What is the NRG/RASSM's Novel Reading Group?
Some RASSMers participate in something called the Novel Reading Group (NRG)
in which they read novels in a specific order and then discuss them on
RASSM. People are encouraged to participate in NRG threads.
Jill-Marie Fritsche currently maintains the NRG FAQ and schedule. The FAQ
is periodically posted to RASSM and can also be found in the Brief
Introduction to RASSM section of the ORHP [http://www.shavenwookie.com/orhp]
- 5i. What are #rassm and @rassm?
#rassm is a chat channel on the IRC network Starlink (not to be confused with
Starlink-IRC) that allows conversational discussion about anything that one
chooses to talk about. To learn more about how to participate on #rassm, visit
The @rassm mailing list was created to divert off-topic material
away from RASSM and is more like the newsgroup format. To learn how to
join @rassm, visit [http://electricrain.com/rassm].
- 5j. Why do many non-RASSM people dislike RASSM?
We used to have a big, flowery, eloquent section here when the FAQ was much
larger than it is now. However, in the spirit of condensation for the masses,
here's the abridged version:
RASSM = anarchy. Anarchy = people doing stuff other people won't necessarily
like. People doing stuff other people won't necessarily like = bitchy people.
Bitchy people = cranky oldbies. Cranky oldbies = flamed posters. Flamed
posters = splitters. Splitters = complaints. Complaints = bad reputation.
So, going by whichever theorem that states if a = b and b = c then a = c,
RASSM = bad reputation. But as long as you've read the FAQ and adhere to the
guidelines within, no one will kill you.
- 5k. Did you see the stormtrooper hit his head? Oh, man, that's funny!
The stormtrooper never hit his head.
This document is public domain.
Star Wars and all related to it are © Lucasfilm, Ltd.
Have questions, comments, or suggestions?
Contact the maintainers of the FAQ at
The RASSM FAQ is maintained by:
Jill-Marie Fritsche, usher, Tomas, & Sal Waterfall.