FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ) OF ALT.STARTREK.CREATIVE.EROTICA.MODERATED or An Introduction to the TrekSmut World of ASCEM(L)
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It was posted to the mailing list in November 1998.
Part one ends with "And on behalf of all of us, welcome to the wonderful world of Treksmut. We hope your stay will prove to be enjoyable and remember to leave your trays in the upright position at all times. Thank you."
Part two ends with "Any questions? No? Then get out your Scantron cards, your number 2 pencils and close your books. The exam will begin as soon as every one has a copy of it. You have one hour, but if you finish early, you may go home."
Regarding RPF/RPS/ActorficIn 2003 a fan, Hypatia Kosh, asked the list this question:
Ruth Gifford, who wrote the original FAQ replied:I'm pretty close to writing a William Shatner/Kirk slash story, and I was wondering if that sort of thing was allowed on this ng/ml, or not.
Of course I can't answer this one anymore, but if anyone cares about irony and all that, back when I maintained the FAQ that was about the only thing you couldn't post. The irony here is that not only do I write it, but I co-modded the RPS panel at Escapade  and I'm in the process of setting up a kinky RPS RPG. People change, oh yeah. *grins* Ruth 
Unless Ruth Gifford is referring to a different FAQ, there is, however, no mention of this writing genre.
Portions of this FAQ were originally written by Christine Faltz. I have had also had help and moral support from Atara Stein (my wife, *and* proof reader, greater love hath no woman . . .), Christine Faltz (my predecessor, who gave me a great place to start), Stephen Ratliff (my counterpart at alt.startrek.creative, who allowed me to use portions of his FAQ), Alara Rogers (our former Archivist, we genuflect in her general direction), Alexas (ASCEM's chief moderator who works wonders to keep us spam-free), anne (the ASCEML listmom who sees that we have piping hot TrekSmut with our breakfast), Dina and Katie (our Archiving Team--Yea Team!!)and Carol Thomas (the former ASCEM story summarizer) and I thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart. I also thank those people who wrote after the first revisions with suggestions and encouragement; keep those cards and letters coming.
Q1. What is alt.startrek.creative.erotica.moderated (and ASCEM-L)?
A1. ASCEM is the third incarnation of this news group.
The first was a group called alt.sex.fetish.startrek, which was spammed to death. The second was alt.startrek.creative.erotica which burned down, fell over, sank into the swamp, and was spammed to death. But this one . . . This one will stand the test of time.
Seriously, ASCEM is a moderated news group specifically dedicated to the lustful devotion to any and all Star Trek characters, the people who play those characters, and Star Trek technology and ideas. As such you *must* be of the legal age (specified by the laws of the city/state/province/country in which you live) to read material that is adult in nature if you wish to participate in or simply read ASCEM.
ASCEM-L is a mirror mailing list provided for people who prefer mailing lists or whose ISPs don't carry ASCEM. For more information on ASCEM-L see Q 6.
Although ASCEM is primarily to devoted to the writing and discussion of works of erotic/pornographic/smutty/romantic fan fiction (aka TrekSmut), unlike its sister group alt.startrek.creative (ASC), ASCEM also welcomes threads regarding speculation on all things involving both Star Trek and sex. You want to speculate about what a 24th century vibrator is like? You want to make certain assumptions about who among the ST characters are the best endowed? You want to talk about how gorgeous a certain actor is? You want to write a little scene involving five ST characters, a tub of hot fudge and the holodeck? You want to write a novel about life, love, and the nature of reality in the Star Trek universe? Well this is where you can do all that and more (particularly the hot fudge thing; no one's written that one yet). You think it's weird to speculate on the sexual lives of characters who are not real? You think the people on ASCEM need a life? Well, move along folks, nothing to see here.
Q2. Why alt.startrek.creative.erotica.moderated and why is it moderated?
A2. Why not? Because it was there? Really, who needs a *reason* to have sex, real or imagined? ;-) Seriously (sort of), although Alt.Startrek.Creative allows the posting of TrekSmut, we feel our special fetishes and fantasies deserve a space all their own.
ASCEM is moderated because its two prior incarnations (ASFS and ASCE) were not and therefore suffered from excessive amounts of spam that advertised things sexual that had nothing to do with Star Trek. The population of ASCE and ASC went through the proper channels and created this group to be a spam-free space for TrekSmut.
Q3. How does the newsgroup work, technically speaking?
A3. The important thing to bear in mind when dealing with ASCEM(L) is that this is a strictly non-automated operation. Unlike some of the large moderated news-groups that use moderation software (which usually accepts post automatically from known posters), our moderators post every post themselves.
It works something like this: You post to the newsgroup using your newsreader. Instead of going straight to USENET, your post goes to the newsgroups mailbox. Because of this, you can also post to ASCEM(L) through e-mail. Just address your mail to <ascem@...> and it will go to the ASCEM mailbox. The moderators then take it out of that mailbox, put it into their own newsreaders and send it out with the correct information in the header. USENET recognizes the post as an official post and accepts it. At the same time that they post to USENET, the moderators send a copy of each post to the ASCEM-L listmom and she forwards the posts to the subscribers of ASCEM(L).
OK, that's the technical part. In reality, there are a few things that you need to remember. The admin staff of ASCEM(L) are all volunteers who have lives outside TrekSmut. Occasionally there will be a day when, for various reasons, no posts are made. We do our best to avoid having this happen, but we're only human. So if there is a day without Treksmut, it means that the moderators had something come up. If a several days go by and there is no TrekSmut, write to Ruth at either <ereshkgl@...> or Alexas <alexas@...>. Chances are either Earthlink or Watervalley is experiencing technical difficulties. On certain US holidays (usually Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's) we will take the day off. These and other planned days off will be announced in advance.
For information on the ASCEM(L)'s formatting requirements, see the ASCEM(L) Formatting FAQ. It is posted (roughly) once every two weeks and is available at: <http://www.come.to/treksmut/>
Q4. Moderated? Isn't that a form of censorship? What isn't allowed on ASCEM?
A4. Yes, moderation could be considered a form of censorship, but consider the moderation on ASCEM to be like flipping past the ads while you read a magazine. While the people who create and post the ad-spam which inundated ASFS and ASCE certainly have a constitutional right (here in the US) to do so, we are not legally bound to have to read it.
The moderation guidelines are simple. The moderators approve *all* posts except binaries, commercial spam, non-relevant crossposted messages, and test messages (although we will write back and let people know their test made it through the process). Trolls, flamers, and off-topic posters will be allowed to post and then risk being dealt with by the readers of ASCEM as they would on any other newsgroup. No story submitted to ASCEM will be rejected for any reason. Even if it's the worst piece of fiction the moderators have ever seen, or if it's about a subject that either turns them off or just plain upsets them, it will still be posted.
Q5. OK, you mentioned what *can't* be posted. What kind of stuff *can* be posted to ASCEM?
A5. TrekSmut, TrekSmut and more TrekSmut. Seriously, ASCEM welcomes any erotic/pornographic/smutty/sexy/romantic fiction you would like to share with us, as long as it has to do with Star Trek -- The Original Series (TOS); The Next Generation (TNG); Deep Space 9 (DS9); Voyager (VOY), the movies, the comics, whatever. Just be aware that we do not discriminate at all. This is not a group limited to heterosexual, vanilla ST erotica (although you'll find that here as well); stories posted to ASCEM can be (and sometimes are) downright bizarre and disgusting. Sex is many-splendored thing that comes in all flavors. ASCEM is about diversity, in same way Star Trek is about diversity.In addition to TrekSmut, you can post just about anything naughty you can think of (with the exception of binaries) as long as you work Star Trek in somehow. Also, ASCEM is a social space and a newcomer will find that a certain amount of flirting, in jokes, and occasional off-topic but still interesting discussions occur (see Q 11). This is not because we're particularly exclusive or cliquish, more because we're a fairly friendly bunch who share a common interest. Please feel free to leap in; we do our best to welcome newcomers.
Q9. I just read a really great story on ASCEM. What can I do to show my appreciation?
A9. Feedback, feedback, feedback! Whether you post your feedback to ASCEM or write directly to the author, if you have something to say about a story, *please* say it. Our authors do not get paid for their work, so a compliment is worth a great deal to them. Feedback can range from a simple "Wow! This was great/hot/wild/funny/tear inducing/whatever!" to comments on why the story worked for you.Please remember that stories are the writers' babies; if you don't like something, try to be kind about it. Feedback like: "This story sucked!" or "You're sick!" is useless. A comment like: "I had a little trouble understanding why you had Tom act in such-and-such a fashion," is not only more polite, but you may actually get an answer back from the writer explaining why they wrote Tom the way they did.
Q10. The Archives are so big and overwhelming; how do I find a story I'll like?
A10. One way is to post on ASCEM and ask for recommendations for the type of story you're interested in. We have an audience with wide ranging tastes, and many of them have read big chunks of the Archive. You'll probably find enough recommendations to keep you going for a good long time.The other way is to visit The Blue Reviews page at the ASCEM(L) Website. There you will find reviews written by ASCEM(L) denizens. These reviews are not connected in any way with any official policy of ASCEM, which is a good thing as official policies are pretty thin on the ground around here. If you would like to review something, feel free, just read the Call For Reviews at The Blue Reviews site, pick a story and go to town.
Q 11. What the hell is TSU?
A 11. TSU stands for TrekSmut University, which is an institution of higher learning dedicated to the study of TrekSmut in its many and varied forms. In other words, TSU is a virtual community wherein the denizens of ASCEM(L) can hang out and get to know one another's screen personae. It is the invention of ASCEM(L) deinzen Jen Chapman, but anyone is welcome to play along. TSU is not a clique or a country club. Instead it is an organic community that only works because so many people have added their own unique ideas to the mix. All of the TSU posts have been collected by Robin Lawrie and can be obtained by writing to her at: <robinl@...>.
How to get involved in TSU:
Write a TSU post. It's really that simple. Don't know what to write about? Any aspect of TrekSmut that you think needs to be studied is a potential TSU department. We do already have some posts filled by people who nominated themselves for various positions (or who have been nominated by others). So before you decide that you're the college president, read the old posts. Other than that, go wild.
The Spirit of TSU:TSU is *your* community. However, there are a couple of things that I'd like people to keep in mind. If you pick on someone in a TSU post, do so in a nice, joking way, not a hurtful, flaming one. We'd like to avoid the politics that plague "real" academic settings. We'd like everyone to feel comfortable and at home here. And we'd like to see everyone having fun.
ASCEML is an adult list for both Star Trek fan fiction as well as its discussion.
This means that the stories and posts may contain descriptions of graphic sexual encounters between members of the opposite sex as well as same-sex encounters (aka slash.) Not all the sex depicted will be consensual and certain stories may also contain descriptions of alternative sexual practices such as BSDM (Bondage & Discipline, Sado-Mascochism) etc.
Neither the List Moderators (Alexas, Ruth, & Jen) or the List Owner (anne) take any responsibility for posts or their content. You may either unsubscribe to ASCEML if you find yourself offended or you can simply hit the delete key to rid yourself of posts that are not to your taste. Complaining to either the Moderators or Owner is *not* an option.
Most story posts are clearly marked as to the Trek universe, the people being paired (or multiple people paired <g>) as well as a standard PG-NC17 warning. In many cases, the authors also include warnings of their own regarding content. All of this is done in the hopes that you will be able to read the exact type of stories you want to read and avoid those you don't.Thank you.
HOW ASCEML WORKS:
ASCEML is the mirrored mailing list for ASCEM. Posts are sent first to the newsgroup moderator, then both to ASCEML and ASCEM. The ASCEML list owner then sends them on to the list subscribers. The list owner will be doing the sends once a day.
Because of this system, there are time delays. We apologize in advance.
The ASCEML is run by hand. Glitches will occur. I apologize in advance and beg your humble indulgence for any and all of them. DO NOT complain to Alexas or Ruth about ASCEML problems. It is not their job just as correcting ASCEM problems is not mine. :-)Because the amount of posts can vary from day to day, I have put a cap on the amount of messages I will send out. The maximum number of posts I will send out on a daily basis is 50. The minimum is 5. This is done in the sincere hope of keeping the Trek Smuteers mail boxes from collapsing.
VACATIONS (Yours, not mine.)
If you are planning on being away from your computer for any length of time (the horror, the horror!), please drop a note to the list mom. Please let her know when you are leaving and when you will be returning so you can be temporarily unsubscribed. This will prevent your mailbox from overflowing with TrekSmut which in of itself is not a bad thing, but can cause crashes and other unpleasantries.
ASCEML is also pleased to offer ASCEML Lite. If you request this service *before* leaving on your aforementioned vacation, all NEW and REVISED story posts will be archived and forwarded on to you once you return. Due to volume, only NEW and REVISED story posts, not REPOSTS, will be sent. The story backlog will be sent on a daily basis in batches of ten until you are caught up.And, if you want to send me a postcard, you can do that too :-)