This document is not current, and is kept only for archival purposes. Please refer to Everything2 Help for all up-do-date help documents.
What is a usergroup?
At the most basic level the usergroups allow an individual member of E2 to send identical messages to a number of other E2 members. It works as you might expect. When you send a message to the usergroup, it gets forwarded to all members of the group.
But they are so much more than that. Usergroups are part of the cement that binds the community of everything2.
There are around seventy active usergroups available on E2. Each caters to a group of members who have something in common. The common factor ranges from interests such as movies or role-playing games, to geographical location. In practice, usergroups can be set up for any reasonable purpose.
Some usergroups are pretty much part of the E2 scenery; others are temporary, serving only as a common point of reference for a few weeks. Some have only one or two members, others have hundreds.
Why should I be interested?
More for fun than profit. E2 is a diverse community, and can be a bit overwhelming. The usergroups can help members to make friends within the communityand to chat with like-minded people. There's no compulsion, but a lot of E2 members find these usergroups enrich their own lives as well as their overall E2 experience.
Who can join?
Some usergroups are essentially open to anyone while others are strictly by invitation only. Still others are set up just for an established group of friends to discuss their own private business, and remain private or semi-private, like e2Wykehamists or PDXCB. The home node of each group (see list below) contains more information.
To join a group you need to send a /msg to the group leader or to a designated deputy. In fact any member of e2gods can add or remove any name from most of the groups, but no god is willing to add names to a list without agreement from the group leader. Usergroup leaders can use the simple usergroup editor to do stuff like, err, editing the group.
Do I, like, get special powers and stuff?
In general, membership of a usergroup does not give you any special powers or privileges, except that members can send a message to all other members, while non-members can only /msg the group leader.
A few listsmostly the more content-oriented usergroups, such as Edev, E2science and E2medicineallow their members to use the *ify! command. Members of E2Science, for example can 'sciencify!' a writeup (but not a whole node). This places an alias of the writeup on the usergroup main page, and so brings it to the attention of all group members. Some groups make the alias visible only to members, others allow non-members to see it as well. In many cases this is to encourage members to vote on a relevant WU written by a non-member, but in some groups the *ify! command is used for other purposes. You need to find out how your own group operates, but in any case, the *ify! command should be used sparingly, especially on high-traffic groups.
Some usergroups also allow members to access the message archives for that group while others don't. There are no universal rules, but once on a list, you can ask advice from other members, or just keep an eye out for how things are done.
See also usergroup message archive.
Finally, a few lists such as E2verse and E2prose have private pages where members can post new submissions and get feedback from other group members outside the maelstrom that is the full E2 community. These pages are only accessible to group members.
But I want real power. Which groups make me special?
There are (at least) three particular usergroups which are special, and give their members some real privileges.
Members of each of these groups get special powers and privileges. They also get a special symbol by their name in the other users nodelet.
edev (%) by contrast, is open to anyone. However, only members of edev can see the (%) signifier in the other users nodelet. edev is for the Everything development group. Originally it was established as a way to share the workload associated with maintaining the code upon which the site is based. Now, however, there are many people on edev who do not know PERL especially well, but choose to join in order to give them access to the increased information available to edevites. Anyone interested in the Everything engine, and the development of Everything2, should consider becoming a member of edev.
Are there any rules for behavior on these lists?
Not really, beyond the normal rules of behavior. Different groups have very different tones, according to their subject matter and membership. You'll have to work that one out for yourself. However, in general, it's best not to flood the group with messages, especially in the early days before you have worked out what is considered acceptable.
Some groups, for example, find relevant nodevertising acceptable, while in others it is frowned upon.
In the heavy traffic groups, there is another option which users can employ to reduce the amount of traffic.
In these high traffic groups more considerate users will often use the form /msg? usergroup blah blah blah instead of the more usual /msg usergroup blah blah blah. This ? modifier sends the message only to those members who are on-line at the time,and prefixes the message with ONO (online only). This saves other members from logging on to find their inbox full of messages relating to a discussion which took place hours ago, and has since been resolved.
See also online only /msg.
Gluttons for punishment can opt to see all messages, including those sent as ONO. To do this, check the box near usergroup messages in User settings
My inbox is filling up with messages from usergroups. What can I do about it?
If you want to leave the usergroup, then you can ask the group leader (or a god) to do that for you. However, some people find they just need some time out, but don't want to leave the group entirely. If this applies to you, then you can temporarily block all messages coming in from any particular news group thus. Go to Preferences under your "Epicenter"; scroll down to the Private message filter heading and add the usergroup's name in the white field there, then click on submit. When you want to accept messages again, simply delete the group name from that same box.
So what usergroups are there? and what do they cover?
Easy - see Usergroup Lineup.
But there isn't a group for X...
Well, seems like you are either the only one on E2 interesting in whatever, or no-one has thought of forming a group.
If you know there are other like-minded souls, get together with them - ask them if they'd join a group. Any member of e2gods can sort it out, and also give you the ability to add and remove people from the list, using a simple tool. If you ask nicely, they will add a blurb to the usergroup node and possibly even a picture. Collaboration nodes and dedicated rooms are also available if required. Discuss these matters with your chosen administrator.