Please Note: These FAQs are no longer being updated (except that out-of-date web sites, contact info, and so forth are removed when I am notified of them - for notification address, see below).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for

This document contains information relevant to the newsgroup If you don't find what you're looking for here, try one of the related FAQs (see question B1 for a complete list).

Updated August 99



SECTION B: Information about this FAQ


A1) What is a.s.b-f for?

This group is for fat people and their friends. It provides a supportive space to talk about issues affecting fat people; it is explicitly in favor of size acceptance and living well as a fat person. The group addresses political issues (such as how fat people are discriminated against) as well as daily life issues (such as where to find nice clothes and how to handle rude remarks).

The primary reason for the creation of a.s.b-f is support. Flames and personal attacks are not allowed because they destroy the welcoming and supporting atmosphere that is desired in this newsgroup.

a.s.b-f is not a good place for the discussion of dieting or surgery for the purposes of weight loss or weight gain. As fat people, we deal all the time with the assumption that we should be dieting. We hope that a.s.b-f can be one place that is free of this pressure. That said, we often discuss diet and exercise, with the idea that all people (fat and thin) benefit from eating better and becoming fitter. We dispute the idea that one must be thin to be fit. We dispute the idea that the "right" food and exercise choices will necessarily lead to being thin.

We try to avoid generalizations and stereotyping of fat people. For the most part, the fact that a person is fat does not provide much information about that person's happiness, activity level, eating habits, and relationship with food.

Some people here are happy to be fat. Some people here are not happy to be fat. People at any stage of size acceptance -- even if they're trying to lose or gain weight -- are welcome in this group.

A2) How should I respond to trolls in a.s.b-f?

A troll is a post intended to generate hostility and a never-ending thread of flaming responses. A troller is a person who makes a series of such posts.

A spam is an off-topic post (often an advertisement) to a variety of newsgroups.

Because fatness is seen as an easy target to ridicule and fat people are seen as easy targets for "weight loss remedies," a.s.b-f gets a lot of such traffic.

Please do not post responses to trolls, trollers, or spams. 

It's tempting to flame a troll, but if several people do so, the newsgroup becomes filled with flames and people who want a positive newsgroup may get discouraged and leave.

The best way to counter the effects of trolls is to ignore them and fill the group with on-topic, positive posts.

If you must respond to a troll, please do so by private email. If a troll or spam is repeated and/or is particularly offensive, you can complain to the system administrator of the original poster. For more information on trolls and spams, please see the newsgroups.

A3) How did a.s.b-f start?

This group arose out of a little spat in There were a few people reading a.s.d primarily out of an interest in nutrition, rather than out of an interest in dieting for weight loss. Occasionally, these people would respond to self-loathing posts by talking about size acceptance. Sometimes topics relevant to big folks would be brought up on a.s.d -- like where to find clothing and how to survive small airplane seats. In order to get this stuff out of a.s.d, where it was generally not very welcome, Anne Mitchell (a poster in favor of dieting for weight-loss) created Which explains, in part, the somewhat obscure name.

There was a brief suggestion, in early '94, that all the groups might move over to (Then we'd be in the big seven, and have wider distribution and so forth.) At that time, the consensus on a.s.b-f was to change the group's name to It was felt that this name would be less confusing and more descriptive. For reasons unknown, the move to misc fizzled. So we're still here.

In September '94, Wendy Betts ( began work on an RFD for moving to (The hierarchy was established since the last round of discussions.) A Call For Votes went out on November 14, and the group passed 163:49. will be newgrouped on December 22.

A4) What do the acronyms mean?

BBW		Big Beautiful Woman
BBM		Big Beautiful Man
bear		a man who is cuddly, furry, stocky, and/or bearded;
		most often used by and about gay men
FA		Fat Admirer, person who prefers a fat sexual/romantic
NAAFA		National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance
mid-size	refers to people who are in the mid-range.
		For women, this means they wear U.S. dress size
super-size 	refers to people who are very large.
		For women, this means they wear U.S. dress size 28W
		and up.  This division between mid-size and super-size
		for women seems to arise from the face that most
		retail clothing sizes for women stop at U.S. 26W.
FS		Fat sympathizer, person who through personal growth
		relates to issues of Fat Acceptance and strives to
		correct abuses and discriminatory acts in day-to-day

A5) What are some related newsgroups? and are groups for people who want to discuss eating low-fat or no-fat. These are good places to take discussion on low fat eating (as a means of weight loss or otherwise).

alt.recovery.compulsive-eat is a group for people who want to discuss ending their compulsive eating. I think they subscribe to an OA viewpoint. is a group for people who want to discuss issues involved in sex with fat people. It was formed in early '94 so that a.s.b-f could stay more or less G (or PG) rated. is a group for fat admirers. This group mostly carries encoded pictures of fat erotica, and discussions about them. (Note that the word "fetish" in the title rubs many FAs the wrong way, does nothing to promote a positive image of FAs, and implies a separation between sex and romance that doesn't exist for many FAs.) is a group for people who want to discuss issues involved in sex with very large people. It was formed in June '95 by Teighlor ( because it was felt that super-size folks needs weren't being adequately addressed in is a group for people who want to discuss the erotic aspects of feeding, being fed, or weight gain. is a group for people who want support and discussion of dieting and other weight loss methods. Regular posters tend not to be very fat. This is a good place to take weight loss questions and discussions. is a group for people who want support and discussion in dealing with eating disorders (their own and others).

alt.personals.big-folks and alt.personals.fat are groups for personal ads by big folks or looking for big folks. These groups were formed in July '94 to get personal ads out of a.s.b-f, to provide an easy way for fat people and fat admirers to get in touch with one another, and so that fat people would not have to wade through personal ads that specify that only slender people should respond. and alt.sigma2.height are groups for people who want support and discussion of issues relevant to tall people (who are big, but not in the way used on this group).

SECTION B: Information about this FAQ

B1) Are there other related FAQs?

There is some overlap in the topics covered by the FAQs. If you don't find what you're looking for here, try the other FAQs.

The latest version of the following FAQs can be found at:

The following FAQs can be found at: The latest versions of following FAQs can be found at the following locations:

You can also find (sometimes slightly older versions of) the above FAQs (except the plus-size pregnancy FAQs) at the following locations:

(Note: The big-folks FAQ is listed separately at these locations.)

You can also get FAQs from via anonymous FTP or via the mail archive server. For information about the mail server, send email to with the word "help" (without the quotes) in the body of the message.

B2) Posting information

This document is posted bi-weekly to

Stef Maruch ( maintains this FAQ.

B3) Contributors

These are the people who contributed significant chunks to the FAQ:
Sasha Wood (
Miriam Nadel (

Suggestions for additions/improvements are always welcome.
Send suggestions to Stef Maruch (

Copyright 1995, 1996 by Stef Maruch (
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