• Frequently Asked Questions about Mah-Jongg

    From trudy.wasser@gmail.com@21:1/5 to Tom Sloper on Tue Aug 15 22:45:04 2017
    On Tuesday, June 27, 2006 at 1:35:07 AM UTC-4, Tom Sloper wrote:
    Most recent updates to the FAQS (since the June 12, 2006 posting):
    Last posted: 06.12.06

    1. FAQ 19 - Added a minor clarification re stopping the Charleston.

    THIS WEEK'S STRATEGY COLUMN IS AT... http://www.sloperama.com/mahjongg/column.htm
    GOT A QUESTION ABOUT MAH-JONGG? http://www.sloperama.com/majexchange/bulletinbd.htm ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Archive-name: mjfaq00.txt
    Newsgroups: rec.games.mahjong; fj.rec.games.mahjong
    Posting-frequency: weekly
    Last-modified: April 15, 2006
    Version: 2.33
    The Frequently Asked Question articles are located at: http://www.sloperama.com/mjfaq.html
    FAQ00. Introduction to Mah-Jongg Newsgroup (this article)
    FAQ01. Mah-Jongg 101; Getting Started
    FAQ02. How to choose a rule set to study, and how to identify which
    rule set you (or your friends) are playing
    FAQ03. Books on Mah-Jongg
    FAQ03b 1920s Books
    FAQ04a Selected Websites on Mah-Jongg
    FAQ04b MORE Websites on Mah-Jongg
    FAQ05. Computer Mah-Jongg games
    FAQ06. "Rosetta Stone" of Mah-Jongg terminology
    FAQ07. ALL About Mah-Jongg Tiles:
    FAQ07a Types of Mah-Jongg Sets
    FAQ07b What Constitutes A Complete Set of Tiles
    FAQ07c How To Identify Tile Material
    FAQ07d All the Bits & Pieces
    FAQ07e Those Special Tiles
    FAQ07f Playing Tables
    FAQ07g How Old Is My Set?
    FAQ07h How Much Is It Worth?
    FAQ07i Mah-Jongg Cards... and Kards
    FAQ07j Tips For Buyers
    FAQ07k Where To Buy (General)
    FAQ07m Where To Buy (Tokyo & Hong Kong)
    FAQ07n Tips For Sellers
    FAQ07o Cleaning or Restoring Tiles
    FAQ07p Tell Me Anything About My Set
    FAQ08. Strategy
    FAQ09. Etiquette
    FAQ10. Simplified rules for mah-jongg.
    FAQ11. History of mah-jongg
    FAQ11b The CC Theory
    FAQ12. Tile-matching software download sites
    FAQ13. Rules for 1-, 2-, and 3-player games
    FAQ14. The Rules On Table Rules
    FAQ15. How To Find Players In Your Local Area
    FAQ16. Answers to Questions About the Current NMJL Card
    FAQ17. "3 Fan" Mah-Jongg Explained (Yahoo/HKOS)
    FAQ18. Mah-Jongg Symbolism
    FAQ19. American Mah-Jongg FAQs
    FAQ20. Commonly Misunderstood Asian (un-American) MJ Rules
    FAQ21. How To Run A Tournament
    FAQ22. Chinese Official Scoring Explained
    FAQ23. Mahjong Demographics
    FAQ24. Technical Support for MahJong Computer Games
    All of the FAQ articles are subject to change, and readers' comments
    are welcomed.
    *("FAQ" is short for "Frequently Asked Questions.")
    Note: This FAQ is (and will remain) in text format. References to
    internet URLs are not clickable. Scroll down to read this FAQ; if
    viewed on the internet, use your browser's "Back" button to go back
    to the page that referred you here.
    Welcome to the rec.games.mahjong Frequently Asked Questions. The
    purpose of this article is to assist readers in finding answers to
    their Mah-Jongg questions and to introduce new readers of
    rec.games.mahjong to newsgroup and bulletin board etiquette. Ques-
    tions and comments about this FAQ should be emailed to Tom Sloper (tomster@sloperama.com). FAQ 0 (this article) is posted weekly at
    the newsgroup. The FAQs are on the web at: http://www.sloperama.com/mjfaq.html
    The newsgroup FAQs are on the Web (instead of being posted regularly
    on the newsgroup) because
    1. The FAQs are sizeable, and we wanted to be nice to the newsgroup
    servers around the world.
    2. "Newsfeed" is a funny, mysterious, unpredictable thing -- not
    everybody's ISP provides timely access to the current postings at the newsgroups, so sometimes a user will look at the newsgroup and not
    see recent postings which other users can see there. It often
    happens that someone will ask a question that's answered by the FAQs -
    - we advise the asker to read the FAQs -- but the asker can't see them
    even though they had just been posted a few days previously. Thus the
    web version of the FAQs. The web version will not expire like
    newsgroup postings do.
    3. Newsgroups are becoming a lesser-known part of the internet as the
    Web grows in usage, and there's a clear need to include graphics in
    the FAQs.
    There once was a newsgroup archive at
    http://mahjong.pathbot.com, but the site is no longer up.
    Google's Newsgroups Search page (http://groups.google.com/) is an
    excellent place (if not the only place now) to read old newsgroup
    It is probably useful to reprint here the original Rationale and
    Charter, written in the spring of 1997 by Zuwei Thomas Feng. These
    are the texts which led to the creation of the English-language
    newsgroup (news:rec.games.mahjong).
    RATIONALE: rec.games.mahjong
    The rec.games.mahjong newsgroup is for discussions and announcements
    related to Mahjong, an multiplayer game that originated in China and
    has widely spread to Asia, America, Europe, and other parts of the
    world. Note that Mahjong is NOT the solitaire game also known as
    Aside from a large player base in homes, local clubs and tournaments,
    there are also many people who play Mahjong with computer software.
    In particular, since the Internet Mahjong Server went on-line, it has attracted more than 1,000 players who came from different Mahjong communities.
    Mahjong is becoming a more visible international phenomenon. The
    first international Mahjong tournament to be held this year, will
    bring together top-notch Mahjong players from around the world and
    hopes to bring to Mahjong participation and prestige of games like
    Bridge, Chess, and Go. Such efforts will naturally be welcomed by
    Mahjong fans everywhere, and discussion of Mahjong rules, playing
    styles and skills will be key to their success.
    Mailing lists for various local Mahjong clubs and the Internet server
    already exist. Creating a big mailing list would however create too
    much traffic and scare off people who just want to participate in
    casual discussion.
    Popular games such as Bridge, Chess, and Go all have their respective newsgroups. Mahjong is arguably as popular as these games, and still
    gaining momentum. Unfortunately, there is no group within the
    rec.games hierarchy in which Mahjong postings are appropriate.
    CHARTER: rec.games.mahjong
    Rec.games.mahjong is an unmoderated group for the discussion and announcements related to Mahjong and its variations. There is no
    "standard Mahjong", so all versions, including Chinese, Japanese,
    Jewish, the Taiwan 16-tile variant, and some 3-player variants, etc,
    are covered by the group. The group welcomes all postings of the
    following kinds:
    1. Discussions of Mahjong rules, play, and strategy.
    2. Announcements of club meetings and tournaments.
    3. Advertisements of Mahjong related products, with a repost frequency
    of at most once every month.
    4. Private "for sale" or "want to buy" notices, with a repost
    frequency of at most once every month.
    The group accepts NO binary postings.
    So here we are, some years later, enjoying the existence of the English-language mah-jongg newsgroup (news:rec.games.mahjong) and its Japanese-language counterpart (news:fj.rec.games.mahjong) as places
    where we can discuss all things mah-jongg.
    The rec.games.mahjong newsgroup is generally friendly. However, new
    readers are well advised to familiarize themselves with the normal
    practices on the group before posting. Certain types of postings
    frequently pop up -- and some of them sometimes can cause flaring
    tempers and flame-o-grams.
    o The best type of posting is a question about rules or strategies of Mah-Jongg. The question "Teach me the rules of Mah-Jongg" is way too
    broad -- read the FAQs and find out where you can learn the rules of
    whatever type of Mah-Jongg you're interested in learning. Rather, the
    best type of posting is a question about a fine point of the rules that
    may not be clear in your rule book. For example, "West drew the 4th
    tile to make a Kong, took a loose tile from the back of the Wall, and discarded it. Isn't there supposed to be a bonus of some kind if
    another player can win on that tile? We play by the Whitney rules of Classical Japanese." That last part is important. The rule can be
    completely different depending on which game you play! But now I'm
    getting into the next point.
    o Frequently someone will post a question about a particular rule of Mah-Jongg, without specifying which version of MJ they play. There
    isn't just one rulebook for Mah-Jongg -- it's played in many different
    ways all around the world. So the first batch of responses invariably
    is like a shotgun blast, with many of the pellets missing the mark.
    Before posting a question, it would be best to read the FAQs and
    identify your "flavor" of Mah-Jongg, if you are unsure. Then when
    writing the question, specify which rulebook or game your question
    is about. We have regulars who play all the major varieties of MJ,
    and somebody will gladly field your question. We will even discuss
    how the same situation is handled differently in other varieties
    of MJ -- we enjoy confusing newbies!
    o Another typical type of posting is when someone reads an answer to
    a MJ question, and posts a reply asking why such an answer was given.
    The answer is invariably, "Because those are the rules under that way
    of playing." There isn't just one rulebook for Mah-Jongg -- it's
    played in many different ways all around the world. Rules don't need
    to be explained (there probably /is/ a good reason why a rule was
    made, but the rule was probably made a very long time ago, and the
    people who made the rule are either dead or don't frequent this
    o Bad tempers can result if you post the suggestion that the rules
    of [some flavor or other of] Mah-Jongg are stupid and should be
    changed. If you have a regular play group, that is the place to
    make the rule changes! People all around the world play Mah-Jongg
    in many different ways. You can make your table rules be whatever
    your regular group can agree to -- but you're not going to get all
    the players all around the world to change to your way of thinking!
    Some group regulars might get mad at you -- they're perfectly
    happy with their way of playing.
    o Many players post messages looking for players in their area.
    There's no harm in making such posts, and by all means go ahead, but
    in the majority of cases it's not as effective as posting at http://www.sloperama.com/majexchange/findplayer.htm (after you read
    all the posts there yourself to see if someone from your area has
    already posted). See FAQ 15.
    o A very frequent type of post is along the lines of, "I'm looking
    for places to buy tiles, or sell tiles. . ." or "I got an antique set
    when my Aunt Fannie died, how much is it worth?" -- Please read
    FAQ 7 before you post.
    o Please don't post off-topic messages. We at this newsgroup are
    interested in discussing the game of Mah-Jongg, or games played with Mah-Jongg tiles, only. There are other newsgroups for the discussion
    of other games and other topics. Regulars are asked to IGNORE posts by troublemakers and trolls (as of late 2004, a frequent type of troll
    post is to decry the newsgroup's topic as sinful or boring). Trolls
    love it when people respond to their idiotic posts. Ignoring them is
    the best way to handle them.
    o Posts that purport to be about "Mah-Jongg" but are actually about
    a computer solitaire tile-matching game (such as "Shanghai," or a
    program similar to Shanghai). Before you post, make sure you know
    the difference between "solitaire mah-jongg" and "true mah-jongg."
    Both are games played with mah-jongg tiles, but they are very
    different games. One is mah-jongg, and the other is not (regardless
    of what the program may be named). Think of the game of Shanghai
    (or games similar to it) as "Solitaire," and the game of Mah-Jongg
    as "Gin Rummy." Consider: Poker is not Bridge. If this newsgroup
    was all about Bridge and you started posting about Poker, you would (naturally) not get a friendly response. This newsgroup's Charter
    (reprinted at the top of this FAQ) does not expressly forbid the
    posting of messages about MJ tile-matching games, but the Rationale
    which accompanied the Charter expressly and rightly declares that
    those games are "NOT mah-jongg." Therefore be aware that if you
    post about such games, it is arguable that you are posting off-topic. Off-topic posts are unwelcome in all newsgroups. Appropriate
    discussions about fun uses of MJ tiles (or a knowledgeable com-
    parative study of the various games played with MJ tiles, even
    including the tile-matching games) might be accepted as not too off-
    topic, but you should be prepared for an overheated response if you
    post only to brag of your high score or best time in a tile-matching
    program (especially if you call that game by the generic name "mah-
    jongg" when the group regulars know it's /not/ mah-jongg). Such
    messages might be better posted at news:rec.games.computer.puzzle
    instead. (This is no guarantee that the crossword puzzle fans at
    that other newsgroup will appreciate your bragging any better than
    the mahjong newsgroup regulars do... (^_^) )
    o "I have computer MJ game X and I'm having this technical
    problem..." -- This type of posting is not interesting for the members
    of the group, and will not get you the info you need as quickly as if
    you contacted the makers (publisher) of the game directly. If you
    have a technical question about a computer game, contact the makers (publisher) of the game directly. You can find out how to contact
    them via the About box in the game, or from the info in the printed
    manual. You can find the maker/publisher's website and get the Email
    address there. Send detailed info about your computer, the
    version you have, and what the problem is. The typical "message from
    hell" goes like this: "Hey what gives, MJPro doesn't work on my
    computer, HELLPP!!" . . . Come on, what's anybody gonna do with that??
    -- User didn't tell what specific MJPro game [full title and version
    #] the user has -- user didn't say if s/he has a Macintosh or Windows
    3.1 or Windows 98 or what -- and "doesn't work" could mean anything!
    "The colors are weird" is totally different from "this game only comes
    on CD, and my computer only has a floppy drive." Be specific. The maker/publisher needs clues in order to help you, and only you can
    provide them.
    o People occasionally find a reason to post a picture to illustrate a question. This is a BIG no-no! Do NOT post any pictures here. This newsgroup's charter expressly forbids the posting of binaries (all
    picture files and sound files and movie files are "binaries" in
    newsgroup parlance). You could always Email a picture to someone who
    can look at it and answer your question. Don't Email raw BMP files,
    either -- convert them to JPG or ZIP format before Emailing.
    o One of the entertaining pastimes of newsgroups is "flaming", where
    posters publicly insult each other in terms that they might not use if meeting face to face. If you have been flamed, please don't take it personally, and PLEASE don't start a real flame war over it. Just
    remember that people at keyboards are sometimes more feisty than they
    might be face to face. We don't have netcops like those found in
    other Usenet groups -- don't make us go there!
    o What you should do before you post a question:
    - If you haven't read the articles that are regularly posted to
    the newsgroup news.announce.newusers, please do so. You will
    learn about some general rules and principles that apply to
    virtually all newsgroups, like a ban on posting most binary
    files and MIME attachments, and sending email instead of posting
    if your message is intended only for one person.
    - Read the newsgroup for at least a week (reading for some time
    before posting is proper etiquette for ANY Usenet newsgroup.
    If you didn't realize that, all the more reason for you to go
    back and read news.announce.newusers).
    - Know the difference between mah-jongg and solitaire tile-
    matching games. Don't say "mah-jongg" if you actually mean a
    tile-matching game.
    - Be aware that posting in newsgroups can cause you to start
    receiving unwanted junk Email. But if you put a "nospam" filter
    in your Email address, others have to be smart in order to Email
    you in response. You have to decide what to do.
    - Read the other FAQs. See section I...
    (C) 2000-2006 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.

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