Submitted June 4, 2002, 4:18 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
Since about 1990 or 1991. It's hard to remember
at this point.
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
Well, I had heard about it, I'm pretty sure, from my
brother, who had access at his school in Northern
Arizona U. I had been doing the BBS thing since about
1978, and Usenet was a natural evolution of that.

A funny story that'll date me: When I first tried to
get e-mail and Usenet access, I had to fill out
a request form and take it to my department head
to sign. S/he had never heard of Usenet, wasn't
familiar with e-mail, and, further, couldn't imagine
why a history major needed that sort of thing. But,
s/he signed it. The form was pretty officious, with
warnings about propriety, acceptable use &c &c.
I took them seriously, and when the old "This post
will cost the net hundreds if not thousands of dollars"
warning would come up, it would always make me
reconsider. I deleted more than a few posts before
sending due to that warning and the good-conduct
form I had to sign.

I lurked for quite a while before posting, and
got a fair slapping-down in one of my first posts to
alt.folklore.urban. But I deserved it, so . . .
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
Well, I generally used a Wyse terminal on the campus
T1 and used "rn" [read news] and then "tin" to
read news.

From home my initial connection was a 1200 baud modem.
I upgraded to a 14.4 in 1995 when the university
said it wouldn't support anything less.
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
[Before 1996]
Well, I think it was both more and less
forgiving, in its own way. That is, there were plenty
of well-established societies [aka groups] that
one could not trample lightly on. Some had their
own language [cf alt.fan.warlord] or their own
mores [cf. alt.folklore.urban] that marked insiders
and outsiders. But it was fiarly easy to get involved,
and the generall level of cluefulness was fairly high.
That is, once you read for a bit and eased your way in,
people were very accepting. Each September there would
be a small flood of newbies and new students got
accounts and "discovered" Usenet.

After the Great September in 1996 newbies came in with
the attitude that anything could be posted anywhere,
and that old-timers were obstacles to participation.
At the same time old-timers got less tolerant and
weren't as ready to provide clues. Vicious cycle. Newbies
complained that things like moderation or group mores
were little more than censorship or an abrogation
of the "free speech" guaranteed "in the Consitution."

Now, I think, Usenet has settled into a rut.
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
Way too many to name. Probably any lengthy exchange
on alt.folklore.urban.
Which groups do you use the most?
alt.folklore.urban; soc.history.war.us-civil-war;
soc.history.war.us-revolution; news.groups [lurk];
soc.history.moderated; alt.humor.best-of-usenet;


Submitted October 2, 2002, 4:15 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
18.5 years (i started 2/84)
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
my husband garret told me about this "neat message
thing" on the vax at the university of chicago's
astrophysics dept (where he was a grad student). i
went over to the computer lab, read an article on
abortion and immediately posted a response
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
the university was connected to the net
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
the male:female ratio was terrible -- the early net
wasn't a female-friendly place, particularily for
women like me, who didn't want to adopt a traditional
nuturing female role, but who instead wrote what we
thought and, in doing so, challenged many members of
the largely male population.

usenet was very small in 1984 -- you could read all of
it in a few hours. and it was nets and mods, not all
this rec.this and soc.that. a bad move if you ask me.
sort of like coming down from of the trees.

the net has become much more egaliterian, it is no
longer run by a handful of sysadmins and assorted
net.cops trying to control what people write.

one thing i was surprised about was when the ISPs
began showing up. there were the usual "death of
usenet" predictions but by and large, i don't see any
real changes in the newsgroups (other than the number
of messages) over the past 14 or 15 years.

the worst new thing about the net is the spam
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
when brian reid created alt.sex, thus creating the
altnet. freedom!
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
i done rite much gooder then i use too

Which groups do you use the most?
alt.rissa
alt.bodeans



Submitted July 23, 2002, 2:52 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
Since 1993 while a graduate student at Loyola
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
Read about it in a computer journal where the author made a passing remark to it. It seemed interesting but it took a while to find it. The school had a feed but very poor sampling of the groups, it took some doing via Gopher, Archie, Vernoica, to find other resources to get at other groups.

First groups I got into were computer related groups and some erot*** groups (I was of course one of the few doing so :).

I did not post for a very long time, but first post was in a database group to respond to questions that I had recieved help on before
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
Unix terminal using TRN.
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
Being able to questions and get feedback from the top Oracle database guru Thomas Kyte (he has over 6500 posts to date). He is considered to be the cat's meow when it comes to Oracle, and to be able to engage in discussions with him and to have him provide assistance and learn from him has been invaluable.
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
At work it has been a big boost to my career. Alot of people are amazed at some of the solutions I have brought up to problems and the response time to do so. I always tell them the source but most people never heard of usenet, or they think its just google so it doesn't register.

We had a problem where several senior devlopers had met to solve an Oracle problem and had developeed an expensive complex solution involving pages of code. I posted a message and had Thomas kyte respond back. Instead of the pages of code, he gave me a single 1 line sql statement that did it. It was a thing of poetic beauty!!!

Another time I was given a task, told it was needed asap but they understand it would a long time to solve but try anyway. I posted for help by end of the day had been given not just the solution but one that had gone thru several rounds of commenting, getting better with each round
Which groups do you use the most?
I have d/l gigs of usenet stuff over the last 5 years, so I go to alot of different groups. I check the Oracle and other computer groups every day. Also the pet group espically Labrador groups


Submitted July 18, 2002, 9:24 AM

How long have you been on Usenet?
13 years
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
God! Initially, it was for computer driver information mainly. Later on I got involved in quite a few groups, dipping in and out as I saw fit. I'm more of a reader ( lurker ) than a poster.
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
1200 baud modem
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
Now an enormous amount of off topic material. A lot more scams ( Nigerian, send $5 to these 5 people, Make Money Fast etc.) In the early days, I didn't disguise my e-mail address - now I do.
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
When I posted "Tragic For Me, Tasteless For You" on alt.tasteless the sewer of usenet. It was a post about my wife's ( girlfriend then ) miscarrying my child.

http://groups.google.com/groups?q=tragic+for+me+tasteless&hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&selm=7j3n0k%24nn8%241%40nnrp1.deja.com&rnum=1

I was amazed at the support I got ( I wasn't expecting any from that bunch of hyenas) mainly by private e-mail by quite a few on the thread as well. It was quite moving. I'd only posted that tale up to alt.tasteless as I needed to get it out of my system.


How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
My worklife has changed dramatically. My first port of call with ANY computer problem is Deja to check the archives and if I can't find the solution there, then to the newsgroups to post the problem and, usually, get the answer.
Which groups do you use the most?
Alt.tasteless
uk.local.geordie
most of the microsoft groups


Submitted June 4, 2002, 3:53 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
since 1991
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
I remember when trn - threaded read news - came out, what an improvement over rn - read news.

I used to read the software and computer newsgroups and then found the rec.sport.disc (Frisbee) newsgroup. I started reading that every day and made my first post in 1992 which was about mid-air corrections of frisbee flights.

The ca.earthquake group was interesting too, and had a lot of first hand stories from people who used USENET to give out accurate information during the 1989 earthquake. The reports were that USENET had been a valuable and effective way of spreading news about the quake.

ca.driving was also especially good and quite humorous in those days.
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
I was doing the user administration for a 2 server SCO Unix site that had 9600 baud dial up connections to the Internet. Our servers were 25 MHz Intel 80386 computers.

We downloaded USENET as part of our normal operations and three other sites periodically dialed into our server to get the news. In 1992 we got a 14,400 modem and a dedicated phone line.

So my connection was generally from a DOS or Windows 3.0 computer running telnet over an ethernet network running TCP/IP and Novell network protocols. Configuring the network protocols was different for every different manufacture of network card.
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
I used to enjoy the rec.humor exchanges where people made endless nonsense rhyming exchanges.

My favorite personal post was explaining some new ideas about how frisbees fly and having no one take me seriously. Some day we will find out.
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
It's a good thing, like OW Riegel said in 1934

"a web of communications systems and a technique of news-dissemination"

"created a world-community that is closely-knit and possesses the quality of neighborliness"

For my experiences in the Frisbee newsgroup these things are especially true. I also have built some friendships in some of the history groups.
Which groups do you use the most?
rec.sport.disc
soc.history.war.world-war-II
oc.*



Submitted August 30, 2002, 4:03 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
I do not rmember fo sure but it was prior to the great renaming since i know i started reading net.* and mod.*
which suddenyl become the groups we all know today
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
our manager installed it and there was suddenly a pair of programs called readnews/postnews. As people have pointed out, you could read the entire spool in a day or so

What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
probably UUCP;the initial feed here was unofficial and it was prior to SESQUENET.
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
a bit more relaxed;people also tried a bit more to consider the effects on the net as a whole and tried to consider the readers when creating groups. The creation of NNTP was really what changed it

Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
Well Kent Dolan and I went at it a couple of times. I have had a few dust ups in news.groups and became a moderator when soc.history.moderated as created. The original plan was to moderate soc.history in place but I and a few others objected to that and felt that the creation of a companion moderated group was the appropriate response. I also was invovled in the creation of the humanities hierarchy [which probably would have succeeded a few years earlier].
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
it is a source of techical information;i also tend to hang out in the abuse groups more than anywhere else [nature of the job]. I also have witnesses the evolution of alt from a useful hierarchy to one which is totally useless [groups created prior to 3-4 years ago are pretty good but it has devolved into useless since then]
Which groups do you use the most?
news.groups
abuse/security groups
history groups


Submitted June 11, 2002, 2:32 AM

How long have you been on Usenet?
16 years
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
Fot the first years some groups were gatewayed
through uucp e-mail.

The start was my involvement with user groups
around unix and databases.


What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
2400 bps uucp dialup for the first e-mail gateway.
(1986)

9600 bps uucp dialup for the first newsfeed (b-news),
(1990)

19200 bps analog leased line for the first NNTP feed.
(1993)
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
Polite, but rather slow.


Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
Asking a question about a quirk in a computer,
and having the designer reply within 4 hours.
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
It has definately extended horizons; but in terms
of people and geography.

We are now communicating directly with people we
would otherwise just read about.
Which groups do you use the most?
alt.folklore.computers
alt.sys.(pdp10 multics pdp11)
comp.sys.databases.(various)
no.fritid.dykking
no.it.tjenester.nettilbydere

some product specific groups


Submitted December 31, 2002, 12:11 AM

How long have you been on Usenet?
About seven years now.
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
I learned about Usenet from a Russian guy
I met at Compuserve in 1995. I was
very much interested in Russia at the time,
and he said I could talk to more real
Russians in Usenet. So I went to
soc.culture.russian, and it wasn't long
before I was involved in what was
called "the floating Russian flamewar."

What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
Dial-up
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
sexzilla.net, a hobby server run by one of the Usenet spam cancelers, the late Douglas E. Mackall.
We had a lot of fun with it, posting silly messages, and Doug issued his cancels through it. It was still running on the day he died. There's a new sexzilla.net now, run by another anti-spam activist, but it isn't the same without Doug.
For more information, do a Google
search on sexzilla.net and Doug
Mackall in news.admin.net-abuse.usenet.
It is a story in itself.










How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
It has put me in touch with people around the world that I would never be able to meet if I lived a thousand years, and I will be unhappy when I have to give it up.
Which groups do you use the most?
Right now I use the groups in the us.* hierarchy the most, because I am the hierarachy maintainer.
Home base is us.config.


Submitted January 23, 2003, 5:32 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
I've been a Usenet user since about 1988(ish).
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
My first interaction with usenet was a usenet to BBS gateway on a local dial-up bbs. I later got a shell account from the University of Utah that allowed be to use 'nn' and then later 'tin' to read the newsgroups. As I recall, other usenet users were very interested in helping well mannered newbies learn the rules of usenet. They were also pretty helpful in helping newbies user the 4 or 5 clients that were in widespread use.
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
bbs gateway (doorway?) and then a dialup shell account.
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
There is much much much more spam now. The flame wars are more about yelling and less about getting a quality flame in now. The number of newgroups is such that there is a group for every need, but there is not the same sense of community in most of them.
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
For a while I spent time reading and posting in alt.mountainbiking where one of the regulars was (is) a 911 operator in Colorado. I had a chance to do a ridealong with a cop one night. During the night I learned that one of the local 911 operators was doing her last shift cause she was moving to that same city in Colorado to take a job with that department. It was kinda fun to tell her to look him up so that she could pass greetings from usenet through the police dept BBS system accessed in a moving squad car to his desk in the real world.
Which groups do you use the most?
comp.databases.pick and utah.general.


Submitted June 11, 2002, 2:22 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
I've been on Usenet since 1993 (I didn't post much until 1994). I had started seeing references to Usenet about two years prior to that, on WWIVNet and WWIVLink. I was 16 at the time. So in the grand scheme of things, I'm pretty young...
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
I discovered BBSs back in about 1990-91, and fairly quickly got involved in the discussion forums there (read: spent a lot of time in large flamewars). When the local BBS scene started drying up, I went out looking for a replacement way to spend my time, and in my searches I came across Usenet. I got involved in a few RPG-related groups (rec.games.mecha, rec.games.frp.cyber), posting occasionally but mostly just lurking; then in 1994 I got extremely offended at the Green Card Lottery and started spending some time on news.admin.* and alt.current-events.net-abuse. Things snowballed from there.
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
Depending on whether I was at school or not, ethernet or a dial-up connection to the local freenet. Either way, my time was spent using 'nn' on our high school DECStation Alpha, so it went fast enough for me. Besides upgrading to a cable modem, this is essentially the same way I access Usenet today.
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
I didn't use it before 1990. Sorry. I'm as much a part of the Endless September as anyone...
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
That would probably be when I created free.*. I was in the middle of a years-long flamewar with the Freedom Knights (http://www.jetcafe.org/~dave/usenet/), and specifically Hipcrime (http://www.killfile.org/dungeon/why/hipcrime.html); one night I was up a bit too late, and suddenly had the idea to simultaneously prove a point in the argument and take care of a long-standing idea. And so I wrote up a manifesto (http://www.killfile.org/~tskirvin/free/charter), send out a couple of newgroup messages, and went to bed. By the time I woke up the next morning, I had been received dozens of accusations of "negotiating with terrorists" and such, and the flamewar had extended out onto Usenet as a whole. Years later, I still maintain the FAQ on the hierarchy (http://www.killfile.org/faqs/free.faq)
and, while it can't be said to be thriving, it certainly does serve a purpose on Usenet. And I still occasionally get people griping at me for my actions. So yes, that was memorable...
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
Well, for starters, it's kept many of my friends and I in touch years after we've scattered to all corners of the world. That's something that just wouldn't have happened otherwise. More than that, though, I met most of those same people through Usenet - local hierarchies, to be sure, but still Usenet. They're effectively an extra social group that I can call upon when I need them, and which I care about as much as any of the rest of my friends.
Which groups do you use the most?
These days, most of my time is spent in local hierarchies (uiuc.*, cmi.*, meat.*), instead of on Usenet at large. I still moderate a half-dozen newsgroups (identities left as an exercise to the reader), I post irregularly in alt.comics.sluggy-freelance and rec.arts.comics.dc.vertigo, and I lurk in news.*, much of comp.* and rec.arts.comics.*.


Submitted July 19, 2002, 3:34 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
Since 1987, when I started as an undergraduate at MIT.
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
I had a modem (first 300 baud, then 1200 baud) in middle school and high school, and I used it to participate in various BBSs. Immediately after I arrived at MIT, I discovered that the computers there were simply a different world than my old Apple ][+, and that was especially true for the Usenet, which was way better than any BBS.

I initially read news using rrn. Then I switched to xrn (whose maintenance I eventually took over, and I maintain and use it to this day).

I quickly became an obnoxious know-it-all in various newsgroups, most notably comp.unix.questions and comp.unix.wizards. I answered people's questions, flamed people for posting questions that were in the FAQ, flamed people for posting incorrect answers to other people's questions, etc. I'm still a know-it-all, but I've become a bit more tactful over the years :-).

The other newsgroups in which I spent far, far too much time reading and posting messages were soc.culture.israel and soc.culture.jewish. I took it as my personal crusade to debunk all the anti-Israel, anti-Semitic propaganda posted in those newsgroups, under the theory, that if no one debunked it, some people might actually believe it.

I remember fondly that I was number one in the "top 25 posters to Usenet" chart for several months during this time. Of course, this was all before I got a life and realized that there were better things to do with my time than posting to the Usenet.

What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
I read news on MIT undergraduate workstations (DEC VaxStation 2s running BSD or IBM RT/PCs running AOS) running X or on MIT dialup machines through a 1200-baud modem.

If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
In my opinion, without a doubt the biggest change is the spam. While it may or may not be true that it's mostly under control because of the spam cancelers (of which I was one of the early ones, BTW), it contains to have unfortunate side effects.

The one which most concerns me is the increased proportion of Usenet users who choose to mask their identities on the Usenet. Very few people masked their identities in Usenet postings in the old days -- it was understood that it was rude to post without giving people the ability to respond by E-mail. Now, the spam problem and the new breed of Usenet user who likes to remain anonymous together mean that many more people mask their identities. I think it cheapens the medium and forces a lot of garbage into newsgroups that should have been sent by E-mail.

Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
So many memories.... Setting up rtfm.mit.edu... Setting up the Usenet address database... Taking over xrn... Maintaining God-knows-how-many FAQ postings... proposing and moderating news.answers and later *.answers... Running the first Usenet voting server... Canceling spam... Being branded a pedophile and God-knows-what-else by various net.kooks...

Two specific memories stand out. The first is the many arguments I had with one particular anti-Semite, Jack Schmidling. He was clueless, and he had no understanding whatsoever of argumentation theory, but boy, was he persistent.

The second was dealing with the massive vote fraud surrounding the vote on the creation of the soc.culture.makedonija and talk.politics.macedonia newsgroups, for which I served as the vote collector. I don't think it was the first instance of Usenet vote fraud, but I think it was the biggest that had occurred to date, and it was quite an experience.

How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
Honestly, I don't think it affected me all that much. I can't claim to have formed any really strong attachments over the Usenet. All I can say is that it consumed a great deal of my time for several years, and it may very well be a good part of the reason why it took me six years to get my Bachelor's degree.

Which groups do you use the most?
I no longer read the groups in which I was really active at the start. The groups I read most religiously now are rec.humor.funny and rec.humor.funny.reruns, which proves that the Usenet has become a much more read-only medium for me than it used to be. I do still read and occasionally post in a few other groups; probably the ones in which I'm most active are misc.consumers.house and ne.general.



Submitted June 4, 2002, 10:47 AM

How long have you been on Usenet?
around 5 years
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
I heard from friends and found some writings on the net about it. Now i post daily on a few groups, it's the best information database on the new IMHO.
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
my schools 512kb connection
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
I helped on a book, I got lots to thank you posts/mails, I got involved in some projects.
Which groups do you use the most?
alt.php
dk.edb.internet.webdesign.serverside.php
gnu.emacs
gnu.emacs.gnus


Submitted June 4, 2002, 8:38 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
Only since 1995, except for six months in 1985, which
are what I'll concentrate on here.

How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
I was first introduced to Usenet as a tool for
intra-school communication at the University of
Chicago.

Notices about computation center closures and like
that would be posted on internal newsgroups, or at
least that's what I remember now.

But of course I was also told about the net-wide
groups, and some stuff about netiquette, which I
promptly displayed my ignorance of by posting a
flaming followup to an early bit of spam on
net.general. This resulted in an exceedingly polite
letter back, I think from Mark Horton, telling me
not to feed the trolls.

Not long after I first came across Usenet in this way,
I was ignoring school for a couple of weeks, and I
spent one of those weeks reading everything on file
from net.a* through net.l*. This left me with an
abiding belief that Usenet was a wondrous example of
a true anarchy that worked.

It also led to my finding someone who'd graduated a
couple of years ahead of me from my high school, and
we exchanged a couple of e-mails via UUCP and
bang-paths, which was enough work that we didn't
keep it up.

What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
A university computation center that was linked, via
the rest of the university's network, back to the
legendary ihnp4 facility AT&T ran in Naperville,
Illinois (which would be, for another year or so,
the main link between the coasts for Usenet).

If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
I can't claim to have had a good take on it at the
time, frankly. In particular, I know now, from later
research, that by the time I first saw it, Usenet was
no longer a functioning anarchy, really; but at the
time I thought it was.

It seems to me, though, that it was a lot smaller
then, and this unsurprisingly means it was a lot
better behaved on average. It's fairly clear to me
that when I returned, Usenet had gone through a
period of being big enough to meet many interests,
and accumulate lots of useful information and
valuable communities - the glory days of FAQs; by the
time I returned, that was beginning to die. Now,
few of the groups I've read are even what they were
in 1995.

But flipside, things that interest me a lot didn't
*have* groups before 1994 or 1995, and weren't much
discussed on the groups that did then exist.

So I think growth has its own trade-offs, and I'm
not simply condemning the Usenet of today.

Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
Um, I don't really play "most" games. So I'm not
sure how to answer this, in general.

But from 1985, it would be the story above: getting
my hand slapped by someone I thought at the time was
one of the Heroes of Making Anarchy Work was, in its
own weird way, an inspiring experience.

How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
Since I haven't really spent a lot of time around the
real-life communities related to the topics I follow
online, I couldn't say. It's affected me by, at
times, providing a place where I can talk with people
with common interests, and by, at times, providing a
place where I can get information in response to
specific questions. A recent thread on
rec.arts.sf.written is devoted to "books I would
never have read if not for this newsgroup". That,
I think, is much of what Usenet has been like for me:
it's too topically organised to expand one's horizons
in a *big* way necessarily (although that's part of
the attraction of general groups like news.groups),
but it can expand all kinds of possibilities in
*small* ways.

Which groups do you use the most?
In 1985, net.games.frp, net.general, not sure any
more what else. Oh, I liked to read net.flame and
net.jokes.

Since 1995, news.groups, soc.history.ancient,
soc.history.medieval, rec.arts.sf.written,
sci.archaeology, humanities.classics
(formerly sci.classics), others.



Submitted June 11, 2002, 10:30 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
Since 1992.
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
it was in either talk.environment or sci.environment. I was working for an environmental non-profit, and had had a couple years experience using non-Usenet BBS-type community online venues in Berkeley. I was given a helpful, good-hearted introduction to Usenet norms by Carl Lydick.
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
24K modem, dial-up, gateway through igc.org
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
That would have to be my introduction to alt.folklore.urban, unless you count the time i got my green card and made money fast.
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
I've met a couple three friends, and honed some critical thinking skills through hanging out in AFU.
Which groups do you use the most?
alt.folklore.urban


Submitted June 20, 2002, 12:17 AM

How long have you been on Usenet?
I got started on Usenet in mid 1996, so I'm a relative late comer. :-)
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
I had just gotten my first Internet account with an ISP, and their advertising and contract indicated that my account included email, web, chat, ftp, news, and other standard Internet services. I had absolutely no idea what "news" was, but if I was paying for it by golly I was gonna use it!

I had read several FAQs about news groups before I ever had the opportunity to try news, including one of the FAQs for news.groups, and expected to get flamed immediately no matter what I posted. (news.groups can be pretty contentious at times, and I didn't understand that "news.groups" is different from "news groups". )

As it happens, I got lucky and my first few forays were into friendly groups with a sociable atmosphere, so my occasional newbie blunders were kindly overlooked or greeted with friendly information on how to correct my posting style, so I had plenty of time to get hooked on news before encountering my first flame war. :-)
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
I had a 28K dialup connection, except I was using a 14K modem, so access was pretty slow. The web was intolerably slow, but Usenet is extraordinarily well designed for good access to Usenet even on a poor connection.
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
Boy, that's hard to choose. It's a thrill, for instance, when I receive a personal email from someone I regarded as a celebrity in the computer world--and continues to amaze me each time it happens. It turns out that celebreties are real people and mostly not snobbish or aloof! (Not that it happens that often, but there is a special thrill whenever you get a friendly, personal email from someone you regard with awe. )

In early 1997 when news.newusers.questions was presubscribed in the most popular newsreader of the day, Netscape Navigator, and completely overwhelmed by off topic traffic, a team of helpers there began an RFD to moderate nnq in place. After seeing a notice in the group about the RFD, I made my first foray into news.groups in support of the change. I was still quite a newbie, and expected news.groupies (slang for those who hang out in news.groups) to flame me to a crisp. That didn't happen, and nnq won its vote and was converted to moderated. Not terribly long after I served for a time as one of moderators for the group, and partly because of that experience have since become moderator or backup moderator for a couple of other groups.
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
I have formed some warm friendships with a number of people I've never met in person and probably never will - I live a couple of thousand miles or more from most of them - but the friendships are none-the-less real and I treasure them.

For the most part (with notable exceptions) the people I've encountered from the various newsgroup communities are generous, friendly people. They're eager to share their knowledge to help someone else, and often with tangible assistance as well. For instance, complete strangers sent me thread needed to finish a quilting project, others have sent me software or sold me hardware at an inexpensive price, and I've done likewise. I've learned how to better care for my cats, my sewing projects, my computer, and my community, and I've learned that people can disagree on important matters but remain civil or even friendly. Usenet teaches you to separate the person from the argument of the moment.
Which groups do you use the most?
Oh, boy, that's a toughie! I'm subscribed to 34 newsgroups, but many of them receive almost no posts (announce groups) and in many I read just a sampling of posts. I tend to read and post more in some groups than others, but which particular groups floats back and forth over time. I'm pretty consistent, though, in participating in:

news.software.readers - help, info, and discussion about newsreaders
news.groups - discussion of Big 8 newsgroup creation
comp.mail.eudora.mac - Eudora email on a Macintosh
news.admin.net-abuse.policy
news.newusers.questions, alt.newbie, alt.newbies - help groups for people
new to newsgroups


Submitted June 19, 2002, 11:52 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
since 1994
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
Read about it on a copy of The Internet for Dummies I downloaded (FTP) somewhere; found a copy of David Delaney's Net Legends FAQ, which refered to a number of newsgroups; found read-only access to Usenet via my school, which gave spotty and intermittent access. That would have been 1992/1993. When I changed schools I had full access to Usenet, in 1994. First posts were to professional newsgroups (bionet.*). By the time I posted to Usenet itself I had a year or more of lurking to guide me.
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
First read-only access may have been Gopher, via a University connection. Connection was always through school until 1997/1998 when I finally got a dial-up connection.
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
Since 1994 I've had a close set of 50 or so friends with whom I meet physically every year or so; first physical meeting was in 1995, most recent was two weeks ago.
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
Many of my closest friends were met through Usenet.
Which groups do you use the most?
Now bionet.* is about it. Gradually dropped newsgroups over the past five years.


Submitted March 4, 2003, 12:37 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
Early 80's (see below).
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
I started as an undergraduate in the early 80's -- as a part of an independant-study project I was given an account on the CS dept's vax (I was an engineering student) which had e-mail and usenet (barely, see below).
Because of the lameness of the connection, I was read-only on this system.
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
The C.S. dept's vax called up another system (in Minn, IIRC) once a night (for cheaper long distance) with a 1200 baud modem to transfer email and usenet.
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
Imagine any place which was once fabulous, and imagine being there before it was 'discovered'. A place full of witty and smart and helping people sharing in something really cool, even cooler than you knew. Now imagine that place choked with smog, traffic jams, squee-gee guys, idiots, and Wal-Marts...
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
I'll keep some of those to myself, but here's one which illustrates what a dork I am -- my wife and I were married in '85 and so I printed out all of net.jokes (on a pile of fan-fold using the mainframe chain printer!) to take along for something to read aloud while driving.
I think it's still sitting in the bottom of a closet someplace.
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
... other than a short stint in '99-'00 when I got involved with the colorful characters of comp.software.year-2000 because of heading the Y2K-lab at work I've been post-usenet for for 6 or 7 years, I guess.
Now, I participate in a small closed-membership "blog" (although I had that word!)

My wife still reads some of the misc.kids groups, though.
Which groups do you use the most?
Once upon a time I read a mish-mash of groups, some for example: alt.fan.lemurs, alt.planning.urban, comp.database.ingres, misc.consumers.house, misc.kids, rec.woodworking


Submitted June 20, 2002, 11:46 AM

How long have you been on Usenet?
Since around 1988.
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
I was an undergrad at the University of Waterloo. There was a very enlightened policy there: junior students were given read-only access to Usenet, and seniors had posting privileges. Most people had a pretty good handle on the culture before their gags were removed.
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
Waterloo's LAN, which was probably 1MB ethernet at that point. I'm not sure what the connection to the greater Internet was, probably a 56K line, and I'm not sure that Usenet wasn't handled through UUCP over modems.
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
The main changes have been the quantity of postings and the breadth of the participants. I think that if you worked on it full-time, you could read all of Usenet around 1988. At least skim it. There are probably single groups that generate more traffic today than a complete feed did back then.

And at that time, nearly all of the participants were either high-tech workers/academics or CS students. A side effect of this was that most people's connectivity was provided by a bureacracy that had power over them, and most people were conscious of the fact that Usenet could be taken away from them.

The biggest change, of course, is spam. There was no commercial traffic on Usenet.
Which groups do you use the most?
alt.folklore.urban, alt.peeves


Submitted January 22, 2003, 5:13 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
Since about 1991.
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
I forgot. I think I was interested in wine or something. Later, I found that I talk with other programmers and get a lot of good info on Usenet.
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
9600 baud phone line, and that connected most of the time at about 2,800.
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
I have made quite a lot of money through referrals on Usenet. Biggest deal was around $20,000 consulting. I just lurked and then emailed one of the posters privately. It turned out to be an attorney who wanted just what I had to offer.
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
I think it has brought the Poick community closer together. comp.databases.pick is the newsgroup.
Which groups do you use the most?
comp.databases.pick


Submitted May 21, 2003, 8:33 AM

How long have you been on Usenet?
Started in 1995
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
I was new to computing and trying to write software and understand PC's. I heard, probably on Compuserve about Usenet. I got an ISP account and started reading and asking questions about Windows 3.1

I remember being rather nervous when I first posted, not wanting to appear foolish.

I have since turned Computing into a career and have got alot of my knowledge from Usenet

What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
A 9k6 dialup.
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
N/A
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
I would say the most memorable experiences have been connecting with people without any boundary and developing relationships.

It is amazing to be able to talk to people anywhere on the planet and share knowledge and ideas.
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
It became my obsession for a few years. At first I read alot and posted a little, then I started to post up to 100 articles a day. I have spent most of my time doing peer to peer support on PC related issues.
Which groups do you use the most?
microsoft.*


Submitted April 7, 2003, 4:22 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
Since 1986.
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
A friend of mine, Keith Dolye, had access at work; we both had Amigas, he'd get daily information and sometimes programs. This was incentive enough.

The guy I worked for at the time, Greg Laskin, was porting Bill Blue's PNET BBS software to UNIX. It had private mail and messaging fuctions, and and an interface to usenet. Greg would nag me endlessly "try my BBS" which I ignored. One day I tried it, and flamed Clayton Cramer in rec.guns.

There's a book I read once hat said "your first experience writing to usenet is likely to be a humiliating one". I thin they were writing about me.
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
1200 baud dialup.
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
There were a lot less people! There was no spam. Less off topic posts.

But, I wouldn't go back. In those days the population of usenet seemed to be bored computer programmers, so as a bored programmer asking a question about some non-programming topic you typically got answers from other bored programmers who very seldom knew the answer you wanted but would of course answer any way, or sometimes university professors who might on a good day give you a semi-comprehensible tome that instructed you how you might obtain the answer.

These days because the population of usenet is so high there is expertise from all walks of life online. In all I'd say the good outweighs the bad.
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
The creation of sci.aquaria.
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
I have some long standing aquaintences, many of which are very dear and important to me that were established because of usener.
Which groups do you use the most?
alt.horolgy, rec.autos.mercedes.


Submitted June 11, 2002, 11:24 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
I first started reading Usenet in 1985
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
The company I worked for, Tektronix, had a feed. Co-workers introduced me to Usenet. I read rec.humor and some music-related groups, but didn't post.
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
I don't know what kind of connection it was. It was fast.
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
I recall that most participants were associated with academic or research institutions, or with large-ish corporations. In general, people were computer literate, although there was the standing joke about September, when incoming freshmen got their accounts and failed to understand that their "email" was propagating worldwide.

In 1986/87, I worked for a small startup. I was often at work late into the night, trying to get something to compile or whatnot. I'd read newsgroups: rec.humor, rec.humor.funny, and some of the music-related ones. About that time, ISPs like Portal hooked up, and people could have personal access to the 'net. There was a certain amount of snobbery from the old "regulars" toward these newbies. When that startup folded, I got an account on Portal. By this time, I was an irregular poster, mostly to alt.folklore.urban.


Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
One poster had shared her joy with her pregnancy, and then miscarried. I cried, and emailed her my condolences.
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
I've learned a lot.

I've learned a lot about how different people can be.
Which groups do you use the most?
alt.fan.cecil-adams


Submitted October 7, 2003, 9:05 AM

How long have you been on Usenet?
April 1995
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
The first thing I did was do a search for david duchovny which led me to the alt.tv.x-files usenet group. That search enhanced my life.
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
A dial up modem at the college where I still work.
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
I used usenet before 1990 through a friend who had arpanet at work. She would share and post for me to the star trek group.
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
Meeting my friend gizzie on the internet. She said that she was forty something and had a really wicked sense of humor - we started writing back and forth and have been to each other's homes since then. She is one of my best friends.
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
We have been able to check up on one another when there are illnesses, deaths, and bad weather. Many of us have met one another at special gatherings.
Which groups do you use the most?
I use alt.tv.x-files.creative, and alt.fan-david.duchovny and also a lot of yahoo groups to keep in touch with my friends


Submitted June 21, 2002, 11:06 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
5 years (arrived summer, 1997)
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
I had just begun to use the Internet extensively, and I read a trade press article about Usenet. At the time I was knowledgable enough to know that the WWW was not "the Internet," yet novice enough not to understand why. That article I read described the basics of netiquette. I stumbled across alt.folklore.urban (AFU) a few months later, when those netiquette guidelines were still fresh in my mind. AFU fascinated me, but it took six months of lurking before I worked up the courage to post. The 4 and 1/2 years since then have been rewarding.
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
In my parents' house I had a 28.8 kbps modem. I used that during the summer. Shortly after I discovered Usenet, I returned to college for my sophomore year, where I had access to a high bandwidth network.
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
Jeez...make me feel like a youngster.
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
When I worked as a network administrator, I once spent slightly over 4 hours on the phone with Microsoft tech support about some problem or other with my NT server. The result: "It's a hardware problem, and you'll have to take it up with the vendor. I'm sorry we can't help, but thank you for your continued business." Then I asked my question on Usenet (typing time: 5 minutes) and had an answer within an half-hour (lunch: no time wasted), and the fix took 15 minutes to implement.

On the hobby side, I will never forget my first few months on rec.sport.unicycling (RSU). I had just picked up unicycling, and I was learning very slowly; I had trouble making turns of a radius less than about 5-6 meters. I asked my cohorts what I was doing wrong. A dozen people offered suggestions for shifting my hips and leaning my shoulders, and everyone had kind words of encouragement. Two days later I announced that I had cut down my turning radius to about one meter, and the group cheered me on. I stuck around for about a year, helping other newbies in the same way that I had been helped. My dues paid, I eventually left RSU (and unfortunately, I ride much less often these days), but I still enjoy a similar community atmosphere in other froups.
Which groups do you use the most?
AFU, alt.folklore.urban, home of the original troll.


Submitted June 20, 2002, 12:13 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?

Since 1994 or 1995; my memory is foggy on when I
started.
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.

Initially, the math department at the University
of Alabama in Huntsville did not have a Usenet
connection, but we did have access, via the
University's Gopher server, to an archive of
Usenet post maintained at some other University
(Minnesota?). I then got an account with the
Computer Science Department, which did have a
Usenet connection, and about the same time I got
an AOL account.
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?

I would telnet to the CS Department and use Pine,
or I would use my AOL account.
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?

not applicable
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.

Probably my first "flame-war." Without getting into
the gory details, another poster and I went at it for
several days. It was mild compared to later
experiences, but it was quite an eye-opener at the
time.
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?

I think it has helped me to connect with a number
of people who share the same interests and we have
been able to communicate and even get together some
and pursue joint ventures.
Which groups do you use the most?

alt.war.civil.usa

soc.history.war.us-civil-war


Submitted July 6, 2002, 4:36 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
since early 1986
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
I remember an afternoon in the University compuer lab in the UK when someone told me to try a program called 'rn'. I was still there at12pm on a vt220 amazed that there could be as many as (from memory) 200 newsgroups.
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
vt220 tty into a vax running an early (4.1?) BSD unix
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
I stopped actively using usenet in about 1992. Too mnay posts to keep up to date (so why try?), too many flames, too concerned about privacy issues.
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
Learning about the philosophy behind open source by actually doingit in the late 80s.

Reading the GNU manifesto.

Playing larn.

rec.homor.funny in the early days.

reading sunspots

playing networked transatlantic blitz empire in 1987
Which groups do you use the most?
now - none.

I used to use comp.sources.unix, comp.sys.sun, rec.humor.funny, rec.games.traveller, rec.games.empire a lot - mostly as a lurker, but there are some posts from me.


Submitted April 24, 2002, 9:53 AM

How long have you been on Usenet?
Since 1989. Approximately 13 years.
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
I had probably heard of it from my brother or from a friend at my school (Northern Arizona University). I was an early user of rec.music.gdead. I also frequented comp.sys.mac, alt.shenanigans, rec.jokes (or something like that, don't read it any more). Of course, I was a typical "new guy" posting irrelevant messages or messages that could have been handled in email correspondance.
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
T1 or whatever my university had.

Unless you mean what program I used to access Usenet. In which case I was a big fan of VN (Visual News). I used a flavor of RN (Read News) later.
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
I think people were a lot more forgiving of what we might now call minor mis-uses of the medium such as using it for personal correspondance. At that time I believe people at least took the time to tell you what you'd done wrong as opposed to instantly jumping on you for transgressions. Certainly there was plenty of flaming going on, even for minor problems, but (at least in my memory) things were a little friendlier, a little more tolerant.

It also felt more like a community. Almost a secret gathering of all these people sharing ideas about different topics. It was very cool to have discussions with people from all over the world. We weren't so jaded about "the way things are" when it came to the internet. We saw the medium as a fun place to chat with friends, albiet at a slower pace than today.

I think most of the people who used it before 1990 will mention something about when AOL came online. That was the beginning of the end. I'm not saying we're worse off now that it has happened as I do believe it was just part of the natural evolution of the technology, but suddenly we found ourselves swamped with "This is just a test" messages in every newsgroup. And people just writing messages to say stupid, off-topic (and often off-color) things.

A lot of this had to do with AOL introducing a large number of people under college-age simply using the medium because they could. They were fascinated with it just like we had been or were, but their fascination manifested itself in ways that were not very tolerable to the people who had been there first. I think it's safe to say that most serious users of Usenet felt invaded when AOL got connected.

Of course, there was definitely a lot less spam back then, but I assume that goes without saying.
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
I think the way that it helped connect people from around the world made it memorable. How it was all so new. Sure, email accomplished the same thing, but with Usenet you were connecting to people you would have never connected with otherwise. For me it was a natural transition from my BBSing days, but with BBSs I was talking with people around my town. One great thing that Usenet did for me was expand my collection of Grateful Dead tapes.
Which groups do you use the most?
rec.music.phish
rec.music.gdead
rec.crafts.brewing
rec.beer
news.groups
bburg.forsale
bburg.general



Submitted June 13, 2002, 3:56 AM

How long have you been on Usenet?
Just now 20 years since I've been "on" it. I was
first exposed to "netnews" as most everybody called
it back then, during a summer internship in 1981.
I have had continuous access to Usenet since the
summer of 1982.

How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
My first direct experiences consisted of reading
newsgroups for about a week before I made my first
posting. I read netnews at work. I think my
first posting was probably to net.sf-lovers to reply
to postings about the "Star Trek" movie that had just
been released a couple weeks earlier. This would
have been in June, 1982. This started me on the
path to creating the newsgroup net.startrek later
that same summer, but that's another story.

What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
Your typical "glass tty" (a CRT terminal, 24 rows
by 80 columns) connected over a 2400 baud line to
a DEC VAX-11/780. The VAX had a 9600 baud modem.
Ah, the good old days.

If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
Let's see, back then all the newsgroups were named
net.something and I think there were much fewer
than 100. One person could keep up with the ENTIRE
Usenet feed reading the first page of every article
in only about an hour or so each day.

Back then it was all text-based, of course. No GUIs.
On UNIX machines, we had the readnews and postnews
programs, and I think this was a version called B
news. The Internet didn't exist yet. The Arpanet
did, but it was still using its network control
protocol; TCP/IP became the standard in 1983. Usenet
was informally defined as every site that received
net.general. Much of the news transmission was with
the UUCP protocol over ordinary phone lines. Back
then we thought 9600 baud was pretty fast. There
was no standard user@host.domain mail addressing
scheme on Usenet. Every article showed the path
that the article actually took from poster to you.
Typing this path to send e-mail to the poster often
did not work, since some routes were one-way and
others worked for news but not mail. Signature
blocks began appearing at the end of articles, at
first so that the writer could identify the path
that correspondents could use to send e-mail. It
started with one or more major (or "backbone") hosts.
It was up to you to figure out how to route your mail
from your host to the backbone. ASCII graphic Usenet
maps were posted to make this task easier. They
showed more than one kind of network connected together
by "gateway" machines that knew about more than one
network. Often it took some ingenuity to figure out
how to get out of UUCPnet and onto another one of the
others (collectively, "inter-nets"). All Usenet
postings were wholly text, no attachments of any
kind. The only way I can recall that we sent files
was to include them in the body of an article, even
ftp was not yet available to a great many Usenetters.
Source code (including for Usenet software itself)
was posted using a "shell archive" format. In this,
the body of the article would be saved to a file, the
recipient would manually edit the file to delete
all text before the "cut here" line, and the result
would be given as input to the UNIX shell (sh or csh)
to recreate the file. Many of the now familiar
conventions, such as quoting another posting with
the ">" characters, date back to this time. Failing
to carefully trim down articles you were replying to
would get you flamed, because network bandwith was
tiny. Just about every month someone predicted the
imminent death of Usenet because traffic was increasing
so rapidly.

Wow, I didn't mean to type quite that much. But that
always was one of my tendencies in the early days of
Usenet. :-)

Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
The most memorable experience was meeting a very
charming and erudite woman who had similar interests.
We had an exciting e-mail courtship that led to
falling in love. I'm still a sucker for women who
know how to write well!

How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
I have an insightful and carefully thought-out answer
to that question. Unfortunately, this form is too
small to contain it. :-)

Which groups do you use the most?
These days I am more or less retired from Usenet
newsgroups. Usenet seems so much less important
now that the WWW has pretty much taken over.



Submitted April 29, 2002, 3:28 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
I had a uucp feed from gryphon in 1986. I remember the date because that's when I upgraded my Tandy unix box to a low-serial-number Compaq 386. I might have been on a little earlier on the Tandy, with a feed from Pete Carah at puffin.
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
My friend and colleague Peter Carah got me connected. I think I originally hung out mostly in the comp. hierarchy, and maybe on rec.martial.arts

I didn't file my experiences sequentially; I can tell you one that sticks in my memory was sitting in on John Mashey debating RISC architecture. It was and is such a precviously-unimaginable privilege to lurk at the High Table of Terra U.

Sometime in 1989 or thereabouts I was working a consulting gig with the eponymous richard SEXton and greg of gryphon (in those days there were giants abroad in the land), and heard some of the discussion that in time became the alt.sex lowerarchy.


What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
1200 baud dialup uucp
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
In the earliest days having a Unix account correlated reasonably well with clue.

Many communities were overwhelmed and washed away by Endless September; the methods by which unmoderated groups persist in the wilds of the alt. hierarchy will provide research opportunities for decades.


Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
Nope. ;) Suffice it to say it's a work in progress.
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
It enables geographically dilute communities. As I once said in email, "sometimes afu (alt.folklore.urban) is whalesong". By which I meant to evoke the experience of a member of an uncommon species, looking for others.

Which groups do you use the most?
alt.folklore.urban
comp.lang.c++.moderated
comp.risks (lurk only)



Submitted May 17, 2003, 7:00 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
Since "before the beginning". I was at Duke prior to the development of NetNews and Usenet.
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
I recall pulling a multi-topic "news of the day" program off of a "conference tape" on the Duke PDP-11/70 at some point around 1979. It wasn't long until Duke and UNC were sharing the news via UUCP due to the efforts of Truscott, Bellovin and company. Then the full-fledged NetNews (ANews) came along and the Usenet was born.
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
glass TTY serial terminal at 9600baud.
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
The early days were intimate. You got to know all the regular users/posters (at least by reputation) pretty well. It was nice to know that the folks you exchanged messages with were just a few hours away.

The main change in Usenet is the growth of its population. As more and more people discovered Usenet it became harder and harder to keep up with who was who and to read all the traffic that was of interest. It became a culture of relative strangers rather than a culture of relative friends.
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
The most memorable even for me on Usenet was the second or third flame war. I was young and naive enough to not realize that what I wrote would be an insult to women. The resulting argument about the role of women in computing went on for weeks and nearly cost me my access to Usenet.

The second most memorable event that related to Usenet was meeting the woman who is now my wife. She was a coder for the phs site (number three site in the original Usenet) and my brother introduced me to her one afternoon while we where wandering around the Duke campus. The rest is history.

How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
It became an addiction very quickly, and it still is. Usenet represents a large community of expertise and most of the participants know that and appreciate it. To be able to go online and ask for assistance and generally to get answers is an incredible resource. There are the flamers and kooks, but modern software provides effective means for identifying and filtering them out of the way. Each newsgroup creates a virtual community of folk interested in a topic and allows them to interact in a way that doesn't have a face-to-face parallel. I have met and communicated with all sorts of folks I'd never have met otherwise.
Which groups do you use the most?
triangle.* *.linux.* scary.devil.monastary and various private hierarchy newsgroups.


Submitted June 4, 2003, 8:42 AM

How long have you been on Usenet?
I was on ARPANet in either late 1983 or early 1984, in graduate school.
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
I started primarily reading, and responding to messages via email only. The connection I had made it difficult - you clicked to go somewhere, got coffee, came back, saw some progress, etc. Initial involvement was very tech-specific.
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
ARPANet through a University computer network. It went through a firewall causing all addresses to translate the @ to an %, then had an internal address with @. Yuck! Very slow too. I didn't use it much then because of the connection.
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
It's not even the same creature!! I sort of saw it as a tech community back in the early 80s, for asking/answering specific questions. By 1988 or so it was more of a community, I was reading non-technical groups. At that point I mostly browsed for interesting material. By 1989 or so (maybe early 1990) I was on misc.kids (or whatever it was called then). That was definitely a cozy community - knew almost everyone on it, many of them in person after a while. Flames were fun >;-) because of that personal aspect. Not nearly so much garbage, nor so many fanatics; most of us were techies, so we tend to be more intelligent (we like to think so).
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
When Nixon died, I had a great flame war with someone who actually admired him, and didn't remember a thing about Vietnam, Watergate, etc.

I also met one of my closest friends IRL through misc.kids. And I can't forget the troll we wrote together w/others when the aolers first came on!
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
It's so much part of my life, I can't imagine being without it. Good information, I still go there with technical questions.
Which groups do you use the most?
Now, not many and not often. Alas, too much traffic, too many idiots. I use groups local to my internet provider for info, and I sometimes read the travel groups for asia and the caribbean. I read a couple alt.support groups sometimes. Mostly now when I have a specific technical question I search for the relevant group and ask it there.


Submitted May 13, 2003, 12:39 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
Hrmmm...8 or 9 years I think, never really kept track to be perfectly honest.
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
I first saw references to Usenet on the Inet, looked into it, started posting...viola!

What really attracted me to Usenet was the fact that it was pretty much instant access to thousands of communities all across teh grid. Usenet to me always seemed to bring things closer together, much more close knit than IRC or the Inet.
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
I trained little hamsters to carry messages back and forth between my house and ISP...sure it was slow and awkward, but eventually it gave rise to things like dialup and presently uncapped cable connections.
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
o_O

I'm an oldbie for sure, but I'm not THAT old.
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
...hrmmm...far too many to list. Let's see, completely obliterating the adult baby newsgroups, forcing thousands of them to abandon the groups, where there was once hundreds of new messages a week, now only a few dozen and all spam.

Then there was also that huge flame war I started between AUK and AHM and involved various other volatile froups, like alt.flame, alt.romath, alt.troll and alt.alien.vampire.flonk.flonk.flonk (my semi-official home froup).

That time I went around pretending to be a Vatican nun was pretty hysterical too. ^_^

Mmmm...Usenet Performance Art...
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
Usenet hasn't really effected me. I mean it's a great source of entertainment and certainly beats watchin reruns of Friends or hangin out at the mall all day long, but aside from that it's not really a big part of my life. It has certainly increased my typing speed as well as improved my spelling and grammar. I've also learned how to incorporate varying writing styles and accents into my writing. How I "speak" on Usenet is really quite different from the way I speak in real life.

As far as the affect I've had on various communities, well, usually I tend to have a negative effect because people make the mistake of taking me seriously. To them, Usenet is just as real as real life, to me it's just a form of entertainment.
Which groups do you use the most?
It varies from year to year. For a long time I hung out mainly in the volatile froups, now I'm mostly hanging out in the binary ones.


Submitted March 5, 2003, 11:47 AM

How long have you been on Usenet?
Since before the web. Maybe mid 80's. I first accessed via unix readnews program.
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
One of my instructors at college was the head of networking for the campus. He told about it and said "once you use it, you will be addicted" He was right!

What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
Unix text based interface, "readnews" I think. It was a campus based high speed connection. I would occastionally "SLIP" in from my home PC via a linux box at school w/ a modem that we set up for this purpose.
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
SPAM!!!! That's the biggest change. The people have changed from a more technically inclined type to a wider range of computing abilities. Different groups have waxed and waned.

There are many web based forums that appear to be siphoning traffic from usenet. I find this a little disturbing because with google, usenet really is a central repository of human thought. Many of the web forums go offline and all that thought is wasted.



Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
rec.audio.opinion. Jeezus. Talk about polarization. I spent about three weeks learning that some people are on usenet just to start fights.
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
I think usenet is the singular most important aspect of the web. When I do research, I start with google groups and do a search. Doesn't matter if I am trying to find info on a bug or looking for a new toaster, them information is there. You could take away my browser and I would survive if I had archival usenet access.
Which groups do you use the most?
Changes daily.



Submitted May 7, 2003, 12:16 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
Approximately 10 years.
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
I have been reading about the American Civil War and discovered several newsgroups on the internet that helped fuel my interest. I found myself very caught-up in the reading and submitting of posts, most postings being argumentative and caustic until I realized that contrary opinions were just that, opinions, and not necessarily any more accurate than mine. However, I did enjoy the experience, and still do, but I'm not posting as often as I did at one time.
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
I used and dial-up connection on a FreeNet server that was supplied by a local university.
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
I don't think much has changed, other than volumes of messages and the ever-increasing number of newsgroups for all types of interests.
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
I don't have one "memorable" experience but I was always thrilled to be able to "talk" with many of the authors of books I had read or was currently reading. I enjoy the moderated groups who have authors visit from time-to-time and exchange messages with Usenet users.
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
I have met many people on the Usenet newsgroups. Some I have met face-to-face after exchanging emails via Usenet interaction. Some I hope I never meet.

The Usenet has taught me that my opinion is mine and while I wholehearteldy agree with it, others may not and others might agree with me.

My library has expanded considerably since I became a regular user of the Usenet groups. And that's a good thing!!
Which groups do you use the most?
First on my list would be any group connected with military history, in particular the American Civil War and Canadian history.

Next would be cooking and recipe forums.


Submitted June 14, 2002, 7:26 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
Since February of 1994.
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
Reading alt.tasteless in its glory days was more than entertaining.
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
9600
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
The prison stories by Paul Ess.
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
It has heightened my awareness of my writing abilities.

Which groups do you use the most?
alt.peeves
sci.chem
alt.urban.legends




Submitted July 16, 2004, 5:21 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
Since 1996.
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
I was on AOL and was just looking around. I originally posted for fun a "hello" message around the world, pretty silly now that i think about it.
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
28.8 K dialup.
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
N/A
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
Most memorable has to be that "hello world", brought in a lot of messages.
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
I've learned a lot off Usenet.
Which groups do you use the most?
alt.computer.security


Submitted December 4, 2002, 4:22 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
The earliest map I can find with "cincy" is dated June 1, 1981.
I suspect that I got us on there a month or so beforehand,
since the maps didn't get updated very often. (I have a decent
collection of these if there's some good way to
insert them into your record.)
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
Someone (Brian Kernighan?) talked about uucp at
the (first) Toronto Usenix conference. I think Tom Truscott
talked about usenet news at that same conference. I
was entranced by the prospect of a "cheap" network connection
to the rest of the world. At the time, I was running
Sixth Edition Unix on an 11/60; uucp only ran on
Seventh Edition (v7), but the folks at BRL had built
a compatibility library which allowed me to build
a working uucp...
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
I hand dialed duke, using a racal-vadic 1200 baud modem.
I did that about every other day ... until my advisor
started getting the long distance bills! I also dialed
pur-ee and uiucdcs for a while to get them going.
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
It was possible (and interesting) to read EVERY article.
It didn't even take that long.

The biggest deal then was getting reasonably quick
responses to technical questions from other folks
who had "been there, done that" - as well as access
to ARPANet lists that had been unavailable (in the
fa. groups).

The signal/noise ratio has gone steadily downhill. Now there
are precious few groups that have the perceived value
of the early days.
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
The really memorable ones, other than the odd flame
war, were early on when I was able to communicate about
odd disk driver problems, unique to the 11/60, with folks
at the antipodes - sending and receiving information
between Cincinnati and New South Wales. This was as
much a "uucp" phenomenon as it was "usenet" ... but
there was suddenly a sense of there being a whole lot
of people "out there", willing to help.
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
Usenet was one of the first online communities -
extending the sense of community beyond those people
that you could actually meet in person. ARPANet and
Fido had similar early effects, as well as some
other communities based on GTE's Telenet and other
online services (moderately well documented at the
time in "The Network Nation" by Hiltz & Turoff).
Which groups do you use the most?
These days, a few of the rec. and comp. groups are all I read.


Submitted May 13, 2003, 11:21 AM

How long have you been on Usenet?
Since December 1993.
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
I moved to Southern California in late 1993 from Maryland. I didn't know anyone, and decided that an Internet ISP would be a better choice than renewing the Compuserve account that I had had up until then. A cow orker referred me to a local ISP, and I dialed in nightly.

I looked through the list of maybe 2-3000 newsgroups, and settled on a couple of gaming groups, and alt.folklore.urban.
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
2400 baud modem on a 486/33DX Gateway machine, running DR-DOS 6.0 with a copy of Windows 2.0 that I never used.
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
N/A
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
There are a lot of firsts that stick with you: the first time someone you don't know .sigs something you said; the first time you get email from someone you don't know who loved a particular post you made; the first time you meet Usenet friends face to face.

Probably the most memorable experience was the great AFU NYC2 get-together: AFU regulars had several local gatherings in the early days, and it culminated in the second NYC gathering in, hmm, 1994 I think. I flew in from San Diego, others from elsewhere in the US, a few from the UK, Australia,... It was a great family, back in those days. Even Kibo showed up.
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
The people I've met on Usenet have become my most treasured friends. We send each other dozens of emails every day, and visit each other whenever possible.
Which groups do you use the most?
alt.folklore.urban, although much less since the wife and I had our two kids. I post a little to the Seattle Mariners ng, and lurk several others: peeves, AUE, and some local ISP groups.


Submitted June 14, 2003, 2:03 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
Since about 1990.
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
I had already been involved in compuserve, GEnie
and BBS conferences/echoes (Findonet for one) so
usenet was just another forum.

The quality of the posts on usenet was higher, as
was the quantity of flames.

But the experience of reading, posting and responding,
etc. was not notably different from the other
online communities.
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
Dialup
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
Arranging for the particiaption of one of the top
CW scholars, James McPherson in the newsgroup
soc.history.war.us-civil-war was my most memorable
experience.

Prof. McPherson didn't even use a computer. I faxed
the newsgroup articles to him. He typed his responses
on a manual typewriter and then faxed them back to me.
I then keyed his articles into my computer and
posted them.

You can read the transcript, you'll find it as a link
on the page:

www.thecivilwargroup.com
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
The biggest effect it that I get to discuss the Civil
War. Few people at home or the office have the
interest or desire to spend more than about 5
minutes per month with a Civil War Nut.
Which groups do you use the most?
soc.history.war.us-civil-war


Submitted March 6, 2003, 9:40 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
My first Usenet experiences -- which, for some reason, do not appear in the Google archives, and therefore the archives are incomplete -- were in about 1987 -88. I had a sporadic presence on rec.games.frp. My permanent residency online didn't begin until early 1991.
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
My early introduction was through a friend of mine, John Bunch, who was my Atari guru. He helped me get on BBS's, some of which, like Albedo BBS (through Fidonet) connected to Abusenet. This was in the mid-'80s. I didn't actually see a regular Usenet posting until the later '80s, as mentioned above.

When I moved to Pittsburgh to go to UPitt, I finally obtained my own dialup account through the local service Telerama, plus I of course had school access. Through these connections I was able to get to Usenet directly, and immediately became a permanent resident of several groups, including rec.arts.sf-lovers, rec.games.frp, rec.arts.anime, and alt.callahans.

While interesting in its breadth, there was nothing particularly new in the overall experience; I'd been using BBS's of one sort or another online since 1976, and my "handle" was only one year younger than that.
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
Either UPitt's direct connection (T1, probably) through the computer labs, or (more often) my 1200 baud home connection through Telerama.
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
The largest change was the fact that one could read large percentages of Usenet at a sitting. And that it was possible for a single living person, typing at a computer, to become one of the top posters on the net (without using bots or other tricks). I made the Top 25 posters list more than once in the early 90s.

There has also been a marked diversification in residency (i.e., the people online are more likely to come from non-geeky backgrounds), more spam, etc. I recall the Great SF-Lover's Reorganization, the Green Card sequence, and The Never-Ending September beginning.

In other words, it's degenerated markedly. All these damn PEOPLE!
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.

I could write a BOOK. Lots of experiences to choose from. The most MEMORABLE is actually quite recent, from the past few years, in which I, the Sea Wasp, took Eric Flint, SF author and editor for Baen Books, to task for his hack job editing the work of a defenselessly dead author (James Schmitz). Eric, in masterful form, retaliated, and the flamewar raged in a multi-part, multi-threaded form for weeks. However, somehow I never crossed the line from attacking his editing practices to attacking him personally, and he never crossed that line with me, and eventually we went from adversaries to honorable enemies, then to correspondents, to online friends... and eventually through his assistance I sold my first book to Baen.

I could tell dozens more interesting stories, but your phrasing leaves me little choice but to select this one!
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
Usenet has created a separate sub-community within several of the communities I participate in. Anime fans, SF fans, RPG gamers, all of these have their smaller subgroup of Usenet Residents. These groups tend to have their own sense of "community", at least among the long-term residents, and in some cases really feel quite a bit like a living community in and of themselves.

Usenet increased communication among a number of subgroups in these communities, and in some ways could be used to further business as well as social relationships; Wizards of the Coast located a number of its most useful employees and consultants by watching newsgroup postings of appropriate subject matter.
Which groups do you use the most?
rec.games.frp.*, rec.arts.anime.misc, rec.arts.sf.written, alt.callahans, alt.fan.david-weber.


Submitted April 21, 2003, 2:06 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
I began using Usenet in 1995, when the company I worked for subscribed to Compuserve, and USENET became acessible to me for the first time.
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
While USENET has been around for 20 years, it has not been accessible to the masses for anywhere near that length of time.

I began with dial-up to local Bulletin Board Services (BBS). I enjoyed participating in the discussions. I assume that BBS were inspired by USENET, but from my perspective BBS came first.

I guess it was really the impact of Andersen developing Mosaic and the advent of World Wide Web that changed the landscape forever.

The main impact was it killed the local dial-up BBS.
But, since every ISP seemed to offer Newgroups, that became my replacement, and by 1996, I was hooked on USENET.

At first it bothered me that it wasn't close and personal like the old local BBS, where members often got together at local pubs, and built personal relationships with their fellow participants.
But soon, I liked the scope and scale, and the International flavour.

I recall the exchanges between people talking, giving their opinions, engaging in debate, and then out of the blue, a real expert would step in to the fray, and put everyone in their places.

I like the fact that you may be having a discussion with anyone, from any walk of life. I like the fact that famous and note worthy people sometimes participate, even if its incognito.

What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
My first connection was dial-up, using a 2400bps modem. The 9600bps modems were new at the time and highly priced. But to be fair, that is faster than anyone can type, or read....so it was just as good as my current broadband - for USENET!
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
No, but I would like to comment....prior to 1990 very few people had access to USENET. If you were in University, or a large corporation, then you had access. If I recall my Internet History, USENET was developed for Academics and Researchers to exchange ideas. Not a very inclusive bunch, and very expensive for the private citizen to access. However some of the very large BBS had USENET connections which brought USENET out of the realm and exclusivity of Academia.
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
I guess the most memorable experience I had on USENET was taking on a bonafide USENET KOOK, and after several months, defeated him with logic, facts, to the point where he disappeared forever.
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
I suppose the best thing about USENET is the freedom of expression. In Canada we do not have freedom of speech to the same extend as in the USA. That is why I refered to it as freedom of expression.

What has affected me most is the realization of how truly uninformed, un-educated and ignorant the Public actually is, as demonstrated by the majority of posts and replies contained in modern USENET.

In someways, I wish I had access to it when it was contained in the sphere of academics.

I don't consider myself to be highly educated, but testing has documented that I am highly intellegent.

It has come to the point where I view USENET as a good source of entertainment. I also enjoy taking on people who perpetuate hate, exposing them for what they are, and to try to inform as many people as possible.

I also enjoy when someone more knowledgeable than I, criticizes my writtings, and I learn something I did not know before.

That makes USENET valuable to everyone. It's ability to educate, inform, and create awareness where it did not exist before.

In addition, I would fight any attempt to control, edit, censor or restrict USENET in any way, shape or form.

I for one beleive that discussion is the key to understanding, and the betterment of humanity.

Someone once said that when an arguement is right, when a man speaks the truth, the only counter arguement is violence. I don't want to see government take violence against the truth that USENET exposes.
That is my greatest concern. I don't want to see government use USENET as a tool to label people with ideas as subversive.

I have found that for every idea that is distasteful, there are voices that counter. USENET polices itself by allowing all ideas to be heard. Those that are lies, those that are erroneous, are nullified by those with better ideas.
Which groups do you use the most?
I use local groups the most.
Since I reside in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, I focus on the Toronto based news groups primarily.


Submitted February 27, 2003, 4:50 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
1994
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
My son, on the Well in San Francisco when he was in college, told me about it.
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
14.4 modem, a BIG step forward!
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
The 3.5-year flame war in rec.skiing.alpine that resulted in a court order forbidding posting, the loss of several real-life jobs, and the creation of rec.skiing.alpine.moderated, regarded by some as the most successful troll in usenet history.
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
It enables communication among people that would never be possible in real life, providing both practical information and companionship. I feel that all participants are the richer for having experienced it.
Which groups do you use the most?
rec.skiing.alpine, misc.consumers.frugal-living, rec.autos.driving, rec.humor.funny


Submitted June 12, 2002, 10:19 AM

How long have you been on Usenet?
Since 1993 or so.
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
Reading alt.folklore.herbs from a friends' account - there were no commercial accounts back then, and you only got online if you were at a university, preferably one with edp.

Once I got my first own account, in 1994, I made the FAQ for alt.folklore.herbs.

What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
Dialup (2800 bps?) to the university.
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
I dunno; I've made lots of friends over usenet; I've chosen my career because of information received over usenet; is there really a need to tell about a single outstanding moment?

How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
Usenet, with international exchanges, changed my career.
But then, I changed the group, too - archives, FAQs, debunking posts, etc. etc. etc.

Which groups do you use the most?
alt.folklore.herbs
alt.humor.best-of-usenet
rec.humor.oracle.d




Submitted June 11, 2002, 6:07 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
Since 1984.
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
I was a Caltech undergraduate at the time, and had been using a guest account on MIT's MC/AI machines for access to SF-LOVERS, SPACE, and several other mailing lists. The AI Labs machines were gradually dying off at that point, and we got a Usenet feed on the Caltech CS dept. VAX, so it was naturally to move over to net.space and other pre-great-renaming groups. Really not much of a change from the mailing lists except that propagation was slower, while access was much easier for me.
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
VAX 11/780 running BSD 4.1 getting a dialup feed on a Telebit Trailblazer - probably from one of the backbones, though I don't really know.
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
Usenet was less diverse and had less content, but in almost all other respects far more pleasant back then - something also true of the Internet in general. The average intelligence level of netters was higher; while there were clueless newbies and arrogant bozos, they were more easily slapped down; serious scientists and engineers were much more likely to spend time on newsgroups back then; most importantly, commercial and philosophical/religious spam was unknown.
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
I can't say any were all *that* memorable, although making fun of Usenet kooks like Abian and McElwaine was often good for a laugh.

Usenet is primarily a mildly entertaining way to hold BS sessions, and always has been, though I've learned a bit from the sci.space.*, comp.arch, and comp.graphics.* groups over the years.
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
Not much, other than being a remarkably effective timesink - though I have met a few friends, coauthored a paper on maintaining the sci.space.* FAQs, and learned that there are a huge number of people in the world whom I have absolutely no points in common with. I did date a fellow newsgroup participant for several years, but we did not meet as a result of the net
Which groups do you use the most?
Varies over time. In the early days, net.space and net.singles. For a while, rec.arts.dance, but that group has become completely dominated by a few predictable and loud personalities and now offers little entertainment or information. These days, I enjoy soc.history.what-if. There are a few people who I still make a point of following in newsgroups I otherwise mostly ignore, like Henry Spencer in sci.space.tech.

As an overall comment: Usenet is fun, but it's not meaningful. People who think otherwise need to get a real life.


Submitted March 17, 2003, 10:03 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
Since 1989.
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
I started because my alma mater, Bradley University
(bradley.edu)gave everyone who asked a free account
on one of the school 3B15's. I asked, I fell in with
the crowd that liked to tinker with it, and I haven't
given up yet!
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
At first, the school had a sort of WAN that let us
connect at 9600 baud, but a few of us figured out
how to milk it for 19200 baud. A few unlucky types
lived off-campus, and had to dial in at 2400 baud.
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
It's gotten a lot more anonymous. There were folks like
Kibo and b1ff who were known all over Usenet. Also, the
average nettiquette IQ has dropped. It used to be that
a person would get "potty-trained" on local or school
newsgroups, and then got let out into the big pool.
No such thing today. Things have gotten more
proprietary, or so it would seem. I don't think anyone
really thought of Usenet as a moneymaking device.

Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
It'd have to be the almost magical organization of the
"Sue the BoD" movement on rec.org.sca. BoD didn't know
what hit it...
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
It's linked people together. Where you once had people
working on some esoteric area in isolation, now,
although the number of people might still be small,
they can now find each other and schmooze.
Which groups do you use the most?
alt.heraldry.sca
rec.org.sca
rec.heraldry


Submitted May 7, 2003, 4:50 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?

Since 1999.
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.

I had sold my business, and was re-kindling my interest in the US Civil War with new found lack of time constraints. To this end I discovered alt.war.civil.usa. Being totally unaware of the conventions of usenet, I had a rough and tumble, but fairly quick, education. And quickly learned to apologize in advance for my ineptness and lack of knowledge.
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?

56K modem.
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?

Can't say.
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.

I can't specific a single example. There have been several that have caused me to become aware of new materials or to re-evaluate things I was already aware of. Just the opportunity to intermingle with those more knowledgable and experienced.

How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?

It has not only given me the opportunity to learn more, but the opportunity to have my own personal half-baked theories and partial truths slapped down by individuals who know what they are talking about. I have also become very thick skinned and tolerant of the half-bked theories and partial truths of others.
Which groups do you use the most?
alt.war.civil.usa
soc.history.war.us-civil-war


Submitted September 10, 2002, 12:02 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
Since about 1980. I can probably figure out the exact
date, but it was while I had an ARPANet account.
(adpsc@usc.isi and yes, that was the entire address)
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
I was working as a tech consultant to a group of the
division chiefs at the FCC (how I got THERE is a long
story). Einar Stefferud was working with us as a
consultant. He told me about human.net and I took it
from there. Found sf.net which lead me to a bunch of
folks who are now some of the "old folks" of the net.
(And I ended up working for and with a lot of them)
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
300 baud modem! When I got really lucky (or went on
travel) I used a 1200 baud TI TTY with an acoustic
coupler. Thought I had died and gone to electronic
heaven!
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
A lot more civil in the old days. Words tended to be
chosen somewhat more carefully. And when you got
flamed, it was generally done with some style (I have
written back to people who have flamed me and told
them that I still disagreed with them, but that their
flame was well written).
There was a sense of community that seems to have
gone away. (OK, I am starting to sound old even to
myself :-) )
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
There was the time I broke into NORAD. When I realized
where I was, I got the !$@# out of there, called them
up and assured them it was a mistake and this is how
I did it. I never heard from them again.

On a more serious note, while I was working on my
thesis, I managed to contact a number of people who
were at a specific meeting at NSF that was seminal to
the topic I was working on. Had an extended
"conversation" with several of the participants. One
of them even faxed me a copy of his personal notes of
the meeting, which answered a lot of questions I had
about the discussions within the meeting.
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
I still look at it, but no longer have the time to
participate in much discussion. Very seldom post
publically any more, since bots seem to harvest e-mail
addresses and result in little more than SPAM.
Which groups do you use the most?
A variety. But again, the time issue limits what I
can read.


Submitted January 22, 2003, 5:32 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
Since about 1986
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
I was working at Hewlett Packard on a product for HPUX 1.0. Their were four Vax machines used for development with a UUCP feed to HP Labs. I started reading Usenet when I got an account on those systems. I first started reading net.singles and jumped into the middle a flame war between a woman and a well known netizen. He called me an ass in response. I later became the systems aministrator for those system and recall running the conversion scripts for the great newsgroup renaming. I set up the first TCP-IP network at the HP workstation division and brought up Usenet on HPUX.
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
UUCP. My first email address was hpda!hpdsla!johnf
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
I can remember when even including a phone number for a business in a signature was taboo. I recall an early ISP that included their phone number in the sig file by default for new subscribers. It caused a major flame war.

Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
I was involved in a discussion in a local singles group about flirting with someone while driving a car. I described an incident that had occurred 10 years previous flirting with a woman passenger while driving back from Lake Tahoe. She had passed me her phone number on a piece of paper as we were driving down the highway but when I called the number it was someone else. A couple of days later I received email from a woman that said that she had flirted with a guy while driving back from Lake Tahoe about 10 years earlier. She gave me her phone number and we talked about it and confirmed that it was indeed us. As it turned out, I didn't know the area code for the number she had given me 10 years earlier. We decided to meet and went out and had a nice time. It never went beyond that.
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
About 8 years ago I moved across the country to be with a woman that I had met on Usenet and developed a romantic relationship. A month after I arrived the relationship (at least the romance part) was over. I met a woman via Usenet that lived about 50 miles from here about a month later. We've been married for 2 1/2 years.

Which groups do you use the most?
soc.singles (it never was exclusively for single people) a couple of kayaking groups, music related groups, and some local interest groups. I spend a lot more time posting to a few mailing lists I'm on.



Submitted June 30, 2002, 12:30 AM

How long have you been on Usenet?
Since June of 1993. I found my first posting on Google a while back, which was an odd experience, but I don't remember the precise date any more.
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
I'd previously played around with a few small local BBSes run by friends, and liked on-line discussion in general. I found out about Usenet via BBSes as something like a much broader scale discussion board, and started reading it shortly before I transferred to Stanford (on a Unix machine, using rn -- not trn -- with vi as an editor, as proven by a couple of horribly miswrapped early posts caused by my belief that vi must be doing automatic line wrapping).

At the time, I was an avid comics collector, so I started by reading rec.arts.comics.misc, and therefore am something of a product of the very strange rec.arts.comics.* culture, which isn't much like a lot of the rest of Usenet.
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
When I first started, it was via a modem connection (1200bps) to a borrowed account on a VMS system (via my dad's work) and from there to an account on a Unix system that had a news reader and access to the internal news server.

trn was so much better than rn once I had access to it.
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
I'm actually a relative newcomer, even though everyone seems to think that I must have been around since the early days. Probably has something to do with the fact that I tend to remember and pass along oral tradition almost unconsciously and because I came to Usenet via rec.arts.comics.*, whose culture placed immense emphasis on the history of Usenet.
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
There have been so many that that's a very difficult question to answer.

The most important things that have happened on Usenet for me were the discussions and cooperation on projects that led to meeting some of my closest and dearest friends, people who I've travelled the country to meet in person and who have had a huge impact on my life. But those aren't really individual moments.

I suppose that the most influential would have to be discovering on-line fiction and specifically the Legion of Net.Heroes in rec.arts.comics.misc and alt.comics.lnh, which got me writing fiction for the first time in my life, led to me learning how important and dear writing is to me, and also led to meeting many of my closest friends. (Ironically, the writing that I've found works best for me is interactive, and I therefore don't write for Usenet any more, even though I'm still writing as much or more than I ever did.)
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
Usenet has affected me personally very deeply, mostly as a medium whereby I've met many wonderful people and discussed many fascinating topics. It's also been a never-ending source of excellent technical advise and assistance and a wonderful way to expose myself to some new topic that I'm curious about.

Many of the technical communities that I'm most involved in have always led something of a dual life in both Usenet and in mailing lists, and these days most of the technical communities seem to be primarily mailing lists, although there are still the occasional Usenet newsgroups that are extremely useful.
Which groups do you use the most?
news.software.nntp, definitely, as a news software implementor. I also still am fairly involved in Usenet politics and read news.groups regularly. Outside that, I read and participate most heavily in private hierarchies, although I read a variety of technical groups on various changing topics that I'm interested in at the time.


Submitted May 8, 2003, 2:31 AM

How long have you been on Usenet?
I am regular on Usenet ever since 1996.
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
I was reading one site dedicated to American Civil War and found links to two newsgroups about ACW. Descriptions said these were the places to discuss ACW. I went there to see what was going on and became regular.

I don't know who was more surprised when I made my first post. Was it me when first responses (mostly contrary to my argument) arrived to my article or the regulars wondering how was it possible for a Croatian to discuss American Civil War with a bunch of informed and opinionated natives?

There was one thing that bothered me back then and is still bothering me. Flame wars. I am still failing to understand the need of some posters to engage in them often showing completely different personality than in real life. I had to learn early to control myself because it was difficult enough to argue with people on the foreign language, flaming on the other language was definitely going to put me in disadvantage so I decided to skip such wars all together whenever possible.
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
It was a direct connection through the company's Intranet.
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
Before 1990 I didn't know there was such thing. As far as the changes in my seven years on Usenet are concerned, I can't distinguish between them and the fact that I have changed in this period too. I am far better informed about the topics I participate now than when I first came.
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
When my first son was born in 1999, I informed the group about it and received many, many congratulary replies. People were genuinly feeling happy for me. I still have this thread saved on my disk.
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
The thing I most cherish is the feeling I became a part of the community despite the physical and cultural distance between myself and the most of the group I first joined (alt.war.civil.usa). I feel good when veterans respect my opinion even if they disagree with it.
Which groups do you use the most?
alt.war.civil.usa, soc.history.war.world-war-ii


Submitted January 22, 2003, 4:30 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
Since fall 1994. Until fall 1997, my access was only at college, but then I got a computer at home.
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
I got an account on the UNIX server at my college (Randolph-Macon) for a computer science course I was taking in fall 1994. One of the things the little "user's guide" mentioned was that I could access discussion groups via the magical command tin. I quickly became addicted, although I didn't have a computer of my own. Contrary to most recommendations that you lurk for a couple months before posting, I jumped right in and started posting.
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
I used the college's connection, which must have been a T1 at the time (I don't recall ever having any delays.)
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
N/A
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
Too many to recount. My most shameful moment was when I attempted to invade alt.support.childfree in early 2002 and used some tactics which were positively stupid. The most memorable poster I have dealt with has easily been Jackie the Tokeman. It's a shame he won his crusade against soc.support.fat-acceptance, because towards the end, that's all he was about. Of course, being present in alt.college.college-bowl during the rise of the Meow Meow Army (and how many other Usenetters can say they have personally met Matt Bruce) was also memorable.
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
I've actually never met anyone from the newsgroups, and likely never will, as my wife has nothing in common with fellow newsgroup posters. But it has been a very enjoyable way of spending my time over the past several years.
Which groups do you use the most?
soc.singles
alt.romance
rec.sport.soccer

I have been seen or felt in numerous newsgroups, depending on my interests at the time.


Submitted June 11, 2002, 4:03 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
Since 1993 according to google. First post
on Aug 16 to alt.atheism Though I must have
lurked in various ways for at least a couple
of years before that.
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
Ah! Good question!

In the late 80's I signed up with a BBS in
Toronto, Canada Remote Systems, which gated
the Internet Newsgroups. The actual date of
signup is buried in some box or other here
in my office. But I could read the groups
at that time. I also remember being given
access to another system which still used
"bang paths" for email exchange.

I particpated in the BBS nets for a couple of
years before I ventured into the internet.
Partly at least because posting through the
CRS gateway was not easy at first.

I do notice that not all my usenet post are
archived. But I don't think I could have
particpated much earlier than the above date.

I don't post much these days in the less kindly
and friendly current times. I mostly left
when Earl Gordon Curley showed up in sci.skeptic
I live close to where he lived and was
worried about the internet spilling into the
real world. I missed a chance to have lunch
with him a couple of weeks before he committed
suicide. (If you don't know about EGC, he
is worth researching).




What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
on line using a 2400baud modem via a terminal
emulation program under DOS connected
to a BBS and the BBS/INET gateway.

Later software involved PC-Board, Rosemail
and 1st-Reader.
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
Although I did not particpate in Usenet before
1990 I did read a number of newsgroups.

Much more traffic now. No SPAM. A kindlier
gentler place.

The biggest change is SPAM and the loss of the
ability to post under your own name and accept
e-mail from all.

Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
To sum it up?

One of my posts that does not appear in google
was in can.infohighway in response to a student
from Carlton Univ (Ottawa) who asked "whether
anyone had received advice over the internet and
what they had done with it."

My response "Gigabytes" and "Ignored it all".

I have had good advice (and, in my estimation,
occasionally provided it) in some of the techninal
groups.

I did make friends with another sci.skeptic
poster in Australia (did I say I was in Canada?)
and both bought him a beer and had him home for
dinner when he visited Toronto).

How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
I think the answer is truely "not very much".

I read fewer books because I read the couple of
newsgroups I follow but that's about it.

The closest I came to a community on the
newsgroups was on can.infohighway which was
quite active until it came under attack by
a couple of usenet kooks (Bob Aliset where are
you? - not that I really want to know).

We closed ranks, created a charter, fended off
people who called us netnazis (I note that
that post also seems to have not made it
into the archives) but by the time it was
all over, it was all over and the group was
destroyed never to return.
Which groups do you use the most?
AFU
sci.skeptic
news.admin.net-abuse.misc
a whole bunch of comp.os.os2.* groups
can.internet.highspeed
an internal ISP group (rogers.general)
netscape.public.mozilla.os2
others I will switch on and off for various reasons


Submitted July 18, 2002, 8:46 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
Since 1994.
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
My first Usenet experience was when I got my first shell account and fired up pine. i discovered newsgroups and went just about nuts. i believe my first newsgroups were (embarrassingly) warez groups and linux groups.
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
A dial-up shell account (netcom.com).
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
I have yet to find a problem with linux that has not been discussed in the newsgroups.
Which groups do you use the most?
comp.os.linux.*


Submitted July 12, 2002, 2:48 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
Since 1987 or so.

How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
At the time, the Oberlin College computer science department had a very limited feed - just a handful of news.* type groups, maybe a very small number outside. It gave a very biased sample, you just saw the newsgroup creation flamewars (mark ethan smith and the like).

What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
The college was using dial-up.

If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
I'm not sure a lot has changed. We had kooks then, we have kooks now (although perhaps not quite as many). We had flamewars then, we have them now. People quit in disgust then, people quit in disgust now. In the late 1990's, there was the spam problem, which threatened to end everything, but nowadays that is pretty much under control (so that it doesn't really affect my reading experience most of the time).

Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
Learning about space markets and such on sci.space.*. This has led to off-net contacts and could have even become a career if I wanted it to.

How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
I suppose it helps catalyze a certain libertarian cadre of space activists, but really Usenet is more about idle chat than getting things done as far as I can tell.

Which groups do you use the most?
sci.space.moderated
sci.space.station



Submitted June 11, 2002, 2:26 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
The earliest posts from me at dejagoo are from 1992 or so. But I was aware of what must be the precursor to usenet from sometime in the mid-80s.
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
My *very* first experience...my ex-husband taught computer science at the University of Florida, so he had accounts for his class (obviously) and encouraged them to email him when they had questions about assignments. I don't think we even had a modem for our first computer (an Apple ][+), but we had an acoustic coupler modem for the second one (a Zenith PC-clone). I have a very vivid memory of him calling me across the study to have a look at some on-screen discussion of current events involving participants from Duke or UNC as well as UF. This would have been in 1984 or 1985 (we were divorced in 1986, and he moved out a year or so previously). I didn't have any kind of net access until the early 90s.
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
Well, aside from the acoustic coupler modem (300 baud, or was it slower), the 1992 posts were via a dumb terminal on my lab's network, that somehow accessed (not very reliably) the Yale news server. I didn't really start participating until I had my own account at a BBS/ISP with a semi-reliable news feed.
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
After lengthy communication with someone I'd "met" on a newsgroup, who struck me as a bit of a stalker (I was keeping him at arm's length), it turned out we'd gone to the same high school, although at different times.
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
I just got back from a weekend gathering of people whose original point of contact was a newsgroup. There were upwards of 30 people present, from all over the US (albeit a preponderance of NY metro area folks). I've been to a number of these gatherings ranging in length from a day to a week.

I view usenet as providing a social life that's unconstrained by geography.
Which groups do you use the most?
alt.folklore.urban
misc.support.diabetes
alt.support.diet.low-carb
alt.sports.baseball.ny-mets

Amazingly, I don't think this conjunction uniquely determines my identity!


Submitted June 19, 2002, 9:10 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
Since about 1987.
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
We had a feed at a job I was working on at a now defunct company named "GeoVision". A cow orker told me about it, so I fired up "rn" and was instantly hooked.

The first thread I read was a bizarre flame war between "Mark Ethan Smith" and the rest of the denizens of news.groups. MES's main complaint was that somebody had "outed" hir as a woman, even though MES considered "woman" to be a diminutive form of "man" and demanded to be referred to and "treated" as a man. And in the "fun" that followed, MES's cow orker posted asking us to stop riling hir up because s/he was looney enough and hard enough to work with at the best of times.

A few weeks after I started reading, I ended up taking over news administration duties. Not long after, I saw a posting from Henry Spencer about how his software, C News, is now officially running 50% of Usenet, so I replaced our B News installation with C News.

What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
At first I had a VT220 terminal on my desk connected to a terminal server which allowed me to connect to one of our Sun3/260s and run "rn". We got our news feed from a now defunct company called Cognos over a 2400 bps modem. This meant that at a couple of points, Cognos needed to drop all of our alt groups because we couldn't feed a whole days worth in a day at 2400 bps. The first time, we fixed it by dropping alt.binaries.*. The second time, we dropped alt.sex.*. The third time, we found that cognos's upstream site had a Telebit Trailblazer modem, the same as us. Trailblazers were amazingly fast for the time, and so we ended up taking a feed from them, and then sending it on to cognos.

If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
Usenet was obviously much smaller back then, and the technical barriers to entry made it so that most of the people present were more similar than they are today. I.e. they were much more likely to be geeks, and more cognizant of things like bandwith restrictions, naming conventions, quoting conventions, and the like. There were still the annoying people on the fringe, kooks, trollers, and the like.

We oldtimers still refer to the concept of "September", specifically "The September that never ended", which is usually placed at 1993 or 1994. Back then, with fewer people and the general level of discourse being higher, the influx of new students in September was a significant event, and you'd have to be on your guard against stupidity until the newbies either got a clue or lost interest.

Now we get a constant flood of people with no clue all year round, and the general "culture" of Usenet doesn't place the value on clued-ness that it used to, so the newbies don't stand out.


Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
I met my wife through alt.folklore.urban.
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
Some of the best friends I have are people I've "met" on-line. A large group of us "spun off" a mailing list to have a more private and less topic-oriented way of keeping in touch, and we probably exchange about 40 emails a day. We meet about once a year or so - we just had a get-together in the Catskills two weeks ago where we had people from New York City, San Diego, Austin TX, and many places in-between. A few years ago we had a similar get-together were we managed to lure some of the group from England and Australia.

On September 11th, the group of us were sitting at our computers in disbelief as people from the group checked in around New York City and Washington, and people helped other people track down parents and friends. I got far more information and "feel" for what was happening from that than from the TV.

Which groups do you use the most?
alt.folklore.urban, rec.aviation.piloting, comp.lang.java.programmer, and about 30 others.



Submitted May 7, 2003, 12:12 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
Nine years.
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
I was interested in the discussions of the American Civil War on alt.war.civil.usa.

My first posts centered around the North/South arguments that have existed since 1865; debates about secession, slavery, military events, Reconstruction. I tend to defend a lot of Southern positions, so there was ample opportunity to engage in debates. Posting always involved some research to support arguments, so there was off-line work to be done. Posters on that group were amateur historians and often academics as well and the level of debate was high. I often archived posts and now have about 1000.
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
I used a telnet connection to an ISP in New York which has an extensive Usenet access and a much better newsreader than other ISPs with Usenet forums.
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
I think the quality of discussion was much higher with a greater number of extremely well-informed posters in the 1980s than it does now. Some of the old regular posters have found better things to do or acquired other interests.

Spam posts were once a problem but with better filters on ISPs, they are not the problem they once were.

The weakness of an open forum like Usenet is that trolls tend to become dominant and drive out people who get tired of addressing their posts. Regular posters almost always establish standards, as all communities whether virtual or actual do, and accept newbies who accommodate themselves to the "rules."

Other types of crusaders also impair serious discussion or inquiries. I would say that debate tends to descend to the lowest common denominator.
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
I had an exchange with a knowledgeable, published academic about Reconstruction that was extremely challenging, and I was bested in one aspect of the discussion. I learned a lot -- mostly about the good old Usenet rule: "Read, think, post -- in that order."
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
A virtual community over time develops virtual friendships. I have a high regard and sometimes a low regard for people whom I have never met.
Which groups do you use the most?
Alt.war.civil.usa, and I am a moderator for another Civil War Usenet group. I lurk on AFU and three other history newsgroups.


Submitted March 9, 2003, 9:47 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
Since 1985.
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
I started working for a major telecommunications company in 1984 and was given an email address. Of course, at that time, nobody that I knew outside of work had email, except for my brother inlaw who worked for Purdue University. In 1985 we got USENET news. The first time I used it, was to find a solution to a problem we were having with one of our designs. I posted a question, and within hours had responses from engineers all over North America who had experienced the same type of problem. It was amazing to be able to share ideas electronically.

Soon after that, I posted a favorite cheesecake recipe of mine to one of the recipe groups. And to this day, I still get at least one email a year regarding that recipe.
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
I believe we had 3 ISDN lines back them, but soon had a T1 line installed.
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
The early days of Usenet were really incredible. Most groups were moderated and people posted only related information on each group. Most groups had some basic rules for posting that everybody followed. If you broke the rules, you got flamed. Which was the expression used for getting a ton of nasty replies for being an idiot.

Then AOL came along. Suddenly there were thousands upon thousands of AOLers that knew nothing about proper neticate. They would post things in newsgroups that had nothing to do with the group. They really were a pain. At that time, almost every stupid abuse of a newsgroup's rules would be violated by someone from AOL.

Then shorlty after the AOL invasion, came the one most horrible thing to hit USENET, which is SPAM. Thousands of business people realized they could post messages on the newsgroups related to their products as a form of free advertising. Today, it is almost impossible to to look through a newsgroup without seeing thousands of SPAM postings. It really has messed up Usenet, in my opinion.
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
I have to say, it is still my cheescake recipe posting that amazes me the most. After 17 years, I still get emails about it.
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
I think it is a great tool to share and exchange ideas. There is a wealth of information on Usenet for just about any topic you can think of. If you have a computer problem, you can usually find someone out there who knows the solution to it. If you are doing research on products to buy, you can read article after article about them and makes very informed decisions. It sure has helped me solve many problems with computers and engineering much more quickly than I could of without it. It is a great medium.
Which groups do you use the most?
I actually use Google Groups to search for information these days. I just don't have time to browse through the groups anymore.


Submitted June 21, 2002, 10:08 AM

How long have you been on Usenet?
Since about 1990
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
I was searching for information related
to my job (researcher in pediatrics).
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
Dial-up modem
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
No single memorable moment comes to mind, but I have
been amused many many times by what people deem post-
worthy
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
I have had an opportunity to communicate with people
from all over the world who I otherwise never would
have encountered in all likelihood.
Which groups do you use the most?
alt.good.morning
alt.folklore.urban
rec.scuba.locations
sci.stat.consult


Submitted September 21, 2003, 4:45 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
Since 1990
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
I first started using usenet because our IT folks at UC-Irvine were very aggressive in encouraging faculty and staff to use the internet. It was here that I was introduced to usenet and e-mail.

My first experience with usenet was reading Star Trek groups. Some things never change.
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
I had an ethernet connection at work and a 2400 baud modem at home.
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.

Which groups do you use the most?
I don't use Usenet much anymore. I fact, I don't think I've accesssed a group in over a year. That was rec.autos.nascar. There is too much noise on Usenet now. I've come to the conclusion that anything good on Usenet will be destroyed by its popularity because of the lack of accountability of posters.


Submitted March 6, 2003, 4:04 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
From 1998 onwards
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
NECESSITY TO COMMUNICATE is the essence of Progress
in RESEARCH on COSMOLOGY AND VEDAS:Search for Unity in diversified fields of Knowledge
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
Home Pc/ outside help and e-mails
BOOKS for Copy rights
Workshops for interaction
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
NO access in India
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
VERY ENCOURAGING to support original and new ideas
See THE SCIENCE OF COSMOLOGY AND VEDAS
see articles in www.cosmologyreview.com
Vidyardhi Nanduri
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
OM
THE SCIENCE OF COSMOLOGY AND VEDAS :
UNITY IN DIVERSITY
DR VIDYARDHI NANDURI
The subject of COSMOLOGY is a borderland between the
Sciences and Philosophy. This subject attracts all
mankind in search of direction to provide Unity in
many diversified fields. Is there a higher dimension
of Science in Myths and Philosophies?. Can VEDAS
provide more light for the COSMIC UNIVERSE?.
Scientists start search from the Laboratories, then
extend the domains of knowledge through Hubble Space
Telescopes, X-Ray Astronomy, Explorers, Satellites and
new probing missions towards Milky Way Galaxy. Our
Galactic Home is 100,000 Light Years wide and Science
can reach up to Laser limits of 1016 LY. A number of
Scientists project Dark matter and Black-holes as
ultimate aim while others look at the Universe with a
New VISION:
99.99 % of the Universe by volume is a SEA OF PLASMA.
PLASMA is the fourth state of matter.
Equally interesting is that ELECTRO-MAGNETIC FIELDS
are 10^40 times stronger than the Gravitational
fields. The COSMOS is dominated by Plasmas and
Electro-magnetic Fields and new models are
contemplated for COSMOLOGY studies with the SPACE
dominated by Field-aligned Currents. Even the EARTH is
surrounded by 3 VAN-ALLEN BELTS. VEDAS provide flow of
knowledge as dictation and Sciences of Vedic Knowledge
should project Comprehension of the entire COSMOLOGY.
Knowledge expands beyond Galaxies. The COSMIC UNIVERSE
is not Dark matter or Chaos but a COSMOS of Shining
Lights and Cosmic Energy beyond. Essentially, there is
no field of SCIENCE or even TECHNOLOGY not connected
to COSMOLOGY. In order to benefit both Philosophers
and Scientists, an interacting Center along with
regular Seminars and Work shops are planned to bridge
the Communication gaps. Science needs to expand to the
next multi-dimensional knowledge.
SPONSORS TO ORGANISE A COSMOLOGY RESEARCH CENTER will
find many new areas through this interaction useful
for Research Scientists..
CONTACT ADDRESS: Dr Vidyardhi Nanduri,Sree Sai
Nilayam, 3,Vikaspuri, Hyderabad 500038 India
Ph:91-040-6592570
USA, 3499 Lake Park Dr Brecksville, OH 44141 Ph
440-746-9308 / 908-575-9093

See books in www.ebookomatic.com
Article in http://in.geocities.com/vidyanand1941 and
www.cosmologytrust.blogspot.comCosmology Research and
Invention Promotion Center
By Dr. Vidyardhi Nanduri
The Science of Cosmology and Vedas - Unity in
Diversity
The Cosmology Research Center is working on the
Integration of
Information from Vedas ,Upanishads, Puranas on
Cosmology
Science and Technology to advance
The Science of Philosophy
The Philosophy of Science
Cosmic Consciousness
The following bound reports by Dr. Vidyardhi
Nanduri are available ( under US Copy rights )
PLASMA VISION OF THE UNIVERSE -1993 (Reg No: TXU
729718 )
THE VISION OF COSMIC TO PREM UNIVERSE - 1995 ( Reg
No: TXU 893693 ) PREM: Plasma Regulated
Electromagnetic Universe
VEDIC VISION OF THE UNIVERSE -1996 ( Reg No: TXU
729719 )
VEDIC VISION OF THE UNIVERSE -Part 2, 1997 (Reg No:
TXU 893691) Based on Vedas, Upanishads and Scientific
relevance to Cosmology
VEDIC VISION OF THE UNIVERSE- Part 3, 1997
Background information :Vedas, Puranas articles on
Cosmology
THE SCIENTIFIC ESSENCE OF Cosmic PHILOSOPHY -1999 (
Reg No: TXU 982-556 )
The Science of Philosophy and Philosophy of Science
Integration -Copy right USA 2000.
OM COSMIC CONSCIOUSNESS TO COSMOLOGY REVISION -2000
( Reg No: TXU 982-559) Copy right 2000
FRONTIERS OF SCIENCE (1996) Background Research
Papers: NEWTON to PRESENT DAY
UNITY OF CONSCIOUSNESS IN SCIENCE, RELIGION AND
PHILOSOPHY
(Revised Feb. 2002) copy right application, USA
General Readers and workshop participants
Articles from cosmologyreview.com by author


See books in www.ebookomatic.com
Article in http://in.geocities.com/vidyanand1941 and
www.cosmologytrust.blogspot.com

The Cosmic Vison of the Universe: Part I - Basic
Approach
The Cosmic Vison of the Universe: Part II -
Scientific Approach
Address : No. 3, Vikaspuri, Sree Sai Nilayam,
Hyderabad-India 500038.
email: nanduri_dr_vidyardhi@hotmail.com Ph:
+91-40-6592570
US Contact: 3499 Lake Park Dr, Brecksville,
OH 44141
Ph: 440-746-9308 / 908-575-9093


http://www.buymyebook.com/buy/visitonlinelibrary.asp?currentpage=7&filter=All&order=3&srch=&srchstring=


See pages 7, 8, 10, 11 and 13 (free download)



Which groups do you use the most?
COSMOLOGY
ASTROPHYSICS
SPACE
ASTRONOMY
Interact:Science,Philophy,Religion
Msn groups
Yahoogroups
Space.com posts
Cosmiverse.com posts
BBC Forums
NYTimes.com/Science ,


Submitted November 14, 2002, 10:50 AM

How long have you been on Usenet?
Since fall of 1988. (I think. It was sometime in
College, perhaps as late as 1990.)

How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
Class project assigned by instructor (Bill Vilberg) at
the University of Southern Mississippi (USM).

Subsequently I became aware of the "alt" and "rec"
heirarchies and found other people on Usenet that
shared my problems and interests. By the time I left
USM in 1992 I was vigorously active in alt.sex.bondage
and a mixture of other newsgroups that related to my
Dungeons and Dragons and strategy gaming hobbies. It
was wonderful to know that there were many other people
out there like me.

I remember with dread the arrival of the AOL people in
USENET (in ?1993?) which threatened to overwhelm and
destroy the USENET culture of the time as well as the
first waves of uncontrolled spam that arrived shortly
thereafter.


What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
Through the end of 1992: tv100 terminals in University
student computer labs.

1993-1999 Modem dialup from a PC using Agent newsreader
software. Often with only a 2400 baud modem.


If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
It was a community of VERY intelligent and very geeky
people. They were very close knit but supportive of
intelligent newbies.

There were only 2 kinds of people on USENET then, geeky
gurus who knew all there was to know about something,
and students.

When the AOL people invaded in ?1993? there were too
many new people in the mix for the old people to
successfully teach "the old ways of USENET manners" to
everyone. Many newsgroups fell into disarray and many
others adopted "AOL manners" (ie. they had none).

The fact that AOL software made it difficult for their
members to comply with quoting conventions and even (in
the beginning) obscured the fact that thier users were
accessing non-AOL resources made things that much harder.

Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
Can't cite just one. It was a lifeline to ideas and
people that I had no hope of locating in "meat-life".


How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
I believe USENET is almost single-handedly responsible
for the emergence of the organized kink community.

In similar fashion, it paved the way for small niche
groups of all kinds to come together - often in the
real world - because people of like minds are able to
find each other.

Today it's taken for granted that if you want to find
other people to also play chess, or play Dungeons and
Dragons, or who enjoy medieval re-enactments, or who like
to cook french food, etc. that all you have to do is look
on the internet. Even folks in sparsely settled areas
or who share no common routines in real life can now find
each other. USENET began this process.



Which groups do you use the most?
soc.subculture.bondage-bdsm



Submitted June 12, 2002, 6:57 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
10 years
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
I knew about Usenet long before I had access to it. I knew that a number of people that I already knew were using this magical system to keep in touch, and it only needed a local-rate phone call. (I'm in the UK and phone costs here have always been perceived to be very high.)

I eventually borrowed a friend's dial-up account while he was using his work account. I already had a 2400 baud modem, just about all I got out of an employer that went bust owing me 6 months pay.

I signed up specifically to join the newsgroup rec.arts.sf.fandom because I knew that a number of people that I already knew were regular posters.

The thing I remember most about the early days was the message that my software put up before accepting a posting. Something to the effect that the message would be read by hundreds of people and was I sure that I wanted to send it.

What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
2400 baud dialup to the UK ISP "The Direct Connection".
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
I started in 1990, which was very early for the UK. At that time I could have named the UK newsgroup contrbutors. All of them are still posting.
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
I now use newsgroups to deal with computer technical support issues, they are far more effective than any fora created by software vendors.

The principal on-line community I belong to is rec.arts.sf.fandom hasn't changed much, except to reach the point where it isn't possible to read every posting. The newsgroup is now an accepted part of SF fandom. It hasn't changed fandom that much because SF fandom already had a print-based virtual community that started in the 1930s. In 1975 one person (Gary Farber) was travelling around the US and said that he didn't need a local community because his friends were never further away than the nearest mailbox. Given the number of SF fans involved in the early stages of the Internet it's possible that Usenet was modelled on the fanzines circulating between SF fans.

That now applies to me and I am considering taking a job in another country, knowing that a major part of my social life will be unaffected by the move.

Which groups do you use the most?
Principally rec.arts.sf.fandom and the technical groups for the software that I use.


Submitted June 12, 2003, 11:14 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
Since September 1990.
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
I was aware of Usenet while I was at college, but didn't take the trouble
to get access until I dropped out. When I got a Real Job, I quickly
found my way to Usenet.
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
2400 baud modem accessing a public ISP. Technically, it wasn't actually
an ISP for the first few months, being UUCP only. It's more correct to
call it a public shell account.
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
Because I started in 1990, I joined at the transition period right when
Usenet started exploding. What I miss most is spam-free traffic, though
the groups I use most have little spam. No, what I actually miss more is
groups that get comfortable traffic of five to fifty posts per day.
These days, anything less than fifty feels like a dead group.
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
This question is phrased somewhat oddly for me, because the newsgroups
I've been involved in (going back to my first home groups, alt.callahans
and soc.singles) have been communities in their own right. So by
definition Usenet has affected them by simply existing -- describing
*how* they've been affected by Usenet would be much more difficult.
Which groups do you use the most?
These days: alt.polyamory, comp.lang.python, ba.food, news.groups,
rec.folk-dancing, and some panix.* groups. Some of my important
newsgroups in the past: alt.callahans, soc.singles, ba.singles,
rec.arts.sf-lovers (rec.arts.sf.fandom after the split)


Submitted June 13, 2002, 3:21 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
Since August, 1987.
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
Learned about it somehow on the Unix system (Encore Multimax) at the University of Oklahoma. Began reading news. Would skip lunch often because I was involved in reading news.
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
What the University had at the time, probably a 56K thought it might have been a T1.
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
Well, e-mail addresses were given in UUCP format with bang paths. Newsreaders back then generally required more new contect to a post than quoted so I think overall the quality was higher. And it was nice and ASCII, none of this MIME junk or embedded URLs or fonts. :-)
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
Most memorable. That would have to bee the creation of the alt. hierarchy. As I recall is started when folks wanted a place besides rec.arts.reotica to post erotic messages. Though the voting on creation of the rec.arts.hierarchy was pretty neat to watch.
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
I'm much more away of the bigger world out there. I have watched with amusement as urbal legends have crept across the country knowing they were legends.
Which groups do you use the most?
alt.tasteless, rec.travel.air


Submitted June 20, 2002, 7:01 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
Regularly, since 1992. Before that, through Fidonet (BBS-Internet gateway)
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
I remember being automatically subscribed to a couple of thousand newsgroups, and using Ed Krol's instructions for unsubscribing to all of them using vi. I remember regularly checking at least two dozen groups for a while before settling on just a few (rec.arts.books and rec.food.veg at the very first, alt.folklore.urban after that).

What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
My Fidonet connection was a 2400 b modem to the New York Amateur Computer Club BBS. When I got direct access to the Internet through Panix (which I still use), by then I had, I think, a 14.4 modem using a 386 PC. I used nn in a VT220 emulation in telnet to read news (which I still do today, except it's on a Ti Mac and MacSSH).
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
I've met, f2f , at least 100 people that I first knew on-line, most through alt.folklore.urban and rec.climbing. But I think most memorable, and most illustrative of Usenet at its best, was a alt.current-events group that formed the afternoon of the 1993 WTC bombing. Every time the tv (which was on in the next room) would advance a theory, it would be explored and vetted in the newsgroup. Most were debunked on-line, but not in any follow-up on tv. The next day the Fire Dept commissioner had a press conference and every concensus opinion of the newsgroup was validated. It was the most striking example of bottom-up mass media expertise I've ever seen. I should mention that at the time, I was living in Manhattan, about 2 miles from the WTC, and my father worked in WTC2.
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
Rec.climbing is extremely influential in the climbing world, at least in the U.S. We share information on accidents, area closures, new techniques and gear, and so on. The two print magazines, as well as many gear manufacturers, track the newsgroup pretty closely. The group has a first-rate faq, and is a breeding ground for terrific trip reports and other literature, even fiction.

Alt.folklore.urban, and snopes.com, which it spawned, are well-respected, widely-cited, sources regarding urban legends. The Internet is the first, and only, mass medium to not only aid in the dissemination of urban legends, but their debunking. The general current sophistication regarding urban legends, exemplified in movies and books as well as everyday conversation, is entirely due to the Internet, and almost entirely traceable to this one newsgroup.
Which groups do you use the most?
rec.climbing


Submitted June 7, 2002, 7:25 AM

How long have you been on Usenet?
SINCE ABOUT 1989
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
My husband got a computor for business and sent me to night school to learn how to use it.
I became interested in news groups in about 1991., due to my interest in modern history.
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
?
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
Writing was all in green. No colours. No adverts. What little information one could get was of a higher quality and took less time to find and get. Found learned people to communicate with on a more personal level.
Which groups do you use the most?
history groups and medical.


Submitted June 5, 2003, 11:06 AM

How long have you been on Usenet?
I started lurking in 1986 when a coworker told me about misc.kids. I didn't post until 1989.
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
A coworker at Sun Microsystems was a huge misc.legal and misc.kids fan and he used to quote those two newsgroups all the time. I finally figured out how to read news, but was too intimidated to post right away. Eventually, that wore off. The first post was made to misc.kids and it was a highly controversial post asking about fetal reduction with a multiple pregnancy. Little did I know, my first post started a flame way. Once that happened, I was off and running. Back then there weren't a lot of newsgroups so I followed quite a few but only posted to 3 or 4.
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
Sun Solais box reading with rn. I was using a 1200 baud modem at home, which made for long periods of wait time. So I mostly read at work during lunch.
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
Usenet was a panecea in the early days, compared to the cesspool it's become now. In the early days, everyone was intelligent and educated. Most people worked at Universities or in the technical sphere, so we had really intense conversations with a lot of thought put into each post. Then, with the introduction to the dreaded AOL, morons came a' calling, and Usenet was opened up to the masses, which I think was detrimental. Now anybody can get a connection through their ISP and spout off any paranoid fantasy. Plus, there's the spam problem. In the old days, the spam was simple. Craig Shergold would arrive and some newbie would post it to the newsgroup, and everyone else would explain why this was an urban legend. Now clueless newbies post all sorts of stuff, but the netiquette has changed and it's not as polite as the old days. Trolls have become more prevalent as well, and some of their efforts are fairly disgusting.

For me, however, the reason I spend much less time on usenet than in the old days is the average intelligence of posters seems to have dropped and the fluff seems to be much more prevalent. When the first cyperhugs ((((((hugs)))))) appeared, I was so repulsed I stopped posting for a couple of years.
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
There have been several extremely memorable exchanges, but I think the one that will always be with me is a women from Ohio had a baby a bit younger than my kids. She posted on misc.kids quite a few times about her child, who seemed developmentally delayed, but she was receiving, imo, terrible medical advice from her doctors. Her child wasn't thriving and was falling behind developmentally. She sent me an email describing his eating and choking problems, and I brought the email to a pediatric specialist at Childrens. He read the email, picked up the phone and called a specialist at the Cleveland Clinic and made an appointment for this woman's child the very next day. Turns out that this small act saved the child's life. I've never forgotten that. Additionally the death of a small child from brain cancer caused me to start a collection for the family because of the medical costs encurred, and we raised hundreds of dollars from people all over the world. Lastly, I'd say the photo albums on both the rec.arts.tv.soaps-cbs and misc.kids were amazing efforts. In several cases I worked on the yearbooks, meeting people IRL and making long lasting friends. When the yearbooks arrived at doorsteps all over the world, and we got to see what people looked like, it was as if the sun rose again. All of these things were in the early 90's, before the influx of clueless newbies.

Of course, the myriad flamewars I've participated in over the years have entertained me no end. :-)
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
I've made incredibly long-lasting IRL friendships with people I met on Usenet. I've vacationed with friends from the 'net, I've hosted foreign visitors I met on the 'net, I've found jobs from friends on the 'net, and I've created a mailing list of many 'net friends that has been going strong for 10 years now. I've been on the creation team for 5 newsgroups, and moderate 2, and those have taught me how to create a community and to encourage good participation from everyone.

I've also discovered that there are whole newsgroups for fluff morons, and that if you post anything intelligent there, they immediately hate you. That's a new development for Usenet, basically useless newsgroups that have virtually no content.
Which groups do you use the most?
I don't read anywhere near what I used to, back when you could read the entire selection of Usenet posts in a couple of hours. Now I read misc.kids, misc.kids.moderated, soc.culture.jewish.moderated, soc.culture.jewish.parenting, rec.arts.tv, alt.infertility.parenting, alt.parenting.twins-triplets, rec.food.equipment, rec.food.cooking, rec.food.baking, ba.food, ne.food, rec.arts.books and news.groups.


Submitted June 19, 2002, 9:43 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
Since the summer of 1994
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
Was on a local BBS that connected to this weird thing called "tha Internet", and instead of our nice local discussion groups, there were these vast confusing conglomerations of messages. I thought it was a *horrible* idea and fought it fiercely. Then the sysadmin recommend alt.folklore.urban to me, and I was hooked...
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
Insanely slow modem.

Believe the first connection I ever made (well before that) was with one of those rubber dohickies that you plonked a heavy telephone receiver into as soon as it started screaming..
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
Yow. Hundreds of memorable experiences.

Three Usenet friends came to Philadelphia when I moved here to return to school (aged 50), and unloaded the moving van, unpacked everything I own, set up bookcases and stereo, moved all the furniture into place.

A group of friends from Usenet raised over $3K for charity in three days in memory of one poster's daughter. They raised $2K for computer equipment for a very popular poster who is disabled and whose computer had died. Plus, I've been given a whole raft of electronic equipment (computers, modems, hard discs, USB hubs, PC cards, keyboards, monitors) and coffee roasters and espresso equipment by generous folks I know from ngs. There's a generosity of spirit about Usenet friends that is startling to the cynical.


How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
Hugely. I have friends across the world now, and am no longer limited by geography in who I relate to. A whole new sense of community, based on how we express ourselves, the things we care about, hobbies, values...

For instance, I've met people from my home newsgroup in London (UK), in Rochester, New York City, the Catskills, San Francisco, Ottawa, Chicago, Baltimore, Boston, and Washington DC.
People I know through the ng have visited from England, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

I've flown across the country to be at a wedding of someone I'd never met face to face. I've been a member of another netfriend's wedding party. A group of us get together biennially for a summer house weekend, and for a post Thanksgiving dinner.

This is a whole new sense of how community is created and sustained, and I feel lucky to be young enough to have benefited from it.

For people who have nonstandard sexual interests or unusual medical conditions, Usenet has given them a worldwide community and reduced their sense of isolation.
Which groups do you use the most?
alt.folklore.urban
alt.coffee

My ISP's highly literate and funny newsgroups and a couple of Philadelphia-specific ones.


Submitted May 7, 2003, 2:20 PM

How long have you been on Usenet?
Since sometime in 1994 or 1995; I can't recall,
precisely.
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
I found a newsgroup devoted to discussing
the American Civil War, and plunged right in.
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
I could connect from a UNIX box on my desk
at work, or via AOL and a dial-up from home.
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
I'm not *that* old a veteran
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
I've had too many to confidently speak of
a *most* memorable one, but one that I will
always remember is my first "flame-war." I'll
not bore everyone with the gory details, but
this other guy and I went at it tooth-and-nail
over whether a certain event happened on Dec.
20, 1860, or Oct. 20, 1860. It was the first
time someone treated me so nastily in such a
public forum.
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
I think it has made a big difference to my
participation in the Civil War research
community. I've met a number of fine folks,
many of whom I have actually met in person,
and some lasting friendships have been spawned.
What's really remarkable is that some of these
folks stayed friends with me after we met!
Which groups do you use the most?
alt.war.civil.usa, soc.history.war.us-civil-war


Submitted July 13, 2002, 12:18 AM

How long have you been on Usenet?
The earliest posting I can find on google is June, 1982. there are earlier postings not in their archive, however. By january of 1983, I had put up a usenet site and was administering usenet instead of just using it. that means I've been on usenet more or less non-stop for 20 years now. how time flies.
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
I came into usenet from two directions. I got access to the Arpanet (semi-officially) through a USC dialup and got an account on the MIT machines. That got me access to the SF-Lovers mailing list, which was gatewayed to fa.sf-lovers (and is now rec.arts.sf.written). Around the same time, someone at the college I was attending pointed me at the usenet server (this was sometime in 1981), and I started using usenet itself.

Prior to that, I'd been involved in a group that had written a BBS (in fortran) to run on a CDC-Cyber that connected all of the CSU california campuses, as well as an e-mail system (in APL) and a real-time chat program. I ended up taking over and enhancing the BBS system, so I was involved in multi-site community systems even before I discovered usenet. It made the transition to usenet a natural one for me, though.

What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
300 baud dialup (using an IMSAI 8080 custom coded to be a VT52), and direct access using dumb terminals on campus.
If you used Usenet before 1990, what were the early days like? How has Usenet changed over time?
At the start, it was fairly small, and you got to know people pretty well. Sort of clubby, in both the good and bad ways. Mostly good.

It's hard to imagine, but compare a small mailing list of 200 people with 5-10 messages a day who know each other with, say, SF-Lovers. The first one is usenet then, the second one is usenet now. It's hard to generate close friendships with high volumes and large groups, so the dynamics of the groups change over time and become more distant and impersonal, which only fuels the flamage.

Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
Most memorable? Met my current wife in rec.arts.comics, while breaking up with my first wife (who I met on the CSU computer, see above). this was in 1983, back when online romances were unusual enough that both the NY Times and Washington Post ended up doing minor feature pieces on us.

How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
god, got a decade?

The online world (starting with usenet) has been a key part of my life for 20+ years. I grew up with usenet. It grew up with me. Sometimes we were good for each other, sometimes not. A large part of my social life is based around people I've met online. My wife I met online.

How has usenet affected me? how has it NOT? For better or worse, the only thing that's been more influencing on my life is my parents. They get credit for all the good things, of course.


Which groups do you use the most?
These days? While I still run the usenet machines for my company, I do very little time with usenet. It's changed, I changed, and we went in different directions. The groups I pay most attention to, I guess, are rec.woodworking and the sci.astro telescope groups. I still scan rec.arts.sf.written, but sometimes I feel like it's mostly too keep on eye on which of my friends has died this time...


Submitted July 13, 2002, 5:56 AM

How long have you been on Usenet?
since February 1990.
How did you first get involved with Usenet? Tell us about your first experience reading, posting, or responding to messages.
the Informatics dept. at the University of Oslo used netnews as an official channel for information, and placed "read News" just below "read mail" in the menu offered users of Emacs, the default development environment and mail client. I think I used GNUS (the ancestor of Gnus), though. a friend started using rn after mistyping "rm".

netnews had only been available for little more than a year then, and the announcement for its availability could still be found in the archive of old Message of the Day messages. I remember it cautioned "we get two megabytes of articles every day, so don't try to read it all!"

anyone was allowed to read, but you had to apply for post access to the international groups. the form contained questions to verify you had read and understood Emily Postnews' guide to Usenet, "why do you think you will contribute positively?". I applied for post access to eunet.micro.acorn and alt.religion.computers, being an advocate for the fringe computer Acorn Archimedes (it rocks! it really does!). in June, I applied for access to alt.mud, and the news admin then removed my restrictions altogether. I'd rather not speak of my very first foray into Usenet discussions, it's too embarrassing...
What type of connection did you first use to access Usenet?
I used the Sun 3/50 workstations in the labs.
Tell us about the most memorable experience or exchange you\'ve had on Usenet.
I'm the administrator of the no.* hierarchy, and even very petty things can attract a lot of heat. I once fixed the spelling of a newsgroup name (no.fag.sjukepleie) so that it fit the official recommendation. the change was similar to "apologise" -> "apologize" in that "apologize" is allowable in both British and American English, while "apologise" is mostly used by conservative Britons. this enraged the conservatives, and some still, a year later, keep bringing this issue up.
How has Usenet affected you and/or the communities related to the newsgroups you participate in?
I've spent an inordinate amount of time reading and helping others on Usenet. it's been very important for learning of new techniques in my job, even though I must admit it's not the most effective method for doing so...
Which groups do you use the most?
comp.unix.solaris, comp.arch, alt.games.video.sony-playstation2 (the contrast between the first two and the latter is staggering), and a multitude of Norwegian groups of mostly technical nature. I still read rec.humor.funny and even laugh some times.


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