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It occurred to me that I know more about Usenet than anybody else I know. Which is rather sad, really. The only way to marginally decrease how truly pathetic this fact is would be to poke fun at it. So, without further ado, the opening of my latest (vaguely amusing (for ten seconds)) work:

Bluffer's Guide to Usenet

First off, don't call it Usenet. The only people who call it Usenet are educated and sensible, and if you emulate them, you'll never fit in. You're required to give it an off-the-wall name, like "teh usernet", or simply refer to the system as "newsgroups". Now you're ready to begin, here's some background.

History of Usenet

Usenet was invented in 1995 by the AOL Corporation, as a forum for misplaced questions and advertisements. It is still owned by AOL, and users are required to remember this when posting, and act accordingly. Over the years, Usenet has evolved into a complete social system, along with its own dynamics and rules. These will be covered later. Here's some terminology to get you started:

A discussion forum for topics unrelated to the name of the group. Do not go in and assume that title dictates behaviour, or you will be upset. The topic is dictated by the regulars of the group, and their own particular interests and fetishes. Furthermore, do not call it a "newsgroup". It is a "newsfroup", or simply a "froup".

This is where messages are held. There is a Central Usenet Server where all posts are kept, and monitored by Admin. Posts are deleted from Usenet regularly if your opinions conflict with those of Admin, so try not to be too individual.

This is a Usenet message, with various attributes such as who the message is from, which newsgroups it is posted to, and exact details of how to hack the computer of the sender. If you know who to ask, it is always possible to hack the writer of a message, even if they are offline. Be aware of this, and try to act with the appropriate level of fear and/or hysteria. Refer to posts as "poasts", or "postse", as an homage to the glorious site

There are many Usenet Lists. There is a List Of People Who Must Be Killfiled, which is known to everybody except you. There is also a List Of People Who Are Evil, which is again, available freely to everybody but yourself. Every individual user of Usenet has their own lists pertaining to various Usenet dynamics, and it is important that you do to. Create lists, and inform people that they are being added. Refer to this as a "lits" if you want to impress the regulars.

This is a component of your news reading software which, when activated, prevents another user from posting to Usenet. When you turn on your killfile, the person against whom you wield it will vanish from Usenet, although others will still pretend that the person posts, and forge replies to them. Do not be fooled - they are gone forever, and their opinions are safely silenced.

In the event of someone saying *plonk* in response to something you say, it is a high form of insult. It is short for "plonker" which anyone who's ever seen Only Fools and Horses will recognise as highly offensive. The person is challenging you to a fight - insult them back, and if they don't reply, that means you have won. Declare this to everybody, for you are a hero.

Furthermore, there are some acronyms you should learn, both to enhance your experience, and for protection. They are as follows:

BRB - [I'll] Be Right Back
LOL - [I'm] Laughing Out Loud
STFU - So True, Fellow Usenetter. (use this instead of the clichéd "I agree")
FTP - Freely Transferred Paedophilia (avoid people who link to thier "ftp sites". refer them immediately to their ISP (which is French for AOL))
ROFLMAO - I am a fucking moron (translated from the latin equivalent)

People on Usenet *love* acronyms. The more complex the better - the best thing is if you make them up as you go along. People on Usenet love a challenge. For this reason, it is also advisable that you sometimes use numbers in place of letters - it adds a little more variety to your posts, and gives your fellow users something to do. Some handy translations, for those who require them, are:
O = 0
I = 1
Z = 2
E = 3
A = 4
S = 5
R = 6
T = 7
Q = 8
G = 9
Use these in every post, and people will believe that you're a regular in no time at all.

Um, I'm still working on it though... :o)

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I think some of the irony contained herein may well be lost on - ermm - a lot of people perusing your LJ!

(Deleted comment)
Right thats it - go to the back of the "ur hawt" queue young man!!!!!!!!!

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These girls are all actually young gay american teenage boys silly! Everyone knows that!

(Deleted comment)
No!? I don't/didn't either - but it seemed like a good rumour to start nonetheless!

Heh, perhaps, but then again, a lot of the people on my friends list are from the AA, or various groups we've come across, so they'll hopefully appreciate it :o)

It'll get more amusing, I hope ;o)

Well I for one was amazed to learn that AOL actually created usenet in '95! Amazing!

I'll get me coat shall I? ;0)

Gave me a grin for a second anyway. : )

i'd like to clear up the whole "hawt" thing, cause it's been driving me nuts...

it's "h-o-t-t" 2 t's for extra hotness.

damn prepubecents....

anyway, you seem to have a lot of time on your hands... sad... very sad jay. ;0)

Better than being busy all the time :o)

Well, I beg to differ, I mean... if you're busy with something that interests your... or just having some damn fun.... I wanna go rock climbing!

I think it's very irresponsible of you to mislead your fans, especially those who think you are "hawt". If only they knew what I know.

Anyway I have to correct you because the Usenet is a lot older than 1995. It must have been at least 10 years ago that I was told the true origin of the Usenet.

Apparently there were these fishermen who were trying to eek out a living catching fish in their boats (and this is why we surf or trawl through the web) who were just not catching enough. So they had this loose group (and newsgroup is just a mis-pronunciation) who exchanged random thoughts and after a few days at sea these thoughts could be very random and would often have no bearing on what they had started talking about. Anyway, not only were they not catching enough fish but they felt the need to try to formalise the way they exchanged messages. One day one of them had a great idea and shouted "Use net" as he looked at the interconnected or intersecting configuration or system of components which also reminded him of a web. And that's how both the world wide web and usenet were born. You'll find that most of the terminology has a "fishy" basis. Many of the abbreviations are taken straight from the fishermen's code. Rather than signalling a whole sentence they used mnemonics to save time:

TCP/IP = Trawler Caught Pilchards / Ickle Pilchards - a well known phrase to let people know what was going on at sea.
HTTP = Herrings Take Tons of Patience - meaning don't wait up as the herring are difficult to catch.
FTP = Foreign Trawlers Present - meaning the bloody Icelanders are after our cod.
HTML = Hot Trawlerman Make Love - I've been at sea for a week.....

I could go on but I think I have made my point.


I'll bear that in mind... :o)

did you crosspost this to /~blx by any chance? :P

anyway could i add a few please? (feel free to edit as you see fit)


if someone says *plonk* in response to something you say, it is a high form of insult. it is short for "plonker" which anyone who's ever seen Only Fools and Horses will recognise as highly offensive.

acronyms, use of

people on usenet *love* acronyms. the more complex the better. the best thing is if you make them up as you go along. people on usenet love a challenge.

obviously part of the fun is finding them out for yourself so i shan't spoil them all. i will however give you a few to get you started:

BRB - [i'll] be right back
LOL - [i'm] laughing out loud
STFU - so true, fellow usenetter. (use this instead of "i agree" which tends to piss people off)
FTP - freely transferred paedophilia (avoid people who link to thier "ftp sites". refer them immediately to their ISP (incidentally, ISP means AOL in french))
ROFLMAO - i am a fucking moron (translated from the latin equivalent)

and lastly, for now a variation on your point "Refer to posts as "poasts"."

it is also acceptable to write "postse" as an homage to the glorious site

i hope all this helped. if you need any further assistance don't hesitate to ask. would it be okay to include some of your post in my forthcoming book "Netiquette For The Petit Cerebrum". i was going to call it "Netiquette for Dummies" before being threatened with legal action. apparently it's some kind of "trade mark".


Ha, now that I've added those to the post, it makes it look like your comment is merely repeating what I have already said. Only without capital letters.

See how I make you look foolish!!!!!!!

Okay, I'm done having my fun now. Cheers for those, they rock :o)

funny. lol l33t talk :)

Furthermore, do not call it a "newsgroup". It is a "newsfroup", or simply a "froup".

nah, i think you mean "site", or more accuratly "channel" ;-)

oh, and you forgot to mention how use newsfroup poasters simply LOVE large pretty html posts. with sounds. and how WebTV is the easiest way to access it *nods*

Aha, of course, yes....

And that part comes under Netiquette, which is the next section :o)

Awesome. You are an internetty peoples' poet.

Don't forget:

* * *


Knowing about the Big Seven will garner you much respect from Usenet veterans. The term is a reference to the origins of Usenet, as the first version (the 'demo') of Usenet was tested by seven very fat geeks, as these were the only people who used the Interweb before *you* made it cool.


Usenet is ordered into different hierarchies or 'layers' of newsgroups. There are many different abbreviations that comprise the name of a group, and figuring these out can be almost as much fun as actually poasting. Here are a few sample components:

rec = received. Rec newsgroups are used by people to broadcast to their friends that the item/s described in the rest of the newsgroup's title have been delivered safely.
alt = anarchistis, lunatics and terrorists. Sorry, this is just too cool for me to come up with an alternative. I LOEV TEH INERTWEB!!!1!1
england = Rather than being an abbreviation, this means that the newsgroup in question is about the fictional country of England, where a despotic Queen rules over the elves, dwarves and halflings of her nation with an iron fist. Children are forced to sweep chimneys in England.
culture = like 'england', this is not an abbreviation. However, it is just as fictional - there is no such thing as culture on Usenet.
fido7 = these newsgroups are about the pet dogs of the big seven.
sci = Si. Si is the god of Usenet. He designed it under license from the AOL corporation. However, because of his holy and divine nature, his true name may not be used lightly, so "sci" was devised as a method of paying homage to his genius without drawing down his wrath (you may have heard of 'computer viruses': these are in fact the wrath of Si).
comp = compact. These newsgroups are so small that only midgets can use them.
microsoft = Suprisingly, these newsgroups are not owned be Microsoft corporation. In fact, AOL constructed them in order to provide a home for militant anti-Microsoft guerrilla warriors ('hackers').


IP stands for 'Internet Postal'. Internet Postal Addresses are used to send 'packets' of digital information between Internet users. These 'packets' are delivered for free by the United States Postal Service (the Internet is only used in America, because America is the best country in the world).

(this last one's drifting a bit, you can probably make it more relevant :P)

* * *

Edit as you see fit, it's probably not very funny, but I've not really slept in ...quite some time. I can't figure it out. That's bad, right?

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