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Usenet is the original Internets lulz and hate machine. It was created at least 100 years ago by basement dwellers and other furries as a means of sharing information about how much their parents were making them pay rent now that they were 30. Usenet messages are similar to e-mail, except they are public, and anyone can view and participate in the drama.
Influence of Usenet
Usenet is of significant cultural importance for the Internets, having been the beta testing ground for important Internets features such as spam, trolling, Internet Law, and the flame war. Usenet pioneered drama generation in the field of technology and some argue that it is in fact the grandfather of all lulz on the Internets. Many advanced linguistic communication techniques also originated or were popularized on Usenet, such as "NO U" and "I will hack your computer if you don't STFU."
Usenet was vastly improved when AOL added access to its service package. The influx of millions of AOL members breathed new life into Usenet, and they were welcomed with open arms by old users. Today, Usenet features less lulz due to a move towards formats more accessible to your average 16 year old girl, such as Livejournal and MySpace. The major advantage it has over blogs, though, is that Usenet requires no personal registration with the group concerned. This facilitates drama generation by encouraging trolls, the easy creation of sock puppets, and so forth. The ability to use any name and email address enables easy application of classic techniques such as HAHAHA DISREGARD THAT, I SUCK COCKS.
Articles posted to Usenet are organized into topical categories called newsgroups, which are themselves logically organized into hierarchies of subjects. Everything you want is in the alt.* heirarchy, for instance, alt.binaries.slack and alt.sex.colostomy are within the alt.* hierarchy. The other top level hierarchies are: comp.*, misc.*, news.*, rec.*, sci.*, soc.*, and talk.*.
At first, Usenet was only used to share erotic furry stories. Then, one day, after the tubes had expanded, someone figured out that if binary files were encoded as text, Usenet could be used to share not only furry stories, but pictures of Japanese people eating each other's shit. Since then, Usenet has been an important port for valuable Internets exports such as viruses, child porn, and bestiality videos.
The type of Usenet client one uses is crucial for a positive experience. The best client to use is of course the AOL newsgroup reader. Not only does it provide optimal quality and support all binary encoding types, but it will ensure that everyone else knows you are an AOL user, which will make Usenet regulars more likely to respect the opinions expressed in your posts. If your parents canceled your AOL account, the next best thing is to use Microsoft's Outlook Express. You should make sure to use MIME encoding when posting binary attachments to messages, because everyone likes mimes.
Usenet can also be accessed via the Web. Virtually all messages posted to Usenet are now archived and made available in publicly-searchable databases, such as Google Groups. When Google announced that they would make publicly available an archive of Usenet text messages dating back at least 100 years, it created much drama and lulz— all the racist remarks and sexual deviant confessions that had ever been posted were now easily available for all of the Internets to see. Many of these had been made when the Internets were obscure and only basement dwellers who paid for access by the minute knew about them, and contained the poster's PowerWord: IRL Name, creating great lulz for them, their family, and coworkers. This archival service allows us to forever retain the rich cultural heritage and historical records that had previously been passed on only through oral tradition, such as the generous Nigerian man who was always offering to give anyone half of his vast fortune if they would only help him transfer it into America by giving him all their bank account information.
Creation of alt.*
After the Great Renaming, two uber hackers, upset that their drug recipe groups were rejected by the backbone cabal, created an unmoderated alternative, the alt.* hierarchy, where anyone with a pulse and a modem could create a newsgroup. The first alt newsgroup was alt.sex, setting a precedent for alt.*:
....and so forth. With alt.*, a new, more alternative era would dawn for Usenet. The creation of alt.* marked the cultural high-watermark for Usenet.
Social Structure of Usenet
Proper Netiquette should be always be observed on Usenet. Some of the most important things to remember:
- Always type your posts in ALL CAPS, as this facilitates easy reading for the average Usenet user, whose eyes are all squinty like a Chinese person because of the poor lighting common in most basements.
- When you do not see what you are looking for in a specific group, you should request it; suggested subject title format is "WHER R TEH FUCKIGN BRITTNEY SPEARZ N00DZ YOU FUCKING FAGOTS???/?//???/"
- The files you request do not need to relate to the subject of the group. For example, you MUST request bestiality porn in alt.rec.disney.
- To increase your chances of your request being fulfilled, you should include in your body text the following: "i dunt have teim to check back here again so plz just email me the files, TIA". (PROTIP: TIA here stands for Thanks In Advance!) Note that you MUST use your real email address for this to work, otherwise you will miss out on valuable offers.
- When you are ready to move on to posting porn of your own, you should include PAR2 recovery files to make up for any file corruption or missing posts that are common on Usenet. The most important thing to remember about making PAR2 files is to include not only the archived and split files in the recoverable data, but the original large .avi file as well.
The kool kids on Usenet hang out in alt.config. This is a lot like b except there are no lulz and you can't get a Perma-ban, not even for sending someone to last measure. Many of the people here are Usenet server administrators, or like to Role Play being such; consequently they have never had any sex, evar, and are quick to anger.
When posting to alt.config you should always remember that alt.config is serious business. alt.config is where you go to propose new alt.* groups, even though you do not need to propose anything there, ever; all you have to do is send out a new group command message. alt.config functions as a forum for inflating the e-penis of its regulars and rejecting all proposals for new news groups. If you fail to propose your new group in alt.config before sending out the make group message, all the basement dwellers who frequent it will get their panties in a bunch and send out remove group messages with the reason "not discussed on alt.config," which everyone will then ignore.
For lulz, it is encouraged to send out remove group messages to remove alt.config with the reason "not discussed on alt.config," as alt.config was not discussed on alt.config before it was created.
One of the biggest things alt.config regulars have a problem with is the naming conventions for groups. Thus, it is encouraged to create groups with entirely new hierarchies, particularly ones that are really sentences with periods instead of spaces, for example george.bush.is.a.faggot.and.i.hate.him.a.lot; this creates 11 different groups with one message, and moar is always better.
Usenet Memes And Slang
Since bandwidth was generally sparse and speeds of connection slower than shit, most Usenet memes tended to be plaintext-based and often in acronym form, with only the occasional ASCII art attempts at breaking the mold. Here's a short list of original text memes and slang of the Intertubes:
- GTFO - Get the fuck out.
- PTOGTFO - Post tits or get the fuck out.
- STFU - Shut the fuck up.
- PPOSTFU - Post proof or shut the fuck up.
- Test failed pig fucker. - Posted in response to someone making a "test" post.
- IKYABWAI - I know you are, but what am I? - Original version of NO U!
- PKB - Pot, Kettle, Black
- FTW - For the win.
- QED - Quod erat demonstrandum, which literally means, "Which was to be demonstrated".
- IIRC - If I recall correctly.
- LOL - Laughing out loud. - Eventually corrupted into "LULZ".
- ROFLMAO - Rolling on floor laughing my ass off.
- HTH - Hope that helps.
- HAND - Have a nice day. - This and the one before it were usually posted sarcastically.
- OTOH - On the other hand.
- AFAIC - As far as I'm concerned.
- AFAIK - As far as I know.
- YMMV - Your mileage may vary.
- Rtfm - Read the fucking manual.
- YHBT - You have been trolled.
- FOAD - Fuck off and die.
- 1337 - To show the world what an elite uncle fucker you are.
- AlTeRnAtInG cApS - This was once considered intimidating and a show of grand technical knowledge.
- Hax0r - See above.
- DYOFDW - Do your own fucking dirty work.
- Pr0n - Delicious porns.
- D00d - Dude - Many old school text memes were adopted mostly as a means of documenting and immortalizing the idiotic lexicon of various kooks and trolls.
- UDP - Usenet death penalty.
- Plonk - Before the ban hammer ever existed, users could only rely on filtering/ignoring others, often called plonking.
- chix0r - A girl.
- Spank - What you said when you delivered a righteous flame.
- Spankard - Someone who has been spanked.
- Owned - See above.
- Flonk - Flonk, flonk, flonk.
- Froup - A Usenet group.
- Poast - A Usenet post.
- Skript/Packet Kiddie - A wannabe hacker.
- Lamer - Self explanatory.
- Net Abuser - Pretty much the worst thing you could be called on Usenet, normally reserved for those who crossed the RL line and started stalking/targeting people in the real world.
- Slurping - Precursor to circle-jerking.
- Renob - An insult (boner spelled backwards). It was fairly common to use existing insults spelled backwards as Usenet insults.
- Sig or .Sig - A Usenet signature, placed on the bottom of your posts, using a double dash delimiter.
- Top Posting - Noobish behavior, basically fucks up thread continuity. Eventually this bastardized posting style would be adopted by Twitter as their standard practice.
- Sig Trimming - Proper post etiquette dictated that you cropped out the previous posters sig when replying. Most newsreaders would auto-crop sigs.
- ADD ME TO YOUR LITS! - Precursor to SUBSCRIBE!
- Smep or Smeps - An term of affection coined by Ben Capoeman circa 1995, later bastardized as "sperm meets egg please" by noobs who didn't know its origin.
- Borked - Fucked.
- Liak - Like.
- Moar - More.
- n00b or newbie - Precursor to Newfag.
- Nyme - Name.
- Nyme Shift or Nyme Shifting - When someone would change their posting name, trying to appear as someone else, usually given away by their message ID.
- Teh - Used to turn a verb/adjective into a noun and vice versa. As an example, "I has teh win!"
This is like the Milhouse of Usenet subculture. A forced meme branching off from Meow primarily based off cascading and newgroup creation flooding (adding .snuh onto the end of every group in the alt hierarchy for example and then trying to get the groups forcibly propagated).
On Usenet it's impossible to actually ban anyone... ever. As such verbally sparring on Usenet is often dumbed down to the point of simply trying to get the last post in and generally spamming the ever living shit out of everything not nailed down. At its best it tries to be condescendingly clever, with the person who has the most creatively cutting commentary being the perceived winner of the one who winds up "spanked".
Since no one can ever be banned though, for anything, flaming on Usenet is often less about trolling or antagonizing people and more a way of life. Most Usenet regulars are completely desensitized to flaming, to the point where even the harshest of insults and invective attacks won't penetrate their insanely thick skin. If your purpose in flaming on Usenet is ever to actually try and make someone feel bad... boy you sure fucked the wrong little red writing whore, cause yer gonna get self-inflicted dick blisters in the worst way imaginable.
Ultimately flaming on Usenet should be considered a form of performance art and a cultural eccentricity born of a ban-hammer free flavor of social media. Oldbie Usenet regulars often have a lot of trouble adjusting to other social media platforms, which have become rife with overly sensitive little snitty snowflakes who completely lose their shit at the drop of a single F-bomb.
In the earliest part of the 2000s, most ISPs discontinued the practice of including an NNTP server, which meant that you would have to pay an extra $20 bux a month for a subscription to Giganews or other service. Internauts, being cheap bastards, decided instead to find their warez and mp3s on Napster, and then on BitTorrent after Napster went under.
- Jai Maharaj, a troll who is included in your Usenet experience.
- Godwin's Law
- Richard Bullis, the net abuser to end all net abusers.
- Ray Gordon
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