An alternative Primer on Net Abuse, Free Speech, and Usenet
                              Dave Hayes


Subject: 0. Table of Contents

	1. Introduction
		1.1) What this document is
		1.2) Prerequisites
	2. Background
	3. Basic Definitions 
	4. Basic Philosophies 
		4.1) Declaration of Free Speech
		4.2) What is 'True Free Speech'?
		4.3) What is 'net abuse'?
                4.4) What is Censorship?
                4.5) What is filtering?
                4.6) What is a Dishonorable ISP?
	5. Frequently Debated Windmills
		5.1) Arbitrary notions of "net abuse"
                5.2) The fallacy of "harm"
		5.3) The existance of the Cabal
                5.4) The uselessness of reputations
		5.5) The bludgeon of ownership
	6. A response to the "Alternative View" of this 
           "Alternative View"
	7. Viewpoints, Case Histories, and Stories
                7.1) One user's viewpoint of net history and politics
                7.2) An excerpt from the FAQ
		7.3) Those who do not share the anti-spam zealotry
                7.4) On the nature of Usenet
        8. Credits and Revision History


Subject: 1. Introduction

1.1) What this document is

This document represents an ongoing attempt to educate people about
true freedom of speech among the emerging cyber-communities. There is
a companion document to this, the USENET Site of Virtue FAQ, which
should be read AFTER this document.

1.2) Prerequisites

If you don't know what Usenet is, you're reading the wrong document!

Go look in the newsgroup news.answers for appropriate introductory
documents. There are many, and each has their own point of view.  In
order to understand the discussions here you should be familiar with
USENET in general, and have a reasonable amount of experience posting
and/or reading news.

If these documents are not in news.answers or news.announce.newusers 
on your site, they can be had by anonymous ftp from in 
the directory /pub/usenet-by-hierarchy/news/announce/newusers.

If you have a WWW browser, the following URLS should help you out:

It helps to be familiar with news administration, how news works
in general, and have kept up in some discussions on news.admin.*,
but this is not totally mandatory for understanding this document.

Also, you should believe that no expression, however annoying,
profit-oriented or counterproductive, should be prevented from being
distributed. If you do not believe in this way, this document will
probably make you angry.  (If that's what you want, then read it.)

The generic opposing document to this one is located at: 

Readers interested in the opposing viewpoints may wish to look at this
URL for reference.

If you wish to see what flaming in FAQs is like, read the document
that tries to respond to this document:

See section 6 for a cute irony to this document.


Subject: 2. Background

For a long time, I've been a loud advocate of free speech in most of
the USENET related administration groups. I've participated in a few
net.political actions to ensure the freedom of speech that I'd like
to enjoy. For my efforts, I've been publically branded a loon, insane,
idealistic, moronic, obnoxious, wacko, a kook, and other expletives
which I'd rather not go into.

Many times, I've repeated the same arguments over and over, all of
which relate to this ultimate goal of absolute free speech. Well,
after several years even a loon such as myself gets tired of repeating
the same stuff over and over. It had been suggested that I write a FAQ
of sorts on my ideas, and I felt the time was right, so here it is.

Herein lies the heart of my arguments, and questions with answers
about them. The companion document, the USENET Site of Virtue FAQ
describes a new credo that willing USENET participants can actually
adopt and use if they so desire. 

I implore you not to adopt -any- credo (even this one) or philosophy
just because someone you see does so as well, for these credos only
work for individuals who have personally and honestly decided that
these are good ideas. Use your own judgement and take your power back
from those who wish to steal it from you. 


Subject: 3. Basic Definitions 

Here are the definitions which you'll find apply to things in this
document, and most of my arguments. It is suggested that the reader of
this document adopt these definitions when reading as sort of a 
"preamble" to the works herein.

Beliefs - Networks of assumptions about the way things are.

Cabal - Those net citizens who by their own consensus reality, set
        themselves apart from and superior to usenet users and use
        this illusory superiority to restrict or censor any usenet 
        user's attempts at communication through usenet.

Censorship - The attempt, successful or not, by an arbitrary set of
             human beings to remove the ability of any other arbitrary
             but disjoint set of human beings to perceive the intended
             Message of a human being. (See Message below)

Community - Any arbitrary group of human beings who gather together
            for one or more purposes. Synonym for Mob.

Content - That part of a message which does not contain items
          absolutely necessary for the proper transport of the message
          to its intended recipients.

Control - Regulation of activity and content. Also, that which should only
          be applied to oneself. The need to control others is a
          dishonorable symptom of the failed need to control oneself.
Ethics - Rules of conduct which appease and satisfy one's own true self.
         Sometimes directly opposed to Morals.

Freedom - The ability of a person to execute any arbitrary action that
          the person desires. 

Free Speech - That speech which does not conflict with Ethics.

Lawful Speech - That speech which does not conflict with Morals.

Message - Any usenet article which does not cause another article 
          to be deleted from a news spool via anything other than
          the standard expiry functions of a news server. 

Mob - Any arbitrary group of human beings who gather together for
      one or more purposes. Synonym for Community. 

Morals - Rules of conduct which appease and satisfy a Community.
         Sometimes directly opposed to Ethics. 

Obligation - Required action due to previous agreement or
             condition. This is what most people call "responsibility".

Responsibility - A voluntary state of awareness, which results in
                 actions for the highest and best good of one's self.
                 Also, your ability to respond. Responsibility can 
                 never be coerced or enforced, but must always be a
                 free choice. 


Subject: 4. Basic Philosophies

4.1) Declaration of Free Speech

We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Humans are created
equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable
Rights, that among these are Unhindered Communications, Unregulated
Exchange of Ideas, and Freedom of Speech, that to secure these rights
the Usenet is instituted on networks of the world, that when any
administration of Usenet becomes destructive to these ends, it is the
Right of the People to alter or to abolish it and to institue new
administration, laying its foundation on such Principles, and
organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely
to effect their Free Communication.

[With much thanks to the Declaration of Independence]

4.2) What is True Free Speech?

True Free Speech is that speech which is hindered by nothing other
than the speaking individual's own Ethics.

Where True Free Speech exists, no external party may restrict someone
else's speech, for any reason, period. 

Speech, in the above definition, does *not* restrict another's speech.
It can't. It takes a person to *act* on that speech to restrict
another's speech. That person, then, would be the responsible party.
A news admin setting up a news server to act is one way to create the
illusion of speech-restrictive speech.

The litmus test for True Free Speech is speech that makes you -want-
to silence another person. If that speech is not silencable by you 
(whether you want to or not), you have a state of True Free Speech.

4.3) What is net abuse?

Any action that stops a properly configured transport system from
performing its normal store and forward services. 

Examples of net abuse:
	-Posting articles that directly crash the news server that
         is to inject the post into the news stream.
        -Posting articles that contain control messages designed to 
         crash news servers.
        -Directly hacking into a news server to disable it.

Examples of things that are NOT net abuse:
	-Volumnous posting
        -Excessive crossposting
        -Off topic posting
        -Flaming or arguing

For the definition of "properly configured", you'll have to see the
"Site of Virtue" FAQ.

4.4) What is Censorship?

See the definition of Censorship above. 

Another definition for Censorship is the restriction of communicated
ideas based on arbitrary acceptability standards of some Community.
This is a special case of the more general definition above. 

On Usenet, Censorship is defined to occur via one or more of the
following acts:

1 - Automatically reading or parsing certain specific headers of a news
article to determine whether or not to accept the article.  The
following RFC 1036 headers can NOT be interpreted in any way, in order
to avoid censorship:


2 - Reading or parsing the body of a news article to determine whether
or not to accept the article. Cryptographic checksums are excluded
from this criteria. 

3 - Posting any message that would cause any other message to be
deleted from one or more news spools. Note that this does -not-
include removing another article via the expiry functions of a
news server.

4 - Any invokation of the "Usenet Death Penalty", active or passive.
A passive UDP is the aliasing out of one or more sites from a newsfeed
that are not directly connected to the news server. An Active UDP
is essentially a cancelbot, and also covered by 3) above. 

4.5) What is filtering?

Filtering is the act of taking responsibility for what you read by
configuring your newsreader to present only what you want to see.
This is a special and expected case of Censorship above, simply
extended to include -you- as the remover of ability from others
to communicate to yourself. This is the -only- acceptable form
of censorship, IMO. 

There will undoubtedly be articles you will see, whomever you are,
that you do not like.  Ultimately, however, filtering these articles
out is the personal responsibility of every reader of Usenet.  

There are many filtering techniques in use by modern newsreaders.
Consult your newsreader's documentation for details on any of these
methods, if they exist. These methods are (in no particular order):

- The "next message" key

ALL newsreaders can use this method, which is basically to stop
reading and move on to the next article. There is a "next" key or
button somewhere on your newsreader, and this is one of the first
things you should find before beginning to read news.

-Menu Selection

Most newsreaders allow you to select articles presented on a menu.
The menu usually contains the author, the subject, and date posted.
This information alone, used correctly, can filter most unwanted trash
for you if you select only those authors and subjects you are
interested in.


Some newsreaders "thread" articles, trying to preserve the "tree" of
discussion. A thread is simply an article presented with all the 
articles that replied to the original article, and all the replies
to the replies, and so on. Usually discussions happen in threads,
which helps to pull the discussion out of the other articles so
you can focus on it. 


Some newsreaders have a "killfile", which is essentially a list of
authors you never want to see postings from. This solves the problem
of an over-prolific poster whom you are tired of seeing. 

As Russ Allbery says: "The most effective killfile is your own


Some newsreaders, mostly UNIX based readers, have a feature called
"scoring" which attempts to assign a numeric score to each and every
article based on patterns in the headers or body. This is a very
useful feature, as you can rate (say) the authors numerically and
have your favorites show at the top. 

The best way to use scoring is to define a "threshold" score such that
articles below the threshold are silently ignored. Then it becomes
easier to rate authors and subjects to maximal effect. 

4.6) What is a Dishonorable ISP?

There are those who expend enormous amounts of energy to Censor
articles, either by cancelling them or by complaining to the ISP of
the poster. To the Free Speech Advocate, these are dishonorable
actions at best.

However, if an ISP complies with the intent of these complaints, then
that ISP is dishonorable. The aware Free Speech Advocate should pick
another one, for the net effect of a dishonorable ISP is that anything
controversial can be silenced with complaints.

Usually, dishonorable ISPs have wording to that effect in their 
Terms of Service or Acceptable Use Policy. Here is a gross example:

> "[...] While the freedom of speech is protected by the First
> Amendment of the Constitution, any activity, action or e-mail from
> any user that triggers complaints, hate-mail, or blocks on our
> Domains at a particular site is prohibited.  Dealing with these
> complaints ties up computer and human resources. These are resources
> that should be used to maintain the system and support our user
> base. [...]"

Notice how easy it would be to silence a user at this ISP. Simply
mail off your complaint, and convince 10 of your friends to help you.


Subject: 5. Frequently Debated Windmills

This section contains the many frequently debated arguments (with
"Dave Hayes" like answers) over free speech issues. If you find
yourself embroiled in a debate with a control freak, the information
below should help you out. If you find yourself embroiled in a debate 
with me, you might want to save time and read below. 

5.1) Arbitrary notions of "net abuse"

Many vocal opponents to free speech tend to cite "abuse" as their
only reason for not embracing freedom. Here are some common strawman
assertions and their rebuttals.

- Free speech is all well and good, but what is to prevent someone
  from unreasonable users from committing "net-abuse"?

The fallacy here is that someone else is defining "net-abuse" quite
differently than I do above.

Any label of "net-abuse" is based on an arbitrary standard of conduct
held by a person or group of people (even mine). There is nothing that
says that this standard of conduct is the one true and right standard
of conduct.  People's standards vary.

You, as a free person, have an unalienable right to a choice as to
whether or not to adopt any standard of conduct. This is based on your
ethics, not their morals. Thus, if someone labels you "unreasonable",
that's not your's theirs.

I'm not saying you should now go out and kill someone. I'm merely 
stressing the importance of ethics, internal codes of conduct which
you will not violate (because -you- wrote them), in determining
whether or not you did something wrong. 

- But there IS a general consensus on what net abuse is! Most news 
  admins have adopted it.

There is a strong vocal minority of news admins who constantly preach
the same party line (see definition of Cabal above), and it is 
a tactic of propaganda to keep repeating the same thing over and over
again hoping it will be eventually regarded as true. 

In fact, don't let anyone fool you into believing that there some
written consensus on or standard of net.abuse. There isn't, and if it
claims to be, you can determine the invalidity of such a claim by
observing just how many people argue about it. Without a consensus,
it's quite arbitrary as to what people will claim abuse is.

If someone has written up something, think about whether you agreed to
abide by it or not before the fact when you are called to task on some
violation. It is the root of dishonor to hold someone responsible to a
code of conduct they didn't know about. Not only does this not work,
but it's damn unfair. 

You may get localized consensi who decide to act not unlike the street
gangs in LA or the legal gangs in American Federal Government, armed
with some random form of authority (e.g. weapons, laws, shell
scripts), they attempt to bully people into submission into their
way. This does not mean that there is a general consensus. You can't
expect 50,000 or more who come to a consensus on an issue this

Typically, the label of abuse is used as a wedge to stop someone from
posting something that isn't liked, but this isn't always the
case. Sometimes, people are genuinely trying to help but are
misinformed as to how to do it. Such people should be gently reminded
of the arbitrary nature of their standards, wide variety of people on
the net, and existance of their killfile.

5.2) The fallacy of "harm"

Some strawmen advocates go so far as to imply that "harm" comes from
speech. In fact, I can think of no thing more incapable of producing
harm than speech itself. To wit:

- We can't allow free speech. What if something extremely damaging is

Any "damage" that arises out of speech is not caused by the speech
itself, but by those who listen and then subsequently act. Speech in
and of itself does not "damage" anything. 

Another way this strawman can easily be debunked by recognizing who is
defining 'damage'. See above, as this is the same as saying something
is "net-abuse".

The true test of freedom of expression is when the advocates of True
Free Speech are confronted with expression that they find they would 
like to silence. 

If this test is passed, the expression remains a thorn in their side.
The thorn serves a great purpose as a reminder of the true freedom 
they have.

If this test is failed, soon one thing is silenced, and then another.
Quickly the entire philosophy of True Free Speech soon crumbles. Worse,
true freedom of expression becomes a bad thing in the eyes of the
people who tried. "After all, people will abuse anything if given the
chance", they'll say.

We already have true freedom. We just keep agreeing to give it up
for the sake of some illusion of safety. 

- But there really are damaging things that can be posted!

Well. You didn't listen above. Let me try another way. Here are some
commonly dredged up examples of "damaging" information:

* recipes for strong encryption
* pornography and obscenity
* recipes for making chemical, biological, and atomic weapons
* recipes for making counterfeit money
* personal information which should be left private

Dr. Dimitri Vulis said it really succinctly:

"Posting such information to Usenet doesn't force anyone to use it to
take some illegal action. And even if publishing such information by
itself violates your local laws, it's up to your local law enforcement
agents to silence you, not the Usenet Cabal."

The key here is self-control. Control of others is usually a symptom
of a need to control oneself coupled with a lack of willingness to
exert such control. We, as humans, cannot successfully and efficiently
control other humans, therefore our controlling impulses should be 
directed at ourselves. 

-Freedom of speech does not mean yelling FIRE! in a crowded theater.

Patently false. Yes, it does mean that. It doesn't mean you -do- 
that, it means you have the freedom to do that. 

Practically, if you hear someone yell "FIRE!" then you have some
decisions to make. Are you going to believe that person or not,
especially when you see nothing? If you do believe this person, are
you going to run for the door like a crazed animal, or quickly make
your way to the exit in a civilized manner?

Whichever you choose, it's -your- choice and -your- responsibility.
It is -not- the responsibility of the person who yelled "FIRE!"
that -you- chose one direction or another. 

Thinking that it is the responsibility of the person who yelled "FIRE!"
strips your power away from you and makes you not responsible for your
life. Is that what you want? 

5.3) The existance of the Cabal

Many debaters commonly forget that I define "Cabal" differently (see
definitions above) than everyone else. There is a reason for this
definition, it allows Free Speech Advocates to quickly determine who
is clearly not a Free Speech Advocate.

- (TINC) There Is No Cabal. Anyone saying this is obviously a kook. 

(TISACSMF) There Is So A Cabal, See My Faq. :)

Anyone denying the existance of a cabal, and in the same posting
labeling someone with a label designed to inferiorate, is clearly
a Cabal member by my definition. 

To deny the Cabal is to say that no one fits the definition, which is
patently false since examples pass through Usenet every day (one
example being Spam Cancels). Thus anyone denying the Cabal's existance
is attempting to hide the fact that it does exist, which helps the
Cabal and therefore implies that the denyer is a Cabal member

Besides, if there was a "secret society", what better way to hide
it than by denying it and causing those who do not to look foolish?

The Cabal generally works in concert with each other over their own
private channels of communication. You can tell a Cabal member by the
arrogant holier-than-thou way that they refuse or block your attempts
at communication, regardless of external perceptions of reasonability
about those attempts.

Just to be clear, I have no reason to believe that all of these people
are acting out of deliberate malice. It's simply a trait of human
beings to abuse positions of power and respect to their own ends. In
this case this trait is damaging the freedom of usenet.

5.4) The uselessness of reputations

Human beings are not perfect. A precedent of consistent action is not
guaranteed to produce that consistency in the future. To wit:

- You can't think like that. Your reputation will suffer.

The value of a set of words is contained within the set of words, NOT
in who said them. It is a common mistake of most human beings to judge
the validity of a set of words mostly upon the reputation of the

- If a lot of people complain about someone, there must be something 
  that person is doing wrong. 

Just because a mob comes to your door and demands to lynch someone,
doesn't mean that the someone in question did anything worthy of being
lynched. Usenet has become mob-oriented with several issues, most
notably "Spam", demonstrating the new jargon term "cybermob".

Mobs are generally ignorant, dense, and single-minded. They have a
tendancy to be created and sustained by emotional issues, with
subsequent loss of sanity for most involved. Do you really want to
trust the judgement of someone else to the effects of this phenomena?

Yes, once you become a sysadmin, the rest of the Usenet community will
expect that you are prepared to discipline your users when they engage
in whatever they decide to call net-abuse.  (Hopefully, by then, you
will have grown past that).

What does this discipline really accomplish? Usually, nothing. 

- Someone is defaming me. They should be silenced.

Forget USENET, what if these people were to say the same things
in person, or to other people while you are not present?

Again, Free Speech requires that people have the *ability* to defame
you. Remember that you also have the ability to defend yourself. If
such defamation gets too intense, see your lawyer, and attempt to get
the defamer to agree to stop.

- If you argue for free speech, people aren't going to take you seriously.

This is an emotional hostage strawman. The arguer is attempting to
play on your need to be taken seriously to coerce you into doing
things their way...or they won't take you seriously.

There are others who won't take you seriously if you cave into these
coercions. Still, others won't take you seriously at all. If we become
affected by everyone's impressions of us, we will certainly be candidates
for an insane asylum. (Maybe we already are...)

I would think that you don't really need to be taken seriously by
anybody who would attempt to coerce you in this way.

5.5) The bludgeon of ownership

Citing ownership of the press does not justify any attempt to censor
based on that ownership. In fact, using ownership as a "bludgeon"
to stamp out views that are disagreed with is still Censorship,
even though it may be justified by the definition of ownership.

- Free speech means the ability to say what you want.  It does
  not guarantee you _where_ you want to say it and _how_ you
  want to say it.  

This is a definitions strawman. Simply put, this definition of
free speech is not useful, and hardly free.

If you can't say something where and how you want to say it, is your
speech truly free?  It cannot be, since someone who can control where
and how you speak can interfere with your ability to communicate, thus
restricting your freedom.

To put this another way: would you like some arbitrary person telling
you where and how you can say certain things? I can see it now:

"Sure you have free speech, at 3AM on channel 145 for 2.5 minutes."

Anyone using this argument has no understanding or desire for
freedom of speech, by the very fact that they use this argument. 

- USENET operates on certain principles. Create your own net if you
  don't like the way it runs.

This is a political hostage strawman. The arguer is attempting to 
convince you that everyone else likes things the way they are, and
that everyone else is in control of USENET.

If you are running a site, this is patently false. USENET is a collective
anarchy, where site admins have authority over their part of the collective.
You have absolute control over your site to run it any way you want
to, which unfortuantely includes the ability to commit acts of Censorship.

If you aren't running a site, don't waste your breath arguing with
these people. Find a Site of Virtue to post from, and support Sites of
Virtue. That way, we -will- create our own net.

-But this is Usenet, a place where speaking is a privilege, not a right.

That all depends on your site admin. If you are at a Site of Virtue,
speaking is a right. 

- It's wrong to force me to read your trash. 

Given that people have to manually select articles from a menu, it's
hard to imagine someone forcing their fingers to press certain keys in
a certain order, so that people are forced to read anything.

Indeed, the entire concept of force becomes ludicrous when one recognizes
that one can simply close one's eyes and not read anything presented to

This does bring up a point, however. There -is- a place for
censorship. Your personal newsreaders. See the section on filtering

- But who gave you free speech rights on my computer?

YOU did when you loaded the news transport software. According to RFC1036,
making a news server and getting a feed allows the transport of messages
between your news server and another. 

If you do -not- specifically filter messages, any messages are
allowed by implication.

Retroactively claiming that these messages stole resources from you is
patently and arrogantly without basis. You are providing resources
simply by attaching a server daemon to an NNTP port and accepting
articles, via this you have agreed to let other people scribble onto
your disk by implication.

Turn off your daemon if you don't want that. Filter incoming articles
if you are still finicky about what you are going to accept (and if
you do you are not a Site of Virtue). But you may not usefully demand
that someone else stop posting because it's "your" disk if you open
your port to a full feed of Usenet.

- Usenet is free. Internet service isn't.

Oh come on. This is confusing 'free=not under control of some
arbitrary power' and 'free=without cost or payment; gratis'.

You shouldn't be paying for censored news. If you are, you are
probably wasting your money.

Subject: 6. A response to the "Alternative View" of this Alternative View.
Consider the following excerpt from this FAQ:

"While all of the people who call themselves 'Freedom Knights' give
lip sevice to free speech, some of the most prolific of them seem to
be more interested in gaining power for themselves.  They have been
known to post things like 'newsadmins are not necessary to the
people's usenet,` which is patently ludicrous because news servers do
not run themselves, or ad-hominem attacks against people who do not
take them seriously, such as accusing UUnet newsadmin David Lawrence
of raping children.
	These so-called Freedom Knights have done more to hurt the
credibility of Dave Hayes and his goals than anything else ever

I find it laughingly ironic that the news admins who are interested
in "gaining power for themselves" can spot this so readily in those
who call themselves Freedom Knights. This is a fine example of a
characteristic nature of humans: that which pisses us off the most
is but a reflection of our own nature. 

Most of these people (including that FAQ writer) cannot read. Here are
some things I think people should know. 

-No one is known as a Freedom Knight by calling themself that. Freedom
Knights are known by their deeds. Some on the Freedom Knights mailing
list have taken to harsh actions. That is their business, and not
mine. They are not only there on the list as an excellent litmus test
for free speech...but most of those people they are referring to have
been so fed up with the fascist-like actions of the news Cabal that 
they are through being nice. 

-Credibility is ultimately a fool's desire. I am rarely willing to put
myself at the mercy of someone else's standard of right and wrong, but
even if I was to do so...I can think of no worse group of cliquishly
machevellian people to enslave my actions to than those Cabal members
who are the denziens of news.admin.*.


Subject: 7. Viewpoints, Case Histories, and Stories

Often, the dishonorable acts of administrators can cause radical
changes in people's willingness to cooperate and a person's direction
of participation. In this section, I offer the words, viewpoints,
histories, and stories of other people on the net who have been
the effect of a rogue administrator or clan thereof. One more time,
I did not say these things. 

In order to debias the stark content of the words, the identities
of these people are being left to the imagination of the reader. 
Please try and see what they are saying, rather than attempting
to guess who said it. 

7.1) One user's viewpoint of net history and politics

UUNET was a for-profit company from its very beginning, at least 10
years ago.  It used to get lots of $$$ from the U.S.Government. Now
it's no longer getting $$ from the government, so it tries to peddle
its services to businesses and the general public. One of the services
they sell is the access/feed to Usenet.

UUNET did not create Usenet, contrary to what they may claim, and have
no right to control anything in it. In fact, most of the cabal members
who try to gain control of Usenet are relative newcomers who have made
no contributions to the development of Usenet.

When I started reading Usenet about the time of the Great Renaming,
the various folks who cooperated on setting up Usenet (mostly sys
admins at schools and research labs) agreed on a more-or-less
democratic procedure for creating new newgroups: the proponent would
conduct a poll to see if there's enough interest to warrant creating
the group. The poll had to rely on the honor of the participants: they
were expected to vote once, and to vote NO for valid reasons. Once the
poll was completed, someone would issue a 'newgroup' control article
and all sites would create the newsgroup.

This was before David Lawrence and all the other human trash that came
onto Usenet later and became known as the 'usenet cabal'. Here are
some of the changes the Cabal attempted to institute in the group
creation process:

1. One of the cabal members, Kent Paul Dolan, was caught blatantly
cheating in the poll for the newsgroups who reorg he proposed. Rather
than penalize the cabal, the cabal imposed on the rest of the Usenet a
system of 'Usenet volunteer votatakers'. This way, the cheatting by
Cabal members would be harder to detect.

Basically, when one of their own was caught cheating, they created the
system off UVV's that inconvenienced everyone _other_ than the cabal
and made the blatant cheating by the likes of Jan Isley and Bill Aten
harder to detect.

2. The function of spaff used to be to announce the results of the
interest polls. However there was at least one case when a sex-related
newsgroup passed the 'vote' and David Lawrence refused to create
it. (I guess he's not into sex.) This was before the cabal started
rigging 'votes' making them totally meaningless. Today the Cabal would
have just forged enough anonymous no votes.

3. Another change instituted by the Cabal a few years ago is the
requirement that before a new group proposal even gets to the uvv
'vote', it must go through a cabal screening process known as
'group-advice'. Examples of group-advice's censorship include the
recent announcement that no new unmoderated newsgroups will be
permitted in soc.culture.* (too much flaming going on in the existing
newsgroups), and their insistence that most new newgroups be moderated
-- with the cabal picking subservient moderators.

Usenet is a popular store-and-forward conferencing system. There are
other such systems, like Fidonet. Those who don't like free Usenet
should go elsewhere to sergvices like AOL or COmpuServe or Prodigy and
have their own censored forums there. They must not be allowed to take
over Usenet.

Again, INN comes configured to honor all of tale's newgroups, but not
newgroups issued by others. Honorable sites, like Netcom, honor all
newgroups and drop all rmgroups. [Editors note: this may have 
changed at the time of this writing.]

Because '' is a generic name used by INN, David
Lawrence no longer has any exclusive right to it. Anyone is free to
issue newgroups and rmgroups in tale's name. However it's more
honorable to issue newgroups under one's own name.

It is not our objective to destroy the UVVs or the group
advice. Rather, we seek to deprive them of their monopoly. ANYONE can
issue a newgroup on Usenet.

The UVV, the group-advice, et al, should be free to play their silly
power games, to hold rigged elections, and to newgroup or rmgroup
anything they like.  Sites are free to honor only tale's
newgroups/rmgroups, which is the default INN confoguration.  We hope
that the majority of Usenet sites will choose to act honorably and
carry ALL newsgroups.  We also expect that most new newsgroup
proponents won't deal with the dishonest and abusive group-advice,
because they won't have to -- they can get pretty good propagation by
issing the newgroup themselves. No one but masochists and cabal
members will go through the humiliating and unpleasant process of
getting 'advice' from group advice, because the marginal gain (the
sites who'll carry cabal's groups, but not free groups) will be
immaterial. Let the cabal create a moderated news.groups and* if they want to. They have lost control of the
group creation process and will never regain it.

Tale got into the position of issuing newgroups for the new newsgroups
that passed the vote by default: spaff quit and no one else wanted to
take this boring duty. However tale's been trying to abuse this
position to silence his opponents and to make a few quick bucks for
UUNET. So far, he's only hurt UUNET with his net-abuse.

7.2) An excerpt from the FAQ

          In closing I'd like to add something VERY funny I found in
regards to ADMIN-TYPES that have become over-zealous and
closed-minded.  It was posted in by (impLAnt) .  I found it to be one of the funniest, most
on-target articles I have ever read. Enjoy. Keep your minds open and
your tapes rolling. (Peter da Silva) wrote:

. coffee, please. Robert L. Chapman's _Dictionary
of American Slang_ (Harper & Row, 1986) defines:

kook : 1 n fr 1950s teenagers, an eccentric person; = nut, screwball:
'The bomb cannot be exploded by a single 'kook'" -- Nation   /  "The
early Streisand played kook" --Look 2.  modifier: '...did a kook piece
with dancers' -- Village Voice 3 n surfers, a novice surfer. [Fr
cuckoo or coo-coo; early 1900's; crazy, very eccentric = nutty; fr the
bird _cuculus canorus_, that cries "coocoo", remarkable for depositing
its eggs in the nests of other birds].

Beyond the KoTM definition, we also tend to file under "kook" those
self-important, self-aggrandizing sysadmin sorts. Chiefly, the ones
who've dug their little net.techie foxholes a little too deeply to see
out of: who have spent too many man-years politicking, sucking up, and
worming their way into imaginary "status"; and are now unable to think
rationally or philosophically in "real world" terms because they no
longer have a "real world" for reference.

The term "foxholes" is used advisedly, for they see USENET as
war...replete with dehumanized "enemies" and various acts of high-tech
propoganda, disinformation, and subterfuge. As un-hired, non-paid  
and non-professional rogue mercenaries, they somehow believe their
own "devotion" and "contributions to the net" [read: years of phony
obsessive altruism] must be repaid by the "users" they typically
degrade and disrespect.

This infectious fascism manifests itself, Stockholm syndrome-like,
within these same "users" in the form of domain ghettoization (a la
AOL) and vigilantism (complaint-generators and net.cop wannabes). The
fallout from such shenanigans instills a general fear & loathing;
their circa 1985 model of USENET withstands neither the onslaught of
traffic, nor the freedoms "users" demand and expect as manifest
destiny. The fact that the world will little note nor long remember
them confuses no one else; that USENET simply needs them no longer (if
ever) is a jagged little pill they can't seem to swallow.

Sounds like your footwear, Peteness. When the jackboot fits...

7.3) Those who do not share the anti-spam zealotry

>I've been on the Internet for over 3 years now and seen my share of spam,
>certainly. I've *never* complained about it....*ever*. It's not that it's
>never caused a bit of irritation on occasion, but I'm of the belief that
>hindering the freedom that people now have to send these things to my
>mailbox is of a greater disservice to the Internet Community and
>society-at-large than getting the spam in my mailbox. [I've felt the same
>about Usenet spam, also, but that's for another forum.] Now,  has
>jumped on the bandwagon that so many other ISP's are on. The result has
>been a downgrade in quality of e-mail service...qualities that once
>attracted me to , particularly the speed of e-mail delivery and
>the freedom to protect my home e-mail address by using e-mail forwarding.
>So, as I've feared, all this whining about spam has resulted in more
>negative things than positive.  I'd much rather get fast spam mail
>over a friend's mail hours late. Truth be told, I'll be ISP shopping
>tomorrow morning.  If the only way I get my freedom [from unwanted
>"protection"] back in the end is with my own server, I guess that's what
>I'll end up doing.

7.4) On the nature of Usenet

USENET is a seedling to the forest it shall become. Besides being our 
only public DTDP (different time, different place) CMC (computer mediated 
communication) medium, it is our only many-to-many medium. The tools have 
been so crude as to practically be unuseable; its pioneers and providers 
a power-mongering elite.

This is being remedied.

All other mediums Mankind has gifted (cursed?) itself with have been 
One-to-Many, with the many influenced by the decisions of a few. But 
USENET represents the greatest decentralization in the dissemination of 
communication since the printing press. "Great is jornalism," wrote 
Thomas Carlyle in _History of the French Revolution_, "for every able 
editor is now a ruler of the world." With USENET we see that A.J. 
Leibling's quip "Freedom of the press only applies to those who own one" 
is, after all, finally made a lie.

We all own one.

It is important to defend those attacked by the few who will not 
acknowledge this Truth. But it is *more* important to illustrate the true 
promise and import of what USENET is and shall ever become. This next 
quantum leap into a hive of human communication shall not be corrupted 
and debased by Censors and Moderators. Working to revert our Many-to-Many 
back to some old One-to-Many rules-based paradigm, they shall be defeated.

This is the fight of a Freedom Knight.


Subject: 8. Credits and Revision History

Section 7's contributors will remain anonymous. As to the rest of the
sections, my heartfelt thanks to the following netizens for their
insightful and constructive criticism:

Russ Allbery
Sir iMplant
Dr. Jai Maharaj
Dr. Dimitri Vulis

Also, I would like to thank the many members of the Cabal for their
doggedly destructive criticisms, rabid opposition, and smug
superiority. These things had their part in creating and revising this

$Log: freedom.html,v $
Revision 1.1  1997/12/06 08:14:01  dave
" fksite version 1.0"

Revision 1.11  1997/12/05 05:37:59  dave
Finally found a workable censorship definition. Cleaned up a few
inconsistancies. This one should fly better.

Revision 1.10  1997/08/19 06:56:10  dave
Lots of things, added more in table of contents, attempted
to tie together the 'strawman' section, added more definitions,
added suggestions, and updated as much as I could.

Revision 1.9  1996/09/30 06:37:19  dave
Added section 5.1. Added the funny blurb from

Revision 1.8  1996/04/27 19:52:01  dave
Added reference to J.D. Falk's FAQ after he agreed to reference
this FAQ in his.

Revision 1.7  1996/04/16 08:31:53  dave
Added section 6

Revision 1.6  1996/03/13 22:56:11  dave
/Added Dr. Vulis suggested changes: Approved line = censorship,
examples of speech commonly considered damage, other misc.

Revision 1.5  1996/03/04 00:03:59  dave
Added definition of Cabal

Revision 1.4  1996/02/28 21:53:33  dave
Changed libel back to defamation.

Revision 1.3  1996/02/28 00:32:34  dave
Changed "slander" to "libel", as the latter is more appropriate

Revision 1.2  1996/02/19 08:16:15  dave
Tightened up the definition of TFS, added a definition for Censorship,
added a few words here and there for da flow.

Revision  1996/02/19 07:52:11  dave
Initial Import