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Spam, Flamers, Trolls | Proper Usenet Etiquette

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What is Usenet Spam?

By now, we all know that the term SPAM is used to describe a very negative occurrence that plagues the Internet today. Unfortunately, it also plagues the Usenet community. It seems like nothing is immune to spam these days. Usenet spam comes in many different shapes and forms but essentially it encompasses everything that is unwanted in a certain group.

We’re talking about spam and not the meat in the can. In the most basic definition spam is anything that is wasted bandwidth with excessively quoted material. Spam is a stupid thread of meaningless junk like “Make Money Fast” or other bogus things they try to get you to buy or log onto.

Newsgroup spam is similar to the spam you get in your email. But here spam is spread over the newsgroups plaguing them with nonsense and what drives most people nuts is that spam shows up in newsgroups that aren’t related at all. You’ll see spam on “How to lose fat in 30 days” in a discussion group for cancer. I’m not trying to scare you here about spam but just letting you know what you run into once and while here at Fast Usenet.

Instances of Usenet Spam

So what are some instances of spam in Usenet? One instance of spam that is often mistaken for simply posting is the posting of irrelevant or unrelated materials in a certain group. For example, if you are posting material about video games in a newsgroup that is concerned primarily with politics, you are spamming that group, whether you are doing that maliciously or with no bad thoughts in mind.

That is one of the most common encounters of spam in Usenet, as well. The rule of thumb is simple to follow – if you cannot find anything related to what you are about to post in that group, just don’t do it. People that visit those specialized groups are tired of having spammers flood their discussions with garbage. Even if you think the information you post is very valuable, you have to consider whether it will be valuable to the people in that group. If they wouldn’t car reading about it, then it is garbage for them.

Common Usenet Spam Terminology

Other, more brutal examples of spam are excessive multi-posting and excessive cross-posting. Excessive Multi-Posting (EMP) refers to having too many separate copies of a substantively identical article. “Substantively identical” means that the material in each article essentially carries the same message. EMP includes articles which consist of inclusions of other user’s postings, but are otherwise identical and otherwise identical postings minimally customized for each group they appears in. Excessive Cross-Posting (ECP) means that a lot of postings of the same article have been made to many different groups (so it is highly unlikely that the groups were all related in subject).

In summary, think twice about what you are posting and where you are posting it, considering these simple guidelines, if you do not want to be kicked out of the groups you post in.

Spam Prevention and Filtering

We have many filters running on all of our servers to help prevent spam articles for ever being posted or sent to other Usenet providers. Our filters prevent 90% of the spam that comes through the newsgroups. It’s nice to read your news or download your binaries without wasting time and bandwidth on spam articles. Also remember that one of the easiest ways to deal with spam when you encounter it? Just ignore it and move on.

What Is A Usenet Flamer?

In the Usenet world have you heard the word flame or flamer? This little article is for education and not to scare you because Usenet has unlimited advantages with some problems that comes with. Ever been to a message board and made a post about a controversial topic only to have someone slam you in their reply?

That my friends is a FLAMER. Some can be polite and some can be downright nasty with nothing on their mind then just tick you off. The fun part is that flamers is an issue that won’t go away any time soon so we just deal with these people the best way that we can. If you happen to post something controversial then your chances of getting flamed increases.

You’ll get flamers from all over the world who try to prove you wrong, or steer you in their direction. My advice is NEVER give in and stay the course. Flamers come in all shapes and sizes but they all have one motive, to ruin your day. Again don’t let them. Some flamers are known to ignore warnings, and break newsgroup rules.

They do things like having backup usernames, emails, and IP addresses so that they can get back into newsgroups that they have been banned from. Just a reminder that this is to educate you about flamers in case you run into these folks. You handle these people and you have unlimited possibilities you can have Fast Usenet.

What are Usenet Trolls?

Usenet trolls are not big and green creatures that live under a bridge but sometimes you never know. A troll will sooner or later propose creating one or more new newsgroups to further everyone’s pain in Usenet. Trolls do this simply because they think that the people in the group are really lame and they should move to another group. Once the troll stays in a group long enough someone will create a new alt.flame group named after the troll.

Trolls generate an intelligence drain, meaning that when a troll creates havoc in a newsgroup, all discussions will become less intelligent and less useful to all other participants. When things get heated, people concentrate on flaming and flaming only. Some more examples of trolling is that trolls tend to post extremely long messages, in which the original words that they seem to reply to, are misinterpreted, pulled out of context or simply ignored.

Since they only use a serious subject to hide their true intent (which is trolling), they tend to be impervious to reason. Replying to their posts and taking them seriously only gives them new fuel to add to their fire, and sooner or later, you will find yourself under a barrage of personal attacks and flames. The only way to deal with trolls is just to ignore them and to go about your business having fun talking with other people on Usenet. Forget about the trolls and they will not bother you again.

Usenet is a way for people to share information over the Internet. In order to accomplish this, there are many people using and providing Usenet access. Because there are so many people using this service, you must take into account the actions you take and use proper Usenet etiquette.

What is Usenet Etiquette?

Participating in Usenet newsgroups allows you to exchange ideas, information, and more. To keep things running smoothly, you should always use proper Usenet etiquette. Usenet etiquette can mean many things. The basic idea of using Usenet etiquette, is that you are dealing with other people who are reading the information you post and they would like the same enjoyable time on Usenet as you would.

People Have Feelings

You should try to remember that although you are using the computer to communicate, there is another human (or a group of humans) on the other end. Strong opinions are certainly welcome on Usenet, but you should remember that there are possibly millions of people reading what you write, and feelings can be hurt if you verbally attack someone. Remember to be polite and respectful, especially when dealing with the people who help provide services on Usenet. You may be very upset, but be polite with the system administrators because they do not always have control of the problems other users cause. Remember that most of the opinions posted on Usenet are individual feelings. You should never assume that a person’s comment represents that of a larger organization, unless they specifically say so.

Post Only Once

Millions of messages are added to Usenet every day. Because of this large volume of information, you should post your message only once. Posting a message more than once only causes more clutter and can get you a reputation of a spammer (which means posting material that does not belong to a certain group).

Additional Considerations

Although there are many aspects of Usenet etiquette, here are a few things to keep in mind as you get more familiar with the use of Usenet. Be careful about copyrights, trademarks, licenses, and cite references. Do not repeat answers that have already been said, and avoid using Usenet as an advertising medium.

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