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The Internet dies a little bit
June 12, 2008 7:07 PM   Subscribe

Goodbye alt.* Andrew Cuomo claimed that his office found child porn on 88 newsgroups--out of roughly 100,000 newsgroups that exist. In a press release, he took credit for [Verizon's] blunderbuss-style newsgroup removal by saying: "We are attacking this problem by working with Internet service providers...I commend the companies that have stepped up today to embrace a new standard of responsibility, which should serve as a model for the entire industry." Verizon eliminates the entire alt. subset of usenet. Today, the alt.* hierarchy is by far the most populous on Usenet.
posted by caddis (143 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by tachikaze at 7:10 PM on June 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is such bullshit. Where else can I get quality porn? I wonder if someone will figure out how to bypass this 'blocking'?
posted by UseyurBrain at 7:14 PM on June 12, 2008


Cutting off access, or stopping hosting? I don't see how they could literally cut off access to the newsgroups, but if the choose to stop hosting the stuff, isn't that their choice? People can use other newsgroup providers, such as this one (the first thing to pop up on a search for "newsgroup service".

The FPP takes this even further, saying they 'eliminated', makes it sound like they removed the entire hierarchy from the internet or something, which is obviously impossible.
posted by delmoi at 7:17 PM on June 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah. The alt. newsgroups will be around after a nuclear war, like cockroaches. Verizon is just fumigating its apartment.
posted by GuyZero at 7:18 PM on June 12, 2008 [10 favorites]


This is such bullshit. Where else can I get quality porn? I wonder if someone will figure out how to bypass this 'blocking'?

From the bottom of the article
The only Usenet newsgroups that Verizon will continue to offer customers are the comp.*, misc.*, news.*, rec.*, sci.*, soc.*, and talk.* hierarchies. Customers will continue to be able to connect to other non-Verizon Usenet servers; no blocking is taking place.
So they're just not hosting the stuff. They're not blocking anything.
posted by delmoi at 7:19 PM on June 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


I haven't used my ISP to access usenet since around 1998.
I don't think easynews will be dropping alt any time soon.
posted by 2sheets at 7:20 PM on June 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm more surprised that a major ISP supplied more than spotty, token usenet access at all these days. C
posted by bunnytricks at 7:20 PM on June 12, 2008


"Customers will continue to be able to connect to other non-Verizon Usenet servers; no blocking is taking place."

They're just not passing them anymore. No big whoop.
posted by rokusan at 7:20 PM on June 12, 2008


Well, if Verizon customers want to access these sites they have to buy access through someone else or perhaps use google groups. Verizon has just stopped hosting, but that is actually pretty big if you use usenet.
posted by caddis at 7:20 PM on June 12, 2008


(Or, you know, what Delmoi said.)
posted by rokusan at 7:21 PM on June 12, 2008


Cutting off access, or stopping hosting?

The last sentence of the article: "Customers will continue to be able to connect to other non-Verizon Usenet servers; no blocking is taking place."

So they're just not hosting anymore. Pretty much their prerogative. Many ISPs choose not to host usenet; I'm kind of surprised they were hosting alt.* in the first place.
posted by mr_roboto at 7:22 PM on June 12, 2008


Alt.music.ska was one of my original internet gateway drugs.

*pours out a 40 for the alt.* heirarchy*
posted by drezdn at 7:22 PM on June 12, 2008


Or, what they said.
posted by mr_roboto at 7:23 PM on June 12, 2008


YIKES. The censors set their precedence in an out of the way place like the Usenet then base future censorship, shutdowns, and arrests on it. We can't let them get away with this bullshit. And once again Verizon, being a corporate terrorist, is right in the forefront of it.

This comes right in line with Martin Niemöller's famous poem about the early days of Nazi Germany.


First They Came for the Jews

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out -
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the communists
and I did not speak out -
because I was not a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out -
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.

Martin Niemöller (1892 - 1984)
posted by chance at 7:25 PM on June 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


So they only stopped hosting.
Got it.
posted by Dizzy at 7:26 PM on June 12, 2008


"Bless the wooly alt. hierarchy and all those who sail in her."
posted by Rhaomi at 7:26 PM on June 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


It means they stopped hosting. Usenet isn't like the web. It's closer to email. Each host has a news server. The server connects to other servers. People post messages to their local server and then copies of it are sent to all the other servers. Yes, I know it's more complicated than that.

People could always pay for access to something like supernews or some other server. There are many free servers, with varying levels of availability and access. There's also google groups, which is what's left of the old deja news. It's a free web based server, no access to binaries, though.

This is really just a chance for isp's to reduce service on an old technology that's very little used anymore. And when it is used the users tend to cause a lot of headaches for IT because of spam, flame wars, warez trading, porn, and just a lot of abuse. It used to be hot in 1995. But no one really cares much any more and the hardcore users will either pay for access or do something weird like start their own news server.

When I used to work for an isp couple years ago the news server was down for 2 weeks and we didn't notice because no one complained. The first time we got a call about it we fixed it.

BTW, I'm Nyx on alt.gothic.
posted by nyxxxx at 7:27 PM on June 12, 2008


Giganews censors some groups...well censors by not having them. Since there are no controls I'm sure all that really does is move the traffic elsewhere.
posted by jeblis at 7:27 PM on June 12, 2008


Well, as others have pointed out, Verizon can choose to carry or not carry what they want but I don't trust these bastards for a second.
posted by chance at 7:29 PM on June 12, 2008


As far as I'm concerned the whole of the Usenet archive could be flushed down the toilet and I'd not shed a tear. My days of flame wars in alt.angst are quite over.
posted by loiseau at 7:30 PM on June 12, 2008


Hello irritating anthill, I have a thermonuclear device I shall use to get rid of you...


Oh, and chance? Comparing this to the Holocaust is a bit.. off.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:32 PM on June 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Fuck. That's it.

NO ONE ON THE INTERNET CAN EVER USE THAT NIEMÖLLER BIT EVER AGAIN. IT'S PLAYED. IT'S THROUGH. FUCKING STOP IT, OR I'LL MOTHERFUCKING COME FOR YOU.
posted by mr_roboto at 7:36 PM on June 12, 2008 [77 favorites]


Speaking of which, how the heck do you get old postings removed from Google Groups / DejaNews archive if you no longer have access to the e-mail account you used back in the olden days?

Like, if for example you posted some embarrassing and/or personal stuff from your University account because back in those days before there was a web, some really foolish morons thought such things would never be findable again? :/
posted by rokusan at 7:36 PM on June 12, 2008


First they came for the niemollers.
Then they came for the rickrollers...
posted by rokusan at 7:37 PM on June 12, 2008 [12 favorites]


I'm appalled!

at the overuse of "First They Came for the Jews."

Verizon discontinuing its newsgroup hosting ≠ the systematic slaughter of the Jews in Germany.

Chill.
posted by JDHarper at 7:39 PM on June 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


ZOMG PORNOWAREZOCAUST
posted by everichon at 7:39 PM on June 12, 2008 [4 favorites]


Andrew Cuomo claimed that his office found child porn on 88 newsgroups

Have he seen the American Apparel ads?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:39 PM on June 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


BARNEY RAPED MY HIERARCHY!!!!!!1!!
posted by pyramid termite at 7:40 PM on June 12, 2008


Lurking on alt.support.stop-smoking is the only thing keeping me from injecting nicotine directly into my carotid. As long as I can still get there by other means Verizon can do what it wants, I suppose.

Oh, and chance? Comparing this to the Holocaust is a bit.. off.

Heh. Reminds me of when LiveJournal was phasing out the child porn fanart. People were whipping out the Niemöller left and right. Perspective, people.
posted by lysistrata at 7:41 PM on June 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Today I felt a strange disturbance, as if millions of innocent people cried out in terror as they were suddenly cut off from alt.swedish.chef.bork.bork.bork. Verizon must pay.
posted by stavrogin at 7:42 PM on June 12, 2008 [4 favorites]


It's analogous to cutting off bit torrent, but letting you have it back if you purchase access through another service. The difference is that not many people use this old stuff any more. The new kids are all web with no usenet. It is censorship though, and they get away with it, because the unaffected just don't care. The next cut may be deeper. Perhaps it will be bit torrent, all file sharing, but then who cares as that is just all illegal traffic anyway.
posted by caddis at 7:45 PM on June 12, 2008


Cumo should have stayed away from alt.judges.ninthcircuit.alexkozinski.
posted by The Bellman at 7:45 PM on June 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Nevermind the Niemöllering. It could be worse. Here, they usually attribute it to Brecht (cringe).
posted by _dario at 7:45 PM on June 12, 2008


but seriously, if they know so fucking little about usenet that they can't even tell the difference between alt.* and alt.binaries.*, and admin their offerings appropriately, they don't need to be offering it anyway - fluffy only likes those who know how to change his litter box
posted by pyramid termite at 7:46 PM on June 12, 2008


Hey Nyx! I vaguely remember you (oh the haze). I used to post as Xthlc. It's been a while.

a.g. was my first real, post-BBS online community in the early 90s. It was responsible for several good friendships that continue to this day. I then watched its people dissipate to LJ, MySpace, Facebook and IRL as everyone aged, spawned and became hilariously decreipt.

The social side of Usenet has been dying for a long time (although alt.binaries.* is still going strong as a haven for various illegal things). Major ISPs abandoning it won't faze the diehards, but it will mean that the trickle of new users will finally dry up. It's sort of like turning off life support on a dying patient -- it won't be long now.
posted by xthlc at 7:48 PM on June 12, 2008


YIKES. The censors set their precedence in an out of the way place like the Usenet then base future censorship, shutdowns, and arrests on it. We can't let them get away with this bullshit. And once again Verizon, being a corporate terrorist, is right in the forefront of it.

This comes right in line with Martin Niemöller's famous poem about the early days of Nazi Germany.


Is this me being one of those Americans who don't understand irony, or are you a fucking lunatic? Someone call UbuRoivas to arbitrate, please.
posted by dersins at 7:48 PM on June 12, 2008


First they came for...

The Socialists.
The Communists.
The Terrorists.
Piglet.
Imus.
Michael Medved.
the drunk drivers.
the fat people.
the redneck trolls.
the skeptics.
bandwidth.
the toddlers.
Hillary Clinton.
the homeschoolers.
the nurses.
Indiana Porn Stores.
the drunks.
the condiments.
the mandates.
the Geiger counters.
the English bloggers.
the spies.
the Shock Jocks.
the White Man.
Harvard.
the spinach.
the uninsured.
Geraldine Ferraro.
the sex offenders.
the Mexicans.
my cigarettes.
the Brothels.
the cartoonists.
foreigners.
the Gays.
the steel companies.
Sebastian Horsley.
the polygynists. [ed.: ????]
the rich.
the Fascists.
the assault rifles.
the reindeer.
Kyle.

YOU'RE NOT BEING WITTY. It's been done before, and no one gives a fuck whether or not you speak up.
posted by mr_roboto at 7:50 PM on June 12, 2008 [5 favorites]


It is censorship though

No, it's not. Censorship is when a government does it. Verizon refusing to host the alt* hierarchy is the same as Safeway not carrying Vienna Sausages anymore.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:51 PM on June 12, 2008 [4 favorites]


First they came for those who overused Martin Neimoller's poem. But I did not overuse Martin Neimoller's poem, so I did nothing.

In fact, truth be told, I was actually rather glad to see those fuckers get taken away.

Hopefully, next they'll come for the eponystericals.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:54 PM on June 12, 2008 [22 favorites]


whipping out the Niemöller

I will now start using this phrase in ordinary conversation as much as possible:

"Sorry, but when he Godwinned me, I was forced to whip out the Niemöller."

"Invictus, Schminvictus. Pardon me while I whip out this Niemöller."

"Consider yourself Niemöller-whipped, you loathsome pantywaist."
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:55 PM on June 12, 2008 [15 favorites]


The cost/benefit of the major ISPs hosting Usenet servers for the past decade was really out of whack. It was a large liability with very little benefit. The only thing seemingly preventing them from taking the servers offline years ago was probably laziness.
posted by prunes at 7:56 PM on June 12, 2008


Verizon refusing to host the alt* hierarchy is the same as Safeway not carrying Vienna Sausages anymore.

First they came for the pickled ring bologna, but I did not partake of the pickled ring bologna because it repeated on me . . .
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:59 PM on June 12, 2008 [4 favorites]


niemöller would be a great name for a beer - "you don't have to go anywhere for a niemöller - niemöller comes for you!"
posted by pyramid termite at 8:00 PM on June 12, 2008 [34 favorites]


Yesterday, if Verizon came by and offered me FiOS, I would have eagerly signed up for several years of service.

Today, I might well decline, since the local TWC actually has pretty good, but slowish, usenet with all the glorious binaries groups.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:10 PM on June 12, 2008


Then they came for me
and I said, "Wait! You forgot the Gays!
And I know where they're hiding!"
posted by tresbizzare at 8:14 PM on June 12, 2008 [9 favorites]


I bet Verizon didn't even know they were hosting usenet groups.
posted by empath at 8:15 PM on June 12, 2008 [11 favorites]


I've never really used usenet, but putting the ISPs in charge of policing content it a bad step for the internet. They get immunity from the illegal stuff on the web because they are simply common carriers for whatever people put up. Losing usenet isn't the end of the world, but what happens when the next AG needs some pervert-stomping of his own to put on his resume or distract from the scandal-du-jour? More censorship is beginning to show up in the plan for a smut-free nationwide wireless internet service (uncensored alternative). ISPs will just cut off another chunk, instead of actively policing content, so they can have a defense in a lawsuit when little Tommy's keen interest in historic boats takes him to cleavelandsteamer.com

It's not quite the systematic slaughter of millions of people, but the antiporn crusade's collateral damage can hurt free speech. Blocking "objectionable content" is vague and open to abuse. Pair this with net neutrality concerns and we'll have to be careful to avoid ending up with a bleached, sanitized, Disneyland of an internet.

I'm no software engineer, but I think that children should be protected via a content blocker voluntarily installed on the home computer. We should all make our own choices for what we want to legally view. Stamping out child porn is an admirable goal, but a scorched-earth policy will leave us with less and less internet left to defend.

Shouldn't we fight it another way? How did we battle the Mafia in the US? Or maybe we can get the forces of the internet to work together and help fight them, instead of looking at it as the problem?
posted by Grimp0teuthis at 8:16 PM on June 12, 2008


First they came for alt.fan.furry
and I did not speak out -
because I was not a furry.
Then they came for alt.religion.kibology
and I did not speak out -
because I was not a kibologist.
Then they came for alt.flame.hairy-douchebag.roger-david-carasso
and I did not speak out -
because I was not Roger David Carasso.
Criminal Armenians of
SDPA/Armenian Church/Sandia National Laboratories
desperately attempt to cover up
Armenian genocide of 1914.
NO CARRIER
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:18 PM on June 12, 2008 [9 favorites]


The only thing seemingly preventing them from taking the servers offline years ago was probably laziness.

I'm almost positive that companies like those do not forego opportunities to increase their margins or reduce their liability out of laziness. But hey, I don't run an ISP.
posted by Grimp0teuthis at 8:18 PM on June 12, 2008


Time-Warner / RoadRunner (my ISP) has elected to cease its usenet service entirely.

Luckily, however, this reduction in service won't include any inconvenient change in price!
posted by Western Infidels at 8:21 PM on June 12, 2008


...the same as Safeway not carrying Vienna Sausages anymore.

Wait.
What?
NOOOooooo!
posted by Floydd at 8:27 PM on June 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


I remember the days when I used to read every post in alt.music.alternative.

*feels ancient*
posted by jokeefe at 8:28 PM on June 12, 2008


They dropped a few of the larger binary groups a while back. Retention was only about a week, so their expense wasn't gaining them any customers. They were probably looking for a good excuse to axe the whole tree when this came along.

Fortunately, the internet doesn't require solid pretenses in order to get frothy.
posted by Ictus at 8:32 PM on June 12, 2008


Then they came for alt.religion.kibology

It is not as vibrant as it once was, but that is a loss. What a fun place.
posted by caddis at 8:34 PM on June 12, 2008


Usenet isn't dying, it's growing in popularity. Ten bucks a month for an unlimited premium server + a NZB site = Anything you want delivered at 1MB/sec, without the ratios and unreliability of torrents.
posted by bunnytricks at 8:34 PM on June 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Glad to see there will be no interruption in the highly civil and erudite goings-on in the .rec hierarchy. Calling Trotsky..
posted by autodidact at 8:36 PM on June 12, 2008


The alt hierarchy was always where all the fun stuff was, so this is a shame, but it's their prerogative. I fondly remember alt.folklore.urban, though, I wonder if that group is still as awesome as it used to be.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 8:36 PM on June 12, 2008


MetaFilter: whipping out the Niemöller.


Also: KIBO LIVES!
posted by loquacious at 8:39 PM on June 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


crossposting to alt.fan.karl-malden.nose
posted by loiseau at 8:40 PM on June 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


d'aw, this reminds me of Netscape Navigator - the browser which handled *all three* parts of the internet! email! newsgroups! the world wide web!
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:40 PM on June 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


don't forget gopher!
posted by empath at 8:43 PM on June 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


You know, I think I first wondered how long it would take the ISPs to realize the kind of crap they were hosting on their usenet servers in about 1998. So now I have my answer: About 10 years.
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 8:44 PM on June 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


No, it's not. Censorship is when a government does it. Verizon refusing to host the alt* hierarchy is the same as Safeway not carrying Vienna Sausages anymore.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:51 PM on June 12 [+] [!]

I'm usually right with you, dirtynumbangelboy, but here I think you're missing a wrinkle: this is not like Safeway not carrying Vienna Sausages anymore. It's like Safeway (and most of the other major, mainstream supermarkets) "deciding" not to carry Vienna Sausages anymore after being threatened with criminal prosecution by an incredibly slimy, but very powerful, state AG with delusions of grandeur, a hunger for a certain recently vacated office that his dad held for 12 years, and no clear idea of what a Vienna Sausage is or how it is made, but a pretty good idea that the people of his state don't care for them.
posted by The Bellman at 8:52 PM on June 12, 2008 [10 favorites]


When I found MeFi a few years ago I felt like I had rediscovered the smart, aggravating, intense, acerbic banter that so drew me to Usenet in the mid 90s.
posted by stevil at 8:58 PM on June 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


Bellman -- I suspect you're closer to this than anyone else knows ... and I've been following this story *very* closely all week long.
posted by chinese_fashion at 8:59 PM on June 12, 2008


Time-Warner / RoadRunner (my ISP) has elected to cease its usenet service entirely.

In that case, I'm back to signing up with FiOS at the earliest opportunity.

Anyone care to recommend a usenet provider?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:14 PM on June 12, 2008


Also: KIBO LIVES!
             ____
/ \__
|\ / @ \
\ \_______| \ .:|> "Dogs aren't ALLOWED? WAAAAAAH!"
\ ##| | \__/
| ####\__/ \ -- Spot
/ / ## \|
/ /__________\ \
L_JJ \__JJ
Followup-To: misc.test
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:15 PM on June 12, 2008 [4 favorites]


This Is Just To Say

I have taken
the Jews
Communists
and trade unionists
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast.

And Niemöller
you are
next
posted by sixswitch at 9:18 PM on June 12, 2008 [41 favorites]


When I found MeFi a few years ago I felt like I had rediscovered the smart, aggravating, intense, acerbic banter that so drew me to Usenet in the mid 90s.

so, what changed your mind?
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:29 PM on June 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


The last time I used my ISP's (Time Warner Roadrunner) usenet groups was back when Bill Clinton was president. There were just too many missing pieces of the quality mp3s, pr0n, and warez to deal with and the rentention period so short it was practically useless. I'm actually surprised the big ISPs still even had usenet.

Now I use giganews for my usenet need but I only subscribe to austin.test and alt.binaries.wisconsindells
posted by birdherder at 9:35 PM on June 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Can Verizon block something else? Because this thread has me pissing myself with laughter.

Oh, sorry.

ROTFLAPMP.
posted by GuyZero at 9:36 PM on June 12, 2008


Genuine K+++ over here, bud.

I also did the rfc, the charter and the newgroup for alt.drugs.hard. Unfortunately, as it was my first newgroup, I botched it and somebody else had to issue a viable one on my behalf.

I recall how triumphant I felt when I first got my home installation of INN up and running, and could play newsadmin properly. Or even earlier than that, installing and configuring the troika of Toadnews, MacSlurp and Newsfetcher in order to enable offline newsreading under Mac OS 7, back in the days when UK phone service was charged by the minute, and my telephone costs leapt from £10 a month to £100 a month.

Remember when a TCP/IP stack for the Mac didn't come included in the OS, but actually cost an additional £50 or so on top? And the cheapest way to get it was by buying Adam Engst's book on Macs and the Internet?

Happy days.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:38 PM on June 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm emailing alt.gods tonight to start a new group: alt.dersins.die.die.die
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 10:08 PM on June 12, 2008 [3 favorites]


I was very confused as to whether I should flag dersins' post as fantastic or noise/offensive/violates the guidelines so I just left it alone.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 10:35 PM on June 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Most ISPs stopped hosting any binary newsgroups years ago. I'm surprised Verizon was still doing it. Cutting off alt entirely is a bit much, though. There are still plenty of news hosts which do host all that.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:46 PM on June 12, 2008


I was very confused as to whether I should flag dersins' post as fantastic or noise/offensive/violates the guidelines

That was a post? I thought somebody was flicking the dial on a router somewhere between Matt's basement & me, and picking up random snippets of internet traffic.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:57 PM on June 12, 2008


This comes right in line with Martin Niemöller's famous poem about the early days of Nazi Germany.

Is this me being one of those Americans who don't understand irony, or are you a fucking lunatic? Someone call UbuRoivas to arbitrate, please.


Sorry for taking so long to get back to you, but this was a difficult one. After much serious consideration, I declare this usage of the Niemoller quote to be nothing short of unadulterated genius.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:22 PM on June 12, 2008


Usenet provider? Agent's news service is sort of mediocre, but it's cheap: 9.95 for 60 gigs. They claim 70 days retention. I haven't tested that, though.

Alt.folklore.urban is pretty much dead. But alt.fan.cecil-adams is still vibrant. It doesn't seem to have the snuh jerks and people from other newsgroups trying to start fights.
posted by faceonmars at 11:36 PM on June 12, 2008


nothing short of unadulterated genius

Brechtian, even.
posted by Wolof at 11:52 PM on June 12, 2008


Better.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:58 PM on June 12, 2008


sorry

Jesus pogosticking christ, I'd hope so.

Also, Niemöllergötterdämmerung for the umlauty win!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:07 AM on June 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


aggggggggghhhhhhhhhhh
eternal September seems to have come before most people in this thread ever played on the internet.


I always thought of mefi as being hip to all that is the internets. Either that is wrong or usenet is dead. I don't know which is more sad.
posted by caddis at 12:09 AM on June 13, 2008


Goodness I miss my bretheren on alt.peeves. Even got to meet a few of them at meetups in Chicago. They all had good taste in beer and the women were all classy and unobtainable.

Read the FAQ!
posted by OneOliveShort at 12:47 AM on June 13, 2008


There's more to this than just whether Verizon hosts newsgroups.

Verizon, Sprint and Time Warner Cable have agreed to block access to Internet bulletin boards and Web sites nationwide that disseminate child pornography.

"The agreement is designed to bar access to Web sites that feature child pornography by requiring service providers to check against a registry of explicit sites maintained by the Center for Missing and Exploited Children." (emphasis mine)

So in addition to dropping various parts of usenet (which as noted above won't prevent anyone from reaching their porn if they really want it) there will be a blacklist of blocked websites put in place too.


This seems like a big step away from net neutrality: it puts the ISPs in charge of policing which sites you're allowed to visit.
posted by ook at 12:54 AM on June 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


a new group: alt.dersins.die.die.die

My work here is done.
posted by dersins at 1:13 AM on June 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Verizon provides (or at least provided when I worked there before it was MCI before it was Worldcom before it was MCIWorldcom when it was UUnet) a lot of international transit bandwidth, national transit in countries without strong peering and major peering point links.
That is, they connected a lot of smaller ISPs all over.
Dropping Alt.* could easily drop it for many downstream ISPs, unless they have deliberately configured to take groups from multiple sources. And I would suggest that is unlikely as Usenet is low priority these days.
posted by bystander at 1:57 AM on June 13, 2008


There's more to this than just whether Verizon hosts newsgroups.

Verizon, Sprint and Time Warner Cable have agreed to block access to Internet bulletin boards and Web sites nationwide that disseminate child pornography.


Also, while Verizon is just dropping the alt hierarchy, Time Warner is dropping their USENET servers entirely.

As far as the USENET feed-dropping goes, as has been said already, it won't affect hardly anyone. The few people who still brave it just for discussion* largely use Google Groups, and anyone who uses it for downloading uses EasyNews/GigaNews/etc. People who are still using a UNIX-style text newsreader with an ISP news feed might grumble, but they are using 1980s technology after all, and I'm surprised the big ISPs even still offered USENET.

The website-blocking is scarier, though. This is how it starts - target a group that no one could possibly feel sympathy for, and use them to set precedents for other groups. "Pedophiles" have worked far better than "Satanic cults" did when this sort of thing was first tried 20-25 years ago. For the record, the amount of actual kiddie porn traders using unencrypted, regular old HTTP and NNTP to trade porn is probably a small overall fraction. They're using Tor services, Freenet, and other methods we don't even know about.

* Someone above mentioned the "snuh" trolls - Christ, I remember people doing that in like 1996. The idea that people still do it is pathetic. They probably don't even remember/get the Simpsons reference that "snuh" originally referred to.
posted by DecemberBoy at 2:15 AM on June 13, 2008


I'm sort of surprised anyone still uses usenet. Next, Cuomo will probably take aim at protecting us from the perverts on fidonet.
posted by Dave Faris at 3:13 AM on June 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


So... we've still got IRC though, right?

Okay then.
posted by Talanvor at 5:29 AM on June 13, 2008


Rest in peace
    _____
  /~/~   ~\
 | |       \
 \ \        \
  \ \  alt*  \
 --\ \       .\''
--==\ \     ,,i!!i,
    ''"'',,}{,,

posted by dabitch at 6:08 AM on June 13, 2008


What'll I do now that I can no longer post on alt.liz.phair.ex.boyfriends?
posted by jonp72 at 6:28 AM on June 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


[comments removed - dersins you know where the corner is]
posted by jessamyn at 7:07 AM on June 13, 2008


Usenet: I read it for the articles.
posted by wobh at 7:20 AM on June 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I spoke up when they came for Kyle.

I said "good bye, Kyle."

Then I grabbed his CDs.
posted by tommasz at 7:43 AM on June 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Everybody thinks Kibo is all fun and great now, but in thirty years when Suri Cruise is the mouthpiece for a criminal organization that fleeces Dr. Pepper drinkers for every giant H they're worth, folks won't be laughing so hard about Kibology, mark my words.
posted by cortex at 8:13 AM on June 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Now I have to pay for access to the Monastery? Bah.
posted by Skorgu at 8:32 AM on June 13, 2008


dersins you know where the corner is

*runs into the roundhouse*

You'll never corner me here!
posted by dersins at 9:06 AM on June 13, 2008


This was a comment on reddit:

First they came for the usenet and I did not speak out because I used bit torrent
Then they came for the 4chan and I did not speak out because I cared not for lol cats
Then they came for the IRC and I did not speak out because I did not cyber
Then they came for me and there was no one left because they were all AFK
posted by plexi at 9:09 AM on June 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


faceonmars: "Alt.folklore.urban is pretty much dead."

I just unsubscribed from AFU last week. I'm still reading alt.usage.english, though, and have been for over ten years -- but I pay for my newsserver. The ones that came with my ISPs have been so bad for so long, it hasn't been worth it.

I do wonder how Usenet will get fresh readers, though. People whose introduction to Usenet is Google Groups aren't going to stick around.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:20 AM on June 13, 2008


Regarding premium news providers, I use and would recommend Giganews for its huge 200 day retention and speed - maxes out my bandwidth at 2.4 megabyte/sec in the UK. It is a bit more of a pricey option at $25USD/month for unlimited downloads. Easynews is a good cheaper option with a nifty web interface, something Giganews doesn't have, though it does have download limits.
posted by Onanist at 9:24 AM on June 13, 2008


FIOS subscriber and, I suppose, former-Verizon usenet server user here. The 7-day retention was nice for a free service. I guess it's on to other providers now. People seem to like PowerUsenet (or see if you like anything in this list).
posted by drstupid at 9:45 AM on June 13, 2008


If anyone's looking for a newsserver and doesn't mind that it's text only, I recommend news.individual.net, a.k.a. "The German server."
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:49 AM on June 13, 2008


@DecemberBoy: I'm actually the director of digital communications here at Time Warner Cable, and I'd like to clarify something ... the New York Times got it wrong. But take a look at the press release on the AG's website:

For the first time, three of the world’s largest Internet Service Providers (“ISPs”) have agreed to block access to child porn from two significant sources. The companies will eliminate access to child porn Newsgroups, a major supplier of these illegal images, and will also purge their servers of child porn websites.

The term "block access" may apply to other ISPs (I'm not aware of their obligations, personally), but not TWC. We're not blocking anything at all. We are choosing to eliminate our newsgroups service -- as many companies have done in the past. It's both a business decision and a way to honor the AG's request.

When the Attorney General asks you to do something, you take the request pretty seriously.

TWC isn't blocking any content at all. We'll gladly eliminate any offending websites that match the NCMEC's list of child-porn sites, if they're hosted on our servers. But TWC customers can otherwise see any site hosted on any servers they like without our interruption.

If any of you want to ask any questions, I'm glad to take them via e-mail at jeff.simmermon@twcable.com. However, if you just e-mail me to let me know how much you think my company sucks, please don't expect a reply.
posted by jeffsimmermonTWC at 10:27 AM on June 13, 2008 [4 favorites]


Nice. 88 newsgroups have problems, you eliminate 100,000. You just allowed one state attorney general to censor you. Free speech means nothing if you don't defend it.
posted by caddis at 10:42 AM on June 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


jeffsimmermonTWC writes "When the Attorney General asks you to do something, you take the request pretty seriously."

Is this a legal requirement, or do you just do anything the AG asks, whether or not you're legally required to do so?
posted by krinklyfig at 11:17 AM on June 13, 2008


caddis writes "Nice. 88 newsgroups have problems, you eliminate 100,000. You just allowed one state attorney general to censor you. Free speech means nothing if you don't defend it."

Yeah, Mario Cuomo just set the bar for the whole country. I had no idea his jurisdiction was so broad.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:18 AM on June 13, 2008


We'll gladly eliminate any offending websites that match the NCMEC's list of child-porn sites, if they're hosted on our servers.

Why not just delete all the websites hosted on your servers?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:18 AM on June 13, 2008


Excuse me, Andrew Cuomo. Force of habit.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:19 AM on June 13, 2008


Have you guys never had a job? I look forward to watching the footage of one of you guys phoning up your state AG and telling him he can kiss your grits or whatever. It's realpolitik, people.
posted by GuyZero at 11:31 AM on June 13, 2008


>It's realpolitik, people.

"If you love wealth more than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, depart from us in peace. We ask not your counsel nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains rest lightly upon you and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.”—Samuel Adams

Not that he had any experience of 'realpolitik'.
posted by bitmage at 11:39 AM on June 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


IMMINENT DEATH OF USENET PREDICTED, FILM AT 11(!1!)
posted by nonane at 11:43 AM on June 13, 2008


or maybe it's just a bellwether of HappyNet
posted by nonane at 11:52 AM on June 13, 2008


Not that he had any experience of 'realpolitik'.

Given that the State AG is supposed to serve a legitimate purpose of prosecuting criminals, why do you criticize people doing what he asks as opposed to criticizing the AG for over-stepping his boundaries? Really, are companies not supposed to follow the rule of law? Pray tell which directives from the AG's office are supposed to be obeyed and which ones are supposed to be ignored.
posted by GuyZero at 11:56 AM on June 13, 2008


Oh wait, I forgot - I bet that if you get pulled over but you know you weren't speeding the first words out of your mouth are "Fuck off, pig."
posted by GuyZero at 11:58 AM on June 13, 2008


The directives that violate the law should certainly be ignored. When the AG tells you to block all websites named by a private organization (no matter how noble), you respond "sorry, we can't do that". That's your obligation, to assume that your customers are innocent until proven guilty. Not until they annoy an ambitious politican, not until they show up on an unaccountable blacklist.

And no, I've never cussed out a cop. It's actually possible for decent law-abiding folks to value the constitution and the intent it represents, crazy as that must seem to you.

Sigh. Old enough to remember when Usenet was the "net". And responses like GuyZero's would just earn you a quick plonk in the killfile.
posted by bitmage at 12:06 PM on June 13, 2008


"If you love wealth more than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, depart from us in peace. We ask not your counsel nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains rest lightly upon you and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.”—Samuel Adams
You know, I cut my teeth on Usenet and I met most of my early friends on the 'net via odd little corners like rec.games.bolo and rec.music.christian and alt.fan.wednesday. But frankly, the outcry/uproar over this is tiring.

It does raise interesting and important questions about the line between government censorship and a company's right to offer whatever services it deems worthwhile. Still, declining to explicitly provide server storage space for a particular legacy service doesn't really peg my outrage-o-meter.

The "You sold this service, and now are removing it -- customers who used and valued it, all nine of them, should be reimbursed" aspect if it is the only one I find very compelling.
posted by verb at 12:07 PM on June 13, 2008


GuyZero writes "Given that the State AG is supposed to serve a legitimate purpose of prosecuting criminals, why do you criticize people doing what he asks as opposed to criticizing the AG for over-stepping his boundaries?"

If a legal entity tells my company to do something I'm not legally required to do but which may affect my customers, then I would say there is a decision to make regarding whether the request is important enough to override customer concerns, or if it is overly broad or far-reaching. I'd also say there is a real problem with companies bending over backwards to please requests from the government which aren't requirements, and in some cases may actually be illegal. Just because a representative of the state's legal enforcement arm makes a request, doesn't mean you have to fulfill the request unless it's required by law. If you're not sure, you better get a lawyer before you bend over for the government.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:22 PM on June 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


>But frankly, the outcry/uproar over this is tiring.

Well, that was a response to GuyZero's assertion that when a random AG asks you to do something, you hop to it. That sort of cowardly thinking has lead to mass wiretapping and other evils far worse than the censoring of the alt hierarchy.

In this case, my take is that TW just saw a convenient out to remove a storage-hungry service that isn't valued by the majority of the user base. Having the government to blame it on just allows them to deflect criticism.
posted by bitmage at 12:26 PM on June 13, 2008


What really frustrates me about this entire dialogue is that there's an existing mechanism for this kind of thing: the court order. Politicians, even AGs don't just get to pick up the phone. By only responding to requests that come through the right channels you're also covering your ass against accusations of failing to do due dilligence.
posted by Skorgu at 12:31 PM on June 13, 2008


GuyZero writes "Have you guys never had a job? I look forward to watching the footage of one of you guys phoning up your state AG and telling him he can kiss your grits or whatever. It's realpolitik, people."

Not only do I have a job, I work for an ISP (not Verizon).
posted by krinklyfig at 12:45 PM on June 13, 2008


Well, that was a response to GuyZero's assertion that when a random AG asks you to do something, you hop to it.

That's not exactly my assertion. One has to pick one's battles. Wiretapping without a court order? I would definitely say no way, as would most companies - hopefully all. But the whole child pron issue is such a hot button that once someone makes some noise about it a company wants to do something to make sure it doesn't suffer any bad press. In this case would Verizon really want someone to issue a press release saying they refused to remove child porn from their servers? Is maintaining a service that's used by a tiny fraction of the user base worth the hassle?

Look, I'm not saying Verizon did anything that was really great. They did what was expedient, which is what companies do. And anyone who wants USENET can still get it from another server or run their own NNTP box. Not providing a service and censorship are two vastly different things. And access to USENET, while fun, is hardly a Constitutional right. No one's privacy was violated here, nobody's rights were infringed. If Verizon blocked all NNTP traffic that would be a whole separate issue which I would definitely be against.

And again, why not condemn the AG for basically making threats for political gain? it's the lowest form of political behaviour. Abusing the power of the AG's office to score cheap political points (think of the children!) This is nothing but cheap electioneering by Cuomo to further his political career while it does nothing to address any issues underlying the abuse of children. What surprises me is that everone is so quick to put the onus on Verizon here. If these requests are illegal why should Verizon be forced to have to deal with the dilemma of accepting an illegal order or risking retribution by the NY AG? Verizon certainly didn't ask for this.

And responses like GuyZero's would just earn you a quick plonk in the killfile.

Wow - open-minded. Who needs censorship when you only listen to people who think the same way you do?

Not only do I have a job, I work for an ISP (not Verizon).

I look forward to being regaled with your tales of telling the authorities to come back with a warrant. (not that I advocate doing the opposite though)
posted by GuyZero at 1:38 PM on June 13, 2008


I look forward to being regaled with your tales of telling the authorities to come back with a warrant.

i used to be a motel desk clerk for a little over minimum wage and i'd have gotten my ass fired if i'd let a cop demand entrance into a customer's room without a warrant

which was cool wtih the cops, you see, as they wanted to make good cases and so they actually went out and got warrants
posted by pyramid termite at 1:53 PM on June 13, 2008


Which is great, except no one in the Verizon scenario asked to look at any private data, or to look at anything for that matter. So good on you for obeying the law, being morally correct and creating a non-sequitur argument to the matter being discussed.
posted by GuyZero at 1:56 PM on June 13, 2008


jeffsimmermonTWC, thanks for the clarification.
posted by ook at 2:03 PM on June 13, 2008


and good for you for using your extensive knowledge of cheap paperback detective and spy thrillers to create the view of the relationship between the authorities and ordinary citizens that informs your comments

my point being that people can and do tell the government to back off in all sorts of circumstances without suffering ill effects - in fact, they are often required to

verizon could have found a much less drastic solution and didn't, due to sheer cluelessness about usenet

wanna bet that cluelessness extends to other parts of their internet service?
posted by pyramid termite at 2:04 PM on June 13, 2008


hehehe, loiseau, I was barfokitty. I adopted a cat from The David! Or he adopted one from me; it was so long ago, I forgot. Alt.angst was indeed my internet gateway drug.
posted by mygothlaundry at 2:09 PM on June 13, 2008


wanna bet that cluelessness extends to other parts of their internet service?

Obviously they have read the Netcraft reports that confirm USENET is dying...

"One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered USENET community when IDC confirmed that USENET market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all internet traffic."
posted by GuyZero at 2:47 PM on June 13, 2008


Even if you didn't enjoy USENET's work, there's no denying its contributions to popular culture. Truly an American icon.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 2:51 PM on June 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Obviously they have read the Netcraft reports that confirm USENET is dying

oh, hell, it's been doing that for years, just ask anyone who posts to it
posted by pyramid termite at 3:10 PM on June 13, 2008


mygothlaundry said: "hehehe, loiseau, I was barfokitty. I adopted a cat from The David! Or he adopted one from me; it was so long ago, I forgot. Alt.angst was indeed my internet gateway drug."

Ugh. I've sworn off most the the behaviour I learned there. I've actually used it as an example of how people shouldn't behave here. I find that when you get a bunch of smart people together online they sometimes fall into the habit of showing their intelligence by being really nasty to each other.

I even went to an angstcon.
But seriously, I don't even think I've had a newsreader on my computer in... eight years? So over it.
posted by loiseau at 3:24 PM on June 13, 2008


Well, at least we still have lambamoo and gopher.
posted by Dave Faris at 3:32 PM on June 13, 2008


Oh god. LambdaMoo. So many awkward memories. I would support a worldwide block of port 8888. Really, it's for everyone's own good.
posted by GuyZero at 3:38 PM on June 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I fondly remember alt.folklore.urban
Oh, my -- I lived on AFU. Old Hats, flowing glass, microwaved animals.

You younguns gather 'round and listen close, now. Usenet and AFU gave you the troll and Snopes. Those two are forever intertwined because of the time someone named Snopes went into rec.sports.hockey and, posing as a college student in Newfoundland, posted a message titled, "Canada is a pathetic piece of shit". He detailed the reasons behind this opinion and, as could happen on Usenet, the replies were crossposted over hundreds of groups with other trollers jumping into the fray. I remember explaining to a couple of Englishmen why the US would have been better off in WWII if they had convinced Australia to invade London because the British were so inept. Man, those guys were pissed.

I realize that Usenet is obsolete and understand that these carriers can make the convenient choice of not providing the service anymore. For those of us who cut our Internet teeth on those boards, it's a little like seeing your favorite childhood playground being turned into a parking lot.
posted by forrest at 6:21 PM on June 13, 2008


jeffsimmermonTWC, thanks for the clarification.

That was no clarification, that was corporate PR speak to justify their anti-consumer action. Did you take the short bus to school?
posted by caddis at 6:54 PM on June 13, 2008


Oh, man, this thread inspired me to go browse through my old usenet history, and boy oh boy is there a shit-ton of embarrassing stuff. It was over a decade ago, but still, I wasn't young enough to justify some of the ridiculous stuff I pontificated (or trolled) about:

For instance, I came upon this lengthy rant about how much I hate the web, written and posted in the summer of 1996, when I was old enough to have known better:
I really probably shouldn't be posting anything to USENET right now, especially to the ark. I've been up for far too long now, getting on to 60-some-odd hours, and I'm afraid that my thinking has long since ceased to even approach coming close to resembling being linear.

Not that it ever is, really, so I suppose it might not matter all that much. Free reign at the office, now. My boss is down in Hell A., meeting with some froufy studio execs, so I can just play and play and play. Which is probably not a good thing when you're as chronically unfunny as I am. Alas.

I hate the Fucking Web. I hate it with a burning, overwhelming passion. It's not just that it's slow and cumbersome, either. It's that the vast majority of what's available on it seems to be driven solely by either vanity or commercialism. On the one hand, you've got people's home pages cluttered with pictures of themselves and lists of radiKeWl CD's they think everyone else should listen too, also, and on the other hand you've got ADS ADS ADS. And don't forget the NEKKID GIFFFFFSSS, either. Sure, there's some good stuff out there, but trying to find it is like pressing "Channel Up" on your remote when your cable system has about 8 gazillion channels: too many daytime talk shows, even at night.

Which brings me to my main gripe about the Fucking Web. Interactivity. Or lack thereof. It really is way too much like a giant cable system. It's not like USENET. There's no dialogue. It's just another spectator sport, and I am sick and fucking tired of spectator sports.

When the judges who overturned the CDA talked about the internet as a global conversation that one country's legislators had no right to interrupt, they sure as hell weren't talking about the Fucking Web. Shit, regulate the Web. I don't care. I hate it.

It's got more MAKE.MONEY.FAST schemes than the entire alt.* hierarchy ever dreamed of-- it's just phrased differently, and has prettier pictures.

That's not to say that the "global conversation," or whatever they called it, exactly, that goes on in USENET is necessarily always good, interesting or constructive. We all know much better than that. But even those idiotic "Fuckhead Cascades" are more dialogue driven than about 90% of what *I've* seen on the Web.

Sure, people say some dumb fucking things on USENET (is this a tautology, by the way, given the post in which it appears?). In fact, people *mostly* say dumb fucking things on USENET. But they have the opportunity to say it. Even idiots like me deserve to be heard.

More importantly, we deserve the opportunity to hear what our detractors and supporters have to say about what we said. We deserve the opportunity to hear Kibologists mock us, Bigfooters (Bigfeet? Bigfootistae?) and a.s.t.'ers flame us to a cinder, and alt.cuddle bunnies give us big, warm, cloyingly sweet *hugs*, even if it does make us nauseous.

And that's just not the way it works on the Fucking Web. The Fucking Web is just a gigantic fucking suburban shopping mall. You go in, buy a sweater at The Gap, get a 7-layer burrito at Taco Bell, and maybe catch the latest SUPER ACTION BLOCKBUSTER at the movie theater, and leave. There's little character beyond the glitz and neon signs and useless commercialization. There's certainly no culture.

USENET is more like, well, more like Brooklyn. A big city. But in that big city are a veritable plethora (God, how I love the phrase "veritable plethora") of smaller neighborhoods. Each of those neighborhoods has its own flavor, its own character. On one street corner, you can almost get killed by because you're white, but on that same street corner you can also get the best Jamaican food you'll ever have. On another street corner you can almost get killed because you're black, but on that same street corner you can also eat the best Italian Hero you've ever had.

USENET is all street corners. The Fucking Web has none.

Does this make me nothing more than a hide-bound reactionary traditionalist? Perhaps it does, although I would prefer to think otherwise. I prefer to think of myself as a Cultural Romanticist. Or perhaps a Romantic Culturalist. I don't know, really. But I do know one thing.

I hate the Fucking Web.
I just cringe now at how pompous my 1996 self sounds. I wasn't wrong, really. (At least not at the time. The internets hadn't yet given us the metafilters of the world.) But damn. How pompous and pontificate-y. It's a wonder I had any friends at all.
posted by dersins at 9:05 AM on June 14, 2008


* waves at dersins in 2018 * You'd think you would have learned something from the experience of digging up all the embarrassing stuff you said 20 years ago, wouldn't you?
posted by Dave Faris at 9:25 AM on June 14, 2008


Well, I figure if I'm going to engage in mockery (and I am, believe you me...), then the only honest thing to do is ALSO engage in self-mockery.
posted by dersins at 9:48 AM on June 14, 2008


Did you take the short bus to school?
Gosh. Can I recommend the decaf?

The NY Times article I linked to said the ISPs would be "blocking access to websites," which sounded like some sort of IP blacklist, which would be nasty, internet-changing shit.

The clarification (and the wording of the AG's press release does bear this out) was that the "blocked websites" were just the ISPs removing kiddie porn websites hosted on their own servers, presumably for TOS violations. Which is not nasty internet-changing shit, it's business as usual.

That was the bit of clarification I was thanking jeffsimmermonTWC for. Hey, sometimes even the corporate shills are right, and having reread all this stuff I'm inclined to believe this is one of those wacky, wacky cases.


Now the newsgroup stuff is a whole separate issue, but honestly I'm having a little trouble getting worked up over it. Since the very first days of Usenet, some hosts offered only partial feeds, or none at all, so the fact that now three more ISPs have chosen to do the same is, well, disappointing, sure. I have a lot of nostalgia for usenet -- I spent more years than I should probably admit hanging around in alt.1d -- and if I were actually a customer of one of those three ISPs I might even go so far as to be slightly annoyed. And the fact that it's being spun into some bogus victory against the evil pedophiles is irritating, no doubt about it. But... yeah. Sorry. This is not a large potato. I have other potatoes which are larger potatoes than this.
posted by ook at 10:37 PM on June 14, 2008


and bacon.
posted by Spatch at 5:48 AM on June 15, 2008


Phooey. I got the email from Verizon last night.
Subscribing to another Usenet service is easy. Finding another ISP is hard, but I won't stay with Verizon if they aren't providing the service I pay for. I'm surprised people here are taking it so lightly.
posted by bink at 9:26 AM on June 18, 2008


Just so I can mortify myself about my old usenet posts, can someone point me towards a search engine that will take me back to 1996?
posted by Jofus at 7:22 AM on June 19, 2008


Google of course.
posted by caddis at 7:31 AM on June 19, 2008


Well, I could have sworn that had been limited to like 3 or 4 years worth. Although quite why I thought this escapes me. The Googles have still got a long and rambling cri-de-couer I wrote when I was 15 and posted to an Amiga based BBS "magazine", the thought of which sends a genuine thrill of terror down my spine. Those assholes.
posted by Jofus at 3:35 AM on June 20, 2008


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