Emily Postnews answers your questions on how to create a new alt group

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Billy Harris

Mar 29, 1995, 10:45:44 PM3/29/95
Archive-name: alt-hierarchies/emily-alt-advice
version: 2.0

(posted monthly)

Version 1 by Billy Harris (wha...@tauceti.uta.edu)
Version 2 by Billy Harris and Tim Pierce (twpi...@unix.amherst.edu)

New this post:

Corrected the spelling of Jonathan's name (OOPS!)

Improved wording for Joe Blow == Hitler section
inspired by ye...@cornell.edu (Eugene {Yevgeniy} Epshteyn)

'Better' advice for starting a non-alt group; thanks to
jtb...@cs1.presby.edu (Jon Bell)

Improved part 5 (If x.y.z.z.z. exists why can't mine?)
suggested by Aaron Keesler <akee...@marvin.cs.uah.edu>

Tons of spelling mistakes corrected.
(Don't nobody 'plain about speling misteaks no more?)



1. I want to create a new alt group. How do I start?

For one thing, make sure you don't talk about it on alt.config.
The only people there are tyrannical, embittered news
administrators who don't like anything that anyone does, so don't
even bother.

You also need to think of a good name for your group.
Use this handy checklist in choosing a worthwhile alt name:

* Use as many periods as possible, for separating words or even
syllables. This is the most useful yardstick for measuring a
newsgroup's importance; the more periods, the merrier!

* Don't hide your group among the others that are already there;
create a new hierarchy if you possibly can. Using the existing
namespace is just no fun. This may seem to be in conflict with
the rule above (maximize periods) but there's nothing to stop you
from creating a new hierarchy and seven or eight sub-hierarchies
at the same time.

* Repeat words for emphasis. For example, alt.flame.joe.blow is
clearly an inferior choice to alt.flame.joe.blow.die.die.die or,
better, alt.flame.joe.blow.die.die.die.NOW.NOW.NOW.YES.YES.YES!!
Both of these attract more attention than the first. (Also note
the capital letters and exclamation points -- these are extra
neat. See below for information on how to handle pesky system
managers who might complain about them.)

Beware, however, of creating a newsgroup name that is too
descriptive of its content. Then people can look at the name and
tell what the group will discuss. Random strangers might join your
group. What you want is a private discussion forum where you can
exchange inside jokes. Hence, a better name might be
alt.flame.jbdddNNNYYY. (Insert periods at will to improve the
name.) For maximal obscurity, choose an unrelated hierarchy under
which to start the group: alt.sci or alt.comp, for example.

And remember the maxim of alt: alt.fan is always a good place for
*any* newsgroup.


2. Okay, I've decided to name my group
alt.fan.flame.tv.my.really.k00l.froup. What do I do now?

Create the group by sending the appropriate control message
(look in the "control" newsgroup for examples). Since news
administrators don't care about their jobs (it's all a sham,
actually), they don't have time to read long control messages,
so there's no need to put any effort into writing this message.
Just say, "Please create alt.fan.flame.tv.my.really.k00l.froup."
Above all, you certainly don't need to justify its existence;
that's not needed until later. (see Question 7, part B).


3. This newsgroup has been around for about three days, and it
rocks!! How can I move it to the rec hierarchy?

Well, boring administrator types will babble something about Dave
Lawrence and news.announce.newusers, but you don't have time to
wait for a moderator to approve your post, and you certainly
don't have time to read news.announce.newusers for information on
how to do this. All you have to do is post a call for discussion
in news.groups, wait a couple of weeks, and post a call for votes.
Timing your post for discussion is very important; your discussion
should take about a month and you want the voting period to coincide
with steps 5 and 6 below.

One key point to remember is that the control freaks on alt.config
will vote no for EVERYTHING and will in fact actively campaign against
you and your group. To offset those NO votes, you need to generate lots
of YES votes by cross-posting your call for votes to lots of newsgroups.
Remember: The more groups you cross-post to, the more YES votes you
will generate. comp.lang.lisp is a great place to generate votes for
rec.fan.flame.tv.my.really.k00l.froup, because the fascist administrators
on alt.config would NEVER think of campaigning there. Be sure and mention
that you are also forming an alt group; that way, the people of
comp.lang.lisp will help you in your fight with the control freaks on


4. Somebody told me that my newsgroup is only on 4% of news sites!
What should I do to correct this heinous injustice?

Alert the media! It's a conspiracy.

Subscribe to alt.config and post a message complaining about
the low propagation of alt.blah.blah. You should post a sharp
criticism of the conspiracy of system administrators who have
nothing better to do than think of ways to sabotage your news group.
You should moan about the terrible propagation of your group
and about the severe disservice these system administrators are
doing to Usenet in general and to you in particular. Refer to
Question 5 for more detailed information on good rhetoric to
use in this post.

Alternately, you can post a message pleading and begging news
administrators to carry alt.blah.blah. A message such as
"Please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please
carry alt.blah.blah. Pretty please? With sugar on top? The entire
Internet community will thank you if you do and we'll all send you
money. Pretty please? Please?" should work nicely.

For even better results, post both types of messages.


5. Someone complained about my group! What should I do?

Pay no attention. Administrators are just godless Fascists.

The most important thing to remember when discussing new alt groups
on alt.config -- which you shouldn't do anyway -- is that news
administrators are completely impervious to logic. It does no good
to reason with them, so don't try.

Suggested discussion topics:

You're just an evil Communist!
This is alt! I can do whatever I want to!
Why should I listen to you? Just because you're a news
administrator? You're obviously not having any fun.
Well, you're wrong because I know all about how this works.
If you cared about your users, you'd carry this group.

Keep in mind that the administrator probably did *NOT* ask his users
whether or not they wished to read this group. Demand that he
call all 500 of his users to find out if any one of them wants to
read your group.

One proven way of gathering support for your group is to list all the
really dumb groups that have gotten approved -- such as alt.spleen,
alt.enya.puke.puke.pukeSender:, and alt.culture.sardines. These groups
may not exist at your site, but they must exist somewhere or the
fascist administrators in alt.config wouldn't complain about them so much.
Surely it's obvious, even to the dunderheads in alt.config, that if groups
like those can exist on one site, your group should exist on ALL sites.
NOT TRUE! You must bring this point out explicitly, as the administrators
are too self-absorbed to think of this on their own.

If everyone is conspiring against you, just go on to the next step.
Railroading proposals through is the alt way of life!


6. Joe Blow still won't carry my group! What should I do now?

Name calling is quite productive. If you can't think of any
good names, try these:

Control freak
Mind controlling PC scum
Fundamentalist right-wing fanatic

Adolf Hitler tortured and killed millions of people. Joe Blow criticized
your alt.blah.blah proposal. Surely everyone can see the similarities
between these two events, right? WRONG! As explained before, system
administrators are incapable of thinking logically. No matter how obvious
Joe Blow's evil nature is to you, the administrators of alt.config won't
notice. So, you need to publicize Joe Blow's evil nature and point out
the comparison to Hitler. Since no one wants to support a nazi, hundreds
of sites will add your group.

Be sure to mention Joe Blow's name several times in the letter, so
everyone will remember exactly who you are talking about. After
other system administrators see your vicious post about Joe Blow,
they will add your group so that you will not similarly insult them.

Finally, at the end of your post, put a line similar to: "P.S. to
all: Don't forget to vote for blah.blah by next Weds" Thus, while
alt.blah.blah is fresh on everyone's minds, you can attract more
votes for (non-alt) blah.blah. Remember that you need to get at
least 100 votes to create a non-alt group, so every vote counts. By
including this PS on a note about alt.blah.blah, you will attract
several voters who otherwise would not have participated.


7a. All right!! My group passed the mainstream vote!!

Congratulations; you have proved the worthiness of your topic.
System Administrators now have no excuse not to carry your alt group,
and you can say that publicly. After all, without an alt group,
how can people cross-post the same article to both groups? How
would people be confused about which topics go where?
Clearly, an alt group is needed. Every news group should have a
corresponding alt group!


7b. Awww.. My group failed the mainstream vote. And we were so close.

Some people would suggest that you say something logical, such as:
"My topic has a lot of interest but not quite enough for the
mainstream Usenet. Therefore I recommend an alt group."
The problem is that this statement makes sense. As stated earlier,
logic is useless against system administrators. If you absolutely
insist, then you can gather together all of the reasons you didn't
use before and post them to alt.config. My advice, however, is
to follow the suggestions given for Question 7c.


7c. I can't believe it! Usenet voters didn't like my group at all!

What?? Obviously Joe Blow (who criticized your alt group) has
formed a conspiracy against you. This is the only reason for
the skewed vote, since we both know your group is the best thing
to happen to Usenet since alt.sex.swedish.Bork.Bork.Bork.

Thus, you should post a message explaining the situation to everyone
who thought the vote was legitimate. You should accuse Joe Blow
of ballot stuffing, forgery, bias, murder, and any other crimes
you can think of. Point out that Joe Blow has a well-known,
long-standing personal vendetta against you and spent 8-12 hours
per day trying to sabotage your vote.

Something that can also work is to blame the outcome on the
incompetence of the vote taker. Sometimes this works even if YOU
are the vote-taker; accuse yourself of incompetence and demand that
someone volunteer to collect votes for the also demanded revote of

Finally, conclude your message by including a line such as:
"Because that bigot Joe Blow's dictatorial ballot-stuffing
forgeries have killed blah.blah, you are morally obligated to
support alt.blah.blah. If you don't, you are just as guilty as Joe
Blow. P.S. everyone please mail to root@somewhere demanding a
revote of blah.blah due to Joe Blow's meddling"


8. I followed all your steps, and my propagation is close to .01%. Now
what should I do?

You should post one more time to alt.config saying "FINE! DON'T CARRY
POND WATER SCUM!" You may substitute whichever expletives seem
appropriate. To emphasize that this message is a spontaneous outburst,
you should add few typos caused by your fingers slamming on the

With that final message, you can sit back and relax, safe in the
knowledge that you have set a new record low for propagation of
alt.blah.blah: 0!



note: Once I get 150 suggestions, I will remove this section and the
authorship information; by that time, this thing will have become a true
group effort.

Until then, thanks to:

Jona...@RMIT.edu.au for advice on how to get 100 votes for a non-alt group.
an...@drebin.demon.co.uk for reminding me about ObHitler flames.
he...@cs.ruu.nl for telling me that my autoposter wasn't autoposting.
ye...@cornell.edu for improved Hitler flames
jtb...@cs1.presby.edu for idea of bypassing news.announce.newgroup moderation
akee...@marvin.cs.uah.edu for reminding me about alt.this.group.sucks, etc.

and, as always, twp...@unix.amherst.edu for 1/2 authorship and suggesting
the Emily Postnews format in the first place.

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