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Doug Shakel

Aug 10, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/10/96

The following is a slightly abriged copy of the E-mail I
posted to Oliver Seeler in response to his post / E-mail of
earlier today:


Well, Oliver, this is probably still gonna go out to you
sounding rather strong, but I will still try to maintain
some civility. But if and when you respond THIS time,
please try a reread before you send so as to lessen your
tendency to misinterpret and jump to erroneous conclusions!

>>> Well, sir, fortunately you are not yet in the censor's
chair ...

If YOU want to wholly equate moderator with censor, I can't
stop you, but as I (and apparently many others in s.c.e.)
see it, it ain't necessarily so, and thus moderation MIGHT
be a risk worth taking. If the regulars in c.e. object,
that's their perogative.

>>The implication there seems to be that Richard Adams is
>>trying to effect a power grab in s.g.e. Chill, Oliver!
>>If the vote for moderation succeeds, there's plenty of
>>space to argue for or against who should moderate.
>Sure looks like that from here; if that's not the case, it
>can become the >case, easily; I've seen it happen more than
>a few times on BBS's, packet networks, FreeNets and
>mail-lists during the 15 years I've been on line.
>(Speaking of mail-lists, if you & Adams et al can't handle
>the simple chores involved in dealing with your personal
>problems relating to free speech on the net, then you
>should start one.) As for "space to argue" - right; plenty
>of controlled air space, filled with heated ongoing
>discussions about what and who should or shouldn't be
>moderated. I'll take Turi, thanks.

IMV it's not completely analogous; netiquette within the
"sci.*" groups derives from a different set of standards.
Centuries old traditions of peer review, open discussion and
testing of hypotheses, etc. require a degree of self-imposed
moderation that seems lost on the likes of Turi. This may
come across as eliteism, and I'd be loathe to project these
standards onto the "ca.*" groups, but much of the requested
discussions is about THOSE issues.

I've messed around with BBS's, etc. for about the same
length of time, although I'm sure I haven't been as heavily
involved as you imply you have been. But I'd urge you to
realize that MUCH of the foundation behind THIS RFD is as
much based on the protocols of scientific investigation as
it is on the heritage of "free speech" issues in cybermedia.
Some of the earliest impetus for the development of the
Internet came from the scientific components of academia,
and just as YOUR emphasis on "free speech" and "down with
the censors" derives from YOUR background, in the "sci.*"
hierarchy, civility, honesty, and open discussion of errors
are major underpinnings of THAT cybersociety.

The flap over Turi does have SOME components of "free
speech" that apply, but you seem oblivious to the other
issues such as consumption of bandwith, misrepresentations
of the nature of the rest of the newsgroup content, causing
late arriving posts that may be more germane to have only
the briefest of presence on various newsservers, etc. Don't
you think those are valid concerns as well? How do users in
various groups balance those issues with freedom of speech

>>But in the meantime, having a volunteer in place speeds
>>the possibility of achieving the moderation, and if the
>>vote to moderate or form the new group fails, then the
>>matter of who moderates is moot!
>What? First of all, what's the rush? Second, once a
>moderator is in place, potential (further) damage is
>possible. There's nothing moot about the issue, at this

What EXACTLY is it that you fear in THIS case? Is your
upset just part of an overall vigilance against censorship
(which I'd fully agree with and support), or do you have a
personal fear that perhaps you would have YOUR posts to
s.c.e. (or whatever might come later) excluded. I would
think what would and what would not be excluded would
untimately be determined by a FAQ, and from most of the
discussion I've seen for this particular proposal, the
current consensus seems to be that only the more outrageous
irrelevancies and spams should be excluded.

>>>and notwithstanding the nuances of Usenet
>>>hierarchy/politics I for one will not "cooperate" in
>>>placing what I have to say on the subject into
>>>an arcane administrative corner of the net.
>>Well, apparently you don't fully understand the nuances of
>>Usenet or at least those of your newsreader, 'cause your
>>bitchy missive posted to c.e. and s.g.e. DID also go to
>>"news.groups"! So I guess you uncooperatively cooperated!
>I meant to say that I will not limit myself to the
>"administrative" back rooms groups, just as you have not in
>this instance (which is proper, as far as I'm concerned).

Okay, now we've worked that out, and I accept your
explanation. But I think you'd retrospectively agree that
what you "meant" to say sure isn't what came across. It sure
made you sound more like a newbie, when in fact you now
state you have had much more experience in all this. Could
you possibly admit to a similar misunderstanding in your
inferences about the backgrounds of other parties in this

>>>Your pronouncement that this discussion is "off topic" is
>>>ludicrous on its face and your lofty "promise" to "move
>>>the discussion over there " is, well, just plain
>>Perhaps arrogance is in the mind of the perceiver. I
>>think R. Adams is one of the few voices of rationality to
>>have posted in these groups in the last week or so, and I
>>find YOUR sudden outburst to be truly arrogant!
>Gee, just a few lines ago you whined about MY "bitchy

Bitchiness doesn't necessarily preclude arrogance, nor do
they necessarily go hand-in-hand. Might just as well be
PMS! ;-)

And I stand by my already implied observation that your
attribution of arrogance is misplaced.

>>>I hope more than a few of those who at first glance
>>>thought this proposal might offer relief from some of the
>>>annoyances that are native to all free and open
>>>discussions (on and off line) will see from the above the
>>>sort of thing they might trade themselves into.
>>Annoyances come in degrees. The immediate cause of the
>>various retromod or moderation porposals currently being
>>discussed is one "Dr." T^^^. And IMHO HIS posts are well
>>beyond any "annoyances that are native to all free and
>>open discussions"!

>Your opinion is anything but humble, chum. And if it was
>humble, and if you knew how, you'd get yourself a
>twit-filter and be done with it, instead of playing around
>with my freedom.

So you have the exclusive right to hyperbole and sarcasm,
and we mere peasants are allowed none? "Twit-filters" do
nothing for the problem of excessive bandwidth consumption
and its concomitant lessening of the usefulness of the group
to others. Nor do "twit-filters" aid those scientific types
whose underfunded institutions still have their users having
to read all newsgroup headers (in some cases even the whole
articles themselves) in sequence.

>>Richard Adams' proposal was not the only one made, but
>>insofar as I can tell is the only one being followed
>>through on. (Mea culpa! ... excessive terminal
>Is that good in itself? Lots of things are "followed
through on" ...

[Thank you, at least we agree on something!]


>>Clearly, you either don't get it, or willlfully choose to
>>flaunt convention. Sounds like classic sophomoric
>>behavior to me. Fear not! Sophomorism is usually a
>>transient state. And it HAS its contributions to make.
>Your incipient ad hominum attack surfaces now and then -
>just be honest about it, for crying out loud. And don't
>patronize me ... I'm 52 years old.

[It's "ad hominem". :-) ]

I'm 58, teach a lot of sophomores, and boy, your post sure
sounded a lot like what I get from them! (The term as I
used it was NOT intended to denote an age classification;
are you aware of the etymology of the word?)

>>>While I'm at it, the Adams manifesto contains the
>>>following paragraph:
>>>"Although a more accurate title would be
>>>sci.geo.seismic.moderated, having earthquakes in the
>>>title will offer a higher probablity that a search by the
>>>layman for this subject matter will locate this new
>>>group, since the layman is deemed to be more familiar
>>>with the term earthquake than seismic."
>>>This again is an example of the type of condescending
>>>psuedo-logic that the eager "moderator" can impose on a
>>>group. Aside from being insulting, the probability that
>>>any sort of search for the word "earthquake" would not
>>>turn up the proposed newsgroup, regardless of its
>>>eventual name, is near zero - unless, of course, the poor
>>>benighted "layman" is also "deemed" not to know how to
>>>conduct a net search ... or unless the eventual
>>>newsgroup is simply empty which, come to think of it,
>>>might well be the outcome if this present nonsense is
>>>allowed to prevail.
>>THIS is an example of LIMITED knowledge of Usenet and
>>newsreaders. I and others I've queried have NEVER found a
>>newsgroup of interest through a netsearch!
>Well, who knows what a "newsgroup of interest" might be to
>you, apparently some sort of newbie at all of this (which
>may explain why you don't recognize the dangers of trashing
>the existing groups and may also explain why you keep


But where I come from, caps for a word or two is considered
an alternate substitute for underlining or other emphasis
where the word-transfer medium does not support underscore
text and the *word* or _word_ convention might be
misunderstood! EMPHASIS may or may not equate to YELLING!

>To find any word in any newsgroup, use the free
>search service Deja News (I'll let you try to find that
>yourself - hint; it's on a thingy called the World Wide

Why bother opening a browser to access Deja News if a better
means is already built into one's newsreader? I didn't say
I hadn't found a "post" of interest through a web search; I
said I and no one I knew looked for "newsgroups" that way.

Deja News is an awesome search engine / database combo, but
I still think it's a piss-poor way to browse for newsgroups
that maybe of interest, and I THOUGHT that's what the issue
was in regard to choosing a newsgroup name (seismic vs.

For some examples, I just ran a Deja News search for
"southwest" to see if a newbie might thus learn about a
small-participation and mostly regional newsgroup called
"". Deja News produced more than
36000 hits, but in scrolling through the first several
hundred not a single post was derived from that group and a
lilmited attention-span newbie would receive no clue the
group even existed from doing such a search. Neither does
the comprehensive quality of the data base in Deja News
serve the newbie or average user in the matter of whether or
not posts to a newsgroup of interest found in Deja News even
propogate to their particular newsserver!

>>And IMHO, the built-in newsreaders of Netscape, etc. are
>>far inferior to stand alone clients such as NewsXpress,
>>which is the one I use.
>Now, THAT's off topic.

Bullshit! The immediate topic was my perception of you
misunderstanding of how many users of the s.g.e. newsgroup
operate and find there ways to s.g.e. I continued:

>>You seem to be unaware that in many of the stand-alone
>>applications, the best way to see if there is a
>>newsgroup pertaining to a subject of interest is to search
>>the list of newsgroups available on one's server for
>>keywords or fragments such as "earthquake" or "quake" or
>Once again, Doug knows the "best" way for us to do

Well, it's the best I'VE found, it's the one I teach, and
until someone shows me something better, I guess I'm stuck
with teaching that, hunh? I'm ALWAYS open to learning a
better way and change to that. Deja News sure as hell is
NOT an appropriate substitute for a quick perusal of a list
of immediately available newsgroups that someone might be
naive enough to expect might include their topic of interest
in the newsgroup name. (Run-on sentence, no time to repair,
2 pt. deduction!)

If you have another offering for something better, out with

>Too bad he's wrong so often, or we could run him for
>political office where his talents would find harmless

[Note: "oseeler" expresses opinion, fails to document
position, perhaps confuses honest but viable differences of
opinion with alleged actual misstatements or verifiable
examples of errors!]

>>This is NOT done as a net search, but rather
>>through a filter or find function limited to the newsgroup
>>list unique to one's own newsserver, and it takes less
>>than one second to see ALL possible combinations of
>>newgroups with that keyword or fragment in their title.
>As anyone who has been around Usenet for a while knows, the
>17,000 or so group titles are somewhat like DOS file names
>- too short and often too obscure to indicate their

But the ones with academic topic content usually strive to
include the most central topic of their group in the
newsgroup name!

As a self-identified long experienced net user, can you
REALLY believe the number of newsgroups is on the order of
17,000 titles!!!! The most current guestimates I've seen
range from 60,000 to over 150,000, and growing daily. My
own rather localized service provider just raised the number
of groups carried to approximately 21,000 (killing off
several that I had been following in the process - they DID
restore them when I pointed that out), and several of those
noted in Deja Vu STILL aren't carried on my local provider's

>A content search is the best way to find something - you'll
>just have to learn how that works, Shakel.

Well, maybe it's best way in your apparently limited area of
inquiry, but I guess I'm just stuck with a more expansive
view of the net! You are certainly entitled to your
opinion, and I encourage all users to use what suits them
best. But your approach, for instance would fail to find
newsgroups such as alt.disasters.earthquake in Deja View,
because the group remains empty for months on end except for
off-topic pyramid game spams and erotica ads, and then fills
exponentially when a Kobe event strikes! A new user could
easily find that usually empty news group with a list filter
from within their newsreader, subscribe, and then see it
come to life and follow the updates, many hours to days
before Deja News would alert them to the group through a
search for posting titles or content.

Case in point: right now Deja News is lagging about 14 hrs.
behind in indexing and listing posts regarding the "Life on
Mars" matter. For boondocker researchers or disaster relief
agents who might be poised for long boring times to get
equipment out to remote sites should a quake, flood or other
natural event occur in their area, but whose principle
research responsibilities lay elsewhere, Deja News wouldn't
be nearly so useful in showing the formation of a newly
active or newly created newsgroup set up minutes after it
formed (yes, they CAN be set up that fast) by routinely
filtering their newsgroups list, and then immediately
subscribing to monitor that group for useful info. But I
guess it's different strokes for different folks.

>> When using that technique, the concern regarding
>>newsgroup name expressed in Richard's "manifesto" makes
>>perfect sense. (Sophomoric behavior = 2; overall
>>demonstration of Usenet prowess = 0.)
>Heh heh - better check your feet for bite marks. My point
>stands; people who do not understand, from their
>self-constructed lofty perches, the way the mechanics of
>Usenet operate out here, in the real world, are trying to
>impose themselves on the rest of us.

I infer you are referring to yourself. I'll readily admit I
understand only a fraction of the workings of the Internet,
Usenet, etc., but if your comments in your E-mail to me
which this answers were supposed to demonstrate to me a
knowledge of all this that is superior to mine, I guess I'd
better gird myself for round 2!

You have a different point of view, and you're entitled to
it. But virtually nothing you have said in either your
newsgroup post or your missive to me has anything to do with
the mechanics of Usenet. They have to do with how people
perceive, use, and attempt to regulate Usenet, NOT the
mechanics of it. If you were truly concerned with the
MECHANICS of Usenet, wouldn't one expect you to be more
sensitive to issues concerning consumption of resources,
constraints on byte storage per newsgroup, etc.?

>If you don't want to play, or can't figure out how, fine -
>go home ... but you can't take the ball with you; it
>doesn't belong to you.

Hey, dude, if the shoe fits, wear it! (I WAS luke warm to
the idea of moderation, but your obtuseness seems to fast be
making a believer out of me!)

>> I've been with my current service provider for more than
>>a year, it carries on the order of 10,000 newsgroups, and
>>ca.earthquakes didn't show up here until about 6 weeks
>So you've been around here 6 weeks, eh? Gee, I thought you
>were one of the founding fathers. And if my ISP provided
>only 10K newsgroups, I'd fire it tomorrow.

(Another failure to read correctly.) I couldn't ACCESS
ca.earthquakes on MY newsserver until then. I access OTHER
newsservers to access other groups, dork.

That's a far cry from "been around here 6 weeks"!

And "here" in your sentence could have meant c.e., s.g.e.,
n.g., Usenet in general, or the Internet as a whole. But I
thought it should have been pretty clear that the only thing
the "6 weeks" applied to was the presence of c.e. on one
particular server. (Jeesh, for some people I guess I gotta
run my fingers along the line & point things out for 'em.)

With limited funds to expend on these things, we do what we
can. But since my server just increased their list to more
than 20,000 and you seem only to KNOW about 17,000, I guess
YOU'RE the one who needs to shop around now, hunh?

>>If I came across rather harsh, Oliver, I'm truly sorry.
>No you're not - you're just another newbie who thinks he
>knows what's best for everyone else. You and your wannabe
>censor pals are a fortunately dying breed, stamping your
>tiny too-tightly shod feet while the rest of us are
>figuring out simple non-destructive individually-applicable
>ways to deal with the vibrant, dynamic and often annoying
>world out here. You may succeed in destroying this (these)
>newsgroups, but sooner or later your ilk will fade away as
>people realize that they have the power (gasp!) to take
>care of themselves, and that they don't need any
>self-appointed cub scouts to hold their hands (or give them
>bad advice).

[Bitchy outburst, excessive name-calling, diversionary
tactics commonly used when one runs out of rational
arguments, inadvertently making strong case for moderation
and broader terms for exclusion.]


>> To me, your sudden appearance and pique was a step back
>>in the wrong direction.
>The wrong direction, IMO, is this attempt to intimidate and
>censor free expression on the Internet.

Rational discourse in LONG enduring "sci.*" newsgroups is a
sub-set of free expression on the Internet. Don't attempt
to transfer "alt.*" mentality to the whole spectrum of
Usenet hierarchies. There is no rational nor historic basis
for it.

>>To Richard Adams and other responsible netizens, I'm sorry
>>for the cross-post! But Oliver implies he wouldn't see it
>>if I restricted it to n.g.! ;-)
>That's an outright lie, sir - an approriatly revealing way
>for you to end your diatribe: You e-mailed this rubbish to
>me directly; thus there was no question of my not seeing
>it. I guess the rules don't apply to you, though, since
>you're working for the common good, eh?

Agitation, ignorance, or inability to read prevails again.
The message WAS E-mailed to you directly, AND was posted to
the three named newsgroups. So that was NOT a lie!

I feel the rules DO apply to me, but don't confuse "rules"
with "guidelines" or "standards of conduct".

And you apparently overlooked or don't understand the
emoticon at the end of that sentence intending to imply
sarcasm, humor, and or a least a wink!

--Doug Shakel

Oliver Seeler

Aug 10, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/10/96

In his article "reply to "oseeler"" Doug Shakel
( posts an "abridged" version of private e-mail
sent by me to him. I would like everyone in this group to be aware
that it was not my intention that this be posted - I consider this
posting to be a gross violation of Usenet etiquette and a violation of
my personal privacy. Though I have no control over Mr. Shakel's
outrageous behavior, I am distressed to be associated with it, and
trust that the group will realize that my involvement is inadvertent.
I have no idea what lies behind this action - but we in the fire
service sometimes encounter unfortunate individuals who start fires
in order to heroically extinguish them.

Oliver Seeler (e-mail:

Bob Shannon

Aug 12, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/12/96

Doug Shakel ( wrote:
*Note He was speaking to Oliver Seeler here:

: I've messed around with BBS's, etc. for about the same

: length of time, although I'm sure I haven't been as heavily
: involved as you imply you have been.

: --Doug Shakel
Doug etal etc...
I wrote Electric Magazine BBS system, which was one of the very first
bulletin board systems for personal computers in 1982. Many articles were
written shortly after in Computes Gazette, Computer Shopper and other
magazines. Oliver Seeler helped me with various areas of that authoring. I
still have copies of the orginal magazine articles in my storage locker.
The Computes Gazette article was written by Kathy Yakel. She now writes
for Ziff-Davis (Computer Shoppers newer owners). This will certainly
clarify that Oliver has been networking for 14 years.If you *absolutely
need citations and dates, I will provide them at some expense!*
Bob Shannon

/ \ .-. .-.
/ \ / \ .-. _ .-. / \
\ / \ / `-' `-' \ /
\ / `-' `-'
Pinpoint Earthquake Newsletter*
<c>1996 R.Shannon

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