alt.ntia.* -- boy, the government still doesn't get it

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Matthew S. 'Opie' Warren

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Nov 14, 1994, 9:20:17 PM11/14/94
to
Hi.

Comes now seven -- that's right, seven -- groups in a brand-new,
alt.ntia.* hierarchy allegedly in support of the National
Telecommunications and Information Administration (whatever that is)
conference on the future of the NII, or, you guessed it, "Information
Superhighway."

Interestingly enough, I didn't find the string "NTIA" in alt.config or in
comp.internet.net-happenings, so Heaven only knows who on the net actually
knew about this in advance.

I can't subscribe to the groups, because my news admins treat alt.*
newgroups as advisory (as well they need to) and I don't feel like
flooding my mailbox by subscribing to the listservs, so I pointed my
forms-compatible Web browser as suggested. I found only a
poorly-constructed and remarkably ugly Web page that didn't allow posting
(unless it was hiding, and I looked) and contained some pretty gratuitious
references to the consulting company which is doubtless getting enough of
my tax dollars without using the Web page as an ad platform.

Sigh.

It's really kind of sad when the government can't figure out Usenet, which
has been around for at least ten years, and when Zima beverages can
produce a better Web page than the government of the United States of
America.

I suppose I'll go back to being a disaffected voter now.

-MSW

>From: nt...@virtconf.ntia.doc.gov (NTIA Virtual Conference)
>Newsgroups: alt.config
>Subject: cmsg newgroup alt.ntia.avail
>Control: newgroup alt.ntia.avail
>Date: 14 Nov 1994 14:06:13 -0800
>Organization: NTIA Virtual Conference
>Lines: 799
>Approved: nt...@virtconf.digex.net
>Message-ID: <3a8n0l$q...@virtconf.digex.net>
>NNTP-Posting-Host: virtconf.digex.net
>
>This is 2 of 7 new groups under the alt.ntia (National Telecommunications
>and Information Administration) hierarchy.
>
>For your newsgroups file:
>alt.ntia.avail NTIA Virtual Conference Topic: Affordability and Availability
>
>*****************************************************************
> Creation of Newsgroups for NTIA Virtual Conference
> Nov 14 - 18, 1994
>*****************************************************************
>
>Dear Usenet News Administrator:
>
>I apologize personally for the delay in sending out these newgroup
>announcements. We have had some scheduling problems making the
>conference server available on the Internet. I have not
>maintained an active news site for a number of years and did not
>realize the propagation delays involved in creating new groups.
>
>The choice of alt.ntia for the group hierarchy was not necessarily
>the best, but went out in press releases before it could be
>reconsidered. We chose to use the alt hierarchy itself because
>the gov hierarchy was found to be fairly sketchily distributed
>compared to alt. These groups will be rmgroup'd at the end of
>the conference. The conference is currently scheduled to end in
>the evening of Friday, November 14th, but unofficially speaking I
>can say that it is likely to be extended for one additional week
>as we are getting tremendous response to our call for presubscriptions.
>The groups will be gatewayed via listserv on the conference host,
>virtconf.ntia.doc.gov.
>
>Only the group alt.ntia.virtconf is moderated; this group is intended
>for official announcements from NTIA only, and no one else is expected
>to post to it. We felt that "virtconf" was a better choice than the
>traditional "general" since we did not want to create confusion on
>the part of the conference participants.
>
>I hope that you will choose to carry these groups on your site, as
>they represent an important vector for participation in the conference.
>Many people cannot receive the conference topics directly in their
>mailbox due to fiscal constraints or lack of specific Internet access,
>and they will have the opportunity to join the conference via netnews
>at the Public Access Points listed below.
>
>Thanks very much for your time, and we hope to see you online in
>the conference. I've appended the latest press release, the
>participants' "cheat sheet", and the list of Public Access Points
>to this posting. If there are any problems or difficulties, and/or
>if you would like to set up a direct NNTP feed of these groups for
>the conference, please contact me at the following address:
>
> str...@virtconf.ntia.doc.gov

--
Matthew S. 'Opie' Warren op...@fine-print.com (Mail for PGP key)
"Nothing happens automatically."

Joel K. Furr

unread,
Nov 15, 1994, 3:58:15 PM11/15/94
to
x...@duke.edu (Akio) wrote:
> From what I can gather, it appears that they created a new top-level
>alt hierarchy on Nov. 14, and that hierarchy is only intended to exist
>between Nov. 14 and Nov. 18. Didn't anyone ever explain to these people
>that 1) alt.* groups are permanent, 2) wide propagation takes weeks to
>months (even for a good group idea), 3) new alt.* groups should be
>discussed on alt.config first, and 4) no alt.* groups are moderated?

There are plenty of moderated alt.* groups. I moderate two of them
myself: alt.folklore.suburban and alt.humor.best-of-usenet (although the
latter is as a co-moderator). There are dozens of other examples.

> If this is the level of ignorance of the people that spawned this
>"conference", I pity the participants. I'm tempted to nominate the NTIA
>for the Clueless Newbie of the Month award on alt.usenet.kooks.

Glass houses. Stones.


--
Joel Furr(ian): Armenian crook/criminal/wacko. Big Kahuna of alt.fan.lemurs.
Moderator of alt.folklore.suburban and comp.society.folklore. Co-moderator of
alt.humor.best-of-usenet. King of alt.config. Purveyor of net.collectibles.
URL: http://www.duke.edu/~jfurr/index.html. Will create newsgroups for food.

Bram Cohen

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Nov 15, 1994, 3:24:22 PM11/15/94
to
So they really didn't research this one beforehand ... I thought that
they got the listserv working and just started the alt.* thing as an
afterthought. (The 'this is in alt.* because it looks like govt.* is
sketchily propogated' comment sure made it sound that way.) If we don't
get any posts to those groups here soon (which seems likely) I'm gonna
start mega-trolling.

Wilf

unread,
Nov 15, 1994, 7:51:31 PM11/15/94
to

jf...@acpub.duke.edu (Joel K. Furr) writes:

>x...@duke.edu (Akio) wrote:
>> From what I can gather, it appears that they created a new top-level
>>alt hierarchy on Nov. 14, and that hierarchy is only intended to exist
>>between Nov. 14 and Nov. 18. Didn't anyone ever explain to these people
>>that 1) alt.* groups are permanent, 2) wide propagation takes weeks to
>>months (even for a good group idea), 3) new alt.* groups should be
>>discussed on alt.config first, and 4) no alt.* groups are moderated?

>There are plenty of moderated alt.* groups. I moderate two of them
>myself: alt.folklore.suburban and alt.humor.best-of-usenet (although the
>latter is as a co-moderator). There are dozens of other examples.

Yes, like alt.bigfoot.research.

However, you can't argue with the rather major problem of
creating a temporary group with a 4 day lifespan.

>> If this is the level of ignorance of the people that spawned this
>>"conference", I pity the participants. I'm tempted to nominate the NTIA
>>for the Clueless Newbie of the Month award on alt.usenet.kooks.

>Glass houses. Stones.

Three outta four. Ain't bad.

[...]
--
wilf, Guard Mutt of a.b

Akio

unread,
Nov 15, 1994, 3:33:50 PM11/15/94
to
In article <opie-14119...@opie.dialup.access.net>,

op...@fine-print.com (Matthew S. 'Opie' Warren) wrote:
>
> Comes now seven -- that's right, seven -- groups in a brand-new,
> alt.ntia.* hierarchy allegedly in support of the National
> Telecommunications and Information Administration (whatever that is)
> conference on the future of the NII, or, you guessed it, "Information
> Superhighway."
>
[snip]

>
> It's really kind of sad when the government can't figure out Usenet, which
> has been around for at least ten years, and when Zima beverages can
> produce a better Web page than the government of the United States of
> America.
>
> I suppose I'll go back to being a disaffected voter now.
>

OK, I carefully read through their announcement in the control message
"cmsg newgroup alt.ntia.virtconf moderated", and I still can't figure out
what in the heck they're trying to prove.


From what I can gather, it appears that they created a new top-level
alt hierarchy on Nov. 14, and that hierarchy is only intended to exist
between Nov. 14 and Nov. 18. Didn't anyone ever explain to these people
that 1) alt.* groups are permanent, 2) wide propagation takes weeks to
months (even for a good group idea), 3) new alt.* groups should be
discussed on alt.config first, and 4) no alt.* groups are moderated?

Akio

unread,
Nov 15, 1994, 9:13:29 PM11/15/94
to
In article <3ab7d7$4...@news.duke.edu>, jf...@acpub.duke.edu (Joel K. Furr)
wrote:

>
> There are plenty of moderated alt.* groups. I moderate two of them
> myself: alt.folklore.suburban and alt.humor.best-of-usenet (although the
> latter is as a co-moderator). There are dozens of other examples.
>
> > If this is the level of ignorance of the people that spawned this
> >"conference", I pity the participants. I'm tempted to nominate the NTIA
> >for the Clueless Newbie of the Month award on alt.usenet.kooks.
>
> Glass houses. Stones.
>

You're right; I didn't know what I was talking about. But the
difference is, I'm not "the President's principal advisor on
telecommunications policies." You gotta admit those newgroups were pretty
inept coming from such an agency.

J. Porter Clark

unread,
Nov 15, 1994, 10:05:39 PM11/15/94
to
bco...@cs.buffalo.edu (Bram Cohen) writes:

I didn't even know that there *was* a govt.* (or gov.*) hierarchy. Is
there?
--
J. Porter Clark j...@hammer.msfc.nasa.gov or porter...@msfc.nasa.gov
NASA/MSFC Flight Data Systems Branch
"Do not read this manual." - SunSoft WABI manual

Steve Patlan

unread,
Nov 16, 1994, 6:14:34 PM11/16/94
to
In article <3absu3$o...@hammer.msfc.nasa.gov>,

J. Porter Clark <j...@hammer.msfc.nasa.gov> wrote:
>bco...@cs.buffalo.edu (Bram Cohen) writes:
>
>>So they really didn't research this one beforehand ... I thought that
>>they got the listserv working and just started the alt.* thing as an
>>afterthought. (The 'this is in alt.* because it looks like govt.* is
>>sketchily propogated' comment sure made it sound that way.) If we don't
>>get any posts to those groups here soon (which seems likely) I'm gonna
>>start mega-trolling.
>
>I didn't even know that there *was* a govt.* (or gov.*) hierarchy. Is
>there?

You tell *us, meester government man.

What *I* want to know is why a government agency is using a private,
DC-area service provider (Digex.net) for this thing.

'virtconf.digex.net' and 'virtconf.ntia.doc.gov' are the same address.

- Steve Patlan
--
tex...@starbase.neosoft.com

J. Porter Clark

unread,
Nov 16, 1994, 10:01:29 PM11/16/94
to
tex...@Starbase.NeoSoft.COM (Steve Patlan) writes:

>In article <3absu3$o...@hammer.msfc.nasa.gov>,
>J. Porter Clark <j...@hammer.msfc.nasa.gov> wrote:
>>
>>I didn't even know that there *was* a govt.* (or gov.*) hierarchy. Is
>>there?

>You tell *us, meester government man.

I was originally tempted to write, "There *is* no govt.* or gov.*
hierarchy, and I know because I work for Uncle Sam," but, hey, maybe
there is one out there. They don't tell me everything. I don't know
where the UFO's are stored. 8-)

I cannot determine whether the NTIA was trying to deliberately run
roughshod over the USENET community or whether they were merely
ignorant of the way things are supposed to be done. They were
apologetic and seemed sincere, but sufficiently advanced cluelessness
is indistinguishable from malice. 8-)

No real opinions here, so I won't even charge two cents this time.

Paul Tomblin

unread,
Nov 16, 1994, 11:19:52 PM11/16/94
to
In a previous article, tex...@Starbase.NeoSoft.COM (Steve Patlan) said:
>
>What *I* want to know is why a government agency is using a private,
>DC-area service provider (Digex.net) for this thing.

Try doing a whois on ic.gov, the site of the CIA's own web page
(http://www.ic.gov/)

Your national security is in the hands of an agency that is unable to run its
own computers.

(I know, I know, I know - they probably wouldn't allow a CIA computer on the
net for security reasons, right?)
--
Paul Tomblin, speaking from but not for telemax.com
Canter and Siegel kiboze the net for libel cases. Strike a blow for the
Usenet community, and waste their time and disk space.

L. Futplex McCarthy

unread,
Nov 20, 1994, 12:10:36 PM11/20/94
to
Paul Tomblin writes:
$ Your national security is in the hands of an agency that is unable to run its
$ own computers.

Speaking of which, I'm _still_ seeking a valid email address for the IRS
(irs.gov). Hint, hint....

-L. Futplex McCarthy, a stooge of the alt.config Cabal Court,
aka "strung out datadork" aka "Fruitfly...the guy with the formulas"
[use "Subject: remailer-help" for an autoreply about my Underdog remailer]
"If I was the President, the minute the Congress called my name, I'd say
`Who do you think you're fooling ?'" --Paul Simon

David Adams

unread,
Nov 20, 1994, 5:41:39 PM11/20/94
to
lmcc...@ducie.cs.umass.edu (L. Futplex McCarthy) writes:

>Speaking of which, I'm _still_ seeking a valid email address for the IRS
>(irs.gov). Hint, hint....

They won't give it out because their teletypes wouldn't be able to
keep up with the email volume.


--
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Official Spokesman for Netcom, IBM, the CIA, the US Govt, the Klingon Empire,
the .......Hey! Get Away!....I don't wanna go back!!!...Arrrgh
David Adams -- ve...@netcom.com

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