Pointer: New Materials on Usenet's History Available

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Joe Bernstein

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Nov 2, 2003, 8:02:25 PM11/2/03
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This post announces the availability of more materials in my history of
newsgroup creation in the "official" newsgroups, and also provides
pointers to some scattered materials relevant to this subject that have
been posted to Usenet since December, 2001.

In that month, various archives of Usenet posts dating between 1980
and 1995 were made available by Google (<http://groups.google.com/>) in
addition to the posts from 1995 onward to which Google already offered
access. My own interest in the history of Usenet had been frustrated
for years by lack of evidence of this sort, and I almost immediately
began to work with the newly accessible materials. Most of what I
posted in the first month or so is rich in errors and is essentially
superseded by later posts, but in mid-January, 2002, I began the thread
this post is in, and created an archive at my website. The new
materials I'm now making available are both at the website, and
posted to this thread, in news.groups alone.

The core contents of the thread are accounts of newsgroup creation in a
limited set of hierarchies, as observed from a limited range of evidence
(quasi-"official" lists of newsgroups), and as organised in two ways:
there are year-summaries, which proceed chronologically list by list,
and there are hierarchy-summaries, which proceed alphabetically group by
group. What I posted in January, 2002 was the year-summaries for 1981
through 1986, plus the hierarchy summaries for NET.*, net.*, fa.*, and
mod.*. What I can now make available as well are the year-summaries for
1987 through 1993, along with an incomplete draft of the one for 1994.

There have been various additional posts, by me and others, that have
filled in and in many cases corrected the picture presented by my
summaries. Following my name in this post you will find an index by
year, by hierarchy, by topic, and by periodic posting, trying to sort
this material out, and a list of the posts in question with URLs at
Google and at my archive.

My work on this project is chronological, which is to say that the
year-summaries are what I do first. I intended to post no more
materials until I had reached at least the end of 1994, if not the
present, basically because hierarchy-summaries are best done only when a
particular hierarchy's history is fully covered, and I found in the
first stage of the project that doing a hierarchy-summary often
uncovered errors I had made in the year-summaries.

However, as a result of recent events in my life, discussed elsewhere on
news.groups, I consider myself obligated to make available what I can,
sooner than my plans had called for me to do. For information about
those developments, my request for donations to help me deal with them,
and the implications for this project, please see a post following up
to this one which I will post to news.groups only.

The index follows. In essence, I don't consider that anything yet
written on the significant questions in this aspect of Usenet's history
is the last word; the index is an attempt to show what you need in order
to approach a particular subject, beyond the obvious post(s).

The website has recently moved. If you have any address involving
postilion.org, please replace it with
<http://www.panix.com/~josephb/newsgroups/history/>. Please also
note that this URL is not likely to be permanent, and keep an eye
open for further developments.

Joe Bernstein


INDEX By topic, by hierarchy, by year, and by periodic posting. I
have resisted by main force the temptation to try to index by
personal and group name at this time. This does mean that some
relatively substantial or interesting items - the manifestoes of
successive news.announce.newgroups moderators, for example - are
not indexed.

BY TOPIC

I have written an elementary discussion of Usenet's history as seen from
the vantage point of newsgroup creation, which is post A in the list
below; it's essentially a synthesis of my year-summaries through 1986
with what I then knew of the following years, and various other matters.
I got some stuff unequivocally wrong, and post B is my corrections. Jim
Riley, in post C and related discussion, strongly disagrees with some of
my interpretations of events particularly 1984-1987, citing numerous
posts from net.news.group (a body of evidence I haven't used much); I
haven't had time yet to do the kind of research that would be required
to settle the matter, nor have I seen him provide definitive proof, but
at this point the balance of evidence is certainly on his side.

Post D, by me, offers a substantial chunk of the available data on
newsgroup creation in 1981 and 1982, with minimal synthesis. (This is
the only post, except the fa.* hierarchy-summary, post L, for which I've
so far made substantial use of posts to net.news.group.) Post C, by Jim
Riley, provides references to, and quotes or summarises, numerous posts,
primarily from 1985 and mostly from net.news.group; his specific concern
is the evolution of the vote, but the discussion is wider than that; the
related discussion is also worth consulting for some of his
interpretations and, for what it's worth, also of mine. Post E, by me,
is an account of changes in the posted Guidelines from 1987 to 2002.
In a post cited under post C below, Jim Riley deals with STV voting
circa 1990; in posts V through X, I note many examples of guidelines
violations and how they were dealt with. Post F, by Russ Allbery, is
an authoritative account of changes in the Guidelines 1998-2002 by the
person who revised them in 1998 and has maintained them since.

I reposted some early lists of newsgroups, and the oldest surviving
Usenet posts known to me, in post G.

In the early years of Usenet, there was a relatively tight relationship
between Usenet and the ARPAnet mailing lists. Keith Lynch and I
discussed various lists and this relationship in general, with
particular attention to surviving archives of the lists other than the
Usenet archives, in thread H. Usenet-ARPAnet relations are also a major
topic of the fa.* hierarchy-summary, post L. For later Usenet-mailing
list relations, see also the discussions of the inet distribution in the
year-summary for 1987, post T. (Subsequent discussions of inet are
relatively uninformative on this subject; but see also the year-summary
for 1993, post Z, which introduces a periodic posting you will probably
want to consult, and that for 1994, post AA, which deals with a
different aspect of Usenet-Internet relations.)

I don't really deal in detail with the Backbone Cabal, but for what
I do discuss see primarily the year-summaries for 1985 through
1988, posts R through U. It's also worth seeing the posts that deal
with the rules over those years - for example, my post A and Jim
Riley's post C.

The Great Renaming of net.* and mod.* into the Big 7 is covered in
the year-summaries for 1986 (net.*, post S) and 1987 (mod.*, post
T) and in the hierarchy-summaries for net.* (post K) and mod.* (post
M); the latter are where you'll find the names particular groups
were renamed to. Additional resources for which groups went where
are at my website:
<http://www.panix.com/~josephb/newsgroups/history/rename-rmgroup/>.

I detail the oldest attested single-group FAQs or posting guidelines
in the year-summaries for 1986 through 1989, posts S through V; my
criteria for which posts to list are in post S, while post V notes
a periodic posting that covers the topic for subsequent years.

In post I, I offer very preliminary information about the evolution of
the "charter"; a little more such information is available in the
year-summary for 1990, post W.

The year-summaries for 1989 through 1991, posts V through X, summarise a
reading of the surviving posts to news.announce.newgroups for the period
before David Lawrence took over as moderator. See also post B for the
voted charter of news.announce.newgroups.

I offer minimal discussion of commercialism in Usenet in the year-
summary for 1989, post V; I meant to offer more in that for 1994,
post AA, but forgot.

The early re-orgs are presented in the year-summaries for 1989 through
1994, posts V through AA, with particularly extensive discussion in
posts W and X. Although these years were the height of .miscification,
I can't honestly say that there's much explicitly on that topic in the
posts; what there is is in post W. But the names of the groups added
in those years do provide some evidence.

There is an example of dead group removal in 1991, discussed in the
year-summary, post X, with what little information I can provide.

The year-summary for 1993, post Z, deals with three major events of
1993: the retirement of Gene Spafford, the rise of the Usenet Volunteer
Votetakers, and the beginning of the long September, which is also dealt
with in the draft year-summary for 1994, post AA. Posts Z and AA also
cover a difficult to understand series of changes in how David
Lawrence listed alt.* groups.

Finally, post BB is the post at the head of this thread, in which I
provide pointers to the guides to Usenet's history *older* than January,
2002. Note that one URL given in that post is now defunct; for current
sources for the Great Renaming FAQ, version 2, see my post CC. Google's
announcement of the archive, with its details on the different sources
thereof, is post DD.

BY HIERARCHY

Post BB discusses my main methods in compiling posts J through AA, the
hierarchy- and year-summaries, so if you rely to any significant extent
on the hierarchy-summaries (or on post D, which is basically derived
from them), you should read the relevant parts of post BB. Similarly
post DD is a good thing for anyone using the Google archives to read.

For NET.*, the hierarchy-summary, post J, is still probably what you
need to read first, but this is unfortunate, because I fundamentally
misunderstood the NET.* to net.* transition when I wrote it. Posts A
and especially D offer what I've written to date correcting this
mistake. See also the year-summary, post N, but with the same warning
about my misunderstanding.

For net.*, the hierarchy-summary, post K, is also obviously wrongheaded
about the hierarchy's start, and again post D offers more reliable and
more complete information (organised chronologically rather than
alphabetically, and with a table of contents). But for events after
1983, you're stuck with the hierarchy-summary, and, for a very different
take, some of what Jim Riley says in post C and related posts. The
relevant year-summaries are posts N through S or arguably T. Besides
the remarks about the "Usenet II" version of net.* in the hierarchy-
summary, there's also a tidbit about it towards the end of the year-
summary for 1989, post V.

For fa.*, the hierarchy-summary, post L, is relatively clueful, and much
more complete than the other hierarchy-summaries, but you should still
look at thread H. Post D is *not* relevant to fa.* at all. The
relevant year-summaries are posts N through R.

For mod.*, see the hierarchy-summary, post M. Some of Jim Riley's
remarks in or near post C are also relevant. The relevant
year-summaries are posts Q through T.

For the Big 8 hierarchies, I've done no hierarchy-summaries yet, as
discussed above. Their history is, of course, the main topic of posts E
and F, and prominent also in posts A and B; and some of the data for
that history can be found in the year-summaries for 1986 through 1994,
posts S through AA.

For the inet groups, there is an extensive discussion in the
year-summary for 1987, post T, and the distribution's minimal growth is
of course traced in the subsequent year-summaries, posts U through AA.
Among several places where I've opined at length about what the inet
phenomenon means, perhaps the least one-sided is the post with which I
opened the discussion that culminated in Jim Riley's post C (post C
itself has relatively little about inet). For a pointer to a
statement of intent by Erik Fair quite different from the original
1987 one, see the year-summary for 1990, post W; for a pointer to the
most extensive discussion of inet known to me, see that for 1992,
post Y.

The trial.* hierarchy is covered as fully as I could in the year-
summaries for 1990 through 1993, posts W through Z. I thought I had
seen a substantial discussion of its history based on the materials
Google made available in 2001, but I cannot now find that discussion,
so as far as I know, those posts now contain the most complete
publicly available treatment of the hierarchy.

In general, I've done little with alt.*, but the year-summaries for
1987 onward, posts T through AA, do point to some of the "Alternative
Newsgroup Hierarchies" posts that list alt.* groups, note how many
groups were listed there at each year's end, and mention for each list
posting date those alt.* groups listed for the first time that I find
noteworthy from a newsgroup-creation or Usenet-historical perspective.
Those for 1991 onward, posts X through AA, also point to additional
lists of alt.* groups by an all-newgroup no-rmgroup alt.* completist,
Bruce Becker, and make feeble attempts to explain the increasingly
strange handling of the lists in the "Alternative Newsgroup
Hierarchies" posts.

Although I note in each year-summary, posts T through Z, how many groups
were listed for each hierarchy covered by "Alternative Newsgroup
Hierarchies" as of the last such post in the year, I have made no other
efforts to track hierarchies not mentioned above. Sorry, but I don't
even have useful suggestions as to how to do so.

BY YEAR

Post A, for what it's worth, is globally relevant.

Post BB discusses my main methods in compiling posts J through AA, the
hierarchy- and year-summaries, so if you rely to any significant extent
on the year-summaries (or on post D, which is basically derived from the
hierarchy-summaries), you should read the relevant parts of post BB.
Again, post DD is similarly globally relevant to users of the Google
archives for research.

For 1980, see the year-summary, post N; the NET.* hierarchy-summary,
post J; and the somewhat less misguided relevant material in the opening
parts of post D. Post G contains much of the surviving raw materials.
Thread H offers crucial information.

For 1981, posts N, J, D, and G, and thread H, are again relevant; so now
are the hierarchy-summaries for fa.*, post L, and net.*, post K (again,
correcting the latter by reference to post D).

For 1982, see the year-summary, post O; the hierarchy-summaries posts L
and K (supplemented by post D, which also makes it easier to isolate the
1982 material; but my treatment of 1982 events initially was anyway not
as wrongheaded as my treatment of earlier stuff).

For 1983, see the year-summary, post P and the hierarchy-summaries posts
L and K; this is also where Jim Riley's post C begins to matter.

For 1984, see the year-summary, post Q, the hierarchy-summaries posts L,
K, and now, for mod.*, M, and again Jim Riley's post C.

For 1985, see the year-summary, post R, and the hierarchy-summaries
posts L, K, and M. This is the year for which post C offers the most
material, by far.

For 1986, see the year-summary, post S, and the hierarchy-summaries
posts K and M, as well as post C; post I touches on this year.

For 1987, see the year-summary, post T, the hierarchy-summary post M
(post K contains minimal information on 1987 events as well), and again
also posts C (finishing up) and I (this is the year for which post I is
most useful). The written Guidelines appeared in November 1987; on
these see post E.

For 1988, see the year-summary, post U, and again posts E and I.

For 1989, see the year-summary, post V, and also posts E and B.

For 1990, see the year-summary, post W, and also post E.

For 1991, see the year-summary, post X, and also post E.

For 1992, see the year-summary, post Y.

For 1993, see the year-summary, post Z, and also post E.

For 1994, see the draft year-summary, post AA.

Only posts E and F, of the posts here indexed, relate meaningfully to
any years later than 1994.

BY PERIODIC POSTING

The grouplist posted by Curt Stephens is a major source for the year-
summary for 1982, post O, and I give full details on each posting
known to me.

The List of Active Newsgroups posted by Adam Buchsbaum, Gene Spafford
and David Lawrence is my core source for the year-summaries for 1982
onward, posts O through AA, and I give full details on each posting
known to me.

The List of Moderators posted by Gene Spafford and David Lawrence
appears in 1984 and is a source for each year-summary thereafter,
posts Q through AA, and I give full details on each posting known
to me.

The Checkgroups Messages posted by Gene Spafford and David Lawrence
first appeared in 1984, and are occasionally a source in the
subsequent year-summaries, posts Q through AA.

The Changes postings, diffs between older and newer versions of Gene
Spafford's periodic postings, first appeared no later than 1985. I
didn't use them consistently for most years, but discussed them in
the 1985 and 1988 year-summaries, posts R and U, and did use them
to a considerable extent in the 1993 and 1994 ones, posts Z and AA.

The Alternative Newsgroup Hierarchies postings by Gene Spafford and
David Lawrence appeared in 1987, but did not become a core source for
my work until 1988; I give full details on each posting known to me
for that date onward, in the relevant year-summaries, posts U through
AA, but only message-IDs for previous postings, in posts T and U.
The 1987 posts, unlike the later years', are at my website, so
there is only a short gap between the posts I detail fully and those
I've already collected for you.

The Guidelines postings by Gene Spafford, by Greg Woods (maintained
by Gene Spafford, Eliot Lear, and David Lawrence), and by Russ
Allbery, are the focus of post E, and for Russ Allbery's also post
F; they are only occasionally treated in the year-summaries for
the relevant years, 1987 through 1994, posts T through AA.

The Checkgroups Messages (with INET groups) posted by Gene Spafford
are a core source for my work on a part of 1988, the year they
first appeared, and used rarely thereafter; the year-summary is
post U. I have not used the ones posted by David Lawrence and
have not detailed them.

The List of Periodic Informational Postings posted by Rich Kulawiec
and later the moderators of news.answers appeared in 1989. I do not
provide details at all, just hand off to it; for what I do say see
the year-summaries for 1989 and 1990, posts V and W.

The Current Status of Votes on Newsgroups postings and their
descendants and precursors, by Eliot Lear and David Lawrence,
appeared in 1990, and are discussed on occasion, but not detailed,
in the year-summaries for that year onward, posts W through AA.

The Regional Newsgroup Hierarchies postings by Andrew Partan
appeared in 1990 and 1991, and then (unrevised) in 1992; I only
provide a message-ID for the first, but do provide the ending
dates as well.

The postings reporting on newly created groups, which had various
names, by Eliot Lear and David Lawrence, appeared at the end of
1990, and are mentioned on occason in the successive year-
summaries, posts W through AA. Those postings' brief attempt in
1992 to cover regional hierarchies is discussed in the year-
summaries for 1992 and 1993, posts Y and Z.

Bruce Becker's lists of alt.* groups, which had various names
but most often 'Another listing of newsgroups in the "alt"
hierarchy', first appeared in 1991; I provide dates and subject
lines for each through the last Alternative Newsgroup Hierarchies
of 1994 (early October), in the year-summaries, posts X through AA,
but don't use them as a core source or indeed as much of a source.

The Bogus USENET Groups postings by David Lawrence first appeared
in 1992, and are briefly mentioned in the year-summary for that
year, post Y, but what few details I offer are in the year-summary
for 1993, post Z.

David Lawrence's Mailing Lists Available in Usenet post first
appeared in 1993, and is treated as a core source for which I
give full details in the year-summaries for 1993 and 1994, posts
Z and AA. (In reality, however, at this time my work with it
has covered only the first posting; I handled the rest with
Changes posts instead.)

Bruce Becker's A listing of Canadian regional and university
newsgroups first appeared in late 1993 and is briefly mentioned
in the year-summary for 1994, post AA.

THE POSTS (AND THREAD)

By me unless otherwise noted. I include complete URLs, despite their
repetitiveness and length, mainly to make web or web-compatible versions
of this post easy to use point-and-click. (I am, after all, likely
enough to use it myself that way.)

A ("How tale got where he is", early October, 2002)

Message-ID: <3da105bd$0$187$892e...@authen.yellow.readfreenews.net>
Google: <http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=3da105bd%240%24187%24892e7fe2%40authen.yellow.readfreenews.net>
My site: <http://www.panix.com/~josephb/newsgroups/history/miscellaneous/intro.txt>
I strongly urge any user of this post also to see post B, and to the
extent that you rely on it for the period 1984-1987 you should also see
post C and the ensuing discussion.

B (the early history of news.announce.newgroups, early October, 2002)

Message-ID: <dbc8daca.0210...@posting.google.com>
Google: <http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=dbc8daca.0210091257.f13dc5d%40posting.google.com>
My site: <http://www.panix.com/~josephb/newsgroups/history/miscellaneous/introcorr.txt>
Since I recommend post A to everyone, and this post to everyone who
reads post A, this post is basically also recommended to everyone. But
if this topic is actually your focus, see also posts V, W, and X.

C (Jim Riley on the history of voting and related matters, mid-October, 2002)

Message-ID: <aoo049$65p$1...@slb4.atl.mindspring.net>
Google: <http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=aoo049%2465p%241%40slb4.atl.mindspring.net>
My site: <http://www.panix.com/~josephb/newsgroups/history/miscellaneous/earlyvoting.txt>
While this post by Jim Riley is by far the richest post in this
discussion, it would probably be helpful to see the context. I think
the historical discussion basically begins with (1) a post of mine, to
which (2) Jim Riley replied; (3) I answered; (4) post C is his further
reply, and (5) and (6) we went back and forth again. Basically, to see
all this, go to Google and do the "see this message in context" thing.
Post T provides much of the background to my side of the discussion.
Jim Riley has at least twice before covered similar material, in
posts I chose not to index here. See Message-IDs
<a5mlso$msd$1...@slb1.atl.mindspring.net> and
<abou1e$m3s$1...@slb2.atl.mindspring.net>. In the same thread as the
latter, his message-ID <ab8hcg$1ut$1...@slb3.atl.mindspring.net> includes
a preliminary account of STV votes in news.announce.newgroups.

D ("Some 1981 and 1982 Newsgroup Creations", mid-February, 2002)

Message-ID: <3c6fc9b8$0$1347$892e...@authen.blue.readfreenews.net>
Google: <http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=3c6fc9b8%240%241347%24892e7fe2%40authen.blue.readfreenews.net>
My site: <http://www.panix.com/~josephb/newsgroups/history/1981-82creation.txt>
This is basically a corrective to, and expansion of, posts N, J, and K;
if you can't understand it, you should probably read those posts, but
wherever this one contradicts them, you should trust it over them.

E ("The Guidelines: a preliminary revision history", mid-February, 2002)

Message-ID: <dbc8daca.02021...@posting.google.com>
Google: <http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=dbc8daca.0202161159.4c0a1eee%40posting.google.com>
My site: <http://www.panix.com/~josephb/newsgroups/history/guidelines/revisions.txt>
For the prehistory of this subject see post C; for more details on
1998-2002 see post F; and for detailed discussion of how this document
related to reality in 1989-1991, see posts V, W, and X.

F (Russ Allbery on the Guidelines 1998-2002, mid-February, 2002)

Message-ID: <yleljln...@windlord.stanford.edu>
Google: <http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=yleljlnogd.fsf%40windlord.stanford.edu>
My site: <http://www.panix.com/~josephb/newsgroups/history/guidelines/Big8revisions.txt>
This expands on post E for the period 1998 to 2002.

G ("Early lists of newsgroups", mid-January, 2002)

Message-ID: <3c4a57cc$0$38167$892e...@authen.puce.readfreenews.net>
Google: <http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=3c4a57cc%240%2438167%24892e7fe2%40authen.puce.readfreenews.net>
My site: <http://www.panix.com/~josephb/newsgroups/history/newsgroup-lists/1980-81.txt>
This provides actual copies of much of the evidence used in posts N and
J, and is therefore also relevant to post D and, minimally, thread H.

H (Keith Lynch and me on "Early mailing lists", late January and early February, 2002)

Here, I'm referring you to a group of six posts, of which the first,
third, and fifth were by Keith Lynch, and the other three by me.
Message-IDs: <a37r2b$atj$1...@panix2.panix.com>
<3c586095$0$26394$892e...@authen.puce.readfreenews.net>
<a3cu8h$oev$1...@panix2.panix.com>
<dbc8daca.0202...@posting.google.com>
<a3l5kb$m0o$1...@panix2.panix.com>
<3c6181a9$0$67476$892e...@authen.puce.readfreenews.net>
Google: <http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=a37r2b%24atj%241%40panix2.panix.com>
<http://groups.google.com/groups?threadm=3c586095%240%2426394%24892e7fe2%40authen.puce.readfreenews.net>
The background will be found in posts J and L.

I (the early history of charters, mid-May, 2003)

Message-ID: <3ecdc4a3$0$211$892e...@authen.yellow.readfreenews.net>
Google: <http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=3ecdc4a3%240%24211%24892e7fe2%40authen.yellow.readfreenews.net>
My site: <http://www.panix.com/~josephb/newsgroups/history/miscellaneous/charters.txt>
Post W carries the story forward somewhat; unfortunately, neither post C
nor posts S through U are much use on this topic.

J ("The NET.* Hierarchy in Lists of Newsgroups and Other Sources", mid-January, 2002)

Message-ID: <3c4a4288$0$95686$892e...@authen.puce.readfreenews.net>
Google: <http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=3c4a4288%240%2495686%24892e7fe2%40authen.puce.readfreenews.net>
My site: <http://www.panix.com/~josephb/newsgroups/history/hierarchy-summaries/NET.txt>
It's really important for any user of this post to see also (if not
instead) post D, and probably helpful to see thread H as well.

K ("The net.* Hierarchy in Lists of Newsgroups", mid-January, 2002)

Message-IDs: <3c4a468b$0$95686$892e...@authen.puce.readfreenews.net>
<3c4a4754$0$95686$892e...@authen.puce.readfreenews.net>
Google: <http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=3c4a468b%240%2495686%24892e7fe2%40authen.puce.readfreenews.net>
<http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=3c4a4754%240%2495686%24892e7fe2%40authen.puce.readfreenews.net>
My site: <http://www.panix.com/~josephb/newsgroups/history/hierarchy-summaries/net.txt>
Users concerned with the period through 1982 should see also, or
preferably instead, post D. Post C offers a very different take on
subsequent times.

L ("The fa.* Hierarchy in Lists of Newsgroups and the Google Archives", mid-January, 2002)

Message-ID: <3c4a47dc$0$95686$892e...@authen.puce.readfreenews.net>
Google: <http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=3c4a47dc%240%2495686%24892e7fe2%40authen.puce.readfreenews.net>
My site: <http://www.panix.com/~josephb/newsgroups/history/hierarchy-summaries/fa.txt>
You are strongly encouraged to consult also thread H.

M ("The mod.* Hierarchy in Lists of Active Newsgroups and of Moderators", mid-January, 2002)

Message-ID: <3c4a49f4$0$95686$892e...@authen.puce.readfreenews.net>
Google: <http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=3c4a49f4%240%2495686%24892e7fe2%40authen.puce.readfreenews.net>
My site: <http://www.panix.com/~josephb/newsgroups/history/hierarchy-summaries/mod.txt>
Post C is somewhat relevant here.

N ("1980 and 1981 in Lists of Newsgroups and Other Sources", mid-January, 2002)

Message-ID: <3c4a40c1$0$95686$892e...@authen.puce.readfreenews.net>
Google: <http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=3c4a40c1%240%2495686%24892e7fe2%40authen.puce.readfreenews.net>
My site: <http://www.panix.com/~josephb/newsgroups/history/year-summaries/1980-81.txt>
I strongly recommend consulting post D too, or instead. Thread H also
relates.

O ("1982 in Lists of Newsgroups", mid-January, 2002)

Message-ID: <3c4a43bb$0$95686$892e...@authen.puce.readfreenews.net>
Google: <http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=3c4a43bb%240%2495686%24892e7fe2%40authen.puce.readfreenews.net>
My site: <http://www.panix.com/~josephb/newsgroups/history/year-summaries/1982.txt>
Post D expands on this.

P ("1983 in Lists of Newsgroups", mid-January, 2002)

Message-ID: <3c4a485f$0$95686$892e...@authen.puce.readfreenews.net>
Google: <http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=3c4a485f%240%2495686%24892e7fe2%40authen.puce.readfreenews.net>
My site: <http://www.panix.com/~josephb/newsgroups/history/year-summaries/1983.txt>

Q ("1984 in Lists of Active Newsgroups and of Moderators", mid-January, 2002)

Message-ID: <3c4a4948$0$95686$892e...@authen.puce.readfreenews.net>
Google: <http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=3c4a4948%240%2495686%24892e7fe2%40authen.puce.readfreenews.net>
My site: <http://www.panix.com/~josephb/newsgroups/history/year-summaries/1984.txt>

R ("1985 in Lists of Active Newsgroups and of Moderators", mid-January, 2002)

Message-ID: <3c4a4abe$0$95686$892e...@authen.puce.readfreenews.net>
Google: <http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=3c4a4abe%240%2495686%24892e7fe2%40authen.puce.readfreenews.net>
My site: <http://www.panix.com/~josephb/newsgroups/history/year-summaries/1985.txt>
You should really see post C in relation to this post.

S ("1986 in Lists of Newsgroups", mid-January, 2002, revised early November,
2003)

Message-ID: <bo131k$fnk$1...@reader2.panix.com>
Google: <http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=bo131k%24fnk%241%40reader2.panix.com>
My site: <http://www.panix.com/~josephb/newsgroups/history/year-summaries/1986.txt>

T ("1987 in Lists of Big 7 and inet Newsgroups", early October, 2002 to
early November, 2003)

Message-ID: <bo18g1$h65$1...@reader2.panix.com>
Google: http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=bo18g1%24h65%241%40reader2.panix.com>
My site: <http://www.panix.com/~josephb/newsgroups/history/year-summaries/1987.txt>

U ("1988 in Lists of Big 7 and inet Newsgroups", early October, 2002 to
early November, 2003)

Message-ID: <bo1bil$i1c$1...@reader2.panix.com>
Google: <http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=bo1bil%24i1c%241%40reader2.panix.com>
My site: <http://www.panix.com/~josephb/newsgroups/history/year-summaries/1988.txt>

V ("1989 in Lists of Big 7 and inet Newsgroups", mid-May to early
November, 2003)

Message-ID: <bo1d7a$ih8$1...@reader2.panix.com>
Google: <http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=bo1d7a%24ih8%241%40reader2.panix.com>
My site: <http://www.panix.com/~josephb/newsgroups/history/year-summaries/1989.txt>

W ("1990 in Lists of Big 7, inet, and trial.* Newsgroups", mid-May and
late August to early November, 2003)

Message-ID: <bo1ffh$j47$1...@reader2.panix.com>
Google: <http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=bo1ffh%24j47%241%40reader2.panix.com>
My site: <http://www.panix.com/~josephb/newsgroups/history/year-summaries/1990.txt>

X ("1991 in Lists of Big 7, trial.*, and inet Newsgroups", late August
to early November, 2003)

Message-ID: <bo1lrk$knh$1...@reader2.panix.com>
Google: <http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=bo1lrk%24knh%241%40reader2.panix.com>
My site: <http://www.panix.com/~josephb/newsgroups/history/year-summaries/1991.txt>

Y ("1992 in Lists of Big 7, trial.*, and inet Newsgroups", mid-September
to early November, 2003)

Message-ID: <bo1nk6$l6p$1...@reader2.panix.com>
Google: <http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=bo1nk6%24l6p%241%40reader2.panix.com>
My site: <http://www.panix.com/~josephb/newsgroups/history/year-summaries/1992.txt>

Z ("1993 in Lists of Big 7, trial.*, and inet Newsgroups", mid-October
to early November, 2003)

Message-ID: <bo1pvp$lp5$1...@reader2.panix.com>
<bo1q68$lqg$1...@reader2.panix.com>
Google: <http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=bo1pvp%24lp5%241%40reader2.panix.com>
<http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=bo1q68%24lqg%241%40reader2.panix.com>
My site: <http://www.panix.com/~josephb/newsgroups/history/year-summaries/1993.txt>
Please note that if I am ever again able to carry this project
forward, I may replace this page on my website and supersede this post.

AA ("1994 in Lists of Big 7 and inet Newsgroups", mid-October to early
November, 2003)

Message-ID: <bo1sk3$mh8$1...@reader2.panix.com>
Google: <http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=bo1sk3%24mh8%241%40reader2.panix.com>
My site: <http://www.panix.com/~josephb/newsgroups/history/year-summaries/DRAFT1994.txt>
Please be aware that if I am ever again able to carry this project
forward, I will replace this page on my website and supersede this post.

BB (on sources and methods for posts J through AA, mid-January, 2002)

Message-ID: <3c4a3cbf$0$95686$892e...@authen.puce.readfreenews.net>
Google: <http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=3c4a3cbf%240%2495686%24892e7fe2%40authen.puce.readfreenews.net>
My site: <http://www.panix.com/~josephb/newsgroups/history/start-post>

CC ("Great Renaming FAQ version 2", late August, 2003)

Message-ID: <biij3a$dss$1...@reader2.panix.com>
Google: <http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=biij3a%24dss%241%40reader2.panix.com>
Not at my site, but I've requested the permission of the FAQ's author,
Lee Bumgarner, to make this version available there; if he agrees,
it will be at
<http://www.panix.com/~josephb/newsgroups/history/miscellaneous/great-renaming.txt>.

DD ("Google Groups Archive Information", mid-December, 2001)

Message-ID: <90cbefb1.0112...@posting.google.com>
Google: <http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=90cbefb1.0112211728.4cfe9bb%40posting.google.com>
I've requested Google's permission to make this available at my site;
if they agree, it will be at
<http://www.panix.com/~josephb/newsgroups/history/miscellaneous/google.txt>.
(Alternative message-ID: <90cbefb1.01122...@posting.google.com>
with predictable effect on Google URL. This is the posting to news.*
and alt.fan.dejanews; the one cited above is the posting to
google.public.support.general.)

--
Joe Bernstein, writer j...@sfbooks.com
<http://www.panix.com/~josephb/newsgroups/history/>

Joe Bernstein

unread,
Nov 2, 2003, 9:09:20 PM11/2/03
to
I see that I screwed up *again* and posted this post's parent outside
the chronology's actual thread. Oops. I'm jiggering the references
header in this post to try to fix that for this post; it's way too
late to cancel and repost the parent.

Shortly after I began work on the chronology of Usenet newsgroup
creation and related topics whose results this thread presents,
it started costing me. So since I noticed that, I've been explicitly
willing to accept donations for it. Discussion of my situation in
recent months resulted in James Logajan reviving this idea, and
he, Kathy Morgan, and someone who wishes to remain unnamed but who
was there first, have sent me a total of $140.

As I write this, on November 2, 2003, donations are in fact
relatively urgent; it will soon be six months since I last worked
on anything for which pay is usually given.

This document contains:

1. This project's situation
2. My situation
3. What donations CAN do
4. What donations CAN'T do
5. Prospects
6. How to donate


1. This project's situation

Since early in my work on this chronology, I have intended it to be
done in six phases, that divide into two stages:

A First pass, 1980-1986
B First pass, 1987-1994
C First pass, 1995- ?

D Second pass, 1980-1986
E Second pass, 1987-1994
F Second pass, 1995- ?

At this time, phases A and B are done, although I'm not entirely
satisfied with my work on phase B.

Phase C represents significant, but not overwhelming, additional
work yet to be done, and I would be in a position to do that
work in any situation where I had a roof over my head, my main
computer under that roof, and the ability to concentrate on the
work at least intermittently. In more detail: The work for phase
C consists of year-summaries and hierarchy-summaries, in that order.
The year-summaries for 1995 and 1996 should be fairly easy, being
similar to the fourteen year-summaries I've already done. The
ones for 1998-2000 (there will be no substantial year-summary for
1997) will be rather harder, owing to a change in the kind of
data surviving. The ones for 2002 onward should be easy again.
The hierarchy-summaries for the Big 8 hierarchies, on the other
hand, will be in at least two cases (comp.* and rec.*)
extremely *large*, and may be very time-consuming.

Phases D through F are considerably more demanding. Basically, what
I want to do in the second pass is use the first-pass information as
a way to structure a considerably more extensive exploration. I want
to deal with attested newsgroups that weren't official, for example.
I want to track groups' creators, FAQ-writers, and so forth, not
just their moderators. I want to know which groups actually have
anything preserved in the archives. And so on. You can get a good
sense of what the result of the second pass would be by looking at
the hierarchy-summary for fa.*.

Ideally, I'd like to have the entire Toronto archive, if nothing
more, sitting on a home computer before beginning phase D. I'd
certainly need to have relatively unobstructed home net access.
You get the idea. The requirements for phases D through F, the
second stage, are well beyond anything I've yet lived.

Which brings us to:


2. My situation

In early 1994 I left a somewhat unstable job in order to become a free-
lance writer. Since then, I've supported myself mainly from temporary
work. As not everyone may know, the temporary-help industry has been
in a steep decline for the past three years. In mid-2002, I left my
home town, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for a city with a much lower
unemployment rate, partly because of this, only to find that the city
in question had very few temporary jobs at all. I have been looking for
non-temporary jobs, but have not found any employer who even chose to
interview me, given that since I've been a temporary for nearly ten
years, I must obviously be a reprobate, incompetent, loon who eats
babies and plots to destroy the world.

In July, I made the mistake of refusing a temp job that I didn't think
I could safely commute to. My unemployment insurance was cut off as a
result, and my appeals of this cutoff proved fruitless. I managed,
partly through donations already made in support of my work on this
project, to stay afloat for three months; but on October 14, I became
homeless.

I do not at this time know of anywhere I can stay for more than a
month, and do not at this time know of any way I can realistically
hope to find work in less than a month.

My last pet died just over a year ago. I have never fathered a
child, nor accepted responsibility for any other person's support.
Fortunately, I am, in this situation, alone.

My property is in two storage lockers. One, in Milwaukee, holds
the majority of the books I've collected towards the history of
fantasy I've been trying to write, as well as a lot of other
stuff. It is now paid through September 30, and I presume that
seizure of the stuff in that space is now imminent.

The other, in Madison, where I now live, holds my core possessions.
These include most of my computers, and specifically the one that
has the data and programs I've been using to build this chronology.
This space is now paid through November 24. I do not anticipate
having the money to pay the next month's rent by that date, from
any source I can predict or control.


3. What donations CAN do

Several things.

A) Donations can increase the probability of my continuing to
work on this chronology, ever.

If I lose the computer already mentioned, it will be a serious
blow against my ability to continue the chronology, and frankly
also a serious blow against my interest in doing so.

Contrariwise, if I'm shown that people do care about the chronology,
it will increase my willingness to work on it later.

I should emphasise that although I'm not convinced I'll live
through the coming winter, there is probably not a strong correlation
between how much money people send me and my odds of survival.

B) Donations can help ensure that the webbed materials stay
available.

At this time, my bill to Panix is some weeks past due, and another
one is coming up soon. My account only costs $10 per month, but
I don't have that. Panix is, so far, willing to be patient, but
obviously things will be better if they get their money, which
they are, after all, entitled to.

I should note, in honesty, that there have been several offers to
mirror the site, and I don't think it's terribly likely that Panix
pulling the plug would result in the materials disappearing for
good. On the other hand, since the publicised addresses are at
Panix, any such interruption would be harmful to access.

C) Donations can make people feel better.

I don't feel particularly happy about, in essence, begging. But
I do feel better when people show that they value my work; since
people generally don't *discuss* the chronological posts, donations
are a relatively concrete way of showing that. I also do feel
better when I have money available to spend.

Donors may also feel better because they've donated.


4. What donations CAN'T do

A couple of things.

A) Donations can't hasten my work on this project.

Well, probably not. I'll deal with the exception below, but I think
it's a *fairly* safe assumption that nobody is going to send me
enough money for this project that I'll simply get over this hump
as a result. So basically, if you send me money for it, you have
to be resigned to the probability that that money will simply go
to helping me survive, without promptly resulting in more work on
the project.

B) Donations can't be deducted from your taxes.

Well, again, probably not. I'm not a tax lawyer. But I assume
I'd have to be a registered non-profit organisation in order for
someone to take a deduction, and I'm not.


5. Prospects

It took me nearly two years to do phase B of this project, after
I'd done phase A within a month or two. I have no idea how long
it would take me to do phase C, once I was back in a normal life;
but will note that most of the work I did do on phase B, I did
while unemployed.

I would like to hope that I could finish phase C sometime in 2004,
if I got housing and work soon, but I can't promise that.

That said, I do want to note that if someone decided they REALLY
REALLY wanted the project to proceed, they could simply donate
a rather larger amount than is really, um, reasonable. I
estimate that for somewhat less than $1000, I could get housing
and net access for one month, and complete the 1995-1996,
1998-2000, and 2002-X year-summaries. The amount may increase
or decrease over time; for example, if I lose the stuff in the
Milwaukee storage, then I could no longer justify including the
back rent for it in the cost of asking me to freeze for one month
and do nothing but this project.

It's possible, but not certain, that I could finish the hierarchy-
summaries for the Big 8 in another month; two is a safer bet. Each
successive month would cost less than the initial one, I presume,
so a very rough estimate for two months would be $1500, for three
somewhat over $2000.

Phases D through F are much harder to make happen, and I really
think the only way they're likely to is by my getting a job and
paying for 'em myself.

Not that I'm convinced, any more, that my ever working again is
terribly likely.

Barring any unlikely large donations, then, phase C is waiting
for me to get *any* housing-and-job for at least a few months, while
phases D through F are waiting for me to rejoin the middle class for
a sustained while. I will note that in the meantime, a project I
*can* work on with my presently existing resources is the "UNOFFICIAL
List of Moderators", which I have so far done for seven of the
Big 8 hierarchies but not for comp.*. I intend to use these
posts as sources in my hierarchy-summaries and my 2003 year-
summary, so it makes sense to try to get it wrapped up, ideally
this year.


6. How to donate

E-MAIL ME FIRST!

I plan to stay in Madison for at least the next three weeks. Around
the 24th, my cell phone and my Madison storage both come due, and if
I'm not working by then, I think it's plausible to try somewhere else
instead. So my address may change.

Separately, I can't negotiate checks easily, since I (obviously) have
no bank account. (For the same reason, I can't accept payments via
PayPal.) If you want to write a check, please check with me first
whether your bank has any branches within my reach. Postal money
orders, as suggested by Kathy Morgan, are just about ideal; I don't
know if there's any equivalent to those that works across borders.

Finally, it's always possible that I'll get a job, and you needn't
bother. :-) Believe it or not, I am still looking.

All of that said, my address is

Joe Bernstein
General Delivery
Madison, WI 53714

Yes, that's a real address, and yes, mail sent there does reach me.

AN ALTERNATIVE

You could always send money directly to Panix.

I think that would actually be a *good* thing, but I'm still going
to ask you to e-mail me for the address and account number, for a
couple of reasons. One, to avoid too many months piling up; two,
because Panix may yet decide they don't want my money after all,
and I'll know sooner than you will, unless you're a Panix employee.

ANOTHER ALTERNATIVE

If you're hiring accounting clerks, editors, proofreaders, neophyte
database builders, booksellers, or I don't know what-all else,
I sure could use a job... I don't drive, however, which limits
my options about work location and type of work.


Well, there you have it. What I think can realistically happen in
this project's future; what I fear is realistic in my future;
and what, if anything, you can have to do with it.

It is a source of some bitter amusement to me that my work on
phase B of this project took me through two controversies that
apparently revolved around "commercialisation" of moderated
newsgroups. This is a topic that Jim Riley and I have recently
argued about, and one about which I have mixed feelings. But it
appears that the rmgrouping of misc.headlines.unitex resulted
because the moderator - not a UNITEX employee - decided that
UNITEX was being overly aggressive in seeking donations; and it
appears that the casus belli between the moderator of
comp.dcom.telecom and the creators of comp.dcom.telecom.tech
was said moderator's own financial crisis and requests for help.

Well, then, here's mine. But I'm not a moderator, and you are
not required to chip in money before using the posts. It's just
that my life will be better if you do.

Joe Bernstein

Joe Bernstein

unread,
Dec 2, 2003, 12:33:04 AM12/2/03
to
This is longish. The short version is that I'm in the process of
relocating, so people should not send mail to the address I've posted
here, and if anyone here has recently sent mail to that address, they
should please e-mail me to let me know to find some way of getting it.

In article <bo4dcg$dk8$1...@reader2.panix.com>, I wrote:

> Shortly after I began work on the chronology of Usenet newsgroup
> creation and related topics whose results this thread presents,
> it started costing me. So since I noticed that, I've been explicitly
> willing to accept donations for it. Discussion of my situation in
> recent months resulted in James Logajan reviving this idea, and
> he, Kathy Morgan, and someone who wishes to remain unnamed but who
> was there first, have sent me a total of $140.

I omitted to mention in that post that Noreen Cooper, thanks to whom
several people involved in the effort to create misc.kids.family-life
sent me money as a thank-you for my work on their RFDs, has also in
the past fairly consistently expressed enthusiasm for the sort of
systematic posts I do, of which the year-summaries are an example.

In any event, the post in which I wrote the quote above resulted in
a total of $70 more from one person, who I gather doesn't want to
be named. It seems safe to assume that my work on Usenet's history
has exhausted its earning potential, and this post is *not* an
attempt to re-solicit money. I do, however, consider it worthwhile
to update the information I reported in my previous post.

> 2. My situation

> I do not at this time know of anywhere I can stay for more than a
> month, and do not at this time know of any way I can realistically
> hope to find work in less than a month.

This is, technically, no longer true; I have been offered tonight
the option of staying indefinitely in a house from which, however,
I would probably be unable to work enough to pay my storage bills.



> My property is in two storage lockers. One, in Milwaukee, holds
> the majority of the books I've collected towards the history of
> fantasy I've been trying to write, as well as a lot of other
> stuff. It is now paid through September 30, and I presume that
> seizure of the stuff in that space is now imminent.

It is not, at this time, although I don't know how long this grace
will hold.



> The other, in Madison, where I now live, holds my core possessions.
> These include most of my computers, and specifically the one that
> has the data and programs I've been using to build this chronology.
> This space is now paid through November 24. I do not anticipate
> having the money to pay the next month's rent by that date, from
> any source I can predict or control.

Nor *did* I have that money. The process of my being in trouble for
this non-payment has been postponed until December 15, but after that,
I don't know what will happen.



> 3. What donations CAN do

> A) Donations can increase the probability of my continuing to
> work on this chronology, ever.
>
> If I lose the computer already mentioned, it will be a serious
> blow against my ability to continue the chronology, and frankly
> also a serious blow against my interest in doing so.

I had hoped that I would be able to take the computer in question
to the place where I'll probably stay for the next month, but it's
not at all clear that I can do so. If I can't, losing it remains
distinctly possible.



> I should emphasise that although I'm not convinced I'll live
> through the coming winter, there is probably not a strong correlation
> between how much money people send me and my odds of survival.

This remains true.



> B) Donations can help ensure that the webbed materials stay
> available.
>
> At this time, my bill to Panix is some weeks past due, and another
> one is coming up soon. My account only costs $10 per month, but
> I don't have that. Panix is, so far, willing to be patient, but
> obviously things will be better if they get their money, which
> they are, after all, entitled to.

I should note that the person who sent $70 in response to this post
explicitly intended to cover six months' Panix bills. But with her
permission I've used the money otherwise, and Panix remains unpaid.



> 6. How to donate
>
> E-MAIL ME FIRST!

> All of that said, my address is

not currently usable; I've left Madison, Wisconsin. I'll see what
works best when I get to Skokie, Illinois, where I expect to live
this next month, but at this time I have no future address to offer,
and am reasonably certain that mail sent me today, from at least
some parts of the country, wouldn't reach Madison before my last
trip there for a while, in a few days' time.

So on the off chance that there was someone thinking of sending me
money *now*, um, *don't*.



> AN ALTERNATIVE
>
> You could always send money directly to Panix.

This remains true, if you're prepared to send a check or some such
denominated in US dollars. Payment by credit card would require me
to give you my password, or you to give me your credit card info,
neither of which seems optimal.

> I think that would actually be a *good* thing, but I'm still going
> to ask you to e-mail me for the address and account number, for a
> couple of reasons. One, to avoid too many months piling up; two,
> because Panix may yet decide they don't want my money after all,
> and I'll know sooner than you will, unless you're a Panix employee.

Panix has not yet decided any such thing.



> ANOTHER ALTERNATIVE
>
> If you're hiring accounting clerks, editors, proofreaders, neophyte
> database builders, booksellers, or I don't know what-all else,
> I sure could use a job... I don't drive, however, which limits
> my options about work location and type of work.

Remains true.

I snipped my discussion of what would happen when and so forth.
I'm now writing from an interim place near Milwaukee, where I'll
be for a few days before going on to Illinois. I completed one of
the three parts of the UNOFFICIAL List of Moderators for comp.*
here, some weeks ago, though I haven't taken the time to post it
yet. I may have time while here to post that, and complete and
post another part, if not both other parts. Basically, completion
of the UNOFFICIAL List of Moderators is a realistic thing to
hope for from me in the nearish future.

I remain certain that I will not be able to proceed to the
chronological and historical work on 1995 to the present without once
again having at least somewhat stable housing and work, and I remain
unconvinced that I will ever again have those goods. I'd like to
hope that I'll complete at least one pass through Usenet's history
to time of writing, but I don't think you should count on it.

My incentive to do so has, unfortunately, been reduced by the fact
that nobody has followed up to the 1987-1994 year-summaries, any
more than to the year- and hierarchy-summaries I posted in 2002. I'd
expected that in covering years when a *lot* of the regular readers
of news.groups were already here, to say nothing of already on
Usenet, I'd finally tap a vein of interest, if not outrage. I have
every reason to think that what I wrote about those years is *more*
interesting than what I could find to write about the more recent
years in which I was here myself, so the lack of response to these
posts is particularly discouraging. My thanks to Jim Riley for the
only posts I've so far seen that showed me that this work had at
least been *read*. (Alas, by e-mail, the count grows by only one
person, who had no comments to offer.) Usenet is a medium of
*discussion*, and it now appears certain that in hoping to *provoke*
discussion by doing this work, I erred; this suggests to me that
my ways of doing history, and Usenet, are not well matched.

So in closing, my thanks to those who *have* shown that they value
the work on 1980 through 1994, whether by sending money, sending
e-mail, or (especially) by posting comments or criticisms.

Mean Green Dancing Machine

unread,
Dec 2, 2003, 5:13:35 PM12/2/03
to
In article <bqh86g$h02$1...@reader2.panix.com>,

Joe Bernstein <j...@sfbooks.com> wrote:
>
>I remain certain that I will not be able to proceed to the
>chronological and historical work on 1995 to the present without once
>again having at least somewhat stable housing and work, and I remain
>unconvinced that I will ever again have those goods. I'd like to
>hope that I'll complete at least one pass through Usenet's history
>to time of writing, but I don't think you should count on it.
>
>My incentive to do so has, unfortunately, been reduced by the fact
>that nobody has followed up to the 1987-1994 year-summaries, any
>more than to the year- and hierarchy-summaries I posted in 2002.

Okay, this is a followup simply to indicate that after your posts I made
another backup of your website.

>I'd
>expected that in covering years when a *lot* of the regular readers
>of news.groups were already here, to say nothing of already on
>Usenet, I'd finally tap a vein of interest, if not outrage. I have
>every reason to think that what I wrote about those years is *more*
>interesting than what I could find to write about the more recent
>years in which I was here myself, so the lack of response to these
>posts is particularly discouraging. My thanks to Jim Riley for the
>only posts I've so far seen that showed me that this work had at
>least been *read*. (Alas, by e-mail, the count grows by only one
>person, who had no comments to offer.) Usenet is a medium of
>*discussion*, and it now appears certain that in hoping to *provoke*
>discussion by doing this work, I erred; this suggests to me that
>my ways of doing history, and Usenet, are not well matched.

Yes. I think your work was/is useful, and I'm archiving it for that
reason, but what you wrote wasn't the kind of thing that I've seen
stimulate much in the way of discussion. For that, it would be much
better to participate in threads and cite your work for background info
when people argue with you. But that's even more time and trouble....
--
--- Aahz <*> (Copyright 2003 by aa...@pobox.com)

Hugs and backrubs -- I break Rule 6 http://rule6.info/
Androgynous poly kinky vanilla queer het Pythonista

Dave Barry sez: do not call the American Teleservices Association
(telemarketing lobby group) at 317-816-9336. That would be rude.

Penny Gaines

unread,
Dec 3, 2003, 1:42:47 PM12/3/03
to
Joe Bernstein wrote in <bqh86g$h02$1...@reader2.panix.com>:

> My incentive to do so has, unfortunately, been reduced by the fact
> that nobody has followed up to the 1987-1994 year-summaries, any
> more than to the year- and hierarchy-summaries I posted in 2002. I'd

[snip]


Usenet is a medium of

> discussion, and it now appears certain that in hoping to provoke


> discussion by doing this work, I erred; this suggests to me that
> my ways of doing history, and Usenet, are not well matched.

Well, I didn't really read news.groups until after 1994: well I think
I read it from time to time, but not enough to understand it. So
I don't have anything to contribute.

OTOH, after 1994, I followed/particiated closely in two different
newsgroup proposals, and I would have been interested in seeing
how they fitted into the basic trends.

But my main reason for replying was to agree with aahz: I think
the work is important, and worth doing. And like aahz said, it
is more likely to be used in a discussion about related matters.

--
Penny Gaines
UK mum to three

Philip Newton

unread,
Dec 16, 2003, 1:19:01 AM12/16/03
to
On Wed, 03 Dec 2003 18:42:47 +0000, Penny Gaines <pe...@gaines.plus.com>
wrote:

> But my main reason for replying was to agree with aahz: I think
> the work is important, and worth doing.

*nods* I agree. Also on the bit that I didn't think it would elicit much
discussion, either, but that that does not diminish its usefulness.

Cheers,
Philip
--
Philip Newton <nospam...@gmx.li>
That really is my address; no need to remove anything to reply.
If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

Joe Bernstein

unread,
Dec 19, 2003, 6:57:29 PM12/19/03
to
I wrote, some weeks ago, a post to which several have now
replied, mainly commenting on the final paragraphs. Those
comments suggest to me that this post, in which I update
things *other* than the final paragraphs, is not unwarranted.
So: I wrote in message news:<bqh86g$h02$1...@reader2.panix.com>...

> In article <bo4dcg$dk8$1...@reader2.panix.com>, I wrote:

> > 2. My situation

> > I do not at this time know of anywhere I can stay for more than a
> > month, and do not at this time know of any way I can realistically
> > hope to find work in less than a month.

> This is, technically, no longer true; I have been offered tonight
> the option of staying indefinitely in a house from which, however,
> I would probably be unable to work enough to pay my storage bills.

And that is where I'm now living; in Milwaukee again.

The inability to work is probably *not* going to last indefinitely,
but is true at this time, and I don't know how much longer it will
remain so.

[storage spaces]


> > The other, in Madison, where I now live, holds my core possessions.
> > These include most of my computers, and specifically the one that
> > has the data and programs I've been using to build this chronology.
> > This space is now paid through November 24. I do not anticipate
> > having the money to pay the next month's rent by that date, from
> > any source I can predict or control.
>
> Nor *did* I have that money. The process of my being in trouble for
> this non-payment has been postponed until December 15, but after that,
> I don't know what will happen.

And still don't. At this point, seizure can probably be averted, but
I don't know for how long.



> > 3. What donations CAN do
>
> > A) Donations can increase the probability of my continuing to
> > work on this chronology, ever.
> >
> > If I lose the computer already mentioned, it will be a serious
> > blow against my ability to continue the chronology, and frankly
> > also a serious blow against my interest in doing so.
>
> I had hoped that I would be able to take the computer in question
> to the place where I'll probably stay for the next month, but it's
> not at all clear that I can do so. If I can't, losing it remains
> distinctly possible.

I was not able to. At this time, that computer is locked up in
Madison against payment of the past due amount. (I believe and hope.)



> > 6. How to donate
> >
> > E-MAIL ME FIRST!

This is unfortunately *also* no longer true. I thought I had a way to
get a telnet shell at a library here, but this had been something of a
hole in the library in question's setup, and they've apparently
located that hole. At this time, I don't know of a way I can check
e-mail in this city without spending money or imposing on friends. I
don't really want to do private business by Usenet posts, so I suppose
I should get one of those web-based accounts, but I'm not quite
reconciled to e-mail I can't archive yet, so am not doing it today.

> Basically, completion
> of the UNOFFICIAL List of Moderators is a realistic thing to
> hope for from me in the nearish future.

Um, sorry about that. I was assuming that wherever I landed, I'd find
access to a machine where I could have two shell sessions and two
browser windows open at once, which is how I've worked on the list.
Not so. At this time, I don't even have access to the file where my
unposted more-subjective comments on the part already posted are kept.



> I remain certain that I will not be able to proceed to the
> chronological and historical work on 1995 to the present without once
> again having at least somewhat stable housing and work, and I remain
> unconvinced that I will ever again have those goods. I'd like to
> hope that I'll complete at least one pass through Usenet's history
> to time of writing, but I don't think you should count on it.

You know, this probably sounded somewhat hysterical, but I'm not
convinced it was. A sizable part of my troubles in the past year and
more have come from a trend in the field where I've worked for the
past twelve years, towards requiring people who do the kind of work
I've done to have more formal training than I have. Basically, to
stand still, I'd have to go to school; and I don't have the money and
time to do that even if I much wanted to. (I was about a year or two
of schooling or work away from switching fields when the work dried
up.) I have also normally worked temporary, and at this time, most
temp services are dead in the water still, but employers hiring for
real jobs are almost unwilling to consider someone whose essential
inability to do anything right is proved by his living for a decade as
a temp.

Combine that with the fact that I'm now living in a house without a
working bathtub, and I don't think I'm being hysterical at all.



> I'd expected that in covering years when a *lot* of the regular
> readers of news.groups were already here, to say nothing of
> already on Usenet, I'd finally tap a vein of interest, if not
> outrage.

Um, that was seriously meant. I know some of what I wrote in those
posts was old news - I've written paeans to Eliot Lear and
condemnations of Erik Fair before, for example. But I'd thought some
of my other more partisan remarks, and the presence in those posts of
discussion of things like the aquaria debates and the *.misc wars,
would provoke comment. As I noted in the previous, I don't anticipate
anything like the same level of interesting stuff in the final bunch
of year-summaries, if indeed I get the chance to write them.

Note that I'm not commenting, here, about people who weren't around at
the time. Historically news.groups has been one of the few places on
Usenet where any given "I've been online since 19XX!" boast would
reliably be answered by half a dozen "Well, I've been online since
19XX-6!", say. I can name half a dozen people without difficulty who
I thought were currently reading the group and were here also in 1990,
for example. It's those people I had hoped would read what I wrote,
and write angry replies.

> So in closing, my thanks to those who *have* shown that they value
> the work on 1980 through 1994, whether by sending money, sending
> e-mail, or (especially) by posting comments or criticisms.

And again, to those who've commented in this thread.

Joe Bernstein

presently unable to read e-mail

Penny Gaines

unread,
Dec 20, 2003, 11:11:34 AM12/20/03
to
Joe Bernstein wrote in <dbc8daca.03121...@posting.google.com>:

[big snip]

>> So in closing, my thanks to those who *have* shown that they value
>> the work on 1980 through 1994, whether by sending money, sending
>> e-mail, or (especially) by posting comments or criticisms.
>
> And again, to those who've commented in this thread.

I'd have emailed this, but...
just wanted to say Im glad you've got somewhere to stay. I hope all those
other things sort themselves out.

Joe Bernstein

unread,
Dec 22, 2003, 8:38:44 PM12/22/03
to
In article <dbc8daca.03121...@posting.google.com>,
I wrote:

> > > 6. How to donate
> > >
> > > E-MAIL ME FIRST!
>
> This is unfortunately *also* no longer true. I thought I had a way to
> get a telnet shell at a library here, but this had been something of a
> hole in the library in question's setup, and they've apparently
> located that hole. At this time, I don't know of a way I can check
> e-mail in this city without spending money or imposing on friends.

No longer true, as a post elsewhere in this newsgroup has since mentioned.
At that time I didn't see fit to make it entirely clear, because the
way I'd found *also* relied on what amounted to a security hole, and
had other problems. I now find that the computers at the public
libraries here in fact do telnet - something I'd forgotten in the
year-and-a-half away. So I can, in fact, check e-mail without either
of those requirements, *and* in what appears to be by now a highly
stable setup, not relying on someone's oversight.

> > Basically, completion
> > of the UNOFFICIAL List of Moderators is a realistic thing to
> > hope for from me in the nearish future.
>
> Um, sorry about that. I was assuming that wherever I landed, I'd find
> access to a machine where I could have two shell sessions and two
> browser windows open at once, which is how I've worked on the list.
> Not so. At this time, I don't even have access to the file where my
> unposted more-subjective comments on the part already posted are kept.

This obviously also means I can resume work on the list, so I will
do so. At some point I'll check my list against the December 15
posting of the list of newsgroups; I believe I did verify that I
had no differences from whatever was the current list when I started
the already-posted part, but it's best to keep up on these things.

It won't be *easy* by any means, but I intend to finish the comp.*
list this year and to use it as part of 2003's data if I ever do a
2003 year-summary.

Joe Bernstein

--
Joe Bernstein, writer j...@sfbooks.com

<http://www.panix.com/~josephb/>

Yowie

unread,
Dec 23, 2003, 7:29:03 PM12/23/03
to
"Joe Bernstein" <j...@sfbooks.com> wrote in message
news:bs86b4$d0i$1...@reader2.panix.com...

Good Luck, Joe.

I'm sorry other people can't see the value in your work. While I don't need
your research for any practical purpose, I find your work interesting and
trust that someone else sees the same, does have a practical reason for the
information you come up with, and is willing to pay well for it.

Yowie

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