How not to annoy people.
Advice from an expert. …
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WHAT USENET IS NOT
1. Usenet is not an organization.
No person or group has authority over Usenet as a whole. No one
controls who gets a news feed, which articles are propagated
where, who can post articles, or anything else. There is no
"Usenet Incorporated," nor is there a "Usenet User's Group."
You're on your own.
Granted, there are various activities organized by means of Usenet
newsgroups. The newsgroup creation process is one such
activity. But it would be a mistake to equate Usenet with the
organized activities it makes possible. If they were to stop
tomorrow, Usenet would go on without them.
2. Usenet is not a democracy.
Since there is no person or group in charge of Usenet as a whole
— i.e. there is no Usenet "government" — it follows that Usenet
cannot be a democracy, autocracy, or any other kind of "-acy."
(But see "The Camel's Nose?" below.)
3. Usenet is not fair.
After all, who shall decide what's fair? For that matter, if
someone is behaving unfairly, who's going to stop him? Neither
you nor I, that's certain.
4. Usenet is not a right.
Some people misunderstand their local right of "freedom of speech"
to mean that they have a legal right to use others' computers to
say what they wish in whatever way they wish, and the owners of
said computers have no right to stop them.
Those people are wrong. Freedom of speech also means freedom not
to speak. If I choose not to use my computer to aid your speech,
that is my right. Freedom of the press belongs to those who own
5. Usenet is not a public utility.
Some Usenet sites are publicly funded or subsidized. Most of
them, by plain count, are not. There is no government monopoly
on Usenet, and little or no government control.
6. Usenet is not an academic network.
It is no surprise that many Usenet sites are universities,
research labs or other academic institutions. Usenet originated
with a link between two universities, and the exchange of ideas
and information is what such institutions are all about. But the
passage of years has changed Usenet's character. Today, by plain
count, most Usenet sites are commercial entities.
7. Usenet is not an advertising medium.
Because of Usenet's roots in academia, and because Usenet depends
so heavily on cooperation (sometimes among competitors), custom
dictates that advertising be kept to a minimum. It is tolerated
if it is infrequent, informative, and low-hype.
The "comp.newprod" newsgroup is NOT an exception to this rule:
product announcements are screened by a moderator in an attempt to
keep the hype-to-information ratio in check.
If you must engage in flackery for your company, use the "biz"
hierarchy, which is explicitly "advertising-allowed", and which
(like all of Usenet) is carried only by those sites that want it.
8. Usenet is not the Internet.
The Internet is a wide-ranging network, parts of which are
subsidized by various governments. It carries many kinds of
traffic, of which Usenet is only one. And the Internet is only
one of the various networks carrying Usenet traffic.
9. Usenet is not a UUCP network.
UUCP is a protocol (actually a "protocol suite," but that's a
technical quibble) for sending data over point-to-point
connections, typically using dialup modems. Sites use UUCP to
carry many kinds of traffic, of which Usenet is only one. And
UUCP is only one of the various transports carrying Usenet
10. Usenet is not a United States network.
It is true that Usenet originated in the United States, and the
fastest growth in Usenet sites has been there. Nowadays, however,
Usenet extends worldwide.
The heaviest concentrations of Usenet sites outside the U.S. seem
to be in Canada, Europe, Australia and Japan.
Keep Usenet's worldwide nature in mind when you post articles.
Even those who can read your language may have a culture wildly
different from yours. When your words are read, they might not
mean what you think they mean.
13. Usenet is not software.
There are dozens of software packages used at various sites to
transport and read Usenet articles. So no one program or package
can be called "the Usenet software."
Software designed to support Usenet traffic can be (and is) used
for other kinds of communication, usually without risk of mixing
the two. Such private communication networks are typically kept
distinct from Usenet by the invention of newsgroup names different
from the universally-recognized ones.
WHAT USENET IS
Usenet is the set of people who exchange articles tagged with one or more universally-recognized labels, called "newsgroups" (or "groups" for short).
There is often confusion about the precise set of newsgroups that constitute Usenet; one commonly accepted definition is that it consists of newsgroups listed in the periodic "List of Active Newsgroups" postings which appear regularly in news.lists.misc and other newsgroups.
One social skill that must be learned, is that other people have points of view that are not only different, but *threatening*, to your own. In turn, your opinions may be threatening to others. There is nothing wrong with this. Your beliefs need not be hidden behind a facade, as happens with face-to-face conversation. Not everybody in the world is a bosom buddy, but you can still have a meaningful conversation with them.
The person who cannot do this lacks in social skills.
— Nick Szabo