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alt.aol-sucks FAQ Part 3/3 - Newsgroup Philosophy

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*** FAQ (Part III - alt.aol-sucks ) ***

Is this a flame newsgroup?
 
    YES.
 
That's not what the review said in news.groups.reviews.
 
    It was a troll.
 
 
It was not!
 
    It was too.  Someone noticed that news.groups.reviews was one of the 
    default newsgroups AOL made available to its users.  They added a 
    review of alt.aol-sucks, so the very first newsgroup new users would 
    come across would point to one criticizing AOL.  News.groups.reviews was
    so poorly posted to, that for a while it was the only message in the 
    newsgroup!
 
 
What did the review say?
 
    "Originally started to flame users of America Online (AOL) about 
    software bugs in AOL's Usenet reader, this newsgroup has evolved into
    a surprisingly high-level and thoughtful discussion.
 
    Besides comparisons of online services, tips on internet access
    providers, and the inevitable debate about UNIX interfaces,
    newsgroup topics have included GUI's vs. command lines,
    how to perform high-level internet functions like FTP using
    conventional e-mail, software bugs, and rot-13 message-coding.
 
    This newsgroup provides a good glimpse into the evolution of
    the internet community as a whole, and where commercial on-line 
    services fit in the scheme."                              
 
 
Okay.  So where is it written that the discussion on alt.aol-sucks is 
actually going to reach flame intensity?
 
     On AOL.  They renamed the newsgroup "Flames and complaints about 
     AOL".
 
 
What about the innocent AOL-ers who wander in to alt.aol-sucks, and find
furious discussion with venomous scatalogical attacks, and gets really
uncomfortable?
 
     "You may find that in certain Newsgroups, the participants use
     language and discuss subject matter that would not be acceptable on
     America Online....you may choose to avoid certain Newsgroups if you 
     are uncomfortable with the discussion that takes place in them."
 
                                  ---America Online's "Note about Content"
 
 
If the book editor for "In These Times" read the newsgroup, what would he 
say?
 
    He's probably got more important things to do.
 
 
I bet he doesn't.
 
    I bet he does.
 
 
I bet he doesn't.
 
    I bet he does---whoops.  You're right!  He doesn't. He wrote a whole 
    article about it in the October 31 issue.
 
 
So what's his opinion of alt.aol-sucks
 
    "The regular contributors to the group (called, appropriately
     enough, "alt.aol-sucks") are masters of the art of 'flaming'..."
 
    "...the only purpose of the group was to let Net veterans (and 
     would-be veterans) pick on hapless AOL newbies."
 
 
I heard he posted to the newsgroup shortly after his article appeared.  
What did he say?
 
     "Please be more specific.  Blow *what* out my ass?"
 
 
This sounds okay.  I just want to have fun with people.
 
     "alt.aol-sucks offers only a poor parody of real human interaction."
             --David Futrelle    (Book Editor, "In These Times")
 
 
Is that true?
 
     Some believe the sanitized offerings on AOL are more of a parody.  
     They restrict what words you can use, and what you can say.         
 
 
 Why do the anti-AOLers feel free speech is so important?
 
    Anything to control what you speak, say or do is, according to the
    anti-AOLers, not right.  People should be free to express themself.  The
    level to which the AOL staff attempts to control your speech is
    ridiculous.  
 
You can always attack someone on AOL if you're really angry. 
 
      No.  "Personal attacks against other members are soundly prohibited."
                      
 
That's an AOL rule?
 
     Yes.  AOL's Terms of Service.
               
 
They're that specific?
 
     Yes.  AOL's Terms of Service outline a long list of behaviors which 
     aren't permitted on AOL. 
        
    "Any action by a Member that, in AOL, Inc.'s sole opinion, restricts or
     inhibits other Members from using and enjoying America Online (such as
     but not limited to, the use of vulgar language; inappropriate screen
     names; committing, or discussing with the intention to commit, illegal
     activities), is strictly prohibited.  Member specifically agrees not to
     submit, publish, or display on America Online any defamatory, inaccurate,
     abusive, obscene, profane, sexually oriented, threatening, racially 
     offensive, or illegal material; nor shall Member encourage the use of 
     controlled substances.
 
 
How could AOL call for a level of discussion that's so...insincere?

     This is a company that signs its form letters "Warm Regards".
                                                
 
So this newsgroup is just flames?

    "Flames and complaints."
                
 
About anything?
 
    They usually have a theme:  they're related to America Online.  
    They also challenge the opinions of people who've made points   
    about America Online.
 
 
I wanted to post a critique of AOL, and dissect the origins of its 
censorship.
 
    It will be welcome.
 
 
But someone might flame me?
 
    Yes.
 
 
Why?
 
    Because we feel like it.
 
 
That's mean.
 
        Bite me.  It's fun.
                          

                                                              [End Part III]


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