rather brings to mind a syndrome that sometimes occurred
when an old Arpanet mailing list got gatewayed to a Usenet
a little while, some Usenet novice would commit some
faux pas, a furious Arpanaut would flame violently about
Usenet was nothing but bozos who didn't understand How
Things Should Be Done and the gatewaying was a stupid
idea, and the list maintainer would quietly observe that
gatewaying had indeed produced problems, but it was also
producing most of the real content...
Relays; 25 Oct 1990.
In the early days of the Usenet, newsgroups
were collected into a few broad hierarchies, beginning with "net.", "fa.",
The first Usenet hierarchy was "net.", designed for groups that
communicated about the network itself. The first non-technical
newsgroups were "net.jokes" and "net.rumor". Not long afterwards
the groups "net.joke", "net.bizarre", "net.flame", and "net.gdead" were
Additional groups were occasionally created for discussion on
subjects that would sometimes overwhelm other groups, such as "net.startrek" and "net.abortion".
The group "net.women.only" was created, but didn't generate enough
traffic to last.
From the development of the first "net." newsgroups, a great sustaining
force of the Usenet has been its ability to provide self-help technical
assistance. These early newsgroups helped the builders of the Internet share information, get help with problems, and improve the Internet's
operation. The modern equivalent of these newsgroups are in the "comp." hierarchy.
In 1980, Mark Horton, a graduate student
at the University of California in Berkeley, added his site to
the Usenet network and started sending some of the ARPANET mailing
lists to the Usenet. When the "ucbvax" computer joined the network
shortly thereafter, the hierarchy "fa" was established,
standing for "from ARPANET". At first the ARPANET lists were distributed
read-only on the Usenet, but later the connection was made two-way.
Like other common, public spaces, early newsgroup traffic was
as varied as the people on the Usenet, and newsgroups were occasionally
overwhelmed with inappropriate material and off-topic postings.
To address this problem the "mod." hierarchy was created for groups
that were "moderated" by a person who first reviewed and filtered
all message postings to try and keep the traffic on-topic and useful.
Among the first moderated groups were "mod.announce" and "mod.newprod",
used to distribute information on commercial computer products.