NT 4.0 Help
Few Warnings About Usenet |
is a wonderful thing . . . but it's not perfect. Here are a few things you
should know before you dive in. Pardon the plain English here ... |
can eat your brain.You
can't read all the news. You can't even read all the interesting
Don't try. Keeping up with Usenet has been described as "trying to drink from
a fire hose." There is just too much stuff! And there's more all the time.
You could spend every waking hour in front of the screen, and you still couldn't
keep up with everything that might interest you. So it goes. Pick the absolute
most interesting newsgroups, and if you can't keep up, don't
Every so often, if you get behind, you can just mark all the unread messages
as "read" and go on. Don't ever let yourself get compulsive. What's the worst
thing that can happen if you miss a message? Not much.
people on Usenet don't have a clue.The
net is a great source of information. If you find the right newsgroup, you
can get an answer to almost any question, from "Where can I get good sushi
in Boston?" to "Who first described the dinosaur Ornithomimus,
in what year?" The trouble is, the answers that you get may not be right. The
person who answers your query may not understand what you're asking. Or he
may be a helpful idiot. Or he may just want to jerk you around. So don't rely
on an answer from the net - not without checking. Of course, when you ask a
question in a newsgroup, other readers are likely to comment, not just on your
question, but on the answers that are offered. This can warn you when you get
an off-base answer. But don't depend on it!
people on Usenet are total jerks.You'll
find this out the first time someone directs a "flame" at you. "Flame" is a
general term for a harshly critical posting. A flame might be wise, witty and
on-target. But it's more likely to be rude and offensive, and it might be obscene,
insulting and even personally threatening. The first time you get flamed, you'll
wonder "What did I ever do to this person?" But flamage is an unfortunate fact
of life. The first time somebody flames you, try to strain out the content
from the noise, just in case they have a point. But if you're the target of
persistent stupid flames - or if the newsgroup is generally flame-ridden and
you just don't want to read them - it's time to set a killfile.
is no central authority in Usenet. There are no net.police to call to stop
offensive flaming. Some flamers can be reached by social pressure. Others are
offensive on purpose, because it's the only way they can get attention . .
. or because they feel so strongly about some subject that they lose all self-control
when somebody disagrees with them. If you are really being victimized, or if
a newsgroup is being destroyed by a single crazy, you can always complain to
the system administrator of the site where the crazy is posting from. Send
a polite letter to "postmaster@sitename." (For example, to complain about someone
here, you would send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.) Include a copy of the offending
post, to make it clear what you're complaining about. Of course, this does
no good if the messages are anonymous or disguised, or if the postmaster just
does not care! And if you have been personally threatened, you have a right
to go to the police. Send a copy of the threatening letter to email@example.com
and we'll help you.
can also get flamed for violations of net.etiquette. A post that just says
"Me, too!," or does nothing but correct the spelling and grammar of an earlier
posting, or asks a Frequently Asked Question, will draw fire. So it goes. The
sooner you learn your net manners, the sooner that kind of flaming will stop.
(Yes, it's stupid to attack a newcomer for accidental bad manners, but some
people are stupid.)
people on Usenet are crooks. Or worse.You
will see chain letters on Usenet. You will see false advertisements. You will
see articles posted by people who want to scam your money, or get you into
cults, or commit disgusting acts on your body. In other words, it's just like
the classified section of any newspaper. Except when you post a Usenet article,
you're not paying by the word. And some of these people can be really convincing.
So never get the idea that the people on Usenet are anything special. The only
thing they have in common is . . . they've got computers. Most of them are
nice, regular folks. Some of them are dangerous predators. The general rule
is: Don't agree to anything on the Net unless you'd agree to it if a total
stranger called you on the phone!