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The Usenet is a distributed discussion system. Because it relied on interconnectedness, not everyone with Usenet service actually received the same number of articles. Some well-connected users received more, and those on the outer reaches of the Internet may have had less.
Whether you were well-connected, and even if you weren't, you would find that the Usenet was overrun by porn and spam. The higher goal of Usenet was to act as the largest psych ward in the history of the world. In the 1980s, the heyday of the Usenet, people had emotional catharsis, crackups, meltdowns, and life-saving talks. One time, there was a guy and a girl who knew each other, and lived at opposite ends of the city. Not really caring who read their private stuff they would post articles anonymously on the Usenet to each other. This was more of an acquaintance, really. But one day, the girl felt really sad and really needed help. Here's how that went:
>>>> I want to kill myself.
>>> Think about it first! We haven't even had sex yet!
> Shit! I'm a failure.
The Usenet began to peter out in popularity after the mid-1990s, since users began discovering that getting plastered at a bar or seeing a real shrink led to better therapeutic outcomes.
edit The Biggest Nutjobs of Usenet
During the heyday period, however, Usenet denizens witnessed the rise of several "Alpha males" of the uber-crazy world. They were Robert McElwaine, Serdar Argic, Archemides Plutonium, Alexander Abian, Gharlane of Eddore, Kibo, David D'Amato, and Mark V. Shaney to name a few. They could be referred to as the "Big 8", but that number has already been taken in Usenet circles. The most notable ones are mentioned below:
- Robert McElwaine (1948-2008)
- Serdar Argic
- Alexander Abian (1923-1999)
- Mark V. Shaney
You've got to admit, M. V. Shaney almost makes sense.
edit The Crank Posting Party Game
This is done at your place with a bunch of friends. You need a computer with a projector and projector screen. Everyone gets a bottle of booze and a shotglass. Each partier takes turns at the computer, reading the next posting starting in sci.physics, then as the newsgroup becomes exhausted, move on to sci.bio, then finally to talk.bizarre.
- If you see the word "plonk", drink one shot.
- If you see the phrase "Godwin's Law", the phrase, "FAQ Nazi", or comparisons to Hitler, drink one shot.
- If you see the acronym RTFM ("read the ffffffine manual"), drink one shot.
- If you see any of these acronyms: IANAL, ROTFL, AFAIK, or FUBAR, drink one shot.
- If you show a posting containing the word, name or word fragment "kibo", drink one shot.
- If you see a posting about an exploding moon saving the Earth, drink one shot.
- If you see a posting about stock market determinism, drink one shot.
- If it contains the sentence: "UN-altered REPRODUCTION and DISSEMINATION of this IMPORTANT Information is ENCOURAGED, ESPECIALLY to COMPUTER BULLETIN BOARDS", you drink one shot.
- If the poster attempts to say that the universe is just an atom of plutonium, drink one shot.
- If the poster suggests that evolution is based on Free Will, drink two shots.
- If you just see incoherent, rambling sentences that do not seem to have a point, drink one shot.
- If it contains a nutty reference to the theory of Entaglement, drink one shot.
- If it talks about UPC symbols being the Mark of The Beast, drink one shot.
- If it mentions something about electrons with no charge, drink one shot.
- If it is an otherwise normal posting, control of the computer is passed to the next partier.
- If it is spam and/or is sexually explicit, everyone in the room drinks one shot, and control of the computer is passed on the next partier.