2. What Netnews Is Not

  1. Netnews is not an organization

    No person or group has authority over Netnews 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 "Netnews Incorporated," nor is there a "Netnews User's Group." You're on your own.

    Granted, there are various activities organized by means of Netnews newsgroups. The newsgroup creation process is one such activity. But it would be a mistake to equate Netnews with the organized activities it makes possible. If they were to stop tomorrow, Netnews would go on without them.

  2. Netnews is not a democracy

    Since there is no person or group in charge of Netnews as a whole (i.e. there is no Netnews "government") it follows that Netnews cannot be a democracy, autocracy, or any other kind of "-acy."

  3. Netnews 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. Netnews 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 one.

  5. Netnews is not a public utility

    Some Netnews sites are publicly funded or subsidized. Most of them, by plain count, are not. There is no government monopoly on Netnews, and little or no government control.

  6. Netnews is not an academic network

    It is no surprise that many Netnews sites are universities, research labs or other academic institutions. Netnews 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 Netnews's character. Today, by plain count, most Netnews sites are commercial entities.

  7. Netnews is not an advertising medium

    Because of Netnews's roots in academia, and because Netnews 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.

  8. Netnews 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 Netnews is only one. And the Internet is only one of the various networks carrying Netnews traffic.

  9. Netnews is not a United States network

    It is true that Netnews originated in the United States, and the fastest growth in Netnews sites has been there. Nowadays, however, Netnews extends worldwide.

    Keep Netnews'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.

  10. Netnews is not a Unix network

    Don't assume that everyone is using "rn" on a Unix machine. Among the systems used to read and post to Netnews are Vaxen running VMS, IBM mainframes, Amigas, Macintoshes and MS-DOS PCs.

  11. Netnews is not software

    There are dozens of software packages used at various sites to transport and read Netnews articles. So no one program or package can be called "the Netnews software."

    Software designed to support Netnews 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 Netnews by the invention of newsgroup names different from the universally-recognized ones.

Well, enough negativity.

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