1. Why is Netnews so hard to define
The first thing to understand about Netnews is that it is widely misunderstood. Every day on Netnews, the "blind men and the elephant" phenomenon is evident, in spades. More flame wars arise because of a lack of understanding of the nature of Netnews than from any other source. And consider that such flame wars arise, of necessity, among people who are on Netnews. Imagine, then, how poorly understood Netnews must be by those outside!
Any essay on the nature of Netnews cannot ignore the erroneous impressions held by many Netnews users. Therefore, this article will treat falsehoods first. Keep reading for truth. (Beauty, alas, is not relevant to Netnews.)