*** FAQ (Part III - alt.aol-sucks ) ***
Is this a flame newsgroup?
That's not what the review said in news.groups.reviews.
It was a troll.
It was not!
It was too. Someone noticed that news.groups.reviews was one of the
default newsgroups AOL made available to its users. They added a
review of alt.aol-sucks, so the very first newsgroup new users would
come across would point to one criticizing AOL. News.groups.reviews was
so poorly posted to, that for a while it was the only message in the
What did the review say?
"Originally started to flame users of America Online (AOL) about
software bugs in AOL's Usenet reader, this newsgroup has evolved into
a surprisingly high-level and thoughtful discussion.
Besides comparisons of online services, tips on internet access
providers, and the inevitable debate about UNIX interfaces,
newsgroup topics have included GUI's vs. command lines,
how to perform high-level internet functions like FTP using
conventional e-mail, software bugs, and rot-13 message-coding.
This newsgroup provides a good glimpse into the evolution of
the internet community as a whole, and where commercial on-line
services fit in the scheme."
Okay. So where is it written that the discussion on alt.aol-sucks is
actually going to reach flame intensity?
On AOL. They renamed the newsgroup "Flames and complaints about
What about the innocent AOL-ers who wander in to alt.aol-sucks, and find
furious discussion with venomous scatalogical attacks, and gets really
"You may find that in certain Newsgroups, the participants use
language and discuss subject matter that would not be acceptable on
America Online....you may choose to avoid certain Newsgroups if you
are uncomfortable with the discussion that takes place in them."
---America Online's "Note about Content"
If the book editor for "In These Times" read the newsgroup, what would he
He's probably got more important things to do.
I bet he doesn't.
I bet he does.
I bet he doesn't.
I bet he does---whoops. You're right! He doesn't. He wrote a whole
article about it in the October 31 issue.
So what's his opinion of alt.aol-sucks
"The regular contributors to the group (called, appropriately
enough, "alt.aol-sucks") are masters of the art of 'flaming'..."
"...the only purpose of the group was to let Net veterans (and
would-be veterans) pick on hapless AOL newbies."
I heard he posted to the newsgroup shortly after his article appeared.
What did he say?
"Please be more specific. Blow *what* out my ass?"
This sounds okay. I just want to have fun with people.
"alt.aol-sucks offers only a poor parody of real human interaction."
--David Futrelle (Book Editor, "In These Times")
Is that true?
Some believe the sanitized offerings on AOL are more of a parody.
They restrict what words you can use, and what you can say.
Why do the anti-AOLers feel free speech is so important?
Anything to control what you speak, say or do is, according to the
anti-AOLers, not right. People should be free to express themself. The
level to which the AOL staff attempts to control your speech is
You can always attack someone on AOL if you're really angry.
No. "Personal attacks against other members are soundly prohibited."
That's an AOL rule?
Yes. AOL's Terms of Service.
They're that specific?
Yes. AOL's Terms of Service outline a long list of behaviors which
aren't permitted on AOL.
"Any action by a Member that, in AOL, Inc.'s sole opinion, restricts or
inhibits other Members from using and enjoying America Online (such as
but not limited to, the use of vulgar language; inappropriate screen
names; committing, or discussing with the intention to commit, illegal
activities), is strictly prohibited. Member specifically agrees not to
submit, publish, or display on America Online any defamatory, inaccurate,
abusive, obscene, profane, sexually oriented, threatening, racially
offensive, or illegal material; nor shall Member encourage the use of
How could AOL call for a level of discussion that's so...insincere?
This is a company that signs its form letters "Warm Regards".
So this newsgroup is just flames?
"Flames and complaints."
They usually have a theme: they're related to America Online.
They also challenge the opinions of people who've made points
about America Online.
I wanted to post a critique of AOL, and dissect the origins of its
It will be welcome.
But someone might flame me?
Because we feel like it.
Bite me. It's fun.
[End Part III]
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Frequently-Asked Questions List, Part II
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