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Subject: alt.syntax.tactical FAQ - Dealing with Trolls Crossposting and Flames Rev 20050130 - AST FAQ.txt (1/1)

This article was archived around: Sun, 30 Jan 2005 14:33:47 -0600

All FAQs in Directory: net-abuse-faq
All FAQs posted in: alt.syntax.tactical, alt.newbie, news.admin.net-abuse.usenet, news.admin.net-abuse.misc
Source: Usenet Version

Archive-name: net-abuse-faq/troll-faq Posting-Frequency: monthly Last-modified: 20050130 URL: http://gandalf.home.digital.net/trollfaq.html Greetings and Salutations:
This FAQ is about crossposts, troll and flames, and what to do about them. Table of contents to this FAQ: o Introduction o Introducing the alt.syntax.tactical group o Defining troll, flames and crossposts o What to do o E-Mailing o Killfiles o A description of the alt.syntax.tactical crew (and lesser trolls) o The alt.syntax.tactical FAQ - Know your opponents Introduction ============================================ Jamie, in a kind inimitable way, has informed me that some of the scumware sites are showing this page in popups. If you see this alt.spam FAQ in a popup please be assured that spyware / adware sites are doing this to try to discredit anti-spam / anti-spyware sites. See: http://www.spywareinfo.com/~merijn/downloads.html And http://www.spywareinfo.com/articles/hijacked/ Also please see my Alt.spam section on removing spyware. Please feel free to repost this, e-mail it, put this FAQ on CD's or any other media you can think of. Just please do not pop it up on the screen of someone that did not ask for it. The latest & greatest version of this FAQ will be found at one of the following: http://gandalf.home.digital.net/trollfaq.html (or http://home.digital.net/~gandalf/trollfaq.html) ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/alt.syntax.tactical/ Or *nicely* HTML'ed at: http://www.cs.ruu.nl/wais/html/na-dir/net-abuse-faq/troll-faq.html or http://www.faqs.org/faqs/net-abuse-faq/troll-faq/ or ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/alt.syntax.tactical/ ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/alt.spam/ Please email follow-ups / additions / changes comments / questions to gandalf@digital.net . . . BUT PLEASE NOTE because I receive (on the average) over 200 e-mails EVERY day (of which 195 or so are spam) you MUST put the words "Alt.Syntax.Tactical" in the subject of the e-mail or there is a VERY good chance the e-mail will be deleted without being read. I get 10 or 15 "No Subject" spams a day. http://it.geocities.com/roccopapaleo/faq/italiano/alt.syntax.tactical. trad.txt - Italian Translation Translate from/to English French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian (etc.) http://babel.altavista.com/translate.dyn or English to French: http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=fr&sl=en&u=http://digital.net /~gandalf/trollfaq.html English to German: http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=de&sl=en&u=http://digital.net /~gandalf/trollfaq.html English to Italian: http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=it&sl=en&u=http://digital.net /~gandalf/trollfaq.html English to Spanish: http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=es&sl=en&u=http://digital.net /~gandalf/trollfaq.html Introducing the alt.syntax.tactical group ============================================ The alt.syntax.tactical crew (of which I am definitely not a member) decides every now and then to start a colossal crosspost / flame war. One of their attacks started trolling by crossposting between alt.smokers, can.talk.smoking, alt.support.non-smokers, asthma and SCI groups. The trollers would take an original post from alt.smokers, pass it thru a anonymous remailer (with the original e-mail name intact) and repost it to all of the above groups. This (as you can guess) started a massive flame war with the original (innocent) poster getting in trouble for the crosspost that they never made. It migrated to rec.pets.cats and beyond, but the lines are ever changing. It is rumored that the alt.syntax.tactical crew communicates through a listserver, planning their next attack thru the back channels. Wouldn't want the plans posted out in the open, now would we :-). Jonathan tells us that while alt.tasteless (FAQ http://www.aracnet.com/~jaydog/index2.html - WARNING - there is a reason why it is called alt.tasteless) claims to have been responsible for the rec.pets.cats war, it was really the first unofficial a.s.t. invasion. Anyhow, just remember, it was all in good fun and we never meant to do more than rile up a few people who took things a bit too seriously. Michael tells us that the a.s.t. crew definitely DID NOT have their origins in the alt.shenanigans newsgroup. There have been several jokes played upon newsgroups which were planned in alt.shenanigans and its associated mailing list, but none of them have been anything like a.s.t. They've all been harmless, in fun, and have caused no real damage. The old alt.syntax.tactical crew as described by Lee Jackson Beauregard ( http://www.smart.net/~rchason/ ) : http://digital.net/~gandalf/tactical.txt The first messages: http://groups.google.com/groups?as_ugroup=alt.syntax.tactical&lr=&as_d rrb=b&as_mind=12&as_minm=5&as_miny=1981&as_maxd=1&as_maxm=1&as_maxy=19 94&num=100&as_scoring=d&hl=en The origins: http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=2cvf4b$aif@phakt.usc.edu&output=g plain The first FAQ: http://groups.google.com/groups?dq=&hl=en&lr=&safe=off&selm=jpdavidCHD 9r5.Kxs@netcom.com The next: http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=jpdavidCHnp84.47q@netcom.com&outp ut=gplain The MEOW brigade is essentially the same animal as the alt.syntax.tactical brigade, just a different section of that same family tree that doesn't branch. Not as bright either. For a story on MEOWs, look at http://digital.net/~gandalf/meow.txt ... This is also a perfect example of a MEOW post ... a reply with all the previous text and no additional content. The "meow-meow's" say "meow" because, at the moment they came across alt.fan.karl-malden.nose there was a thread about, of all things, Henrietta Pussycat from Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. She, as you may recall, speaks like this: "Meow meow go to bed meow? Meow very tired meow." As a side note, I do have to admit that a few of the meowers *are* involved in fighting spam (Unsolicited Commercial E-Mail) and do make worthwhile / good contributions to the news.admin.net-abuse group but I suspect that they think the rules are for everyone else, and do not apply to meowers. The coming and goings of the Meowers: http://www.geocities.com/meowwatcher/index.html Who's who description: http://www.geocities.com/meowwatcher/who.html The Meower's version, by The 2-Belo ( the2belo@alt.net ) is located at : http://member.newsguy.com/~shpxurnq/nora.html Or look at http://extra.newsguy.com/~shpxurnq/ or http://extra.newsguy.com/~shpxurnq/archive/raoul15.html These children are a version of Internet vandals. They mostly cause trouble. There are many ways that they attack. All of the methods are very simple (remember the abilities of the people we are dealing with here). They use open NNTP servers, anonymous remailers, list servers, mail to news gateways, or a program that has as part of the Path : ...!gergs_bane.org!anon. Many times they pick "real looking" e-mail addresses so that someone who has gotten them mad before will get in trouble. Clue : Don't mailbomb the e-mail or postmaster of the site listed in the e-mail, they are probably innocent and all that will accomplish is getting you in trouble. The idea of trolling is (of course) spreading to other mediums on the Internet. Blogs have been invaded, Yahoo Groups, chat groups, anywhere that multiple people gather. All of this advice applies to any kind group discussion. While these children may see this as a harmless prank, the end result is that they censor the regular readers of the target group by overwhelming the group with off topic messages. Then there are some who are accused of being trollers yet do not agree. They argue that they are only having a discussion. They call it "sarcasm" "irony" or witty banter. There are many versions of this kind of person, they argue and cause an uproar and don't understand the uproar they cause. Others may not have understood their intention and both sides may have gotten a little too caught up in the discussion. It is possible to try and help these people understand the uproar they cause using e-mail. Sometimes the cause is hopeless. There is also a possibility that you are not even having a discussion with a person. You could be corresponding to a automated computer response program: http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=bjd8ovc1akclqhq4nnad6m9ic82625j0o h@4ax.com An old idea brought back to life: http://www.google.com/search?q=Eliza+Program&btnG=Search As always an honorable mention must be given to Archimedes Plutonium, see http://www.archimedesplutonium.com/ (I will let Archimedes speak for himself) or http://groups.google.com/groups?ic=1&selm=74t9li$rvl$1@dartvax.dartmou th.edu Bottom line is that every news group at one time or another has a "troll". Someone who everybody learns to love to hate. The Troll changes from news group to news group, from e-mail address to e-mail address. Ever changing and nearly impossible to keep up with. Below you will find out how to deal with these trolls. You can find a list of the latest trollers (or the troller trying to get their victim in trouble) by taking a look at the newsgroups alt.usenet.kooks, alt.syntax.tactical, alt.fan.karl-malden.nose, alt.flame, or alt.bigfoot. See how well *your* Kook passes The Kook Test: http://groups.google.com/groups?&selm=tAlTRWAOMst4Ew0F@lejniesw.demon. co.uk http://www.catnip.org/kat/ Defining troll, flames and crossposts ============================================ From the Jargon file ( http://www.catb.org/~esr/jargon/html/T/troll.html ): troll v., n. 1. [From the Usenet group alt.folklore.urban] To utter a posting on Usenet designed to attract predictable responses or flames; or, the post itself. Derives from the phrase "trolling for newbies" which in turn comes from mainstream "trolling", a style of fishing in which one trails bait through a likely spot hoping for a bite. The well- constructed troll is a post that induces lots of newbies and flamers to make themselves look even more clueless than they already do, while subtly conveying to the more savvy and experienced that it is in fact a deliberate troll. If you don't fall for the joke, you get to be in on it. See also YHBT. 2. An individual who chronically trolls in sense 1; regularly posts specious arguments, flames or personal attacks to a newsgroup, discussion list, or in email for no other purpose than to annoy someone or disrupt a discussion. Trolls are recognizable by the fact that they have no real interest in learning about the topic at hand - they simply want to utter flame bait. Like the ugly creatures they are named after, they exhibit no redeeming characteristics, and as such, they are recognized as a lower form of life on the net, as in, "Oh, ignore him, he's just a troll." Compare kook. 3. [Berkeley] Computer lab monitor. A popular campus job for CS students. Duties include helping newbies and ensuring that lab policies are followed. Probably so-called because it involves lurking in dark cavelike corners. Some people claim that the troll (sense 1) is properly a narrower category than flame bait, that a troll is categorized by containing some assertion that is wrong but not overtly controversial. See also Troll-O-Meter. The use of `troll' in either sense is a live metaphor that readily produces elaborations and combining forms. For example, one not infrequently sees the warning "Do not feed the troll" as part of a follow-up to troll postings. http://dir.yahoo.com/Computers_and_Internet/Internet/Chats_and_Forums/ Usenet/Humor/Trolling/ http://www.teamtechnology.co.uk/troll.htm With the following Troll definitions: * Playtime (1 off trolling) * Tactical (long term trolling by a single character) * Strategic (long term trolling using multiple characters and different waves) * Domination (trolls who run mailing lists themselves) From : The ONE AND ONLY alt.flame FAQ- by Christopher Henrik Lund : a) Flaming: I.e. rude comments, insults, personal attacks, etc. b) Trolling: I.e. fishing for flames. Usually takes the form of inane postings like smarmy love chatter, useless pieces of boring information, McClatchie's FAQ, etc. c) Cascades: Endless meaningless threads the posters repeat the same phrase over and over, sometimes with a little variation. They are amusing to the ones participating in them, boring to everyone else. Crossposting is posting a message to more than one group. Avoiding flaming : http://www.faqs.org/faqs/online-providers/aol-sucks-faq/part3/ - alt.AOL.sucks Troll FAQ http://orangefox.svs.com/rem/other/lame-posts-faq - REC.MUSIC.REM lame post FAQ http://www.geocities.com/TelevisionCity/Set/2342/waste.html - a.t.x- files troll info http://www.intersurf.com/~aevinc/aev2trol.htm - How to avoid being trolled Flames and trolls : http://www.netxpress.com/users/geri/TrollLinks.htm - Troll Links http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=36b8544c.35158813@ruble.net - Alt.Troll FAQ http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=7lchu7$2gs@dfw- ixnews19.ix.netcom.com - Bill Palmers comments on trolling http://groups.google.com/groups?q=&selm=3A2802BC.3EDD%40aloha.net - Understanding A.R.E. Trolls http://groups.google.com/groups?q=&selm=34nos093nvvsloti03mfls@trollfa q.org - Troll FAQ part 1 http://groups.google.com/groups?q=&selm=sdio325mn__weoibm8043kncmvx@tr ollfaq.org - Troll FAQ part 2 http://groups.google.com/groups?q=&selm=3nvol3903n1pnamxndju744@trollf aq.org - Troll FAQ part 3 http://groups.google.com/groups?q=&selm=enal3n8rn510qmznceisnt876@trol lfaq.org - Troll FAQ part 4 http://groups.google.com/groups?q=&selm=38bm86sp10zx456ghj_qwerty@trol lfaq.org - Troll FAQ part 5 http://www.firelily.com/support/depression/trolls.html http://www.firelily.com/support/recovery/flame.retardant.html http://www.fortunecity.com/victorian/byzantium/55/troll.htm - Troll Descriptions http://www.intersurf.com/~aevinc/aev2trol.htm - All about trolls (short) http://www.intwg.com/trolls.htm http://www.netspace.org/~dmacks/internet-songbook/trolling-in-the- newsgroups.html - The Song :-) ... http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=065f8722.73c4d2fb@usw-ex0102- 016.remarq.com - "Don't Feed The Trolls" article http://home.att.net/~newsbee/asl/trolls.html - Troll point system and how to ignore trolls http://www.hyphenologist.co.uk/killfile http://www.hyphenologist.co.uk/killfile/antitrollfaqhtm.htm - Anti- Troll FAQ http://faqs.jmas.co.jp/FAQs/1999/Feb/990211.01 - Alt.Fan.Karl.Malden.Nose FMQ http://spiralx.dyndns.org/howto.html - Slash Dot Troll http://www.trollville.org/ - Where Trolls can go be themselves, no censorship allowed http://groups.google.com/groups?as_umsgid=m2n1daetkb.fsf@ryoko.tky.hut .fi - Finnish Troll FAQ The current Alt.Goth troll FAQ: http://www.legendsmagazine.net/pan/panstuff/agsffaq.htm Or bring up : http://www.hotbot.com/ or http://www.google.com/ and search for trolls flames Or for a definition of Trolls : http://www.wikipedia.com/wiki/Internet_troll http://it.geocities.com/roccopapaleo/italiano.html - Italian translations Fravia suggests you have a look at troll lore : http://www.searchlores.org/trolls.htm Stalking lore: http://www.searchlores.org/stalking.htm And more general anonymity lore: http://www.searchlores.org/noanon.htm What some of these children enjoy doing: http://www.ncf.carleton.ca/ip/freenet/subs/complaints/spam/faqs/tacfaq .txt One of the clubs: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/utbhumanresourcesrecruiting/ And the start of the messages: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/utbhumanresourcesrecruiting/messages/1 What to do ============================================ You are reading one of your favorite newsgroups and all of the sudden you see the following message: Subject: Can I bring my cat to Hell with me? Newsgroups: alt.flame, alt.spleen, k12.chat.teacher, alt.bigfoot, alt.tasteless, alt.gathering.rainbow, alt.evil, alt.bigfoot, alt.sex.cthulhu, k12.chat.senior, alt.satanism, rec.pets.cats Date: 26 Jun 1994 23:41:48 -0700 From: antebi@phakt.usc.edu (Ron Shmet) Organization: University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA I am aware that I can't take my "stuff" with me when I die... <snip> Rest of post deleted because of stupidity but if you are really interested in the entire post: http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=2ulsbc$lpn@phakt.usc.edu O.K... so you know what a flame, a crosspost and a troll are. Now what do you do about it? A) Sit on your hands and bite your tongue. Reread the post. It may be a new person to the Internet who has innocently hit your raw nerve. B) Do NOT click Reply or Follow-up. When you do this they win and you lose. You just did what they were wanting you to do. C) Look at the newsgroups line and see how many groups the post is posted to, specifically look for one the newsgroups alt.syntax.tactical, alt.flame or alt.tasteless. D) Continue to sit on your hands. E) Look at the header to make sure that someone hasn't forged the e- mail return address to get someone else in trouble. For help with the header see : http://digital.net/~gandalf/spamfaq.html ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/alt.spam/ Or look at how to track someone: http://www.searchlores.org/ F) Stop sitting on your hands, but *Don't* reply to the post. G) Read the alt.bigfoot FAQ : http://www.faqs.org/faqs/bigfoot/part1/ http://www.faqs.org/faqs/bigfoot/part2/ H) Sit and think. I) Read about the Gullibility Virus. This is a very funny editorial to be passed along to your friends who send you all those hoaxes : http://www.virtualsalt.com/warning.htm And see what the hoax e-mail subject lines are: https://mail.hr.doe.gov/hoax.htm And why Disney is *not* giving away 13,000 free trips, why Bill Gates is not collecting e-mail addresses (and many other hoaxes): http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/nothing/billgate.asp And Hoaxes on the Internet: http://hoaxbusters.ciac.org/ J) Whatever you do, DO NOT reply to the post. K) Sit and think. Go clean that green stuff off the sides of your fish tank like you have been meaning to do. Try to remember that the Internet is not real life. It is not worth getting upset over. The news group you are so involved in would forget that you exist if you stop posting for 6 months (most likely even quicker). Real life goes on with or without the Internet. L) "Arguing with anonymous strangers on the Internet is a sucker's game because they almost always turn out to be -- or to be indistinguishable from -- self-righteous sixteen-year-olds possessing infinite amounts of free time." -Neal Stephenson, _Cryptonomicon_ M) Look at the original group creation file (not necessarily up to date): ftp://ftp.uu.net/usenet/control/ ftp://ftp.isc.org/pub/usenet/control/ Hopefully if you have done all these steps your blood pressure has gone down a few points. The above applies to *all* posts that are trolls. The post may only be to one newsgroup, but none the less it is a troll to try & cause problems in the newsgroup. DO NOT POST! It will only get more people upset at you than at the original flamer. If you feel like you *have* to post a message TRIM THE NEWSGROUPS! Delete EVERY other newsgroups from the header except the group you are posting to. If you cannot delete the excess newsgroups, please do everybody a favor and don't post. E-Mailing ============================================ First off (as you might have guessed) DO NOT post a message to your newsgroup to *anybody* who is trolling for a reply. It will only clutter up your newsgroup and get everybody else upset at *you* for replying. Raffaele does mention, however, there are groups where some regs encourage to do exactly the opposite of the golden rule, and even accuse of cowardice those who don't scream and yell when a suspected troll enters the group. Bottom line, as always, read the FAQ for that particular group. Remember, Google is your friend. Go to http://groups.google.com/advanced_group_search and type in the e-mail of the poster in the field "with the exact phrase", click on "Google Search". This will tell you the tendencies of the poster and may give a clue as to their proclivities. If they post to alt.flame, then you know how they operate. If the message has been posted thru a anonymous remailer then you should just contact the remailer. Unfortunately this only causes more problems for the ability to post anonymous messages (an important freedom of speech resource that should not be destroyed). The E-mail address has probably been forged. To find out about remailers, see: http://www.eskimo.com/~turing/remailer/FAQ/ For a list of them see : http://www.eskimo.com/~turing/remailer/stats/db/rlist.html http://www.eskimo.com/~turing/remailer/stats/db/mlist.html Fravia refers us to the new "enemy" and enemy-related sections: http://www.searchlores.org/noanon.htm http://www.searchlores.org/statoo.htm http://www.searchlores.org/luring.htm and http://www.searchlores.org/trolls.htm If you feel like you have to do *something*, then you should contact the person who posted the message. PLEASE send a *nice* message and ask them why they did this. Remember, the e-mail is *very* easy to forge and the troll may have been posted only to get someone else in trouble. Another item to consider is that the person may be a net newbie. They may not *know* that they are starting a flame war or making posts that look like trolls. They *may* be sincere about their posts and just need some guidance. Help them, please. If you get a nasty reply (or no reply and the posts continue), then your next option is to send a message to the persons postmaster. See the above spamfaq URL for how to figure out what postmaster to send your message to. Andrew reminds us: 1. Keep it simple, keep it short. Postmasters are amazingly busy people. 2. Be polite. It's not the postmaster you're cheesed off at. 3. Make sure you include the full headers so the postmaster has the all-important Message-ID tag to track the troll. Export the message to a text file and paste it back in if you need to. 4. Thank the postmaster for his/her efforts at the end. Gratitude before the fact will help spur the postmaster to effort on your behalf. 5. Be patient. It may take the postmaster a few days or a few gripes to act. Don't repost the same gripe multiple times. New gripes, however, are permissible. 6. If the troll becomes harassing and/or actionable and you can identify the site from the headers, call the postmaster. LD charges may be worth it. Follow the preceding rules for the phone call. Be polite, be brief, and thank the person for their efforts. One call is usually all it takes. Example gripe : Dear Postmaster: Please find attached the headers and body text of a harassing message posted to <Your Newsgroup>. As the message originated at your site, I'd like to request your assistance in explaining to the offending user the rules of online etiquette. Thank you for your time. Killfiles ============================================ Most newsreaders support a killfile. A killfile tells your newsreader to "ignore" certain posts or posters. The beauty is that you never have to see a message from "X" again, or about subject "X" again. Adding posts to killfiles : http://www.cis.ohio-state.edu/hypertext/faq/usenet/killfile- faq/faq.html ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/news.software.readers/rn_KILL_file_FAQ If you are a News Administrator (or you know one), you can filter out A.S.T posts (thereby also stopping the propagation of these same posts). Look at : List of anti-spam software: http://www.exit109.com/~jeremy/news/antispam.html Some of the software: http://www.exit109.com/~jeremy/news/cleanfeed.html http://www.spamhippo.com/ If you follow all of the above steps, you will be happier, but most importantly Usenet will be happier for having less bandwidth abused. Welcome to the Troll FAQ. A description of the alt.syntax.tactical crew (and lesser trolls) ================================================================= You will find a description of the AST crew below, but first I must mention the lesser groups that inhabit the Internet. From the group alt.games.creatures we find a group of trolls that (as many trolls do) try to make it seem that they are the purveyors of the truth ... everybody else is wronging them. See http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/6042/index.html (Well, it *was* there :-) ... I figured it would disappear so I kept a copy below ...) Where we find THE AVENGER SQUADRON ---------------------------------- The terrorists on AGC have opened a Pandora's box of terrorism. We intend to neutralize that box and close it once and for all, without breaking any laws. "Fear is a powerful and dangerous thing." -A quote. We will stop them, without breaking the law. We are the defenders of justice and peace and we will fight to protect innocent people from the savage violence and hatred on AGC that exists because it was formerly overrun with terrorists. We have successfully ridden it of several hate-mongering persons and groups, and continue to do whatever we can to uphold freedom and peace. Those guilty of violations have accused us of trickery, lies, and forgery. This is not the case. We have never lied. We only make legitimate complaints that truly violate Terms of Service Agreements. Those who wrongly accuse us of these things are no doubt guilty of violations themselves and wish to rid themselves of us so that they can continue their inappropriate activities and get away with them. They will not succeed in trying to destroy us. We are here to stay. ---------------------------------- Isn't that just the CUTEST thing :-) ... The rest of this AST FAQ is here for historical purposes only. Below we find the sad description of the AST crew and a copy of their invasion FAQ. Everything below this down to my .sig has not been updated (and will not be updated) since the troll FAQ was created in early 1996. Jonathan tells me that the *original* AST FAQ was written in 1994. See: http://groups.google.com/groups?q=&selm=1994Jun28.030029.24541@lugb.la trobe.edu.au - All About Alt.Syntax.Tactical (or, Know Your Jerk) Victor wrote a description about the alt.syntactical wrecking crew. Below is his post. The section "The alt.syntax.tactical FAQ - Know your opponents" contains the tactics used by the AST crew to disrupt any USENET group. Date: Tue, 8 Nov 1994 11:52:38 MST Welcome to the All About alt.syntax.tactical FAQ (or, Know Your Jerk) Irregular Posting *Sigh*. A fresh batch of shitheads have arrived. I do applaud everyone for ignoring them. However newbies are advised to read the following. -- What is this FAQ about? -- This FAQ is for new users who enter the wonderful world of Internet only to be disappointed by stumbling upon gigabytes of stupidity and old timers who know that idiots tend to hang around in groups. The subject here are a bunch of infantile losers known as - Alt.syntax.tactical A.s.t can claim the dubious honor of being the only group that even alt.flame can look down upon. -- Why do they do this? -- Beats me. Seems like an awful lot of boring, repetitive rote work with the only reward being regarded as an electronic cockroach plague by the rest of the net community. -- How do I recognize an alt.syntax.tactical post in general? -- - Cross posting to a large number of groups. Attention seeking exercise. - The "flogging a dead horse" syndrome. Taking topics that have been done to death and rehashing them. In this case, trying to start another alt.tasteless/rec.pets.cats flame-war (ho-hum). This is likely due to the article detailing the original flame-war appearing in WiReD magazine, so probably seeking attention again. - General lack of interest, humor and a lame attempt to be offensive, like crossposting to rec.pets.cats, the two K12 groups and alt.gathering.rainbow. Other general characteristics - - a.s.t posters are in the habit of following up there own articles if the original was (wisely) ignored. - reposting complete articles or flame/counter flames with one line comments, thus maximizing bulk. - endless flame/counter-flames between the various a.s.t invasion wave members when the real newsgroup members(wisely) ignore them. As a rule of thumb, if it is boring, pointless and inane, you can bank on it being from a.s.t. -- What can I do about stupid a.s.t posts? -- The golden rule is ignore. If someone farts in a room, the smell will eventually go away. Likewise, if a.s.t is largely ignored, they too will go away. Resist all urges to reply. You'll be bashing your head against a brick wall and only giving them satisfaction. Learn to use your kill-file, ask someone you know how if you don't know. The more hi-tech among you may want to track them down and extract whatever electronic revenge you can. -- Where do a.s.t reside, usually? -- There originally was an a.s.t group, and it still gets used occasionally. Mostly, they hang out in alt.bigfoot, which was probably originally a Sasquatch interest group which they invaded and decided to keep, and in alt.flame. -- Who are the members of a.s.t? -- (Note : These people haven't posted in a long time, so this is an old list) OK, here is the listing. If any body has any other addresses, e-mail, and we'll add them. Name and/or handle Address _____________________________________________ Robert Trent trent@vertigo.helix Supreme commander harmoni@vertigo.helix Shafik Harmoni trent@mprgate.mpr.ca Antebi antebi@scf.usc.edu Rev. Antebi antebi@ucla.edu Ron Shmet antebi@phakt.usc.edu antebi@chaph.usc.edu shmet@ucla.edu Wilf wilf@doe.carlton.ca Bulldog bulldog@achilles.net wilf@sce.carlton.ca Dewme sdew@charlie.usd.edu Charlie Dew sdew.nyx.du.edu sdew@tulip.usd.edu Wild Bill traveller@teleport.com Bill Travis bill@suntan.vid.ilstu.edu Doug Weber grossy@netcom.com Lisa Park Yzer-GOD brotman@netcom.com John Kordic jpdavid@netcom.com Plus an ever changing variety of others. As has come to pass, it isn't even necessary to know the above idiots, though they are the most predominant and have popped up in a.t several times this year. A.s.t has matured with time to be just another generic term for bandwidth wasting shit-heads. The alt.syntax.tactical FAQ - Know your opponents ================================================= Here's some relevant source material, obtained from one of the members, the "real" FAQ of AST, a somewhat less serious one, and one distributed -about- AST. The Invasion FAQ of A.S.T. Although not exactly a FAQ, this file is more of an explanation of why alt.syntax.tactical and the tactical-list were created. It also lays down the foundation for the structure, strategy, and protocol of USENET invasions. * Invasion * Each of us brings our own reasons, backgrounds and motivations into this scheme. What is important is that each individual brings into this their own brand of inspired mischief. In some ways it is completely innocent. In some ways it is completely destructive. Anyone can walk into alt.sex and post that pornography should be banned. Anyone can walk into rec.sport.baseball and say "baseball sucks". It takes unbelievable skill and discipline to cause a PROLONGED flame war. That is what we do. But it can only be done with talent, and numbers to match that talent. We only bring into the fold people who have the knack to use smarts to incite chaos, not stupidity to incite being ignored when people see a post and know what you're up to. To keep things running smoothly, Antebi is our 'moderator'. jpdavid was responsible for creating the mailing-list and setting up the initial newsgroup. Everyone is equal in suggesting and voting on invasion sites and other basic day-to-day workings of the group. Everyone here gains or loses merit only in the invasion arena. * Waves of Invasion * Flames and wars between groups are as old as Usenet. What we try to do is in many ways fundamentally different from what is or has been done in this area. After picking a site, we call for an invasion on that site. There are a number of phases to an invasion. Each person can volunteer for which wave they want to be in, but more times than not, it is a first come- first served policy. It is always important that no one jump the gun and go in before we have time to prepare and bounce ideas off each other. It's also important that people don't switch waves without letting everyone know. Flexibility is the key, as is communication. Typically, we use between two and five Waves of attack. Waves will generally break down into this kind of structure: a: Reconnaissance (RECON): These people will go in early and usually set up camp as "friends of the newsgroup". They will become trusted and participate by joining previous discussions or starting non- controversial ones themselves. They will also act as "double-agents" to counter-flame the other waves as the invasion progresses. They key is building a bit of credibility. b: Wave One: Wave one will usually be what starts the flame war. Those involved in this wave can go on and each have a different flame, or go on and flame in unison. They can bring in a subject of their own or flame a previous discussion. What matters is that this initial wave will be the one that the invaded newsgroup will have their attention on. This wave calls for extreme subtlety. The quality of the flame MUST be at its highest point here. c: Wave Two: Wave Two will consist of tactics to attack the people who were sent in as recon and attempt to start totally new flame threads. The key here is that even if we attack a group of people restrained enough to resist our flame-bait, wave two will stir things up and get others to join in. d: Wave Three: Wave three will generally change depending on the campaign, but will generally be added to push the confusion and chaos over the top. Flame the recon, flame the first wave, flame the second wave. These guys are our balls out, rude SOB's. Mop up and clean out. Sometimes (usually with bigger groups) Wave three will simply be along the lines of a wave two. We will call for a wave four (or five) to be the balls out routine. We will sometimes add a wave or two because depending on the size and intelligence of a newsgroup. Miscellaneous Tactics: There are three other things that we typically use, depending on the sophistication of the invasion. LOOSE CANNONS are people who come in and act so strange and obtuse that it makes the rest of the flames look genuine. THE ANON SERVICE can be used to send posts anonymously. This is a good way to post and pretend to be scared of retribution. Only problem is that this is usually the first sign that a post is a flame, so it should only be used with a TREMENDOUS amount of DISCRETION. CROSS POSTING is also a popular method of choice by other flame groups, so it is important to Cross Post with discretion. If we can cross post to bring in other newsgroups to unwittingly assist us, perfect. If we cross post to suspicious newsgroups, our intentions will be obvious. * Victory * Ideally, signs of victory are the following: o Our names appear in killfiles o Majority or ALL threads in invaded newsgroup were started by us o Regulars/legit people abandon invaded newsgroup o Receive much hate mail - as does our SysAdmin o To be reprimanded by the glorious SysAdmin * Notes * Most important is the need to be SUBTLE when it is required. One misplaced post can ruin it for the rest of us. Those of you who have participated in widespread flame wars know the feeling of having a newsgroup going for a long time, then someone posts an obvious flame or something so far out of context, that everyone says to just ignore the flames, which eventually includes all of us. Blowing a flame war will occasionally happen, but if it could have been avoided with a little thinking, then it's not as excusable. We've got to share duties. Everyone should get practice playing different roles and different waves. It has been assumed that if you don't want to participate, fine. No one will hold it against you. What is expected is that if you don't want to participate you don't have to, but that also means that you wont go warning that newsgroup when an invasion happens. You will close your eyes and turn a blind eye. NO NEWSGROUP IS OFF LIMITS!!!!!! Another thing many people seem to be talking about are SIGS AND NAMES. Try to take on appropriate names. If you are on alt.rap, D.J. Trouble is not going to stir things up...if you show up on soc.culture.physics with that name, you're caught before your first word of text. If a Sig is going to blow your cover, lose it. Official Kudos: - under construction - ------------------------------------------- ALT.SYNTAX.TACTICAL: The FAQ v. 0.98 ------------------------------------------- Table of Contents: A> Introduction to alt.syntax.tactical B> Questions Frequently Asked 00> What is tactical syntax? 01> What do those long words mean? 02> What do you get when you put those words into an alt newsgroup? 03> Why is tactical syntax important to us? 04> What kinds of topics will be discussed on a.s.t? 05> Have certain ethnic groups or women as a gender been biased by syntactical tactics? 06> What languages make the best and worst use of syntax? 07> What are some of the hidden secrets of syntax? 08> How and why has syntax changed over the years? 09> Can studing[sic] other types of languages (sign, Braille, etc.) help us understand our own tactical syntax? 10> In case of emergency, who should we contact? 11> What other newsgroups might I find interesting? 12> Who is out to get us? 13> Who is an a.s.t approved author? 14> What is the Tertiary Syntactical Cycle? 15> Is there any Television syntax? 16> Who is the current caretaker of the newsgroup? C> Summary ------------------------------------------- A> Introduction to alt.syntax.tactical Welcome to the FAQ for alt.syntax.tactical. It was founded for the purpose of offering an oasis to those seeking intensive and concrete forum to discuss issues surrounding the mystique of "tactical syntax" or "strategic sentencing". We also like to play with 'magick' and the intrinsic tactical-syntax needed to sucker the post-D&D crowd. ------------------------------------------- B> Frequently asked questions 0> What is tactical syntax? It is structure, and structure is meaning. That is the point of this newsgroup. Part of the tactics is to steal language back from the academics who would have us believe that the real meaning of language can only be found in areas which can be understood only by them, not by "the rest of us". 1> What do those long words mean? tactical = An expedient for achieving an end. The science of using strategy to gain military objectives. Skillful maneuvering to achieve a goal. syntax = The way in which words are put together to form sentences, clauses and phrases. 2> What do you get when you put those words into an alt newsgroup? Alt.syntax.tactical is dedicated to serving those who are both attracted to and repulsed by the myriad of options regarding the structure, logistics, ethics and morality of sentences/clauses/phrases. This group will NOT debate grammar in it's intrinsic form, nor debate the correct and incorrect forms of spelling. Words, isolated. mean nothing to us. Words, tactfully arranged, mean everything. alt.syntax.tactical will attempt to present itself as a forum for those searching for better ways to communicate through utilizing the ultimate good deeds of others through both debate and causal/friendly suggestion. Alt.syntax.tactical should function as a freeform information branch to get a better grasp of how and why syntax makes an impact on not just our own lives, but the lives of our nuclear families and human civilization as well. 3> Why is tactical syntax important to us? The great debate of our century has been how the great personalities of our time have worked their communicative "magic". One might ask if the British would have survived without the brilliant syntax of Winston Churchill. Or one might ask is the Nazi's would have even been given a blinking chance to create the Third Reich without the brilliant, albeit malevolent, syntax of Adolf Hitler. What makes good syntax? We find that the more tactical the syntax is the better that syntax is. To understand the importance of syntax in the Modern, flame Postmodern and Macromoderno age, it is essential to acknowledge the contribution of semantics and language mechanics. We must understand the contrived and manipulative effects of social/political/interpersonal propaganda. Can syntax help you get a discount when purchasing items in a retail store? Can syntax make or break an international peace treaty? What is the subjective bias of syntax relative to the teeming population of mass humanity and objective reality. 4> What kinds of topics will be discussed on a.s.t? * The Psychology of Syntax. * Verbal and Non-Verbal gestures and their effect on Syntax. * Syntax under the manipulative effect of hypnosis. * Dyslexia/Schizophrenia and Syntax * Syntax under the effects of drugs and alcohol * The Syntax of Slang * Situational Syntax * The History and Development of North American Syntax * Sex, Syntax and the 90's * Violence and the Syntax dialectic * Syntax and propaganda in Cold War Russia 5> Have certain ethnic groups or women as a gender been biased by syntactical tactics? Yes. Within the Specific and General domains of syntax, language and diction have been used by various factions of meta-institutions to support the downsizing and exploitation of women and members of ethnic groups. 6> What languages make the best and worst use of syntax? Typically, languages with larger vocabularies (Romance) lend themselves to more tactical approaches to diction than languages with smaller vocabularies (i.e. Serubian). 7> What are some of the hidden secrets of syntax? Join the Newsgroup and find out. We will tell you. Hint: It has nothing to do with dolphin squeaks. 8> How and why has syntax changed over the years? As fluid as a river in the desert, syntax has flowed with change. Change is a natural evolution from the sea to the trees, the question is not so much how and why, but when and how. 9> Can studing other types of languages (sign, Braille, etc.) help us understand our own tactical syntax? Of course it can. But for the most part, we only care about English. Although, we would like to learn to swear in other languages. Look out for the alt.syntax.tactical 'Insulting Foreigners' FAQ coming to a.s.t soon! 10> In case of emergency, who should we contact? Please post your problem first, but in case of emergency, you can e- mail to VICE-PRESIDENT@WHITEHOUSE.GOV 11> What other newsgroups might I find interesting? Other a.s.t recommended newsgroups include: alt.nuke.the.usa alt.forgery comp.sys.amiga.advocacy alt.fan.warlord alt.spelling alt.sex.bestiality 12> Who is out to get us? The professionals who want to reduce language to: (1) semantics (that is, little tiny bits which can only be studied with an electron microscope), or (2) "deep" structures which can only be studied by psycho-bio-physio- neurochemists 13> Who is an a.s.t approved author? Thomas Hardy - In the examination of the uses of Syntactical Fiction as a means to brainwash an unyielding public, one of the nineteenth century authors who best personifies this effort is Thomas Hardy, specifically in his novel, "The Mayor of Casterbridge" in which he presents moral dilemmas at an astounding rate and everything runs in intense cycles of threes. There is not a single aspect of the book that does not contain this Tertiary Syntactical Cycle<TSC>. 14> What is the Tertiary Syntactical Cycle? TSC is probably the most powerful and oft used tactic in the attack on unsuspecting minds. Take comedians: All comics tell a joke a maximum of three times. The will get a bigger and better laugh the second and third telling. No competent comic will say a joke a fourth time. This is a violation of TSC and is not to be tolerated. TSC is also the reason that Hollywood produces Trilogies. The Lord of the Rings is perfect in its trimetry. There is a purpose behind TSC and we must all see and use this tactic as a matter of common rule and not as an optional choice. We have no Optional Choices! 15> Is there any television syntax? That to which you refer actually has its basis in the code written circa 1938 by Dr. Y. Cournoyer of McGill University. In the preface to the Canadian Royal Syntactical Performance Methodology Code, Dr. Cournoyer states, "Subversion through the syntactical methodology of oratological mind control must be closely supervised and regulated. Patterns of words transmitted non-personally can have a tremendous impact on a man's [sic] panic centers" The good doctor had studied this effect of radio broadcasts among small populations in northern New Brunswick, and, luckily for us, had anticipated the mass visual medium of television. The code, first adopted by the CRTC and followed by the American FCC, prohibits the broadcast of certain syllabic and phonemic patterns, and sets a syntax standard adopted all over God's Green Earth. 16> Who is the current caretaker? We let Teagi keep the group alive, and promote distribution. If your site doesn't carry it, let them know you want it! C> Again, welcome to alt.syntax.tactical. We hope you join us in our discussions and learn. please use the knowledge acquired for good, not evil. ------------------------------------------------------------------ Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards for they are subtle and quick to anger. Ken Hollis - Gandalf The White - gandalf@digital.net - O- TINLC WWW Page - http://gandalf.home.digital.net/ Trace E-Mail forgery - http://gandalf.home.digital.net/spamfaq.html Trolls crossposts - http://gandalf.home.digital.net/trollfaq.html