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Subject: Usenet Personals: Advice for Gay Men FAQ (Part II of II)

This article was archived around: 26 May 2006 04:24:17 GMT

All FAQs in Directory: personals/gayfaq
All FAQs posted in: alt.personals, alt.personals.bi, alt.personals.misc, alt.personals.motss
Source: Usenet Version


Archive-name: personals/gayfaq/part2 Posting-Frequency: bi-weekly Last-modified: 1999/09/05 Version: 7 URL: http://www.greatwildwest.net/nssf
THE NOT-SO-STRAIGHT FAQ, Part II of II OTHER GENERAL / MISCELLANEOUS QUESTIONS ======================================= 2.1 Q: Why aren't there separate USENET groups for straight and for gay people, men looking for women, men looking for men, women looking for women, etc.? A: This comes up periodically. Frankly, it strikes me as a fine idea. However, some people are against it, some sites would not carry groups for "members of the same sex" (motss), leaving them with nowhere to post. On the other hand, with the high traffic and multiple cross posts we see in the alt.personals.* groups, it makes lots of sense to separate the categories. Ultimately I'm not sure exactly where I stand, but if you're really interested in seeing something like this happen, write up a proposal and bring it to the alt.config newsgroup for discussion. Arguing about it anywhere else is pointless. 2.2 Q: With the current configuration, how may we make better use of the cluttered space in the alt.personals.* newsgroups? A: For a start, we may include GWM, GAM, G*M or similar abbreviations in the subject lines of our posts. Those looking for straight ads might use a kill file to eliminate these postings from their news reading software. And those looking for gay postings might perform keyword searches across newsgroups. To take it one step further, except in the *.motss groups, we may use the above abbreviations to start the subject lines, for example: GWM ISO GWM ... <blah, blah> or GAM ISO GWM ... <blah, blah> This way, those looking for gay postings may set their news reading software to sort the subject lines alphabetically and display all the subject starting with G's together. Some of you might ask why gay men have to change their posting habits to suit the straights. Well, it doesn't matter how we interpret the statistics, homosexuals are in the minority, and the fact is, this also makes it easier for us to find each other. This is not about politics, this is about how to find a person you want to be with. I believe this is a very reasonable compromise to make it easier for both straight and gay people to share the space in the alt.personals.* newsgroups, and to make it easier for everyone to find what they want and to sort out what they don't want, without anyone having to hide anything. 2.3 Q: Are there any OTHER LOCATIONS to place gay personals on the Internet? A: There are, of course, many World Wide Web based personals services. All I will say is buyer beware. The best place to find a comprehensive list of such services is probably in Yahoo! at http://www.yahoo.com Do a keyword search with the word PERSONALS. Personally, I have had positive experiences with WebPersonals' Manline - http://www.manline.com and Ruralgay - http://www.ruralgay.com (NOTE: Ruralgay is not specifically a personals service, it's a meeting place for rural gay and lesbian folks from around the world.) (The authors do not necessarily endorse any third-party service. The services listed here are provided as a resource to those who might find them useful.) Alternatively, you might want to put up a personal homepage. You can say as much or as little as you want and it won't expire like most personal ads. In some cases, you can remain reasonably anonymous, if that's what you wish. If you decide to build a personal homepage, you can also place personal ads and include the URL (web address) of your homepage in the ads. Most service providers offer web spaces at no extra charge with Internet accounts. There are many resources in the World Wide Web with technical advises and tips on building web pages, do a search with Yahoo! or with other popular search engines. 2.4 Q: Some people keep talking about using "Kill" files to avoid seeing messages you don't like. What the heck is a "Kill" file anyway? A: This really just applies to Usenet, not the Web. It is a feature in some news reading software to filter out unwanted messages. You tell it not to show you articles containing certain words or phrases or posted by certain people. It can be helpful in some places, but until more people start using simple, easily identifiable titles to their personal ads, this will remain a mostly-useless feature for personal ad readers. 2.5 Q: What's the deal with all these messages from "Anon." Mail Addresses? A: Anonymous users. This feature is most common to Usenet, but you do see it in some of the Web services. It allows someone to create messages without having their actual e-mail address on it. Instead they use the anonymous address, and when you write to that anonymous address, it forwards your letter to the person's real address, which you never see unless he decides to tell you. Now, there are several "anonymous name servers" out there that allow people to post on Usenet, or send and receive e-mail anonymously. How this is done is beyond the scope of this FAQ; however, the Remailer List at http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~raph/remailer-list.html could be a good starting point. There are also a number of Web personal services that offer anonymous mail as an option. Those services will have instructions on them for how to use and access that feature. 2.6 Q: Why would anyone post anonymously? Are they weirdos or what? A: Some may be weirdos, but for the most part, they're just people who'd prefer not to be publicly identified at this time. There are several very good reasons for this: 1. You may be uncomfortable letting someone know your real e-mail address until you know more about that person, since it may be possible to track you down this way through Finger, Ph, or whatever. 2. Some people get e-mail addresses from work, and would rather not have their company name affiliated publicly with their personal ads. 3. Some may just be private people who are shy or don't want their friends to know they're using online personals, or that they are gay. Some people seem to think that using an anonymous name server means you want to hide so you can play tricks on people. I must admit, it does seem that a lot of the more rude or dishonest people use anonymous e-mail addresses to hide themselves. But for the most part, there are all kinds of very interesting and worthwhile people, male and female, who use these services. So my advice here is that you may want to be a tad more cautious in approaching an anonymous person, but otherwise, I wouldn't read too much into it. One tip though: DO NOT give your phone number or address to, or agree to meet with, anyone who won't provide you with their own name, address, and phone number. You may want to wait until you've exchanged mail for a while before asking for this information, but you're going to have to have it eventually if the relationship is to get past the e-mail stage. It's okay to be patient if the other person seems shy or wary, but eventually you're going to have to have this information. Don't involve yourself with anyone who insists on maintaining secrecy beyond a reasonable point. 2.7 Q: What about e-mail privacy? A: I'm assuming you are using a personal e-mail account. There are many legal and ethical implications in using your employers' e-mail account for personal messages, and neither Dean Esmay nor myself is qualified to discuss here. It was brought to my attention that certain Internet Service Providers regularly monitor e-mail for security reasons. In any case, open (un-encrypted) communications over the Internet should not be considered secure anyways. You might consider using and encourage others to use PGP(tm) to protect your privacy. Visit the following sites for details: Network Associates, Inc. http://www.pgp.com The International PGP Home Page http://www.pgpi.org My PGP public keys are at http://www.greatwildwest.net/nssf/pgp 2.8 Q: Some person has posted something really rude in response to me, or is picking on me. What do I do? A: There is a certain type of being that's all too common in the online world. I call them "Energy Creatures," a term I first heard from Dean Esmay. Energy Creatures are a bizarre lifeform which grow and feed off of the negative energy generated by others. Energy Creatures' favorite feeding tactic is to try to hurt people's feelings or get them angry. Then they can feed off the pain and anger they've generated. Their second favorite tactic is to hurt one person or group's feelings while gathering the sympathy of others. That way, when the injured party lashes back, others will jump to the Energy Creature's defense. Then the Energy Creature need do nothing except feed off the attention and the negative energy generated by the people fighting. We'll never be completely rid of these noxious beings, but we can do a lot to keep the herds under control by remembering this simple formula: DNFTEC. This stands for Do Not Feed The Energy Creature. If you encounter such a beast, your best bet is usually to say absolutely nothing. No matter how hard it is, sitting on your fingers and posting nothing in response is usually the best bet. Remember, if you fight them, they just get stronger. If you ignore them, eventually they weaken, wither, and go away. This may be hard to remember, but in the long run, that's exactly what you need to do. The temptation to fight back is incredible, but remember, fighting them only makes them stronger. Believe it. Always keep in mind that your goal here is to meet other people, not to feed energy creatures. 2.9 Q: I got some really nasty, crude, rude, or threatening E-Mail. What do I do? A: DNFTEC! DNFTEC! DNFTEC! Some pathetic Energy Creatures don't even have the balls to start fights in public, so they just do it in e-mail. They may say rude, hurtful, or disgusting things just to get your goat. Typical comments might be sexual, bigoted or simply rude and hateful. Ignore all of these. All they're designed to do is get you upset and make you waste time and energy responding. Mind you, if you receive legitimate-sounding threats from someone who you think may actually be able to carry them out, contact your system administrator. Another good thing to do would be to send a copy of the threat to "postmaster" at the domain name of the person who sent you the e-mail (so if you get a letter from "jerkface@someplace.com", you send e-mail to "postmaster@someplace.com"). Another good contact would be the police; threatening people is illegal in many places, and the police might be able to help. Contact any or all of the above and just say, "I've received some threatening e-mail, which I can provide you with a copy of. Please help me figure out what to do." Do this immediately. Otherwise, simply ignore any rude, crude, or harassing mail you get. Responding merely feeds the Energy Creature and makes it grow stronger. Remember this: anyone, male or female, can get mail from Energy Creatures. Really. It's almost certainly nothing special about you, and no piece of e-mail from someone you've never met and who has no chance of ever meeting you is worth spending even one second of your time on. Throw it in the trash and move on. Keep in mind that your goal here is to meet new people, not feed energy creatures. 2.10 Q: Okay, I didn't get any vicious or threatening mail, but I did get something just plain weird. What about that? A: Well there are some very odd people out there, no question about it. There are people out there who are ready to move in with you based on your ad and a couple of e-mails alone, or who just want you to fly across country to suck your toes. Keep a cool distance from such people, but don't freak out about it. The world is full of weirdness (and wouldn't it be boring if it weren't?). Just smile and move on, and keep looking for the right someone for you. 2.11 Q: Anything else you want to tell me? A: Yeah. Once in a while in various personals groups, you'll see discussions start on certain topics that aren't really personal ads. People might discuss their dating experiences or argue the finer points of this, that, or the other thing related to personal ads. This may seem kind of pointless if all you want to do is answer ads, but in my experience, these discussions might be worth it. Dean Esmay has heard from a number of people that they met someone special not by answering an ad, but instead, by replying to something someone said in a discussion in alt.personals. Since the first version of this FAQ, the Internet has changed tremendously. Other than "formal" personals, you can meet people in web based chat rooms, forums, IRC, and possibly other venues of which I'm currently unaware. We live in an exciting era ... Good luck to you all! <> ============================================================================