Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Email lists are hell

I am currently subscribed to a very active, very old mailing list that I've been reading, off and on, for many years. Because it's old, and because it's run by an old guy, it still has a lot of old-style conventions. Some, such as requiring subject tags and requiring list members to stay on-topic or take if off-list, make sense, and I approve of them. Others, such as getting snapped into line by the listowner for accidentally replying to an untagged message without adding a tag, are just irritating, and remind me of the reason I unsubscribed from all mailing lists for six months in 1993. But the anticipation of getting one of those messages (the listowner must be out of the office for the afternoon or I'd have one already) reminded me of something I wrote back in 2000, and now I finally have a place to post it! So here you go. It's been updated for 2008.

...oh, and BTW, before anyone gets all "why do you hate children and cats" on me, please note that this is supposed to be funny. Whether or not you find it so, please note that it in no way describes my own feelings about, well, anything.

This is the FAQ for the We Don't Like Windows or Any Other Operating System Except UNIX is Okay As Long As We Don't Have to Pay For It Cat-Hating, Child-Hating Star Trek TNG Mailing List. Please read it and know it well before you decide to post to the list. Be warned that if you post on any of the topics listed here, you'll probably get flamed.

DO NOT post unsubscribe messages to the list. If you do, you will be automatically removed from the list without any other notice.

And now, with no further ado:

The We Don't Like Windows or Any Other Operating System Except UNIX Is Okay As Long As We Don't Have To Pay For It Cat-Hating, Child-Hating Star Trek TNG Mailing List FAQ, v. 2.1.

copyright 2000, 2008 by "Commander Data," listowner

Q: What does FAQ mean?
A: If you don't know, you don't belong here.

Q: What does "flamed" mean?
A: Hello! Didn't you read the answer to number one?

Q: What's the purpose of your list?
A: Our list is a haven for those of us who hate Windows and all other operating systems unless they're UNIX-flavored (Linux is fine!), hate children and cats, and really love Star Trek TNG. Here, we can express ourselves freely and rant about the people who oppress us because we don't subscribe to their narrow worldview.

Q: I have to use NT at work, but I really prefer UNIX.
A: You should get a different job. NT is an inferior network operating system that will never match the elegant simplicity of UNIX.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We hardly ever get this question anymore. Most of the NT users have either gone away or switched to XP or Vista, in which case the answer is the same.

Q: I know, I know, I really do prefer UNIX, I just don't happen to be currently working with it.
A: Then why are you here? If you don't hate Windows, you should find another list that's more appropriate to your beliefs.

Animations - new 003Q: I'm using Mac OSX, which is built on a UNIX kernel. Is that okay?
A: Only if you run it from the terminal window. Also--and we hate to be picky here--but Mac OSX is technically a "UNIX-like" operating system. So really, it doesn't count.

Q: What does TNG mean?
A: If you don't know, you don't belong here. Christ, I HATE newbies!

Q: TNG is okay, but I really prefer Deep Space Nine. I also watch a little Voyager now and then, and it's okay too.
A:We really only discuss TNG here. If you want to talk about those other shows, you should find another list.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This answer applies to Enterprise too.

Q: Does everybody on this list hate Windows and Macintosh, children and cats, and love Star Trek TNG?
A: Of course not! You clearly came here expecting that everybody here would be just like you. That was your first mistake. Everybody here is a unique individual, with our own lives and interests. We just happen to have a mutual hatred of inferior operating systems, sprogs, and grille-bait, and we love Star Trek TNG.

Q: If I like cats but hate all the rest of it, and love Star Trek TNG, can I participate?
A: Well, you can, but I doubt that you'd get much out of it.

Q: I don't like children much, but I don't really hate them either. Can I participate?
A: Okay, but don't be offended when we refer to your pwecious widdle Bratleigh and Snotleigh as crotch fruit, f#@k trophies, doorstops, or car catchers.

Q: Is swearing allowed on the list?
A: Of course. We've used "substitutes" for swearing on this FAQ in order to trick the g@dd@mned Internet filters that try to take away our right to free speech on the Internet.

Q: If you love TNG but hate children and cats, how do you feel about Wesley Crusher and Spot?
A: Please don't mention Wussley on this list. We don't believe that he is Canon. Also do not ask us for the words to "Ode to Spot." They're available via ftp somewhere, but don't ask us where or how to retrieve them. We're not going to hold your hand while you figure out how to use the Internet.

Q: I know this topic has probably come up before, but why did Dr. Crusher leave in the second season?
A: If you don't know, you don't belong here. That's a really stupid question. If you had been watching Star Trek TNG you would know the answer. Also, topics that have come up before aren't really encouraged on this list. You're obviously too new to know that, and should refrain from posting until you've been here a little longer. Newbies, sheesh.

Q: But I've been here for three years, and have never seen that topic come up.
A: That's because those of us who have been around for a while know better. This happens ALL THE TIME. We get some publicity and suddenly all these new people show up and don't know WTF they're doing. Then the stupid sh|ts start sending UNSUBSCIBE messages to the list. IT"S RIGHT THERE IN THE INSTRUCTIONS YOU WERE MAILED WHEN YOU JOINED!!! RTFM STUPID!

Q: WTF does RTFM mean?
A: Oh, you're a real laugh riot.

Q: How long have most of the list members been participating in the list?
A: Glad you asked. Most of us have been here since we were using 300 baud modems. The listowner and the co-moderators started the list when TNG debuted in 1986, on a bulletin board at XEROX PARC.

Q: Um, I'm pretty sure that Star Trek TNG debuted in 1987.
A: Nope.

Q: No, really. Fall of 1987, according to...
A: Do you want me to ask the listowner to unsubscribe you? If you don't stop INSULTING the people on this list, I will. The listowner and I are good friends, and I have a private e-mail from him telling me that he doesn't like what you're saying either.

EDITOR'S NOTE: I realize that IMDB says TNG debuted in 1987. The listowner and I do not consider IMDB an authoritative source, given that it was originally created from user-contributed content. And please don't get us started on Wikipedia.

Q: How do I join the We Don't Like Windows or Any Other Operating System Except UNIX Is Okay As Long as We Don't Have to Pay For It Cat-Hating, Child-Hating Star Trek TNG Mailing List?
A: You can't. We don't really want any new members.

Q: My name is Cherie. I'm 22 years old, 36-22-32. Some people think I look a lot like Marina Sirtis. I'm an art major and specialize in fantasy watercolors, but I'm also interested in astronomy, particle physics, and cooking. I'm new to the Internet, but I'm so happy to have found this list because I really love Star Trek TNG, although Voyager is really my favorite. Neelix is so cute! I also love my Macintosh and want to have a large family and a lot of cats. Will I fit in on the list?
A: Actually, we're really flexible about the whole cats/kids/OS/TNG thing. After all, every voice is a valued contribution. If you need any help "learning the ropes" just post and we'll be happy to help--you'll find we're a friendly group. Welcome to the list!

EDITOR’S NOTE: People who were on the list back in 2000 might remember that Cherie and then-moderator “Mr. Barclay” embarked upon a whirlwind romance that culminated in an on-list engagement, which dissolved a few weeks later when Cherie hooked up with some scary SCA dude at a Creation con in Chicago. Anyhoo, needless to say, Cherie is no longer participating on the list. “Mr. Barclay” still posts sometimes, but under a different name that only a few of us know.

Q: Oh yeah, he’s Commander Data now, isn’t he?
A: No.

Q: No, really, he announced it. It’s in the archives, August 29, 2001.
A: You’re wrong. He’s not Commander Data.

Q: Hey, aren't YOU Commander Data?


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