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AOL Sucks Frequently Asked Questions Part 3: Questions/Answers

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*** 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 newsgroup!
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 uncomfortable?
     "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
                             ---America Online's "Note about Content"
If the book editor for "In These Times" read the newsgroup, what
would he say?
    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
                  --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
 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 ridiculous.
You can always attack someone on AOL if you're really angry. 
      No.  "Personal attacks against other members are soundly
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 controlled substances.
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."
About anything?
    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.
That's mean.
        Bite me.  It's fun.

                                                       [End Part III]

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