In a Galaxy, far, far away. In a land of 2,400 baud modems with pterodactyl squarks, where Archie and Gopher prevailed and the World Wide Web was in it’s infancy, IRC was the Facebook Messenger of yesteryear and most Internet traffic flowed over a service called Usenet.
What Was Usenet
Similar to a Bulletin Board System (BBS), Usenet was an Internet based discussion system on the NNTP protocol. However and unlike a BBS, Usenet was distributed computer system without a central server. Usenet servers stored and relayed messages to one another in so called news feeds. Individual users read messages from and posted messages to a local server hosted by a commercial usenet provider, their Internet Service Provider, university, employer, or their own server.
The Dark Side
With no real Moderator or Administrator, news feeds could include innocent discussions such as dinner recipes and sports discussions but on the dark side, trolling, pornographic images, Warez pirate software and snuff movies were common place. Such news feeds were obviously huge in data throughput and censorship would be that of the host provider based on data traffic expense than content.
Public archives of Usenet articles have existed since the early days of Usenet and in 1995 a web based searchable index called Deja News was launched. In 2001, Deja News was acquired by Google and is today promoted as Google Groups. Google Groups hosts an archive of Usenet posts dating back to May 1981. The earliest posts, which date from May 1981 to June 1991, were donated to Google by the University of Western Ontario.
About Those Piss Holes?
Researching Google Groups this evening, I stumbled upon the archives. A quick search for an email address I used in those early says found 11 messages posted by me nearly 25 years ago, in 1994 and 1995.
This is the eldest and just goes to demonstrate that what you write and publish on the Internet can last for years! Maybe this will be a warning to people who post on social media in the public domain. You never know what may come back to haunt you in the future!
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