(Sarah Hartwell)

The Me-Tooer
Define themselves by agreeing to postings. Whatever it is, they want a copy too, or it's happened to them. They are the yes-men of the newsgroup, agreeing enthusiastically with other people. Deprived of something to agree with, they simply lurk. They were probably the kids who were last to be picked for a team during games lessons and they just want to be liked.
Style: Me too!

The Agony Auntie
Always the first to offer advice on relationship problems, technical problems, pop psychology and tropical fish breeding. Agony Auntie, Mother Hen and Technical Advisor to the rest of the newsgroup whether they want it or not. Just wants to help people solve their own problems and always has a wealth of anecdotes, book-knowledge and -more rarely - actual experience to draw on. A basic pain-in-the-butt know it all.
Style: A had a friend who went through much the same thing... One thing you might try is According to <name-drop> the best solution is to .

The Charter Quoter
They are frustrated law enforcement officers (probably had their application for the police force rejected because of flat feet or bad eyesight) who try to make up for that real-life frustration by laying down the law on the newsgroup (where no-one can see their flat feet or their squint). They will quote the charter/acceptable usage policy (AUP) at every infraction, however minor e.g. missing full-stop at end of sentence, top-quoting vs bottom-quoting, too much or too little whitespace between quote and reply. Whatever it is, they'll find a reason to quote you paragraph X, subsection Y, clause Z .
Style: You have contravened the charter. Read the AUP!

The Style Expert
Never contributes worthwhile material or comments, but will provide critique on other contributors' style. In real life they probably wear nylon shirts and beige trousers. In their not so humble opinions, they are the only ones who practice good style and they make no allowances for other people have other preferences.
Style: Please quote properly! You haven't quoted properly, again! Wow, I've never seen such a brilliant example of bad quoting. Please set your line-wrap to 77 characters as 78 characters doesn't work on <antique newsreader software>.

The Flame Thrower
It doesn't matter what the topic is, the flame thrower will find a reason to take issue with it. Often the Flame Thrower will have a grudge against another newsgroup participant and will post negative responses to everything the person posts, whether or not the Flame Thrower has a genuine opinion on the topic. The Flame Thrower is the newsgroup equivalent of a playground bully and often inhabits the killfiles of other newsgroup subscribers. Best ignored or killfiled as they don't actually notice that no-one takes any notice of them.
Style: Depends on what he's flaming at, but uncomplimentary and can include recommendations that the original poster commit suicide or find another newsgroup to play on or isn't entitled to have an opinion at all.

The Flamewar Starter
Insidious little beasts who spout marginally controversial views, graduating to more extreme comments as more and more people begin to take sides. Unlike the Flame Thrower, they don't like being ignored. Their ambition in life is to start a flamewar as great as the great "Pro/Anti-something-or-other debate" of 1997, which is still rumbling away on five or six separate newsgroups and spawned a host of Pro and Anti websites to boot. Often starts up by selectively quoting from other posts or from a recent news story. Then they sit back and watch the war begin, occasionally posting a little more flamewar fuel when the argument seems to be dying down. Sophisticated Flamewar Starters use anonymous remailers, crosspost to several groups and use subjects such as "Smoking Kills - Are Cats Lesbian?".
Style: Personally I don't see what the anti-cruelty bleeding-heart liberals are going on about, I don't find anything wrong with bear-baiting and cockfighting.

The Troll
The Troll exists purely to post controversial items and then sit back and watch the fun. The more people who 'bite' the bait the better. A full-blown flame-war across multiple newsgroups is better. Unlike the Flamewar Starter, trolls rarely join in. They just like winding people up and seeing how many people swallow the bait hook, line and sinker. There's a saying on newsgroups: YAATAICM5P "You Are A Troll And I Claim My Five Pounds" to challenge someone who is obviously trolling the group. A good troll builds up to things. A good troll lurks to see what topics rattle people's cages.
Style (subtle): Help, my ex-girlfriend keeps on phoning me to say she still wants to be friends - what should I do? followed a week later by Help, my ex-girlfriend keeps on phoning me to tell me she hates me - what do I do? By about the third message people realise it's either a troll or an incredibly thick person.
Style (blatant): I read a recent report which proves that women are more stupid than men because they've got less wrinkles in their brain.

The Cross-Poster
The Cross-Poster is a subscriber to the grand unifying theory of everything and wants to involve as many newsgroups as possible on his chosen subject. Hence home computer users will find themselves debating cat-ownership with cookery enthusiasts, sci-fi fans and naval munitions experts with the messages cluttering up all of the newsgroups involved. Some Cross-posters are Trolls or Flamewar Starters; others just want to see how many newsgroups they can cross-link before folks get tired of it all - it's a big experiment in communications with minimal malice involved.
Style: Cat-Owning Military Software Engineer wants Man-Friendly Recipe with Cat/Sci-Fi Theme (sent to newsgroups for cats, cookery, software, military and anywhere else it can vaguely be linked to)

The Cuttings Service
Doesn't post own opinions - just news cuttings or humour or other articles he picked up elsewhere on the web. Thinks he is providing a valuable service to the group and doesn't notice that no-one responds to his postings. Not the same as the subscriber who posts a relevant cutting or URL in response to a request for information or as relevant information in an ongoing thread.
Style: I found this article about the migration pattern of the greater striated warbling toad on a news site; thought it might interest a few people here.

The Advertiser
The newsgroups are just a big noticeboard for advertising everything from spare parts for 1989 VW Polo through to "Girlfriend Needed!". He even posts to newsgroups which ban adverts and then posts a "whoops sorry wrong group" message. Doesn't contribute to a thread unless he can add " and BTW, I have some of those that I'm trying to sell - anyone interested?" or "I'm looking for a few of those, anyone care to sell?"
Style: Newspaper small lineage advertisement

The Knee-Jerk Reactionary
The Knee-Jerk Reactionary doesn't actually have time to properly read what other people write. He just sees certain keywords and starts flaming. Whatever your view, he can disagree with it violently, often for the sake of having something to fly off the handle about. His responses are so Pavlovian that others can elicit a knee-jerk reaction by using known keywords or topics e.g. capital punishment, sending anyone of a different colour "back home" and "women should know their place and be grateful to be kept in it". It would greatly help the Knee-Jerk reactionary if people didn't post messages that can't be answered by knee-jerk reactions, and at no time should they post messages that contain humour without attaching a smiley.

Style: Pavlovian and easy to flamebait, the operative word is "jerk".

The Prolific Poster
This user often falls into one of the other categories - most usually a Prolific Looney or a Prolific Knee-Jerk Reactionary. Users are reminded that he is unable to take the time to fully understand the posts he reads due to the pressures imposed by his wish to be the most prolific poster each week. If he had to actually think about what he read and post a considered reply this would greatly increase the time he had to spend on each message, thus lowering his total. Each week he strives for a new personal best and aims to contribute as many postings single-handedly as everyone else's postings added together. Rather than present a considered response, he aims to batter his opponents into submission through sheer volume.
Style: Has an opinion on anything and everything, regardless of any knowledge on the topic - never mind the quality, feel the volume!

The Looney
The true Looney uses newsgroups to have fun. His replies bear little relation to whatever he was replying to or even to real life. They are the newsgroup equivalent of sneezing powder - irritating but rarely malicious. Even he doesn't believe the content of what he is posting. A Looney may exhibit some sort of obsession. The answer to "What Pentium processor do I need" is "A Penguin!" to which other resident Looneys jump in with "ITYM crow!". Looneys may go through phases when they adopt an alternate persona.
Style: "The world is rotated by a ghost called Gilbert." "ITYM Boris the turnip who used to be Gilbert's best friend until Gilbert tried to roast him." "I think you'll find that Boris was a Penguin!"

The Foaming Loon
Not to be confused with the amiable Looney, the Foaming Loon inhabits an alternate reality and is hence "differently clued" than the rest of us. Foaming Loons start with a bizarre theory and spout "facts" which have no basis in this reality then berate others for their ignorance. For other Foaming Loons, it (whatever "it" is) is a conspiracy or cover-up, but they know the truth. When it gets hard to tell the difference between a Troll and a Loon, remember this - the Loon actually believes what he is writing. If you see the call "Pass me the Number 3 Loon-Mallet" or "Here, borrow my Clue-Stick", you know there's a Loon on the loose ....
Style: "The Government maintains a fleet of battle-ready versions of Concorde armed with Cruise Missiles." " It's easy to put stealth technology on a Vulcan flying below radar altitude" (in spite of the Vulcan being large enough to cause an eclipse of the sun and loud enough to burst eardrums) ...and then threatening respondents with a slander case when they put him right!

The Hijacker and The Stalker
The Hijacker takes over existing threads and un-subtly diverts them to his own pet topic. Do not expect a Hijacker to change the subject line. If you find yourself suddenly discussing whisky in a thread on "land valuation tax", you may have been Hijacked. There may be no link between the original topic and the Hijacker's topic except for being written in the same alphabet. Close kin to the Hijacker, the Stalker simply aims to mention his pet topic in every thread he posts to, without subverting the thread. Though he may end up subverting the thread, his real aim is to see how many times he can mention his obsession in general conversation.
Hijacker Style: "So-and-so used the word 'The'. I take this thread hostage to ask which song contains the lyrics 'Nearer my God to Thee'?"
Stalker Style: "X was writing about an operation on his knees, knees sounds a little like cheese and I had a particularly nice piece of Cheddar last night." "I was thinking about this last night while watching Star Trek; it was the episode where Janeway and Chakotay "

The Old Grudge Holder
The Old Grudge Holder stores posts to use in evidence against people two years later or looks them up on Google Groups (Deja News) so he can score points off of them. Life on the newsgroup is one long grudge match for him. When a well-worn argument comes up, he sends transcripts of the post saying "Back in 1997, this is what you wrote to the group...." With his near-perfect recall of past exchanges, a skilled Old Grudge Holder waits for world events to overtake matters and reprints a 10 year old post saying "I bet you feel silly now!" He will bide his time - be it months or years - to prove someone wrong and will track them down across newsgroups to do so.
Style: " I recall this debate from 1996 when you yourself claimed that ...... " "That is the complete opposite to what you said in 1992"

The Irked IRCer
A malign newbie on the group, the Irked IRCer announces his arrival with claims that he has been slighted on an IRC channel by a newsgroup regular. The grievance, real or fictitious, is aired in front of a new audience resulting in sulks, mud-slinging and schism as accuser and accused slug it out. The Irked IRCer often brings along a bunch of IRC friends or sock puppets as moral support. He aims to embarrass his adversary in public and isolate him from his former usenet friends. Irked IRCers tend to be paranoid, obsessive and downright disturbed ... or trolls.
Style: "So-and-so is untrustworthy and revealed my private details on IRC!" "So-and-so deliberately humiliated me on IRC" "If you wonder why such-and-such chat-room is closed, you can blame so-and-so from this newsgroup."

 This list is not exhaustive!!


(Sarah Hartwell)

The following species of newsgroup user have been communicated to me. Contributors include Mike Moore (Verbatim Quoting man, Kaptain Kontext-Away), Doug Smith (Cloo Pigeon), Andy WHitelaw (Righteous Defender), Damian M (Cloo-Less New-Bee), Rob Ridley (Hole Digger).

The Pop-Up Poster
The Pop-Up Poster wanders aimlessly around Google Groups looking for an interesting thread, pops up and posts a few times to the thread and then wanders off to pop-up elsewhere. An enigmatic Usenet nomad, his contributions range from tangentially relevant through to divine enlightenment. The ideal Pop-Up Poster is civil, polite and well-informed. Unlike the URL-dropper (a sub-species of the Pop-Up-Poster) he isn't there to simply advertise himself. He just likes to join in a discussion and then move on, like a guest at a cocktail party. Other Pop-Up Posters are vagrant Preachers, Loons or Wackos pursuing a migratory path around Usenet having been cold-shouldered on the newsgroups they once called home.
Style: Polite: "Hi - I was actually looking for something else entirely on Google Groups when I found your query about peanut butter - I like peanut butter." "Sorry, I'm not a regular here, but I'm looking for information on heat-resistant enamel paints." Flame: "I say string the lot of them up!"

The Parochial Poster
For the Parochial Poster, the world begins and ends at their own national boundaries. Anything beyond those borders either doesn't exist or has no right to exist therefore all judgements are based on the Parochial Poster's locality. Most have only the vaguest notion of geography, foreign politics or world history and have an inflated opinion of their own country's importance relative to the rest of the world. Not so much xenophobic as xeno-ignorant, anything foreign is met with disbelief or incomprehension. They remain secure in the belief that their country's policies are the panacea for all world problems - if only other countries could be made to understand that fact.
Style: "You wouldn't have those problems if you did it our way." "Their economy is based on goats."

The Sign-Writer
While some posters have short witticisms in their sig file, the Sign-Writer's 2-line postings are nothing more than a vehicle for his 25 line (minimum) sig file. While adding the minimum possible content to the conversation, he aims to impress the group with his ASCII art, lyrics quotations, inspirational quotes plus the entire text of Midsummer Night's Dream, all rounded off by some obscure systems for encoding his entire life-history in acronyms and mathematical notation. Some Sign-Writers have so many URLs and comments in their sig files that you are certain they are renting out their sigs as advertising billboards or electronic Wayside Pulpits.
Style: Two line posting and 25-line signatures. The ratio of signature to content being at least 4-to-1 in favour of the signature, "C++ AU-/+(ZWB- -)* CKQ ++++/++++"

Verbatim Quoting Man (VQM)
King of the quote-marks, VQM has no concept of snipping. Entire rambling thread conversations are reproduced in their 400 kilobyte entirety (with their signatures!), presumably to give an entire history of VQM's thought processes - or to demonstrate his lack of mastery of the "delete" key.
John Smith wrote
> Fred Bloggs wrote
>> Amy Jones mumbled
>>I disagree entirely with what
:>>John Smith muttered in message
:>>Star trek last night was great!
>> since I thought it was rubbish
{400 more lines quoted by VQM in his posting, but cut here for brevity}
>The Hooded Claw
I quite liked it.

Kaptain Kontext-Away (KKA)
A person of few words, the enigmatic KKA is the diametrically opposed poster to VQM. He snips so much of his posts that his own words become cryptic and mysterious. He leaves his readers little, if any, context. Not only does he conserve bandwidth as though it is water in a desert, he feels that if you need to leave context, your readers obviously aren't paying enough attention. If they have short attention spans and poor memories it's their problem, not his!
Style: In response to a thread asking 5 questions and making one assumption he might snip the entire thread and reply "No thanks, I've already had one."

Monosyllable Man
Untalkative in the extreme, Monosyllable Man can respond to even the longest and best explained treatise with a single phrase, single word or even a single syllable. Economical in the extreme with his own words, and a close relative of Verbatim Quoting Man when quoting others, his contribution may be a grunted "And?" or "So?". While others may express much in few words, Monosyllable Man's contributions are limited to agreement, disagreement, indifference or contempt.
Style: Yeah. So? Eh? And? Your point is? No way. Crap!

Captain Anonymous
The heyday of Captain Anonymous passed with the demise of anonymous remailers. Those who remain camouflage themselves with pseudonyms and multiple email addresses or hide behind a smokescreen of fake Hotmail accounts. A few have genuine reasons to be anonymous, but most simply want a cloak of invisibility from which to lob insults and invective at other users while bouncing back return shots as undeliverable mail.
Style: Most often controversial. Identified mainly because the return address is a fake, often obviously so.

Old Yeller
S/he compensates for lack of substance by excessive volume - Old Yeller likes to SHOUT. While a FEW upper case words provide EMPHASIS, Old Yeller capitalises EVERY third or fourth word, OR EVEN ENTIRE PHRASES to get his limited comprehension of the TOPIC ACROSS. The more PASSIONATE he is in his agreement or disagreement, THE MORE UPPER CASE APPEARS IN HIS POST.

The Cloo Pigeon
Some users evidently don't have a clue about the subject in hand. Others have clues to spare. To help out those who are either differently clued or have spent the last 10 years of their lives in a parallel universe where this world's rules of physics do not apply, the Cloo Pigeon will fly in and clue all over them. To make his point, he may call out "cloo, cloo" as he does so. After all, the differently clued would not recognise a real clue if they were hit with a Number 3 Clue Hammer.
Style: "Cloo! Cloo! Oil floats on water! Cloo!", "Cloo! Cloo! Your DO-WHILE loop will not work. Cloo! There is a misplaced semi-colon causing it to exit prematurely! Cloo!"

The Cloo-Less New-bee
The first larval stage of all the other species and frequent target of the Cloo Pigeon. Pupation times vary and Cloo-less New-bees may pupate on company intranets or internet bulletin boards before migrating to usenet. The Cloo-less New-bee frequently exhibits characteristics of several other species until metamorphosis is complete. He may try to camouflage himself as one of the types, but Cloo Pigeons can still detect him. He falls for an obvious troll, rises to obvious flamebaits and asks questions which are found in the groups FAQ even if it is posted monthly .
Style: None. Hasn't figured out how to snip. Reposts old jokes, double posts and asks "What is a FAQ".

The URL-Dropper
A sub-species of advertiser, the URL-Dropper is a Name-Dropper who likes to drop their own name into a conversation. The URL-Dropper searches Google Groups each day for postings on his specialist subjects - or for mentions of himself or his own works (which are many and varied). If he finds such a post, he drops his own URL into the conversation. Thus the URL-Dropper will pop up at random across usenet, posting responses containing his URL to groups on depression, childcare, hammered dulcimers, ferrets and Finnish cultural events. Advanced URL-Droppers read the preceding threads, incorporate relevant information into his website and then post the URL to the newsgroup. URL-Droppers are motivated by delusions of their own importance, a fear that they will cease to exist if not mentioned regularly or they are having a hit-counter competition with their friends.
Style: "You'll find the original of that on my site at xyz", "You'll find more information on the topic at www.something-or-other".

The Nutter
While intentional Nutters are fair game, we shouldn't make fun of a genuinely ill person who veers between mildly unbalanced and completely absurd. A Nutter has learned the function of "whois" and believes this makes him a hacker (next week he learns "ping" in computer class). He uses Google to find information about people on their own websites; armed with this information he hopes to blackmail them with it. He reaches odd conclusions based on a mixture of fact and fantasy. Many newsgroups tolerate a small Nutter quotient, understanding that there is a fine line between genius and mental illness and that his medication may need fine-tuning.
Style: "The world is ruled by an invisible giant robot penguin who took me to the centre of the hollow Earth to meet Elvis." "I have hacked your website and found out that your family name is Holmes which means you are probably related to Sherlock Holmes and you started up your business with the money he made from writing detective stories."

The Preacher
While stopping just short of ranting, the Preacher turns every thread he participates in into an opportunity to preach his own beliefs to others. Those beliefs may be religious, political, technical or arrant nonsense, but given half a chance and the flimsiest of excuses, the Preacher will haul his soapbox into any discussion and lecture until he realises that his audience has wandered off to a more entertaining thread. Rather than answer questions, he simply continues his sermon, glossing over any inconvenient facts raised by others. Unlike the Prophet, his speeches are based on what he thinks ought to be true rather than on substantiated fact.
Style: "So far you've been 'right' in less than half of any possible thing you were trying to imply." "This is the source of the concern as to what is actually being taught on these courses - if they were willing to learn from the isolationist system ....".

The Prophet
Confuse the Prophet with the Preacher at your peril. The Prophet knows what he is talking about and his words are tablets of stone. He is experienced, widely read, has memorised several dictionaries and most of the ANSI standards set. He may sometimes seem insufferably smug, but he does not substitute bullshit for fact. He commands great respect and people his advice is solicited. Unlike the Preacher, he will answer questions, although he does not suffer fools gladly. He does not need a soapbox - when he speaks, others listen and learn from him. Although prone to both verbosity and repetition to reinforce the lesson, he distinguishes fact from personal prejudice.
Style: "For physiometric data on the range of human lift capabilities as distributed across the adult population check out Def Stan 00-25. You will find that even 52kg is a multi-person lift. For Legal data concerning lifting procedures check out the Factories Act(s) and the Health and Safety at Work Act(s) ..."

The Moral Minority of One
This small but vociferous Moral Minority has issues and by golly he wants his issues to be everyone's issues whether it be firearms, feminism, chauvinism, political (in)correctness, politics, vegetarianism, general moral laxity or all of the above. One moment the newsgroup is discussing relaxational aromatherapy and the next they are being harangued about their blatant consumerism supporting an unethical trade in geranium oil and multinational corporate exploitation of child geranium harvesters due to dead-beat alcoholic vegetarian mothers and rampant homosexuality in the armed forces. The best way to deal with a Moral Minority of One is to feign utter indifference until he takes his cause elsewhere.
Style: ".... firearm-carrying kids of dead-beat alcoholic lesbian mothers ...." ".... rampant homosexuality in the armed forces undermining the country's fighting effectiveness...."

The Righteous Defender
Some posters will take offence at anything they think they can get away with while others are rarely offended. The Righteous Defender takes it upon her/himself to defend the downtrodden and to protect "those who have no voice" despite the fact that "those who have no voice" just want to get on with their lives and don't give a toss that "blackboard" is not politically correct (at least not in the Righteous Defender's country) since it is a simple description of an object which is (a) a board and (b) painted black to contrast with white chalk. The Righteous Defender runs online awareness sessions where they teach previously unoffended people that they should be offended. Righteous Defenders cause, rather than relieve, problems. While supposedly campaigning for the oppressed, they are utterly incapable of taking geographical or national differences into account.
Style: "The jitterbug dance should be banned as it is offensive to those with physical co-ordination problems." "Brain-storming is an offensive word if you have epilepsy." "The term slave is offensive, even though it is referring to a secondary computer hard drive - for certain people it carries a lot of baggage."

The Hole-Digger
Having made a comment and incurred the wrath of others, the Hole-Digger tries to dig himself out, but just digs himself a deeper hole with each posting. Rather than admit defeat, or apologise, the Hole-Digger keeps on posting "What I meant was ..." until he's dug himself into a hole so deep it collapses on top of him. He feels obliged to reply to each criticism of his argument and defending what soon becomes a lost cause.
Style: "The woman who came 2nd in World's Strongest Woman should have come first because she looked more feminine." .... "I know it isn't a beauty pageant, but it would give a better impression of the sport." ...."I'm not saying the one who won it wasn't strongest ...."

I, Robot
Sadly I, Robot probably has a neurological syndrome which underpins his behaviour. In arguments, he points out logical inconsistencies and factual errors. It frustrates him that others ignore those inconsistencies since it unnecessarily prolongs a discussion that, in his mind, is already resolved. He doesn't understand irony, sarcasm, satire, metaphor or many forms of wit or insult. He doesn't understand ambiguity and is out of his depth in discussions about emotions, intuition or quickfire wit. Diplomacy and dishonesty are beyond him. While his postings may irritate people, he is an excellent person to have around on technical discussions so long as you are prepared to overlook his unusual mindset.
Style: "A cretin is a person stunted by thyroid deficiency. My thyroxin level is within normal parameters, therefore I am not a cretin. This makes your statement false, or at least erroneous."

This list is still not exhaustive!!


The following species of newsgroup user have been communicated to me by Messrs S Smith, L Everett, C Jordan & M Jones. Moderator/Admin from CJ Beardsley (who apparently used to be one).

The Collective or Tribal Elders
Most newsgroups have their collectives. Generally peaceful and often undetectable, the members of the resident collective will form a united front against anyone who provokes them, who sows dissent, foment unrest or in some cases against the unwitting soul says the wrong thing. Like a swarm of bees, each individual is not dangerous alone, but en masse they can be lethal. There are those who delight in picking off members individually or turning them against each other. The Ruling Overclass got where they are through virtue, longevity or force of will. They may even be the newsgroup's founders. Their benevolent rulership is tacitly acknowledged by regulars and they reserve the right to intervene - decisively - in petty disputes. In time, others become accepted into the Ruling Overclass. The Tribal Elders embody the collective wisdom of the newsgroup without needing to search Google Groups. Outsiders refer to the Collective as the newsgroup's Cabal.
Style: Just say the wrong thing and if two dozen people flame you and agree with each other, you have found the collective.

The Newsgroup Rebels
Just as a newsgroup has a Collective or Cabal, it will also have its Rebels or non-conformists. A Newsgroup Rebel upsets a peaceable or stalemated newsgroup through politics and verbal fencing which may culminate in full-scale revolt against the status quo and changes to the FAQ and Charter. Newsgroup Rebels may set up rival newsgroups in another hierarchy and recruit defectors or they may drive the Overclass into exile on another newsgroup. Once the revolution has succeeded or been quashed, the Newsgroup Rebel loses interest. At least the Newsgroup Rebel has a cause to champion. The newsgroup's equivalent of a rebel without a cause is the Rebel Without A Clue who gratuitously attacks other posters and quotes religious texts, statutes, statistics or The Learning Channel to cover up his lack of cause. One source he never reads, however, is the newsgroups FAQ or Charter.
Style: Newsgroup Rebel "The world has moved on from there - we need to accept change and adapt; out with old - in with the new!" Rebel Without A Clue "It's all in Genesis. 94.5% of Americans accept it as true and it was passed by Senate last year."

Scaremonger believes all those virus warnings that come round by email. He believes in unmarked helicopters and conspiracy theories. He believes in vanishing hitchhikers and Marcus Neimann cookies chain emails. Not only does he believe in all these urban myths and hoaxes, he believes it is his duty to pass them on. When he runs out of things to pass on, he might make one up to fill the emptiness.
Style: "WARNING! IMPORTANT - READ THIS!", "Please pass it on to all your friends."

Glurgemonger/The Court Jester
Just as Scaremonger believes and passes on every hoax and warning, Glurgemonger passes on all those sickly inspirational stories and chicken-soupy tales to lift the spirit. Meanwhile The Court Jester is determined to share every joke or witticism in his collection, to pass on every joke regardless of how unfunny, inappropriate or inane and to provide edited highlights or links to websites he finds funny. Neither Glurgemonger nor The Court Jester contribute much to discussions - for them discussions are just excuses to post drivel.
Style: Glurgemonger: "I'm so sorry to hear that; perhaps this inspirational tale will help." Joker: "That reminds of this joke about a constipated elephant ...."

Teenage Tantrum
The Teenage Tantrum whines in vague terms about how, like, everything really sucks. He is bored, aimless and has too much free time. Depending on current musical trends, his arguments of the meaningless of life and emptiness of existence, will be suicidal (goth), angry (punk) or allude to drugs, women and fast cars (mainstream rock). Since he's never bothered to read any of the great philosophers, he quotes them secondhand from his vast library of downloaded music and movie files courtesy of Napster and its successors.
Style: "This sucks.... so what ... who cares. " "Scars are all I'm made of, I can't see there's anything left of me."

The Usenet Evangelist
The Usenet Evangelist is area marketing manager for his brand of religion. Alternately condemning others to burn in hell for their sins and promoting the name of his personal saviour (either a recognised deity, grey aliens or the little voices which speak to him) he will quote scripture (or von Daniken) and implore non-believers to mend their ways. If you already belong to another religion, it is the wrong one and you must be converted. He latches on to any thread which mentions religion. He subverts threads which don't. Other users find it amusing to set up two Usenet Evangelists against each other and watch them selectively interpret scripture at each other.
Style: "According to Chapter X, Verse Y of Book Z of the Bible, it's a sin which cannot be tolerated." "Aloysius 1, Chapter 23 tells us we are not condemned to hell for an eternity"

The Mediator
The Mediator is a newsgroup diplomat and arbitration and conciliation service who dives into a flame war and attempts to calm the argument. He might be a frustrated union negotiator or simply want to spread love and peace. He can't work out why the combatants don't welcome his objectivity. If he has his way, they would all sit down round a table and make compromises. He does frequently stop arguments - but only because the flaming factions team up to turn on this interfering busybody.
Style: "Play nice!" "Everyone has their own point of view which is probably just as valid" "We just need to get along and respect each other's point of view"

The Sex Maniac
Regardless of the newsgroup s/he is on, the Sex Maniac tells sexual jokes and turns innocuous conversations to sex through double entendres. S/he latches on to any words with secondary meanings, like Mrs Slocombe's pussy. S/he boasts incessantly of sexual appetites and wholly fictitious feats with probably non-existent partners, while constantly flirting with members of the other sex. S/he fends off rejection or perceived competition by casting aspersions on the other party's sexual habits or orientation. Not to be confused with the mild and harmless newsgroup Flirt who only flirts occasionally with those s/he knows well and whose flirting is incidental to the main topic.
Style: "You're not rubbing me up the wrong way, but I wouldn't mind you rubbing me up the right way. Phooaarrr" "Come again? Or do you need to wait for half an hour like my ex-boyfriend?"

The Psychoanalyst
Irritatingly, the Psychoanalyst prefers not to respond to postings, but to theorise on the posters' motivations, psychological problems and childhood traumas. Rather than discuss the matter in hand, he will attribute participant's viewpoints to their various insecurities. The newsgroup is one vast social experiment. He may genuinely be more interested in what makes the other newsgroup participants tick - or he may just want to wind people up. Unlike the Agony Auntie, he doesn't offer advice, though he may throw in a carefully calculated comment to see if it elicits his predicted responses.
Style: "You are vehemently opposed to neutering your cat even though it is the responsible thing to do; generally this traces to the owner's own castration anxiety or to taking vicarious pleasure in his cat's sexual conquests - in effect he is transferring his own, possibly inadequate or frustrated, sex drive onto his cat. It is the classical Freudian theory that men who do not themselves succeed will pressurise their sons into become successful in the same field."

The Brick Wall
Gets his name because arguing with him is like, er, talking to a brick wall - he simply refuses to acknowledge any arguments or points of view he doesn't personally agree with. He stonewalls by repeating the same argument over and over. However much anybody tries to reason with him, taunt him, educate him or have fun at his expense he bulldozes his way along his predetermined course and refuses to be deflected. Anyone whose point of view he considers more than usually irritating (i.e. who might sow the tiniest seed of doubt in his mind) is consigned to his killfile. It is, however, fun to watch Cloo-less New-Bees repeatedly hurl themselves against the Brick Wall.
Style: If it's like talking to a brick wall, you've probably found the brick wall.

The Moderator (or Admin)
The Moderator (sometimes simply known as Admin) is in overall charge of a moderated newsgroup. He is law enforcement, judge and jury to the group. He gets to decide which posts are accepted and which are rejected. Some Moderators vet all posts before letting them appear. Others intervene only to caution or ban unruly newsgroup users and to interpret the Posting Rules. Just invoking his name may be enough to settle a dispute. Usually fair-minded and even-handed, some have been corrupted by absolute power into erratic tyrants, despots and "Moderator From Hell". Moderators and Admins attract entourages of admirers, while those of a more delicate disposition hide under Moderator's skirts when the going gets tough.
Style: "You are in breach of the charter. If you are unfamiliar with the charter please read it at <URL>. I am cancelling the offending posts. If you continue to post offensive material you will be barred from this group." Alternatively, a transgressor's posts just don't get through to the server.

The Survivor
One of life's perpetual victims, the Survivor is sensitive, insecure and alone. The newsgroup is his support framework, social life and surrogate family. This may be fine in the alt.support hierarchy, but sympathy will be lacking elsewhere on usenet. Politically correct in the extreme, expecting harmony and usually disappointed, the hypersensitive Survivor regards minor disagreements as personal attack, abuse or insult and will retaliate to real or imagined insults or become hysterical until someone offers support and sympathy.
Style: "You said acute failure, you used the term cute to show your contempt for women, You wouldn't have said it if I was a man." "Oh woe is me."

Web Mary Whitehouse
Named after the famous British personality who campaigned against all things crude in the media, Web Mary Whitehouse (aka "Disgusted of Usenet") objects to offensive language, crude jokes or blunt references to bodily functions. S/he is offended by any mention of sex (unless it is within marriage, with the lights out and for the purpose of procreation) and will euphemise her way through medical discussions to prevent blushes. Her coy lexicon abounds with twee terms for unmentionable acts and body parts. Any swearing on the part of others will be met with disbelief.
Style: "I know you have trouble 'down below' but do you have to be so crude about it?" "That's disgusting!"

The Political Ideologist
Whether s/he be a conservative thinker, an permissive liberal or a foaming radical, the Political Ideologist is secure in the rightness of his own beliefs. S/he is astonished and angry when others do not understand that his is the true way. When others question his ideology he sees it as dangerous dissent; rather than debate the merits and demerits he simply spouts propaganda. While the radical wants to overturn any system, s/he can rarely think of anything sensible to replace it with.
Style: (conservative), "... the logical and established view - with no need to upset the status quo ....", (liberal) ".. bearing in mind the needs of minority groups in a multicultural environment ...." (radical) " ... Out with the old! In with the new! Off with their heads!..."

The Communicationally Challenged One
Some users have a poor grasp of English, or are unfamiliar with the Roman alphabet, some have a poor grasp of spelling or grammar, some are dyslexic, debilitated, drunk, stoned, medicated or merely incoherent. The Communicationally Challenged One might be all or none of these. He might be a precocious 4 year old whose motor skills have not yet caught up with his intellect or a recovering stroke victim. His posts are ungrammatical, full of typos and littered with capitals and on a monkeys/weeks scale, they could be reproduced by 3 monkeys pressing random keys over a period of 2 weeks. However, buried deep in the mish-mash of butchered English he manages to communicate a message and must be credited for his persistence in the face of Pedants. Some newsgroups are more understanding of his limitations than others. He is sometimes best understood by sounding out his message aloud.
Style: "Oops, HIT CAPd;OCK bu mistKE. Sory." "Pantship Pro. Becasue havig toruble opnign fles. HOw dp I open file on differnet driv?"

The Gossip Columnist
In public, the Gossip Columnist is inoffensive. Behind the scenes, however, s/he is a rumour-monger who emails her sympathisers with gossip ammunition to use against her "foes". S/he likes to dig the dirt on people without getting her own hands dirty. Soon the entire newsgroup will know - by private email - that so-and-so once slept with his own sister or that someone else is being investigated for fraud. Veiled references to the alleged acts will be made, causing mirth among those "in the know", but entirely bewildering everyone else. Occasionally s/he rats on someone in public and others amuse themselves by gradually feeding her misinformation in the hope s/he will make a fool of herself in public.
Style: Insidious and underhand. A Gossip Columnist sometimes trips herself up in public or when too many people attribute a particular rumour to her. (although refered to as "her", Gossip Columnists may be male or female)

The Caveman
The Caveman is an unreconstructed man who has no truck with all this modern "New Age nonsense". If he got his way, homosexuals would be flogged and possibly hanged and tree-hugging greenies would be publicly ridiculed. Women should be kept barefoot and pregnant. Career women are dismissed as hairy-legged lezzie feminists and pacifists should be forcibly drafted into the next convenient war. In spite of his narrow-minded refusal to enter the modern age, if not actually the New Age, the highly predictable Caveman proclaims himself to be the "voice of reason". In reality, he feels his masculinity is threatened by women who don't want to stay home and have his babies and may even be in denial. He vehemently denies that his postings are offensive.
Style: Hang the homos! Bomb the towel-heads! You're a disgrace to the female race! I don't see why I should have to pay my ex-wife support for my child. Bring back two years compulsory National Service.

The Knight
The Knight feels compelled to respond to each and every post made by someone of the feminine gender, believing this to be the usenet equivalent of riding to the aid of a damsel in distress. Unfortunately the damsel is rarely distressed and his attention becomes either irritating (as he has no real content to contribute) or threatening (as it feels like having a stalker). Those who are wise to his strange compulsion sometimes adopt feminine-sounding names and slowly, but surely, build him up to a big fall.
Style: Never mind the content, just look for a name which appears in response to every posting by a female.

The Narcissist
The Narcissist regards the newsgroup as a mirror in which other bathe in his (or her) own reflected glory. All discussion should be about him; those that aren't are ignored as a waste of time; those that are graced by his long posts. However, if discussion strays to other topics for too long, s/he is compelled to re-establish himself as main topic of conversation. S/he tries to impress others by presenting his (often irrelevant) credentials to back up any opinions s/he deigns to voice.
Style: I, I, I, Me, Me, Me

The Egostist
The Egotist will always quote his (or her) credentials to back up his opinion. His PhD in Quantum Mechanics is brought into a discussion on recipes for Chocolate Brownie, his Masters Degree in Astrophysics is used to back up his thoughts on the latest Schwarzenegger or Stallone movie. His contributions are full of highbrow comparisons and fuzzy words like "paradigm". His qualifications and plethora of letters and acronyms are displayed in full in his signature along with the name of any university s/he ever attended a one day management seminar at.
Style: "Shylock the Usurer was plying the only trade open to him; much like a woman who has no option but to prostitute herself; it's a paradigm."

The Dizzy Blonde
Male or female, Dizzy Blonde is the cyber equivalent of a dizzy blonde - or else a very clever wind-up. Dizzy Blonde's postings are full of unintentional double entendres and ambiguities and s/he cannot understand the jokes that ensue. Totally out of touch with both reality and virtual reality, s/he can accidentally cause a full-scale flame war through a single empty-headed comment. While people flame each other and Dizzy Blonde in a newsgroup riot, the oblivious Dizzy Blonde will simply ask if anyone has a recipe for cheesecake.
Style: Impossible to summarise; just look for an exasperating poster whose "blonde moment" lasts their entire cyber lifetime and who discusses daffodils mid flame-war.


Copyright 1997, 2001 Bob McKellar

The following is an attempt to help the members of my favorite news groups, RAM (rec.aviation.military) and SMN (sci.military.naval), understand the various types of contributors. I have not named any names; you know who you are.........

Type G - The Guru
The Guru actually knows a lot of stuff over a fairly broad range of subjects, and may or may not have operational experience. The Guru's posts can be disputed, but cannot be dismissed. Do not argue with a Guru unless you have proper standing within the group. Silly flames directed toward a Guru will draw concentrated counter battery fire from the rest of the group. When provoked, the Guru can mimic the characteristics of other types.

Type B - The Brat
Usually male, the Brat has memorized one or two standard reference works in an area, but has no actual experience. The Brat is like a person who has a collection of pornography but has never had sex. He uses a lot of foul language, although without flair or style, in an effort to be "military". The Brat believes the things he sees on "Wings" are true, and thinks "The Final Countdown" and "Up Periscope" [and "Pearl Harbor" and "U-571"] are documentaries. Brats are viewed as being about 14 years old, but some are much older.

Type Z - The Zealot
The Zealot ferociously defends his own country, warfare specialty, community, gender, political party or ethnic group from the combined attacks of the entire rest of the world. The Zealot has no doubts about his righteous knowledge, and tends to flame anyone who questions the slightest element of his rant. Lacking both the capacity to compromise and the slightest sense of humor, he contributes noise and consumes bandwidth without providing any useful information.

Type H - Mr. Hypothetical
Mr. Hypothetical likes to create nonsensical combinations of nonexistent combatant units and set them upon each other. He can leap temporal, geographical and technological boundaries at a single bound, and considers the actual historical events of the past to be unworthy of his attention. Because his silly ideas are by definition untestable, Mr. Hypothetical never loses an argument.

Type P - Picky-Picky
Picky-Picky thinks the rest of us are vitally interested in the fact that the Mark 5 Mod 14 version of the Block 22 had a framjammitz that was twelve millimeters longer than the Mark 13, at least during leap year at high tide. This is normally not a problem, unless there is another Picky-Picky in the group who will quote the low tide value of 11 millimeters and begin an excruciatingly boring back and forth discussion of the parameters involved. Picky-Pickys like to use terms such as "parameter", which is an old Scottish word meaning "lacking a life".

Type O - The Old Timer
The Old Timer knows that the only truly important aspect of military history is what happened to his unit during the months he was there, whenever that was. If he is a member of that exclusive group of "Them What Has Been Shot At", he is doubly sure of his place in history. He is triply sure that today's soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines are a bunch of whining wimps. It's fun watching today's wimps try to argue with the Old Timer, while they simultaneously honor his service in the past.

Type E - The Expert
The Expert is actively working today as a professional with the subject of the current discussion. He shares many characteristics with the Guru, the Zealot and the Picky-Picky. However, he has the advantage of invoking the "classified" label whenever he starts to lose an argument. "Well, you're wrong, but I can't tell you the details because they're secret."

Type L - The Loon
The Loon is like the Zealot, but even less compromising and much more entertaining. He begins with a bizarre conclusion, usually some conspiracy story, and follows up with "evidence" which has no relevance to reality. Foolishly, the Gurus and Experts try to point out the gaping holes in the story, using technical details and the laws of physics. This of course only encourages the Loon, who is not burdened with any knowledge of the subject at hand. He simply modifies the facts to fit his theory.

Type N - The Newbie
Newbies come in several varieties. Some have relevant real world credentials, but have no concept of the technicalities of operating a news reader. This is forgivable and correctable. Others display their relative ignorance in our little world, but they ask polite and specific questions. This is understandable and laudable, and rarely draws flames. A small number ask stupid questions, then perversely refuse to pay attention to the answers. They then become offended when their little butts get a well deserved flaming. Newbies have a half life of about two weeks, then they transition to another type.

Type I - The Illiterate
Some of us can't type. This is usually graciously overlooked by the group, and can be cured with the use of a speltcheker. For others, English is legitimately a foreign language. Their non-native grammar and syntax is also generally forgiven if the thoughts behind the post are worthwhile. Another group, unfortunately, is like totally dumb and just can't seem to put two ideas together without using words like "awesome" and "cool" and then they just go on and on and throw in dirty words as a substitute for vocabulary and they really don't seem to know how to construct a readable sentence and particularly don't realize that the sentence was over with long ago and really should be put out of its misery even though their poor writing does seem to distract attention from the fact that they also are incapable of producing a single simple rational thought.

Type F - The Flamer
The Flamer has no accurate information to impart and is not even interested in the topics. He usually participates in a large number of often unrelated newsgroups, but his efforts are only directed to insulting other posters. The Flamer thinks that quoting 160 lines of previous posts and then adding "Bwahahabwaha......" and a 60 line sig is the pinnacle of wit and repartee.

Type A - The Acronymist
The Acronymists use excessive combinations of capital letters in their post. Some do it to save typing and because they think everybody knows what they mean. Others do it to impress others with their "inside knowledge". A few just make this crap up.

Type S - The Smartass
I don't know anybody like that.

These categories are not rigid, most folks fit into several of them at various times, depending on the phase of the moon and the topic under discussion. That's why I have assigned the Type Designators, which can easily be combined. For example, a G can easily become a PZE on certain subjects. We often get silly cross posts from ILZ types, we try to attract ON's, and the BNI community is often over represented.


(From Usenet)

The Lurker/Muffin
This person never posts and never replies to other people's posts. They just observe. Some of them pluck up the courage to de-lurk or de-muffin ("de-cloak" if they are on an SF newsgroup) before vanishing back into obscurity.
Style: None. You'd never know s/he was there.

The Vulture or Flamer
Vultures rarely if ever post anything original, but he is always ready and waiting to point out any fault in your post and take you to task over it. Vultures like to pick over the bones of their victims while Flamers like to roast their victims.
Style: "You got the model name wrong! It was the 4Z-33B, not the 5Z-33B. And there is no apostrophe in her's"

The Nit Picker
Never posts but will break down, question and analyse someone else's post until it is no longer funny.
Style: Heuristic questioning along the lines "Did you mean in Australia? Which part of Australia? Which part of Capital Territory? That figure of speech hasn't been current there since 1974, did you mean ...."

The Poacher
Never posts an original item, but will reply to another post with a better or different punch line, stealing the laugh or will pre-empt the original poster's punch-line.
Style: The classic party pooper, but in cyber form.

The Flame Fodder or Flamebait
A Flame Fodder is usually a newbie who asked a lame question, usually in the wrong group. No mercy is shown. Flamebaiters are older hands at the game, every so often they like to rattle the cages of known Flamers or Vultures for the amusement of others.
Style: Clueless, gets flamed and vanishes.

The Troll
Trolls like to post a controversial argument and sit back to watch the feeding frenzy as newbies and flamers rise to the bait; for interest he cross-posts it to multiple groups.
Style: Varies from group to group, but "Recent survey shows that men are more intelligent than women" cross-posted to a feminist group and a male chauvinist group would do the trick.

The Lamer/Luser
The Lamer is utterly predictable. Knowing little about the subject and telling the corniest of jokes to disguise his lack of knowledge and mind-numbing lack of wit, he can bore a newsgroup to death. He is generally regarded as an irritant and ignored otherwise the whole newsgroup risks becoming bogged down in mindless inanity.
Style: Variously boring, corny jokes, irrelevant comments and potty-mouth drivel are typical.

The Sock Puppet
The usenet equivalent of putting a sock on each hand and making them talk to each other, the Sock Puppet adopts different identities which respond to each other's postings. He doesn't have split personality, he just needs to invent people to support or refute his own claims.
Style: Jay: "I agree with Bob", Bob: "I agree with Jay" .... and that's because he is both Bob and Jay and possibly several other people as well.

Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde
Dr Jekyll is polite, helpful and well-behaved and generally falls into one of the other categories. Mr Hyde is obnoxious, insulting and incoherent. Yet they are the same person. A bad day at work, a hangover, hormones or a change in his medication can trigger Mr Hyde to come out of hiding. Just bear with him and wait for the return of his more civilised alter-ego.
Style: Nice poster, nasty poster. That's it really.

The News Cop
Only ever post to tell people they are in the wrong group or to stop spamming etc. Quotes the charter, the FAQ and anything else which sounds vaguely official.
Style: "Your signature contravenes the charter." "You forgot the ob-joke."

The Wacko
A Wacko pops up, posts a message or joke which makes no sense and never posts again. Strange. Perhaps mommy has confiscated his keyboard.
Style: A one-post wonder.

The Spammer
Spammers use newsgroups to advertise their sites or services. They don't content themselves with one or two appropriate newsgroups, they multi-post to at least 10 newsgroup based on a wildcard search of newsgroup names.
Style: "Make $$$ fast", "Spy on your neighbours!" "What your child is doing online." "Help close this site." "Alternative to Viagra"

The Stealth Spammer
More subtle than the Spammer and usually manages to post to appropriate newsgroups. This user post spams that need to be read before you can tell it is spam.
Style: "Last summer my friend was down on his luck and couldn't find a job. I did my best to help him, but <snip fake story> you too could make mega-bucks with this pyramid-selling scheme."

The Hero
This mild-mannered, unassuming and brave person often posts at the mercy of the vultures, nit-pickers and the poachers and wants nothing more than conversation, information or interaction with like-minded people.
Style: "Hey, I went there last vacation too. Did you go up the tower for the panoramic view?"

The Cry-Baby
Cry-Baby wants everyone to "play nice" with him. It is okay for him to poke fun at others, but if others tease or attack him or he loses an argument, he throws a public temper tantrum, spits out his dummy and chucks his toys out of the pram. With any luck this means a threat of "I'll never post here again", although "never" usually means about 2 hours in Cry-Baby terms. Once his tears have dried up and he's stopped yelling, he's back.
Style: "That's it! I've through with your folks. I'm quitting this newsgroup". Two hours later .... "Anybody miss me?"

The Weekend Wonder
Usually a youngster home from college or university who delights in the flood of "new" jokes but who is at a loss about what the long running threads are about. He often ends up as flame fodder.
Style: Prolific and eager to join in, even if out of his depth, for all of a weekend. Then he vanishes for several weeks before coming back with "Did anyone miss me?"

The Regular
The regular has lurked, contributed, flamed and been clueless at various times in his usenet "career". He now knows most of the jokes and "inside" bits; he knows the characters of other Regulars and he likes trading quips with them as amicable sparring partners. Like regulars in a bar, they have their self-allotted roles and viewpoints and enter rambling off-topic discussions without censure from other regulars. Regulars are Often ragged or egged on by the others, thereby providing material for new quips, and fresh amusement. Quite often receives polite "fan mail" from Lurkers and Muffins though, and is polite enough to reply (or at least acknowledge receipt) whenever possible.
Style: Look for banter between those who know each other's strengths and weaknesses and who throw jibes without causing any apparent upset. Then try to step into the banter. If they form a united front and Flame you, you have stumbled upon the Regulars.

The Hero
A positive, constructive contributor who submits original, on-topic comments, links to useful and relevant pages and lists references (citations) where appropriate. He believes usenet should be an educational, egalitarian, worldwide arena for exchanging ideas with intelligent, unprejudiced individuals. He diplomatically chastises those who are disruptive or gratuitously insulting, but is kind and helpful to those with genuine comments or queries.
Style: Well reasoned and courteous with relevant URLs and book references supporting his own opinions.

The Pariah
He is the misfit of the group. The Pariah may bring this on himself by running counter to the newsgroup's prevailing attitudes or he may simply be in the wrong place - a man in a feminist newsgroup. Either way, he remains oblivious to the fact. When he puts his foot in it, he ends up as whipping boy by the rest of the group. When tensions run high in the group, he ends up as whipping boy anyway. In spite of this, he sticks around.
Style: "What did I say?" "Why does everyone here hate me?"

The Diarrhoea Case
Posts 30 or more messages a day, none of them funny or informative. He posts for the sake of seeing his name appear. He values quantity and inanity over quality or conciseness.
Style: Look for a name where the posts are time-stamped at 8 minute intervals.

The Slurper or Sycophant
Insists that the Diarrhoea Case's posts are excellent and laps them up. He is probably the Diarrhoea Case's room-mate at college. Sycophants think everybody else's posts are excellent.
Style: Look for the name which appears after every one of the Diarrhoea Case's post and agrees with everything the former has said.

The Net Nostalgist
Back in the days before the world wide web was born, there was the military Arpanet and the Chaosnet of science and academia (and DEC). The Net Nostalgist has never quite come to terms with the noise and commercialism of the internet. He remembers when those computer spoof Star Trek scripts were new and original and exchanged on "Bulletin Boards". For the most part he turns his back on modern Usenet, but will occasionally appear to remind - or lecture - people about the old days.
Style: "In the old days, we didn't have all this idiot-proof newsreader software; the only people on the bulletin boards were the ones who knew what they were talking about."

The AOL-er
A combination of a Me-Tooer and a Clueless Newbie, based on the fact that AOL is practically foolproof and therefore attracts fools (while experienced users graduate to "real ISPs"). AOL-ers are handicapped by being forced to use the AOL newsreader which can neither cross-post nor properly thread messages. AOL-ers must therefore multi-post messages. This has the dual effect of making them look stupid and incurring the wrath of those who don't understand that AOL cannot cross-post.. The much-maligned AOL-er has now been replaced by the even-more-maligned WebTV-er.
Style: "Me Too", "What's a FAQ?" "How do I snip?"

The WebTV-er
Their TV has a keyboard and by golly they are going to make use of it. Most of them either don't have a shift key, or they haven't discovered it yet, so they post in capitals. While AOL allowed fools onto usenet, WebTV keyboards overcome the natural selection that previously kept damn-fools off usenet.

The Archivist
The Archivist sorts, collates, cross-references and stores every message on the newsgroups he frequents. Unlike the Old Grudge Holder, he is unwilling to put his trust in DejaNews, now Google Groups. Nor does he respect x-no-archive. His archives provide him with future ammunition, a history of the group and enough material to keep teams of researchers happy for months or more.
Style: "Back in 1996, you yourself wrote that ....", "Much as you try to deny it, in 1998 you admitted that ...."



The Cats of Kilkenny
Locked in an eternal bitter argument, the Cats of Kilkenny are the newsgroup equivalent of duellists or feuding families. They can't actually remember how or why their long-standing feud began. Regardless of their actual views, they automatically assume diametrically opposed positions in any discussion, breaking away from the main thread to continue their duel. They have followed each other from newsgroup to newsgroup, hunting each other down across usenet. Interestingly, some Cats of Kilkenny are actually close colleagues in the real world.
Style: There once were to cats of Kilkenny, each thought there was one cat too many, they fought and they fit, they scratched and they bit, till apart from their nails and the tips of their tails, instead of two cats there weren't any.

Howler Monkeys 
Inhabiting specialist newsgroups in which particular issues have been discussed since the very dawn of usenet, Howler Monkeys are quick to spot upstart newcomers who think they know all about the matter in hand. Rather than reviving dead topics, rival bands of Howler Monkeys gang up on the hapless newcomer and scream and throw things until he leaves or lurks. A more polite version of this is the "book-a-chow" and accompanying URL thrown at presumed innocent newcomers in the Snopes Urban Legend Forum.
Style: "We've heard it all before" "Look it up on Google Groups" "Go find another newsgroup to play in" or, more politely, "Book-a-chow" (with link to source material provided).

The Chameleon
The Chameleon swaps identities at will according to his surroundings. While a Sock Puppet has different characters simply for the sake of having someone to talk to, a Chameleon wants to explore what it is like to be someone of a different gender, sexual orientation or ethnicity. Some just want to blend in, others have sinister reasons for adopting a new identity or being an impostor to discredit a rival. Some newsgroup users routinely have multiple identities so they can keep their professional and personal interests separate. How long he keeps up his act depends on how far removed it is from his real self and his skill at bluffing.
Style: Mimics any of the other user classes.

The Battering Ram
The Battering Ram loves an argument, but only if he can win it by wearing down the opposition. Even a trivial disagreement over the weather can be turned into a protracted and mind-numbing argument which outlasts its subject matter. Ill-informed or downright ignorant, he is nevertheless confident that he is right. The Battering Ram repels all boarders by throwing his weight behind his limited arguments and gradually battering others into submission or silence. Some believe that the Battering Ram is Brick Wall on caffeine.
Style: Never mind the quality, look at the frequency of repetition of the same arguments whenever anyone disputes his opinions.

The Cloo Pigeon
Some users evidently don't have a clue about the subject in hand. Others have clues to spare. To help out those who are either differently clued or have spent the last 10 years of their lives in a parallel universe where this world's rules of physics do not apply, the Cloo Pigeon will fly in and clue all over them. To make his point, he may call out "cloo, cloo" as he does so. After all, the differently clued would not recognise a real clue if they were hit with a Number 3 Clue Hammer.
Style: "Cloo! Cloo! Oil floats on water! Cloo!", "Cloo! Cloo! Your DO-WHILE loop will not work. Cloo! There is a misplaced semi-colon causing it to exit prematurely! Cloo!"

The Cloo-Less New-bee
The first larval stage of all the other species and frequent target of the Cloo Pigeon. Pupation times vary and Cloo-less New-bees may pupate on company intranets or internet bulletin boards before migrating to usenet. The Cloo-less New-bee frequently exhibits characteristics of several other species until metamorphosis is complete. He may try to camouflage himself as one of the types, but Cloo Pigeons can still detect him. He falls for an obvious troll, rises to obvious flamebaits and asks questions which are found in the groups FAQ even if it is posted monthly .
Style: None. Hasn't figured out how to snip. Reposts old jokes, double posts and asks "What is a FAQ".

The Rat
This user is a virtual reality version of the real-life love rat. Having feigned romantic interest, he persuades his target to pour out her heart to him. Charming and seemingly sophisticated, he manages to say the right thing. His hobbies include artistic photography of the female nude and reading. Just when she thinks she is ready meet this cyber soulmate, Rat admits that he doesn't drive ... in fact at fourteen he's not old enough to drive. His hobbies would be more accurately described as reading his older brother's mucky magazines and fantasising about getting a woman to drive over and take her clothes off in his bedroom.
Style: "I wish I was old enough for a woman like you."


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