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*.aquaria Legend


  1. The Trinity (why the *.aquaria three are one)
    by (Dustin Laurence) (24 Sep 1994)

The Trinity (why the *.aquaria three are one)

by (Dustin Laurence)
Date: 24 Sep 1994
Newsgroup: alt.aquaria,sci.aquaria,rec.aquaria

As Oleg suggested, perhaps it is time to re-post the story of why
there are three aquarium groups.  Richard can tell the story and atone
for his sins, as it were.... :-)

This is also archived as part of the reorganization discussion in



----------- (Richard Sexton) writes:

In article <2ol94a$>,
Dustin Lee Laurence <> wrote:
> (Richard Sexton) writes:

>Actually, I agree with you.  However, has it been long enough for this
>to be possible without a greater-than-usual bloodletting?  

The snow has come and gone four times ince the last bloodletting. Sure, thats
long enough.

>As a
>practical matter, I'd suggest that we (you, I just invited myself in)
>need pretty strong support from the regulars here to make it even
>worth discussing in news.groups.  I'd put my money on this being a
>giant, contentious issue even here.

Speaking from experience, it's usualy difficult to get a newsgroup created on
a new subject, but generally less difficult to get one re-organized,
Given that todays newsgroup creation process has people to handle all the
yikky things like collecting votes, and if this group could come up with
a reasonable consensus, it'd go through in a snap. Without consensus from
this group though, I'm not gonna touch it. Been there, done that.

>Oh, and are you willing to put yourself forward on news.groups as the
>required sacrifical lamb?  It kind of appeals to my more masochistic
>impulses, but I don't have the time.  However, if this survives the
>baptism-by-fire I think it will get here, then I would put my name on
>a real proposal as a _co_-proposer if that would help distribute the
>heat more evenly.

I really don't give a shit about the heat. I repeat, if there is consensus
from this group, it'll go through with ease. If not, forget it (for now).
It's not a question of if, it's a question of when. Look at the was
UseNet is growing. Look at the namespace, it's only a matter of time.
The argument I used to offer wagainst this split was "I want to see
everything". Duh. Subscribe to both groups.

>And lastly, I'd say that someone really ought to finally write up the
>history of the Great Aquaria Flamewar before it undergoes radical

It's in Delaney's net.legends FAQ. It wasn't quite accurate so
I updated it and mailed him a copy which he'll update
as soon as he can get around to it. For the purient, here it is:

The Net is full of nasty group creation fights.  I was hoping this
wouldn't turn into one.  Bear with me, it has applicability to this
fracas, while I reminisce about one of my favorites: the aquarium
reorg of 1989. Noticing that there was no newsgroup for tropical
fish wackos, Sexton posted to rec.pets and got 2 responses in 6 months
(one of which was "get those fish out of here") and so proposed
a newsgroup for aquaria. The vote failed by a 10% margin, so Bob
Webber (see above) created alt.aquaria. Some sites didn't (and
still don't) carry the alt hierarchy and the group was up to some
40 postings a day, but was not being propagated to Europe where the
*really good stuff* in aquaria was going on. At around this time a
vote for sci.military was held by Bill Thacker and passed, and Sexton
concluded if killing people is a science then so was keeping tropical fish,
besides, sci.aquaria would make it to Europe. He followed the newsgroup
creation guidelines, but they were unfortunately broken, as the guidelines
said a discussion has to be held for two weeks, and it was, and the
popular opinion wa a zillion to 6 against. However it turns out the
discussion phase was non-binding, so he went ahead and called the vote.
Sexton had a lot of friends and they forged more yes votes than the
detractors forged no votes. Since all the forgers were members of the
old backbone cabal, the forgeries were rather skillfully done and
never detected. Seen by many as a debacle, and as a testiment to the
integrity of Gene Spafford (who took care of these things at the time)
the group was created, although many sites either refused to honor
the newgroup or aliased it to one of the other *.aquaria groups.
Since the vote was at the time the largest in the history of usenet
(938 to 727 in favour) the newsgroup creation rules were changed 
and the 2/3 majority rule was added, among others.

At the time of the sci.aquaria vote, Peter Da Silva was so disgusted
with the whole process, that he held a vote for rec.aquaria, hoping
that sci.aquaria would either fail or not be honored. Rec.aquaria passed
and thus, three aquarium groups exist today.  Alt never dried up the way
it was supposed to and carries about half the ~100 aquarium
postings/day, rec carries the other half.  Some people broadcast their
postings to both alt and rec and occasionally even to sci as well but
the amount of original traffic on sci is, oh, 2 postings a week.
Richard J. Sexton

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