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This article was posted to the Usenet group alt.hackers in 1995; any technical information is probably outdated.

(17aug93) Welcome to alt.hackers - automated posting.

Article: 7419 of alt.hackers
Newsgroups: alt.hackers,alt.answers
From: (Jef Poskanzer)
Subject: (17aug93) Welcome to alt.hackers - automated posting.
Followup-To: poster
Reply-To: Jef Poskanzer <>
Organization: Paratheo-Anametamystikhood of Eris Esoteric
Date: Sun, 19 Feb 1995 09:11:13 GMT
Expires: Sun, 5 Mar 1995 09:11:13 GMT
Lines: 65
Status: RO

Archive-name: hackers-faq

This message is automatically posted once a week to inform new readers
and remind old readers of what alt.hackers is about.  It was last changed
on 17aug93.  If you don't want to see this posting every week, please
add the subject line to your kill file.  Thank you.

           Jef Poskanzer
                        "...Is this a trick question?"

- - - - - - - - - -

0) What's a hacker?  This is kind of like asking a Zen Buddhist "What is
Zen?", or asking Louis Armstrong "What is jazz?"  There's a
pretty good
attempt at a definition in the jargon file (FTP
systems/gnu/jarg*.txt.gz) / New Hacker's Dictionary (ISBN 0-262-68069-6).
However, one thing is crystal clear: hacking is *not* about breaking
things.  There was a period in the '80s when the media used "hacker"
to mean someone who breaks into computer systems.  They were using
the word incorrectly.  Some people who came of age during that period
believed the media's incorrect definition, applied it to themselves,
and now think they are some sort of glorious outlaw hacker.  These
people are sadly misguided.  Perhaps someday they will figure out what
hacking is really about.  Perhaps reading this newsgroup will help.
Meanwhile, if one of these people attempts to validate his self-image
by posting to this newsgroup using the incorrect meaning of "hacker",
it is probably best to simply ignore him.

1) What's the newsgroup for?  It's for reporting what you have hacked
on lately.  No hack too big or small.  Basically the only rule is that
every posting should have some mention of a hack in it.  Discussion and
requests for assistance are only allowed if you also contribute a
report of something you did.  This one rule is not enforced, but I
encourage everyone to ignore people who violate it, or if you must,
remind them of the rule via email instead of via further inappropriate

To cut down on mindless violations of the rule, the group is
self-moderated - marked as moderated, but with no moderator's address.
Anyone who can figure out how to approve a message is welcome to post.
I'm not going to post the (trivial) instructions for actually doing
it.  Note that there are at least four *different* trivial ways,
so if you try one and it fails don't start whining, start hacking!

2) Do not post test messages.  Do not even post *local* test messages,
since you stand a good chance of being surprised by what your news
system thinks is local.  Posting a test message without a hack is a
guaranteed bozo indicator.  Do you want your introduction to this group
to make you look like a bozo?  If you don't have a hack to post, wait
until you do and then work on posting that.

3) Rutgers.  The netnews administrator at Rutgers has set up a
mail-to-news gateway that defeats the self-moderation of this group.
What's worse, some other netnews admins have set up the Rutgers gateway
as the alt.hackers moderation address.  The result is that at many
sites, you can just post a message to this group without any special
tricks, and naturally most of the messages posted this way are trash.
I have exchanged email with the Rutgers postmaster about this, and he
refuses to change anything, and in fact denies that it's a problem.

Therefore I have started cancelling all alt.hackers messages posted
through Rutgers.  This is not a good solution, but I can't think of
any better ones.  If you can, please write.

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