Additional Comments

RfCs   Text-design   Plonk and Killfile   Troll   Luser

To clarify some of the topics, some further remarks.


RfC-archives are to be found for example here: Uni-Paderborn, Uni-Köln. The probably most important RfCs for Usenet are RfC822, RfC850 and RfC1036. A view on Netiquette can be found in RfC1855.

Some of the topics described by RfCs are:


When designing the text one should of course look not to make it ridiculous by overdoing it. Who CAPITALISES all the time should remind himself that this is supposed to be SHOUTING - it's not regarded as very friendly.
One should think twice about using multiple characters, expecially exlamation marks!!!!!
To name only one popular quotation:
"Five exclamation marks, the sure sign of an insane mind."
(Terry Pratchett, Reaper Man)

Usage of too many Smilies can destroy the effect, too. Better place some at strategic important places and add an reference to the humoristic or ironic content at the end (a 'SCNR' works fine most times) of the article.
For reference a list of smilies and emoticons.

Plonk and Killfile

A killfile (list to filter articles because of characteristic features) allows to reject articles before receiving them or to delete them directly after receiving. This can be used to sort out 'Spam' (typical features like "$$$" or similar in the subject) or to remove articles by special authors.
The *Plonk* is the addition of an author to the killfile and the notification thereof.

"Plonking, at least the public variant, is discussed controversial.
One opininion is, it is the private decision who reads whom or not. The public announcement of a Plonk would only show the helplessness. Many even refuse to use a killfile.

The others see killfiles as a necessity. There are even publicly available killfiles as example in Usenet and Web.

If one gets many PLONKs and they are not only coming from Newbies or identified Lusers it's a sure sign one has done some things thoroughly wrong. If in one newsgroup many PLONKs are directed to one author, it might be the attempt to get rid of an annoying intruder."


The meaning of Troll varies a bit from hierarchy to hierarchy and perhaps even from newsgroup to newsgroup. There is the well-constructed troll has a satirical quality and is supposed to expose only the clueless.
More often nowadays is the troll stating something offending (e.g. posting in a group{someone} that the {someone} would be a silly idiot with no idea of how to do his job properly and all his fans are even more idiotic.
However, be careful with your judgement, the dividing line between stating an opinion and trolling is not always that easy to draw.

The New Hacker's Dictionary defines:
troll /v.,n./
[From the Usenet group
alt.folklore.urban] To utter a posting on Usenet designed to attract predictable responses or flames. Derives from the phrase "trolling for newbies" which in turn comes from mainstream "trolling", a style of fishing in which one trails bait through a likely spot hoping for a bite. The well-constructed troll is a post that induces lots of newbies and flamers to make themselves look even more clueless than they already do, while subtly conveying to the more savvy and experienced that it is in fact a deliberate troll. If you don't fall for the joke, you get to be in on it.

Some people claim that the troll is properly a narrower category than flame bait, that a troll is categorized by containing some assertion that is wrong but not overtly controversial.

Luser, DAU, Weasel and Elch

These are all synonyms for user who reach various degrees of deliberate stupidity or antisocial behaviour. The terms 'DAU' and 'Elch' originate in german language part of the net (Fidonet, de.-Usenet, at.-Usenet). DAU is now commonly used for a user showing their cluelessness deliberately and who doesn't want to learn or accept advice. An 'Elch' is an even worse version of a DAU, not only being annoying but actually wanting to insult, offend, troll and even cause harm where possible. The name 'Elch' is linked to one person being very effective in being an 'Super-DAU'.

The Jargon File v3.00 defines:
/dow/ [German Fidonet] n. German acronym for Dümmster Anzunehmender User (stupidest imaginable user). From the engineering-slang GAU for Grösster Anzunehmender Unfall, worst foreseeable accident, esp. of a LNG tank farm plant or something with similarly disastrous consequences. In popular German, GAU is used only to refer to worst-case nuclear acidents such as a core meltdown. See cretin, fool, loser and weasel.

n. An unexpectedly bad situation, program, programmer, or person. Someone who habitually loses. (Even winners can lose occasionally.) Someone who knows not and knows not that he knows not. Emphatic forms are `real loser', `total loser', and `complete loser' (but not **`moby loser', which would be a contradiction in terms). See luser.

/loo'zr/ n. A user; esp. one who is also a loser. (luser and loser are pronounced identically.) This word was coined around 1975 at MIT. Under ITS, when you first walked up to a terminal at MIT and typed Control-Z to get the computer's attention, it printed out some status information, including how many people were already using the computer; it might print "14 users", for example. Someone thought it would be a great joke to patch the system to print "14 losers" instead. There ensued a great controversy, as some of the users didn't particularly want to be called losers to their faces every time they used the computer. For a while several hackers struggled covertly, each changing the message behind the back of the others; any time you logged into the computer it was even money whether it would say "users" or "losers". Finally, someone tried the compromise "lusers", and it stuck. Later one of the ITS machines supported `luser' as a request-for-help command. ITS died the death in mid-1990, except as a museum piece; the usage lives on, however, and the term `luser' is often seen in program comments.

n. [Cambridge] A naive user, one who deliberately or accidentally does things that are stupid or ill-advised. Roughly synonymous with loser.

© Copyright 1999 Uwe Milde (with kind support of dcpmn, comments welcome)
   Usage and reproduction of this text only with full attributions.

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