Usenet groups

From DoomWiki.org

Usenet, the Internet's original distributed discussion system, was the online birth place of the Doom community in 1993, as news about the game's ongoing development created an unprecedented level of hype and enthusiasm in the then-nascent online gaming scene. Several members of id Software, John Romero and Jay Wilbur in particular, often personally posted information and responses to the newsgroups. The Official Doom FAQ started as a collection of such information and related postings on Usenet by avid user Hank Leukart. Another significant record of the groups' culture exists in the form of the FAQ's sister document Doom Insanity, a collection of humorous anecdotes which were also collected by Leukart.

List of groups[edit]

Doom discussion had by necessity begun in the more generic comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.action newsgroup, and after its release in-depth discussion spread to the newly created alt.games.doom group and subsequently into sub-groups. However, even though traffic was high, many Doom players could not access these groups, as propagation of the unofficial alt hierarchy was much lower than of the then-Big 7 newsgroups, and even worse for unofficial groups created without the required discussion in alt.config.

To address these problems, in November 1994 the members of this hierarchy, organized by proponent John Van Essen, voted 378-89 (on average) in favor of the creation of the rec.games.computer.doom hierarchy.[1] This Big-7 hierarchy aimed to foster Doom-related discussions through a better topical organisation with a bigger audience. New players were welcomed with a series of periodic informational postings (PIPs) in addition to the Doom Help Service, and team of volunteers (initially titled 'coordinators') strived to keep a good signal-to-noise ratio.[2] Three of the groups (.announce, .help and .misc) were intended as direct replacements of their a.g.d origins.

From the end of 1994 up until the gradual sunset of Usenet in the early 2000s, these groups served as one of the main forums for online discussion of Doom. Their functions were gradually replaced by websites with forums as the growth of the World Wide Web took stride. After their creation, discussion of Doom became off-topic in the comp.sys.ibm.pc.games hierarchy and could earn a poster scorn.[3] Discussion of Heretic, Hexen and Strife was additionally considered on-topic for the Doom-related groups.

Notable late activities included coordination of the Boom source port's development in 1998, much of which took place via Usenet.

In April 2007, rec.games.computer.doom.announce was removed as there had been no activity since 2000.[4]

Newsgroup Description Creation Coordinators/Moderators
alt.binaries.doom The only acceptable group for posting of WAD files and other DOOM-related binaries. Mar 1994[5]
alt.games.doom Original alt hierarchy group for discussion of Doom. Jan 1994[6]
alt.games.doom.announce alt hierarchy group for Doom-related announcements (moderated). Jul 1994[7] Tony Lezard
alt.games.doom.ii alt hierarchy group for discussion of Doom II (unofficial). Nov 1994[8]
alt.games.doom.newplayers alt hierarchy group for discussion of Doom newbie topics. Apr 1994[9] Ian Mapleson
alt.games.heretic alt hierarchy group for discussion of Heretic (unofficial). Dec 1994[10]
alt.games.hexen alt hierarchy group for discussion of Hexen. Sep 1997[11]
rec.games.computer.doom.announce A moderated newsgroup, used for posting of announcements of WADs, editors, tournaments, and informative documents like FAQs. Nov 1994 Tony Lezard,
Andrew Brennand,
Ty Halderman
rec.games.computer.doom.editing A forum to discuss editing, utilities, level design problems, and other technical topics. Nov 1994 Raphaël Quinet
rec.games.computer.doom.help A forum for asking basic questions about playing Doom. Served as the home newsgroup for the Doom Help Service. Nov 1994 Ian Mapleson
rec.games.computer.doom.misc A group allowing discussion about earlier and later id Software games, ports, and anything not about playing or editing. Similar in purpose to the "Everything Else" forum at the much later Doomworld. Nov 1994 Richard Ward
rec.games.computer.doom.playing A group for discussion of game play tactics and strategies, user-made levels, and deathmatch experiences. Nov 1994 Mike Newton

Controversy[edit]

Having two Doom-oriented hierarchies would keep Doom discussions fragmented, and the alphabetical newsgroup listing was making it harder for new users to find the r.g.c.d hierarchy. During discussion of their creation, removal of the a.g.d hierarchy was stipulated if their traffic had slowed down enough.[12]

Therefore the r.g.c.d moderator and coordinators, proponent John Van Essen, RGCD FAQ author Frans P. de Vries and others [13] actively attempted to persuade a.g.d.* users to migrate to the new groups, even half-jokingly calling themselves the RGCD Steering Committee.[14] That name proved counter-productive in itself and was quickly replaced by RGCD Support Team[15], while the 'coordinator' titles were dropped after October 1995 as well.[16]

Although a fair number of users indeed migrated, others opposed – sometimes quite vocally – and claimed that coordination equaled censorship[17], preferring the anarchy of the alt hierarchy. Months of irregular flame wars and trolling followed, during which the Support Team challenged invitations to migrate back and refuted unfounded claims with facts.[18] The controversy also spawned entirely bogus newsgroups such as a.g.d.roadhouse and r.g.c.d.fascists.

During Summer 1995 a final attempt was made to convince users to migrate[19] and address allegations[20], but a.g.d.* traffic never slowed down enough to warrant their removal as originally planned. After 1996 the RGCD Support Team slowly disbanded but kept posting the PIPs until September 2000.

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. Dippold, Ron "Asbestos" (7 November 1994). "RESULT: rec.games.computer.doom.* groups all pass." gamers.org. Retrieved 5 February 2016.
  2. Van Essen, John (29 November 1994). "Formal Announcement of Discussion Newsgroup Coordinators." gamers.org. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  3. Radzikowski, Marcin (26 October 1994). "Get the Doom talking out of here!!!." comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.action. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  4. The Big-8 Management Board (24 April 2007). "RESULT: rec.games.computer.doom.announce will be removed." news.groups.proposals. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  5. Herron, Kenneth (8 May 1994). "Re: alt.games.doom.wads." alt.config. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  6. Nicolas, Yann (3 January 1994). "Proposal: alt.games.ibmpc.doom." alt.config. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  7. Snodgress, Steve (24 July 1994). "alt.games.doom.announce will be created on Monday, Jul 25." alt.config. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  8. Robinson, Paul (22 November 1994). "Re: there's a doomII group." alt.games.doom. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  9. Mapleson, Ian. "This group has been replaced. The Doom Help Service (DHS) has moved...." alt.games.doom.newplayers. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  10. Servo, Tom (24 December 1994). "How To Create A Newsgroup!." alt.games.doom. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  11. Don (3 July 1998). "alt.games.hexen now on Newsguy/Zippo." alt.games.heretic. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  12. Van Essen, John (30 September 1994). "RFD: rec.games.computer.doom.*, Consequences for alt.games.doom groups." gamers.org. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  13. Barton, Doug (31 December 1994). "The truth about the new groups." alt.games.doom. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  14. Vries, Frans P. de (22 December 1994). "Rec.Games.Computer.Doom FAQ (941222)." gamers.org. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  15. Vries, Frans P. de (13 January 1995). "Rec.Games.Computer.Doom FAQ (95/01/13)." gamers.org. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  16. RGCD Support Team. "POSTING GUIDELINES: R.G.C.Doom.{Help,Misc,Playing,Editing}." gamers.org. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  17. Bushore, Steve (28 December 1994). "Re: THE LIE: Alt.Games.Doom.* is moving ...." alt.games.doom. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  18. Vries, Frans P. de (4 March 1995). "Re: ALT-ernate DOOMin." rec.games.computer.doom.playing. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  19. Quinet, Raphael (19 June 1995). "PLEASE HELP WITH ALT.GAMES.DOOM.*." alt.games.doom. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  20. Quinet, Raphael (14 June 1995). "Re: ALT.GAMES.DOOM ALSO HAS INFORMATION." alt.games.doom. Retrieved 8 February 2016.