Feb 15, 1996    RSS Faq of the Week [RSS Archives] (Ariel Mazzarelli)
Feb 24, 1996    RSS Faq of the Week [Ignoring Flames] (Ariel Mazzarelli)
Apr 28, 1997    Practical netiquette lesson (Stig Oppedal)
May  7, 1997    Two verdicts on the "B." case (Stig Oppedal, Marcelo Weinberger)
Apr 15, 1998

From: Ariel Mazzarelli (mazzare@primenet.com)
Subject: RSS Faq of the Week [RSS Archives]
Date: Feb 15, 1996

Today I begin one of my pet features, the faq of the week.
If you've been around this electron maelstrom long enough, you know that faqs
exist. If you are unusually civilized, you have actually taken the bother to
read and assimilate the wisdom contained in such a document at least once in
your etime.

But what about the rest of you, the undoc'd masses?

There is a theory regarding this sort of thing, to which I adhere: all other
things being equal, ignorance is not too good.

Therefore, I would like to share the knowledge acquired via the experience
of reading faqs (I am perverse enough to like them), with a weekly post.
Since today is Thursday, I guess I'll have to remember to do this every
Thursday. However, in all likelihood I'll just do it when I feel like it.

Bonus faq: What does "faq" stand for? Frequently asked questions. It is the
case in every newsgroup that questions are asked and answers are given. Like
bacteria around nutrients, certain questions clump about certain subjects,
and like genetic information, they tend to repeat themselves. The experience
of seeing the same fucking question over and over again turns off many
readers, to the point that some conclude that the notion of a newsgroup is
not worth the bother. In a desperate attempt to cut down on unnecessary
noise, someone takes the time to notice what questions are frequently asked,
and writes them up, as well as their answers. This protosaintly figure then
takes it upon himself to post the resulting information on a regular basis,
so that simultaneously the noise level goes down and the readers of the
newsgroup acquire the information that they desire.

Because I have no intention of becoming so cyclic, I'll not attempt to
maintain nor post a faq file. On the spur of the moment, inspired by random
sensory noise, I shall spark up the neurons and make up a faq and answer it.

So without further adieu, I present you with the


Q: Why is it that my ignorance is so readily exposed with extensively
documented facts?

A: This is a common result of having spent your whole life suckling
information from sources that were paid to tell you what they told you (e.g.
1966). Now futbol is a simple game and a difficult subject. Only in South
America can one readily obtain information about the best futbol on the
planet--if you have not spent a significant amount of time there, you should
consult the RSS archives, and then you too will be armed for your next

From: Ariel Mazzarelli (mazzare@primenet.com)
Subject: RSS Faq of the Week  [Ignoring flames]
Date: Feb 24, 1996
There are all sorts of guesses out there about how many people are actually  
hooked onto the net. There is also a great deal of ambiguity about what that
means--if you only have email, or www, are you really on?

Perhaps someday we will know how many people read RSS. We could probably
count up how many different people post stuff in RSS.

Either way, it is clear that we would get a big number--say, several times  
the number of people that you would consider "polite company".

Hence, this brings us to the eternal bane of the responsible RSS poster, the


Q: If one posts something, and somebody answers the post, am I required to 
answer back?

A: Absolutely not. Let's not forget that (as far as we know) posting on RSS 
is strictly voluntary. In particular, if after your well-thought-out, 
informative, witty post, some idiot wastes your time and ours with an 
incoherent, grammatically-challenged "flame", you may feel the pressure of
the old adage, 

"he who gets in the last word wins".

Of course, if your neurons can parse a sufficiently generous portion of the
global bandwidth, you become aware that said adage is really an affirmation
of a losing proposition. Because idiocy, inanity, prejudice, provincialism,
and obsequiousness are the norm (i.e. "this concept has been brought to you
by XYZcorp, making your world better by treating your head as a toilet and  
charging you for the pleasure"), the task of the responsible RSSer is to at
least chart an uphill trail through the waste of intellectual entropy
(otherwise known as "dumbing down"). By its very nature, entropy will always
have the advantage of numbers, and thus, that of "getting in the last word";
if you think about the logistics of this process, it makes perfect sense,
for it takes much more effort and application to produce some worthwhile
words than to simply belch out a one-line "you suck" followup.

So remember, you need not reply to a flame, and your lack of a reply will
only be interpreted as an acknowledgement of "defeat" by those that are on  
the downward side of the pattern-recognition gradient.

From: Stig Oppedal (stigopp@hepp.uio.no)
Subject: Netiquette lesson using "Re: EC1: Now is the summer of our malcontent" as an example
Date: Mon, 28 Apr 1997

As sure as the next Pele vs. Maradona debate is just around the corner,
every once in a while someone will post tips on netiquette in order to
heighten rss' dismal standards. While I applaud the effort, I fear that
most newbies find such posts too theoretical and simply move on to the
next caps lock flamebait. What is needed, I think, is a more practical

First things first, however: if you don't have a real account, get one. I
understand that aliases and forgeries help to protect befuddled netters 
from themselves, but for the knowledgeable RSSer they're just useless. To
quote from a book on Antiquity: "Didactic poetry requires its author to
identify himself - one does not take advice from an anonymous source." If   
this principle was good enough for the Ancient Greeks, it should be good
enough for us.

Now, let's say you read an article and want to post a follow-up. Great!
The first things you should concentrate on are relevancy and coherency -
stick to the subject at hand, and write clearly. One of rss' more
worthwhile contributors, Massa Sugano, uncharacteristically demonstrates
how things are _not_ to be done in his response to my thoughts on the EC1  
semi-final (eg United created 20+ chances = Borussia sucked defensively):

>Well, this came from a man who filled 70% of the "Best of RSS" with his
>own posts. 

Aside from wondering about what sort of arcane math they teach at
Harvard, the reader is initially left puzzled as to the hitherto unknown
connection between the RSS Archives and the Borussia defense.

To further confuse matters,

> (Admittedly, they were funny.

implies that it actually was a good idea that I saved my old articles.
But, like an obscure pulp fiction novel, the plot takes another 
logic-defying twist when

> But Brolin is one of my favorite players.)

feebly tries to justify the original cheap shot. Such intellectual 
disorder simply won't do in a quality rss post.

Then follows a subtle "revolutionary" snipe

> I don't care how long you've been in this newsgroup,

which should logically build up to a comment relating exclusively to my
rss behavior (eg "I don't care how long you've been in this newsgroup,
you still should write coherently"), but alas,

> let me just tell you that a Norwegian Manchester United fan groping with
> the result after haveing seen your team lose twice in two weeks against
> the same opposition is the saddest of all sights.

leaves the reader looking in vain for the missing link between me being
a Norwegian Manchester United fan and how long I've been on this

[And if being a long-distance fan is OK with the pope, it's OK with me.
Just like His Holiness, who was at the forefront when the Lazio faithful
marched on the club house a few years back, I also support my local team,
the wonderful Strømsgodset from Drammen.]

Then Massa, like Bill Clinton faced with the choice of McDonald's or 
Burger King, agonizes over his true feelings on the matter:

> What makes of me though?  :)
> Well at least I can say that I lived in Italy, though not in Torino.
> What the hell, no one in Torino is a Juve fan, and so what.  (Sounds like
> Man U...) Lots of people down south or up in northern Lombardia support
> Juve.

Waffling and coin-flipping may be the approved methods for world
leaders, but they aren't for knowledgeable RSSers. Try to form a single,
coherent opinion, and stick to the subject. Just where

>(To those English oldies that support teams in Dr. Martaens
>Division: you're crazy if you care more about the 6th league than the
>first 2.)

comes in is anybody's guess.

After getting past these initial obstacles of relevancy and coherency,
the next thing you should worry about is your reading comprehension. For
instance, do you merely move your eyes (lips) when you read or do you
actually _understand_ the contents of a sentence? If you don't, like an
astonishing number of RSSers, then you should refrain from replying. For
example, Harry Luithardt writes,

>If Man U can't beat the Dortmund bench, then why are you complaining
>about them not making it into the final ?

and the reader thinks to himself, "Hmm, I thought the original post was
explicit about this". Perhaps the problem is that some RSSers are so
accustomed to reading caps lock sentences that they're unable to do
without them. For their benefit, I'll readjust some key sentences:



For some this may be too elusive a distinction to grasp, even though
they have probably shared similar feelings at some time. After Black
October I never expected United to get as far, so getting knocked out in
the semis is something I can definitely live with. But for a team like
Dortmund to be in the final, and getting lauded for a "great defensive 
display" in the process... it's meaningless.

Moving on to larger compositional units, you must ask yourself if you can
grasp the main points of a paragraph and of an entire article. If
you can't, then you're in the same boat as Dennis Wayne Rodriguez and
Darko Peric, and you should consider jumping overboard. The latter

>Dortmund did play poorly, but they played defensively because they  
>were two up on aggregate after Ricken's goal. Sorry dildo [<- yes,
>this guy really thinks he's "bad"], but you don't play an attacking
>English style when two up in a very important game such as this.

... to which I can only reply "No duh, Helenio". I detect a caps lock
inclination, so: 


Packing players in your defense doesn't automatically mean that you're  
defensively sound.

Dennis Wayne Rodriguez also adds:
> If Dortmund sucks, what can we say about Manure?  It is time for
> a little enlightenment for Mr. Stig.

What it obviously says is that United failed to convert their chances.
However, I know where my sympathies lie given the choice between a team
who sucked at scoring and a team who just sucked.

In contrast to "Mr. Dennis", Manny Freitas shows how an elegant flame
can be written:

>After losing TWICE against the same team, within a 2 week time, away and
>at home, only a Manchester United supporter would claim that his team is
>still better than the other one :-)

Macho posers, take note: a simple, congenial flame makes a snappy
comeback nigh impossible.

Relevancy, coherency, literacy. Those are the basics. Once they have been
mastered, you should be receptive to the finer points of netiquette, to be
found at:


Thus prepared, you should be able to post a follow-up without
embarrassing yourself.

From: Stig Oppedal (stigopp@hepp.uio.no) 
Subject: Re: Benny, you are a complete wanker!
Date: Wed, 07 May 1997

["Benny", April, 1996:
>Totally agree. I have supported Milan and Ajax (and Italy and Holland) for
>6 years and Barca for just over 4 years and I will ALWAYS support these
>teams, I have been through too much anguish, too much joy, too much
>pain with all of these teams to even consider switch allegiances!

"Benny", April 1997 (re: PSG v Barcelona):
> What a crying shame Whorenaldo didn't score. I hope PSG win but if not, well
> at least Barca should have the misfortune of playing Juve in the European Super
> Cup. 

=> ??]

Benny (Benny@benman.demon.co.uk) replies:
> Eternal loyalty my arse. No Dutchmen, bye, bye Barca.
> [...] 
> As I posted earlier, my support for the clubs was Dutch related and like it's
> a big deal that I suddenly hate Barca. [...]

How many times does this have to be repeated before you finally

If you had originally said that you don't support clubs but individual
players, then fine. But you didn't. Don't protest - you _didn't_. On the
contrary (and pay attention now), YOU TRIED TO PASS YOURSELF OFF AS A
DIE-HARD, ULTRA-LOYAL CLUB SUPPORTER. You "totally agreed" with Paul
Grave that "you are supposed to pick a team and stick with it through
thick and thin". You grandly declared that you would "ALWAYS" support
your teams. No strings attached.

And now: "Eternal loyalty my arse".

> Always has to be taken in context, something you seem to have a real
> problem in understanding. If I say I will always support Milan it doesn't
> mean I would still like them if they signed up Ince, Whorenaldo, Romario
> and many other players that I hate.

[No, I didn't make this up.]

The "context" you keep clinging to is one that existed entirely within
your own head. It rested on your own unique, unarticulated definition of
"ALWAYS", one that contradicted the word's genuine meaning of "forever"
or "in all cases". Inside this mind-boggling world of Bennian Logic,
then yes, what you wrote made "sense". "I will ALWAYS support them" (BL)
= "I will ALWAYS support them, unless I stop doing so". Since you use
your own definitions, your own context, and your own logic, nothing you
write can have any value, since it can mean anything or nothing at all.

Subject: Re: Benny, you are a complete wanker!
Date: Mon, 12 May 1997 16:08:42 +0200
From: Stig Oppedal (stigopp@hepp.uio.no)

Benny wrote: 
> Hey Stig, Barca have just signed a Dutchman. Think I'll start supporting
> them again.

Supporting Barcelona now _would_ be a shrewd career move, then you might
just have a team to cheer for in next season's Corporate League. However, 
please don't post updates every time you wonder whether or not to claim a
"Dutch connection"; rss has enough traffic as it is.


"Inane, no brain, he feigns support in Spain" - from the hit production
My Fair Benny, now showing at an Internet site near you.

[A year later]
Subject: Re: Benny and Ronaldo
Date: 15 Apr 1998 22:32:50 GMT
From: marcelo@fc.hp.com (Marcelo Weinberger)

Benny wrote:
> I don't care for the World Cup or International football for that
> matter. I'm only interested in the EC and as you know Maradona never
> won the EC, club football's biggest prize therefore I don't rate  
> Maradona and no matter how many times you say he can bounce the ball
> off his arse or how many circus tricks he performed he didn't win the
> EC.

Doesn't this qualify as the RSS gem of the century? I really don't
understand why you guys take Benny seriously and even argue with him.
If you come to think of what the Internet is, real life's Benny (if
there is one) could well be laughing at how many so-called "soccer
experts" take seriously the idiocies he writes. There is however one
thing that Internet-Benny once wrote about real-life-Benny, if I recall
correctly, and it's that he didn't grow up with soccer and started
following it as a young adult, relatively recently. Well, Benny, it
shows in every idiocy you write about circus tricks, agility, and
assist statistics. And you see, this alleged experts still take the
character you created (Internet-Benny) seriously. Can you imagine what  
you could have accomplished had you invented a character who actually  
feels soccer in his veins?

I have trouble finding anything in common with the way the median 
English fan views soccer, and I guess it showed in years of discussions.
But there is one thing that I feel when many of them write, which puts 
me more on their side than any of the cheating/long balls stuff that
could separate me from them: they really feel soccer in their hearts and
as part of their culture. This makes a tremendous difference with
posters coming from other parts of the world, and it is something very
interesting I learnt in RSS.