Netiquette Banner Netiquette, by Virginia Shea, page 79

commercial messages will always be flame-bait in many parts of cyberspace. After all, no one wants to be bombarded with commercial messages or see the net turn into a nausea-provoking advertising machine like Prodigy.

If you post new product announcements, self-promotions, or ad copy where it's not expressly allowed, be prepared for flameage. Unsolicited direct email advertising is probably the worse transgression. Consider this: in conventional direct mail, a 2% response rate is considered decent. If your company experiments with unsolicited direct email, don't be surprised if you get a 98% response, from people flaming you for clogging up their electronic mailboxes.

The Gross-Out Flame

Otherwise known as the Deliberately Offensive Flame. By definition, these flames have no redeeming value. Often they involve uncalled for personal attacks. Sometimes they amount to no more than racist or sexist drivel (see "The PC Flame" on page 78). Netiquette forbids gross-out flames, except in clearly marked gross-out domains (see "Flame newsgroups" below).

"Censorship" on the net

One of the remedies noted above for errant flamers is appealing to the culprit's sysadmin or to the newsgroup moderator to have network privileges revoked. This will no doubt elicit cries of "censorship!" from some. Sorry. Currently, no network service that I'm aware of is run as a democracy. While scorn is rightly heaped on such services as Prodigy -- which monitor discussion group content ruthlessly for anything that could be construed as remotely offensive -- there is such a thing as Going Too Far in almost any group. Privately owned and managed groups do have a right to monitor and censor their contents.

Flame newsgroups

Some USENET newsgroups, like alt.flame and alt.tasteless, exist purely for the purpose of sharing rude and offensive writings. There's even a "Hall of Flame" newsgroup: alt.flame.hall-of-flame. Surprisingly,


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