Rob's Pile of Transformers: Alt.toys.transformers #75


9/14/98
 Here's something to maybe warm your hearts a bit in this cold, dark time
on ATT.  Hope no-one takes offense (well, except the trollers and flamers
of course); it's all in jest.  Enjoy!


The Alt.Toys.Transformers #75

Writer: Simon Furman
Artist: Geoff Senior
Spammed out of existance: Rob Powers

[We look down upon ATT, where a crowd of regulars and lurkers flees in
terror from an ominous shadow]

A newsgroup called alt.toys.transformers.

A newsgroup of living (by some definitions, at least) Transfans.  The
adopted form of the Transformer mailing list, a group as old as Usenet
itself!

[As the ATTers run, a gigantic off-topic thread crashes down, nearly
obliterating their posts]

A newsgroup populated by Transfanatics, sentient Usenetoids able to
transform into collectors, TV viewers, and comic readers.

A newsgroup created as a last line of defense against an ancient evil from
beyond the dawn of spam!

A newsgroup... ON THE EDGE OF EX-SPAM-TION!!

[A two page spread shows us the monsterous threat which has decended upon
ATT]

It is Hell Flame Wars -- the Dork Gods, the Chaos-Spammers.  But these are
just names, tags created by small, annoyed newgroupers.  It is a force of
idiocy, spamming, flaming, and cross-posting -- 

[We see a series of posts chaoticly heading to all points of the newsgroup
and beyond...]

 -- to EVERY group in its path!

HWF: Mmmm, yes.  The biggest newsgroup we have EVER attacked.  A veritable
feast!

[Immobilized with fear, a group of Transfans stares in horror at the
cross-posting carnage...]

Finback: Uh - uh - uh -

Steve Stonebreaker: Duh -- do -- SOMETHING!! 

Brainstrm2: Steve, you're the FAQ keeper -- you tell US what to do!!

[Brainstrm2 fires off several posts, but it's futile!  Steve and Finback
can only flee as Brainstrm2 is impaled and eaten alive by HWF!]

Steve S: I'm going to the Moderated groups!  See ya!

HFW: So *this* is the newsgroup's FAQ, its ultimate defense against spam's
coming.  Pathetic...

[HFW swallows the FAQ (but doesn't comprehend it 'cause of all the big
long words)]

HFW: ...But lengthy!

Finback: Hey, piss off, you.  It's a damn good FAQ! 

[Transfans of all descriptions flee in every direction, but there is
nowhere to run!  Zobovor, recently reawakened after a slumber of ages,
tries to rally the panicked newgroupers...]

Zobovor: No -- stand and fight!!  Only together, united as one comitted
force for on-topicness, can you stop the newgroup invasion!

[Chris Meadows, leader of the Moderationists, stares awe-struck at a
200-post thread about Power Rangers]

Chris: Their spam volume is... so big!  So impossibly big!  We... we can't
fight that! 

Zobovor: You must!  Though I wear the form of Zobovor, my newsfeed's heart
is AOL!  Spam is killing it, tearing it apart piece by piece!

Chris: Well whaddaya expect?!  It's AOL!

[Elsewhere, two ATT regulars stare in equal horror as HFW continues to
suck in bandwidth...]

HooksX: Snappy comments... I -- I have no snappy comments.  My phat data
grid simply... can't get jiggy w' it.  I do believe however that I can
give an accurate prediction.  I am 100% certain that ATT, and every poster
on it, is doomed!  I suggest, Rob, that we -- 

Rob Powers:  Get the heck over to a different newsgroup -- right away?!
Sounds cool to me, Hooks!!

A sentiment shared by Quezovercoatl and her assembled groupies, the
NeoFemmes... 

ZacWilliam: Run!  We've gotta escape, get away!

Grrrlgoyle: To where?!  We're on an alt newsgroup, an unimaginable
distance from order!  We've got no killfile, no way of getting rid of
trolls!

Tykus the Gladiator: Grrlgoyle's right.  And changing newsgroups isn't
solving a thing!  Look at Harper -- he's almost gone mute from shock!
First a newsgroup full of spammers, creatures he hates with a vengence  --
then one so big and stupid it defies description!  Instead of running
around like headless chickens--

Rob Powers: Did someone say chickens?!

Tykus: --we should be trying to help him!  I say we make a stand!

Quezovercoatl [pointing to the mounds of off-topic spam]: Against that?!
You can't be serious!

Tykus: Oh, but I am!  And I thought you were too!  What happend to your
grand plans, ay?  'Join the Quez groupies, help fight Usenet
unpleasantness.'

Quez: Actually I was thinking more along the lines of world domination,
but whatever...

Tykus: So up pops the great-grandaddy of Usenet unpleasantness, and you
want out!  Well, even if you haven't the guts to stick it out, I have! 
Okay, these flamers are bigger, meaner, and less capable of basic human
social interactions than anything ATT's faced before.  But I vote we stand
and fight! 

Grrrlgoyle: Me too.  I don't rate our chances, but I've had enough of
off-topic posts in my newsgroup!

Blue-Jackal: Then I guess I'm in, too!

ZacWilliam: Me too.  Hey, maybe *that* could be Scrapdragon's motto.

Quez: I... I'm ashamed of myself... and proud of you!  Let's give it a
shot!

HFW: Fight back!  Someone! This is too easy!  FIGHT!...Or not... it
doesn't really make any difference to us... we're just doing this 'cause
we have nothing better to do with our lives -- 

[HFW is abruptly struck by resounding pain...]

HFW: AAAAAAAAGH!  No!  Noo! This cannot be!  Yes... that nauseating,
choking easiness to read -- can only be a KILLFILE!!

Killfile: Perhaps you are not as powerful as you seem to think!  You had
to resort to trickery to get your posts this far, shutting down your From: 
fields and changing the last letters of your user names!  Can it be,
'mighty' flamers, that you fear me? 

HFW: This -- this cannot be!  There should be nothing left of your files
save a text portion buried deep within -- 

[HFW's eyes narrow with realization]

HFW: -- one poster's newsreader.  I see, that IS all that remains of you!
This attack is a sham... and your kill lines cannot hold me!

[SKRAAAAKASHH!!  HFW incinerates the killfile with a blast of altered user
names, much to the consternation of ATTers everywhere who had been
counting on the killfile as their last hope.  Elsewhere, a visitor from
another time and newsgroup watches as the killfile's flaming remains fall
from the 'net...]

Cyril Sneer: Curses!  Why aren't they posting?  Why aren't they defending
their precious little newgroup?  I want Big Daddy Zeus hurt, humbled --
made to pay for what he's done to me!  He must be made to understand that
Cyril Sneer is the spanker and *he* is spankee!  I care nothing for the
Transfans, their newsgroup, or their ex-killfiles, but they must be made
to fight back, together!  Yes, that's it -- they must be shown by example!
With posts tapped from the FAQ itself -- *I* will strike the first blow
against Hell Flame Wars!!

[Cyril Sneer launches a searing post entitled "Is Frenzy Red or Blue?!"
But HWF just shrugs it off...]

HWWF: You DARE post on-topic?  You have betrayed me for the last time!

[HWWFF procedes to give CS a good net.spanking...]

HWWWF: I tire of this, insects.  If you won't even provide me with a bit
of sport--RAAAAAAGH!!!

[Suddenly, from all quarters of ATT, the newsgroupers strike!!  Hundreds
of relevant posts spring up from all over as the Transfans rally to the
defense of their newsgroup!]

Blue-Jackal: Post, ATTbots, POST!!  I don't know (or care) who that
ex-troll was, but his post shames us!

EmarZero: Blue-Jackal's right -- it's time we made these flamers' lives a
misery!

NeoTrent: Why don't we just make them read the TF comics, then?

[Another group of regulars takes to the 'net to join the fight -- but not
all of them are paying attention to what they're doing...]

aaronus: Yo, moderated people -- whatsamatter, can't keep up with the 1000
posts a day?!

[As an exhasperated Rob Jung watches, aaronus veers off-topic, crashing
into the Power Rangers group]

alt.fan.power-rangers poster: Hey, dude, don't cramp our bandwidth!

Rob Jung: *Sigh* Loud, brash, and totally netiquetteless!  Thank gods
aaronus --

Hooks: I thought you were an atheist!

Rob Jung: Quiet, you!  Thank god aaronus is one of a --

[Suddenly Walky streaks by overhead, pumping a fist into the air and
missing Rob Jung by inches!]

Walky: WIIIIIIIIII GIIIIIIIIII!!!!!

Rob J [shakes his cane]: Blasted youth element!

[The net.battle is joined!  Transfans of all descriptions valiently defend
their home against the monsterous nemesis!]

Joona Palaste: *Okay, Joona, this is it!  No off-topic babbling this time,
you've got to be strong!*

Iggy Drouge: Joona, what're you talking about?!  I can't --

[BLAM!! Iggy, distracted by Joona, looses sight of topicality and is
destroyed by cross-posting]

Joona: Iggy, no!!  I -- I didn't mean to post that, I didn't!  Curse you,
Hell Flame Wars, I'll--

NeoTrent: Back off, man!  We need Transformer discussion, not --

[KZZZZTCH!!!  Joona, blinded by rage, is squished by a tide of off-topic
posts]

NeoTrent: -- nitpicking!

Finback: AHHHHHAHAHAHAHAHAH!  Transformers, yes.  We see if we can't talk
about Transformers some more, Hell Flame Wars!

Keldroc: Finback, stop posting!  The cc: fields, they're set to --

[FAKOOM!  The post explodes in Finback's face, crossposted to dozens of
newsgroups.  But Chris Meadows checks the headers and finds out who's
responsible...]

Chris: His user name!  Concentrate your killfiles on these ten user names!

[Several ATTers do so, causing a few of Big Daddy Zeus's posts
disapear...]

HFW: Ouch.

[Almost casually, HFW changes user names, and blows away the ATTers who
killfiled him.  The resultant volume of posts sends shockwaves across all
the besieged newsgroups, causing one newsreader after the next to collapse
under the weight of so many posts!  Chris's newsfeed is choked and frozen
by over 2000 Subject: headers...]

WARendfeld: Even the mighty Chris Meadows has fallen!  What chance then
for the rest of us?!  I-- I don't want to get flamed!... NO!  When I wrote
myself into my own fanfics, I did more than just add a human head to a
dorky Fuzor.  I *became* Echowarrior... the real Echowarrior wouldn't have
turned and fled!  He'd have accepted his responsibilities, his fate!  And
then he'd pull out some invincible weapon-of-the-day and kill all the bad
guys!  Can I then do less?  I think not!  Hell Flame Wars, I'M COMING FOR
YOU!

HFW: Oooo, we're real scared.

Quaker X: You read his 'fics, man?  You *should* be scared.

[Meanwhile, Tykus the Gladiator's posts bounce back and fill up his Inbox,
much to Quezovercoatl's concern!  She quickly checks on him...]

Quez: His user account's still alive, thank goodness!... Blue-Jackal?

[A tremendous volume of posts surges through Blue-Jackal -- to no avail!]

Quez: *It's no good!  Her RPG thread still can't channel the troller's
energy into anything creative or useful or intelligent or worthwhile or
indicative of basic brain functions!*

Quez (cont): Grrrlgoyle, you and your pirates have to buy us some time!

Grrrlgoyle: I'll try.  The emptiness of their craniums... so vast.
Almost... infinate...

[Grrrlgoyle concentrates, and writes a post about what it's like to be a
normally functioning human being in society.  HFW reads it...]

They stop.  For a moment their task is done, all of Usenet made pointless,
their lives complete.  And they realize it would really suck for everyone.

But only for a moment!

[As Grrrlgoyle collapses in agony (hey, it hurts to think about not having
a brain), Quez looks elsewhere...]

Quez: There must be *something* we can do -- wait, what did Tykus say?
It's just a question of scale?  Of course -- their stupidity may be vast,
but they're still Internet users... and they have ISPs!!  Come on, Harper,
snap out of it!  We need you!

The Harper: I... can't.  Too big... too many headers...

Quez: Blast you, Harp, fight!  Are you going to just sit here and cry?
They're laughing at you, Harper... the flamers are laughing at _you_!

HWF: Actually we're laughing at all of you.

Rob Powers: You can tell these people have a finely-honed sense of humor,
can't you?

[WARendfeld, meanwhile, is unleashing a merciless assault of his own...]

WARendfeld: I'll write a whole newsgroup's worth of fanfics with my bare
hands!  I'll have Echowarrior tear your computer's circuits out with his
teeth and spit them back at you!  Die, Hell Flame Wars, DIE!!

HFW: Burn!

[HFW follows up every one of WARendfeld's posts with five of their own.
WAR screams in agony as his newsfeed is all but incinerated...]

HFW: Pathet-- unnh!!

[WHACK!!  Suddenly HFW is hit from an unexpected quarter, as the contents
of alt.toys.transformers.fanfic are dumped onto ATT by ViceGrip...]

Vulcana: Oh, that was really smart!  The time since my last post here
hasn't changed this group's capacity for sound cross-posting, has it?

ViceGrip: You haven't changed either, Vulcana.  Still think you're hot
stuff, think you always know what posts should go where.  You think you're
a moderator -- you not.  You're a writer.  So go write!

[ViceGrip shoves Vulcana out into the middle of the flame war...]

Suzanne Ferree: Um, actually, she's just doing her job, ya know, and IMO
she does it very well...

ViceGrip: Yeah, I know, but this is a parody.  We have to stick to the
dialogue.

Bobbi Corothers: Erm, ViceGrip, was that wise?  I mean us fanfic writers
have all just come out of a newsgroup that's close to death, animated by
an untested and highly unstable charter.  Perhaps we should --

ViceGrip: Should what?  Have a holiday?  Turn our newfeeds off?  We're
Transfans, Bobbi.  We post, not worry about sorting articles.  And now
we're gonna kick HFW's tail across Usenet!!

[ViceGrip leaps into the fray with dozens of posts, and the ATTFers follow
valiently behind him]

Bobbi: *sigh* Maybe ATTF's low traffic level wasn't so bad after all!

[On ATT, Quaker X kneels over WARendfeld's charred and broken newfeed,
which is barely clinging to life after the massive spammage...]

WARendfeld: Quaker X... did... I do good?

Quaker X: Um... errrr... I, uh... that is... well... you were on topic,
anyway.

WARendfeld: Good enough.  Let's go hunt down Rampage and Depth Charge.

Quaker X: Cool.

[Scorponok dies]

Cheetor: I like pie.

Optimus Prime: No matter the cost.

WWFF people: Not now!!

[Elsewhere, Chris Meadows watches as lots of long-lost newsgroupers come
out of lurking join the fray: Pynnk, Slick, Urac 'Ratbat' Sigma, Retrax,
Thylacine 2000, Liquid Velcro!...]

Chris: Reinforcements!  I must --

[Suddenly a titanic blast of energy knocks HFW clean off its feet!  The
source of the beam soars into view -- it is a horrific, ghostly apparition
from the darkest depths of ATT's past...]

Chris: What?!  The Moderation System of Newsgroups!  It lives... but it is
tainted by evil, with the troll Qweena at its dark heart!

Mod System: This newsgroup is ours, to do with as we see fit!  Our boredom
grows -- we need a life!  We were flamed, almost spanked by these
newgroupers.  We will experience revenge, off-topic posting and chaos on a
mass scale.  We will not be denied... by ANY net.group!

HFW: Ghaaaa!  No -- No!!  I felt the moderated groups destroyed, sensed
the demise of their on-topicness!  This cannot be!

NeoTrent: Oh, but it can.  The Moderation System has evolved, twisted --
become a force for evil!  If it destoys Hell Flame Wars... we will have to
try to destroy the Moderation System!

Chris: Bwuhh?  Moderation is good!

Mod System: We are no longer the system you once knew.  We are free to
moderate alt groups as we wish without 2/3 approval!

HFW: Yes, I see now.  You are a fool.  What I feared, what could perhaps
destroy us, is what you have smothered.  What remains is trolling, and in
that realm... WE HAVE NO EQUAL!

[Hell Flame Wars unleashes a devastating barrage of junk posts.  Qweena is
torn to shreds!  The newsgroup suffers tremendous damage; hundreds of
posters are annihilated, and the Moderation System goes spinning away into
the void.  As the survivors duck and take shelter from the carnage, one
sees their salvation within his reach...]

Chris Meadows: The moderation system!  If I can just reach it, free the
charter I read there when last I accessed it -- I can use it to destroy
Hell Flame Wars!

[Meanwhile, HFW transforms to a blob of net.fat and prepares to unleash an
endless stream of junk posts that will destroy ATT forever...]

HFW: I tire of these flames... it is time to feast -- on SPAM!

[The horrible barrage begins...]

HFW: The end comes, Transfans.  Black eternal bandwidth wastage decends.
You are about to become one with the topicality void...  I envy you -- 

[But just then the assault comes to a halt!]

HFW: Uuuuuuhhhhh!!! My Internet access -- revoked!!

Quetzovercoatl: Pathetic!  Is that the best you can do?  I still hear
those f-lamers laughing at you, Harper, laughing at YOU!

[We see that the Harper is unleashing a furious flood of e-mail complaints
to the spammers' ISPs!  He's mad as hell and he's not gonna take it
anymore!]

The Harper: No!  Never again!  I swear I'll kill their net.priveledges,
every last one of them!

Quetz: If you're going to do something, Chris, do it now -- and make it
count!  All the progress I've made towards slowing down Big Daddy Zeus
rate of posting is gone! I bought you this chance -- with Harper's ISP!! 

Chris: I will...

[Chris and a dozen other moderators leap into the air and sieze the
Moderation System!]

Moderation System: No!  Order and on-topicness are our past -- we reject
them!  You cannot control the newsgroups... but they can control you!

Chris: NO!  Last time I let doubts about support for moderation weaken my
resolve, but that is done.  I have seen so many dedicated Transfans here
today, so many well-meaning posts -- I know, without a doubt... that
TRANSFANDOM will prevail!

[A blinding burst of light sears the eyes, as the moderators purge the Mod
System of flamers, trolls, and spam!]

All of Transfandom:  NETIQUETTE!!!

[Below, the Harper's final ISP notice has expired.  HFW recovers and
prepares to launch their final assault!]

HFW: OVER!  I do not know who dared take away one of my ten thousand user
accounts, but I swear by the void I will call him a bunch of names--

[HFW sees the Moderation system coming straight for it...]

HFW: NO!!

Chris: Today we end a battle begun eons ago.  I thought the rec groups
were created to die, to perish in alt's place.  But now I see.  They were
created to carry on *after* the unmoderated groups are gone!  You must
die, Hell Flame Wars... so that ALL newsgroups must live!

[With that, the moderators plunges the Moderation System into HFW's
heart!]

HFW: Nooooooooo!  I am filled with intelligence -- civil, rational
intelligence!  Order -- on-topicness -- netiquette -- flame-free arguments
-- too much, TOO MUCH---

KA-BLAMMO!!!!!!!

[In a two-page spread, HFW and all its members explode into a billion
microscopic fragments!   A collection of survivors -- NeoTrent, the Rock,
Aceman Prime, Blue-Jackal, Tykus, Grrrlgoyle, Quez, ViceGrip, ZacWilliam,
and many others -- stare at the sight, as the glowing pieces rain down on
them like star dust.  The battle is over at last...]

They *were* the dreamers... Fanatical people able to transform their
identities into collectors, comic readers and TV viewers, a last line of
defense against the corporate monster, Hasbrocron.

That battle is done, the story told.

[We fade out with a full view of the newsgroup.  For the moment at
least... there is peace.]

But Usenet goes on, and the story of alt.toys.transformers... is far from
told!

THE END  :P

This parody is dedicated to all our newsgroup moderators both on RTTM and
ATTCM who shelter us from the evil spammers and trollers of the world
(particularly Chris Meadows, who pretty much lead the crusade for a
moderated group), and to everyone who has remained determined to prove
that Transfandom is stronger than all the trolls in the world.  Y'all are
great!!


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