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Thursday, November 11, 1999

One minute of silence...

The popular newsgroup alt.sex.stories.moderated has just reopened after a moderatorless hiatus. Since this is Usenet we're talking about, there's been the requisite controversy about the re-opening in alt.sex.stories.d. (The latter newsgroup is spam-ridden; if you want to read it, use DejaNews or your favorite filter to get just the articles with "ASSD" in the subject line; that's a convention the group has apparently developed over the years.)

I love Usenet and its subcultures! Here's a newsgroup devoted to stories about sex, and except for that little detail it's just like everywhere else, with its spam, its friendships and controversies, the occasional flame, politeness and rudeness, group norms and conventions, and all that.

Actually that's somewhat unfair: the discourse on a.s.s.d is in fact rather more civilized and polite than your average alt group. Maybe it's that these people are interested in writing after all, and therefore of above-average literacy and rationality. Or maybe it's being united in the fact that the larger society disapproves of them; a milder form of the thing that gives solidarity (or at least apparent solidarity) to the gay and lesbian communities.

Speaking of sex, I just ordered a bunch of stuff from the Good Vibrations people; mostly from the Web site, but I also called customer service with a couple of questions. There's something so right about calling up and asking the friendly woman at the 800 number about the availability of a couple of erotic short story collections. Where did society get this idiotic notion that sex is nasty, shameful, to be hidden?

Yeah, I'm one of the World's Experts on this BubbleBoy virus you've probably heard about in the media. But Ian knows even more about it, so he did the writeup for the Web site. Executive summary: it's not out there spreading now, but it could be tomorrow. Install the relevant