Netizens: On the History and Impact of Usenet and the Internet by Michael Hauben and Ronda Hauben
First Monday
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The Evolution of Usenet: The Poor Man's ARPANET

In Fall of 1992, an undergraduate college student had a term project to do. The assignment required that the project be the result of using resources beyond research from books. His professor proposed that students consider interviewing people, sending letters, and other means of gathering data.

The student had done some reading and found a source describing how computer networks had become "the largest machine that man has ever constructed - the global telecommunications network" [1]. The student decided that he would do his research on this computer network that spans the globe and that many computer users have access to. He planned to use the network as much as possible to conduct his research.

After reading some of the few books and articles that he could find to describe the global computer network, he gathered a few significant quotes and wrote a brief introduction stating that he was trying to determine the subject for a term paper. He asked if the quotes seemed accurate and if readers had any advice. Some of the quotes were from a journal article discussing how the disintegration of Eastern Europe was in part due to the lack of free speech impeding computer development [2]. The student also asked if there was any evidence that the Berlin Wall had fallen because of new developments in computer communications. He raised several other questions and included quotes from his reading. Then he took this research proposal and posted it on the computer network news system called Usenet.

Posting is sending an article to be propagated around the world. Usenet is similar to an electronic news magazine or a world town meeting. It has various newsgroups organized by different topic areas in a variety of languages and on many different subjects. And the number of newsgroups is continually growing. Net users can post articles to many of the newsgroups, can respond to someone else's article, or can send a message in response to the author of an article via e-mail.

The student posted his questions to a number of newsgroups. In his post, he wrote:

The Largest Machine: Where It came from and its Importance to Society

I propose to write a paper concerning the development of "The Net." I am interested in exploring the forces behind its development and the fundamental change It represents over previous communications media. I will consult with people who have been involved with Usenet from Its beginnings and the various networks that comprise the Computer Network around the world. I wish to come to some understanding of where the Net has come from so as to be helpful in figuring out where it is going to [3].

Within a few hours, responses began to arrive via electronic mail. Among the responses he received was one from a biologist in Russia who explained how pressure for the free flow of information was a force for change in Russia. "Hello," the scientist wrote,"l would also consider another side of the coin: the world is divided on people who use the possibility of computer-mediated communications and the ones who do not. But I am not a specialist in your field."

"And as one from the East:' he continued,"I know well that the Internet is the first and only connection to the rest of the world for us in Russia. But unfortunately, to get it there is not too easy.... If you have some questions you think I could answer - please send me email...."

The student sent the Russian scientist some excerpts from an article about the lack of free speech in Eastern Europe and its effects on computer development and asked some questions about the excerpts. In response to the questions, the Russian scientist answered:

[The] first time I saw a computer was in 1985 when our institute got one. It was [an] Apple II. At that time I had no idea about what a network is and It was a time when PCs just started to appear in the environment of [the] "normal Russian". . . As you can see it was already Gorbachev's time and communists were stopping (or already were unable) to keep a very strong control on information flow in the society. So it was easier to access the PC In our institute than to get permission to use photocopy devices. Then the number of PCs was fast growing and now we have more then 15 PCs but still no Internet connection.... Most scientific institutes now have access to the net. But usually it is restricted to the possibility of using the electronic mail system....

I would say that in the past networks had no direct effect on the life of people there and now they become more and more important. One of the points is that it is practically the only way to communicate with the West Telephone lines are so bad that to send a FAX message is almost impossible, conventional mail will reach the address with [a] probability of 50% and it will take at least one month . . . [but] e-mail . . . will be received In 12-24 (!) hours. I have used it for the last year and never had any problems. I am lucky that one of my relatives has e-mail! I guess you understand how the possibility to communicate is important for [the] scientific community....

The student received many other responses. One came from a German student who described how the Berlin wall had fallen because of the increased communication made possible by computer networks. The German student pointed out that accurate information about events such as the Chernobyl nuclear power plant explosion had become available to people who were no longer dependent upon government channels as their only source of information. There were responses from a teacher in Australia, a businessman in California, a net pioneer, and many others.

The student decided to prepare another post. He had become interested in how far and wide the network reached and in who would have access to the post he was making. He posted the following message:

Subject: I want to hear from the four corners of the Net - that means YOU!

I would like to hear from EVERYONE on the Net-Frontier. If you think you are weird or abnormal (or special) in terms of net-connections or usenet connections. please tell me about it.

To the further expansion of the Net! : )

He received answers from more than fifty people around the world, from France to India and Africa. A response from Japan explained:

Yes I believe I m connected through some sort of hokey mechanism but that s just because I'm in Japan. Connectivity doesn't register highly on the importance scale here. Takes a few hours for mail to get from one side of Tokyo to the other.

So what makes me so special~ as far as net connections go? A few things. I can not receive most newsgroups and can not post to any. Yet a friend of mine In the same building as me (on another floor) receives a mostly different set of newsgroups and can post to a few. The Interesting blt about any group we both get is that we don t always get the same articles. Japan the "leader" of technology doesn't know a thing about actually using computers. Just my opinion of course - my company won t listen to me anyway! Hope this adds to your research... [4].

The student received a response from an employee in a large American company. The writer explained:

Not too strange but I work for a big company that leeches off two small service providers for free mail and news feeds. Kind of funny really.... Hey Usenet broke . . . and I can t receive mail from the Internet anymore although I can send it.

He described how the company told him" 'Sorry . . . the problem is with our feeds. We'll try to get them to fix it.' Strange enough, these small services . ... [a medical school and a public access usenet site] wouldn't drop everything to fix our problem. How dare they! Of course MY suggestion,'PAY THEM SOME MONEY,' was completely ignored."

He went on to explain that he had been told that his company "won't let us have a direct connection to the Internet for security concerns. I understand, but it doesn't make me happy."

A response from Krakow, Poland explained that their site in the Department of Physics at Warsaw University was one of the first four sites in Poland to have access to Usenet.

A response from a French user explained how the government charged a lot of money for an Internet connection in France and thus discouraged use: "It's cheaper to send a "hello"' to someone in the US than to someone 5 kilometers from my desk!,' the French user wrote. "If you have a 'stupidity chapter' in your paper, this could fill a few lines."

>From Wellington, New Zealand, the student learned that there was a "burgeoning Net Community in Wellington, as there were two Internet connections, one by a private net.enthusiast, and another run by the Wellington City Council on an old PDP-11 computer." They offered the citizens of Wellington "free ftp, telnet, IRC, archie, gopher, E-mail, and Usenet - and all the l,935 locally carried newsgroups."

A scientist at Bell Telephone Laboratories wrote: "Some people say that many of us at Bell are on the fringe, but we're probably in the core of things in the Internet. :-)"

Other responses came from university students and hobbyists in the United States and from Net users in Germany, Italy, India, and other countries around the world.

The student also received offers of help in finding information including recommendations of books to consult. Some of the responses included offers to send him articles or reports that would be helpful with his research.

Several people wrote describing the unusual or interesting net connections they used to connect to Usenet. A user in South Africa told how he distributed news and e-mail and was trying to gain access to a satellite in order to set connections up with the interior of Africa that lacked the otherwise needed infrastructure. There were many other stories of unusual or pioneering efforts to make connections possible for people to Usenet.

Many people wrote asking for a copy of the paper when it was written. In response to requests that he post a draft of the paper before it was completed, the student wrote a draft and posted it on Usenet. He received several helpful comments. He wrote the final draft, handed it in to his teacher, and posted it on Usenet. A lively discussion ensued. The student's paper had maintained that the ability of users to post on Usenet was a sign that Usenet was democratic. A document describing Usenet to new users that was posted in the new users newsgroup maintained that Usenet was an anarchy. The discussion raised the question of whether there can be an official statement maintaining that something is an anarchy.

A number of people wrote the student asking him if they could distribute the paper more broadly, quote the paper in their upcoming book, or post the paper on their local BBS. Another student who was writing a proposal for his Master's thesis cited the paper as an important source. All this occurred within two weeks of the paper being posted.

The student's experience is but one example of the important educational possibilities represented by Usenet and the worldwide communications network it is part of. Yet there are many people who still know nothing of Usenet, and many who are on Usenet do not realize the important potential it makes possible. In a similar manner, many people do not know how Usenet developed nor the obstacles the networking pioneers were continually faced with in their efforts to create and nourish Usenet. Since the details of how Usenet was created can provide helpful insight into how to deal with the problems encountered as the Net continues to grow, an account of how Usenet was created follows.

Usenet Is Born

Usenet was born in 1979 when Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis, graduate students at Duke University, conceived of creating a computer network to link together those in the Unix community. They met and discussed their idea with other interested students, including Steve Bellovin, a graduate student at the neighboring University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Using homemade auto dial modems and the Unix-to-Unix copy program (UUCP), the Unix shell, and the find command that were being distributed with the Unix operating system Version 7, Bellovin wrote some simple shell scripts to have the computers automatically call each other up and search for changes in the date stamps of the files. If there were such changes, the changed files were copied from one computer to the other.

Soon three computer sites - duke at Duke University, unc at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and phs at the Physiology Department of the Duke Medical School - were hooked together, and a simple program made it possible to connect the three sites.

Gregory G. Woodbury, a Usenet pioneer from Duke University, describes how "News allowed all interested persons to read the discussion, and to (relatively) easily inject a comment and to make sure that all participants saw it [5]."

The program was slow so the students enlisted Stephen Daniel, also a graduate student at Duke, to rewrite the code in the C programming language. Daniel writes:

. . . a news program written ,I believe, by Steve Bellovin as a collection of shell scripts was already working but it was slow taking upwards of a minute of time on an unloaded PDP ll/70 to receive an article. I got involved when I happened to drop in on a conversation between Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis who were complaining about how slow this news program was. I suggested that if it was so slow it could easily be rewritten in C to run faster. I soon found myself volunteering to do just that [6].

Daniel agreed to write the program in C with help from Tom Truscott. This became the first released version of Usenet in the C programming language, which came to be known as A News.

Other people at Duke and the University of North Carolina took part in getting the network debugged. Once the program was functioning on their respective machines, Jim Ellis went to a meeting of what was then the academic Unix users group known as Usenix. In the following account, Tom Truscott describes what happened:

James (jte) gave a short talk and handed out a 5 page "Invitation to a General Access UNIX Network" at the January 1980 Usenix Conference in Boulder, Colorado. We mad up 80 copies and they were gobbled up (not surprising, there were a record-smashing 400 attendees)....Afterwards, jte mentioned that the audience particularly enjoyed his description of Duke's two home-built 300 baud autodialers [7].

The invitation they distributed explained:

The initially most significant service will be to provide a rapid access newsletter. Any node can submit an article, which will in due course propagate to all nodes. A "news" program has been designed which can perform this service. The first articles will probably concern bug fixes, trouble reports, and general cries for help. Certain categories of news, such as"have/want" articles, may become sufficiently popular as to warrant separate newsgroups. (The news program mentioned above supports news groups) [8].

The invitation urged:

This is a sloppy proposal. Let's start a committee. No thanks! Yes, there are problems. Several amateurs collaborated on this plan. But let's get started now. Once the net is in place, we can start a committee. And they will actually use the net, so they will know what the real problems are.

Several months later, the software for the A News program for Usenet was put on the conference tape for general distribution at the Summer 1980 Usenix meeting in Delaware. The handout distributed at the conference explained, "A goal of USENET has been to give every UNIX system the opportunity to join and benefit from a computer network (a poor man's ARPANET, if you will)... [9]."

Daniel explains why the term "poor man's ARPANET" was used:

I don't remember when the phrase was coined, but to me it expressed exactly what was going on. We (or at least I) had little idea of what was really going on on the ARPANET, but we knew we were excluded. Even if we had been allowed to join, there was no way of coming up with the money. It was commonly accepted at the time that to Join the ARPANET took political connections and $100,000. I don't know if that assumption was true, but we were so far from having either connections or $$ that we didn't even try. The "Poor man's ARPANET was our way of joining the Computer Science community and we made a deliberate attempt to extend it to other not-well-endowed members of the community. It is hard to believe in retrospect, but we were initially disappointed at how few people joined us. We attributed this lack more to the cost of autodialers than lack of desire [10].

The ARPANET, which Daniel refers to, pioneered the networking technology that serves as the foundation of today's global Internet. The first host connected to the ARPANET was the SDS Sigma-7 on Sept. 2, 1969 at the UCLA (University of California at Los Angeles) site. It began passing bits to other sites at SRI (SDS-940 at Stanford Research Institute), UCSB (IBM 360/75 at University of California at Santa Barbara), and Utah (DEC PDP 10 at the University of Utah). There were many unexpected problems and obstacles, but through the collaborative work by the pioneers using the net work they were creating, the number of sites steadily increased. By 1977, the ARPANET extended to more than fifty sites, from Hawaii to Norway. Since the project was originally funded under the US Department of Defense's (DOD) Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), only those academic computer science departments with DOD funding had the possibility of access to the ARPANET.

Usenet, however, was available to all who were interested, as long as they had access to the Unix operating system (which in those days was available at a very low cost to the academic and computer research community). And posting and participating in the network was possible at no cost to the individuals who participated, except for the cost of their equipment and the telephone calls to receive or send Netnews (as Usenet was called). Therefore, the joys and challenges of participating in the creation of an ever-expanding network, an experience available to an exclusive few via the ARPANET, became available via Usenet to those without political or financial connections - to the common folk of the computer science community.

As Daniel notes, Usenet pioneers were surprised at how slowly Usenet sites expanded at first. But when the University of California at Berkeley (UCB) joined Usenet, links began to be created between Usenet and the ARPANET, as Berkeley was a site on the ARPANET. At first, it is reported, mailing lists of discussions among Arpanauts (as ARPANET users were called by those on Usenet) were poured into Usenet [11]. This first connection, however, between the ARPANET and Usenet, Daniel reports, only contributed to "the sense of being poor cousins." Daniel explains:

It was initially very hard to contribute to those lists, and when you did you were more likely to get a response to your return address than to the content of your letter. It definitely felt second class to be in read-only mode on human-nets and sf-lovers, which were two popular ARPANET mailing lists [12].

Daniel also clarifies the different philosophies guiding the development of Usenet as opposed to the ARPANET.

Usenet was organized around netnews, where the receiver controls what is received. The ARPANET lists were organized around mailing lists, where there is a central control for each list that potentially controls who receives the material and what material can be transmitted. I still strongly prefer the reader-centered view.

With the increasing connections to the ARPANET from Usenet, the number of sites on Usenet grew. A map from June 1981 shows the number of different sites on Usenet during this early period (see Figure 1).

There are many stories of frustration as Usenet developed [13]. Despite such frustration, there were many who helped Usenet grow and develop. Unix enthusiasts and pioneers at some large organizations, such as AT&T's Bell Labs, did whatever they could to provide support for Usenet. At one point, AT&T realized that it would save millions of dollars if it worked out the bugs to have internal e-mail. In the process it

              !-      Uucp links

                :       Berknet links

                @       Arpanet links

pdp (Misc) ! (NC) (Misc) decvax sii reed phs--unc--grumpy duke34 utzoo cincy teklabs ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! +--+----+-----+-+--+-------------+-------+------+ ! ! ! ! ! duke ! ! ! ! ! +------+---+-----------------------+--------+ ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ucbopt ! hocsr--mhtsa----research mh135a harpo-----chico : ! ! ! ! ucbcory ! ! eagle ihnss vax135 (Bell Labs) (UCB) : ! ! ! ! ! ucbvax--++----------+--+--+-----+--+------+--------+ : @ ! ! ! (Silicon Valley) ucbarpa @ (UCSD) sdcsvax ! menlo70--hao : @ sdcattb-----+ ! ! ! ucbonyx @ +-----ucsfcgl sytek sri-unix @ phonlab-----+ cca-unix sdcarl

Figure 1: A Map from June 1981 illustrating the number of different sites on Usenet during this early period (Source: Usenet History Archive)

gave support to the Usenet pioneers who were trying to develop more efficient e-mail routing programs. Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) also supported Usenet in various ways, and the spread of Usenet and Unix encouraged the sale of Unix-based computers from DEC. Usenet newsgroups provided much needed technical help for users of Unix and Unix-based computers.

By 1982, the continuing explosion of Usenet surprised even its most dedicated fans. One of those active on Usenet from its earliest days to the present, Gregory G. Woodbury, describes the shock experienced when the pioneers realized that Usenet was taking a totally unexpected course of development.

I do not recall that anyone was quite expecting the explosion that followed. What developed took everybody by surprise.When the direction of evolution took an unexpected turn, and a continental network emerged, spanning the continent from California to North Carolina, and Toronto to San Diego, it was sort of a shock to realize what had happened [14].

Statistics presented by Gene Spafford, another Usenet pioneer, at an IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) meeting in 1988 documented the tremendous growth and development of Usenet. Usenet developed from two articles a day posted at three sites in 1979 to 1,800 articles a day posted at 11,000 sites by 1988 [15].

Year Number of Sites Articles/Day Megabytes/Day
1979 3 ~2 -
1980 15 ~10 -
1981 150 ~20 -
1982 400 ~50 -
1983 600 ~120 -
1984 900 ~225 -
1985 1,300 ~375 1+
1986 2,500 ~500 2+
1987 5,000 ~1,000 2.5+
1988 11,000 ~1,800 4+

Today, Usenet continues to grow in the number of sites participating, in the number of posts it carries, and in the number of newsgroups. Usenet is transported among Unix systems by UUCP connections and via NNTP (Netnews Transfer Protocol) along the Internet, which is the child of the old ARPANET.

Often in the past, pioneers of Usenet were convinced that the load of posts or the number of sites was becoming too great and that further growth could not be sustained. That fear is now facetiously referred to by the phrase "imminent death of the Net predicted." Although each time the problems have seemed insurmountable, they have been investigated and solutions found through the hard work of many Net participants (often referred to on Usenet as netizens).

In the past few years a system of Free-Nets and community networks has begun to develop, many utilizing the Netnews software to make Usenet available to the community for free or at a very low cost. Cleveland Free-Net, sponsored by Case Western Reserve University and other community organizations in Cleveland, Ohio, was the first Free-Net. It used the Netnews software to create a set of local newsgroups reflecting the different community services in the Cleveland area such as the hospitals, public schools, public libraries, and museums. Cleveland Free-Net users also have access to the worldwide newsgroups of Usenet. The software used by such community networks makes it relatively easy to read and post on Usenet and in a variety of local discussion groups. A number of community networks have come on line around the United States and in Canada. Many others are in the planning stages. There is a Free-Net in Erlangen, Germany and in Finland. There are digital cities in the Netherlands and civic networks in Italy and New Zealand. And people with telnet access can join many of these community networks free of charge and thus have e-mail and Usenet access through them.

The ARPANET pioneered important breakthroughs in computer networking technology. It also pioneered the ability to collaborate online and to utilize dispersed resources - both people and computers. Usenet represents the continuation of this tradition by making access to these collaborative research relationships available to a broader set of people. The extension of Usenet has required a great deal of pioneering effort and technical development, but those participating in Usenet have been there to solve the problems.

Writing in 1968 before the creation of the ARPANET,J. C. R Licklider, who has been called the "Father of the ARPANET," and Robert W. Taylor predicted the challenges that would face society with the development of computer networks:

First, life will be happier for the on-line individual because the people with whom one interacts most strongly will be selected more by commonality of interests and goals than by accidents of proximity. Second, communication will be more effective and productive, and therefore more enjoyable. Third, much communication and interaction will be with programs and programming models, which will be ... both challenging and rewarding. And, fourth, there will be plenty of opportunity for everyone (who can afford a console) to find his calling, for the whole world of information, with all its fields and disciplines, will be open to him - with programs ready to guide him or to help him explore ...

For the society, the impact will be good or bad depending mainly on the question: Will "to be on line" be a privilege or a right? If only a favored segment of the population gets a chance to enjoy the advantage of "intelligence amplification, " the network may exaggerate the discontinuity in the spectrum of intellectual opportunity.

On the other hand, if the network idea should prove to do for education what a few have envisioned in hope. if not in concrete detailed Than, and if all minds should prove to be responsive, surely the boon to humankind would be beyond measure.

Unemployment would disappear from the face of the earth forever, for consider the magnitude of the task of adapting the networks software to all the new generations of computer coming closer and closer upon the heels of their predecessors until the entire population of the world is caught up in an infinite crescendo of on-line interactive debugging [16].

Their vision of an ever-growing part of the population of the world being needed to participate in the debugging and development of the network that will make a new world possible is still a helpful vision. The Wonderful World of Usenet news is a world that needs and will reward one's participation.

Notes

1. Ithiel de Sola Pool, Technologies Without Boundaries, Eli M. Noam, ed. (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1990), p. 56.

2. See, for example, Gary L. Geipel, A.Tomasz Jarmoszko, and Seymour Goodman, "The Information Technologies and East European Societies" in East European Politics and Societies, Volume 5 (Fall 1991): pp. 394-438.

3. Michael Hauben, post, October, 1992.

4. See also Izumi Aizu, Cultural Impact on Network Evolution in Japan: Emergence Of Netizens (Tokyo: Institute for HyperNetwork Society, 1995) available at http://www.glocom.a c.jp/Publications/Aizu/nete&c.html

5. See, for example, Gregory G. Woodbury, "Net Cultural Assumptions," reprinted in Amateur Computerist, Volume 6 (Fall/Winter 1994-1995),pp. 6-9.

6. E-mail correspondence from Stephen Daniel.

7. Usenet History Archives, October 12, 1990, http://www.duke.edu/ ~mg/usenet.hist/nethist.901012.Z

8. Tom Truscott, "Invitation to a General Access Unix Network," Duke University, Durham, North Carolina.

9. Copy made available by Bruce Jones.

10. Usenet History Archives, January 26,1993. See http://www.duke.edu/ ~mg/usenet.hist/nethist.930126.Z By 1979-1980, UCB was under contract to ARPA to provide a version of Unix (Berkeley Systems Distribution) for the ARPA contractors who were going to be up graded to VAX computers.

11. E-mail correspondence from Stephen Daniel.

12. E-mail correspondence from Stephen Daniel.

13. One of the most outstanding is recounted by Amanda Walker, who remembered how it was necessary to send an e-mail message across the continent twice, using three networks, to get it from the Computer Science Department to the Computer Center on the Case Western Reserve University campus. Usene History Archives, October 16, 1990. See http://www.duke.edu/ ~mg/usenet.hist/nethist.901016.Z

14. Woodbury, p. 7.

15. Gene Spafford, Usenet History Archives, October 11, 1990, http://www.duke.edu/ ~mg/usenet.hist/nethist.901011.Z based on data from Adams, Spencer, Horton, Bellovin, and Reid. Updating these statistics in 1993, David Lawrence estimates that in the two-week period ending March 9, 1993, about 26,000 articles per day were posted to 4,902 groups for 65 total megabytes (52 megabytes without headers).

16. In Memoriam: J. C. R. Licklider 1915-1990 (Digital Systems Research Center, 1990), p. 40. Originally published as "The Computer as a Communication Device,"in Science and Technology, April 1968. Available online at http://memex.org/licklider.html

Special thanks to the Usenet pioneers and to Bruce Jones for the history materials they have gathered and made available.

An early version of this chapter by Ronda Hauben was presented as a talk at the MACUL (Michigan Association of Computer Users in Learning) Conference in Detroit, Michigan on March 12, 1993. The talk was also posted online.


About the Authors

Michael Hauben has participated in online communities since the early 1980s. He has worked at the University of Detroit/Mercy and Columbia University helping people use and understand computers. He is a graduate of Columbia University with a BA in Computer Science. Through his pioneering interactive online research, Michael coined the term "Netizen" into popular use. He is now a graduate student at Teachers College of Columbia University studying computer mediated communication. Having given the Amateur Computerist newsletter its name, he continues to contribute articles on a regular basis. He has appeared on documentaries about the Internet on TV Tokyo, and has been frequently consulted to comment on the growing importance of this new democratic medium. He has given talks in the United States, Japan, and Canada about the social significance and history of the Internet. He is a member of the ACM, IEEE and IEEE Computer Society. He enjoys listening and dancing to electronic music, working with children and helping people to communicate. Michael is the host of the Netizens Cyberstop World Wide Web page.

Ronda Hauben has her BA from Queens College and her MA from Tufts University. She has taught at Stillman College in Alabama and Wheelock College in Massachusetts. Most recently she taught introductory Unix, e-mail and Internet classes at Columbia University. Part of the online community since 1988, she has helped to pioneer online research, and her work has benefited from the comments and contributions of the online community. In January 1994, some of the work was collected in the online anthology "The Netizens and the Wonderful World of the Net: On the History and Impact of Usenet and the Internet." Articles she has written have appeared in the Amateur Computerist, Linux Journal, Proceedings of the Telecommunities '95, Internet Secrets, README and other publications. She has presented talks to community, university and professional audiences. Her papers have been presented at conferences in Canada and in Ireland, as well as in the USA. She lives in New York City and enjoys participating in Usenet, studying history and going to the theater.

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