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Usenet cabal

A Usenet cabal is a supposedly mythical organisation which apparently moderated all groups and generally controlled the whole of Usenet newsgroup traffic; any direct mention of them is generally followed by the abbreviation TINC - There Is No Cabal. After this theory was publicised (and largely refuted), many 'Cabals' sprung up throughout Usenet, like the LspaceCabal[?] (TINC) of Alt.Fan.Pratchett (which is an actual organisation, but any mention of it still has the negative acronym appended).

There Is No Cabal, but there was an effective cabal in the early days of Usenet. This group was often known as the backbone cabal, which consisted of a number of large "backbone" sites that distributed most of the Usenet traffic. Some of these sites paid thousands of dollars per month for the communication links servicing Usenet, often hidden in large telecommunications budgets. (Since the late 1990s, the growth of cheap high-speed Internet connections has made a backbone organization largely unnecessary.)

Probably the last effective action of this cabal was the non-acceptance of the newsgroup "rec.sex" (around 1990?). The newsgroup was proposed and passed by the usual voting system. Several major backbone administrators refused to accept that newsgroup in the otherwise-"clean" rec.* hierarchy. The alt.sex group (and later sub-hierarchy) quickly became very popular and soon the "alt.*" hierarchy became common on many sites. (Several sites would be reluctant to subscribe to just "alt.sex", so they would get the whole hierarchy instead.)

Of course, some people say the cabal is just hiding...



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