Gene Spafford’s axioms of Usenet, first circulated in 1987 and 1988. (This version from Spafford’s 1992 farewell to Usenet.)

Axiom #1: “The Usenet is not the real world. The Usenet usually does not even resemble the real world.” Corollary #1: “Attempts to change the real world by altering the structure of the Usenet is an attempt to work sympathetic magic — electronic voodoo.” Corollary #2:

“Arguing about the significance of newsgroup names and their relation to the way people really think is equivalent to arguing whether it is better to read tea leaves or chicken entrails to divine the future.”

Axiom #2: “Ability to type on a computer terminal is no guarantee of sanity, intelligence, or common sense.” Corollary #3: “An infinite number of monkeys at an infinite number of keyboards could produce something like Usenet.” Corollary #4:

“They could do a better job of it.”

Axiom #3: “Sturgeon’s Law (90% of everything is crap) applies to Usenet.” Corollary #5: “In an unmoderated newsgroup, no one can agree on what constitutes the 10%.” Corollary #6:

“Nothing guarantees that the 10% isn’t crap, too.”

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