Why Beer*Net? ------------- Houston is famed for its intolerance of basic rights and the opinions of others on its bulletin board systems. This is not surprising in a city where the most common activity is the proverbial leechline activity, but is distressing nonetheless to intelligent users who want to make their opinions known without living in fear of mysterious account modifications, deletions or message removal. At times the oppression has been so blatant that users have made the transition from user to sysop and have run "free speech" systems that broke all of the established (and stupid) rules and allowed the open expression of intelligence. They have always met with opposition from the petty tyrants who run their own digital kingdoms for the gratification of having power, no matter how unconnected to reality it is. And, since these types generally invest a good deal of money in their systems, they are the ones who have what the common user covets - file transfers - and use this as the basis of their power. When something threatening such as a board with free speech allowed or a no ratio file transfer system appears, they often band together and assault the sysop, especially if he is a minor, where they know they can sufficiently confuse his parents into forcing them to remove the offending bulletin board system. This has happened to more than one reputable user-turned-sysop, and with the emergence of Beer*Net, will hopefully be eradicated. Free Speech ----------- Simply put, "free speech" is the right to say whatever the user pleases without any immediate repercussions other than the responses of fellow users. On a free speech BBS, a user may say whatever he wishes without trepidation, because the sysop is honor bound not to take action against the user. This is not easy for a sysop, especially when said user espouses neanderthal beliefs such as racism or bigotry. However, the overall outlook is much better for a BBS that allows intellectual development and interesting posts through free speech than for a squeaky-clean and silent BBS. This is a basic right we hold to be necessary, and we, the Beer*Net sysops, are committed to defend it. We agree that by allowing free speech we are exempting the users from action taken by the sysop against them for what they say publicly or privately on a BBS, with the exception of illegal activity such as passing long distance codes or passwords. We also agree that we will not read private mail, nor will we ever use a user's account for our own purposes. Any change in access level, change in user information or deletion of a part or the whole of the user's account in response to user posting is considering a violation, as are passing on to any other sysop, user or official all or part of a user's information and confronting anyone but the user himself with details of a supposed infraction. In addition, we are committed to helping others interested in maintaining free speech on bulletin board systems. If we hear of a case where unwarranted harrassment is being delivered by other sysops, we are pledged to combat it by whatever means necessary. Rights must be preserved above all. The Systems ----------- The systems listed on the file header are all committed to the Beer*Net ideals and have implemented them. They do not support blacklisting, and do not pass on user information between systems or to other users. Moreover, the sysops will NOT call up parents or deal with anyone besides the user himself regarding the user's conduct. The sysops do reserve the right to preserve in copy buffer form all or part of any chats, posts, or e-mail directed to the sysop or in a public area. These policies are implemented at the verification of this file by all of the sysops involved. History ------- Beer*Net was an idea developed in part by the sysops of TURD (the "original" true free speech system), namely Royal Flush, Vile Scent (Toxic Waste, Yeast Infection) and Captain Crapp (Vehicular Slaughter, Nuclear Gerbil) and in part by Zen Master, an original user on TURD and now sysop of the Magic Window. TURD had its origins in the Apple II community, where the sysops observed that more than the normal amount of petty didactic types reigned, and committed themselves to do something about it. Today, the remnants of TURD are to be found in Apocalyptic Funhouse (713-531-1139), as are parts of the Metal Hell and Dead Animal Pickup. Malacology Unlimited and Magic Window are later additions to the free speaking world, but are viable systems worthy of investigation by any user. They are running Hermes on the Macintosh and TAG on a clone, respectively. All are open systems.