Friday, May 4, 2012

Happy Birthday AUK Awards! 1994 - 2012 Part I

May 4th marks the 18th birthday of the alt.usenet.kooks Usenet Kook Awards.  Craig Dickson, the first Vote Wrangler, named Mark 'Mensabot' Line the first Kook of the Month. "We will not allow yourselves to be bludgeoned." (Mark Line)

Dickson did not refer to himself as Friendly Neighborhood Vote Wrangler.  From the archives:

"Since no one else has volunteered, I will happily take up the task 
of tracking Loon/Kook of the Month nominees and recording the winners 
(who will be decided by analysis of relevant comments here on a.u.k)."


Craig Dickson eventually referred to himself as 'coordinator,' but the first mention of a Vote Wrangler comes January 16, 1996, when Matt Legare (FNVW #2) began using the title 'KotM Vote Wrangler.'  Phoenix, possibly the greatest FNVW in AUK history, is apparently the first to use the title Friendly Neighborhood Vote Wrangler.  On July 22, 1998 Russ Alberry replied to a Phoenix post that used the term Friendly Neighborhood Vote Wrangler.

Over the years there have been lapses in the awards process.  December 1994s lapse was due to massive voter fraud by Lewis DePayne and Joel Furr, which caused Craig Dickson to resign in disgust.  Another factor in Dickson's decision to resign was his feeling that the awards had outlived their usefulness, and had become a weapon to be wielded against one's Usenet enemies.  Dickson wrote in January 1995:

"I wasn't entirely sure what to do about this situation, so I thought about it for a while and ended up (by default) softly and suddenly vanishing away. I'm sorry to have given Joel's [Joel Furr]friends on soc.singles a sort of sado-masochistic coitus interruptus, but I'm not interested in being or providing a weapon for idiotic net.feuds, and I think KotM has outlived its usefulness. I am no longer interested in running the award, and I no longer read a.u.k."

The awards continued in January 1995.  Once it was known that Craig Dickson had resigned, Matt Legare stepped into the breach and *ahem* seized power.  Lewis DePayne had also set his sights on becoming FNVW #2, but Dickson stepped out from his voluntary retirement to announce, on January 21, 1995:

 " I hear that Lewis De Payne is claiming that I have passed the administration of KotM to him. This isn't bad as mindfucking games go, but it isn't true in any objective sense. I have no intention of declaring a successor for KotM. The fact that I don't want to continue doing it myself doesn't give me the right to decide such a thing. If KotM is to continue, the readership of a.u.k should decide collectively on an administrator, or redefine the process so as not to require any central authority. 
De Payne no doubt is perfectly capable of forging news articles, so I will also say that any future statements allegedly from me that contradict this message can be assumed to be forgeries, or at least ought to be confirmed by email." 

Legare's Manifesto went like this, on January 17, 1995:

"I'm going to go out on a limb here... and volunteer as Keeper-O-The-Award. 
quakifications (like any of this *really* matters) 
* never been nominated
* read a.u.k for over 2 years (mostly in lurk mode)
* actually attempted to *help* beckwith during his initial stay in
  talk.bizarre by explaining how to use a killfile
* steady email account
* copious free time 

and yes, I can get the vote software running... I think... 
Matthew Legare
On-Line Support Guy" 


The next lapse in the awards came in September 1996, when Legare was literally netKKKoped off the net. For those who have forgotten, it was much easier to file complaints against one's enemies in those days and achieve results.  The lapse in awards was short, as Tim Skirvin volunteered to run the awards until Legare could find an ISP that wouldn't nuke his account on false complaints.

Skirvin conducted a ballot for November 1996, but then...

Part II follows May 5, 2012, if I feel like it.











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