The alt.movies.kubrick Newsgroup
The Newsgroup Meta-FAQ, March, 1999
What is the AMK Newsgroup?
Strictly speaking, alt.movies.kubrick is a Usenet Newsgroup chartered for the discussion of the work of American filmmaker Stanley Kubrick. In broader terms, its a group of people, many of them regulars, a few of them long-time regulars, who share the view that Stanley Kubrick was one of the finest film directors of the twentieth century, and who share an interest in and fascination for his work. It's also believed by more than a few of the group's participants that Stanley Kubrick is not only an incredibly accomplished filmmaker, but that he may be one of the best (and arguably most significant) artists of his era. The group exists not only as a social gathering of such individuals, but as a means to promote and to enrich the appreciation of Kubrick's work, by both ourselves and by others.
How can I participate?
You will first need Internet access which include access to a local-network NNTP (Network News Transport Protocol) server, and client software which runs on your machine. Using the address information provided by your system administrator, you can use your client software (a 'newsreader') to subscribe to the newsgroup, access the daily postings, to to create and post responses. Talk to your system administrator or the help desk of your Internet Service Provider for more information and assistance in becoming connected to Usenet.
Where and when did this newsgroup start?
Following a discussion in the newsgroup alt.config in the Fall of 1994, a vote was taken among the Usenet newsadmins and users present, and it was agreed to add the group known as 'alt.movies.kubrick'. The following is the public receipt for the Usenet Control Message issued by Doug Krause, network administrator at UC Irvine, which officially 'created' the group among the Usenet network of NNTP servers on the Internet:>> from firstname.lastname@example.org wed oct 5 07:10:07 1994 path: uunet!spool.mu.edu!agate!ihnp4.ucsd.edu!news.service.uci.edu!usenet from: Doug Krause newsgroups: alt.config subject: cmsg newgroup alt.movies.kubrick control: newgroup alt.movies.kubrick date: 5 Oct 1994 11:09:51 gmt organization: University of California, Irvine lines: 5 approved: email@example.com message-id: <firstname.lastname@example.org> nntp-posting-host: hydra.acs.uci.edu xref: uunet control:1257845 As discussed and well supported in alt.config, I'm creating alt.movies.kubrick for your posting pleasure. for your newsgroups file: alt.movies.kubrick For the discussion of Stanley Kubrick's movies >>
...our 'birth certificate', you could say.
So, who is Stanley Kubrick?
Good question, actually. The difficulty of this question is probably another reason for this group's existence. In addition to the biographical information available elsewhere on this website, the Encyclopaedia Britannica provides this abbreviated information (which, for brevity's sake, we'll not quibble with for now):
Having become interested in photography in high school, Kubrick became a staff photographer for Look magazine at age 17. His first film, "The Day of the Fight" (1951), is a short documentary about the boxing world. Two years later, his first feature-length film, Fear and Desire (1953), dealing with World War II, was released.
"Paths of Glory" (1957), a story of military injustice in the French army during World War I, brought Kubrick into prominence as a director. It was followed by films, mostly shot in England, that explored the incongruities and violence underlying modern life and reached imaginatively into the world of the future. After "Spartacus" (1960), a historical epic, Kubrick made "Lolita" (1962), based on the novel by Vladimir Nabokov; "Dr. Strangelove" (1964), which turned the possibility of a nuclear war into a grim joke; "2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968), which earned an Academy Award for special visual effects; "A Clockwork Orange" (1971), based on the dystopian novel by Anthony Burgess; "Barry Lyndon" (1975), based on William Makepeace Thackeray's novel of manners; "The Shining" (1980), a horror film based on the novel by Stephen King; and "Full Metal Jacket" (1987), about the Vietnam War.
Stanley Kubrick was born July 26th, 1928, in The Bronx, New York, the only child of a successful Manhattan physician. He was of Rumanian and Czech/Polish descent (his family name, by the way, is most often pronounced "KOOB-rik"). After leaving the US in the mid-sixties, he spent the remainder of his life in a northern suburb of London with his third wife, Christiane Kubrick (nee Susannah Christine Harlan), a noted U.K. artist. Mr. Kubrick died at home of natural causes in the Spring of 1999, and is survived by his wife and three daughters, Anya, Vivian, and Katherine. Vivian is also known by the name 'Abigail Mead', and wrote the score (under this name) for his film "Full Metal Jacket". More information can be found elsewhere at this website.
What kinds of topics are appropriate for the group?
As one might gather from the foregoing info, most anything relevant to the work of Stanley Kubrick; this includes especially (but is not limited to) discussions or disputations regarding Kubrick's films, requests for information regarding the films or their production, comments or discussions on Kubrick's art and work, or discussions relevant to the films, their subjects, their themes, and so forth. Given the breadth of Kubrick's work as an artist, it is in fact easier to say what isn't appropriate in the way of topics.
What isn't appropriate in the way of topics?
Very little, if you look at it a certain way. It's fair to say that posts which deal exclusively with the work of another filmmaker or artist are technically off-topic; but topic-drift is fairly well tolerated, given both our subject matter and the interests and backgrounds of those who post in the group. But threads (that is, series of posts) which begin without some immediate relationship to the topic are generally not received well. Posts regarding other film directors of Kubrick's stature (realising this is a judgment call) are occasionally welcomed, especially when they're those who are are not served by forums such as this one; recent discussions regarding Terrence Malick, Atom Egoyan, and Ron Fricke (personal favorites of this particular editor, by the way) are a case in point; but discussions of the art and work of artists in any medium which relate in some way to that of the newsgroup's subject, are generally always welcomed. Just don't take anybody's comments personally; that is to say, don't get your panties twisted when some newbie disses Antonioni.
Conversely, the subject of film per se is often not enough to insure topicality; a discussion on early twentieth-century linguistic philosophy may be more on-topic than a discussion of Tom Hank's latest featurette....
In brief, a few topics are generally unwelcomed:
a. Off-topic movie-news or gossip for which there are other forums:
As just noted, just because the al.movies.kubrick group is organised to talk about Stanley Kubrick, and just because Stanley Kubrick is a film director, doesn't mean we want to talk about just absolutely anything that has to do with film. Not that such ancillary subjects don't interest us, but there are forums established especially for such general topics, as well as specific categories of film and film making.
That having been said, longtime readers of the group will note many instances in which conversations upon wildly divergent topics have flourished. This is generally a function of the degree to which the topics involved reflected the shared personal interests of the participants, the rarity of the information provided, the quality of discussion brought to bear, and the limited avenues available for the discussion of the many fairly esoteric topics which amuse us. A good rule of thumb might be, if it doesn't relate to Kubrick, and you're likely to read it in People Magazine, or see it on Entertainment Tonight, it doesn't really need to be republished to the newsgroup.
b. Posts which are advertisements unrelated to the subject matter:
If you're selling something -- or even simply promoting a webpage -- it should be related to Kubrick or his films in some way. Advertisements for memorabilia connected with the films, or copies of the films themselves, etc., are always welcomed; the same goes for websites which are concerned principally or in the main with Kubrick or with at least one of his films. Advertisements for anything else are exceptionally unwelcomed. There are better places for such postings, and we know where to go if we want to find them.
c. Binary posts of any kind, whether related to Kubrick or not:
There are newsgroups specifically chartered for the posting of binary files (images, sounds, etc). These (or an appropriate web or ftp directory space) should be used in such cases where the material does relate to Kubrick, and a pointer to the source only should be posted in the newsgroup. Posting of binaries will result in your posts being cancelled through news.admin.net-abuse, or further action by your site administrator. Abuse of this kind is taken seriously; continued abuse of this Usenet convention can lead to the unfortunate situation where the newsgoup is removed from many NNTP servers.
d. Posts which are ad hominem attacks upon another individual:
Unless the purpose of the original poster (the victim, as it were) was to troll or abuse the group as a whole, or the individual in question is Bernard Farber, postings which attack individual members of the group are out of place. In such instances when it is necessary to respond to such posts, correspondents should keep the subject of the address in the proper second person.
e. Spam of any kind:
Hopefully you don't need clarification on this one.
What if I have a specific question about________?
Ask away! if it has something to do with Kubrick (even tangentially).We're more tolerant of 'newbie' questions than most Usenet groups in general, and in fact answering such questions can often start entire new threads on an overlooked topic. Generally though, you'll want to become as familiar as most of the regulars are with the topic, for which purpose this website has been created; we've spared no expense, nor expenditure of effort, to furnish resources for the public enlightenment. It hurts our feelings when people don't make use of them. And keep in mind: specificity is a virtue.
How long should I read or follow the group before posting?
This isn't a frequently asked question, but ought to be. The most annoying kinds of posts we see are those that begin, "you people are always talking about [insert topic], when you never talk about [insert 2nd topic]" and, in fact, topic 2 just ended a four-month run as the head-line thread a dozen weeks previous. Read the group for awhile before posting -- a good four to six weeks is not a bad figure to start with; it will give you a chance not only to see what topics are current, but the general tone and tenor of the discussion. New topics are always welcomed, but it pays dividends to possess some cognizance of what may have been said on some similar topic, in order that you not give the appearance of having certain appendages inserted into certain of your orifices. What a shameful display that makes.
All of Kubrick's films are discussed in the newsgroup, and each one of them has its champions. And if there's a topic you aren't seeing discussed enough, don't be afraid to bring it up.
I made a post regarding ______ but no-one replied; am I so unloved?
Well, there are several possibilities here; indeed, it could be that, yes, you are a very unloved individual; but, unless you name is Bernie Farber, that's quite likely not the case. Perhaps you, again, for the 321,467th time, reminded us 'H-A-L' was four letters ahead of 'L-E-P', or what-not. Notice, in such a case, how kind we are by not responding. Or perhaps the point you made in your post was such that everyone is still digesting it. Seriously. And whether anyone responded or not, it might still end up here, in the archives. Seriously, yes.
Generally one can say that, even when introducing new topics or ideas, it's sometimes better to bring them up as part of an existing thread or discussion whenever possible -- it helps to sustain a discussion thread, and assures that your post will be read be interested parties -- though we must emphasise that your own post should fit into the discussion in some way. But, in any case, be assured that no one is simply ignoring you because you are 'new' to the group or haven't posted before. There are a lot of reasons why we ignore people, but that isn't one of them. We only ignore people we know already. Like Bernie Farber.
"I know you've all probably talked about this a lot already, but...."
...if your post has to start this way, have yourself a few second thoughts about it.
Does anybody famous (wink wink) read the newsgroup?
As for 'famous' individuals; yes, we have "all the best people" here :) -- though seriously, most average people would be genuinely surprised at who happens through. Some of them will post occasionally, most will not; some will post and people won't recognise their names; others will seldom if ever post because their names are too well known, and a fair number use pseudonyms. Suffice to say that one should, as a rule, be circumspect regarding the degree of disregard you may heap upon the names of those whose faces, were you to see them present as they may be, you would know; and be aware of how to comport yourselves public-wise.
There is only one, global Internet, and there is only one newsgroup on the Internet devoted to Stanley Kubrick, and Stanley Kubrick isn't chopped liver. Of course many people read the newsgroup -- all sorts of people. And don't underestimate the talent, experience, or the professional standing of anyone who posts, whether or not that expertise is stated explicitly. This ain't some BBS out of Boise, after all....
By the same token, you should never underestimate your own capacity to contribute to the newsgroup, whatever your background, experience, or knowledge. Good humour, sincerity, and some modicum of insight will win you the hearts of millions. Or some subset thereof. Be welcome to join us -- one of the finest and most respected (and occasionally notorious) discussion groups on the Internet....
Other Sources of Information regarding Usenet....
Although the social & intellectual ecology of this newsgroup differs somewhat from the average Usenet newsgroup, further literature on posting etiquette ('netiquette') can be found in:
- The newsgroup news.announce.newusers.
- "What is Usenet", by Salzenberg, Spafford and Moraes.
- "What is Usenet? A second opinion.", by Vielmetti.
- "FAQ: Advertising on Usenet: How To Do It, How Not To Do It" by Furr.
- "A Primer on How to Work With the Usenet Community", by Rospach, Spafford, et al.
- "Rules for posting to Usenet", by Horton, Spafford & Moraes.
- "Emily Postnews Answers Your Questions on Netiquette", by Templeton et al.
- Numerous books and publications regarding Usenet, such as O'Reilly's Usenet Handbook.
The above FAQs are also mirrored at various sites, including as ftp.sunet.se, mirror.aol.com, ftp.uu.net, ftp.uni-paderborn.de, nctuccca.edu.tw, hwarang.postech.ac.kr, ftp.hk.super.net etc.