“What’s the first rule of fight club? You don’t talk about fight club.” The same principle applies to Usenet, as its first rule is precisely to not talk about it. This ‘rule’ was created as an allusion to the hit-movie Fight Club with Brad Pitt and Edward Norton. The movie came out in 1999, around the same time that Usenet was being ‘killed’ by the regular web. Users then created this “you don’t talk about Usenet” rule in order to ensure the service remained up and running, ‘secretly’.
The core question behind the rule is that this is inherently related to questions around legality. Access to the Usenet is completely legal but there’s so much copyrighted and other illegal content distributed through the service that the more people openly talk about it, the more likely it is for it to become more and more difficult to access.
This is precisely what happened in 2008 when Time Warner Cable, a known U.S. internet service provider, removed their Usenet service, which was one of the favorites among users because of its unlimited downloads, good retention and stellar speeds and this made many people start paying for native Usenet providers. This had a direct impact on what the Usenet is today, a world full of providers offering a different range of service with different retention, bandwidth and prices.
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