The Net Scouts are a bit like the Boy Scouts or the Girl Scouts, but
for people who are nerdy enough to use the Internet. Indeed, they
could have been called the Nerd Scouts, but Net Scouts just sounds
so much better. Like those other austere organizations, Net Scouts
have several stages through which they go. All scouts start off as
Newbies, which is more like a Webelo than 2nd class.
With some acquisition of skills, and the knowledge to keep their
mouth (or keyboard) shut most of the time, they advance to the rank
of Surfer Class. At this level, they take part in activities
like emailing chain letters to their friends and surfing web pages.
Most Surfer Class are wise enough to only enter Usenet discussions
in the most tolerant of groups.
After demonstrating fluidity in these basic net skills, posting a
time or two to Usenet without getting flamed, and getting rid of their
AOL accounts for a real account on the Internet, they advance
to a rank of Lurker Class. At this rank, scouts may email more
important stuff to friends, or even reply to a Usenet post by email.
They may get more bold and begin to lurk in some of the more
auspicious groups on the Usenet, and maybe create a web page of
their own at one of the free sites. Most scouts discover IRC and
ICQ or AIM at this level.
After demonstrating proficiency in a wide variety of Internet
applications, and creating a set of web pages containing at least
two forms of media, scouts advance to the rank of Ween. A Ween
uses the internet daily. If he goes several days without using it,
he experiences withdrawal, and piles up dozens of email messages,
not counting the spam. Activities include all facets of net
use (web, usenet, IRC, ICQ, telnet, FTP, you name it), and several
forms of content creation for the net in terms of both applications
After creating a fan site of some sort and at least two net applications,
the scout advances to the rank of Oldbie. At this point, they know many
of the standard net tricks like fake-mailing, Usenet newbie trolling, and
how to create new Usenet groups. A large portion of an Oldbie's time is
dedicated to producing content for the net, and they actually start making
some revenues from their web pages. Now even the most inbred and stubborn
of newsgroups don't intimidate them, and they post freely with the
knowledge that they will only rarely get flamed. People they have never
heard of frequently read their output and comment on it (often favorably!).
The highest rank of the Net Scouts is Net God, of which there are
but few. To become a Net God, a scout must demonstrate the utmost
proficiency in all aspects of the Internet. They can post to any
group with full knowledge that any flames will either be redirected into
alt.test and rec.pets.cats or will be cancelled automatically. They
can selectively route their IP packets, block spam emails, and write
own domain, of course, and spend little time in the real world (only
when necessary to obtain new data for the net). Eventually, they will
all be immortalized as loas of the Internet.
Specific requirements for advancement in scout rank may be obtained in the
Net Scout Handbook.
Net Scouts Merit Badges
The Flaming Merit Badge
A Net Scout must show proficiency and diversity in his
flaming ability to obtain the flaming merit badge. The
following requirements must be fulfilled:
- A grammar flame (or "Gooley") - Find a post with one
or more spelling or grammatical errors in it, and
followup to it, indicating to the poster the correct
- A FAQ flame - Find a post which asks a frequently asked
question, or FAQ. Follow up to it, flaming the poster
for a) not consulting the FAQ file before asking, and
b) being so stupid as to not know the answer in the
first place. Do NOT answer the question. Use of the
acronym RTFM is encouraged.
- A political flame - Find a post with a social or political
view that differs from your own. Followup to it, indicating
to the original poster what your position is, and why you're
right and they're wrong.
- A name-calling flame - Choose any post and flame it's
author strictly by name-calling techniques. For this
requirement, you needn't refer to the original post in
- A wrong-group flame - Find an article that is irrelevant
to one or more of the groups it is posted to and flame the
poster for his lack of consideration for wasting bandwidth.
- An insider flame - Become a regular in some group, and
when someone posts an idea you don't like, followup and
indicate to them that their posts are inappropriate to
the group and they should go away.
- An idiot flame (or "Abian") - Find a post which posits
ideas which so ridiculous that you and all your friends
laugh out loud reading them. Flame them mercilessly.
Use any of the techniques above, or any others you can
come up with.
The Horndogging Merit Badge
A Net Scout must show a range of desire, desperation and
occasional lack of good taste to obtain the horndogging merit
badge. The following requirements must be fulfilled: *
- Personals - Find a post in one of the personals groups
(e.g. alt.personals) of a member of the gender you are
attracted to (if you're a heterosexual male, this may
take a few months). Send the poster mail telling them
how much you'd like to mate^H^H^H^H meet with them.
- Sex - Find a post to one of the sex groups (e.g. alt.sex)
which describes some technique or event that arouses you.
Send mail to the poster telling them they turn you on.
Tell them exactly what positions you'd like to try with
them, and ask for a date.
- Comp - Find a post in a computer science group (e.g.
comp.os.linux) by someone who sounds interesting to you.
Send mail to the poster telling them how interesting
and intelligent you find them (e.g. complement them).
Ask them how much RAM they've got, what their disk size
is, and how fast they are.
- Sci - Find a post in a science group (e.g. sci.physics)
by someone who sounds interesting to you. Send mail to
the poster telling them how interesting and intelligent
you find them (e.g. kiss their ass). Ask them where
they got their degree, whether they think asexual or
sexual reproduction is better, and if they've ever
"done it" by the scientific method.
- Talk - Find a post in a discussion type group (e.g.
talk.bizarre) by someone who sounds interesting to you.
Send mail to the poster telling them how interesting
and intelligent you find them (e.g. spread their buttocks
and smooch). Ask them their marital status, sexual
preference, and measurements.
- Followup - Find a post in any group by someone who sounds
interesting and desireable. Followup to their post and
tell them and the rest of the world how you feel about
them. To fulfill the requirement, the original poster
must be someone you've never met before.
* - note: If the horndogged party responds in kind when fulfilling any
of these requirements (yeah, right), it is at the scout's
discretion whether to proceed with the interaction or not.
The Trolling Merit Badge
Trolling is a useful skill to have both on the net and in
real life (for those of you who have one). To obtain the
trolling merit badge, the following requirements must be
- A Kibo troll ** - As Kibo generally responds to any article
with his name in it, this is one of the simplest of trolls.
For a slight challenge, post the troll to a group with
- A newbie troll - Make a post that is designed to catch
newbies. Generally, this means the topic matter should
be recognizable to regular users as a trolling post.
Your ScoutHackerMaster will advise you on appropriate
- An idiot troll - Post to a group which you feel is
primarily read by IQ challenged people. CARASSO
popularized this technique by trolling country music
groups. Be sure to redirect the followups to groups
which will be most incensed by the intrusion.
- A political troll ** - Post to a group with a political
theme (e.g. soc.culture.israel) with an idea that is
obviously offensive to the majority of the readers of
the group. You must get at least 5 different responses
by either email or followup, and at least one of them
has to be a followup. You may not use any of the
following words: Nazi, fag, dictator, communist,
socialist, nuke, suckweasel.
- A horndogger troll ** - Post to a talk or sex group as a
member of the opposite gender who's looking for some action.
Describe your outstanding physical characteristics and
how you prefer nerdy computer types to those people who
have a life. Do NOT give out your phone number (unless
it's actually the number of someone else, like Chevyn
- An oldbie troll ** - Post something with such wit and
inspiration that even oldbies feel compelled to follow
it up. To fulfill the requirement, none of the follow
ups or email responses may be flames.
- A famous person troll ** - Post to a group that is
frequented by someone famous (e.g. comp.ai.philosophy,
Marvin Minsky) and get the famous person to respond
to your post. Net celebrities (e.g. Kibo, Poskanzer)
don't count; it must be someone whose celebrity is not
derived from the net.
* - Note 1: In order to fulfill each requirement, you must catch at
least one person in the category of the requirement with
either a followup or an email response. Any others you
catch are a bonus.
** - Note 2: Redirecting followup is optional for these requirements.
For all other requirements, misc.test is required, and
other groups are at the scout's discretion.