oma.* FAQ List

Last updated August 22, 1999


What is this page about ??

This page is the Frequently Asked Questions list (FAQ) for the oma.* heirarchy of newsgroups.


What are the oma.* newsgroups ??

The oma.* newsgroups have to do with Omaha, Nebraska, USA. (Omaha, Somewhere in Middle America. ;-)


What are the common oma.* newsgroups ??

The most common, and the most widely distributed are oma.general and oma.sale. The topics should be obvious from the titles.


What is the history of oma.general ??

oma.general has a history that goes back over ten years. What we now know as oma.general began as an experiment to draw attention to networking technology at the Spring Computer Faire of the Omaha Computer Society in May of 1989. Four Omaha-area BBS systems linked their general message areas to provide a networked shared message forum in anticipation of the Computer Faire.


What four systems started oma.general ??

The four founding systems of oma.general were (in alphabetical order):

Actually there was a fifth system, an unnamed temporary system running on an Apple II on an exhibit table at the Computer Faire.

Successors to DRBBS Technical BBS and Larry's Hot Tub remain on line today. Binary Express went off line in the early 1990's. Friend's remained on line until the untimely death of Joan Renne, sysop, in 1997. Joan is dearly missed in the Omaha community. :-(

Immediately following the Spring Computer Faire, several other local and regional systems established connections.


What network sponsored oma.general, what organization did it have ??

As little as was necessary!

1989 was a very rough time in the growth of Fidonet, and many of the local sysops were discouraged by the games and power-playing within the Fidonet and othernet communities. It was decided that the new conference (tagname of OMAHA) would be totally independent of any organized (or not so organized) network, and that the only requirement to carry it would be the ability to handle the technology.

It was decided that it was to be unmoderated, and that the sole remedy anybody had for anything they did not like about it was to quit reading it.

It was specifically mentioned that wannabe.net.gods of Fidonet (or anyothernet) would have no authority over the conference.


Uh, but wait, I've got this old echomail list for {whatevernet} from 1992 that lists Joseph Blough as the Moderator.

The concept of an unmoderated message area was foreign to some networks to which the area was distributed. In a few cases, the name Joseph Blough was used as kind of an 'Alan Smithee' equivalent.

The names of the ca. 1992 Fidonet 1:285 NC and NEC also appeared at times on some lists as Moderator, although they never actually served as such.


Who is Alan Smithee ??

Who is Joseph Blough ??

Researching those names will be an exercise for the studii.


Does oma.general (or oma.sale) have a charter ??

No, see above.


Was a Call For Votes taken ??

Yes, verbally. Result was unanimous that the group should be created (retained) and that it should be loosely organized and operated as described above.


You've referred to oma.general as an Echoconference, Newsfroup, Message Base, and a few other things. What is it?

All of the above.

It began life using Fidonet technology, although it was not part of Fidonet. It was also distributed by Groupmail, and as a mailing list.

In 1991 it was gated to Usenet as oma.general.


I run a BBS. Can I get a feed ??

Yes. See Omahug's oma.* info page for details.


Can I read oma.* on the web ??

You can read oma.general and oma.sale on Omahug's news server as well as Deja(news) .


About how much traffic do oma.general and oma.sale get ??

Volume is low to moderate and seems to run in spurts in oma.general, and often very low in oma.sale.


Hey, some joker just posted spam/MMF/chainletter/whatever! Who can I complain to?

Nobody. See above!

Seriously, by both Fidonet and Usenet standards, oma.general has been one of the best behaved groups in the history of net communications!


So, what about The Thread That Wouldn't Die ??

This refers to a very amusing incident at Old Country Buffet in 1994. To make a very long story very short, the scenery was very nice, and it was equally amusing watching some of those present pretend to not notice. ;-)


What if I think you're wrong about something, or if I have something to add?

Please feel free to add and discuss in oma.general. If you want to send something via e-mail use jsw@ivgate.omahug.org