A woman approached the Pearly Gates, and Saint Peter asked for her social
security number. The woman told him, and Saint Peter typed on his workstation:
pearly-gates:~/peter> grep 212-53-6432 /earth/human/status
The computer responded:
212-53-6432 Cindy Smith firstname.lastname@example.org!earth naughty
Saint Peter then told her she was eternally damned, and that a minivan to hell
would be arriving shortly.
Cindy began to protest “but what did I do wrong? I loved my fellow neighbor
as I loved myself, I was a kind, warm, gentle person! Surely there must be a
So, Saint Peter looked up on the files, and saw, lo and behold that she truly
was a kind, warm, gentle person…until he saw the entry for jan 7, 1992-earth,
***DAMNABLE VIOLATION #69*** Posted irrelevent article to newsgroup.
After probing a little more, Saint Peter explained to the woman “It seems that
on Janurary 7, 1992 you posted an article to Alt.religion.computers. This
article gave no praise of Emacs, no snide remarks toward Microsoft, and not
even a comment on the proper definition of ‘hacker’! In fact, the article
was not even relating to computers at all, and discussed, of all things,
human religion! There wasn’t even a reference to Bob or Discordianism, Zen,
or the Tao of programming. Oh dear, this is terrible.”
“You see, heaven is a perfect place, and we only have room for the most
perfect people. Ever since we ran the T-3 line up from New Jersey we’ve been
particularly harsh on breakers of netettiquite. Didn’t you read RFC-23654?
The one proposing commandments 11 through 15?”
He opened up an XTerm window and searched for some files. After a few
moments, the laser printer spat out a crisp sheet of paper. It read:
11: Thou shalt not flame spelling or grammer.
12: Thou shalt not have a .sig file longer than 3 lines.
13: Thou shalt not send “All fags must die” messages to 19 random groups.
14: Thou shalt not request post a frequently asked question.
15: Thou shalt not post to a group without first reading a week’s worth of
posts, thereby avoiding irrelevent articles.
16: Thou shall not post administrative requests to the main list.
When she was done, she began to stammer, but Saint Peter stopped her, saying
“I’m sorry. There’s nothing I can do. To register a complaint, you’ll have
to send mail to email@example.com. We have a group of
cherubum who manage such requests. But don’t send it to status-change@godvax.
heaven.com, otherwise your request will be distribute to the whole mailing
list. They *hate* that! In fact, there’s some discussion about making that
the 16th commandment…”
At that point, a Dodge minivan drove up and came to a stop. Satan, in the
form of an IBM salesperson, stepped out. “Welcome!”, she said. “We’ve been
waiting for you…” Cindy, almost in a trance, stepped into the minivan
and was wisked away to the netherworld, a world of COBOL, System 36’s, punch
cards, incompatible network standards, and irresponsible news posters.
Satan turned to Cindy, and smiled. “You’ll like it here”, she said, “We have
netnews, but we’ve greatly simplified it. We have only one group, it’s