A Brief History of TNET
The Story of a Threade That Wille Notte Die!
The Never Ending Thread (TNET, NET) was a thread started in UDIC's Usenet newsgroup rec.games.computer.ultima.dragons in early July 1998 by Dantec Dragon.
This is the original post:
For some reason I feel Like doing this.
Im going to see if i can Break the world record for keeping
a thread going.
This is a thread about nothing. Lets see how long I can
keep it up.
Just contribute ye 'ol DADADA to it every now and then
and your all set.
Of course, your all welcome to make it more interesting if
in all its original glory.
In its original form, the thread was nothing more than a place for Dragons to ramble nonsensically, as they oft do. At one point in time it was a dot cascade, and there was also a Dr Suess parody running. This continued till the 2nd of December, when Destrius Dragon suggested playing Ultima Associations to keep the thread going:
>In article "The Never Ending Thread", Dantec writes:
>> Just keeping up my job as this threads care taker.
>> Now, hmm. Whats a good point of discussion?
The Dragons had been playing association games (movie associations in particular) in other threads for some time now, so the game caught on, and soon took over the entire thread.
The thread grew more popular, consumed more of the newsgroup, till finally the resident Usenet spamguard decided to take action and said thusly:
Hail and well met,
It has been recently brought to mine attention by mine liege that
the "Never Ending Thread" is becoming rather gargantuan..
The server where I currently reside has a total of 2177 messages,
of which 1298 art of the subject mentioned, most of which art about
20-30 lines long.
I have noticed that the bulk of these messages art being posted by about
half a dozen Dragons, often in batches - and hence many art being dropped
on the floor by mine leige's spam filters (Cleanfeed, a type in common
usage at an increasing number of sites) due to the same "posting host" and
"line count" in the message - thus far over 80 messages art thus affected,
according to Contrapuntal's daily usenet reports.
I ask those participants, therefore, to show some consideration for those
others in the group who art not interested or participating in this thread -
it is becoming difficult for many of us to wade past this to other posts
Thank thee all for thine time.
As a result, most participants agreed to exercise some self-restraint and limit themselves to posting only less than 10 posts to the NET daily.
Things have changed little since then. At one point in time a religious faction based upon the worship of the NET was formed, but they have either died down, or are hidden deep within the bowels of The Never Ending Thread, unseen by all but those who follow their path.
The thread is still active as of this date, and is still playing the Ultima Associations game. According to google, 10,080 articles have been posted to it. Should somebody feed the contents of TNET into an artificial intelligence, that machine would be quite capable of solving just about any Ultima question you care to throw at it.
Of course, The Never Ending Thread is not the only one of its kind. An even more ancient Usenet artifact can be found in wpi.test, known as "The Thread That Never Ends", and apparently several other never-ending threads pop up in assorted newsgroups (from alt.music.leonard-cohen to rec.skydiving). However, the rgcud one appears to be the largest one I could find.
The fact that so many people could come up with the same idea all independently proves without doubt that the citizens of the Internet have nothing better to do with their lives. :P
With thanks to groups.google.com for having a searchable archive of old usenet posts.