s.s.b-b, like all Usenet groups, has its share of flame wars. Many of them revolve around questions of whether particular BDSM activities are healthy or not (the usual answer: “They’re risky, but it’s possible to do them safely and beneficially, and many people do”), or whether soc.subculture.bondage-bdsm is a heterosexist group or not (I’m not gonna tackle _that_ one here, yet). One common feature of all, though, is that some people get burned out on reading all the hundreds of articles in the thread.

The solution? Most newsreading programs support a tool called a “kill file”, which is a list of subjects and/or authors that you are NOT interested in and never want to look at. Different newsreaders have different ways of using killfiles. I use rn, so my example will refer to it. (If you use a different program, see the documentation for that program.

To add a particular subject (say, “FAQ List”) to your killfile in rn, go to soc.subculture.bondage-bdsm When you are reading the group, type ^K (control-K). This will put you into an editor which is editing your killfile for soc.subculture.bondage-bdsm. Type the following:

/FAQ List/h:j

then exit your editor. What that line says is “junk any articles which contain the text `FAQ List’ in the header.” Replace “FAQ List” with the subject you dislike or the user ID of the person you no longer wish to read, and presto, your blood pressure will be much happier.

I’ve been told the following about the “gnus” newsreader:

In gnus, from the subject buffer, on an article from the person you wish to kill: type meta-k [gnus-Subject-edit-local-kill], C-c C-k C-a [gnus-Kill-file-kill-by-author], C-c C-a [gnus-Kill-file-apply-buffer], C-c C-c [gnus-Kill-file-exit].” “C-a” stands for “control-A”, and “meta-k” stands for “escape-K.” The text in brackets isn’t stuff you should type; it’s just explanation of what each set of keystrokes means.

If you use nn, track down a post written by the victim to be killfiled, and just hit ‘K’ (capital-K). Follow the somewhat cryptic prompts, and respond according to your needs. For example:

nn gives you : you respond
———— ———–
AUTO (k)ill or (s)elect […] : k
AUTO KILL on (s)ubject or (n)ame […] : n
KILL Name: (=/) : /
KILL Name (regexp): : FAQ List
KILL in (g)roup ‘soc.subculture.bondage-bdsm’ or
in (a)ll groups : a
Lifetime of entry in days (p)ermanent […] : p [or 21915 to 25568]
CONFIRM KILL Name perm regexp: FAQ List ; y

If you use tin, you can either hand-edit .tin/kill (instructions should be given in that file), or you can hit control-K while reading any article. This will toss a nice menu on the screen. Just follow the prompts. For example:

tin gives you : you respond
————- ———–
Kill type: Kill : [return/enter]
Kill text pattern: FAQ List [return/enter]
Apply pattern to: [spacebar until “Subject: & From: lines” appears, then hit return]
Kill Subject […]: No : [return/enter]
Kill From […]: No : [return/enter]
Kill pattern scope: : [spacebar until appropriate choice appears, then return]

Two pieces of jargon related to kill files: Sometimes you will see someone responding to something egregiously stupid (in the responder’s opinion) said by someone else. The response may look like, “Ho, hum. ” What is plonk? Plonk is the sound of someone being dropped into a kill file; the respondent is announcing that they are permanently killfiling the original poster. Other times, a poster may be annoying lots and lots of people on s.s.b-b, and someone will post something like “Everyone PISS on this guy!” PISS stands for Passive Ignorance Silence Strike, and basically means that everyone should just ignore the poster, rather than arguing and/or flaming. The idea is that if the person can’t get a rise out of anyone, they will get bored and leave. It very often works, too… or at least it reduces the wasted bandwidth.

What about the ads? See the next question; ads are not appropriate on s.s.b-b and will result in you getting flamed like crazy if you post one there!