If you're tired of the usual airheads that become celebrities on the Internet, USENET celebrities might offer you something far more interesting. Many celebrities of USENET got that way by being very quirky, and immensely entertaining, users. Here are some interesting things about most USENET celebrities:
Most of them got famous for what they wrote, not how they looked
-USENET predates "viral" fame; most USENET #celebrities have or had long-term notoriety
-Pics and vids are not necessary to be a USENET celebrity
-Some of the USENET celebrities were marvelous pranksters who put people on for a long time
Here are some of the USENET celebrities that people tend to remember fondly and who made a lot of people laugh with some very unusual theories and articles.
John C. Baez: He's a #mathematical #physicist from UC Riverside with little patience for cranks. Baez has a website where he rates crank theories numerically and writes a popular column, which started up on USENET in the early 90s.
Alexander Abain: Abain died in 1999, but he was one of the most beloved celebrities on USENET. Like Baez, he was a mathematician. He had his own crackpot theories, however, and they garnered him a lot of fame. One of his most famous ideas was the key to solving the world's problems was blowing up the moon.
Hipcrime: Nobody knows who Hipcrime was, or is, but Hipcrime got famous by being despised. Hipcrime released a lot of tools and information that allowed people to fill the USENET with spam posts and other nuisances.
Robert E. McElwaine: A deceased USENT celebrity who specialized in information from the world of crank science. His posts were beloved because of their random capitalization, their conspiracy theory underpinnings and their obsessions with aliens.
Jack Sarfatti: Another #USENET celebrity who got his reputation by writing about the sciences, Sarfatti was known for making connections between the sciences and areas that are generally considered unrelated, such as the humanities. He is also known for his writing on pseudoscientific topics such as telekinesis.
What Makes a USENET Celebrity?
If you think that being a USENET celebrity starts by making a video or a photo that gets circulated virally, think again. Celebrities of USENET oftentimes build up a following by writing for many years on the same topic or on a range of topics. Oftentimes, celebrities of USENET actually do have some scientific background. The debates surrounding their articles are what make them interesting to other users and, provided that they can get a good, lively discussion going, such people usually get at least some level of USENET celebrity to their credit.
If you're interested in exploring who the next USENET celebrities are, it starts with getting a subscription. Remember that you don't necessarily have to look for groups that attract cranks and crackpots to find the new round of USE-NET celebrities. In fact, they're oftentimes found in the best-moderated groups and are very visible on the forums. Look for the posters that everyone seems to like, even if their posts are a bit off the wall.