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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/k/kleim.milton/rmw-p/rmw-p.03-vote-results

From: (Michael Handler)
Newsgroups: news.announce.newgroups,news.groups,alt.politics.nationalism.white,alt.politics.white-power,alt.skinheads
Subject: RESULT: fails 592:33033
Supersedes: <>
Followup-To: news.groups
Date: 3 Jun 1996 21:23:08 -0400
Organization: Usenet Volunteer Votetakers
Lines: 234
Message-ID: <>
References: <> <> <>
Xref: news.announce.newgroups:8092 news.groups:187207 alt.politics.nationalism.white:45382 alt.politics.white-power:58357 alt.skinheads:69202

       unmoderated group fails 592:33033

There were 592 YES votes and 33033 NO votes, for a total of 33625
(apparently) valid votes.  There were 17 abstains and 6252 invalid

For group passage, YES votes must be at least 2/3 of all valid (YES and NO)
votes.   There also must be at least 100 more YES votes than NO votes.

The final vote acknowledgement list is not being included in this
message because of its very large size.  It is available in the
news.announce.newgroups archives at:
That file is approximately 3.5 megabytes.

There is a five day discussion period after these results are posted.
Unless serious allegations of voting irregularities are raised, the
group may not be voted on again for six months.

Newsgroups line:	Lyrics, albums, performers, enjoyment of the genre.

The voting period closed at 23:59:59 UTC, 18 Mar 1996.

This vote is being conducted by a neutral third party. Please address any
questions about the proposal to the proponent.

Proponent: Milton John Kleim, Jr 
Votetaker: Michael Handler 


I would apologize for the greater than two months delay between
the closing of the vote and the posting of the results. Given the
extreme length of time, I feel an explanation is in order.

This vote generated an immense amount of traffic, far more than any
other vote I have ever handled. There were over 30,000 votes counted in
the final result, but the sheer number of mail messages that I received
far exceeeded that. I was deluged with requests for information, real
name corrections that were formatted improperly and had to be handled
manually, and improperly formatted vote statements sent to the wrong
address. I was flamed and accused of being a white supremacist and a
racist by people who didn't understand that I was just the

I was mailbombed, both deliberately and accidentally. One person sent
me 15,000 blank email messages as a result of an error in his mail
software (or so he claimed). I was mailbombed by several people
because they thought I was responsible for the bot campaigning for
this vote on IRC (see below).

As a result of the sheer volume of incoming email, the mail servers at
Net Access (my place of employment) became severely overloaded
several times. Twice this resulted in mail machines crashing and
requiring a reboot and emergency maintenance.

Needless to say, my employers were less than pleased that my personal
activities were (a) cutting into my work time, (b) causing such
distress to our machines, and (c) disrupting service to our paid
customers. The net result of this was that I was unable to perform any
vote processing while at work.

I consider this more than generous of them; they could have very easily
told me to just pipe all the vote mail to /dev/null. But they were
extremely understanding and helpful, if very exasperated, and for this
I extend my thanks to them for allowing me to host the vote here.

In addition to the time constraints as to when I could process the
votes, I was forced to only process them in batches of 500 and 1000,
or risk overloading the outgoing mail server as well. This slowed down
the process of getting ACKs to people, which made them mail me asking
where their ACK was, or mail me with another vote, and generally
increasing the amount of mail I was handling.

When the vote finally closed, I had a huge amount of data to sort
through. There was rampant forgery during this vote, mainly due to the
controversial nature of this vote. Many of the forgeries were just for
arbitrary people, but there were multiple attempts to forge votes in
the names of several specific people, like the proponent, Milton Kleim.
Several people notified me of the forgeries when they recieved my
automatic vote acknowledgements, and I removed their votes.

However, when I realized how widespread these forgeries were, I
started developing programs and heuristics to detect the forged votes.
This helped speed up much of the checking for forged votes, but a
significant portion still had to be checked by hand, and this took
around three and a half weeks.

After detecting and removing as many forged votes as possible, I still
had to deal with manually processing 2000 real name changes. These
people had made a small error in the resubmission in their vote that
made UseVote unable to process their messages automatically.

The final step before I could release the results was to manually
check the real name field for *each and every vote* to disqualify
votes that had username text, but were not actually names. I initially
thought I could finish this process within two weeks, but after it took
me three weeks to process 15,000 votes out of 30,000, I gave up the
project as infeasible, and decided to release the results without
invalidating bad names, as there was no chance that those votes would
change the outcome of the vote.

I apologize for the delay, but given the magnitude of the project, I
do not think the time I took was entirely unreasonable. I could have
released the results a week after the vote closed, but those results would
have been riddled with forged votes, votes that people wanted
cancelled, and various other inconsistencies. Had I released them
earlier, I fear I would have started a firestorm of complaints,
ranging from people who had their usernames forged and never intended
to vote, to people who had submitted their real name corrections and
not had them processed.

I did not consider that an acceptable outcome; it would cast
doubt upon the outcome and validity of the vote, and it would have
reflected negatively upon me, my reputation as a votetaker, and on the
UVV in general. I would much rather take slings and arrows for
delivering the results late and accurate rather than hurried and


By and large, this vote was one of the most actively campaigned in
USENET history, both for and against.

There were several discrete and unrelated recurring email spammers, who
mailed unsolicited exhortations to vote on the group, both for and
against. There were many many incomplete copies of the CFV crossposted
to the length and breadth of USENET.

And, there were two apparent firsts:

* Incomplete voting information was printed in several paper
  publications. I recieved several messages mentioning how they read
  about this vote in such-and-such's zine or newsletter.

* Someone set up an IRC robot that roved up and down the channels in
  EFnet in alphabetical order, spamming each channel with a multiline
  exhortation to vote against the proposal. This was actively going on
  up until the last minute. Many IRC operators attempted to kill or
  ban the robot, but it kept on coming back through different accounts
  and servers. To my knowledge, this is the first time that IRC has
  been used to campaign for a USENET group in such a fashion. (I was
  mailbombed repeatedly by someone who was annoyed at the bot and
  thought that I was behind it.)

The results of these massive amounts of campaigning really drove home
to me why campaigning for or against a USENET vote is such a bad idea.

The CFV, or incomplete voting instructions were forwarded to many
organized mailing lists and groups of friends, a la other chain
letters. As a result, many people who had never heard about USENET or
the UVV or the CFV process or anything got these instructions, and
attempted to vote. Many of them had *no idea* what they were voting
for or against.

I got many messages asking what this vote was about, or how I had the
authority to bring such a vote, or if this vote meant anything, or if
this was a joke. I got many votes that said something to the effect of
"I vote against the Neo-Nazi web site," or "I vote against allowing
Neo-Nazis on the Internet," or "I vote no on the Nazis!" All of those
examples say clearly to me that those people had *absolutely no idea*
what they were voting on, and should not have voted at all.

This is the consequence of massive vote campaigning. When massive
campaigning takes place, the CFV reaches many people it normally would
not, and the outcome of the vote is skewed abnormally. It's clear (to
me, at least) that this happened with the
proposal as well.

I will also note that I am *still* getting over 100+ messages a day
regarding this vote, and those are just the misaddressed messages.
( pipes directly to /dev/null.) I expect to be
getting votes for this proposal for the next several years, no matter
what. (This is the curse of Altavista and Dejanews.)

As a curious footnote, it appears that the
proposal has assumed meme / urban legend status. As far as I can tell,
it is still circulating throughout several mailing lists, as it is
"discovered" in archives somewhere by someone who does not realize
that the vote has ended, and it gets forwarded to all their favorite
mailing lists and friends, with an exhortation to "Vote to stop the
Nazis!" It appears to be rapidly approaching Craig Shergold / FCC
Modem tax chain letter status.

(As the vote was nearing completion, out of the the blue I got a
message from someone, attempting to vote on a*
reorganization that I ran nearly a year ago. If something like that can
survive a year, something as controversial as
will live on for a long time. As I said, I expect to be getting
messages about this for several years.)


Finally, here is the original proposal that was being voted on.


There is no appropriate newsgroup for discussion of White Power music, a
phenomenon which is international in scope.  Persons who have an interest
in this genre of music have no appropriate venue on USENET in which to
discuss this controversial topic.  Other groups' topics are too
dissimilar, and many of their participants are in no way receptive of
posts about this heated topic.  Some discussion of White Power music
occurs on alt.skinheads and alt.politics.white-power, but is inappropriate
there due to the former's mostly lifestyle-oriented matters, and the
latter's largely political nature. will prevent the
"intrusion" of fans into other, more vaguely-defined, newsgroups, where
they will not be welcomed.  Discussions would necessarily be free and
open, due to the topic's controversial nature.  This group should be
unmoderated because a moderator could exercise undue control over one
viewpoint's postings.


All issues relating to the genre known as White Power music, since it's
inception until the present, covering all languages and nationalities of
performers, and all themes of pieces. is an unmoderated newsgroup for the entertaining
and enlightening discussion of revolutionary new forms of rock, country,
and other sub-genres having racist/nationalist themes.  Both supporters
and opponents will find the group educational and intriguing.

Potential topics will relate to the origin, development, and
dissemination of White Power music; to the artistic composition and
performance of the music; and to the personal opinions and perceptions of
those who enjoy particular bands and performers, and pieces.

Michael Handler 
Usenet Volunteer Votetakers (UVV)                     

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