Reaching back into the Gallo archives, I found this Knowledge Report that I sent to OSA in 1993. My status at that time (as now) was Declared SP so it isn't surprising that they never acknowledged the KR and it took years for them to wake up and develop a strategy. Here, unedited, is that document, which had various attachments not included in this posting.
OSA INT <------- _________________ Chip Gallo July 20, 1993
Knowledge Report _________________ re: USENET alt.religion.scientology
One feature available on many computers is USENET (User Network). This facility, which uses Internet and outside networks which are not directly attached to the Internet, allows the reader to read and respond to messages, collectively placed in "newsgroups." There are about 2,500 hundred such newsgroups on the primary Internet/USENET feed and another 1,500 or so independent USENET groups, servicing corporations or other subsections of the Internet community. (see USENET HISTORY attachment.)
Not all computer sites carry all newsgroups. A system administrator may decide not to carry certain newsgroups or they may not be available from the place he gets his "news feed." Some newsgroups are also removed because of questionable content, i.e., obscenity or other objectionable material.
Within the USENET newsgroups there are seven primary groupings of groups. These are:
MAINSTREAM USENET NEWSGROUP HIERARCHIESThe alt newsgroups have less rigid rules for establishing new groups. Many USENET readers view these groups as being less serious in nature.
comp (computer related)(360 newsgroups) sci (science) (60 newsgroups) rec (recreation) (240 newsgroups) soc (social, where newsgroups for major religions fall) (77 newsgroups) misc (miscellaneous) (35 newsgroups) news (23 newsgroups) talk (18 newsgroups)
ALTERNATE USENET NEWSGROUP HIERARCHIES
alt (alternative, where the Scientology discussion is) (359 newsgroups)
The readers of many newsgroups compile a data file known as the Frequently Asked Questions or FAQ. There is vague USENET policy on this but usually the content is up to the participants of the newsgroup.
The FAQs are available to anyone on the Internet from a computer archive at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a few other download sites around the world. The address of the MIT site is (in internet terminology) rtfm.mit.edu. This means literally "read the fucking manual <at> MIT <educational institution>. It is what a person uses to find the computer on the Internet.
Also, these FAQs are searchable through several information management tools on the Internet. When someone uses the tool "Gopher" to hunt up Scientology references, he gets the FAQ file compiled by the a.r.s. FAQ maintenance person (Phil Earnhardt) and placed by Jonathan Kamens in the file download area at MIT.
I first became aware of the alt.religion.scientology newsgroup on USENET several years ago. At that time it contained mostly entheta postings and I read it off and on, infrequently posting to it.
For about the last year I have been reading it more consistently. The postings have concerned LRH: his war record, his background. A major topic lately has been whether or not Scientology is a science, is scientific or has had serious scientific validation. (Many of the USENET sites are research-oriented companies or institutions and their people know about this kind of thing.)
Sometimes there are squirrels who post. Homer Smith recently carried on long discussions about squirrel auditing methods and even relayed a message supposedly from David Mayo. I don't read accounts of auditing or squirrel material generally but I have attached some of these postings. Around the time Brian Wenger and I temporarily took over maintenance of the FAQ, Homer announced that he was leaving the group. He has said that he will run an electronic mail (e-mail) list and send squirrel information directly to people. Homer is based out of Cornell University.
The Frequently Asked Questions file is mostly made up of questions that skeptics have thought up. (see attachment). The answers are from non-Scientologists or disaffected Scientologists, with a few quotes from onlines Scientologists but taken out of context.
A second FAQ, purporting to be a "books FAQ," has been created by Don Lindsay and he posts it to the alt.religion.scientology newsgroup every so often. It only has anti-LRH material on it. No Scientology books are mentioned. I'm not sure if this file is on the MIT archive yet.
Attempts have been made to delete this file entirely but the skeptics and anti-Scientology readers are adamant about keeping the entheta answers intact. Brian Wenger (another Scientologist) and I posted a major revision to the FAQ, with all new answers based on WIS and our experiences in Scientology. The former maintainer of the FAQ decided that he couldn't have us replacing his answers and took back the maintenance of the FAQ.
Unfortunately, Jonathan Kamens at MIT will not allow us to replace the old FAQ without permission of the old FAQ maintainer, Phil Earnhardt. We would be allowed to generate a new FAQ but under a different file name. I have publicly proposed that the old file be renamed to something that labels it as a skeptic-created document and that we identify our file as Scientology user-created.
Some of the outpoints in this situation are:
1. alt.religion.scientology is not the correct newsgroup for a Scientology discussion. USENET policy makes it fairly difficult to change a topic from alt to soc (social) but the other religions are over there. The Jewish faith and Friends (Quakers) are there and have excellent FAQs describing their beliefs.
2. The open nature of USENET allows squirrels, disaffected ex-staff or public and skeptics to attack anyone who tries to talk about Scientology or LRH. This has been a consistent problem since I have been reading this newsgroup.
3. The FAQ is full of false data. Anyone can download this file from the MIT archive and immediately receive a highly negative viewpoint concerning Scientology and LRH. Due to freedom of speech protection, the file would be hard to get rid of. There may be some copyright/trademark issues which could be followed up on by attorneys.
Currently, Brian Wenger and I have created the rebuttal FAQ and posted it to the newsgroup. We can make some minor formatting changes and have it listed on the MIT archive, alongside the entheta FAQ. We would like to get other FAQs posted such as a real books FAQ, a Mission/Org FAQ with addresses, a Narconon FAQ, etc. These could be listed as parts of the basic Scientology users FAQ. (In comparison, the Jewish FAQ has eleven parts).
[All files are in plain text format]
APPENDIX A USENET HISTORY AND ORIGINS
See file: usenet-o.txt
APPENDIX B RECENT MESSAGE HISTORY FROM alt.religion.scientology
See file: ars-file.txt
APPENDIX C POSTINGS FROM SQUIRREL "HOMER SMITH" OF CORNELL
See file: sqrl.txt
APPENDIX D ENTHETA FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
See file: entheta.txt
APPENDIX E GALLO/WENGER REBUTTAL FAQ
see file: e-faq.txt
APPENDIX F USENET NEWS ON CD-ROM
see file: usent-cd.txt
[end of KR]