[Ads-l] rec.arts.sf-lovers (was Re: retcon)

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Fri May 14 17:27:40 UTC 2021

On Fri, May 14, 2021 at 12:32 AM James Eric Lawson <jel at nventure.com> wrote:

> On 5/13/21 10:19 AM, Ben Zimmer wrote:>>> While I'm griping about Google
> Groups... I can't even find that
> >>> 8/15/89 rec.arts.sf-lovers post in the current archive. Can anyone else
> >> get to it?
> The post is unavailable on Google Groups because rec.arts.sf-lovers has
> been banned:
> "Banned content warning
> rec.arts.sf-lovers has been identified as containing spam, malware, or
> other malicious content."
> https://groups.google.com/g/rec.arts.sf-lovers/

Well, *that's* unfortunate. I wonder if this is a temporary ban based on
Google's spam-detecting algorithms, or if the newsgroup has been
permanently removed from the GG archives.

>From what I can tell, rec.arts.sf-lovers existed from 1986 to 1991. Its
precursors on Usenet, fa.sf-lovers (1981-83) and net.sf-lovers (1985-86),
are still available:


In 1991, rec.arts.sf-lovers was reorganized into various other newsgroups
in the rec.arts.sf.* hierarchy. Those too are still available on Google
Groups (and are still active):


The sf-lovers newsgroups were originally spinoffs of the "SF-Lovers"
mailing list, which dates back to 1979. A digest was created out of the
mailing list, the archives of which used to be hosted at sflovers.org, but
that's defunct. Fortunately, the complete archive of "SF-Lovers Digest"
through 2000 has been uploaded to Internet Archive:


These digests do not, however, include everything that was posted in the
Usenet newsgroups when they became active. I checked for that 1989
rec.arts.sf-lovers post with "retcon" and couldn't find it. Also missing is
the 1990 post by James Nicoll with this famous quotation:

"The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that
English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words;
on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat
them unconscious and riffle their pockets for new vocabulary."

See the Wikipedia entry for the citation:
(dead link, of course)

Let's hope these posts get revived by Google at some point in the future.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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