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There's a reason this page was suggested....

This site provides information about the fraternal organization called 'Freemasonry' or just 'Masonry' (the Masons) and about the small but vocal number of individuals who resent it. You might know Masons as the Shriners wearing those red fezzes who run hospitals for burned and crippled children providing free medical care or you may know of Masonry because a family member belongs. If you want to learn more while you're here, this is a good site but the purpose of THIS page is to explain a problem into which you've been drawn.

If you've received a complaint about one of your users and were referred here, thank you for taking the time to visit. We hope it will help you quickly determine 'what's what'.

They just get more and more weird. In May, 2003, a new version of troll appeared on the alt.freemasonry newsgroup responding to dozens of messages with the simple line of "Abuse reported to <name of the Mason's ISP>". For what? Cross posting - and yet, curiously, the ORIGINAL message had never been cross posted. It was only this twit who had added the cross post addresses to HIS message when complaining about the alleged abuse. We would encourage any ISP whose time has been wasted by this fool to take the additional step of backtracking to track HIM down and deny HIS service instead! PLEASE!

We believe, by way of further information, that the cowardly and malicious scum causing these problems for Masons is, in fact, a UK resident named Chris Stephens who has been miffed that Masons would not take his rants about the Iraq War seriously. Before hostilities started, Chris - changing his identities every day -  was raving about the evils of the planned hostilities but exhibiting an appalling lack of anything vociferous rhetoric. When challenged on what actions he'd taken to help avoid the war, he proudly wrote that he'd "attended a protest march in London". When the howls of laughter subsided, he realized the limpness of his response but angrily responded that he couldn't do more because he was a cripple and confined to a wheel chair. A little trip through Google revealed much more however: Chris had also been asking questions about his car in another newsgroup (The cripple confined to a wheel chair drives a normal sports car? Interesting....) and in dozens of others, he was busy using different names and soliciting women to pose for his supposedly new digi-cam. At the point where posts about his bisexuality were being alluded to (all of these disclosures were quickly destroying his credibility for his anti-war passions), he went off in a huff. Since then, he has returned without revealing his identity and, under almost daily changing pseudonyms, continued to barrage alt.freemasonry with off-topic political posts. His signature behavior is the inclusion of local UK newsgroups in a totally unrelated fashion and the great majority of his posts come from a blind ISP in Sheffield. Because his posts are completely off-topic for alt.freemasonry (see the FAQ on our website here - we're the official alt.freemasonry Usenet FAQ maintainers), they are regularly filtered and ignored by the Masons - to his HUGE ire. We believe that if you track back the abuse complaints filed under against Masons for cross-posting to UK newsgroups, you'll find Mr. Stevens at the root - and we hope that you'll take strong, definitive action against him for the waste of YOUR time! Please feel free to contact us if you would like further documentation on this.

The Anti-Masonic ISP Game

With the advent of Internet communications, Masons have found the opportunity to share world-wide fraternal friendship. There are, however, a small group of opponents to Masonry -- and they are very vocal in cyberspace. Motivated by greed or religious intolerance or simply hatred of something they don't understand, they'll take whatever steps are necessary to disrupt Masonic activities online.

Usenet mailing lists are often freewheeling and the behavior there can be rude and crude, depending on the nature of the list. However, as you also know, some lists are genteel and 'family oriented'. The latter are the type where Masons want to be to discuss their organization.

Regretfully, those opposed to Masonry regularly and vocally invade the cyberspace meeting places of Masons and proceed to preach, insult, and generally disrupt the harmony so precious to Masons. As a part of such disruption, you may have received a complaint about one of your users and their postings to a Masonic newsgroup or other location.

Realizing that Masons could be silenced (in addition to being insulted and maligned), some of these anti-Masons have begun complaining to Masons' ISPs that the posts of Masons to Masonic newsgroups were inappropriate. (Huh? Yep, that's what they're doing! <sigh>).

Conversely, Masons have been complaining to ISPs about the behavior of these anti-Masons whose sole purpose is to antagonize and degrade Masonry. Their extensive postings are a drain on your resources and they regularly step 'over the line' in their behavior. They're also quick to hide and/or cry loudly when caught in inappropriate behavior.

If you're an employee or owner of an ISP and you've received a complaint about a posting in one of the Masonic newsgroups, there are several questions you should ask:


Is the complaint about the postings of a Mason?
If so, then the complaint is likely an anti-Mason who wants to use you in an effort at harassing Masons. If a Mason posts inappropriately, he will be counseled privately by other Masons; they will not resort to involving an ISP in any private pique or quarrel.


Is the complaint about the postings of a non-Mason?
If so, then the complainant is probably a Mason and is likely upset, not only that the poster is disrupting the harmony of the group and/or trying to sell tracts, pamphlets, and videos about the 'evils' of Masonry but that the poster has grossly overstepped the bounds of propriety. (We'd add parenthetically that Masons, not familiar with the barrage of obscenities found throughout Usenet posts, may file a complaint about something which - on another newsgroup - would be considered mild! Please understand that Freemasons respect the opinions and feelings of others and find obscenities an anathema!)


Is the complaint about unsolicited e-mail from a Mason?
In the most recent game played by several anti-Masons, postings to a newsgroup are made using the 'F/U Set' setting, placed there for the specific purpose of entrapping a Mason into sending e-mail to the poster in addition to the newsgroup, nearly always without sufficient computer knowledge that this has occurred. Often too, Masons will use AOL as their service provider and will be totally unaware that a copy of their newsgroup posting goes by e-mail as well. A simple message to the Masonic poster will resolve the problem - but the entrapment by the anti-Mason is what is desired in order to involve you, the ISP, in their game of deceit and harassment!

The differences between these should be obvious based on the documentation provided. 

Most ISPs understand that some Usenet posters will be more aggressive than others and most ISPs expect that some posts made by their users are liable to upset those with whom they don't agree. However, when the actions become - effectively - 'harassment' (continued postings inappropriate to the charter of the group), ISPs may become unwitting pawns in a game played between the protagonists.

We regret that you may have become involved in this way but we thank you sincerely for coming here to try and sort through the smoke and mirrors.

If you are an ISP and have received complaints about one of your users, we will be happy to offer a confidential and unbiased confirmation and/or help you sort through the charges and counter-charges. Feel free to e-mail us if we can help.

And if you'd like to know more about Freemasonry, we'd encourage you to browse around our site - starting, perhaps, with the section which explains what the organization is all about. That's right here. We've got some three hundred pages here with a wealth of information about the world's oldest and largest fraternity. In addition, we're open and upfront in identifying a number of anti-Masons, notably those active online. In fact, our search engine may pull up the name who's been the cause of your involvement....


Prince, the Search DogJust click on "Prince, the Search Dog" to find things on our site. He's on every page and he'll take you directly to our search form where you can see if we've written about whatever it is you're interested in. Prince has a great memory; he always remembers where things are!

This site and its contents are (copyright) 1998-2014 by Edward L. King (Ed King). All rights reserved. All comments and opinions are mine personally.

Got some thoughts or reactions? We'd be interested in your comments - within reason of course.
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