FAQ: Soc.Motss History

How it all started

The acronym “motss” comes from a similar one used in the former newsgroup net.singles (“What do you do if you’re in a bar and a MOTOS walks up to you…”). When the newsgroup was first created (1983), people were nervous about having a highly visible gay group, and “net.motss” was an acceptable compromise.

Steve Dyer created net.motss on October 7, 1983. After the great newsgroup renaming in 1987, it became soc.motss. Here is the initial posting:

  Net.motss is a forum for the discussion of
  gay-related issues of interest to all members of
  Usenet. Its name is an acronym for "members of the
  same sex", coined by contributors to net.singles as
  an analogue to MOTOS - "member of the opposite sex."
  It is therefore, unfortunately, a euphemism of sorts
  - an alternative to the preferred 'net.gay'.
  Nevertheless, the proponents of the group have gladly
  passed on this minor issue so that the group should
  be swiftly formed. [After a year of operation, it was
  suggested that net.motss change its name to net.gay,
  in recognition of its success which confounded even
  its staunchest critics. However, by that time, the
  acronym 'motss' was pretty well established in the
  Usenet community. -SD]

  Net.motss is designed to foster discussion on a wide
  variety of topics, such as health problems,
  parenting, relationships, clearances, job security
  and many others. Gay members of Usenet will find this
  a supportive environment for the discussion of issues
  which have immediate impact on their everyday lives.
  Those who aren't gay have an opportunity to be
  informed by the discussion, and are encouraged to
  read the news items and contribute their own
  questions and opinions.

  Net.motss is emphatically NOT a newsgroup for the
  discussion of whether homosexuality is good or bad,
  natural or unnatural. Nor is it a place where conduct
  unsuitable for the net will be allowed or condoned.
  Rather, like every Usenet news group, it is an
  opportunity for people all across the world to
  express their opinions, exchange ideas, and come to
  appreciate the diversity within the Usenet

  /Steve Dyer

Why not a more obvious name, like soc.lesbigay?

Such a change has been suggested many times. Some people feel the present identity gives soc.motss a unique culture and changing the name would change the tenor of the group. Furthermore, no one has suggested a name that a majority of the participants like.

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