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 membership. /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.