I recently received an unexpected email from Bruce R Mitchell, webmaster of the RSX BBS web site. Below I have reproduced his email to me, and my response.

Note that I have no indication as to whether Alan Frisbie (whose "basement" I was linking to) is supportive of this policy. My comments are not directed at him, as he has been quite helpful to me in the past.

Email from the Webmaster of the RSX BBS Web Site

Date: Wed, 9 Dec 1998 08:58:14 -0600 (CST)
From: Bruce R Mitchell <miim@knight.cvfn.org>
To: eric@brouhaha.com
Subject: Disallowing referrals from your site

This is to inform you that your page:


has been disallowed in our http daemon and referrals from your site are now being redirected to other random sites. The reason for this is set forth in our links policy which you either did not read, or chose to ignore:


This page is clearly linked from our top level and applies to all links and referrals.

It will be in your best interest to remove the applicable link from your page promptly to forestall complaints from users linking through that page.

FAQ on this policy: Yes, we have a severe attitude problem. No, we do not consider our site to be a public resource. No, we do not consider unauthorized links or referrals a compliment, or harmless. No, we are not interested in increasing traffic to our site. Yes, this is restrictive and not in keeping with Internet general usage.

Webmaster rsxbbs.delconet.com

My Reply

Date: 9 Dec 1998 20:37:02 -0000
From: Eric Smith <eric@brouhaha.com>
To: miim@knight.cvfn.org
In-reply-to: <Pine.BSF.3.96.981209084510.7926A-100000@knight.cvfn.org>
Subject: Re: Disallowing referrals from your site

Thank you for sending a polite request prior to taking extreme action.

Since someone gave me a link to Alan's basement, it's not clear to me why you expected me to search your site for information regarding your stupid policies. I'd recommend putting a link to your policy page on each of your other pages in order to avoid having to deal with people like me. Or perhaps you actually take sadistic pleasure in dealing with other webmasters in this way.

I have in fact corrected the problem as you can verify for yourself:


I considered blocking access to my domain from delconet.com and cvfn.org, but on second thought realized that there was no point to my descending to the same foolish and contemptible level you inhabit.

Have a nice day.

Quote from RSX BBS Links, Referrals and Mirroring Policy

I'm not allowed to link to the RSX BBS site, so here's a quote from their policy page, as of 9-Dec-1998:

Yes, this is pretty harsh. Yes, the Webmaster is an idiot and annoying and a complete and utter ass for laying down this policy. No, the BBS doesn't need the links coming in from another site. No, nobody here considers it a compliment to have another site linking in. Yes, this applies to you too. No, you're not an exception to the policy.

How to Circumvent Mr. Mitchell's Childish Behavior

If I actually cared about having a link into the RSX BBS any longer (which I don't), I would write something like this:
<a href="javascript:void(window.open('http://rsxbbs.delconet.com/'))">RSX BBS</a>
This would only work in Javascript-enabled browsers, but it would prevent the referrer URL from being sent to Mr. Mitchell's server.

The Saga Continues

I posted a message to the PDP-11 mailing list about Mr. Mitchell's policy. Some people were quick to defend Mr. Mitchell, pointing out that he is one of the grand old men of RSX, and that since he's provided valuable services to the PDP-11 community, we should cut him some slack for his cantankerousness.

Others said that they had unintentionally run afoul of Mr. Mitchell's policy, and agreed that his actions were uncalled for.

In response to this public discussion of his policies, he has continued his childish behavior to the point of taking down the RSX BBS site entirely. Since (in his own words) "we do not consider our site to be a public resource", it's no great loss.

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Last updated December 14, 1998

Copyright 1998 Eric Smith


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