Re: Damn (was: Re: I love you too, Danny...)

Danny O'Brien (
Fri, 17 Apr 1998 00:15:18 +0100

Hi Mike,

NTK here.


Ah, don't worry ... too much. One of NTK's little ironies is that we
actively encourage the ripping off of all media, so it's a little hard for
us to criticise. The only IP we recognise has "TCP" stuck on the front of it.

On the other hand, we'd *really* be happy if you put an acknowledgement to
us somewhere on your site -- maybe in the FAQ. It's not like we came up
with the whole mailing list gimmick, but it's always nice to be recognised.

Also, we've found that as soon as you explicitly credit your influences,
you can start growing away from them. About 6 months ago, we published a
list of our sources that we used, so that if people got bored of NTK, they
could write their own. This had two effects: firstly, a guy in the UK did
exactly that. This encouraged us to do all kinds of new and extreme content
in a desperate attempt to differentiate ourselves from him.

Secondly, it prevented us from even *thinking* of directly lifting from the
listed sources. Instead being the Secret Masters Of The Three Percent
Dribbling Bits To The Unwashed[1], as naturally we yearned to be, we found
we were now speaking to people who were now, officially, cleverer *and*
better informed than us. Which is cheering in a way, but does keep you on
your toes.

We even went through a paranoid streak ourselves, over how we could start
crediting our contributors (who, Economist-like, almost always go
unmentioned). We tried, briefly, name-checking people, but even the
contributors got upset: they said it ruined the tone. So we invented other
ways to sneak subscriber names in, like the competitions, and the feebdack
column, and the Falco thing, and inviting them to parties. It's not
perfect, but it helps.

So, I reckon, if you did credit us, you'd probably feel obliged to re-jig
Up-To-Date. In a good way. Like, "berating the obvious" is a bit too
transparent a lift, as is that Meme Watch thing, and the ". On the other
hand, the actual content of those sections - and the rest of them - are
already evolving way away from the way NTK handles them. I think the titles
do them a bit of a disservice, given how you've moved on. Stop worrying,
and start doing some really sneaky thefts.

Oh, and I've subscribed, so you'll probably start seeing UTD stuff turning
up in NTK now...


PS If you ever start to include reviews of forthcoming BBC programmes, and
movies that everyone in the US saw 6 months ago, we'll fucking kill you.

[1] have I got this FoRKspeak right yet?