A man approached the Pearly Gates, and Saint Peter asked for his social
security number. The man told him, and Saint Peter typed on his unix
pearly-gates:~/peter grep 212-53-6432 /earth/human/status
The computer responded:
212-53-6432 Mujubar Smith firstname.lastname@example.org!earth naughty
Saint Peter then told him he was eternally damned, and that a minivan
to hell would be arriving shortly.
Mujubar began to protest, "but what did I do wrong? I loved my fellow
neighbor as I loved myself, I was a kind, warm, gentle person! Surely
there must be a mistake!"
So, Saint Peter looked up on the files, and saw, lo and behold, that he
truly was a kind, warm, gentle person ... until he saw the entry for
July 7, 1997-Earth, which read:
**DAMNABLE VIOLATION #69***
Posted irrelevant article to FoRK mailing list.
After probing a little more, Saint Peter explained to the man, "It
seems that on July 7, 1997, you posted an article to FoRK.
"This article gave no praise of Emacs, no snide remarks toward
Microsoft, and not even a comment on the proper definition of "hacker"!
In fact, the article was not even relating to computers at all, and
discussed, of all things, human religion! There wasn't even a reference
to Bob or Discordianism, Zen, or the Tao of programming.
"Oh dear, this is terrible. You see, heaven is a perfect place, and we
only have room for the most perfect people. Ever since we ran the T-3
line up from New Jersey, we've been particularly harsh on breakers of
Didn't you read RFC-23654? The one proposing commandments 11 through 15?"
He opened up an xterm window and searched for some files. After a few
moments, the laser printer spat out a crisp sheet of paper. It read:
11: Thou shalt not flame spelling or grammar.
12: Thou shalt not have a .sig file longer than 3 lines.
13: Thou shalt not send "All fags must die" messages to 19 random groups.
14: Thou shalt not repost a frequently asked question.
15: Thou shalt not post to a group without first reading
a week's worth of posts, thereby avoiding irrelevant articles.
When he was done reading, the man began to stammer, but Saint Peter
stopped him, saying "I'm sorry. There's nothing I can do. To register a
complaint, you'll have to send mail to
We have a group of cherubim who manage such requests. But don't send it
to email@example.com, or your request will be distributed
to the whole mailing list. They *hate* that! In fact, there's some
discussion about making that the 16th commandment..."
At that point, a Dodge minivan drove up and came to a stop. Satan, in
the form of a Microsoft salesman, stepped out. "Welcome!" he said.
"We've been waiting for you..." Mujubar, almost in a trance, stepped
into the minivan and was whisked away to the netherworld, a world of
COBOL, System36s, punch cards, incompatible network standards, and
irresponsible news posters. Satan turned to Mujubar, and smiled. "You'll
like it here", he said, "Instead of mailing lists, we just have netnews,
and we've greatly simplified it. We have only one group,it's
Most of us don't have any time for anything! Yet somehow we get things
done when we are simultaneously excited enough about them and lucky.
-- Doug Lea