ONLINE > RECOLLECTION issue 1 > Art of Ragging
The Art of Ragging

Why do two people who have never met suddenly start ragging on each other?

What makes a decent group suddenly use words like "fuckings"? Ahh, is it the Americans fault again?

Nope, this time you can't blame George W. Bush or any other American President. Because the Europeans started hating each other way before they got modems and started using AT&T calling cards to spread their wares.

One of the first really big wars on the scene was between the Norwegian groups Jazzcat and Newlook.

Those of you who were wearing diapers in the mid 80's (and those who still are, hello Goldfish & Powerplant), probably ask "Who the fuck was this?". They were two of the biggest groups on the scene in 86, both operating out of Norway. This was when mail-trading was the hot way of swapping, and even Mitch of Eagle Soft Inc. mail-traded.

The war was of course about territory. That's the way it all started. "I've been first pissing up nine trees this week, so fuck you and your dickless group". Hence the wars before 1989 were mainly between big groups from the same some city or at least same country.

The wars were, however, not very amusing. It mainly consisted of a sentence after the greetings, were the "fuckings" were presented. And "fuckings to Jazzcat" does not really hurt that bad, now, does it?

But when modem trading started to make an impact in Europe late in the 80's, the wars started to change. The world became smaller and our territories grew larger. The battle for 0-day warez clearly showed who were the best groups in their respective countries. Now it was all about winning the world.

If you beat a group with a couple of hours, but their version had a cheat option, the slowest group still uploaded their game. The first group got mad, and hey, you had a war. And if a group released a bugged first-release, the rivals started ragging. No matter who was fastest in the world, you could be sure they'd have a bunch of enemies.

But what about the fuckings? Well, as we started warring on the BBS-scene, and not just in scroll texts, it would seem a bit weird to post messages every day with no other content that "fuckings to Jazzcat". So the warfare had to develop into something else. You had to make people who were not involved in the war read your message and laugh at the other part. The art of ragging was invented.

This could only be done with a solid portion of humour. If somebody was known for having big ears, you could write a funny story about how he used to work as an emergency helicopter for the local hospital, just shaking his head and being ready for take off.

If another guy was really obese, you could write a nice little article about his career as a football for the non-professional German team "Helga und ze Ballkickers". Such stories could be written in chapters, and distributed during a whole week. And people were actually eagerly awaiting the next chapter - except the victim, of course.

You could also get on a phone conference, were ten people called a loser and started saying things about his mother that only Linda Lovelace would consider a compliment.

This was done rather frequently, and we had a lot of good laughs. But this tactic was usually preferred when we wanted to rag on the less elite sceners. Verbal ragging can be difficult for people who do not have English as their native tongue. And who wanted to get humiliated over the phone when ten of your buddies were listening?

Some guys took the wars way further. Americans started doing social engineering on their rivals, and managed to get the phone numbers and credit cards of their victims parents. Not that funny, really, but it sure did hurt the victim. There were also several rumours about people turning each other in to the police. Let's hope it is just rumours...

So what does it all come down to? Well, we had a shitload of first releases, and I was at war with probably 50 percent of the scene at times. Was it fun? Hell yes, of course it was fun. I still remember when I broke into the private-sub on the Dominators BBS and buffered messages where one member begged the others for help because "I can't beat Gene alone". Needless to say, the war was won even before I posted the messages in the public conference.

And I still remember the quality wars with the Legend guys. It went on for years. Not because they were stupid or lame. But because they were good. We never managed to crush each other. And maybe that's the true art of ragging?


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