Judy Bolton Days

Judy Bolton Days
First annual in 1991!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011



Yes, it's true. Series book collectors whom most of you know and love (well, maybe not love) used to fight like animals, crazed animals, on the usenet newsgroup alt.books.nancy-drew during the last half of the 1990s. It was a combination of bullying, fighting back, bashing, and general free-for-all flaming that, when you read it now, is truly totally amazing.

This carrying on started on Applewood Books' Nancy Drew message board and quickly grew to a fever pitch around 1997 due largely to a certain Hardy Boys guru who would not leave anyone alone. It became impossible to post sensibly and have normal discussion because this character kept butting in. He even went so far as to link users' names to live-link porn photos, and they were really disgusting photos. Applewood had to close down the board!

Then everyone moved over to alt.books.nancy-drew and the same thing continued. The Hardy Boys guru was joined by a wannabe Rick Brant guru and, between the two of them, hardly anyone could make a post without getting ridiculously flamed. It was a constant battle that no matter what anyone said, these two characters knew better or just plain knew it all, and let you have it for your opinion. And it was nasty, dirty, and vile.

Naturally those getting bashed joined in and bashed right back and it turned into a free-for-all constant fight. People began posting with secondary screen names, trying to hide their real identities, but eventually everyone knew who everyone was anyway. By then it just didn't matter. The whole purpose of the group had changed to flaming for the sake of flaming. People who are well-respected in the hobby, including moi, used to carry on like idiots on this group. Many of them would be totally embarrassed for anyone to read this stuff. Which is why I'm posting this - because you can! And you must!

Yes, you can read it all, right online, all the insanity on alt.books.nancy-drew from its 'glory days' of 1996 through 2000. You can easily tell who most of the posters are by their screen names, by others referring to them by name, and by what they talk about - their jobs, likes, wants, etc.

I guarantee that you will be totally shocked at the extent of insanity that went on at this group. But what happened is that everyone got into it, some for the sheer fun of it. I certainly had a great time sassing back to the several collectors who were constantly trying to put me down because of their jealousies. If you're looking for a good time with some big shocks and lots of laughs, you have to try it out.

What eventually happened is that it got so bad most everybody started up private groups, like those at Yahoo, where you had to be OK'd to be a member and where posts were monitored. This was a necessity to keep out the troublemakers. Alt.books.nancy-drew fell out of use and since then has just been a magnet for stupid spam.

But Google bought out usenet, or at least archives it, so every one of those insane posts, zillions of them, is archived at Google Groups. So, just go to Google Groups and do a search for 'alt.books.nancy-drew'. You'll end up on the page specifically for that group. Then all you have to do is search for a topic, like Judy Bolton or Hardy Boys, and you'll get lists of threads pertaining to them that go on and on while the posters fight and flame and generally act like idiots. It's all very amusing!

And informative, too. These were all people really in the know about the world of series books, all extremely well-informed, yet battling it out amongst each other for no other real reason than that the nature of the Internet made it possible. Of course, this same thing happened on scads of other groups all over the Internet. It was a sign of the times, a way for even sensible people to act like idiots. And it was a lot of fun!

Go to Google Groups, get on alt.books.nancy-drew, and search for topics or screen names that interest you. Make sure you check out Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Rick Brant, and Judy Bolton, series that always whipped up lots of insane discussion. You'll have the laugh of your life and be so amazed that generally nice sane people could act so vicious and crazy!