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A followup, or FU, is a core technique of seasoned Usenet trolls.

The Basics: An Introduction

Posting to Usenet is incredibly simple - and very much like using regular email. Like email, you can address your posts to different newsgroups within Usenet, that post will then show up only on those groups that it is addressed to. Crossposting, on Usenet, is considered acceptable only if the post is relevant to each and every group it is crossposted to.

It is considered the height of crossposting etiquette to use the Followup-to field to reroute all replies to a single newsgroup so that all of the discussion can be held - or ignored - in that one group. The Followup-to field, much like the To field, can contain multiple entities.

Trolls rely on getting replies to their threads - that's what they're named for. Excessively crossposted articles tend to quickly led to a troll put on a killfilter, or ignored; however, the more newsgroups that see the message the more replies that might be garnered. The solution is to abuse the Followup-to field, as very rarely does anybody ever check this - some newsreaders don't even display it by default.

This is where the magic happens.

Motives and Advanced Techniques

A troll will often post something they know will get at least a handful of replies in their chosen newsgroup and, while they will only post it to one group, they will fill out the Followup-to field with around thirty, at minimum. The result is lulz causing chaos as the thread suddenly bursts alive with tens of people demanding to know why it was crossposted, and hundreds more continuing to reply without deleting the additional newsgroups from the Followup-to fields. The troll then has the amusing defense that they never crossposted the article.

The most seasoned of trolls will have a preset list of newsgroups that consists of equal parts credulous whiner groups, and unrelenting flame war groups. This ensures a good turn out of victims and victimizers.

Followup is part of a series on Usenet. [CollapseExpand]
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