The following story is fiction. It didn't happen. I wish it could and would! But it didn't. If you don't like reading stories with gay sex in them or can't for legal reasons, then don't. If you do and you can, read on! This story is copyrighted, February, 2002 by the author. It may be posted to other free sites as long as my name is included and no changes are made. A courtesy email to let me know you plan to post to another free site would be appreciated. Thanks!!
GROUP ACTION IS BEST
BY ROBBY SR.
"Awwww FUCK!!!" Tony almost grabbed his computer monitor and threw it out the window. Instead he alternated from burying his face in his hands to slamming his fist on his desk to picking up pencils and throwing them across the room. The racket brought Rick, his boyfriend, running into the room.
"Hey, hey, hey babe!" Rick ran up behind Tony, pulled him out of his chair and wrapped him up in a hug. Tony's face was beet red, the veins in his neck standing out and throbbing. Tony was shaking, acting like he was about to burst into tears. Rick held him until he calmed down some.
"Ssssh, babe." Rick whispered in Tony's ear, "It's ok now. I'm here. I'm here. What the hell's going on?"
"They did it again!!" Tony mumbled. "They fucking did it again, damn it!!"
"Did what?" Rick asked, "Who did it? What did they do to you?"
"They deleted another one!" Tony cried. "Over five thousand members and they just deleted it!"
Rick rolled his eyes. He knew just how Tony felt. He'd had several of his own deleted and Tony wound up having to make him feel better just as he was doing for Tony now.
Tony and Rick got together a year ago when Tony was just starting college. Rick was in his last year at the time. His previous roommate had graduated and moved out. He met Tony at one of the college's gay club's functions, and after a short time Tony moved out of the dorm and into Rick's apartment. They've been inseparable (and monogamous) since then. Rick got his bachelor's degree at the end of last year and was now working on his master's.
Like many college students, one of their favorite pastimes was looking at porn on their computer. Especially the free porn. For a long time now they would log on to www.NetGroups.com where they could become members of separate gay adult "groups" and correspond with like minded guys and post and view pictures and video clips showing hot guys posing naked or sucking dick or fucking. They loved it so much that for the past year since they were together they started and "managed" their own groups. Between them they "owned" a dozen groups of different themes.
They had groups that focused on young guys, college guys, muscle guys, guys in underwear and swimsuits, blonde guys, dark haired guys, European guys, skinny guys, farm guys, and city guys. Each separate group was usually concerned with a single topic, and guys from all over the world could log on to their computers and join a group. They could then send email to the group for the entire membership to read. Many cyber friendships were made this way, and both Tony and Rick were in contact with other guys who "owned" and managed groups of their own.
Anyone could start any kind of a group. It was all free. The only requirement for group owners was that they had to have, or set up, an email account from NetGroups, which was no problem since it too, was free. Each group had a section where guys could send messages to the group, often with pictures attached. The pictures didn´t open in the group itself, but members of the group could choose to have the messages copied to their personal email so they could see the pictures. Many group members chose that option. There was also a section where guys could upload multiple photos without a separate message attached. And there was a section where guys could upload hot video clips of guys stripping or jacking off or sucking cock or eating butt or fucking. The rest of the group could then either watch the clip or download it to their own hard drives. The management of NetGroups required that each member of an adult group have a profile of themselves uploaded to NetGroups showing that their age was legally old enough to view pornographic material; which was normally no problem since joining NetGroups was also free.
The problems started when one went outside the adult groups and ventured into the rest of the cyber world, "among them English."
Net Groups was huge. There were thousands and thousands of groups that had nothing to do with porn. If desired, one could click to see a listing of all the non-porn groups. There were groups concerning gardens, pets, sewing, and cooking. There were support type of groups for various illnesses or psychological type of problems. Religious groups had Net Groups of their own. There were groups formed to talk about carpentry, home remodeling, building projects, and landscaping. It was safe to say that any subject one could think of, odds were there was at least one Net Group dedicated to that subject.
Since Net Groups was a compilation of "communities," things happened as they normally did in any kind of a society - even a cyber society. Some communities immediately assigned themselves the authority to tell other communities what to do. That was no more apparent than in the non-adult groups. Complaints came into Net Groups management about the adult groups on a daily basis. Not complaints about anything specific, just complaints that the adult groups simply existed. The main culprits were, as usual, the religious groups. For all time religious people of all religions demanded that the rest of the world see them and treat them as superior to everyone else, and the cyber world was no exception. Among those people, being anti-porn was a popular bandwagon to jump on and make a name for themselves as some kind of "savior" to the rest of the world, and people all over the place were trampling each other to reach the top of that heap.
Complaints also came in from people claiming to be working to "protect" underage children. Again, "I'm only trying to look out for the kids" was a great bandwagon to jump on and make a name, and a great excuse to justify treating anyone poorly. Whether or not those people really did care about kids, or even had kids of their own, was not discussed. Attempts to bring that subject to light were quickly swept under the rug. And once again, the main culprits were the religious groups. The idea of parents monitoring their kid's time on computers also took its place under the rug. These days, both the media and court decisions have shown that parents have successfully shuffled the responsibility of raising kids off onto schools, churches, baby sitters, malls, television, the police, neighbors, the community at large, and the management of Net Groups. It was getting awful crowded under that rug! In spite of the hypocrisy though, those people were in fact scoring points.
Net Groups listened to those people. The PR was easier to deal with that way. Adult groups would get deleted without warning or explanation. Someone would log on one day and simply find that the group was no longer on their list. No matter the subject, managing a group was quite a task, and building up the membership to several thousand members was quite an accomplishment. Losing a group like that was like losing a member of the family. Friendships that had been built up and solidified way beyond the plane of porn were suddenly cut off. The manager of the group and any member who had an email address from Net Groups also had their email account deleted. Losing a group was no small thing.
That's why Tony was upset to the point of tears. Rick knew that from experience, since he had lost some groups of his own. Usually they would calm down, get themselves a new email account from Net Groups under a different name, start the group over again, and send an invitation to join to every one on their member's list who had an email address from a source other than Net Groups, and hope for the best until the group was deleted once again.
It took some time for Rick to calm Tony down. He took Tony into the bedroom and for a while simply held him and rubbed his back and talked to him and kissed him and assured him that he was bigger than what had happened to him. When Tony started to smile again, Rick laid him out on the bed, slid Tony's boxer briefs off, wet his lips, and made Tony feel REAL good again...three times!
After their shower they decided to get out of the house and go out for dinner. Tony noticed that Rick seemed a little pre-occupied on the way to the restaurant: not as talkative as he usually was. For his part, Rick was thinking back to a couple of months ago when he was talking to a guy in a chat room. The guy also had a few Net Groups and they were talking about the problems they were having keeping their groups up and running. The guy was telling Rick that there were things that could be done, but they would take some time and a lot of effort and patience. What was his name again?
At the restaurant they talked about the group Tony had just lost and how he was going to get it back up again. Seems it doesn't matter that the group abides by the Terms of Service of Net Groups, the adult groups get deleted anyway. Since Net Groups doesn't give any warnings but simply deletes the groups, the owners had no idea what, (if anything), was wrong. Rick told Tony about the guy he'd talked to in the chat room. More and more of the conversation they'd had was coming back to Rick now. He was liking what he was remembering.
The waiter brought their food and left. While they ate, Rick started telling Tony about his talk with the guy in the chat room. Soon Tony's food was all but forgotten as he listened to Rick talk. Tony's smile grew and grew. One reason for the smiles was the things Rick was telling him. Another reason was because the tables in the restaurant had tablecloths that reached down to the floor, and Rick had his foot up in Tony's crotch and was using his toes to play with Tony's cock.
By the time dinner was over they'd decided to try and find the guy from the chat room. But first they had to get their feet out of each other's crotches and find their shoes. Tony's dinner and both their deserts were in take out bags. Rick left enough money to pay for the dinner and a tip on the table. Customers usually took their checks up to the cashier to pay but Tony and Rick were regulars (because of the table cloths) and were well known by the staff, so they were trusted not to walk out without paying. On the way out this time they overheard one of the staff say, "Those guys are nice. They seem to really like the food here." Tony and Rick had to hurry out the door before they broke out laughing.
A few weeks later Tony came home from school and as usual shouted out that he was home before dumping his back pack on the floor by the front door.
"Hey!!" Rick hollered from the extra bedroom they turned into a den. "Come on in here. He's here!"
"Yeah?" Tony said as he walked in the room. "Who's here?"
"That guy I told ya about at the restaurant. The guy about the groups? He's in here now. I'm talking to him." Tony said. He seemed excited. He quickly kissed Tony and pointed to the computer screen. He was in the chat room under his usual nick name, "RikiDiki," and he was talking to a guy who called himself, "SamtheSham." Tony pulled up a chair and read as they talked.
Riki: hey dude, my b/f just got home. he's here now. his
name is Tony.
Sam: hey Tony. nice to meet ya
Riki: he says same
Sam: sorry to hear u lost yr group tony. that's some
tough stuff. had it happen to me way too often.
Riki: he says how many groups u got?
Sam: about 15 of em when they're all online. how bout u
Riki: between us we got little over a dozen
Sam: i think i'm a member of most of yours! LOL
Riki: well we joined all of yours too. nice ones dude!
Sam: thanks - yours' are all great
Riki: thanks too! so dude - you say you know a way to
beat this deleting shit?
Sam: i think so. concept is simple. application will take
some time - AND some effort - AND a LOT of patience.
Once you commit - you gotta see it thru or we could
wind up pissing a lot of people off.
Riki: understand that. so how does it work?
Sam: well, netgroups doesn't really care about us - cause
we "only" got porn groups, right?
Sam: and net groups always looks for an excuse to delete
our groups to appease the church people and the
Riki: yeah, and if they can't find an excuse - they make
Sam: right, but net groups listens especially to those
particular people. those are the "decent" people as
far as they are concerned, and they'll do anything
those people tell net groups to do, right?
Riki: yeah. so?
Sam: so those are the people who have to tell net groups
to leave us alone. see?
Riki: but they'll never do that!!
Sam: (Grins Wickedly) they will if they're
Rick and Tony figured they'd made some kind of chat room record. It was just after three in the afternoon when Tony came home from school and started talking to Sam. They finally logged off sometime around 8 pm after talking for more than five hours.
Sam, it turned out, was a man in his early 60's. He was about to retire from his job and said he had lots of time to dedicate to what he called their "project." He was somewhat elusive about some things about himself, though. He wouldn't say exactly what he did for a living or where he lived. The guys simply thought it was a trait of older guys to be secretive like that. After all, most of them grew up having no choice at all but to hide the fact that they were gay in the first place, much less what they did about it. For them, keeping secrets was just a way of life.
They talked about the ideas Sam had for the problem of deleting their groups. It turned out that Sam had more than just the germ of an idea. He actually had an extremely detailed plan of action. It would take about four to six months to put it into effect after they had the commitments they needed. The guys were impressed! It wasn't long before Tony moved from beside Rick and logged onto his own computer in the bedroom, and the three of them signed into an empty chat room so they could talk without one of the guys having to tell the other what to ask Sam.
Rick: dude, how come u haven't done all this stuff b4?
Sam: can't do it alone buddy. need help. as you can see,
i need a lot of guys to get in on this to do it
right. if i can't do it right - might as well not do
it at all.
Tony: we'd love to help! but we're just a couple of
college kids when you get right down to it. why
Sam: cause you're young - young guys are gutsy. it will
take a lot of gutsy guys to do this. and cause i
didn't really have to ask you - remember - you're
the ones came looking for me. that's the kind of
guys i'm looking for.
Rick: ur gutsy dude! it isn't just young guys. there must
be other guys of all ages got the guts like u say.
Sam: there are, sure. i got several guys ready to get
started. i just needed a few more. there's one guy
even older than i am!! but most of the guys are
under 30. besides, most guys old as me, hell, we
come home from work and we're tired. all we want to
do is sit down and relax. but young guys like you -
sheeeeit! when you guys get home from school and
work, you´re just gettin´ warmed up!
Rick: well, yeah, i guess you could say that. ha ha!
Sam: tell me the truth guys - i bet ya anything that
between the time you two get home and the time you
sit down at your computer, that bed of yours gets a
real trashin' now don't it????
Tony: Ha ha!! it sure does, dude!! it sure does.
Rick: and sometimes the sofa gets it too!
Tony: and a couple times, the kitchen table--:))
Rick: and once almost in the hallway outside our door!
Sam: all right!! all right now!! LOL sheesh! cut it out
- unless you guys got a web cam!
Rick: oops! no cam dude, but you're right - we got the
energy you're looking for - and the motivation
Sam: that's what i like to hear!
Tony: well ok dude! i say let's go for it. what should we
Sam: u guys got other buds who have other groups, right?
Tony: sure. we got lots of buds with groups of their own.
Sam: ok. get in touch with them. tell them just what i
told you, but no more. if they aren't ready to go
for it, then what they don't know won't hurt us. but
ask them to get in touch with any other group owners
that they may know and pass the info along.
Rick: wow! this sounds great!
Sam: give it some time tho - no hurry. i like gutsy guys
but we all got to practice patience. keep track of
who you talk to and wait until they all get back to
you. it could take a month or so - but it's easy to
do this part up right. be ready for it.
So that's what Rick and Tony did. They sent emails to all the other group owners they knew. Those guys in turn forwarded the mail to all the guys they knew; who forwarded the mail to their own buddies, and so on. As Sam requested, all the emails continued to flow through the guys who originally got in touch with each other. Sam didn't want to hear from all the guys separately. He didn't even want to know who they really were. For the sake of safety and secrecy, he wanted each of the participating guys to personally know as few of the other guys as possible. He personally talked to Rick and Tony, and only five other guys, and so he continued to send email only to those seven guys. Those guys would then forward the email only to the other few guys they had personally gotten in touch with, and replies filtered their way back to Sam in the same manner, creating the same levels of separation that politicians work so hard at.
Sam was right about the timing. In a little over a month, he reported that he had heard about a little over 200 group owners representing over a thousand groups that they were ready to come on board and see the whole thing through to the end. He figured that was enough. There could have been more of course, but Sam said it would be easier if they worked with the minimum number of guys than any maximum. So at 200 guys they were ready. Sam then sent a very detailed email that filtered through the layers of guys and told them what they should spend the next couple of months doing, and they all went to it.
When Rick and Tony and all the other guys got home from work and school, they spent some time at their computers and each one of them built up for themselves 20 separate email addresses from free sources other than Net Groups. Then they used those addresses to create 20 separate profiles for themselves with Net Groups. Soon there was an army of no less than 4000 new profiles with Net Groups. They all became a very diverse group of people. They made themselves younger, older, men, women, professional people, laborers, ministers, southerners, northerners, asians, europeans, and aussies. They became married, single, divorced and widowed.
But no one was gay. Sam said that when this broke, people would immediately start looking for someone to blame, and the gay community as well as other minority groups were always easy scapegoats. Sam wanted to make sure that the "people" involved were otherwise as diverse as possible so no one single group of people could be fingered.
After each individual had their 20 profiles ready to go, they started joining the non adult groups. They chose groups that already had large memberships; the better to remain anonymous. Some group managers chose to check each message and picture before it was posted for the membership to see, and those groups were avoided. The guys chose groups that allowed any member to post any message and picture at any time. They didn't each join a group with all 20 of their profiles all at once. Sam cautioned against that very strongly. Instead, they all would join a group with one profile every couple of days. Other, real people would join the same groups in the intervening days so no one could trace back to any single day when suddenly there were 20 new members. It took about two months total for every one to situate themselves into the regular groups.
At the same time everyone was working on their profiles and joining groups, they also started finding and downloading porn. But they all only downloaded straight porn. Again, Sam said, he didn't want any one fingering the gay community, so no gay porn would be used. If this worked, Sam said, the heterosexual community would have the gay community to thank (even though no one would know that), and if it didn't work, the heterosexual community would be way too large to single out any one to take any heat anyway. Using the same logic, they didn't download any porn from the fetish world. No watersports pictures, no bondage or S&M, no incest, no intergenerational at all, and no pictures of any one who could possibly look underage. The people who are the loudest at complaining about porn also have a nasty habit of making extreme claims without facts to back them up, and Sam said there was no reason to give them any ammunition. So it was all heterosexual, ordinary, every day, run of the mill porn.
Rick and Tony had a great time while they were "working" on the project. They had a lot of laughs at least. They also took a lot of breaks and wound up pulling each other into the bedroom, or just went at it on the desk. They kept right on screwing and downloading porn. Sometimes they would post a message or two in the groups they'd joined so they would look like legitimate members. After a couple of months, many other real people joined the same groups, so the guys' fake memberships weren't new any more. As they heard from the guys they'd originally contacted saying they were finished with this or that, they forwarded the information to Sam, along with a quick note jokingly telling Sam what they would do when they took a break from working. Sam was glad to hear it all, and sent email back to them encouraging them to keep on talking, and asking them if they'd acquired a web cam yet.
For his part, Sam sent everyone an email, forwarded through the ranks, keeping everyone abreast of how things were going. Finally he decided they were ready, and sent another detailed email telling the guys what to do next. Tony and Rick read the note, looked at each other and said, "WOW!" Then they went to work.
The next day, tens of thousands of members of over 5000 regular groups clicked through the latest messages copied to their emails from their groups and opened the pictures. One by one they clicked on a picture that turned out to be nothing about gardening or religion or home repair, but a picture of a naked woman straddling a naked man. She was sucking on the head of his dick and his tongue was buried up in her cunt. The picture opened with the simple caption, "When Net Groups Leaves Our Groups Alone, We'll Leave Your Group Alone." Sam and Rick and Tony and the others sat back and waited to see what happened.
Almost immediately the various groups were filled with, "Oh My God!" and "How Dare They!" and "Get These Filthy People Out of Here!" missives. In a single day 200 profiles were banned from those groups. That was expected. It also didn't matter since each of the guys had 19 other profiles to use and monitor the groups with. As Sam said, they just sat back for a few days and waited.
During those few days, Sam sent out a note to the guys. He said he may as well admit that a very special guy had been working with him from the beginning. He wouldn't say much about the guy, except that he actually worked for Net Groups. That was a coup in itself, Sam said, but it turned out this guy worked in that section of Net Groups that did the work of deleting those adult groups they received complaints about. The guy said that he'd had an awful busy couple of days as complaints suddenly flooded the email boxes of their servers. The complaints were about somebody posting porn pictures in their groups, and Net Groups had better get busy and do something about it.
Sam said the guy told him that his supervisor told everyone in the section to begin actively searching out the adult groups. They were to delete those groups as soon as they came across them. The guy told Sam he really hated doing it, and actually only deleted any groups when his supervisor was looking over his shoulder.
Sam said he hoped that everyone understood how valuable it is to have a spy right in the thick of things at Net Groups. He said he was planning to keep the guy a secret even from Rick and Tony and the others, but knew they were all too sharp and would see right through him. He also cautioned everyone that after they read his note, they were not to mention this guy again to anyone except each other. Anything that could compromise him was too much. "Just know," Sam wrote, "that we have a strong ally, and I'll let you know how things are progressing not only from our end, but what the big wigs at Net Groups are thinking, too!"
The next phase of the plan was for everyone who was banned and who therefore lost one email address and profile from Net Groups to create another to replace the lost one. They used this new one to re-join the same groups. Then they used one of their older characters to post a message to the groups saying, "I've read the latest notes. I can't believe this is the kind of a group that allows porn!! I'm unsuscribing and sending a complaint to Net Groups about you people right now!!!!" Then they actually unsubscribed from that group and sent a complaint to NetGroups. After that they started infiltrating new groups.
The next message from Sam told the guys that there hadn't yet been a plea to Net Groups from any one to leave the adult groups alone. So the next day, they all used another of their profiles to post another picture. This one was a little more graphic, but the picture opened with the same message, "When Net Groups Leaves Our Groups Alone - We'll Leave Your Group Alone." Again they all sat back and watched.
Once again the next day there was another mass banning from the groups. This time among the usual shocked messages there were several from the owners of the groups. But all they could do was promise to keep a watch on the posts and not let the porn posts through. On Sam's instructions they all used another profile to send another post the next day with the same caption, but in many of the groups the posts didn't make it. So the owners really were watching like they said they'd do. That wasn't good. But Sam had a "Plan B."
Over the next couple of days the guys all sent a video clip to the groups that monitored their posts. When posting a video clip, the poster had a choice of having the group members automatically notified that a clip was posted. The guys chose against it. Since the method of posting to that section was different and largely un-monitored even the owners didn't know a clip was posted. Then the guys used a different profile to send a note to NetGroups complaining that the group was just a front for porn so the group could get around the requirement of listing as an adult group.
When Rick and Tony got home from school the next day they found that all the groups they had sent a video clip to and complained about were deleted. There was also a cheery note from Sam telling them that NetGroups was inundated with complaints (from guess who?) about the supposedly "clean" groups, and his spy at NetGroups was only too happy to delete them on his own without waiting for his supervisor to tell him to.
"Don't expect a whole lot from this, guys" Sam warned in his note. "Right now we're just causing some confusion - shaking things up a bit. But we ARE turning some heads both at NetGroups and in the individual "clean" groups. We're letting them know that we are around, that we do have a voice, that we can be just as sneaky as they are, and that we fully intend to do just that. We're starting to put some pressure on the big wigs at NetGroups and we need to keep it up. But at least we can consider this first "salvo" a success."
Rick and Tony felt good about it and decided to celebrate - right on top of their desk. Then they went to fix their dinner and "celebrated" in the kitchen. Then they went to the living room, put a porn video in the VCR, and "celebrated" in front of it rather than watch it. Then they went to their bedroom and...oh hell! You know what they did there!!
The next afternoon Rick got an email from one of his group owner buds who reported that one of the clean groups he had infiltrated had a note posted saying that the management of Net Groups was contacted. Net Groups responded promising to investigate the sudden posting of porn pictures and vid clips into the non adult groups. Rick was concerned and forwarded the information to Sam. There was also still no contact to Net Groups pleading for them to leave the adult groups alone.
"You have to remember," Sam wrote to everyone, "we are dealing with extremely narrow minded people here. They see themselves as the final authority on all things and are loathe to admit that any one else may have an upper hand on any subject. Even when faced with overwhelming evidence these kind of people are still incapable of independant thought, and will not change their mind. Even the management of Net Groups thinks that the mere suggestion of an "investigation" will scare us away. They have convinced themselves that they have that much power (that comes from my "source" at Net Groups). In many ways though; the state and federal legislators support these people because they always wave the flag and the Bible when they talk. They are all of the opinion that their sheer force of numbers will always guarantee that they will have their way. Unfortunately, they do have some reason to be convinced because people who are on our side rarely speak up. That's why they think that all they have to do is say, "Boo!" and we're expected to cower in fear and behave ourselves. As far as sheer numbers go: no one really knows just exactly what those numbers are. The religious people simply assume they are the majority, and not only do they expect all of us to believe them, but they and the law makers carry on based on the assumption that we do believe them. What we're doing right now is showing them that we don't believe them, that we do have a voice, and that we're going to be heard. But it will take some more time because these people literally need a brick to fall on their head before they start thinking on their own. According to my source there is no investigation going on because no one in Net Groups management knows where or how to begin."
So Rick and Tony and all the other guys continued to post pics and vid clips in their groups with the same message over and over again, and joining new groups as the clean groups were deleted. After another month Sam reported that he heard from his spy at Net Groups that they finally started receiving a few emails telling them that if leaving the adult groups alone would keep this "smut" from the clean groups, that maybe Net Groups should do it. But only a few. That was okay, Sam said. It was only a ripple, but ripples are how changes get started. Besides, Sam said, he had a Plan C, and told the guys to hang on until they heard from him again.
A couple of weeks later on a Tuesday Sam sent a message to all the guys and told them to forward it through the layers as quickly as possible. As Sam said, Rick and Tony turned on their TV on Thursday evening and found themselves on the news. Sort of.
The news anchor explained what Net Groups was, and showed a few examples of some of the clean groups. She also explained what the adult groups were. Then she reported that a few months ago there was a sudden "onslaught" of pornographic pictures and videos being sent to the clean groups, all with the same message. She then reported that Net Groups would routinely delete the adult groups for supposedly violating Net Groups' Terms of Service, and apparently the adult groups were upset about it. Net Groups, she said, promised that first they would find a way to put a stop to it, and then they would take legal action against who ever was doing it.
After the show they found another email from Sam. He said not to panic - that Net Groups was still grasping at straws and didn't really know what they were going to do, and had no real plans. His source at Net Groups, he said, reported that they weren't doing anything more than they ever did. They still would only delete groups they received specific complaints about, and the number of those types of complaints has stayed constant so far. What he was doing though, was responding to the complaints he was getting from Sam's guys about the porn in the clean groups and happily deleting them!
But still some of the guys were getting worried, including Rick and Tony. A few of the guys dropped out of the whole thing. Sam did his best to calm them down - reminding them that Net Groups was only using psychology on them to try to scare them away. They still had over 180 guys active and they were doing good. Some of the guys reported that a couple of the clean groups they joined gave up and the group owners closed down their own groups. They said they'd rather not have a group at all than have to put up with "that trash" getting through. Regardless of the reason given, the important thing was that those group owners gave up and went away.
A week later Sam sent another note to the guys and once again told them to watch their TV, and that he would meet Rick and Tony in the chat room after the show. "The show," turned out to be "60 Minutes" and the guys were the lead story. Rick and Tony watched it in their bed, with their arms around each other, their mouths hanging open, and their eyes widened.
The story ran for 20 minutes. It explained what Net Groups was, it's history, and what has been happening lately. A few obviously exasperated people were interviewed who owned some clean groups. They basically said they didn't know what was going on, that Net Groups wasn't doing enough to protect them, that they were completely innocent victims, and that somebody should do something.
Then the scene switched to one of the offices of Net Groups itself. Rick and Tony found themselves feeling a little weird that they were somewhat surprised to see that there really was an actual place where Net Groups operated. The interviewer and the camera crew simply walked into the section where the groups were monitored and deleted and put the department head on the spot. His name was Albert Hartbrook. He was an older man in a wheelchair, and he appeared as exasperated as the others. He explained that simply going through one by one and deleting all the adult groups wasn't such an easy task as everyone thought - there were simply too many of them, and groups that were deleted were re-started under a different name within a few days. Also, he said, as long as the adult groups followed policy and listed themselves as adult groups and took appropriate precautions to deny entry to underage children and to warn everyone that they were in fact an adult group, that deleting all of them under general principles would raise a free speech question and leave Net Groups open to lawsuits: a statement that was confirmed in a later interview with an attorney from the American Civil Liberties Union.
The department head was asked why adult groups were deleted in the first place. He said that when they receive enough complaints about a particular group that they were obligated to take action. And deleting the group was the only logical action to take. He was then asked what type of complaints he had been receiving and he evaded the question, saying only that all complaints were taken seriously. Again he was asked point blank specifically what kind of complaints there were, and again he evaded the question.
The interviewers on that program are aggressive, and they were this time too. Finally the interviewer asked the question that Sam and the guys were hoping for.
"As long as these adult groups abide by the terms of service, i.e. that they list themselves as an adult group, take precautions that only adults were allowed entry, and don't promote those things that are illegal - why don't you just leave them alone?"
"Well," the department head said, "you have to understand, Net Groups is supported by advertisers...."
"Mr. Hartbrook.." the interviewer cut in, "I'm not asking you about advertising. I'm simply asking - if the adult groups abide by the Terms of Service, why don't you simply leave them alone?"
Mr. Hartbrook appeared to be squirming in his wheelchair, "It's not that simple!" he said, "We are a business, and like any business we have to think about our income. Our income comes from our advertisers..."
The interviewer cut in again, "So are the advertisers the ones who are......."
"Let me finish!"
"Do the advertisers dictate the Terms of Service?"
Mr. Hartbrook shook his finger at the interviewer, "I SAID let me FINISH!!" The interviewer merely nodded. He didn´t care what Hartbrook said - his goal was accomplished. He had Hartbrook frazzled. Frazzled people lie badly. Hartbrook continued. "Our income comes from our advertisers and the people in the groups support the advertisers," Hartbrook said quickly, "We have to listen to them or we might as well just close up shop! Why is that so difficult to understand?"
"Mr. Hartbrook," the interviewer said, obviously trying to be patient, "I'll ask you again. Do the advertisers dictate the Terms of Service to you?"
"No. We wrote our own Terms of Service and they're fairly standard."
"So do all these complaints come from the advertisers?"
Mr. Hartbrook squirmed again, "The complaints are widely varied among several groups of people."
"Well then," the interviewer leaned forward and looked Mr. Hartbrook right in the eye, "Why is it so difficult to answer my question? As long as the adult groups abide by the Terms of Service, why not leave them alone?"
"We have to respond to the complaints! They come from our customers!"
"How do you verify that the complaints are legitimate?"
Hartbrook slumped back in his wheel chair, "What do you mean?"
"It seems there can only be a limited number of valid complaints. Such as the group didn't list itself as an adult group, or there are underage children as members of the group, or the group is an incest or bestiality group or promotes bigamy or polygamy or child porn." The interviewer spread out his hands, "Do you check the group and verify the complaint before you delete it? Or do you just delete it without checking simply because it is an adult group?"
"We do our job!"
"Mr. Hartbrook, please answer the question. Do you check the validity of the complaint before you take action or don't you?"
Mr. Hartbrook obviously had had enough. He actually pounded his fist on the arm of his wheelchair. "I do what company policy tells me to do and so does my staff!! That policy is NOT being submitted for your approval! Now I have work to do and I'm sure you have something constructive to do, sir!!" And Hartbrook spun his wheelchair around and wheeled himself out of the room without listening to the next question.
The camera then panned the room. There were three men with their backs to the camera working on computers. Rick and Tony knew that one of them was secretly working with Sam.
No one else at Net Groups allowed themselves to be interviewed. The reporter finished by saying that even a casual observer could see that the adult groups were being unfairly attacked and were only responding to that attack, which they had a right to do.
"Regardless of how you feel about pornography," the reporter said into the camera, "the law currently allows it to exist under certain conditions. As long as those conditions are met there is no reason to arbitrarily delete those groups without just cause. It's a logical assumption that if Net Groups agrees to leave those adult groups alone who abide by the Terms of Service that the pornographic pictures in the non-adult groups would disappear as suddenly as they appeared a few months ago." And the segment ended. Rick and Tony flew to their computers to log on to the chat room.
Sam was in the chat room waiting for them.
Sam: how'd you like the show, guys? :))
Rick: what the fuck was that about sam? i had no idea
things would go this far!
Sam: it doesn't scare you, does it?
Tony: it scares me shitless sam! my folks would smear my
ass all over the place if I got kicked out of
Rick: wouldn't do me any good either dude!
Sam: let me tell you something that happened yesterday,
guys. i spent some time in The chat room with my spy
at Net Groups.
Sam: he said they had a big staff meeting just that
morning. they were told that the management had
absolutely no idea what to do, and they had no plans
Whatsoever at the moment.
Tony: for real?
Rick: but how are we being protected? this was fun at
first but i'm fuckin' nervous now.
Sam: that's understandable. really. but that's exactly
how net groups wants you to feel. they want you to
get nervous and stop and go away quietly.
Tony: they got a lot more power than we do dude.
Sam: not really. they have a good marketing and
advertising department who knows how to paint a
picture, but that's about it. my guy at net groups
said they were told to stop deleting the adult
groups. how bout that?
Rick: no shit?!
Sam: well, except the ones who promote the illegal stuff.
but yeah - groups like ours are safe, at least for
Rick: i don't know dude. that dude on tv seemed awful
Sam: he sure did! but the problem there is that he was
caught unprepared and it showed. he didn't cover
himself very well at all.
Tony: i just know he was fuckin' pissed!
Sam: yeah he was but that only made him make some
mistakes. big ones.
Rick: such as?
Sam: he shouldn't have said anything about law suits.
hopefully some of the hetero Group owners will pick
up on it and start asking questions. if not, could
very well be the ACLU will do something by
themselves. that would be good, and
the ACLU can be damn aggressive when they want to.
Rick: is that something like a Plan D you got dude?
Sam: LOL i'm already thinking of a way to get that ball
Tony: can they really do something?
Sam: oh you bet they can. anti-porn people think they
have nothing to worry about - that no one would dare
publicly disagree with them. they think they have
that much power so they don't even have a Plan A to
deal with any actions on our part.
Rick: what other mistakes did he make?
Sam: he evaded answering questions about how they
evaluate the complaints. That as much as admitted
that they don't evaluate at all but just delete
arbitrarily. that wasn't good at all. made our whole
Tony: wow! so we did it? we won?
Sam: we won a battle - not the war. net groups is still
hoping this whole thing will simply go away, just
like things like this have done in the past. they're
counting on it.
Rick: so do you want us to keep on posting stuff? what if
they really can find out who we are?
Sam: they can't. remember, all your email addys and
profiles are full of wrong information. even if they
really do try - which my guy said they admitted that
they don't even know how to begin - it will only be
one huge wild goose chase.
Rick: sounds good, sam, but i still feel kinda like i'm
out here by myself.
Tony: yeah - and what do we tell the other guys? i bet my
inbox is filling up right now.
Sam: well guys, actually, we don't have to do much at all
at this point.
Rick: really? what do you mean?
Sam: the media loves this stuff. they eat it up.
Sam: so now that they got their hands on it - they'll run
with it all by themselves. they don't need any help
from us at all.
Rick: oh yeah - that's right!
Sam: so you can tell the other guys to just sit tight.
they don't have to post anything else yet.
Tony: oh man! now THAT sounds good!
Sam: LOL i figured you'd like that. now we can't just
stop, though, or everyone will think we gave up. but
we certainly don't need to post anything every day
like we have been. once a week or even only twice a
month would do to keep the ball rolling.
Rick: no kiddin?
Sam: sure. the media will basically take it from here.
and they'll be happy to do it, too. all we really
have to do is sit back and watch.
Rick: we'll let every body know right away.
Sam: and then you're gonna "celebrate" again?
Tony: oh you bet! Woo hoo!! LOL
Sam: did you guys get a web cam yet? :-)
Rick: oh stop!! Ha ha ha!
Sam: LOL i can dream, can't i?
Tony: by the way dude. what about this Plan C you said you
Sam: i already did it - i'm the one who contacted the
media in the first place.
Rick: fuckin shit dude!!
Sam was right: the media took it and ran with it. All the news shows did segments and interviews which fueled the fire. Every major newspaper in the country did a front page story on it. Every morning and afternoon talk show did shows about it and had as guests people who owned some clean groups who hollered about it, and people from various religious groups who hollered about it, and people who didn´t even know what Net Groups was, but hollered about it. But this time they also had people who owned some hetero adult groups who felt buoyed by the sympathetic press recently, and they hollered right back; louder and more forcefully than they ever have in the past. One talk show that was notorious for its confrontational style invited every one to be guests. The religious people and the anti porn people jumped at it. But the owners of the hetero adult groups sent a statement and said that such a planned confrontational style and the people who liked it were beneath them, and they declined the invitation. That statement fueled the fire even more, prompting many "How DARE they pretend to be better than we are!" letters sent to editors and calls to the news shows. Radio talk show nay sayers were just as quick to jump on the bandwagon. The consistent thought seemed to be one that condemned what Sam and the guys were doing, but admitted the adult groups' right to exist within the law. No one had ever done that before.
After the first TV spot, another 10 guys dropped out of the project, but there were still 170 left. A few times in the next month they posted pics and vid clips and sent complaints to Net Groups and Sam's man on the inside laughed as he deleted the offending clean groups. As it turned out, even Sam mis-guessed the timing and they only had to keep it up for a couple more months.
Someone actually did pick up on the legal angle. No one knew who but the guys suspected Sam had something to do with it somehow. The ACLU sent Net Groups a complete set of legal papers outlining a class action law suit representing thousands of group owners of the hetero groups. Not a single gay group was mentioned. The papers were all set to file, needing only to be dated and signed. The ACLU assured Net Groups that they fully intended to file unless certain demands were agreed to.
Net Groups sent an announcement to the owners of all the groups - both adult and non adult - that they were changing their Terms of Service. Any complaint must now be properly investigated by Net Groups and the investigation must be documented. That documentation must be sent to the owners of any group slated for deletion in the future. Nor were groups to be deleted immediately, but depending on the violation, the group owners had to be given time to first fix the problem and report to Net Groups what was done. For example, owners would be given 30 days to remove copyrighted pictures, and 48 hours to remove pictures that may be of underage children, etc. If it could be documented that the violation had been corrected, the group could not be deleted.
Sam couldn't see it but there were parties all over the place after that announcement. At least 170 of them.
Sam and Tony and Rick met in the chat room again after the announcement.
Sam: so guys - we did it!
Rick: yeah!! and what a relief! but it feels good dude -
it really does.
Sam: you and all the other guys have every right to feel
good - i gotta admit i feel good too
Tony: oh you bet! but i have a question for ya.
Tony: that guy who works at Net Groups - that sounds a
little too convenient to be true. it's you isn't it?
you're the one who works at Net Groups, don't ya?
Sam: LOL oh no - no no - he's a real guy - i'm not
kidding. a real "silent hero" type of guy.
Rick: damn! we thought we had you figured out!
Sam: tell ya the truth guys - there were a couple times
there i wouldn't have known what to do if i didn't
have information from him. i wish i could meet him
and shake his hand and take him out to paint the
town red and all that. but it's a lot safer for him
if we just leave him be.
Rick: but sam - you planned this whole thing out real
well. like you had some experience. like you already
knew how net groups would react. like you were
already inside. how did you know?
Sam: i do have some experience. not all that much with
net groups. but i got some experience with making
plans and all that. used to do it for a living.
Tony: yeah? what did you used to do?
Rick: yeah sam. you never told us what you did. almost
like you didn't want us to know.
Sam: well i can tell you some. not all - just some. but
yeah, i used to do a lot of planning
Rick: so where?
Sam: the Pentagon
Sam: yeah. i was in planning and operations for the
Rick: oooohhhh shit!!
Tony: now it all fits! your confidence - your plan B and C
and all that.
Sam: oh yeah - always a good idea to play devil's
advocate and try to be ready for things that might
Rick: so what were you? a general?
Sam: nope. didn't make it that far. never did learn to
keep my big mouth shut! LOL i'm a retired colonel.
one more promotion and i would have had my star.
Tony: i'm blown away! man!! and you served all those years
and no one knew you're gay?
Sam: oh shit yeah! it was easy. being an officer helped,
but there's a LOT more of us than anyone thinks. Hee
Rick: well no wonder this whole thing worked. you kind of
already knew it would.
Sam: awww. i was confident for sure. but still couldn't
have done it without all of you guys.
Rick: wow - it's hard to believe we really did it. my
head's up in the clouds
Tony: after those months of sneaking porn into the regular
groups, it still seems like it happened awful fast.
Sam: that's how it always happens. always a slow start,
but once the pieces start falling in place it kind
of snowballs. after a long fight the climax (pardon
the pun!) always happens quick.
Tony: so what was the clincher?
Sam: well, the ACLU really scared em! my guy told me they
had another staff meeting and everyone was yelling
at each other. but finally they admitted they had no
Rick: i bet the regular group owners are pissed
Sam: who cares? LOL
Tony: i assume we can tell all the guys to stop posting in
Sam: oh yeah. you can even leave them too - but leave
them the same way you joined - with one profile
every couple of days.
Rick: if they knew we were leaving they'd be real happy
Sam: wouldn't matter really. they think they won
Tony: THEY won?!?!
Sam: yeah. when they see that the porn stops they'll
"determine" that it's because they scared us away.
Rick: but they really know the truth don't they?
Sam: well, yeah, but like i said before, they won't admit
it, not even to themselves - they're too narrow
minded for that. but that's ok. we can even count on
it and put it to work for us.
Rick: how so?
Sam: just like we already did. the trick is to let them
think they're winning when in reality they're
actually playing into our hands. when you think of
it, it's really not difficult to do with those kind
They talked a bit more and then the guys asked Sam what kind of media player he had. Sam was puzzled but told them. They gave Sam a connection code and told him to use it right now, and clicked out of the room before Sam could say anything else.
"Those sons-a-bitches!" Sam said to himself and laughed. He lived alone so it was safe for him to talk to himself. He used the code he was given.
The picture came up and Sam could tell the camera was sitting slightly elevated in the guys' bedroom. Tony and Rick walked into the room and waved to Sam through their new web cam. They were too far away for the microphone to pick up any noise so they sat on the end of the bed and each held up a sign. Tony's sign had an arrow pointing to Rick, which said, "He's Rick." Rick's sign and arrow said, "He's Tony." Sam laughed out loud.
Sam sat with one hand working between his legs as he watched those two start making out. They stripped each other down very slowly, teasingly showing off every bit of skin to Sam. Soon it was obvious to Sam that they had forgotten about the camera as they went at each other and Sam watched them have their own "celebration."
"One of these days," Sam said to himself again, "I'm gonna have to tell those two just how close they came to figuring me out for real." He decided to finish watching their show in his bed. "Guess I'm a better actor than I thought!" he laughed as he put a few papers in his lap. He put both hands to his side and maneuvered his wheel chair over to the side of his bed. He reached up to the triangular bar dangling over his bed and used it to pull himself up out of his chair and swung himself over and into his bed.
He settled in and watched Rick and Tony love each other for him. He kept shaking his head and saying to himself, "Those two!!" and laughing. He was happy for them. "Damn I hope they make it," he said.
When the guys were finished, they quickly blew a kiss to Sam through the camera. Rick reached over Tony and grabbed the corner of their blanket. As he slowly pulled it over both of them, Sam saw that they had somehow attached a towel or something to the blanket. On the towel they had used a big magic marker, and had written the words....
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