LUSENET (Catholic Forum) On Its Last Legs? : LUSENET : Catholic : One Thread

Owing to recent problems we experienced with spammers, I had the opportunity of discussing the forum with its creator, Mr. Philip Greenspun. He advised me the equipment used to keep this service up and running has survived long past its life expectancy. The equipment that drives our service has become ancient and in need of frequent repair.

At present, there are no plans to upgrade the software as the service now requires more expense than when it was originally created. The problem seems two-fold, spammers and aging equipment. Spammers are more prevalent now than ever before. This requires frequent attention by programmers to ensure the software is properly upgraded to meet the new challenges of the day. The system costs $5000/year approximately for hardware and bandwidth. Another $25,000/year or so, would be required for someone to properly administer the program to ensure the software is upgraded periodically and that spammers do not adversely affect the operation of the forums (remember we are only one of many forums on the LUSENET server). Unfortunately, expenses would be minimal were today’s Internet services not plagued with many who relish its destruction as was the case in 1995 when this project began. Our Catholic Forum had its first post in January of 1998.

The creator of our service is prepared to let the whole project die. It is beginning to require too much effort and expense. A few months ago, one of the hard drives in the system failed but Mr. Greenspun was able to recover the server from the other drives. I am afraid it is only a matter of time before our hardware finally wears out and LUSENET is no more, that is of course, unless it receives some attention from someone like us and the members of other forums on LUSENET, in the near future.

Further to the above, I would like to make the following comments:

1. Please don’t write Mr. Greenspun about this problem. He is extremely busy and has done enough already in providing us this free service for the past nine years and besides, he will not reply to you - he's been instructed to deal only with moderators. That’s what moderators are for - part of their function is to coordinate information to reduce workloads for everyone involved. If you wish to pass on any comments/concerns to the creator of this program, I can amalgamate all of them and submit them on your behalf.

2. In the event the system goes down in the near future, please don’t automatically assume it spells the end. Our system has gone down in the past for brief periods of time and yet, we still continue to enjoy it. In the event the system ceases functioning, I suggest you contact the Moderators at and we will pass on any information available to us. I suggest you insert this email address in your address book now, for future use. Should you need to contact us in this regard, I would also ask you wait a reasonable amount of time (say, at least 24 hours) before doing so, to prevent unnecessary workload in the event the service is restored in that time frame.

3. I invite any and all ideas for discussion here in this thread concerning ways we might find a solution to our problem.

4. I propose setting up a 3-person committee to explore possible solutions to the problem. For example, one solution might be we could move the forum over to a place like Yahoo Groups who have advertising to raise money to hire full-time people whose primary function is to deal with spammers. The committee could work at the discretion of the Moderators and their findings could/would be presented to Mr. Greenspun for his consideration. I have no desire to be on such a committee owing to time constraints. A Moderator, must however, liaise with Mr. Greenspun and since Paul is rather busy right now, I am prepared to do this.

Provided we were in agreement to setting up an informal committee, if you knew of anyone you felt might be suited to such voluntary work, you could let me know via private email and we could proceed from there. Please don’t make recommendations for these positions until we’ve decided if in fact, a committee will be set up and even then, only in private email to avoid any confrontations with, or criticisms of, others.

I await your comments.


-- Ed (, June 11, 2004


It's your forum. If you care for it, we all could use your input.

May we enjoy the LUSENET Catholic Forum for many more years to come.


-- Ed (, June 11, 2004.

I'd be happy to lend my services as a programmer to construct a new forum system and get it up and running. I wouldn't expect any role in maintenance, being a non-catholic, but I'm happy to do this for Ed.

-- Oliver Fischer (, June 11, 2004.

Thanks Oliver! I don't know if the fact that your not a Catholic should preclude you from serving. You see, LUSENET is much bigger than just the Catholic Forum. I suppose this can all be worked out in the coming weeks. I would assume that if we come up with solutions for our forum, they could apply to LUSENET at large and besides, not only Catholics visit this forum, as evidenced by your presence here. You don't have to be a Catholic to contribute here, so why should you have to be a Catholic to help preserve the forum? I have the utmost respect for people like yourself and Dave non-Catholic Christian, who exemplify what the Christian spirit is all about. Afterall, wasn't it Dave who gave us a temporary solution recently to the spamming problems we were experiencing until a permanent solution could be arranged? As technical advisors/volunteers you wouldn't have anything to do with the Moderator's role in moderating the Catholic forum.


-- Ed (, June 11, 2004.

Ok, you have a point there Ed. 8-) Umm if I do make the system, I'll try to make it a little more customiseable so that u can have a bit more control over what goes on, like put on filters etc.

Anyway, I'll have to start drawing up some plans. Happy to give something back to the forum, for what I've received.

-- Oliver Fischer (, June 11, 2004.

Oliver, I've amended my most recent post above since originally placing it. We seem to have posted simultaneously. You might want to re-read it for your own purposes.


-- Ed (, June 11, 2004.

The "Ask Jesus" Forum on LUSENET has already relocated to ezboard. That board is still in transition mode. You can view the new group here. This might be an option for us, as the threads are set up similarly and the service is free with advertisements. There is a trial period with no ads, then it's $10/year if you want no ads.

I think a major disadvantage to this will be that we will lose our archives, which are quite a valuable resource. Would there be any way to create a forum in which we could maintain the archives?

-- Emily (", June 11, 2004.

The best solution is probably to begin dispersing now to the 15 to 20 other Catholic forums. The following are excerpts from a message, sent yesterday by Karl Keating of Catholic Answers, Inc., about the newest (mid-May) and already the most popular forum.

Dear Friend of Catholic Answers:

Our web site,, is now the most popular Catholic web site in the world (based on Alexa's one-week figures).

We had been in ninth place as of a month ago, and then something happened. That something was our discussion forums.

By this weekend they will have attracted more than 5,000 registered members, making them the largest Catholic forums on the web. And, ever since their inception, they have been the most active Catholic forums. (Over the last week they have averaged more than 1,400 new messages per day.)

In response to our members' requests, we are introducing new capabilities regularly.

Joining the Catholic Answers forums is easy--and FREE. Just go to

There's never been an easier or more enjoyable way to learn the Catholic faith and to share it with others. I look forward to seeing you at the new Catholic Answers discussion forums!

Karl Keating -- President, Catholic Answers

-- (Catholic@Forum.lover), June 11, 2004.

Catholic Forum Lover,

That may seem like a good suggestion to some, if they are only here on an informational basis. The success of the Catholic Answers forum is wonderful, and I have enjoyed reading things there. However, the massive numbers of people who attend there are simply unbearable. It would be impossible to get to know people and establish friendships like we have in this forum without the task being all-consuming. I would hate to see everyone here disperse, never to be seen again. I like the smaller size and more personal nature of our forum.

-- Emily (", June 11, 2004.

Emily, here are the names and URLs of, and links to, various Catholic forum alternatives. (There are probably others!) I'm sure you can find a "comfy" niche at one or more of these sites.

1. Catholic Outlook Discussion
Click on this link

2. Defenders of the Catholic Faith -- The Catholic Message Board
Click on this link

3. Catholic Community Forum
Cli ck on this link

4. Una Fides Forum
Click on this link

5. Catholic Online Forum
Click on this link

6. Phatmass Catholic Phorums
Click on this link

7. Catholic Exchange Forum
Click on this link

8. Catholic Information Network message boards
Click on this link

9. CatholiCity Crosstalk: (check for e-mail discussion groups, rather than a forum):
Click on this link

10. Catholic-Pages.Com Catholic Discussion Forum:
Click on this link

11. Communion Message Boards:
Click on this link, then on "message boards"

12. OneRock Online Forums: a very active discussion forum for young people:
Click on this link

13. Catechism of the Catholic Church Internet Study Group Discussion Forum:
Click on this link

14. Catholic Parents Online Discussion Forum:
Click on this link

15. Coming Home Network Forum:
Click on this link

16. Battle ACTS apologetics: =english
Click on this link
(If that doesn't work, try to enter via this link and look for the link "to go online":

17. Catholic Answers Forum
Click on this link

See you out there somewhere!

-- (Catholic@Forum.lover), June 11, 2004.

Catholic, you musn't be a great lover of this forum if you've gone out of your way to point our regular forumites in the direction of 17 other catholic forums.

Emily is quite correct. Our forum is unique, very different from the others you have so conscientiously informed us about. I too, am in favour of rolling up our sleeves to see if this forum can be preserved in the future.


-- Ed (, June 11, 2004.

I am willign to make an ezboard htis weekend. I just have an email for mark Advent to finish ( Will finish it by tonight, i primise dhi it woudl be sent tofay and it shall be) and will have the new forum done by the end of the week.

I don want it seen as a new forum, but as a new board for the existing forum, so all if us can move their.

After I am done creatign it, if everyone agrees withtis idea, I will give the name of the administrator ( Not Zarove, I created new EZName.) to Ed.

-- ZAROVE (ZAROFF3@JUNO.COM), June 11, 2004.

I wonder if it is possible, if a server were to be created, to save all our our archives and transfer them over to the new location?

-- Emily (", June 11, 2004.

I am wondering the same thing Emily. Or, can we take over the existing server, upgrade the hardware and continue? These are the sort of questions I can ask the owner of LUSENET once we come up with an action plan.


-- Ed (, June 11, 2004.

Catholic, you musn't be a great lover of this forum if you've gone out of your way to point our regular forumites in the direction of 17 other catholic forums.

Au contraire, mon frere! There is no greater lover of this forum than "yours truly." No one has shed more blood, sweat, and tears for this forum than myself. I have always cared extremely deeply about its silent readers and its contributors -- above all, about their knowledge of the faith and their spiritual welfare. That is why I have made a determination that, when this forum expires, they would be best served by joining one of the forums I listed and linked above. If you have a different judgment, you are entitled to it, but I am morally certain that it would be an incorrect one.

The lover

-- (Catholic@Forum.lover), June 11, 2004.

You seem certain about a lot of things Catholic, but don't be too certain this forum will end anytime soon.

-- Ed (, June 11, 2004.

The Countryside forum moved off LUSENET a while back, partly due to spamming, partly because they were just plain popular. You might want to post a message to Chuck on the Admin thread (near the top of the board) about how they were able to do their changeover, and how they have a link to the archives over here.

-- GT (, June 11, 2004.

Emily is right about the close friendships we have been able to form at this forum. Some of the folks on this forum have been instrumental in bringing me into the Catholic faith. John Gecik and Eugene Chavez and poor dear Fred Bishop (God bless is soul) and many others too numerous to mention.

We must ask the patron saint of the Internet (who is that BTW?) to intercede on our behalf to make it happen!!

God Bless,


-- Gail (, June 11, 2004.


The patron saint of the internet is Isidore of Seville.

And yes I will agree with you that (due to numerous factors including this forum), many people such as those here have been instrumental in bringing me into the Catholic faith. If you recall last Jan. 6, 2004, when I first came here I was still searching for the Truth, though leaning toward Catholicism. It is due in part to the faithfulness and devotion and help of MANY people here that I have decided to become Catholic, because these people have helped to show me the Truth. So thank you all! Perhaps this is part of my attachment to this forum -- I feel it is part of my Christian community of faith. You can't just dump relationships like that.

Who is Fred Bishop?

-- Emily (", June 11, 2004.


I was thinking, what if the forum were to suddenly stop working tomorrow? Perhaps we should create a temporary forum such as yahoogroups, so that everyone will know to go there when this one fails. When we get there, we can discuss what we will do for the future, if plans are not yet in place.

-- Emily (", June 11, 2004.


I just learned something from you. You listed St. Isidore as the Patron Saint of the Internet, which I knew to be the case. But you added the further description: of Seville. I also knew that Saint Isidore was the patron saint of farmers and farmworkers and I have prayed on some occasions to St. Isidore as the patron of the internet and on other occasions to St. Isidore as the patron saint of farmers thinking they were one and the same. But NO!!!!!. They are different. After you put the qualifier of Seville I started to wonder if there were more than one St. Isidore. Looked it up and of course there are more than one. Feeling stupid now, but thanks for setting me straight.

-- Brian Crane (, June 12, 2004.

Hi Emily,

Fred was an old timer on this forum, and he was killed several years ago in a motorcycle accident. I remember he said to me one time "Gail, you're gonna make a great Catholic!" Those words have kept me going through this very long annulment process I've been through. Anyway you'll run across his name on some of the older threads. He was rather "hot-tempered" but a big sweetheart.

God Bless


-- Gail (, June 12, 2004.

"Morally Certain"??? Ugggh!!! Whenever I hear that as a basis for veracity I am morally certain its time to pinch my nose and turn away.

-- Pat Delaney (, June 12, 2004.

Pat, it is not that people "pinch their noses" when they run away from the truth. It is that they block their ears or cover their eyes. I recommend that everyone avoid that kind of "sensory deprivation."

The Lover

-- (Catholic@Forum.lover), June 12, 2004.

don't be too certain this forum will end anytime soon.

A careful reading of all that I wrote above will show that I never said -- even tentatively, much less "certainly" -- that I believed that "this forum will end any time soon."

It was more than a year ago that I exchanged e-mails with Phil Greenspun, in which he stated the very same things to me that he has recently confided to you -- the fact that the server was expected to die and would not be revived by him, that he suggested that we start a new forum at "yahoo" or elsewhere, etc.. Therefore, no one is more aware of the surprising persistence of this forum than I am. And no one is more aware of the fact that this server may hang on for yet another year (or more).

Regardless of those facts, my above-stated recommendations remain the same. Despite my great love of this forum, I have come to realize, and have had to admit, that the two key goals (becoming better informed about Catholicism and becoming more well-formed spiritually) would be better reached by each person's transferring to one of the many existing forums that I linked -- rather than to remain here or to establish yet another new forum. If someone has a third key goal (e.g., informal chat with a limited number of people), I believe that at least some of the linked forums can serve to accomplish that.

Thus, if I may use a metaphor: It is bad business to reinvent the wheel and then manufacture an inferior product.

The Lover

-- (Catholic@Forum.lover), June 12, 2004.

You cannot be "morally certain" about a non-moral issue. As far as I know the Church has no definitive teaching about which online forum we are to participate in. Therefore while you may feel very certain that your own opinion is correct, there is nothing moral about such an opinion.

-- Paul M. (, June 12, 2004.


Fred Bishop was a motorcycle riding fervent Catholic, who had the habit of jumping off the handle now and then. He was a good guy though, and was unfortunately killed in a motorcycle accident a couple years ago. His wife posted afterwards to let us know.


-- Someone (, June 12, 2004.

John believes that ALL of his opinions (oh excuse me, his "judgements") are "morally certain", he can't help himself, even when continuing to post under pseudonyms :-)

I also have been surprised that the forum is still around. I always expect that when the server crashes, Phil's not going to spend the time or money to repair it. I suspect he uses it to keep his students exposed to ancient hardware and software configurations ;-)


-- non-Catholic Christian (, June 12, 2004.


Since you are a programmer, I thought you might know the answer to this. Will it even be possible to transfer the archives of this forum to another server when we create the new forum? Is this even a possibility, or should we throw out the idea?

Thanks and God bless you :)

-- Emily (", June 13, 2004.

Dear Emily, Yes it is possible to transfer messages even to a new forum system. The key issue is encryption/format of the messages. If the messages from this forum are non-encrypted, then it will be a simple case of just working with html-capable messages, which Perl does very nicely.

If however, the messages are stored using some kind of encryption, then the programmer needs to know the encryption method used so as to be able to decode them back to html.

Either way, it is certainly possible to transfer the messages over to the new system. This is why I offered to program a forum system, because if you were to sign up at a new forum site, I don't think you'd be able to transfer those messages easily.

A note to Ed and others, I'm currently in my study break preparing for exams so I don't really have the time to start programming it yet, but in the next few weeks I could make a start if you are all happy with me going ahead on such a project.

-- Oliver Fischer (, June 13, 2004.

You cannot be "morally certain" about a non-moral issue.

There are "moral issues" involved here. (If you think about things some more, maybe you will realize what they are. I don't have time to elaborate now.) It is not necessary for the Church to have a "definitive teaching" about this before I can be "morally certain" that I am correct.

Contrary to the incorrect assumptions of two opponents ...
(1) I intentionally used the words "morally certain" as a way of indicating that what I was stating was a matter of fact, not of opinion.
(2) I did not use the word "judgment" as a synonym for "opinion." Rather, I used the word to refer to the objective perception of facts.

The Lover

-- (Catholic@Forum.lover), June 14, 2004.


You asked Olly: "... Will it even be possible to transfer the archieves of this forum to another server when we create the new forum?"

Yes it is. A few years back Kiwi told Gale of a site where people have done this. If you go to the site you will read people even talking about making the move from Greenspun.

I will find and 'top' the thread for you to read. I believe the thread was named, " Greenspun-alternative meeting place". In this thread Kiwi gives the address to the site.

-- - (, June 14, 2004.

Dave, u should quit it dude. Don't drag John through the mud. John I'm sorry you're upset about the treatment you've received lately. I think you're a good guy. I also think it's not worth it carrying on this personal crusade to uphold yourself. I think our attitude towards others can speak volumes more. I'm not saying you have a bad attitude, I'm saying that you don't need to stoop down to a lower level, throwing comments around about someone being damned etc. It doesn't look good for the channel, and it also can be a tad offensive to non-catholics such as myself who are here not to prosyletise but just to have a warm fellowship.

I admit, I'm not very good at expressing things in a full balanced way without seeming wishy washy or accusing. Basically I'd like to see everyone get along. We're all sinners. I think we've got no grounds to scoff at anyone. I think if we put more time into glorifying our savior, the channel would be better off.

I wanna close by saying I know I'm a visitor here. As a non-Catholic I ought to wipe my shoes at the door before entering. Non Catholic Dave, I hope you can do this also, because really, we're guests here and it's a privalege to use this forum, not a right. So, if I have at all offended anyone, I do apologise. Dave (Catholic) and John I wanna extend this to you both particularly because I think on one thread perhaps my words sounded a bit harsh. I love you both as fellow brothers in Christ. And I don't want to have any offenses between us.

-- Oliver Fischer (, June 15, 2004.

Please note: I was referring to dave (non believer) to quit hassling John. Just so that noone thinks i was referring to dave (catholic), whom I actually later extended my apology to. Phew, I hope that makes sense!

-- Oliver Fischer (, June 15, 2004.

Aprovecho la ocasión que se mencionó a San Isidoro de Sevilla para hablar del otro ISIDORO (también llamado ISIDRO)

San Isidro labrador (Año 1130) San Isidro bendito: ruega por nuestros campos y por nuestros agricultores. Es el patrono de los agricultores del mundo. Le pusieron ese nombre en honor de San Isidoro, un santo muy apreciado en España.Sus padres eran unos campesinos sumamente pobres que ni siquiera pudieron enviar a su hijo a la escuela. Pero en casa le enseñaron a tener temor a ofender a Dios y gran amor de caridad hacia el prójimo y un enorme aprecio por la oración y por la Santa Misa y la Comunión.Huérfano y solo en el mundo cuando llegó a la edad de diez años Isidro se empleó como peón de campo, ayudando en la agricultura a Don Juan de Vargas un dueño de una finca, cerca de Madrid. Allí pasó muchos años de su existencia labrando las tierras, cultivando y cosechando.Se casó con una sencilla campesina que también llegó a ser santa y ahora se llama Santa María de la Cabeza (no porque ese fuera su apellido, sino porque su cabeza es sacada en procesión en rogativas, cuando pasan muchos meses sin llover).Isidro se levantaba muy de madrugada y nunca empezaba su día de trabajo sin haber asistido antes a la Santa Misa. Varios de sus compañeros muy envidiosos lo acusaron ante el patrón por "ausentismo" y abandono del trabajo. El señor Vargas se fue a observar el campo y notó que sí era cierto que Isidro llegaba una hora más tarde que los otros (en aquel tiempo se trabajaba de seis de la mañana a seis de la tarde) pero que mientras Isidro oía misa, un personaje invisible (quizá un ángel) le guaba sus bueyes y estos araban juiciosamente como si el propio campesino los estuviera dirigiendo.Los mahometanos se apoderaron de Madrid y de sus alrededores y los buenos católicos tuvieron que salir huyendo. Isidro fue uno de los inmigrantes y sufrió por un buen tiempo lo que es irse a vivir donde nadie lo conoce a uno y donde es muy difícil conseguir empleo y confianza de las gentes. Pero sabía aquello que Dios ha prometido varias veces en la Biblia: "Yo nunca te abandonaré", y confió en Dios y fue ayudado por Dios.Lo que ganaba como jornalero, Isidro lo distribuía en tres partes: una para el templo, otra para los pobres y otra para su familia (él, su esposa y su hijito). Y hasta para las avecillas tenía sus apartados. En pleno invierno cuando el suelo se cubría de nieve, Isidro esparcía granos de trigo por el camino para que las avecillas tuvieran con que alimentarse. Un día lo invitaron a un gran almuerzo. El se llevó a varios mendigos a que almorzaran también. El invitador le dijo disgustado que solamente le podía dar almuerzo a él y no para los otros. Isidro repartió su almuerzo entre los mendigos y alcanzó para todos y sobró.Los domingos los distribuía así: un buen rato en el templo rezando, asistiendo a misa y escuchando la Palabra de Dios. Otro buen rato visitando pobres y enfermos y por la tarde saliendo a pasear por los campos con su esposa y su hijito. Pero un día mientras ellos corrían por el campo, dejaron al niñito junto a un profundo pozo de sacar agua y en un movimiento brusco del chiquitín, la canasta donde estaba dio vuelta y cayó dentro del hoyo. Alcanzaron a ver esto los dos esposos y corrieron junto al pozo, pero este era muy profundo y no había cómo rescatar al hijo. Entonces se arrodillaron a rezar con toda fe y las aguas de aquel aljibe fueron subiendo y apareció la canasta con el niño y a este no le había sucedido ningún mal. No se cansaron nunca de dar gracias a Dios por tan admirable prodigio.Volvió después a Madrid y se alquiló como obrero en una finca, pero los otros peones, llenos de envidia lo acusaron ante el dueño de que trabajaba menos que los demás por dedicarse a rezar y a ir al templo. El dueño le puso entonces como tarea a cada obrero cultivar una parcela de tierra. Y la de Isidro produjo el doble que las de los demás, porque Nuestro Señor le recompensaba su piedad y su generosidad.En el año 1130 sintiendo que se iba a morir hizo humilde confesión de sus pecados y recomendando a sus familiares y amigos que tuvieran mucho amor a Dios y mucha caridad con el prójimo, murió santamente. A los 43 años de haber sido sepultado en 1163 sacaron del sepulcro su cadáver y estaba incorrupto, como si estuviera recién muerto. Las gentes consideraron esto como un milagro. Poco después el rey Felipe III se hallaba gravísimamente enfermo y los médicos dijeron que se moriría de aquella enfermedad. Entonces sacaron los restos de San Isidro del templo a donde los habían llevado cuando los trasladaron del cementerio. Y tan pronto como los restos salieron del templo, al rey se le fue la fiebre y al llegar junto a él los restos del santo se le fue por completo la enfermedad. A causa de esto el rey intecedió ante el Sumo Pontífice para que declarara santo al humilde labrador, y por este y otros muchos milagros, el Papa lo canonizó en el año 1622 junto con Santa Teresa, San Ignacio, San Francisco Javier y San Felipe Neri.


-- Enrique Ortiz (, June 15, 2004.


Thanks for the kind words!

-- - (, June 15, 2004.

That's ok David. I really meant it too. You've always been charitable of heart toward me on the forum.

I think that the more civil ppl can be, the better the chances for open, friendly, and honest dialogue. I think after all is said and done, we can at least admit that this seems to be more workable since Ed tightened things up. We might not agree with his stance on all matters, and indeed some may have even been quite unfair, but I do personally think he's done something quite tremendous in leading the channel into a new era.

I'd also like to thank Paul who has been working hard behind the scenes too. I think they made a good team working together.

-- Oliver Fischer (, June 18, 2004.


-- (, June 23, 2004.

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