It appears that you are currently using Ad Blocking software. What are the consequences? Click here to learn more.
diabetes supplement

By David Mendosa

Last Update: June 24, 2003

Since the start of the newsgroup in February 1999, it has quickly become the newsgroup of choice for people looking for support. It quickly eclipsed, which began in May 1993.

“With all this freedom to communicate also comes responsibility”

Newsgroups are often the first place newly diagnosed people with diabetes seek out information on the Internet. I know that when I was diagnosed with diabetes in February 1994, one of the first things I did was get an Internet account so I could read the messages on But even by the time three years ago that I wrote about it here, had begun to feel less supportive because of a number of personal attacks.

If anything, the number of attacks there has increased over time. Some of this is righteous indignation over spam and snake oil for phony cures. Unlike the Web, which is almost entirely advertiser driven, advertisements of any sort have always been completely off-limits on newsgroups.

But some of the trouble seems to have been deliberated instigated by what are known as trolls. A newsgroup troll is someone who is fishing for a response with a provocative message. The best way is to ignore them.

Many people, however, can't resist getting into a newsgroup argument. And it is these arguments that have all but destroyed as a warm, cuddly place to go for support.

"There are a few really strong personalities over there, and I notice that they don't take in newcomers very graciously," someone wrote recently about on

But now, as has become more popular, it too is beginning to suffer from the presence of negative individuals. Some of these are the same ones that made less than hospitable.

The founder and guiding force behind, Jude Crouch of Oak Park, Illinois, has tried his best to make the newsgroup as supportive as possible. He points out that like all newsgroups, it is unmoderated with all messages passed on automatically to news servers around the world.

"With all this freedom to communicate also comes some responsibility," Jude writes. "We can disagree with one another, but in each of those discussions we have the option to be respectful or disrespectful. By being respectful, we have the opportunity to build a healthy community."

How does he recommend dealing with those who have other goals?

Jude suggests that you set your newsreader filter to eliminate all postings from those persons. "If you don't see the hate, you won't respond to it," he points out.

If for some reason you can't set a filter, just go on to the next message. "No matter what is said," do not respond for any reason. They are trying to provoke you and get their satisfaction when you respond, no matter how you respond."

Excellent advice! In fact, I have followed it myself—except once to answer an attack on a respected diabetes researcher whose book I had recently reviewed.

If your Internet Service Provider does not include in its newsgroup feed, you can sometimes get it just by asking. Otherwise, you can read it on the Web at Google Groups.

Keeping this newsgroup as free from flames as possible is important for the online community of people with diabetes. Web sites are better for providing information than support. And many mailing lists do provide support, but none have near the readership of 

The American Diabetes Association originally published this article on its Web site as one of my “About the Internet” columns.

[Go Back] Go back to Home Page

[Go Back] Go back to Diabetes Directory

Never Miss An Update

Subscribe to my free newsletter “Diabetes Update”

I send out my newsletter on first of every month. It covers new articles and columns that I have written and important developments in diabetes generally that you may have missed.

Your Email Address

Most Popular Articles and Blog Posts

Advice For Newbies Diagnosis of Diabetes
Incorrect Terms Glycemic Values of Common American Foods
Glycemic Index The Normal A1C Level
Glycemic Values Controlling the Dawn Phenomenon
The Biggest Diabetes Scams The Food Insulin Index Trumps Carb Counting
David’s Guide to Getting our A1C Under 6.0 Chia Seeds
What Really Satisfies Snake Oil Supplements

diabetes supplement
Never Miss An Update!