ASC is a newsgroup, one of the many tens of thousands that exist on the Internet. It has a great many readers and contributors, and is the authority about cigars on the net.
It is a very friendly and generous group, with new people always made very welcome. If you post a question or a problem, there always be an answer. If you are a stranger to a city, or to a foreign country, then there will be advice on where to buy or eat, or even an invitation to get together.- New York was very hospitable to my wife and myself (thanks Neil and Gary), and London is gaining in popularity for our American cousins, thanks to Keith and others.
When Habanos changed thier secret factory and date codes stamped on boxes of Havana cigars because ASC had published a look up table on the net, ASC members decoded it even before the official distributors of Habanos knew what they ment!
Habanos again changed thier codes, but this time, it was random. This lasted 3 months, until they had a change of heart, and plain coded the date codes. the factory codes still remain secrect.
ASC was formed on 3/10/94. by David Barr on behalf of Rex Wockner who came up with the notion of a cigar-oriented newsgroup, and most importantly, selected its name alt.smokers.cigars).
IS IT BIG?
To date, some 300,000+ messages have been posted to ASC... by contributors from around the world.
ASC TAKES ITSELF VERY SERIOUSLY (well, sometimes)
The un-official mascot of ASC is a semi-mythical sheep named Annabelle. Annabelle is said to be of the inflatable variety... however, this might be hearsay. Annabelle is most frequently associated with the beloved ASC character Mig (email@example.com). It is more likely that Mig is the "official mascot" of ASC.
The un-official word of ASC is HERF. Herf is a unique part of speech. It can be correctly used as a noun, a verb, an adjective, an adverb, an infinitive, a prefix, a suffix and an explicative.
WHO ARE ALL THESE ASCers?
Here are some select demographics, from a survey of ASC readers John Chunko conducted back in 1996 (n=189):
ASC, A TRUE INTERNET PHENOMENON
Most critically, ASC has become a non-cyberspace phenomena... or more properly, a hybrid phenomena that has successfully married cyberspace to the real world. ASCers get together in droves, virtually every week, and at numerous locations nationwide... to herf together. In early 1995, ASCer Matt Green (firstname.lastname@example.org) inauspiciously "organized" the inaugural ASC "crawl" (another ASC buzz-word), which brought a group of diverse ASCers together to enjoy each other's company while they walked from cigar shop to cigar shop in New York. It was a memorable event.
ASC -- TRANSCENDING CYBERSPACE IN A BIG WAY
ASC events now form continually, year round... a literal myriad of formal and informal get-togethers, crawls, herfs, cigar tours, tastings, dinners, concerts, weddings!!!, charity benefits and, sadly, even funerals.
In 1998/1999, ASCer Marc Goldstone, chaired an effort to raise over $10,000 to benefit the son of a former ASCer who succumbed to cancer, Chaz Lanski. The monies will be invested and used to insure his son's college education. ...and, this is just a singular example of what ASC is all about... many, many other acts of charity and mutual support have been "produced" by ASCers for other ASCers and their families.
ASC CAN REALLY PARTY
The 1999 Boondoggle (B3) brought nearly 300 ASCers from the around the US, and the world, to Las Vegas for three frenetic days of fraternal celebration and non-stop herfing. ...and, our story is far from over, for sure.
So, when you all tell your kids their bedtime stories on ASC, you can say it has been a short history so far... but incredibly rich. It's filled with personalities and diverse ideas, angst and fun, unbridled sharing, wonderful new friendships and high energy camaraderie, love fests and flame wars, sheep and neologisms, bits, bytes and crawls, and... more potential for pure entertainment and personal enhancement for its devoted readers than most any thing that's come down the pike in years.
Abridged from a ASC posting by John Chunko with kind permission.