In late February, 2000, an "official" poll was posted to RASSM for the first time in approximately three years. However, unlike past polls, this one was crossposted to alt.fan.starwars. and alt.fan.wedge, after asking the individuals that maintain the websites for each newsgroup. The poll consisted of twenty-six open-ended questions that covered the films, soundtracks, and Expanded Universe works. The poll was open for approximately one week and approximately 100 individuals from all three newsgroups participated. The results of the poll are available here.

The RASSM/AFS/AFW poll also brought about the worst in RASSM and AFS. A flame war erupted between a few individuals from each newsgroup. Unfortunately, AFW was stuck in the middle of it as an innocent bystander. Fortunately, due to some public and private requests, most of the RASSMers involved ceased crossposting to AFW within a day or so. In the end, the RASSM/AFS flame war fizzled out as the participants either chose to ignore each other or they found some common ground, beyond their enjoyment of Star Wars, that enabled them to interact in a peaceful manner.

If another RASSM/AFS/AFW poll takes place in the future, it is safe to say that it will not be crossposted in order to minimize the possibility of another multigroup flame war. It's unfortunate that the type of bickering which takes place between some Star Wars fansites made its way to the Star Wars discussion newsgroups.


Star Wars on DVD

On January 6, 2000, the following was reported on Hollywood.Com:

"George would love to do something special with the DVD release, but he won't do it until he has time to concentrate on it," said Lynne Hale, a spokeswoman for Lucasfilms Ltd.

"Right now he's writing the script for 'Episode II,' then we go right into principal photography this summer in Australia. And after that, he'll be working on 'Episode III,' so it could be some time before he's able to devote the time needed to work on the DVD," Hale said.

The reaction among the DVD community was mixed, to say the least. Many members had no problem with waiting a few more years for the films on DVD. After all, they had waited sixteen years for Episode I. Plus, the thought of Lucas devoting his full attention to the DVDs had many mouths watering with the possibilities of what was to come. However, there were many members who were outraged by this statement. They felt that Lucas was just trying to get more money by releasing the films on VHS and then waiting a few years to release them again on DVD. Many of them said they would purchase "watered down" DVDs now and still purchase the full version DVDs when they were later released.

Needless to say, RASSM became the focal point for discussion between these two factions and others. Many of the participants in the debate have made valid points. Unfortunately, there are some participants who have personally attacked others because of differing viewpoints.

The debate quieted down during late February as many of the participants felt they had said all they needed to say. However, during the week leading up to the release of Episode I on VHS, new participants discovered the debate and began a new series of discussions about DVD. Only time will tell how long this debate will continue and if it will even have an impact on the release of the Star Wars films on DVD.


The Anti-Spam "Debate"

The public and private follow-ups to FS/FT/FA/Wanted posts were begun by Dark Lord Karno Dal and Wedge in mid-1998 as RASSM was nearly overwhelmed by the number of advertisements being posted each day. Due to various RL reasons, Dark Lord Karno Dal and Wedge had to take a hiatus from RASSM. Fortunately, Chris Hawkins, Cheetah! and Jill-Marie Fritsche continued the public and private follow-ups of spam. Due to their efforts, the amount of spam on RASSM has been reduced to relatively low levels.

In late March 2000, a long time RASSMer who had been relatively quiet for a couple of months, returned to RASSM and questioned the follow-ups. However, this individual went about questioning the method, which has been effective for nearly two years, by attacking the individuals who were posting the follow-ups, particularly Chris Hawkins and Cheetah!. The individual also insinuated that they were doing it only to showboat. As one can expect, such accusations led to some hostile discussions about following up spam on RASSM. An impromptu poll showed that RASSM was pretty much divided on the issue of follow-ups. However, by this point, Chris Hawkins had decided to quit following up FS/FT/FA/Wanted posts and made the following statement on RASSM:

I've had enough of the behind-my-back commentary by various people, the arguments it has caused here between myself and others, and the flamewars I've gotten involved in here and via e-mail with the spammers. Good luck to whoever wishes to continue following up FS/FT/FA/Wanted posts in the manner he/she sees fit.

The individual continued, for a couple of days, to post links which supported his/her argument. However, RASSM seemed to just want the whole discussion to die as evidenced by the following comments by Michael Ward:

I thought you were the one who didn't want anyone to follow up spam.
If you'd stop there would be one less person doing it.
And if you're going to keep complaining about other people's spam, the least you could do is keep your trap shut when others follow up spam.
When Chris was following up spam (whether you agree with it or not), it was out of a desire to help this ng.
You seem only interested in fighting with Cheetah which you can do via email.
I doubt anyone else cares.


Alec Guinness, 1914-2000

Alec Guinness, better known to Star Wars fans as Obi-Wan Kenobi, passed away August 5, 2000 at the age of 86. Yet, one must not lose sight of the fact that Obi-Wan was only one small role in Guinness' distinguished career. His abilities enabled him to stand out by disappearing into his roles. There was no role he could not play and he proved so by acting in everything from comedies to dramas to science fantasy.

Upon hearing the news of Alec Guiness' passing, numerous Star Wars fans posted their tributes to him on RASSM. The entire Star Wars internet community held a day of mourning for Sir Alec as various forums, newsgroups, and websites paid tribute to "that old fossil." George Lucas, via starwars.com released the following statement:

I was sad to hear that Alec Guinness passed away today. He was one of the most talented and respected actors of his generation and brought an amazing range and versatility to his work. When I was casting the part of Obi-Wan Kenobi for Star Wars, I was looking for an actor who brought a certain authority to the role. Someone who was powerful yet gentle and that came across in Alec as a person and as an actor. The world has lost a great artist

While no one tribute to Sir Alec Guinness can properly express the adoration Star Wars fans had for him, the following tributes, by Ted Ehlers and Cheetah, respectively, best summarize the feelings of Star Wars fans everywhere.

Earlier today, Sir Alec Guiness, English Actor who starred in many films over 6 decades has passed away. As we all know, one of his most famous roles, Obi-Wan Kenobi, has endeared him to millions of people who may never have appreciated his work. Although he was cynical about the Star Wars association later in life, he did enjoy working on the films and thought highly of Lucas and co. He brought a elegence and a weight to his portrayal as calm, wise, funny, and sad man charged with saving the galaxy once again long after retirement from the extinct order of the Jedi Knights.

He may have not been in the public eye for some time, but I always assumed he was there somewhere, telling some clueless autograph-seeking dork to take that Kenner figure somewhere else. He was a true knight, and a legend of his classic era.

Unfortunate is his passing, and I can't help but remember that bittersweet smile he gives to luke during his battle with Darth Vader, before his soul vanished into the force.

"I can't believe he's gone." - Luke Skywalker.

Sir Alec Guinness: Thank you for telling a certain bearded, flannel-wearing filmaker you'd give the script a chance. I'm sure you're teaching Peter Cushing a few dramatic pointers in the next level.

On behalf of RASSM and fans everywhere...

May the force be with you. Always.

You came into our worlds with a roar..

It sounded more like a scream, actually - but when looked at in whole, it was most definitely a roar..

For many readers of this newsgroup, this was our 1st introduction into the entity once known as Sir Alec Guinness, who made his first appearance to the `70's era movie-goers as Ben "Obi-Wan" Kenobi, Jedi Knight - as he strolled into the camera's view just 3 seconds after faking the roar of a Krayt Dragon, among the Jundland wastes of Tatooine...

He was chasing off a few Tusken Raiders in the middle of a plunder...

In those few seconds, the actor Alec Guinness became a permanent part in the hearts of millions of movie-goers who had *never* seen any previous performances of Sir Alec, not even the movie "The Bridge over the river Kwai", in which he played the role of Colonel Nicholson, for which he later won an Oscar and which is widely regarded as his `best' performance, ever...

But for many of us, his performances were largely unknown, and he was more or less unheard of, until 28 minutes, 55 seconds into a movie called "Star Wars" (and eventually Star Wars: A New Hope)..

It didn't take long to like his character "Obi-Wan Kenobi", for most - it was upon utterence of his first line in the movie, as he casually addresses a droid - treating it like a person.. making it hard to NOT like him...

We didn't know him for long..

Obi-Wan `lived' on for another hour & 55 seconds, having sacrificed himself for his young apprentice, effectively martyring himself into millions of fans across the globe...

It was a long death, as movie-deaths go, lasting exactly 2 minutes, from when his lightsaber blade first contacted the blade of his nemesis, Darth Vader - to his last look at Luke, bare moments before allowing himself to be decapitated - 1 hour and 55 seconds of an unforgettable performance in the movie..

Plenty of time to become famous to entirely new generation of film goers...

He did appear in later films of the Star Wars trilogy, almost in the flesh as the spirit of his former character, yet also as a martyr..

And yet, for millions of fans, Obi-Wan lived on in their thoughts, and in their hearts... Alec Guinness also became a permanent fixture in many of those same hearts, as his performance of Obi-Wan was so thrilling, that the visible line between character & performer became extremely blurred..

Not bad, for a Knighted British actor who was referred to as "That Old Fossil"...

The 86 year old actor Alec's theatrical & movie career lasted for 66 years, most of the time he was here on Earth, in the flesh, however - it will be the short `drop' of 1 hour - 55 seconds, in the `well' of an impressive career that most will always remember, that and his martyrdom at the far end of that time ...

It's a claim to fame, that was WELL deserved..

Bless you, Sir Alec Guinness.. Thanks for your performance in "A New Hope"..


A Look Back at 2000

Two thousand was, to say the least, an interesting year. The first three months of the year witnessed the DVD debate and campaign, the now (in)famous RASSM/AFS/AFW poll, and the ant-spam debate.

In March, The Phantom Menace made its debut on VHS. This only served to generate more support for a DVD release as many were displeased with the video quality when compared to what they had witnessed in the theaters.

Two thousand also saw the passing of Alce Guinness, better known to the Star Wars community as Obi-Wan Kenobi in Episodes IV-VI. While he was not pleased with being known to so many as only Obi-Wan Kenobi, it was that role which introduced many moviegoers to his brilliance as an actor.

During the late summer/early fall, RASSM was in a slight state of chaos as various factions tried to turn the newsgroup on itself. Unfortunately, for the factions, RASSM was able to maintain its cohesiveness. After all, it was nothing that RASSM had not faced before and will probably face again down the road. Such events are, for better or worse, a part of life on Usenet.

Also in two thousand, Lucasfilm re-released the original trilogy on VHS, much to the dismay of the DVD crowd. Some fans pointed out that Lucasfilm re-released the original trilogy a few years ago with the slogan "own the originals one last time" before the release of the Special Editions. It was then pointed out that the newest re-release was, in fact, the Special Editions. In the eyes of Lucas, and Lucasfilm, the Special Editions were the definitive and only edition of the Episodes IV-VI.

During the fall of two thousand, the seventh Sith War began after hostilities arose between the Gungan Mafia and the Porkinites. As of the beginning of two thousand one, Sith War VII was going strong and showing no signs of slowing down.


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