Alt.Sex.Stories Text Repository
...because the best things in life truly are free.
ASSTR FAQ

ASSTR is home to over 1000 authors of erotic literature, host of the alt.sex.stories.moderated newsgroup, mirror site for nifty.org, and host of several popular erotic literature archives.

This page contains a lot of information you may or may not have ever wanted to know about the Alt.Sex.Stories Text Repository. In the event that your inquiry is not answered here, feel free to e-mail the administration and they'll be sure to get back to you as soon as possible.


Getting the stories Inappropriate Material Software
Hardware Miscellaneous Web Site


GETTING THE STORIES

 Can you email me the story...?

At this time there is no system installed to automatically email users stories. Additionally, the administration does not have the time to do this. If a story is very large, try downloading it overnight some time, or have a friend with a high speed Internet connection download it. If, however, you have a problem obtaining a particular story (due to a problem with our servers), feel free to contact the administration.


 How do I get the stories?

Most web browsers should work fine for browsing ASSTR, although compatibility with different browsers will depend on how each site hosted at ASSTR was designed. We recommend visitors new to ASSTR check out the site guide, which contains an overview of ASSTR.

For those users wishing to access ASSTR's FTP site, we recommend that users not familiar with FTP use the web interface to the FTP site at http://www.asstr.org/files/. If for some reason you prefer to use FTP, for users of Windows we recommend either CoffeeCup Free FTP or WS-FTP LE, both available at http://tucows.epix.net/ftp95.html. For Macintosh users, Fetch is available from http://online.rit.edu/registered/downloads/newfile.cfm?ID=79&System=Macintosh. For UNIX/Linux users, you shouldn't need to ask.

Once you have your FTP client, point it at ftp.asstr.org with "anonymous login" (if prompted for a username and password, specify user ftp and anything for the password. After successfully logging in, go into the pub directory. From there, you can browse the subdirectories that contain over 150,000 works. You may wish to visit the Site_Info directory, which contains some pointers as to where some of the more popular works are as well as site related news and a full listing of the site's files.


 Is there a CD of ASSTR available?

In one word: no. There never will be, nor can we allow anyone to make one for us. The reason? Many of the works on ASSTR were written by authors who do not get paid at all for their works. In fact, they must pay for their computer to write their works and their Internet service to distribute them. Because of this, many authors forbid anyone to charge for their works, even if no profit is being made. The philosophy is that if they needed to pay to create and distribute the story, then the CD maker should pay for the CD, not the individual obtaining the CD. While not everyone agrees with this logic, the wishes of the authors must be respected, for without the authors, ASSTR would not exist. Always remember that a story is the sole property of the author to do with what he wishes, and it is a privilege, not a right, to have an author's story for enjoyment.


 Why do I get the message "Access Denied" when I try to access the story...?

Many web browsers have problems accessing stories with special characters, especially spaces, in the filename or directory name. These characters can sometimes cause problems with certain web browsers, particularly older versions. We recommend either using the FTP web-based interface or upgrading your web browser.


 What are the header-looking lines at the top of some stories?

In order to assist readers with finding stories that interest them, ASSTR developed the Standard Header System (SHS) to allow authors to help get their stories better indexed by our search engine. With SHS, an author can allow his/her stories to be searched by title, author name, story keywords, and more.


HARDWARE

 What kind of equipment is used to run ASSTR?

The answer to this question changes regularly, so this answer may be out of date. As of the last update to this FAQ, ASSTR's main server is as a dual Pentium III CPU 600MHz system with 1GB PC100 RAM and an on-board dual channel SCSI 2 Ultra Wide controller.

The secondary server is a dual Pentium IV 1GHz system with 3GB PC133 RAM (upgradable to 4GB), using Ultra 160 SCSI drives.

The database backend is a dual AMD Athlon MP 1900+ system (currently with just one CPU) with 1GB DDR PC2100 RAM (upgradable to 4GB), also with Ultra 160 SCSI drives.

All ASSTR systems utilize Tyan motherboards.

All of this equipment was obtained through the kindness of ASSTR's donors. If you would like to help us purchase new hardware or upgrade existing hardware, please contact the administration or proceed directly to the donations center. Currently we could use additional memory for the second two servers, additional backup tapes for our tape backup drive, and a second CPU for the Athlon system.


INAPPROPRIATE MATERIAL

 I found something repulsive here. You should remove it immediately!

One of ASSTR's founding principles is free speech, and as a result of this we welcome with open arms just about any kind of erotic literature that someone is willing to take the time to write. With this in mind, anyone with anything less than a completely open mind is sure to find something that would get their stomach churning or their temper flamed.

One thing to keep in mind is that most, if not all, stories at ASSTR are fictional. While something terrible, gross, and/or offensive may be described, remember that in all likelihood the event(s) never occurred in real life and in most cases the author is in no way advocating anyone taking part in such activities. Rather, some people enjoy writing about such events, and others enjoy reading them. We can't offer any further explanation than this.

As for the legality of some of the more offensive works at ASSTR, particularly those containing underage characters, the US Supreme Court ruled on April 16, 2002 that adult material depicting minors but that was not made through the use of any actual minor is protected free speech. The ruling was against the Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996 (CPPA) and the entire ruling is available via Findlaw.com.


 I found a site hosted at ASSTR that contains child pornography.

The first thing than needs to be said regarding child pornography is that ASSTR in no way, shape, or form, endorses it. The sexual exploitation and/or abuse of children is not only immoral, but highly illegal and ASSTR in no way advocates or condones such activity. With this in mind, it is necessary to define exactly what child pornography is and what it is not.

Title 18, Part I, Chapter 110, Section 2256 of the US Code defines what constitutes child pornography in the United States, the country where ASSTR resides. The key part of this definition is paragraph 8, including subparagraph A, which states in part: "'child pornography' means any visual depiction ... where the production of such visual depiction involves the use of a minor..."

While one could argue that text is a 'visual depiction', the law clearly is referring to images of children and not merely textual descriptions of them. The point of utmost importance here is that in a story, no real child is in any way involved and therefore harmed. Understanding this concept is of paramount importance, so let us reiterate: No real children involved means no children were harmed, exposed, abused, or exploited in the creation or distribution of the work.

If you have located an image of a child or children engaged in activity described in USC Title 18, please notify the administration immediately.

Because the right of free speech is so important to ASSTR and no real children are involved in the creation or distribution of fictional literature, ASSTR stands by its authors' right to create and distribute such literature if they so desire, just like any author is free to describe any other fictional act regardless of how vile it may be. So long as the border between fantasy and reality is not crossed, no harm is done to any child and the right to describe such acts is protected by the First Amendment to the US Constitution.


MISCELLANEOUS

 How can I keep up to date on the latest ASSTR news? Do you have a mailing list?

ASSTR has a mailing list, and would love to have you on it! To join, head on over to our ASSTR News mailing list signup page. The mailing list is a private, announce only mailing list. Mailings generally go out a few times per year.


 How do I clear the search history in Internet explorer to hide my search queries?

Newer versions of Internet Explorer keep a list of information typed into web forms for future reference. For privacy reasons, people who share their computer with other persons may wish to clear this history from time to time. To do so, click Tools->Internet Options... Next, click the Content tab. Click the AutoComplete... button. Finally, click the Clear Forms button.


  What does the future have in store for ASSTR?

The administration hopes ASSTR's future will be bright. The ASSTR administration consists of many bright and innovative minds, with great plans for the site's future. Unfortunately, Internet access isn't free, and we need your help to keep the site online. In the meantime, we welcome any new authors and collectors who wish to store their collections on ASSTR. See the account information page for more information.


  I'm an author/collector. How do I get an account at ASSTR?

Both author and collector accounts at ASSTR are completely free, and are not necessary for access to any of the stories present at ASSTR. Only apply for an account if you are an author or collector who will be maintaining a web site or FTP directory. Authors can apply here, while collectors can follow the link to the collector's application on the Collections index page.


SOFTWARE

 What operating system(s) does ASSTR run under (and why)?

After exploring Windows '95, NT, and various flavors of Unix, the ASSTR administration settled on Debian Linux for all servers.

The explanation, for the curious, is as follows: Believe it or not, ASSTR started out on one single Pentium 100MHz machine running Microsoft Windows '95. Win 9x was never meant to be a server operating system, but in ASSTR's early days, the administration was ignorant and the only alternative Microsoft operating system was WinNT 3.5.x. After trying many different shareware FTP servers, none was found that would run at the stability level desired. The best that could be found meeting the configuration needs of ASSTR was Serv-U, which, under the constant heavy load, had the poor 100MHz beast rebooting about every two weeks under WinNT 4.0 for no apparent reason. Thus a consensus was reached to try Unix upon the site's reopening in September of 1997, and was quite frankly hell to get working correctly in comparison with the ease of setting up the site under Windows.

Since then, many different versions of Unix have been tried to optimize the speed and efficiency of the site. First, RedHat Linux was tried, which worked quite well. However, error messages occurred at a random amount of time due to a glitch in the Ethernet card being used (a 3COM-590 PCI 10-base T card). At that time, it was assumed to be a software problem and, after not finding another driver for the card, ASSTR was switched over to the popular FreeBSD operating system (due to ftp.cdrom.com's success with it). However, this kernel seemed to use enormous amounts of memory per FTP user, and so the decision was made to switch back to the Linux kernel. Also at that time, it was discovered that the problems with the Ethernet card were due to a hardware - not a software - problem. Thus a new 16-bit Ethernet card was obtained and was used in conjunction with Debian Linux. The choice to use Debian was made due to a recommendation by two fellow administrators who had success with it prior to this time. Additionally, problems were experienced under RedHat with compiling certain programs, limiting the administration's ability to configure the server as desired.

Evaluating the decision to use Debian Linux now, the operating system has proven time and again to be robust and reliable for ASSTR to this date.


 What FTP server does ASSTR use (and why)?

Much like the operating systems, several different FTP servers were experimented with over the course of ASSTR's life. After experimenting with servers under Windows 95 and NT, the Unix server WU-FTPD was tried. While this server proved to be extremely stable and supported on the Internet (it is by far the most popular FTP server in existence), it is not very configurable. Thus nc-ftpd was tried with much success. Eventually, the server was switched back to WU-FTP. WU-FTP uses less memory (RAM), while taking up more system time per user, which was fine because memory was limited while extra processor was available. Additionally, nc-ftpd is commercial software with source code unavailable. In late October, 1998, the Linux FTP server ProFTPD was discovered. This server (available from http://www.proftpd.org) seems to be as stable as WU, but much more configurable.

The test of time has thus far proven ProFTPD's reliability, and its configurability is unmatched.


 What search engine does ASSTR use (and why)?

At one time, ASSTR used the Glimpse search engine. The Glimpse engine provided an efficient, reliable search engine that performed very well for several years.

As ASSTR grew to mammoth proportions (150,000 files indexed and growing by the hour), the Glimpse engine was no longer able to work well with the ASSTR site. Today, ASSTR is proud to say that we use our very own search engine, researched, developed, and maintained entirely in-house by the ASSTR software engineering department. The engine is a result of several years of ongoing work and is optimized specifically for the ASSTR site and its unique requirements.


 What is this STEP program I've seen mentioned here and there?

STEP stands for Smart Text Enhancement Processor. STEP attempts to ensure that stories are presented to readers in an easy-to-read format, with no lines exceeding 65 characters. STEP is automatically used to reformat malformed ASSM posts and malformed ASCII text stories viewed through the /files linking system on the ASSTR web site.


 What other software has ASSTR developed?

In addition to our search engine, ASSTR has developed numerous other programs to assist and automate the day-to-day operations of the site and enhance the user experience. The amount of software developed by ASSTR personnel is fairly extensive and grows almost daily. Included in the list are the Alt.Sex.Stories.Moderated moderation system; the system that maintains the ASSTR web site; management software for the various author accounts, and several text (re)processing utilities.


WEB SITE

 Who created and/or maintains the web site?

Miss Behavin' created the official ASSTR logo - the ASSTR name printed sideways with the female silhouette. The ASSTR web site design (layout, color scheme, etc.) is credited to BitBard aka CardBard aka Sandman. The actual web site is maintained by a group of people consisting of a web site content editor, script programmer, and cross browser compatibility consultant.


 Why are some stories only available via FTP, but not http (the web)?

At ASSTR, authors can choose between two ways to make their works available - HTTP and FTP. HTTP is the Internet protocol that the web uses, and is the more user friendly version of the two. A portion of the works at ASSTR are only available via FTP, because FTP does not require the time and effort necessary to "webbify" an already existing work. Fortunately, you can avoid the need to learn how to use FTP by using ASSTR's web interface to the FTP site.


 How do I make use of files obtained via the Palm Format button/what is a pdb file?

Unfortunately the Memo Pad application that comes with the Palm doesn't support files longer than 4KB. Because most stories are larger than 4KB, ASSTR distributes files in the Pilot DOC file format, which can be read on Pilot/Visors using the GPLed (freeware) reader CSpotRun, available at http://32768.com/cspotrun/



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