There Is No Cabal

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There Is No Cabal is a catchphrase used on Usenet.[1] Its common abbreviation, TINC, is used humorously to suggest that people should lighten up and not see a conspiracy around every corner. It is alternatively used as a pseudo-ironic statement, since presumably an insider or someone who knows "the cabal" would inevitably deny that there is a cabal. It was used extensively by members of the backbone cabal.

As Usenet has few technologically or legally enforced hierarchies, nearly the only ones that formed were social hierarchies. People exerted power through force of will (often via intimidating flames), garnering authority and respect by contributing to the community (by being a maintainer of a FAQ, for example), or through sheer persistence, spending more time and writing more posts than anyone else (see Kibo, etc.).

Thus groups of people with authority and power gained and maintained it by what in a traditional society would be considered extralegal means; they were, in some sense, seen as cabals. In another sense they were not cabals, since their power did not extend beyond much more than social authority.

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  1. ^ E. Gabriella Coleman (2013). Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking. Princeton University Press. p. 136. ISBN 0-691-14461-3.