HELLAS Web History


The History of Hellas List according to Spiro Lioli, and the help of Nikos George, Michael Kolios, Nick Kontodimos, Vartan Narinian, Nick Triandos, and Thanos Voudouris.

                     The HELLAS List Story      
HELLAS was established in 1988 as a replacement to GREEK-L, which
was  managed  by  Spyros Bartsocas.   GREEK-L  didn't  last  long
because of disagreements among the members of  the list regarding
the content of postings.  Some members of GREEK-L wanted the list
to  be a place where they could chit-chat  and comment on current
events  while on the other hand other members wanted to use it as
a  forum  for  scientific  discussions  without  any  mention  to
politics,   sports  or  any  other  topics  that  could   provoke 
disagreements  among them.
Kostas Piperis,  from the University BKLYN of New York,   decided
to   continue  this  electronic  communication  among  Greeks  by
creating HELLAS with the help of his friend Panteli Tzwrtzakh who
was sysadmin of CREARN  at Univrsity of  Crete.  The  difference
between  HELLAS and GREEK-L  was  that  in HELLAS  there  were no 
subject limitations.  Political,  social  and  sports  news  were  
always acceptable.  The first node serving  HELLAS was GREARN  at 
the University of Crete.   HELLAS  became  a  modern  coffee-shop  
where  everybody  would  exchange opinions  on  various subjects.  
Modern  in the  sense that  in  anormal  coffee-shop  environment 
everyone  exchanges  opinions  face to face,  whereas  in  HELLAS 
communication is made  possible via computer systems.
The  first  HELLAS technical managers  (listowners)  were Panteli
Tzwrtzakhs, Kostas  Piperis   and   Kostas  Antonopoulos.  It  is 
estimated  that  initially  HELLAS had somewhere between 30 to 40 
members.  Since  many HELLAS members were from North America,  it
was  proposed  that  a  second  node  be established in the U.S.A  
to accommodate  them.  Alexander  Couloumbis,  a  friend  of  the 
HELLAS technical managers,  volunteered to manage the second node 
(peer) which was established at  the  American University (AUVM). 
The problem was that most of the subscribers and most of the load
(90%)  were  processed  via AUVM and soon this listserv was over-
loaded.  It was evident that a new host was needed to divide  the
work.  Spiros  Mpartzokas  then,  found  another node at BROWNVM.
Once  the  new  node  opened,  the postings the number of members 
immediately increased causing HELLAS to become widely known.
In 1989, HELLAS started the distribution of its mail into  USENET
and NETNEWS so it became more widely known.
After some resignations,  Kostas Piperis  from  Brown University,  
Alexandros Couloumbis from  the  American University  and  George
Kavallieratos, were the list  managers.   The  resignations  took 
place because of the managers'  heavy workload,  who were at  the
time also burdened with setting up the network in Crete.  Day  by 
day the subscriptions increased and membership was of  the  order 
of two  hundred,  while  Usenet statistics suggested that  HELLAS 
was being  followed by  over 1000  people around  the  world.  Of 
course, not all of them were active participants.
As  time passed,  a small  problem developed.  The programs  that
managed HELLAS got incompatible between nodes. There was LISTSERV
for the US and LISTEARN for Europe and each time there was a  new
release the incompatibilities grew.  Thus, it was decided to shut
down the Crete node. The reasoning was that most subscribers were
from North America anyway and they would be better served if they
used nodes  in the USA.  The  decision was taken  and implemented 
in 1990.  The technical managers for HELLAS remained the same but
membership was now at 300+.
1990  was also the year of  the first big meeting between  HELLAS
subscribers,  in the outskirts of  NY.  The meeting took place in
June and around 40 members attended. One surprising fact was that
one subscriber travelled all the way from Australia for the  sole
purpose of attending the meeting. The event was christened PORKY.
This  became a tradition  and now  every big members'  meeting is
called PORKY and is followed by a number.
In early 1991, Alexandros Couloumbis invited volunteers to become
listowers of the HELLAS list.  There was a need for them  because
times had changed and some owners had full-time jobs,  others had
left and others were simply too tired.
Spyros  Antoniou,  Spiros Liolis,  Leonidas Irakliotis and  Nikos
Gavrielatos  volunteered  for  the  posts.   Leonidas  Irakliotis
decided,  for personal reasons,  to leave after the second month.
The second gathering of the HELLAS members  (PORKY II) took place
in the summer of 1991. Even more people attended this time.
The last quarter of  1991 was a peculiar one for the  list.  This
was the period in which "Dimitris Karakolis" made his appearance.
Dimitris Karakolis was a non-existent person  with a fake account
that would constantly joke around.  He sent his first messages in
1990  but  it  was  in  1991  that  he  became   a   popular  and
controversial   figure.   Many  people,   including  one  of  the
listowners, were uncomfortable with the idea of a fake person and
account.  This  resulted  in a dispute  that  almost forced  the
closing  down of the list.  However,  the expulsion of the actual
person responsible for these postings saved the list from certain
By this time,  Alexandros Couloumbis and George Kavallieratos had
to  go back to  Greece for their military  service leaving Spiros
Liolis and Spyros Antoniou as  the only  owners.  Hellas at  this
stage had approximately 400+  members and was being served by two
nodes.  The  list  was becoming very  busy so  by the end of 1991
another node was  added at the University of  Georgia at  Athens,
USA (UGA).  This addition resulted in a more even distribution of
members and reduced the load on the other nodes.  Hellas  now had
over  500 members and  statistics indicated  that it was read  by
over 7000 people worldwide.
The next year  (1992)  was rather tame.  There were of course the
usual passionate arguments and quarrels, but this time people got
to  know  each  other  better in  various meetings of  the Hellas
members. The PORKY gathering of this year (PORKY III) was held in
Washington, D.C.  The end of 1992 was highlighted by the decision
to  have  an additional PORKY in Athens,  Greece.   It  was  very
successful and more than 70 people  attended .  It was said  that
it was the warmest and the biggest gathering of the list members.
Everything was smooth until the summer of 1993,  when  a  certain
individual  (who  shall  remain  nameless)  from the  "Democritus
Research Center of Physical  Sciences"  in  Greece  attempted  to
close  down  the  list,   accusing  members  of  using  it  for
dissemination  of  libel  against  him.  The  owners  decided  to
temporarily suspend all list operations to prevent uncontrollable
flamewars.  After 2 months and  lots  of e-mail exchanges between
the  owners  and the postmasters  of  the 3  nodes that supported
HELLAS,  it  was  decided that  the node at BROWN  university  be
closed, since there was no local listowner. Immediately though, a
new  node was added  at Penn State University by Nikos George who
had become  a  listowner  a few  months earlier.  The node at the
American University was only serving to gateway  articles to  the
USENET  newsgroup bit.listserv.hellas.  In  the beginning of 1994
Eleftherios Hazapis was added as a local  listowner,  opening the
node to subscribers again.  
1993's Porky  (IV)  took place in New Jersey where a large number  
of  people  attended  and  it was very  successful.  Surprisingly
enough a  couple of members  flew  from  England for this  event. 
Porky V (1994)  took place  in Saint Louis,  Missouri,  and  even
though not so many people attended, it was successful and brought 
the members back together for a nice and warm gathering.
In September of 1994 some  list members took  the  initiative  of
designing this  Web  page.  The  idea  was to get HELLAS into the
audio-visual environment of the internet. Now HELLAS enjoys wider
exposure  and  is  more  easily accessible  to people around  the
world.  In addition,  there  is the opportunity  to showcase  the
wonders of our country to non-Hellenic people via this multimedia
environment by  including a travel page,  many pictures and links
to many other Hellenic Web sites.
It is estimated  that HELLAS has  600+  members and approximately
10,000 more  read and post via USENET despite the low propagation
of bit.listserv.hellas.
Members of  HELLAS come from all parts of the world.  From Europe
we have subscribers from Germany,  UK,  Italy,  France,  Belgium,
Holland,  Spain,  Portugal,  Greece and  Cyprus.  The US, Canada,
Brazil, Japan, Australia and Singapore are also represented.
HELLAS  does  not  only  serve as our  coffee-shop,  but it  also
helps  to unite us.  HELLAS  has many times  organized complaints
against organizations that have written antihellenic articles  in
newspapers or magazines.  HELLAS is where Greeks who live abroad,
mainly  students,  can  hang  out.  It is the  best  way to  keep
up-to-date with sports, politics and social events.
Many interesting acquaintances have been made  through HELLAS and
every year,  as a tradition, a feast is held somewhere in the US,
with people coming from all over to meet in person all those with
whom  they  have been  communicating all this time from behind  a
terminal.  In  fact,  one  such  acquaintance led  to  a  wedding
(1989/90).  HELLAS,  like  any  coffee-shop,  has its misgivings.
Political,  social,  and sports discussions often degenerate into
petty  arguments  and  fights;  nevertheless,  all  of  them  are
short-lived and  whenever someone needs some  help,  everyone  is
willing to lend him/her a hand.
This history has been written on the basis of some old statistics
and  events  that  the  author,   a  HELLAS  member  since  1989,
Spiros Liolis
NOTE:  As  always,  Hellenic  teamwork  helped in the translation
       of this Hellas List Story originally written in  Greek  by 
       Spiros Liolis.  Job well done to: 
       Nikos  George,  Michael  Kolios,  Nick  Kontodimos, Vartan 
       Narinian, Nick Triandos, and Thanos Voudouris. 

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