"Naively, as we had to realise. nn went from one or two messages every day in February to an average of three to five message in April and up to eight and ten messages per day in May and June - and that on a list which had a regular daily traffic of three to five messages a day. The distributed nature of the nn collective makes it possible for them to keep posting 24 hours a day - great for promoting your online presence, irritating for people who have a less frantic life rhythm. nn's messages are always cryptic, sometimes amusing, often tediously repetitive in their quirky rhetorics and style, and generally irritating for the majority of people. Its activity on the Syndicate - like on many other lists it has used and terrorised - soon came to look like a hijack. But the sheer mass of traffic nn was generating, the sheer amount of nn’s presence, was overwhelming. Perhaps this phenomenon could be compared to SMEGL, short for super mental grid lock, a term that was developed to describe traffic jam situations in NYC back in the eighties (or was this term coined in Berlin-Kreuzberg’s famous Fischbuero? Who knows, the boundaries get blurred...).
In the spring of 2001, nn’s and other people’s activities who use open, unmoderated mailing lists for promulgating their self-promotional e-mails, triggered discussions about 'spam art', on Syndicate as well as on other lists. Actually, given the extreme openness and vulnerability of a structure like the Syndicate it remains quite astonishing that this structure survived for such a long time. What happened in the course of 2000/2001 (not only to Syndicate, but also to several other mailing lists) was that the openness of these lists, i.e. the fact that they were unmoderated, was massively abused, and, finally, destroyed, by relentless 'creative' spamming. One of the basic principles of the Internet – its openness – suddenly seemed to become a mere tool for attacking this very principle. ‘Netiquette’ did not seem to be of much value anymore and was sacrificed for the egotistical self-expression of (distributed) artist egos. The irony of this process is that, like any good parasite, this artistic practice depends on the existence of lively online communities: it not only bites, but kills the hand that feeds it. - These parasite nomads will find new hosts, no doubt, but they have over the past year helped to erode the social fabric of the wider net cultural population so much that communities have to protect themselves from attacks and hijacks more aggressively than before. Their adolescent carelessness is partly responsible for the withering of the romantic utopia of a completely open, sociable online environment. However educational that may be, we despise the deliberation with which these people act.
nn got unsubscribed from the Syndicate without warning on a day when there had been nothing but ten messages from her. After some days of silence and sighs of relief, angry protests by nn came through. On the list, accusations of censorship and/or dictatorship were made. A small but noisy faction denounced unsubscribing nn as an act against the freedom of speech. They called the administrators fascists, murderers, and 'threatened' to report the case to 'Index on Censorship'. While some other list members welcomed the departure of nn on and off the list and the admin team again and again explained their move, the ludicrous allegations and vociferous insults continued.
The real shock for us was that the majority of list subscribers did not participate in the discussion and thus silently seemed to accept what was going on. It was personally hurtful not to receive more support against the insults raised against us, but more frustrating was the indifference that made the whole process possible. Within few days, the alienation from the atmosphere on the list was so great that we admitted defeat, re-subscribed nn and began to withdraw from the Syndicate. The list was moved to a different server and is now administered by other people at anart.no/~syndicate."

Andreas Brockmann and Inke Arns in Rise and Decline of the Syndicate: the End of an Imagined Community, Berlin, November 2001.