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2 definitions found
 for backbone cabal
From The Jargon File (version 4.4.7, 29 Dec 2003) :

  backbone cabal
   n.
  
      A group of large-site administrators who pushed through the Great Renaming
       and reined in the chaos of Usenet during most of the 1980s. During most
      of its lifetime, the Cabal (as it was sometimes capitalized) steadfastly
      denied its own existence; it was almost obligatory for anyone privy to
      their secrets to respond ?There is no Cabal? whenever the existence or
      activities of the group were speculated on in public.
  
      The result of this policy was an attractive aura of mystery. Even a decade
      after the cabal mailing list disbanded in late 1988 following a bitter
      internal catfight, many people believed (or claimed to believe) that it had
      not actually disbanded but only gone deeper underground with its power
      intact.
  
      This belief became a model for various paranoid theories about various
      Cabals with dark nefarious objectives beginning with taking over the Usenet
      or Internet. These paranoias were later satirized in ways that took on a
      life of their own. See Eric Conspiracy for one example. Part of the
      background for this kind of humor is that many hackers cultivate a fondness
      for conspiracy theory considered as a kind of surrealist art; see the
      bibliography entry on Illuminatus! for the novel that launched this trend.
  
      See NANA for the subsequent history of ?the Cabal?.
  

From The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing (30 December 2018) :

  backbone cabal
  
      A group of large-site administrators who pushed
     through the Great Renaming and reined in the chaos of
     Usenet during most of the 1980s.  The cabal mailing list
     disbanded in late 1988 after a bitter internal cat-fight.
  
     [{Jargon File]
  
     (1994-11-28)
  

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