Q: Can I send an email to the people who make Mystery Science Theater 3000?
A: Well, you can send email to Barb Tebben, Info Club Poobah, at

Q: What about the other people at the show? Can I send email directly to them?
A: Barb can not pass messages to former cast members, but she can pass messages to Jim Mallon and Paul Chaplin. Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, J. Elvis Weinstein and Mary Jo Pehl have Web sites where you can contact them. None of the other cast members have made their personal email addresses public.

Q: What is BBI's history on the World Wide Web?
A: From 1997 to 2003, their page on the Sci-Fi Channel's Web site served as BBI's home on the Web. In February 2004, when the show left Sci-Fi Channel, the content on that site migrated to Satellite News, including the online continuation of the MST3K Amazing Colossal Episode Guide, the "Say What?" messages from the characters and Best Brains personalities, and more. (Satellite News is an independently run site and is not owned or maintained by Best Brains.)
In November of 2007, BBI relaunched itself with its own Web site, at

Q: Are there usenet newsgroups devoted to MST3K?
A: Yes, in fact there are several. Here's a rundown.

  • (aka RATMA)--Created as a place to MST3K news on usenet this site was abandoned by its moderator. However, in the fall of 2007 it got a new moderator and is now functioning again.
  • (aka RATMM)--the only populated MST3K newsgroup on usenet. While many regulars departed following Sci-Fi's decision not to order new episodes, it still has regular traffic.
  • (ATM)--traffic dropped off dramatically since the series went off the air and it is now deserted.
  • (AFM)--although it was the first MST3K newsgroup in existence, it was quickly eclipsed by ATM. Always the MST3K newsgroup with the least traffic, it is now deserted.
  •, as its name implies, is dedicated to fan MSTings, and discussions there usually focus on that topic only (see below for more info on MSTings). Traffic has dropped dramatically here as well, and spam has greatly increased.

Note: Some servers still offer, the predecessor to RATMM. This is an inactive newsgroup that should have been deleted from systems in 1994. The group gets no traffic, except for some occasional spam.

Q: Is there a special MST3K area on AOL?
A: Not any more. Once a strong and thriving community, the bulletin board became the target of attacks by a group bent on driving regular members away. They succeeded. The board sat empty for a couple of years and in July of '06 it was deleted.

Q: Where else can I find people discussing MST3K?
A: One well-run and fun MST3K forum is MST3K: The Discussion Board.

Q: Are there World Wide Web sites devoted to MST3K?
A: At one time, there were hundreds. In the last few years, many have vanished, or have been abandoned. Check The Umbilicus for a sampling of them. If you would like to have your web site included in The Umbilicus, please email with full information about your site.

Q: Are there mailing lists devoted to MST3K?
A: Yes. Visit one of the major mailing list hosting services to find them. You may also want to check Yahoo Groups. And you can join the "read-only" Satellite News mailing list by sending a blank email to

Q: I just found an MST3K forum/newsgroup. Should I dive right in to the conversations?
A: As with any online community, it is advisable to follow standard "netiquette," which suggests that you read through the forum for a while -- that's called "lurking" -- and learn the tone and culture of the group. Then, if you feel you want to contribute, begin by introducing yourself. If you have a question, read the FAQ (as you are doing now) to make sure it is not already answered there. There is no single way to get off on the wrong foot faster, in an online forum, than by asking a question that has been answered many many many many times, and is in the FAQ.

Q: In the forum I found, it seems like everybody knows each other, and I feel like an outsider. Will I be accepted?
A: Some of the people who post messages in these forums have, in fact, met each other in real life, either at the conventions or at small local get-togethers MSTies hold periodically around the country. If you approach these groups in a cautious and friendly way, and don't come on too strong at first, you will get to know people very quickly and soon you will probably feel right at home.

Q: My complaint is that people seem to be talking about everything except MST3K! Why don't they talk about the show more?
A: We're talking about a TV show that's been been around since 1988, and has been cancelled since 1999. Many regulars have been online MSTies for so long that every imaginable on-topic discussion (as well as the topic of being off-topic, which is, itself, off-topic) has already taken place. It's just something you're going to have to accept with good grace. Railing against it is not going to ingratiate you.
Look at it this way: An article about the show once sagely noted that, while the NBC series
Seinfeld was famous as being "a show about nothing," MST3K is, in contrast, a show about everything. If you look at it that way, no subject is really off-topic. As one online MSTie put it: "The world is our movie, and we riff on life."
It should also be noted that the arrival of Rifftrax and Cinematic Titanic and the relaunch of have given MSTies new topics of discussion, with the result that the off-topic problem has lessened of late.

Q: I've seen some people posting their own little scripts in which the characters from the show make fun of things like fan fiction. What is that about, and how do I do it?
A: This is known as "MSTing." The practice began in the early '90s, when the usenet was just beginning to become popular, and began attracting posts by all sorts of crazies. Some fans of the show, after spotting a particularly stupid post somewhere, began posting commentaries of the posts, in which comments supposedly by Joel/Mike and the bots were inserted into the text. Slowly the practice became more popular, and people began creating more elaborate posts that even included host segments and other creative elements.