Discussion:
Usenet vs other online discussion fora (was: OT: Article on CLC culture)
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Spiros Bousbouras
2018-05-21 14:41:30 UTC
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[Since this is out of topic for comp.lang.c I'm crossposting and setting
follow-ups to comp.misc .]

On Sun, 29 Apr 2018 11:43:28 -0000 (UTC)
On Sun, 29 Apr 2018 00:00:43 +0000 (UTC)
https://www.joelonsoftware.com/2018/04/23/strange-and-maddening-rules/
It's about a lot of things, but it does mention this newsgroup (and only
this one) by name. Makes note of the strange culture of the group.
[...]
The newsgroup languished because it catered only to the few people
that had been there for a decade.
comp.lang.c is less busy than it used to be but is doing fine. It's
interesting to ponder on why Usenet has been overcome in popularity by
sites like stackoverflow .I have some ideas but since this post is
already long and it would be out of topic , I will refrain.
Like what? I always just figured it was "the masses didn't get it".
Perhaps this is true for some people but not for others. I have seen
examples of people who used to access usenet using newsreaders and have
moved to other online venues (not necessarily stackoverflow). Some
alternative reasons I can think of are the following :

1. Subjective preference. There are all kinds of little details regarding
the user interface of usenet vs message boards vs blogs vs stackoverflow
vs ycombinator.com vs whatever. Some people just like one over the
other.

2. Moderation. I said in a previous post that on an unmoderated newsgroup and
if one uses a newsreader "everyone can act as moderator for what they
themselves read but for noone else". This seems ideal to me but from what
I've seen from other people , not everyone feels this way. In particular I
have witnessed repeatedly the phenomenon of people who use a newsreader and
state that they are annoyed with the output of some other poster and they
consider it of low quality yet they don't killfile that poster but instead
continue to reply and express annoyance and it goes like this indefinitely.
For example a while ago someone abandoned comp.lang.fortran because they no
longer liked the overall tone of the discussion instead of just killfiling
some people. (If you want to explore this example further see

Newsgroups: comp.lang.fortran
Subject: Re: I Miss Richard Maine
Date: Sun, 17 Sep 2017 20:27:01 +0000 (UTC)
Message-ID: <opmlql$g5e$***@newsreader4.netcologne.de>

as a starting point) I don't know why some people are so reluctant to use the
killfiles they have access to but given that they are like this , having
someone else do the "dirty" job of moderation presumably suits them better.

3. With sites like stackoverflow which allow upvoting and downvoting of posts
, there is the factor of emotional gratification. Person A gets annoyed with
some post , they can immediately (anonymously) downvote it ; click on a
button and bang , instant emotional gratification. With usenet you don't have
that. If person A were to simply write a short reply saying "Rubbish" then
that makes themselves look bad as lacking of arguments or at least not making
the effort to write an argument as to why they thought the post they were
replying to was rubbish. If they bother to write a more detailed reply then
it's no longer instant emotional gratification and it takes more time too.

Another aspect of emotional gratification is that on usenet there is no
objective measure of who are the "best" posters whereas with a place like
stackoverflow where there is voting , people get the satisfaction of getting
a large number of positive votes and have this to aim for.

[But I should mention a counterexample to this hypothesis :
http://www.scottaaronson.com/blog/?p=1558
OK, in the first significant use of comment voting, the readers have
voted overwhelmingly, by 41 - 13, that they want the comment voting to
disappear. So disappear it has!
]

4. Network effect. Once something becomes popular , then more people learn
about it. Spolsky already had a popular blog when he started stackoverflow
so naturally a lot of people tried out stackoverflow when he started it.

5. Specialised functionality (if the kind of discussion which takes place has
a use for it). The one example I've seen of this (although there may be
others) is where the topic of discussion involves a lot of mathematics. There
is special notation to include Latex notation (which is just ordinary ASCII)
in an online post and the forum software will display the corresponding
mathematical notation (I don't know if the mathematical notation can be
quoted the same way normal text can). The analogous on usenet would be to
have a special header field which would indicate that the text of the post is
Latex source or contains Latex source and newsreaders which understand this
field would automatically invoke the Latex application on the body of the
post and display the output instead of the original post. This is doable but
someone would need to define a kind of (unofficial) standard about the header
field and enhance at least one newsreader to support the additional
functionality.

I think stackoverflow does support such a notation. But there is a counterexample
here too : the foundations Of mathematics mailing list :
cs.nyu.edu/mailman/listinfo/fom :
FOM postings must consist of single-spaced, plain text and
have an informative subject line in the e-mail header.

The list has been going on for many years and has managed with plain text
just fine. It isn't usenet but email lists are very close to usenet in
user interface.


So anyway , the above are some alternative reasons I could think of.
Although, maybe best to take this off-list?
I think it's good for this kind of discussion to have as wide an input as
possible so best to keep it public. I think it's on topic enough on
comp.misc .
To novices, the long bureaucratic rigmarole associated with asking
your first question on Stack Overflow can feel either completely
unnecessary, or just plain weird.
So there is actually a bureaucratic process to ask your first question
on stackoverflow ? Well , then perhaps people should give usenet , and
comp.lang.c in particular a try where there isn't one.
Maybe "basic netiquitte" is too hard for people?
Actually most online discussion places have some kind of netiquette. Unmoderated
usenet is the most loose in this regard since the netiquette is not enforceable
so if anyone actually has problems with netiquette then they would prefer
usenet.
--
The ultimate goal of mathematics is to eliminate any need for intelligent thought.
Alfred N. Whitehead
Stefan Ram
2018-05-21 15:24:14 UTC
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Post by Spiros Bousbouras
1. Subjective preference. There are all kinds of little details regarding
Some of the main properties of Usenet I like:

- I use a client I can control with my keyboard only.

- I do not write texts for free for some other party to
control (deleting them at will) and exploit (making money
from them, e.g., via ads).

- The text format does not allow annoying or insecure content.

- There are several other minor reasons like the standardized
and stable interface (NNTP).

I am surprised that people with the same preferences are so
few and rare and that the Usenet is so empty nowadays.

The newsgroup "comp.lang.c" should be the /central point
in the world/ where one goes to publish news about C or ask
questions about C. Of course, if traffic should be high,
it would be splitted into "comp.lang.c.announce",
"comp.lang.c.beginners" and so on. Actually, there is also
"comp.std.c" (moderated) and "alt.comp.lang.learn.c-c++".
s***@something.com
2018-05-21 19:50:30 UTC
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The problem is usenet is fairly hemetic. People who have been here for a
long time have killfiles, know which newsreader to use, know where there
are people, where's good discussion.

If you discover usenet, you mostly find tons of really old spam, and
it's actually difficult to see whether there's any activity at all, even
if you get to grips with the newsreader and so on.
Michael Bäuerle
2018-05-22 08:33:05 UTC
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Post by s***@something.com
The problem is usenet is fairly hemetic. People who have been here for a
long time have killfiles, know which newsreader to use, know where there
are people, where's good discussion.
If you discover usenet, you mostly find tons of really old spam, and
it's actually difficult to see whether there's any activity at all, even
if you get to grips with the newsreader and so on.
For the german hierarchy there are regular discussions about deleting
dead groups (empty or only spam for several month or years). One of the
pro arguments is always exactly what you have written: For new users
it is hard to see the few active areas in the masses of dead groups.
Huge
2018-05-22 09:34:46 UTC
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Post by Michael Bäuerle
Post by s***@something.com
The problem is usenet is fairly hemetic. People who have been here for a
long time have killfiles, know which newsreader to use, know where there
are people, where's good discussion.
If you discover usenet, you mostly find tons of really old spam,
Doubtful, since spammers gave up with usenet years ago and most servers
expire old articles. What you mostly find is ... nothing. Or loonies
raving into the void.
Post by Michael Bäuerle
Post by s***@something.com
and
it's actually difficult to see whether there's any activity at all, even
if you get to grips with the newsreader and so on.
For the german hierarchy there are regular discussions about deleting
dead groups (empty or only spam for several month or years). One of the
pro arguments is always exactly what you have written: For new users
it is hard to see the few active areas in the masses of dead groups.
The UK hierarchy has been deleting dead groups for a while.

It's all very sad, since I believe Usenet is superior to forums in about
every way.
--
Today is Boomtime, the 69th day of Discord in the YOLD 3184
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.
Michael Bäuerle
2018-05-22 10:03:11 UTC
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Post by Huge
Post by Michael Bäuerle
[...]
For the german hierarchy there are regular discussions about deleting
dead groups (empty or only spam for several month or years). One of the
pro arguments is always exactly what you have written: For new users
it is hard to see the few active areas in the masses of dead groups.
The UK hierarchy has been deleting dead groups for a while.
It's all very sad, since I believe Usenet is superior to forums in about
every way.
Full Ack. But today most users simply no longer know that it exist.
Huge
2018-05-22 10:11:51 UTC
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Post by Michael Bäuerle
Post by Huge
Post by Michael Bäuerle
[...]
For the german hierarchy there are regular discussions about deleting
dead groups (empty or only spam for several month or years). One of the
pro arguments is always exactly what you have written: For new users
it is hard to see the few active areas in the masses of dead groups.
The UK hierarchy has been deleting dead groups for a while.
It's all very sad, since I believe Usenet is superior to forums in about
every way.
Full Ack. But today most users simply no longer know that it exist.
[More sadness]
--
Today is Boomtime, the 69th day of Discord in the YOLD 3184
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.
Rich
2018-05-22 10:38:03 UTC
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Post by Michael Bäuerle
Post by Huge
Post by Michael Bäuerle
[...]
For the german hierarchy there are regular discussions about
deleting dead groups (empty or only spam for several month or
years). One of the pro arguments is always exactly what you have
written: For new users it is hard to see the few active areas in
the masses of dead groups.
The UK hierarchy has been deleting dead groups for a while.
It's all very sad, since I believe Usenet is superior to forums in
about every way.
Full Ack. But today most users simply no longer know that it exist.
While there are likely multiple contributing reasons for Usenet's
demise, no one of which is singularly responsible (rather more like a
death by 1,000 cuts) there is one reason that has not come up in this
thread yet.

Back in the '90's, when the masses were getting their first experience
'online' most ISP subscriptions (at least here in the US) provided
Usenet access as one of the many 'options' one received for signing up
(and suffering dialup as well....)

Then, starting sometime about 1998 and continuining until about 2002,
ISP's started dropping Usenet access from their packages. The excuse
they often used at the time was some combination of "low usage" from
their user base and "high maintence" from their support end. Many who
were near the tin-foil hat level felt the real reason was "unable to
keep up with size growth of the alt.binaries hierarchy" and rather than
drop "alt.binaries.*" they simply dropped all Usenet access in their
packages.

This, however, produced a tipping-point aspect. Long time Usenet
users, who wanted to continue simply obtained Usenet access separate
from their ISP and continued.

But, once ISP's started dropping it, they also stopped advertising it,
and so new signups were never made aware that anything called Usenet
even existed. So few to no newer users entered the Usenet realm.
This, of course, has largely led to todays situation where "most users
simply no longer know that it exist[s]". And they won't go seeking out
something they simply don't even know exists. Couple that with so many
of the new generation who think "the internet" means "farcebook" and
well, you have todays situation of lots of Usenet forums with nothing
but the occasional kook yelling to an empty group.
Huge
2018-05-22 13:14:35 UTC
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On 2018-05-22, Rich <***@example.invalid> wrote:

[27 lines snipped]
Post by Rich
Then, starting sometime about 1998 and continuining until about 2002,
ISP's started dropping Usenet access from their packages. The excuse
they often used at the time was some combination of "low usage" from
their user base and "high maintence" from their support end.
I suspect this might have had something to do with it, also;

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godfrey_v_Demon_Internet_Service
--
Today is Boomtime, the 69th day of Discord in the YOLD 3184
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.
Spiros Bousbouras
2018-05-22 14:23:58 UTC
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On 22 May 2018 13:14:35 GMT
Post by Huge
[27 lines snipped]
Post by Rich
Then, starting sometime about 1998 and continuining until about 2002,
ISP's started dropping Usenet access from their packages. The excuse
they often used at the time was some combination of "low usage" from
their user base and "high maintence" from their support end.
I suspect this might have had something to do with it, also;
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godfrey_v_Demon_Internet_Service
But this is a U.K. case whereas the post you respond to said "(at least here
in the US)" .In the U.K. many of the major ISP providers do provide usenet
access although they generally don't advertise it.

With some googling it doesn't seem as if demon.net do anymore.
Huge
2018-05-22 15:15:19 UTC
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Post by Spiros Bousbouras
On 22 May 2018 13:14:35 GMT
Post by Huge
[27 lines snipped]
Post by Rich
Then, starting sometime about 1998 and continuining until about 2002,
ISP's started dropping Usenet access from their packages. The excuse
they often used at the time was some combination of "low usage" from
their user base and "high maintence" from their support end.
I suspect this might have had something to do with it, also;
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godfrey_v_Demon_Internet_Service
But this is a U.K. case whereas the post you respond to said "(at least here
in the US)"
So what?
Post by Spiros Bousbouras
In the U.K. many of the major ISP providers do provide usenet
No they don't.
--
Today is Boomtime, the 69th day of Discord in the YOLD 3184
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.
Rich
2018-05-22 16:14:26 UTC
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Post by Huge
Post by Spiros Bousbouras
On 22 May 2018 13:14:35 GMT
Post by Huge
[27 lines snipped]
Post by Rich
Then, starting sometime about 1998 and continuining until about 2002,
ISP's started dropping Usenet access from their packages. The excuse
they often used at the time was some combination of "low usage" from
their user base and "high maintence" from their support end.
I suspect this might have had something to do with it, also;
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godfrey_v_Demon_Internet_Service
But this is a U.K. case whereas the post you respond to said "(at least here
in the US)"
So what?
UK court decisions have zero applicability to US law.

They may portend someone filing a similar suit in the US, but they
don't effect directly US law.
Huge
2018-05-22 16:26:45 UTC
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Post by Rich
Post by Huge
Post by Spiros Bousbouras
On 22 May 2018 13:14:35 GMT
Post by Huge
[27 lines snipped]
Post by Rich
Then, starting sometime about 1998 and continuining until about 2002,
ISP's started dropping Usenet access from their packages. The excuse
they often used at the time was some combination of "low usage" from
their user base and "high maintence" from their support end.
I suspect this might have had something to do with it, also;
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godfrey_v_Demon_Internet_Service
But this is a U.K. case whereas the post you respond to said "(at least here
in the US)"
So what?
UK court decisions have zero applicability to US law.
No shit, Sherlock.
--
Today is Boomtime, the 69th day of Discord in the YOLD 3184
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.
Spiros Bousbouras
2018-05-22 21:58:17 UTC
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On 22 May 2018 15:15:19 GMT
Post by Huge
Post by Spiros Bousbouras
On 22 May 2018 13:14:35 GMT
Post by Huge
[27 lines snipped]
Post by Rich
Then, starting sometime about 1998 and continuining until about 2002,
ISP's started dropping Usenet access from their packages. The excuse
they often used at the time was some combination of "low usage" from
their user base and "high maintence" from their support end.
I suspect this might have had something to do with it, also;
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godfrey_v_Demon_Internet_Service
But this is a U.K. case whereas the post you respond to said "(at least here
in the US)"
So what?
You would expect a U.K. court case to have more of an effect on U.K. ISPs
rather than U.S.A. ones but it didn't ; as I said several U.K. major ISP
providers offer usenet access.
Post by Huge
Post by Spiros Bousbouras
In the U.K. many of the major ISP providers do provide usenet
No they don't.
news.virginmedia.com
BT -> news.btinternet.com
news.plus.net
Huge
2018-05-23 09:24:33 UTC
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Post by Spiros Bousbouras
On 22 May 2018 15:15:19 GMT
[24 lines snipped]
Post by Spiros Bousbouras
Post by Huge
Post by Spiros Bousbouras
In the U.K. many of the major ISP providers do provide usenet
No they don't.
news.virginmedia.com
BT -> news.btinternet.com
news.plus.net
I'd be astonished if they run their own usenet servers. ICBA to look,
and I'm not going to respond further, but I'd wager these are all
out-sourced.
--
Today is Pungenday, the 70th day of Discord in the YOLD 3184
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.
Richard Kettlewell
2018-05-23 09:39:11 UTC
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Post by Huge
Post by Spiros Bousbouras
Post by Huge
Post by Spiros Bousbouras
In the U.K. many of the major ISP providers do provide usenet
No they don't.
news.virginmedia.com
BT -> news.btinternet.com
news.plus.net
I'd be astonished if they run their own usenet servers. ICBA to look,
and I'm not going to respond further, but I'd wager these are all
out-sourced.
BT (which includes plusnet) use GigaNews. VM at least put their own name
in the banner but I suspect it’s the same.

But so what?
--
https://www.greenend.org.uk/rjk/
Huge
2018-05-23 09:40:08 UTC
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Post by Richard Kettlewell
Post by Huge
Post by Spiros Bousbouras
Post by Huge
Post by Spiros Bousbouras
In the U.K. many of the major ISP providers do provide usenet
No they don't.
news.virginmedia.com
BT -> news.btinternet.com
news.plus.net
I'd be astonished if they run their own usenet servers. ICBA to look,
and I'm not going to respond further, but I'd wager these are all
out-sourced.
BT (which includes plusnet) use GigaNews. VM at least put their own name
in the banner but I suspect it’s the same.
But so what?
Not that I care greatly, but the assertion was "many of the major ISP
providers do provide usenet". Which is incorrect.
--
Today is Pungenday, the 70th day of Discord in the YOLD 3184
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.
Richard Kettlewell
2018-05-23 10:41:03 UTC
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Post by Huge
Post by Richard Kettlewell
Post by Huge
Post by Spiros Bousbouras
Post by Huge
Post by Spiros Bousbouras
In the U.K. many of the major ISP providers do provide usenet
No they don't.
news.virginmedia.com
BT -> news.btinternet.com
news.plus.net
I'd be astonished if they run their own usenet servers. ICBA to look,
and I'm not going to respond further, but I'd wager these are all
out-sourced.
BT (which includes plusnet) use GigaNews. VM at least put their own name
in the banner but I suspect it’s the same.
But so what?
Not that I care greatly, but the assertion was "many of the major ISP
providers do provide usenet". Which is incorrect.
Well, sure, if you have a bizarre definition of “provide”. The customers
get NNTP service, why would they care if it happens to involve a third
party?
--
https://www.greenend.org.uk/rjk/
Spiros Bousbouras
2018-05-23 16:12:52 UTC
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On 23 May 2018 09:40:08 GMT
Post by Huge
Post by Richard Kettlewell
Post by Huge
Post by Spiros Bousbouras
Post by Huge
Post by Spiros Bousbouras
In the U.K. many of the major ISP providers do provide usenet
No they don't.
news.virginmedia.com
BT -> news.btinternet.com
news.plus.net
I'd be astonished if they run their own usenet servers. ICBA to look,
and I'm not going to respond further, but I'd wager these are all
out-sourced.
BT (which includes plusnet) use GigaNews. VM at least put their own name
in the banner but I suspect it's the same.
But so what?
Not that I care greatly, but the assertion was "many of the major ISP
providers do provide usenet". Which is incorrect.
If you think it's incorrect then your definition of "provide" is different
than mine. As far as I'm concerned , if one can enter the address of the
news server in the appropriate application and it just works with no further
fiddling then "provide" applies.
Spiros Bousbouras
2018-05-23 17:27:37 UTC
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On 23 May 2018 09:24:33 GMT
Post by Huge
Post by Spiros Bousbouras
On 22 May 2018 15:15:19 GMT
[24 lines snipped]
Post by Spiros Bousbouras
Post by Huge
Post by Spiros Bousbouras
In the U.K. many of the major ISP providers do provide usenet
No they don't.
news.virginmedia.com
BT -> news.btinternet.com
news.plus.net
I'd be astonished if they run their own usenet servers. ICBA to look,
and I'm not going to respond further, but I'd wager these are all
out-sourced.
I wonder if being outsourced reduces legal liability for the ISP in case something
illegal appears on the server.
Rich
2018-05-23 17:51:02 UTC
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Post by Spiros Bousbouras
On 23 May 2018 09:24:33 GMT
Post by Huge
Post by Spiros Bousbouras
On 22 May 2018 15:15:19 GMT
[24 lines snipped]
Post by Spiros Bousbouras
Post by Huge
Post by Spiros Bousbouras
In the U.K. many of the major ISP providers do provide usenet
No they don't.
news.virginmedia.com
BT -> news.btinternet.com
news.plus.net
I'd be astonished if they run their own usenet servers. ICBA to
look, and I'm not going to respond further, but I'd wager these are
all out-sourced.
I wonder if being outsourced reduces legal liability for the ISP in
case something illegal appears on the server.
That likely depends on the contract they cut with the outsourcer.

What it does save the ISP is the work of running a usenet server, esp.
if they plan to provide the alt.binaries heirarchy. The data
consumption of that subset is enormous compared to the rest of Usenet.
Rich
2018-05-22 16:13:15 UTC
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Post by Huge
[27 lines snipped]
Post by Rich
Then, starting sometime about 1998 and continuining until about 2002,
ISP's started dropping Usenet access from their packages. The excuse
they often used at the time was some combination of "low usage" from
their user base and "high maintence" from their support end.
I suspect this might have had something to do with it, also;
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godfrey_v_Demon_Internet_Service
Hmm... I did not know about that case.

But, that case was in the UK, and ISP's in the USA also started
dropping Usenet, and a UK case would not have directly been applicable
in the US.

But maybe they were afraid of similar situations and were just trying
to cover their a**** before something happened to them as well.
Huge
2018-05-22 16:25:50 UTC
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Post by Rich
Post by Huge
[27 lines snipped]
Post by Rich
Then, starting sometime about 1998 and continuining until about 2002,
ISP's started dropping Usenet access from their packages. The excuse
they often used at the time was some combination of "low usage" from
their user base and "high maintence" from their support end.
I suspect this might have had something to do with it, also;
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godfrey_v_Demon_Internet_Service
Hmm... I did not know about that case.
But, that case was in the UK, and ISP's in the USA also started
dropping Usenet, and a UK case would not have directly been applicable
in the US.
But maybe they were afraid of similar situations and were just trying
to cover their a**** before something happened to them as well.
Precisely. Especially given how litigious the USA is.
--
Today is Boomtime, the 69th day of Discord in the YOLD 3184
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.
Sn!pe
2018-05-22 17:15:36 UTC
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Post by Huge
Post by Rich
Post by Huge
[27 lines snipped]
Post by Rich
Then, starting sometime about 1998 and continuining until about 2002,
ISP's started dropping Usenet access from their packages. The excuse
they often used at the time was some combination of "low usage" from
their user base and "high maintence" from their support end.
I suspect this might have had something to do with it, also;
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godfrey_v_Demon_Internet_Service
Hmm... I did not know about that case.
But, that case was in the UK, and ISP's in the USA also started
dropping Usenet, and a UK case would not have directly been applicable
in the US.
But maybe they were afraid of similar situations and were just trying
to cover their a**** before something happened to them as well.
Precisely. Especially given how litigious the USA is.
Was there not a famous law suit in [New York?] that scared many
US ISPs away from Usenet?

My unreliable memory suggests that it was a copyright infingement suit.
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RS Wood
2018-05-23 01:12:40 UTC
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Was there not a famous law suit in [New York?] that scared many US ISPs
away from Usenet?
My unreliable memory suggests that it was a copyright infingement suit.
No, it was allegedly child porn, which gave a lot of ISPs the reason they
were searching to kill off Usenet services.

I can hardly be bothered to care. Anybody who liked Usenet enough to bother
found an NSP and got on with posting. Everybody who didn't fucked the fuck
off. The only ones left on Usenet are the ones who love Usenet (and a
metric assload of fucktards, as usual).

Individual.net provides excellent Usenet service. You have to pay for it -
that's the way the cookie crumbles. The freetards mostly wound up at
AIOE.org etc.
The Real Bev
2018-05-23 01:32:35 UTC
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Post by RS Wood
Was there not a famous law suit in [New York?] that scared many US ISPs
away from Usenet?
My unreliable memory suggests that it was a copyright infingement suit.
No, it was allegedly child porn, which gave a lot of ISPs the reason they
were searching to kill off Usenet services.
I can hardly be bothered to care. Anybody who liked Usenet enough to bother
found an NSP and got on with posting. Everybody who didn't fucked the fuck
off. The only ones left on Usenet are the ones who love Usenet (and a
metric assload of fucktards, as usual).
Individual.net provides excellent Usenet service. You have to pay for it -
that's the way the cookie crumbles. The freetards mostly wound up at
AIOE.org etc.
Eternal-september is both free and excellent. Sign up at the website
for a free account.

https://www.eternal-september.org/
--
Cheers, Bev
"When I was a kid my dad once joked that the best way to
prevent being on a plane with someone carrying a bomb
would be to bring your own bomb and not detonate it.
Sounded convincing. What are the odds that two people
board, each with a bomb?" -- Rowdy
Huge
2018-05-23 09:22:27 UTC
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On 2018-05-23, RS Wood <***@therandymon.com> wrote:

[15 lines snipped]
Post by RS Wood
Individual.net provides excellent Usenet service. You have to pay for it -
Although so little that it hardly matters.
--
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Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.
Richard Kettlewell
2018-05-22 15:44:55 UTC
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Post by Rich
While there are likely multiple contributing reasons for Usenet's
demise, no one of which is singularly responsible (rather more like a
death by 1,000 cuts) there is one reason that has not come up in this
thread yet.
Back in the '90's, when the masses were getting their first experience
'online' most ISP subscriptions (at least here in the US) provided
Usenet access as one of the many 'options' one received for signing up
(and suffering dialup as well....)
Then, starting sometime about 1998 and continuining until about 2002,
ISP's started dropping Usenet access from their packages. The excuse
they often used at the time was some combination of "low usage" from
their user base and "high maintence" from their support end. Many who
were near the tin-foil hat level felt the real reason was "unable to
keep up with size growth of the alt.binaries hierarchy" and rather than
drop "alt.binaries.*" they simply dropped all Usenet access in their
packages.
This, however, produced a tipping-point aspect. Long time Usenet
users, who wanted to continue simply obtained Usenet access separate
from their ISP and continued.
But, once ISP's started dropping it, they also stopped advertising it,
and so new signups were never made aware that anything called Usenet
even existed. So few to no newer users entered the Usenet realm.
This, of course, has largely led to todays situation where "most users
simply no longer know that it exist[s]". And they won't go seeking out
something they simply don't even know exists. Couple that with so many
of the new generation who think "the internet" means "farcebook" and
well, you have todays situation of lots of Usenet forums with nothing
but the occasional kook yelling to an empty group.
I don’t really buy this explanation. Usenet didn’t just stop growing,
reflecting a lack of new users; it went into sharp decline.

At least two of the UK’s biggest ISPs still appear to offer an NNTP
service (VM and PlusNet). Outsourced, but the end users don’t have to
care about that. But uk.* has declined along with the rest.
--
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Rich
2018-05-22 16:24:05 UTC
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Post by Rich
While there are likely multiple contributing reasons for Usenet's
demise, no one of which is singularly responsible (rather more like
a death by 1,000 cuts) there is one reason that has not come up in
this thread yet.
Back in the '90's, when the masses were getting their first
experience 'online' most ISP subscriptions (at least here in the US)
provided Usenet access as one of the many 'options' one received for
signing up (and suffering dialup as well....)
Then, starting sometime about 1998 and continuining until about
2002, ISP's started dropping Usenet access from their packages. The
excuse they often used at the time was some combination of "low
usage" from their user base and "high maintence" from their support
end. Many who were near the tin-foil hat level felt the real reason
was "unable to keep up with size growth of the alt.binaries
hierarchy" and rather than drop "alt.binaries.*" they simply dropped
all Usenet access in their packages.
This, however, produced a tipping-point aspect. Long time Usenet
users, who wanted to continue simply obtained Usenet access separate
from their ISP and continued.
But, once ISP's started dropping it, they also stopped advertising
it, and so new signups were never made aware that anything called
Usenet even existed. So few to no newer users entered the Usenet
realm. This, of course, has largely led to todays situation where
"most users simply no longer know that it exist[s]". And they won't
go seeking out something they simply don't even know exists. Couple
that with so many of the new generation who think "the internet"
means "farcebook" and well, you have todays situation of lots of
Usenet forums with nothing but the occasional kook yelling to an
empty group.
I don?t really buy this explanation.
I did start by saying the collapse has "multiple contributing reasons"
and that I was suggesting "one reason" (yes, should have said "one
[additional] reason") not "the only reason" at the outset.
Usenet didn?t just stop growing, reflecting a lack of new users; it
went into sharp decline.
Well, failing to bring in new users is somewhat of a prerequisite for a
decline (maybe not a sharp one).

The timing may have also coincided with every marketer discovering
usenet SPAM and the groups becoming overstuffed with marketing SPAM,
additionally driving away the regulars due to excessive noise and very
little signal. So add SPAM to the group of "contributing reasons".
At least two of the UK?s biggest ISPs still appear to offer an NNTP
service (VM and PlusNet). Outsourced, but the end users don?t have
to care about that. But uk.* has declined along with the rest.
I've not seen a US ISP advertising they provide NNTP service since they
all somewhat collectively began dropping it. Maybe some of the smaller
niche ones still do, but at least the majors no longer make any
mention of Usenet in any way.
Ant
2018-05-23 04:58:19 UTC
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...
Post by Rich
At least two of the UK?s biggest ISPs still appear to offer an NNTP
service (VM and PlusNet). Outsourced, but the end users don?t have
to care about that. But uk.* has declined along with the rest.
I've not seen a US ISP advertising they provide NNTP service since they
all somewhat collectively began dropping it. Maybe some of the smaller
niche ones still do, but at least the majors no longer make any
mention of Usenet in any way.
I am surprised EarthLink still has an usenet service even though they
use SuperNews that is owned by GigaNews.
--
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Richard Kettlewell
2018-05-23 08:09:25 UTC
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[...]
Post by Rich
Post by Richard Kettlewell
Post by Rich
But, once ISP's started dropping it, they also stopped advertising
it, and so new signups were never made aware that anything called
Usenet even existed. So few to no newer users entered the Usenet
realm. This, of course, has largely led to todays situation where
"most users simply no longer know that it exist[s]". And they won't
go seeking out something they simply don't even know exists. Couple
that with so many of the new generation who think "the internet"
means "farcebook" and well, you have todays situation of lots of
Usenet forums with nothing but the occasional kook yelling to an
empty group.
I don’t really buy this explanation.
I did start by saying the collapse has "multiple contributing reasons"
and that I was suggesting "one reason" (yes, should have said "one
[additional] reason") not "the only reason" at the outset.
I mean I don’t buy that it was a major factor.
Post by Rich
Post by Richard Kettlewell
Usenet didn’t just stop growing, reflecting a lack of new users; it
went into sharp decline.
Well, failing to bring in new users is somewhat of a prerequisite for a
decline (maybe not a sharp one).
You get a decline when outflow exceeds inflow. You don’t need inflow to
fall for that, at least not in the short term.
Post by Rich
The timing may have also coincided with every marketer discovering
usenet SPAM and the groups becoming overstuffed with marketing SPAM,
additionally driving away the regulars due to excessive noise and very
little signal. So add SPAM to the group of "contributing reasons".
Spam started mid 1990s, peak text Usenet was about 2000. Meanwhile email
is still going strong despite an appalling spam problem. So I’m
skeptical about the significance of this as well.

That said I think there is a looser connection: the unowned nature of
newsgroups, and the effective impossibility of enforcing any kind of
behavioural norms, that regularly lead to such an offputting environment
on Usenet, also make it harder to defend against spam.
--
https://www.greenend.org.uk/rjk/
Spiros Bousbouras
2018-05-23 16:19:43 UTC
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On Wed, 23 May 2018 09:09:25 +0100
Post by Richard Kettlewell
Meanwhile email
is still going strong despite an appalling spam problem.
Personally I don't get much spam and all of it goes to my spam folder. Note
that my usenet headers have my regular email address.
Post by Richard Kettlewell
So I’m
skeptical about the significance of this as well.
That said I think there is a looser connection: the unowned nature of
newsgroups, and the effective impossibility of enforcing any kind of
behavioural norms, that regularly lead to such an offputting environment
on Usenet, also make it harder to defend against spam.
All the spam I see in usenet is trivial to filter , there are words which
won't exist in a genuine post or there is a specific sender in the header.
Rich
2018-05-23 17:53:12 UTC
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Post by Spiros Bousbouras
On Wed, 23 May 2018 09:09:25 +0100
Post by Richard Kettlewell
Meanwhile
email is still going strong despite an appalling spam problem.
Personally I don't get much spam and all of it goes to my spam
folder. Note that my usenet headers have my regular email address.
Same here, not that many overall, and what does arrive almost always
gets filed into the spam folder. CRM114 is a wonderful email spam
filter.
Post by Spiros Bousbouras
Post by Richard Kettlewell
So I?m skeptical about the significance of this as well.
That said I think there is a looser connection: the unowned nature
of newsgroups, and the effective impossibility of enforcing any kind
of behavioural norms, that regularly lead to such an offputting
environment on Usenet, also make it harder to defend against spam.
All the spam I see in usenet is trivial to filter , there are words
which won't exist in a genuine post or there is a specific sender in
the header.
I've got a few spammers in the groups I frequest killfiled. I no
longer see their attempts at posting.

But those groups are also low traffic enough in todays world that even
reading past the spam would not be a problem. But back in the late
90's the Usenet spam load was a very different animal.
Richard Kettlewell
2018-05-23 23:07:27 UTC
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Post by Rich
Post by Spiros Bousbouras
Post by Richard Kettlewell
Meanwhile
email is still going strong despite an appalling spam problem.
Personally I don't get much spam and all of it goes to my spam
folder. Note that my usenet headers have my regular email address.
Same here, not that many overall, and what does arrive almost always
gets filed into the spam folder. CRM114 is a wonderful email spam
filter.
If you’re on the right side of an adequate spam filter then your
anecdotal experience of spam is irrelevant to the extent of email’s spam
problem.
--
https://www.greenend.org.uk/rjk/
Rich
2018-05-24 01:00:56 UTC
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Post by Rich
Post by Spiros Bousbouras
Post by Richard Kettlewell
Meanwhile
email is still going strong despite an appalling spam problem.
Personally I don't get much spam and all of it goes to my spam
folder. Note that my usenet headers have my regular email address.
Same here, not that many overall, and what does arrive almost always
gets filed into the spam folder. CRM114 is a wonderful email spam
filter.
If you?re on the right side of an adequate spam filter then your
anecdotal experience of spam is irrelevant to the extent of email?s spam
problem.
Oh, I do eventually see it, when I every so often empty out the
collected spam folder. And the amount seems to ebb and flow. But
until then, it is as if it never happened.

About once every six months one manages to not be tagged by crm114.
Just have it additionally learn that one and things are clear again
(until I bother to look at what is in the spam folder).
Rich
2018-05-24 01:05:29 UTC
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Post by Rich
Post by Spiros Bousbouras
Post by Richard Kettlewell
Meanwhile
email is still going strong despite an appalling spam problem.
Personally I don't get much spam and all of it goes to my spam
folder. Note that my usenet headers have my regular email address.
Same here, not that many overall, and what does arrive almost always
gets filed into the spam folder. CRM114 is a wonderful email spam
filter.
If you?re on the right side of an adequate spam filter then your
anecdotal experience of spam is irrelevant to the extent of email?s spam
problem.
And, FWIW, checking that folder just now reveals that crm114 has swept
97 spams into that folder since May 1.

An average of 4.22 SPAMs per day.
RS Wood
2018-05-23 21:38:25 UTC
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Post by Spiros Bousbouras
On Wed, 23 May 2018 09:09:25 +0100
Post by Richard Kettlewell
Meanwhile email
is still going strong despite an appalling spam problem.
Personally I don't get much spam and all of it goes to my spam folder. Note
that my usenet headers have my regular email address.
Post by Richard Kettlewell
So I’m
skeptical about the significance of this as well.
That said I think there is a looser connection: the unowned nature of
newsgroups, and the effective impossibility of enforcing any kind of
behavioural norms, that regularly lead to such an offputting environment
on Usenet, also make it harder to defend against spam.
All the spam I see in usenet is trivial to filter , there are words which
won't exist in a genuine post or there is a specific sender in the header.
Remember we've gotten to the point where people join email services that
automatically filter commercial stuff and mailing lists into separate
folders because the don't know how to/ are too lazy to / can't be
bothered to/ didn't know it was even possible to create a rule that
files it.

I use Fastmail and have 40+ rules that keep my inbox nice and
manageable, thankyaverymuch. It's called "learning how to use your
tools."

Good luck getting people to build kill files.

I'm perfectly happy with Usenet being off the radar these days - and
having to use a news agent is a barrier to entry I'm happy to see stay
in place.
Spiros Bousbouras
2018-05-22 07:33:05 UTC
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On 21 May 2018 15:24:14 GMT
Post by Stefan Ram
Post by Spiros Bousbouras
1. Subjective preference. There are all kinds of little details regarding
- I use a client I can control with my keyboard only.
You can read most online discussion fora using a text browser. Most require
javascript to post. There is a text based browser with javascript support ,
elinks ; I've never used it so I don't know if you can use it to post replies
wherever. And there are plugins for firefox to control it with the keyboard.
So I don't think usenet offers much advantage in this area.
Post by Stefan Ram
- I do not write texts for free for some other party to
control (deleting them at will) and exploit (making money
from them, e.g., via ads).
A news server administrator can delete posts at will although they will still
get reproduced on other news servers. Also a lot of websites reproduce usenet
and some of them have adverts. I *have* noticed the X-Copyright part in your
headers but I doubt that many sites which reproduce usenet in an HTML format
actually honour that. And of course there are subscription based news servers
so there are people making money from usenet.
Post by Stefan Ram
- The text format does not allow annoying or insecure content.
Usenet is an envelope for arbitrary content including binaries (appropriately
encoded). So actually usenet allows more than most HTML based discussion
fora. In any case , it would only take a script to remove most HTML tags and
javascript scripts before displaying and you would get a safer alternative
for many online discussion fora. There may well be such a plugin for popular
browsers. So I don't think this is a good reason either.

While I'm on the subject , text based usenet where some limited HTML tags
would be allowed (like for bold text) would be a good thing in my opinion as
long as you also have a newsreader which can do the basic parsing involved
and quote appropriately and remove all tags not in the limited set.
Post by Stefan Ram
- There are several other minor reasons like the standardized
and stable interface (NNTP).
For me the standardised formats are the main reason. Not just NNTP but also
the fact the headers have to satisfy standards (which are covered by different
RFCs than NNTP) and also the ability to define your own extensions. Also
the grammar involved for both NNTP and the headers is simple so it's easy
to write parsers. Also NNTP supports getting only the latest posts , the
fact that the posts get reproduced on several servers and that each post
has a unique ID is good and you also have separation of presentation from
content so each person can decide what they filter and what they read and
among the parts which they read , in which order like threaded vs chronological.
From a technical point of view there's no comparison with anything else apart
from email lists.
Post by Stefan Ram
I am surprised that people with the same preferences are so
few and rare and that the Usenet is so empty nowadays.
Yeah , me too.
Post by Stefan Ram
The newsgroup "comp.lang.c" should be the /central point
in the world/ where one goes to publish news about C or ask
questions about C. Of course, if traffic should be high,
it would be splitted into "comp.lang.c.announce",
"comp.lang.c.beginners" and so on. Actually, there is also
"comp.std.c" (moderated) and "alt.comp.lang.learn.c-c++".
Well , I wouldn't say "should" because after all it is up to individual
taste. It's worth noting that {de,fr,it}.comp.lang.c also have a decent
amount of activity. Which makes me wonder if perhaps there is more usenet
activity in some language other than English. And many software projects
have email lists. For those projects which are in C , the email lists
are a more specialised analog of comp.lang.c .

By the way , comp.std.c is not moderated. Perhaps you meant
comp.lang.c.moderated but this has been defunct since 2014.
--
I should advance beyond "panopticized rationality" (which I might happily do, if I
knew what it was), and should not be "transferring God into knowable nature"
(thanks).
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Eric Pozharski
2018-05-22 06:31:55 UTC
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*SKIP*
Post by Stefan Ram
- The text format does not allow annoying
The Bar of Annoying looks pretty low for you. List of things that don't
annoy you is:

[*] Top-posting.

[*] Overquoting.

[*] Broken quoting.

[*] Misrepresented quoting.

[*] Broken encodings.

[*] Way too long lines.

[*] Way too short lines.

[*] Way too long sigs.

[*] Broken ASCII-art.

Did I omit anything?
Post by Stefan Ram
or insecure content.
Still feel secure?

*CUT*
--
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Stallman's goal for GNU is even simpler: Freedom
Dan Purgert
2018-05-21 21:19:52 UTC
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Post by Spiros Bousbouras
On Sun, 29 Apr 2018 11:43:28 -0000 (UTC)
On Sun, 29 Apr 2018 00:00:43 +0000 (UTC)
https://www.joelonsoftware.com/2018/04/23/strange-and-maddening-rules/
It's about a lot of things, but it does mention this newsgroup (and only
this one) by name. Makes note of the strange culture of the group.
[...]
The newsgroup languished because it catered only to the few people
that had been there for a decade.
comp.lang.c is less busy than it used to be but is doing fine. It's
interesting to ponder on why Usenet has been overcome in popularity by
sites like stackoverflow .I have some ideas but since this post is
already long and it would be out of topic , I will refrain.
Like what? I always just figured it was "the masses didn't get it".
Perhaps this is true for some people but not for others. I have seen
examples of people who used to access usenet using newsreaders and have
moved to other online venues (not necessarily stackoverflow). Some
1. Subjective preference. There are all kinds of little details regarding
the user interface of usenet vs message boards vs blogs vs stackoverflow
vs ycombinator.com vs whatever. Some people just like one over the
other.
Fair enough. I mean, every method of communication has people who tend
to use it only because "there isn't something better yet".
Post by Spiros Bousbouras
2. Moderation. I said in a previous post that on an unmoderated newsgroup and
if one uses a newsreader "everyone can act as moderator for what they
themselves read but for noone else". This seems ideal to me [...]
It does take time to get the "group dynamic" down enough to learn that
"yes, X is always this annoying" vs. "Y was having a bad day" though. I
suppose it is considerably easier to let other people make this
distinction for them.

Personally, I don't like it, because then it becomes an echo-chamber of
whatever "the mods" deem appropriate (although, one always runs the risk
of creating their own echo-chambers anyway).
Post by Spiros Bousbouras
3. With sites like stackoverflow which allow upvoting and downvoting of posts
, there is the factor of emotional gratification. [...]
I know I have gone after the elusive "kudos" (etc.) of various fora in
the past, although I did try to be a productive member of said
establishments as well (i.e. not just saying the stuff that gets the
quick laughs).
Post by Spiros Bousbouras
4. Network effect. Once something becomes popular , then more people learn
about it. Spolsky already had a popular blog when he started stackoverflow
so naturally a lot of people tried out stackoverflow when he started it.
Yeah, but this wouldn't necessarily lead to the decline in Usenet
itself. Or at least I'd imagine it was more your first point that would
have people leaving rather than this one. Not that it's *not* a factor,
but this seems - to me anyway - to be the least influential aspect of
the ones you've posted.
Post by Spiros Bousbouras
5. Specialised functionality (if the kind of discussion which takes place has
a use for it). The one example I've seen of this (although there may be
others) is where the topic of discussion involves a lot of
mathematics. [...] The analogous on usenet would be to have a special
header field which would indicate that the text of the post is Latex
source or contains Latex source and newsreaders which understand this
field would automatically invoke the Latex application on the body of
the post and display the output instead of the original post. This is
doable butsomeone would need to define a kind of (unofficial) standard
about the header field and enhance at least one newsreader to support
the additional functionality. [...]
This would definitely be a case for "not Usenet" then - or at least "not
the 'non-maths client' that you're alluding to. But again, I don't
think this would necessarily be something that necessarily leads to the
general decline that Usenet has seen.

That being said, when mathematics isn't involved, there's very little
wrong with straight ASCII-text. I've honestly gotten so fed up with
Writer (and Word, thanks to the day job) trying to be helpful and then
missing the mark that I've recently re-written one of the core pieces of
documentation in straight ASCII (with a little nroff typesetting help).
Kinda wish I knew LaTeX enough to use that - but, deadlines.

Looking forward to the cow-orkers who've been neglecting these documents
to freak out that they're just plaintext.
Post by Spiros Bousbouras
So anyway , the above are some alternative reasons I could think of.
Makes sense - there's only so much that one can dig up on DDG, etc.
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Go Away W J
2018-05-23 02:25:04 UTC
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Imagine a neighborhood that has great amenities, but also a "tagger"
who continually defaces storefronts and doorways with violent, racist,
and anti-semitic symbols and slogans.

Established residents are happy and productive, wearing tinted glasses
that block the color of the tagger's spray paint.

Will any *new* residents want to move in?
Spiros Bousbouras
2018-05-23 16:57:40 UTC
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On Wed, 23 May 2018 02:25:04 +0000 (UTC)
Post by Go Away W J
Imagine a neighborhood that has great amenities, but also a "tagger"
who continually defaces storefronts and doorways with violent, racist,
and anti-semitic symbols and slogans.
Established residents are happy and productive, wearing tinted glasses
that block the color of the tagger's spray paint.
Will any *new* residents want to move in?
First , people who have not encountered "Robert L." will have no idea what
the hell you're talking about. (Those who are curious can check
comp.lang.lisp .But note that with a casual inspection not all aspects of
L's modus operandi are apparent)

Second , I don't know what your point is. L is a good example of the
technical strengths of usenet : he is trivial to filter. Now if someone like
him posted on a message board which didn't have an "ignore" feature then it
would be up to everyone's self-discipline to filter out his posts. I have
yet to see a blog which offers an "ignore" feature so there relying on one's
self-discipline to not read L posts would be the only option.

On the flip side , some people's reaction to him exhibit point 2 in my post
you are responding to (but not quoting) : some people who use a newsreader
choose not only not to ignore him but even respond to him (like you do)
thereby making the problem more complex (for one thing , a newsreader may
support filtering on the content of the header of a post A which is a
response to post B but not on any aspect of B). On the other hand on a
message board or blog , L's posts might be removed by the moderator in which
case noone's self-discipline would be tested.
--
Pizza is like sex. There's no such thing as bad pizza.
http://www.freeratio.org/thearchives/showpost.php?p=5345796&postcount=23
Go Away W J
2018-05-30 01:25:49 UTC
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Post by Spiros Bousbouras
On Wed, 23 May 2018 02:25:04 +0000 (UTC)
Post by Go Away W J
Imagine a neighborhood that has great amenities, but also a "tagger"
who continually defaces storefronts and doorways with violent, racist,
and anti-semitic symbols and slogans.
Established residents are happy and productive, wearing tinted glasses
that block the color of the tagger's spray paint.
Will any *new* residents want to move in?
First , people who have not encountered "Robert L." will have no idea what
the hell you're talking about. (Those who are curious can check
comp.lang.lisp .But note that with a casual inspection not all aspects of
L's modus operandi are apparent)
Responses about "Robert L." are in a separate, retitled followup.
Post by Spiros Bousbouras
Second , I don't know what your point is.
The point is that new visitors see unfiltered content, and if it's
mostly garbage, most of them will just leave instead of experimenting
with killfile settings.
Go Away W J
2018-05-30 01:26:42 UTC
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Post by Spiros Bousbouras
On Wed, 23 May 2018 02:25:04 +0000 (UTC)
Post by Go Away W J
Imagine a neighborhood that has great amenities, but also a "tagger"
who continually defaces storefronts and doorways with violent, racist,
and anti-semitic symbols and slogans.
Established residents are happy and productive, wearing tinted glasses
that block the color of the tagger's spray paint.
Will any *new* residents want to move in?
First , people who have not encountered "Robert L." will have no idea what
the hell you're talking about. (Those who are curious can check
comp.lang.lisp .But note that with a casual inspection not all aspects of
L's modus operandi are apparent)
That's just one of many programming language fora he's infested. See
<5917b66a$0$1618$c3e8da3$***@news.astraweb.com> for an example of
confusion he's caused in comp.lang.python.
Post by Spiros Bousbouras
On the flip side , some people's reaction to him exhibit point 2 in my post
you are responding to (but not quoting) : some people who use a newsreader
choose not only not to ignore him but even respond to him (like you do)
If the propaganda articles go unchallenged, it appears to new visitors
that they are accepted or even welcomed by other newsgroup participants,
especially if they are "disguised" as technical articles.
Post by Spiros Bousbouras
thereby making the problem more complex (for one thing , a newsreader may
support filtering on the content of the header of a post A which is a
response to post B but not on any aspect of B).
True, but I post in less than 2% of his threads. If you only see the
threads that I post in, you're missing more than 98% of his garbage.
Richard Kettlewell
2018-05-24 08:25:33 UTC
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Spiros Bousbouras <***@gmail.com> writes:
[...]
Post by Spiros Bousbouras
2. Moderation. I said in a previous post that on an unmoderated newsgroup and
if one uses a newsreader "everyone can act as moderator for what they
themselves read but for noone else". This seems ideal to me but from what
I've seen from other people , not everyone feels this way. In particular I
have witnessed repeatedly the phenomenon of people who use a newsreader and
state that they are annoyed with the output of some other poster and they
consider it of low quality yet they don't killfile that poster but instead
continue to reply and express annoyance and it goes like this indefinitely.
For example a while ago someone abandoned comp.lang.fortran because they no
longer liked the overall tone of the discussion instead of just killfiling
some people. (If you want to explore this example further see
Newsgroups: comp.lang.fortran
Subject: Re: I Miss Richard Maine
Date: Sun, 17 Sep 2017 20:27:01 +0000 (UTC)
as a starting point) I don't know why some people are so reluctant to use the
killfiles they have access to but given that they are like this , having
someone else do the "dirty" job of moderation presumably suits them better.
There’s more to creating a pleasant environment (for discussion of some
topic) than curating your personal view of it. Killfiling the trolls
doesn’t stop others responding to them and, as you’ve noticed, others do
persistently respond to them.

If it was just trolls arguing with trolls that might not be so bad from
your personal point of view, but (1) it often isn’t, often some of the
participants have something interesting to say at other times, and (2)
anyone who hasn’t yet built up a killfile is going to be presented with
intemperate and offtopic arguments rather than discussion about whatever
it was they were actually interested in.

I’m using troll a shorthand for any kind of online bad actor, whether
they are deliberately disruptive or just detached from reality. At any
rate a discussion system that doesn’t have some means to defend itself
from such people, and the issues they cause, is going to suffer the same
issues as Usenet, with the same long-term impact on its popularity.

(Doesn’t mean other designs won’t have other issues, also potentially
fatal.)
Post by Spiros Bousbouras
3. With sites like stackoverflow which allow upvoting and downvoting of posts
, there is the factor of emotional gratification. Person A gets annoyed with
some post , they can immediately (anonymously) downvote it ; click on a
button and bang , instant emotional gratification. With usenet you don't have
that. If person A were to simply write a short reply saying "Rubbish" then
that makes themselves look bad as lacking of arguments or at least not making
the effort to write an argument as to why they thought the post they were
replying to was rubbish. If they bother to write a more detailed reply then
it's no longer instant emotional gratification and it takes more time too.
Another aspect of emotional gratification is that on usenet there is no
objective measure of who are the "best" posters whereas with a place like
stackoverflow where there is voting , people get the satisfaction of getting
a large number of positive votes and have this to aim for.
SO voting isn’t really about satisfaction and gratification, it’s about
identifying the best answers. It’s not a discussion site at all, except
to the limited extent that discussion is one of the tools used to make
it a good Q&A site.
--
https://www.greenend.org.uk/rjk/
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