Tuesday, 15 July 2008

usenet news

a few weeks ago we took the decision at work to kill our usenet news service. Given it had about six active users we could no longer justify the use of usenet news.

Now I hadn't read usenet news for about eek years, but I had to become a transient expert in it for a few minutes finding those six active users free to air newsfeeds they could use to read news, which meant building and installing news reader software to test the groups and make sure that among all the dross they carried the requisite groups.

As I say, an instant sixty second expert. But I also rediscovered the addiction. I've started reading sci.archaeology and soc.history.medieval as the ratio of odd quirky posts to dreck is just good enough to be interesting.

Usenet news's demise is a sorry tale of how public fora could be hijacked both by spammers and loonies. Blogs allow communication and with all the addition to add comments via comment features etc, and with authentication if required, although things like openid don't really provide much of a barrier.

So why do blogs work and usenet news didn't - probably control by a single authr or group of authirs who have more engagement with keeping things right - unfortunatley shared facilities are prone to abuse...

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