death of newsgroups (Microsoft closing their newsgroups)

Discussion in 'Python' started by Xah Lee, Jul 13, 2010.

  1. Xah Lee

    Xah Lee Guest

    • Death of Newsgroups

    plain text version follows.

    Death of Newsgroups

    Xah Lee, 2010-07-13

    Microsoft is closing down their newsgroups. See:

    I use comp.lang.lisp, comp.emacs since about 1999. Have been using
    them pretty much on a weekly basis in the past 10 years. Starting
    about 2007, the traffic has been increasingly filled with spam, and
    the posters are always just the 20 or 30 known faces. I think perhaps
    maybe no more than 100 different posters a year. Since this year or
    last year, they are some 95% spam.

    comp.emacs is pretty much just me. is not much better. It's pretty much the same
    developers and the same few elisp coders, with perhaps 1 new face with
    once-per-lifetime post every few days. is doing a bit
    better because it is connected to fsf's mailing list.

    comp.lang.perl.misc is dead few years ago. It's filled with just
    snippet of FAQs that's posted by machine. There's perl.beginners since
    2002, and it's a moderated group.

    The one newsgroup that i use that's still healthy is comp.lang.python.
    Part of the reason it's healthy because it's connected to a mailing
    list, and python has become a mainstream lang. Though, it is also
    infected by a lot spam in late years.

    I did a study of language popularity by graphing newsgroup traffic
    thru the years. See: Computer Language Popularity Trend. I thought
    about updating it now and then, but it's useless if the majority of
    posts are machine generated spam.

    For vast majority of people who is not a regular user of newsgroups in
    the 1990s or earlier, i suppose newsgroup has been dead since perhaps

    It's somewhat sad. Because newsgroup once was the vibrant hotbed for
    uncensored information and freespeech, with incidences that spawned
    main stream public debate on policies, or change of nations.
    (scientology being one famous example, then there's Cindy's Torment
    censorship, then i remember also several cases of political dirty
    secrets being released in newsgroups ) These days, much of this
    happens in the blogs and there's Wikileaks.


    Xah Lee, Jul 13, 2010
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  2. Forest. Trees. Please note order.

    Case in point: twelve weeks ago His Timness mentioned this on

    Now we have this, a port of a desktop app to the web:

    It happened fast because me program the Web
    without bothering with HTML and CSS and browser variation as if I were
    using a framework like GTk.

    I learned about qooxdoo... on comp.lang.lisp.

    The moral? If you look for the spam, you'll find it.

    Kenneth Tilton, Jul 14, 2010
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  3. And if you *don't* look for spam, you can be sure that some goose will
    reply to it and get it past your filters. Thanks for that Kenneth, if
    that is your name and you're not a Xah Lee sock-puppet.

    Followups set to a black hole.
    Steven D'Aprano, Jul 14, 2010
  4. Let me see if I have this right. Your technique for reducing unwanted
    traffic is to openly insult one of the participants? That is how you
    clean things up? Because most people on Usenet respond well to personal
    insults and hush up? I have so much to learn!

    Or was it this?
    That works? Amazing.

    Here, I'll show you what spam looks like: my steadily-improving
    revolution in learning Algebra:

    Kenneth Tilton, Jul 14, 2010
  5. Xah Lee

    John Bokma Guest

    fup2 poster
    Heh, or just ploinking them (done).

    Or making them cry like a little baby:

    (it had an effect for a while :-D )
    John Bokma, Jul 14, 2010
  6. PLONK!!!
    Ricardo Aráoz, Jul 14, 2010
  7. Xah Lee

    Uday S Reddy Guest

    Doing "better" means having more posts? I don't believe that having a lot of
    posts is necessarily a measure of goodness.

    In my opinion, discussion forums do well when they encourage people to think
    carefully and communicate clearly. In this respect, I think mailing lists do
    worse, newsgroups better, and web-based forums the best.

    Mailing lists seem to turn into talking shops where people get to know each
    other over time and their "public" nature gets lost. Those who write a lot end
    up dominating them, independent of whether they write any sense or not. The
    other people get tired and stop reading. So, you can generate a lot of
    traffic, but its value is dubious.

    Newsgroups are much better because they are public and, visibly so. If
    somebody says something stupid, a lot of people will jump on them. And, so,
    over time, they develop some quality. (There is no guarantee, of course. I
    have also seen a lot of newsgroups, especially in politics, really degenerate
    with opposing factions fighting and dominating everything else.)

    Web-based forums, especially those where people have to register, work the best
    in my experience. They are very visibly public, discouraging people to write
    nonsense. The difficulty of writing on the web instead of your favorite editor
    hopefully provides some resistance to write. So, people tend to think more
    than they write.

    I used a forum called silentpcforum last year to help me build myself a new
    computer. There was a lot of high quality information dating back to years,
    which was easy to find and easy to use.

    So, if newsgroups die and get replaced by web forums, that would be a move for
    the better. If they get replaced by mailing lists, that would be a move for
    the worse.

    Uday S Reddy, Jul 16, 2010
  8. Xah Lee

    Emmy Noether Guest

    Uday has gotten the valuation of the three communications media - a
    little wrong.

    1/ Newsgroups are international, free and without censorship in the
    true spirit of democracy.

    2/ The forums are privately owned, serve private interests and the
    most autocratic medium, you can be denied reading permissions if you
    go against official line which is never described.

    3/ The mailing lists are archived, so read permission is often
    available and write permission can be denied. They are the second
    best. Moderated lists are no good.

    The quality of discussion in any of these media only depends on the
    generosity of the members in sharing information. Take a look at past
    archives of the newsgroups, and marvel at the quality of information.
    They stand as a counterexample to anyone bickering about newsgroups.

    Today, after monetary interests have attached to the software and the
    internet, the whole game is about controlling discourse, about
    marketing and creating hype towards sales and prominence without
    giving anything of substance. The forums are an excellent tool for
    this corporate control. The newsgroups are the ONLY NEUTRAL medium.

    Its obvious about the spam going on here today that the OCCASIONAL
    political messages are disliked by some groups and they start
    MASSIVELY spamming with sex-viagra-xanax etc. to drown OCCASIONAL
    political messages and hide them in a burst of spam. Alternatively,
    some companies dont like discussion and they produce the spam. The
    best method is to put some of these VIAGRA-XANAX words in the kill
    file or spam filter or search filters.

    Uday presents a FACTOID on the order of "goodness". Forums are
    generally against freedom. They appeared around 2001 to control
    discourse and kill newsgroups, democracy and freedom of speech. Its
    the same forces who wanted to institute the Patriot Law and who mailed
    the ANTHRAX for that are the ones destroying the newsgroups by

    They operate on the principle of "provocation/reaction" cycle as
    explained Lucidly by Alex Jones which you can learn in first 2 minutes
    of this video
    Emmy Noether, Jul 17, 2010
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