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Goodbye Giganews

 
 
thanatoid
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Posts: n/a
 
      05-10-2006
Dear Giganews:

I am posting to inform you that your arrogance and your blasé
(at best) treatment of your paying customers has finally reached
the point where I no longer consider it tolerable, no matter how
good your Usenet service may or may not actually be. (And it
appears to be slipping, judging by the comments in
giganews.general.)

I have been a customer of yours for over 3 years. Several times
I have attempted to get "tech support", with results I would be
generous to call disappointing (see posts quoted below).

I have posted to your "local" newsgroup several times (see posts
quoted below), asking valid and reasonable questions, and asking
for some changes to improve the user experience. Those letters
were either rudely answered with phrases like "do not rekindle
the subject as it is considered dead and buried" or totally
ignored.

I am not the only person who has raised some of those concerns.
The others were treated in the same manner.

Then there is the matter of being rude and providing virtually
zero customer service versus just playing dirty. Since you
refused to discuss let alone explain why you will not put in a
search engine, I figured out a way to find stuff on your site
almost instantly, even though my NR does not support NZB files.

I guess I was stupid to actually use one of your local groups
for the procedure required. It worked for about a month, than it
stopped working. I know I will never find out why, but there is
only one conclusion I can arrive at: You maliciously disabled
the part of your "unique and proprietary system" that allowed my
simple method to work. Hard to believe, but many things are.

By a lucky and ubelievably timely coincidence, my credit card
expired at the end of April, and the replacement got lost in the
mail, so I will be getting a new number. So I don't even have to
go through the equivalent of a full rectal examination that
attempting to terminate an account with you is probably like.

While your Usenet service was nearly excellent, regrettably it
was VASTLY exceeded by your arrogance.

Undoubtedly, some of your clients - those who apparently enjoy
the fact there there is no more quality control, customer
service, manners, or anything like those things to be found
almost anywhere in the world - will come to your rescue, like
they have in the past (since you yourselves don't bother
replying to 95% of the posts addressed to you).

I can only feel sorry for them. I wonder what they do when they
buy a $1,000 TV and it doesn't work properly... Do they just put
it in the garage and go buy another one, thanking the store
manager for allowing them to visit again?

I know from past experience that you will not deign this post
with a response. Nor would I read it if you did.

Sincerely,

thanatoid
a Former Customer

== == == ==

Included for Usenet community education purposes are a few
relevant posts from the past, in chronological order.

Comments in CAPS between == == == == are to make it easier to
sort through them.

I know it's long, but IMO it is WELL WORTH reading.

== == == ==

Sat, 07 Feb 2004

Newsgroups: giganews.general
Subject: late comment on "30 day retention"

I only come in here when I have to.

Most interesting thread.

Funny how the "threat" of possible loss of a client
("outgrowing") DID prompt an appropriate reply.

de•fen•sive (di fen‚siv) adj.1. serving or done for the
purpose of resisting attack. 2. of or pertaining to defense.
3. sensitive to the threat of criticism or injury to one's
ego. — n.4. a position or attitude of defense: on the
defensive about one's mistakes. [1350–1400; ME < MF < ML]

As you see, there are several meanings to the word
"defensive". Defending your legitimate position is one.
"Being defensive" (item 3 and 4 above) is another, and it
means specifically, acting somewhat inappropriately and
perhaps rashly in defending a position which has clearly (to
all but the person being defensive) been proven wrong or
inaccurate etc. in some way or another.

I am sorry to say that's how I perceived most of the posts
from Jason and Michael.

Specifically, I found Michael's splitting hairs about
"intentions" versus "fact" troubling. More than Jason's
defensiveness, in fact.

Someone already mentioned that the road to hell is paved with
good intentions. Whatever whomever's intentions may have
been, the announcement said "30 day retention in all binary
groups". PERIOD.

A later statement from Michael, "Our retention is going to be
a floating number always" is probably the most accurate and
illuminating of all, but it is certainly nowhere near the
meaning of "30 day retention in all binary groups."

Personally, I thought the 30 days retention was FANTASTIC and
basically made ALL OTHER usenet providers obsolete as of that
moment. I actually thought it was overkill, but I certainly
wasn't going to complain. I didn't think I would ever NEED
the 30 days (even with my 33.6 modem) but alas, today (Feb.
6) I did, and an article in a.b.s.mp3-gothic-industrial
dated Jan 9 was not available, even with XNews' "server
override", which sometimes helps.

I was RATHER disappointed and came here to see what's up.
And, FWTW, these are my comments.

BTW, why IS there a giganews.announce? Nothing ever gets
posted there. And I think I found out about the "30-day
retention" from a third party source - I did NOT receive ANY
announcement of any kind. I would think sending a mere 60 or
70K customers an email would be a standard procedure when
changing server names or addresses, or making significant
changes in retention or other policies. And I don't think one
should have to lurk in giganews.general all the time just to
know what's going on.

And, again, the news release was NOT "Giganews announces
intention of 30-day retention in all binary groups". THAT
would have been laughable to anyone. It did NOT say "30 day
retention as long as we don't get more than XXXXXGB of data
per day" nor did it say "30 days after we do some mystical
calculations with our proprietary software" nor did it say
"30 days if our system manager OK's it that particular day".

The statement WAS :

>:>:>:> Giganews is pleased to announce a new standard in
>:>:>:> newsgroup retention. We will now offer 30 days of
>:>:>:> article retention in all binary newsgroups."


So PLEASE stop claiming otherwise. It is really
unbecoming!!!

== == == ==

NO REPLY, OF COURSE.

== == == ==

Thu, 21 Apr 2005

Subject: MANY parts intermittently missing
Newsgroups: giganews.general

Hello GN,

MAIN PROBLEM:
Over the last couple of weeks, I have been forced to re-dl a
large amount of posts because even though the headers load up as
complete, once downloading, there are many parts mysteriously
missing. This causes XNews to skip to the next article, where
usually the same thing happens. I have often had this problem
with about 10 or 15 or more posts. It happens with 10-day old
posts as easily as with 40-day old posts.

I check the machine in the morning and find it has been sitting
idle (though connected) for 5 hours, because XNews will not re-
attempt to DL a post that was found incomplete. So I do a bunch
of annoying manual "read - not-read" etc. tagging, and try
again. 90% of the time it downloads fine. 10% of the time it
doesn't. So sometimes I have to do it again, and eventually it
works. Sometimes I use the "override server" function, sometimes
I don't. Doesn't seem to make much of a difference.

I've been with you guys for a few years and this is a new
problem that has not gone away almost immediately like some
other minor problems I have experienced in the past. It is very
annoying to see that I have wasted 5 hours or more of potential
DL time. I have a 33.6 modem so time IS of essence. It's not
like it will take me 7 minutes to re-DL everything I missed.

I use the 216.196.97.135 server (I believe that's the "south"
one) and always have.
Below you will find the headers to 2 of the last 12 or so posts
that this happened with, this morning.


MINOR PROBLEM:
BTW I have complained in the past (to no avail) about the total
lack of announcements from GN about any changes to their
servers, pricing structures, etc. I have NO idea what is going
on, and even though given the speed of my modem, there have so
far been no reasons to change to another server or pricing plan,
it would be really nice to know what the company is up to.

When something like (see above) happens I can't help wondering
if maybe my server is not being "attented properly" because it
is not the "groovy-fast hot NOW server" etc...

I would be nice to see announcements posted to the historically
dead giganews.announce NG (WHY was it ever established?) since
GN apppears unable or unwilling to send relevant emails directly
to their clients. I do not see why I should have to go to the
website every few weeks just to see what major development or
change in service I may not be aware of.

<SNIP> (irrelevant header info)

Thank you.

== == == ==

STRANGELY ENOUGH, I RECEIVED SOME REPLIES TO THIS ONE, EVEN ONE
FROM GIGANEWS (!). HERE IS THE (ABBREVIATED) THREAD:

== == == ==

From GN:

> Hello,
>
> We are looking at the group you mentioned for any
> irregularities.
>
> Can you open a ticket with http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed) so we can
> address any issue that may be specific to your problem.
> Other Giganews customers are not having an issue like you
> are describing.
>
> Thank you for choosing Giganews.


== == == ==

MY REPLY TO ANOTHER USER WHO FOLLOWED-UP (THE STUFF AT THE
BEGINING IS GN'S FINAL COMMENT ON MY PROBLEM):

== == == ==

Thu, 28 Apr 2005

Subject: Re: MANY parts intermittently missing

<SNIP>

>> Hello,
>>
>> We did not find any issue with the information that you
>> provided. We are still available to assist you if you can
>> e-mail (E-Mail Removed)
>>
>> Thank you for choosing Giganews!
>>

>
> Perhaps he's encountering the problem I encounter every
> once in while. Periodically, when I set XNews to download
> several multipart binaries, it will crap out on some
> individual part, placing a red question mark where
> previously the little note-pad appeared, indicating that
> the part is not on the server. XNews will then skip the
> rest of that multipart and move on to the next one.
>
> I've found though, that if I click on the subject part,
> XNews will ask if I want to check groups or something on
> Google. If I say no and/or double- click on it, XNews will
> cache the part, get rid of the question mark and remark it
> for batch downloading.
>
> However, I've always attributed the problem to XNews rather
> than Giganews because invariably the part with the question
> mark is on the server. XNews just fails to download it
> sequentially for some reason and requires, to the best of
> my knowledge, manual intervention.
>
> If this is what the original poster inquired about and if
> someone knows what may cause the dreaded red question mark
> to appear when the article is in fact on the server, I
> would sure appreciate knowing how to get around it. Thanks
> y'all!


Thank you for your responses - I haven't checked the group for a
few days since I contacted support directly as asked. They said
it was an Xnews problem.
But I have been using the GN/XN combo for several years and this
has never happened before.

Anyway, to answer Lil' Abner, I know parts are missing because
the "dreaded red question mark" appears on the part Xnews could
not locate, and then Xnews skips to the next post. As I
originally mentioned, sometimes all the posts in the queue end
up with the red QM and then the machine sits idle for the rest
of the night (wasting valuable 33.6 modem download time

Since this happens while I am asleep, I can't do any "manual"
overrides until the next day. As described in the original post,
they work fine. Anyway, I KNOW that the posts are on the server,
just not accessible for some reason at a certain point in time.

In fact, the last time this happened it happened at almost
exactly the same time in two different groups. As if the
server's RAM or HD choked momentarily or something (excuse my
ignorant attempt at guessing the technical reason).

Since this has NEVER happened before, I didn't think it was
Xnews' fault, even though GN techs said Xn is known for such
problems.

I did nothing, yet the problem has gone away. I was going to
wait a few more days before emailing support again, but having
seen your replies I am writing this now.

Like (presumably) many of you, I have often been FORCED to
accept a problem as unexplainable, and just be grateful that it
has gone away or that I (or someone) somehow managed to solve
it. In this case, I suspect GN did do something, since I had the
problem for almost two weeks or so and it disappeared once I
wrote tech support directly, even though they blamed it on
Xnews.

While I have never subscribed to another premium usenet service,
it appears there is none finer than GN. At the same time, they
>>appear<< to have a corporate policy of almost never admitting

there is/was a problem. The tech support answer I received
(after providing ALL the info requested including the almost
exact times the problem occurred in TWO groups simultaneously)
was immediate and extremely polite yet useless since it blamed
Xnews which I have been using for years totally problem-free
(nor has anything changed in the system setup etc).

What is curious is that since that GN reply, the problem has
disappeared. What am I to think? I did nothing. They appear to
say THEY did nothing. Yet the problem of two weeks is gone.

I am tempted to thank GN for immediately fixing my problem even
though they won't admit they did. Of course, they >>may<< have
in fact done >>nothing<< as well, in which case it is another
addition to the "unexplainable" file.

Anyway, thanks for your comments and thank you GN for doing
whatever you did or did not do. Keep up the great work.

== == == ==

Mon, 07 Nov 2005

Subject: Re: Could GigaNews implement a search engine? Someone
from GN care to reply????
Newsgroups: giganews.general

Moo Cow ((E-Mail Removed)) wrote in
news:(E-Mail Removed) :

> Newleecher does a good one once you have their software.
> Saves so much time
>
> Moo


Yes, I'm aware of NewsLeecher, their price and their monthly
fees. It also won't run on my computer. I also already pay for
this service and have donated a fair bit to the guy who wrote
XNews even though it's free.

I am a Giganews customer and I am looking for a Giganews
solution.

I could have switched to another cheaper provider who provides a
search utility a long time ago had I wanted to.

I would appreciate it if someone from Giganews would take a few
minutes of their time to address my post.

== == == ==

I'LL LET YOU GUESS WHAT HAPPENED.

== == == ==

Mon, 07 Nov 2005

Subject: Could GigaNews implement a search engine? We could
really use one.
Newsgroups: :giganews.general

Dear Giganews:

A few Usenet providers have a search feature. I don't know much
about them, so I can't say what features they offer etc.

There are some web sites which provide a similar service, in
fact I would be dead without them. Still, since article numbers
differ for each provider, they are not posted, and you have to
search by date or poster, and some groups have like 50 thousand
posts per day. Takes a while, especially with a 33.6 modem. I
would imagine even with a broadband connection it still takes
SOME time.

I wonder whether some of the resources directed towards
increasing retention to levels many consider beyond insane could
perhaps be directed towards developing a search engine for
Giganews customers.

I think we would all be EXTREMELY grateful if something like
that became available.

Thank you for your attention.

== == == ==

I GOT A RESPONSE - NEEDLESS TO SAY, NOT FROM GN - AND I REPLIED
TO IT:

== == == ==

Mon, 07 Nov 2005

Subject: Re: Could GigaNews implement a search engine? We could
really use one.
Newsgroups: giganews.general

Flavio Tischhauser <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote
in news(E-Mail Removed):

> Hi
>
> AFAIK, the only reason why usenet is still "legal" is the
> fact that it's officially an uncontrolled media for general
> text-discussion. Usenet was never built to host any files
> at all.
>
> Once a provider agrees he is hosting files instead of
> "uncontrolled text-discussion" they might get some legal
> problems - And providing a "file search service" is one way
> of admitting that.
>
> Providing an independent indexing and searching service on
> the other hand, is usually no problem at all. And for 50c a
> week, it's not really a big problem.


>
> thanatoid wrote:


<SNIP> see post above

Well, thanks very much for helping the cause, Flavio.

If other premium providers can do it, I don't see why Giganews
can't, but you just gave them an excuse in case they needed one.

Actually, your logic is faulty. Leaving other things aside,
indexing articles by name and server ID number does not say
anything either about the article or its content. If someone
wants to post all of Shakespeare's works (public domain) in a
30-part rar post and call it "Madonna's latest" or "old texts"
or "Thatcher naked mpg", who's to say they can't?

Of course, 99% of everything Giganews and everyone else carries
is copyrighted, pirated, illegal, etc material. I am personally
amazed that the "we just carry it, we don't know and don't care
what it is and where it comes from" argument has held up this
long.

So while we still have the internet (and there ARE providers
already eliminating certain groups, especially those having to
do with the Hollywood turning-trash-into-money machine), it
would
be nice to get the most out of it.

As far as the 50-cent a week independent indexing service I
would appreciate it if you told me what it is, since I am not
aware of one.

== == == ==

AND IT CONTINUED:

== == == ==

Subject: Re: Could GigaNews implement a search engine? We could
really use one.
Newsgroups: giganews.general

<SNIP>

> > If other premium providers can do it, I don't see why
> > Giganews can't, but you just gave them an excuse in case
> > they needed one.

>
> I think it's all a matter of "how far can we go before
> everything collapses". Giganews is a very professional
> company and providing full usenet access can already be
> risky. I not saying they will never introduce such a
> service, I could understand if they won't.


What you mean by "everything collapsing"? There are hundreds of
Usenet-only providers all over the world (well, maybe not in
China etc) and MOST standard ISP's of some quality still have
Usenet servers even though the storage/retention is now
extremely limited due to the huge growth since the old days when
all daily messages could fit on a couple of floppies. Usenet was
designed to be indestructible through its redundancy so I don't
see how it can be "made illegal" (a lot of its content always
has been) or exterminated.

So what is so risky for a provider? Even using IE you instantly
are told what the bunch of 0's and 1's contain, so you can't
tell me you really think the entire reason Usenet is still being
provided (in fact growing albeit thousands of times slower than
the glorious "web") is because everyone IS asked yet claim they
have NO IDEA what is being stored on their servers???

"Ignorance of the law is no excuse" comes to mind.

And there are some groups giganews is already censoring because
of content, so if that isn't an admission of their actual
awareness of what the usenet technology actually is, then what
is?

The days when you had to go through 4 or 5 steps to get anything
other than a text message are long gone! You can't honestly tell
me that you think that when someone from Hollywood calls
giganews and says, "hey, there is a pre-release-copy of "Chicken
Little" on your servers, what the hell!?" they say, "sorry we
have no idea of what you are talking about and we are in no way
able to verify that information" ????????

> > Of course, 99% of everything Giganews and everyone else
> > carries is copyrighted, pirated, illegal, etc material. I
> > am personally amazed that the "we just carry it, we don't
> > know and don't care what it is and where it comes from"
> > argument has held up this long.

>
> Not directly, Giganews only hosts text-messages that _can_
> sometimes be decoded to files which might be illegal to
> download in some countries. Since GN can't see any "files",
> they can't remove them. Once they introduce
> file-based-indexing, it's like saying "wohoo we finally
> found a way to index all our files, come over here and
> download your warez!". Probably not that wise. At least
> that's my point of view.


"_can_ sometimes" ?? Get real, man! You are beginning to sound
like Bush talking about Iraq!

Nothing on any computer is "directly" what it is. It all comes
down to the 250 or so extended ascii characters or down to 0's
an 1's, not to mention magnetism and things beyond if you want
to get deeper.

Giganews (and others) can't possibly say, "yes we're in
the business of hosting terabytes of indecipherable text
gibberish and for some incomprehensible reason, many people all
over the world enjoy sending and receiving it so much that they
pay us as much as $20 a month to do so".

And ultimately, what about the other premium providers who ARE
providing search engines? They haven't all been shut down have
they? Nor are they about to be, I don't think.

<SNIP>

> > I had just woken up when I wrote the above reply and
> > missed a crucial point. As your exhaustive knowledge of
> > Usenet and its purposes as approved by our rulers
> > should tell you, article ID numbers are different for
> > every server, therefore whether free, 50-cents a month,
> > or $50 a month external indexing service will do nothing
> > for a particular provider's customer.

>
> Yes, article IDs are. Global message IDs aren't. And that's
> what independent indexing services are indexing.


Exactly. Please explain to me of what practical use global
message ID's can be to anyone since you can not do a global
message ID search "within" a provider structure. Or maybe you
can and I'm just ignorant...?

Thank you and regards.

== == == ==

FLAVIO, BEING A BIG GN FAN, AT THIS POINT ADOPTED THEIR HABIT OF
NOT REPLYING.

STRANGELY ENOUGH, SOMEONE AT GN BOTHERED TO... SORT OF...

== == == ==

From: Giganews Support <(E-Mail Removed)>
Subject: Giganews services (was search engine)
Newsgroups: giganews.general

Greetings,

The previous thread got a bit out of hand and off topic. I am
sure (like
most newsgroup discussions) the debate could go on for quite
some time!

All that said, Giganews has no plans to offer any kind of search
engine.
We have offered NNTP (RFCs 977 and 2980) access to Usenet since
1994
(before the Giganews name was even thought of!). The size of a
Usenet
feed back then was measured in Megabytes a day! We will
continue to offer
access to Usenet through NNTP, but we will not offer other forms
of access
to Usenet.

If you are an uber geek and want to actually read the RFCs, here
they are:
http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc0977.txt
http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2980.txt

The Giganews software development team used these RFCs to create
the
Giganews server software. We are very proud of our software and
the
highest quality service it provides our customers.

I hope that clears up the previous thread. Please do not
rekindle the
previous thread as it is considered dead and buried!

Regards,

Giganews Support

== == == ==

MY TRANSLATION OF THE ABOVE:
WE WERE ONE OF THE FIRST. WE ARE THE BEST. WE ARE THE ONLY ONES
DOING IT RIGHT. YOU ARE AN ANNOYING JERK. SHUT UP ONCE AND FOR
ALL.

== == == ==

Fri, 02 Dec 2005

Subject: Re: A feature suggestion.
Newsgroups: giganews.general

bunnyip <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in
news:(E-Mail Removed):

> On Fri, 18 Nov 2005 22:16:34 +0100, "K." <k> wrote:
>
>>I would love to see a search feature on the giganews site,
>>just for members ofcourse.
>>
>>With the long retention time it can really be a big job
>>updating big groups. So a possibility to search all the
>>groups and create a .nzb file, would really make it alot
>>easier to find what you want.
>>
>>There are services that can do that for you right now, both
>>paysites, and free ones.
>>But as i see it Giganews would also have something to gain
>>from this feature, and that would be reduced serverloads,
>>and also standing out even more, from the rest of the news
>>providers.
>>
>>This may have been suggested before, and been turned down,
>>but i've just been thinking about, and missing, that
>>feature a very long time, so i thought i would write it
>>here.
>>
>>Regards
>>K.
>>

>
> I suspect that having a fully indexed search database could
> open up 'old' Napster-style legal issues, especially as all
> content is stored on GN's own servers.
>
> By completely separating the service (treating it as a
> conduit) and the content matter it provides, GN is
> sidestepping such issues: it is merely a carrier.
>
> bunnyip
>


I really don't understand this argument, but then again I'm not
a lawyer. Everyone who is aware of the Usenet's existence (a
relatively small group to begin with) knows that at one time or
another, it has contained basically everything, in one place or
another, more or less easily accessible, and that it is
constantly replicating itself, and reposting everything sooner
or later, and even though there has been some mainly Hollywood-
related arm-twisting, it's minor.

If groups have names, as even GN will not deny, then you can't
claim utter "ignorance of content" or however you want to put
it. Names may or may not reflect actual content (what the hell
is control.walter-cronkite or alt.binaries.cbsrmt or
alt.beneficent.daemons.bless and who has the time to bother
finding out ?) yet GN have made decisions not to carry certain
groups. Not entirely understandable, consistent or logical, IMO,
especially when you consider the way some people crosspost
without any sense or logic whatsoever. I once complained about
something being way off-topic in some text group and mentioned
the group name as supposedly indicative of content and was
mercilessly flamed for it by many. Of course, the opposite
happens as well. The point is, it's all kind of insane.

I'm the one who suggested the search feature a month or two ago
and after some interesting discussion, someone from GN finally
bothered to reply with something to the effect of "we're not
gonna do
it so please stop talking about it."

All Usenet content is stored on each company's own servers, not
in some one secret place. Ultra-redundancy was the whole point
of making the Usenet virtually indestructible.

While I can only applaud GN's service in general, I find it
peculiar that they won't even discuss a search engine. If others
can do it, why can't they? It's great that they have their own
proprietary software and everything, and their service is
obviously excellent, but they act a little bit like a stern
teacher who you respect but can't really love.

For instance I would LIKE to ask them how, as they claim, THEIR
software improves service as more users sign on it when logic
tells you it should be otherwise (and they say with other
providers it IS otherwise) but frankly, I'm afraid to!

And the third party search engines are useless since they do not
provide article numbers which are unique to each provider. The
best you can get is the date, which sometimes can be off by a
day. So you still have to spend HOURS looking for the post that
you know is there somewhere. Some groups have dozens of
thousands of posts daily.
(Well, at least with GN, you KNOW it IS there somewhere.)

I guess if you have broadband it's not a big deal, but I for one
have a 33.6 modem.

Sigh.

== == == ==

AGAIN, NEEDLESS TO SAY, THE ABOVE POST WAS TOTALLY IGNORED AS
WELL.

== == == ==

Wed, 01 Feb 2006

Subject: Re: 7 days lost on almost every important groups !
Newsgroups: giganews.general

<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in
news:(E-Mail Removed)
om:

<SNIP>

> Dragomir has a serious point.
>>
>>But seriously; what practical difference does 63 vs 70 day
>>retention make?

>
> One week of retention, as advertised on the website - it
> means that if you see something's (say) at 65 days then you
> still have 5 days to DL; to have it disappear suddenly is
> frustrating in the leats.
>>
>>It sounds like you need better treatment for your OCD, more
>>than anything else.

>
> It sounds as though you need to take lessons in
> appreciating other people's POV, more than anything else.
>
> BJ
>
>>A_C
>>


===ALL=== of Dragomir's points are VERY well-taken and MORE THAN
RELEVANT.
Not that the GN staff gives a crap. They are just happy being
the best and never doing anything wrong.

== == == ==

PROBABLY BECAUSE I ACCUSED THEM OF "NOT GIVING A CRAP", THIS ONE
ACTUALLY GOT A REPLY FROM GN, PARTIALLY QUOTED IN MY FOLLOW-UP:

== == == ==

Wed, 22 Feb 2006

Newsgroups: giganews.general
Subject: SOME SERIOUS CONCERNS. Michael D. and Jonah PLEASE read
AND reply.

Jonah at Giganews <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in
news:(E-Mail Removed) :

<SNIP>

>: >>But seriously; what practical difference does 63 vs 70
>: >>day retention make?
>: >
>: > One week of retention, as advertised on the website - it
>: > means that if you see something's (say) at 65 days then
>: > you still have 5 days to DL; to have it disappear
>: > suddenly is frustrating in the least.


<SNIP>

>: ===ALL=== of Dragomir's points are VERY well-taken and
>: MORE THAN RELEVANT.
>: Not that the GN staff gives a crap. They are just happy
>: being the best and never doing anything wrong.


> We very much "give a crap" about the service we provide.
> If we didn't give a crap do you think the service would
> work so well? We have staff members working round the
> clock to make sure our service works all the time for our
> customers. Our staff works weekends, nights, wee hours of
> the mornings, etc. handling problems that come up.


<SNIP>

> Please be assured that everyone on our staff cares about
> your service. Offering premium service isn't some motto
> that is thought up in a marketing think tank, its working
> our tails off everyday to provide quality service to our
> customers.
>
> Jonah
> Giganews


Hi Jonah,

I appreciate the time you took to reply. While I can't help
wondering if it wasn't that very phrase that made you do so, I
will nevertheless apologize for the "crap" comment. I just tend
to get annoyed at things that just DO NOT MAKE SENSE.

And, while you are the best as >provider< and I don't think
anyone can dispute that, there are a few things that have been
on my mind over the last few years:

1) LOCAL GROUPS

(getting the least important one out of the way first)

You have 8 or something "local" groups yet only one or two
appear to be ever used (apart from the "test" one which I would
assume - I haven't bothered to enter - is used by people
considerate enough to test in a test group instead of polluting
the entire world with their trials and errors). The others are
redundant, which you (GN staff) yourself have mentioned
(presumably more than on the one occasion I read it). I realize
one of the "charms" of Usenet is that there are 150K groups and
about half have had 10 or less articles in the last 2 years (I
am just guessing) and should be eradicated from our universe,
but can not be. But is doing the SAME thing on YOUR LOCAL groups
just a little "in-joke" or what?

2) COMMUNICATION WITH CUSTOMERS and PRICES

You used to NEVER email any announcements (at least I never got
any). Now you do sporadically, but the subjects are NEVER the
important ones. Like the latest one, "Giganews Increasing
Storage Once Again" which I received a couple of days ago. Ya-
awn. Yes, the sky is blue, and GN is increasing their storage in
their never ending-quest for longest retention (see below).

I also keep getting announcements (half of the one I just
mentioned was about this) about reward points. But never about
important things, like new servers. I have my reader set to an
IP address not name and had problems when you switched
everything around a couple of years ago. I wrote several times,
never DID get a direct answer to my questions (in fact, IIRC,
according to the little actual info I was given, the server I
was and am still using doesn't even exist!), but did finally
manage to sort it out.

That is NOT great customer service. That's what we are talking
about here, not about the fact that you probably have the best
usenet setup in the world. That has been accepted and
appreciated and commented upon. But your customer service is
like being madly in love with a woman who won't even look at
you.

However, I must mention that I DO appreciate the fact that you
are allowing people to keep old account pricing and not forcing
them to change to the new rates. I have a 6 GB limit and with my
33.6 modem could NEVER dl 25GB a month, while 2GB is not quite
enough. And I REALLY appreciate the fact you have NOT forced me
to pay more for what for me would be a very expensive and
totally useless "upgrade" which would also leave me no choice
but to change providers. I trust you will continue this policy.

While we're talking about prices, I have NO complaints. Let's
face it, should one choose to, one could download hundreds
(thousands?) of dollars' worth of software etc. every month, so
what's 10 or 25 bucks? Besides, considering the quality of your
service, it is actually quite reasonably priced, IMO. Maybe even
a bargain.

Most other providers' prices are comparable and from what I have
read around here and other places, no one comes really close in
actual service (except for group lists, see below). People don't
mind paying $4 for a Starbucks latte every day but a few bucks a
month for Usenet is "expensive"?

3) WE ARE GODS

I wish you were a little more forthcoming with your customers. I
have had occasional problems, and complained about them. At one
time, after about 5 continuous days of a weird problem, and
getting the standard response telling me to check obvious
things, I did nothing (since there wasn't anything I COULD do),
while you CLAIMED to have done nothing since your system was
runing "perfectly", yet the problems immediately disappeared. Is
it a crime to say "yes, there was a problem, but we fixed it,
and fast"?

Of course, it COULD just have been a freak accident. But its
resolution was a little too clean, too quick, and too
coincidental with my complaint.

(In all fairness, this condescending attitude appears to have
improved somewhat recently.)

4) SEARCH ENGINE

You said you will NOT implement a search engine for your (I am
guessing now close to 100,000) PAYING USERS (while dozens of
other places provide them, some free, some not) but will not
explain why. Some over-helpful contributors to this group have
suggested that by claiming utter ignorance of the content of
groups (however incomprehensible that may be) you are guarding
yourself against various copyright and law-enforcement
organizations. I don't know your reasons because you refuse to
discuss the subject.

OK, you have made RATHER clear you will not provide a search
engine - but perhaps you might deign the great unwashed clients
of yours with something approaching an explanation why. I really
DIDN'T appreciate the Stalinist response of "do not rekindle the
subject as it is considered dead and buried". Really put an ugly
shadow to the pretty color of your fine service. That's why I
went looking around. You may be the best but you are not the
ONLY ones with acceptable service. I think that's something you
should keep in mind when looking at customer comments and
requests.

5) INCOMPLETE GROUP LIST AND REQUESTS

Unlike many other providers, you do not carry (or add) all
groups. I had to ask for a couple once, and they were added. I
should not have had to ask. Some requests are ignored or
unattended to for months.

Basically, IMO, as long as there is an article in a group,
binary or text, in English or Swahili, posted with UUE or yEnc,
single- or multi-part, zipped/rar'd or not, that group should be
carried. Especially by the best provider in the world.

Did you know that thanks to the internet (it may not have been
Usenet itself, I'm not sure) that a VERY common psychological
test (The Rorschach) can no longer be profesionally used since a
few years ago someone posted the whole set somewhere with an
extensve interpretaion, explanation and even instructions on how
to cheat on it? There are benefits and dangers to free
information. But that's a subject which could be discussed
forever.

Sometimes I wish I lived in the 19th century when there was no
TV and no computers and people read books instead of overloading
themselves with largely useless and exteremely transient
"information", but such is the world today.

Maybe some people only subscribe to two or three groups and have
never even browsed and have no intention of doing so. Still, the
BEST Usenet >provider< in the world should >provide< ALL of the
Usenet. Just as a matter of PRINCIPLE.

(OTOH you are more than welcome to stop carrying groups with no
articles - and there are many. Your system can automatically add
them if someone ever posts something in the future.)

5) GROUP CREATION

After your last "response" to my request for a search engine, I
went looking around for other providers. One of the things I
noticed is that many offer a "group creation" service. While I
must admit I have mixed feelings about that (A-I know it's very
easy to create an alt. hierarchy group and B-I don't like the
idea of thousands of idiotic new groups), I also think that if
properly managed, it could be quite useful. I have wanted to
create a few groups over the years but was just too lazy. (Yes,
I know, I shouldn't be so lazy.) And there are many people doing
important work in the real world who do not enter Usenet because
they know little or nothing about computers and creating a group
IS beyond their capabilitites.

As long as every proposal was looked at and examined in the
interest of not creating stupid or redundant groups, and only
really "valid" new groups were in fact created (hopefully with
an explanation for the person who made the rejected request), it
would be a very nice thing to have. I don't think it would be
that time-consuming, either.

6) STANDARD REPLIES TO ALL TECH PROBLEMS

Every e-mail to support gets a standard form answer containing
information only an absolute beginner would not know about. It's
very frustrating. Thankfully, it is extremely rare to need to
request help but, as one example, in Dragomir's case, it appears
he had some serious problems and according to his post, no one
addressed them until his long complaint in this group.

(Of course, I do not know all the facts, and it seems you have
fixed the problems he was complaining about, which he has
thanked you for in this same forum. Still, why did he have to
post his complaint here in the first place?)

It would be nice if a filter of some sort was implemented (word
recognition) which could weed out the newbie problems from real
problems. Then the serious issues could be addressed immediately
instead of a user being stuck with a sometimes serious problem
for a few extra days. Seeing those form replies is VERY VERY
frustrating.

7) THE GREAT RETENTION COMPETITION

This is beginning to border on ridiculous. You won't make a
search engine or automatically add/carry all groups or answer
support e-mail properly yet you fight for more and more
retention as if the future of the planet depended on it.

Is this a race of some sort? You won, OK?

Text group retention of almost three years? You ARE aware Google
has all text articles ever posted for free (AND a very advanced
search engine for them) and is a thousand times faster than
Usenet (at least on dial-up)? (I don't know HOW they do it but
I'd sure like to.) I know text takes relatively little space,
but it does not take NO space. Not to mention the cluster
factor.

Binaries are a different animal. You constantly claim to have
reached a new longer retention limit yet it never seems to stand
up in practice.

Like Dragomir said, why claim 70 when you can only really manage
50-65 depending on traffic? Sure, we pay you for the redundancy
(and I enjoyed your description of this previously-unknown to me
aspect of your system, thank you) and retention, but IMO no one
needs 70 or even 60 days retention. Not anyone who is at least
partially in control of their brain and computer and has at
least a moderate sense of organization. (Not to mention that
when I sometimes complain about excessively large posts I am
often told "it's the age of broadband so shut up".)

I have a 33.6 modem and I see no need for more than 30 or maybe
45 days retention! (Not to mention that almost everything gets
reposted sooner or later anyway.)

And whatever you meant by "smooth edge" in
<(E-Mail Removed)> when you
mentioned that you deleted all articles older than 50 days in
some groups (while claiming 70 days retention)? That was NOT
acceptable, even if it only WAS 1%.

Don't say 70 if it's not 70! Dragomir's complaint was totally
justified.

From a post of yours:

": Today, it's worse than ever.
: On every binary group (at least the most important ones) your
: retention has suddenly fallen to 63-64 days.
This is expected as posting volume grows. When we send an
announcement on retention ugprades, the estimate in # of days is
a point in time reference. If posting volume grows (which it
almost always does) then retention in days will decrease."

Besides the barely comprehensible manner in which you replied I
REALLY don't understand this attitude. Why do you make claims
about 70 days? Why not say "50 or more" and MAKE DAMN SURE IT
NEVER FALLS UNDER 50 and anything older is just a bonus? I would
consider that MUCH more ethical AND user-friendly. When one is
told one can DL something posted 68 days ago, it is RATHER
unpleasant to find out one CAN NOT. That is not "best provider"
behavior.

I would be REALLY happy to NEVER see another proud announcement
of a, no offense, semi-ficticious retention upgrade but know FOR
DAMN SURE it's 50 in ALL binary groups, and, if I am lucky, I
MAY be able to get something older.

(I would also like to mention that IMO it is in some of the
less-populated (and less-known) groups that the longest
retention may be the most important, unlike for instance the
biggest mp3 groups where the latest Rolling Stones album was
posted, AFAICT, like 30 times in two weeks.)

FINAL WORDS

I apologize for this being so long. But as a paying and loyal
customer, I believe I am entitled to a proper response. Then
I'll never bother you again, I promise.

Thank you for offering GigaNews.

thanatoid

P.S.
Over-helpful contributors to the group - no offense, but please
let GN speak for themselves this time. You can always comment
afterwards. THANK YOU.

== == == ==
== == == ==
== == == ==

NEEDLESS TO SAY, THIS LAST POST WAS NEVER REPLIED TO EXCEPT BY
TWO GN USERS, ONE OF WHOM SAID HE AGREED WITH EVERYTHING I SAID,
WHILE THE OTHER STATED THAT CUSTOMERS LIKE ME WERE NOT "WORTH
THE TROUBLE OF HAVING".

THE PROBLEM OF ME BEING A CUSTOMER "NOT WORTH THE TROUBLE OF
HAVING" IS NO LONGER SOMETHING THAT GIGANEWS NEED TO CONCERN
THEMSELVES WITH.

--
 
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BoB
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      05-10-2006
hemorrhoid wrote:
Dear Giganews:

snip 1100 odd line rant

Tell somebody who cares.
 
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Seatoller
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      05-10-2006
It was on Wed, 10 May 2006 06:26:47 -0500, that Mara wrote:

> On Wed, 10 May 2006 07:09:59 -0400, BoB <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
>>hemorrhoid wrote:
>>Dear Giganews:
>>
>>snip 1100 odd line rant
>>
>>Tell somebody who cares.

>
> Frankly I'm surprised anyone bothers to read "thanatoid's" posts. The only
> phrase that comes to mind when I see the nic in replies is "gibbering
> loon."
>
> "Although perhaps "raving troll" might be a better fit."


Either would suffice, IMHO.

--
The short life and hard times of a Linux virus
http://librenix.com/?inode=21
Linux vs. Windows Viruses
http://www.securityfocus.com/columnists/188
 
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The Old Sourdough
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      05-10-2006
Mara rambled on in 24hoursupport.helpdesk:

> On Wed, 10 May 2006 07:09:59 -0400, BoB <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
>>hemorrhoid wrote:
>>Dear Giganews:
>>
>>snip 1100 odd line rant
>>
>>Tell somebody who cares.

>
> Frankly I'm surprised anyone bothers to read "thanatoid's" posts. The
> only phrase that comes to mind when I see the nic in replies is
> "gibbering loon."
>
> "Although perhaps "raving troll" might be a better fit."
>



I don't bother to read him either. The only time I see any of his **** is
when somebody quotes him. He's exhibited his BS over in n.s.r (and a few
other froups) many times.

--
The Old Sourdough
God put me on this Earth to accomplish a certain number of things.
Right now, I am so far behind I will never die.
 
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Dr. Memory
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      05-10-2006
On or around Wed, 10 May 2006 02:48:00 -0500, a clone named Thanatoid
<(E-Mail Removed)> attempted to communicate:

>Dear Giganews:

<snip>>
>Sincerely,
>Thanatoid


>... it is WELL WORTH reading.


Um...no not really.

 
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The Old Sourdough
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      05-10-2006
Mara rambled on in 24hoursupport.helpdesk:

> On Wed, 10 May 2006 06:42:36 -0500, The Old Sourdough
> <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
> <snip>
>>I don't bother to read him either. The only time I see any of his ****
>>is when somebody quotes him. He's exhibited his BS over in n.s.r (and
>>a few other froups) many times.

>
> He rather reminds me of Moronis.
>
> "Gah."
>


Mmmmphhh...

--
The Old Sourdough
If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure. - George W. Bush
 
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gangle
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      05-10-2006
"The Old Sourdough" wrote
> He's exhibited his BS over in n.s.r (and a few
> other froups) many times.


n.s.r.?

Nude Slutty Reamers?
Necrophiliac Senile Republicans?
Nauseous Semen Regurgitators?
Not Seriously Retarded?
No Such Rumproast?
Norma Sucked Rodney?

--
Ignore The Part With The Words


 
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Jimchip
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      05-10-2006
On 2006-05-10, The Old Sourdough <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> Mara rambled on in 24hoursupport.helpdesk:
>
>> On Wed, 10 May 2006 07:09:59 -0400, BoB <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>>
>>>hemorrhoid wrote:
>>>Dear Giganews:
>>>
>>>snip 1100 odd line rant
>>>
>>>Tell somebody who cares.

>>
>> Frankly I'm surprised anyone bothers to read "thanatoid's" posts. The
>> only phrase that comes to mind when I see the nic in replies is
>> "gibbering loon."
>>
>> "Although perhaps "raving troll" might be a better fit."
>>

>
>
> I don't bother to read him either. The only time I see any of his **** is
> when somebody quotes him. He's exhibited his BS over in n.s.r (and a few
> other froups) many times.


S/h/it claims to have killfiled all the regs in n.s.r. and was posting
complaints about the group being boring because S/h/it wasn't seeing posts
Although some wouldn't leave that alone, the S/N ratio has gone up.

--
Step-by-step the trolls are disappearing from my view
 
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Ponder
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      05-10-2006
Hiya gangle.

In <news:(E-Mail Removed)> you wrote:

> n.s.r.?


It's a secret

--
PGP key ID - DSS:0x2661A952
Ponder - Homepage: http://www.colinjones.co.uk ICQ# 1707811
Skittles Team: http://www.ddskittles.co.uk
 
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gangle
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      05-10-2006
"Ponder" wrote
> Hiya gangle.
>
> In <news:(E-Mail Removed)> you wrote:
>
> > n.s.r.?

>
> It's a secret


What, just because I am deformed, eat bugs and dirt, and
keep my penis in cold storage, I don't get let in on the secret?
It's blatant discrimination. I'm gonna sue Old Sourdough
(because he's so ****ing senile, he just might pay up).


 
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