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Web boards vs. usenet

 
 
R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh
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      05-13-2005
I hate web boards, but there's no denying they have their advantages,
even leaving aside the dubious value of HTML formatting and graphics.
For a start, any Tom, Dick or Harry can set up their own web-board,
these days, whereas starting a new newsgroup is a mission and a half.

On the other hand, even the best web-boards don't come close to usenet
for readability. Web boards typically aren't well threaded and even
if they are they have to be reloaded every 5 seconds to get the next
thread, sub-thread or message. And there's no simple and consistent
management system providing subscription or kill and watch filtering.

It seems to me that a decentralised usenet would be better all round.
Yes, yes, I know, it's highly distributed and redundant and all that -
that's not what I mean. At the moment newsfeeds tend to be monolithic
affairs, with a handful of providers providing large numbers of
groups. Essentially, Usenet is the largest mirrorred data archive on
the net - but why is it so large, and so widely mirrorred?

Wouldn't it be better if every website that currently has a web-board
had a newsserver instead, which only carried its own group(s).
Newsreaders with multi-server capabilities could then be used to
gather news from all one's favourite sites and present them in the
nicely threaded and filtered form we all know and love. Even if they
insisted on presenting messages in HTML, it would be umpteen times
better than web-boards as they stand.

So what's stopping it happening? news: URLs allow for identifying the
server, by name or IP number, as well as the group or message. Many
newsreaders already have multiserver capabilities. News servers
aren't hard to set up compared to web-board servers (are they?) and
needn't be huge resource hogs compared to web-board servers (right?).
There's no reason why popular distributed newsgroups couldn't be
cached by proxies just as easily as popular web-boards, and there's no
reason why wide distribution (mirrored feeds) couldn't continue for
popular groups alongside a distributed usenet.

Thoughts?

--
R.G. "Stumpy" Marsh.
Timaru, New Zealand.
 
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Adam
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      05-13-2005
On Sat, 14 May 2005 02:05:28 +1200, R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh wrote:

>I hate web boards, but there's no denying they have their advantages,
>even leaving aside the dubious value of HTML formatting and graphics.
>For a start, any Tom, Dick or Harry can set up their own web-board,
>these days, whereas starting a new newsgroup is a mission and a half.
>
>On the other hand, even the best web-boards don't come close to usenet
>for readability. Web boards typically aren't well threaded and even
>if they are they have to be reloaded every 5 seconds to get the next
>thread, sub-thread or message. And there's no simple and consistent
>management system providing subscription or kill and watch filtering.
>
>It seems to me that a decentralised usenet would be better all round.
>Yes, yes, I know, it's highly distributed and redundant and all that -
>that's not what I mean. At the moment newsfeeds tend to be monolithic
>affairs, with a handful of providers providing large numbers of
>groups. Essentially, Usenet is the largest mirrorred data archive on
>the net - but why is it so large, and so widely mirrorred?
>
>Wouldn't it be better if every website that currently has a web-board
>had a newsserver instead, which only carried its own group(s).
>Newsreaders with multi-server capabilities could then be used to
>gather news from all one's favourite sites and present them in the
>nicely threaded and filtered form we all know and love. Even if they
>insisted on presenting messages in HTML, it would be umpteen times
>better than web-boards as they stand.
>
>So what's stopping it happening? news: URLs allow for identifying the
>server, by name or IP number, as well as the group or message. Many
>newsreaders already have multiserver capabilities. News servers
>aren't hard to set up compared to web-board servers (are they?) and
>needn't be huge resource hogs compared to web-board servers (right?).
>There's no reason why popular distributed newsgroups couldn't be
>cached by proxies just as easily as popular web-boards, and there's no
>reason why wide distribution (mirrored feeds) couldn't continue for
>popular groups alongside a distributed usenet.


I *hate* web based boards - particularly US ones (where bandwidth is
cheap) and 200k jpg *signatures* are added to a 5-word post. Multiply
that by a pageload of 25 messages ... grrrrrrr.

However - in the past, I've subscribed to ColdFusion (and Macromedia)
newsgroups that were *local* ie. You had to log in seperately. Some
web boards can be set up to mirror messages to such a [local] group as
well.

The problem (in those days) was that it was hard to find a good (free)
newsreader that could cope with a multiple server setup. Nowadays,
it's not too bad.

Adam.

 
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Alastair McAllister
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      05-13-2005
In <(E-Mail Removed). co.nz> R. G.
'Stumpy' Marsh wrote:

> I hate web boards, but there's no denying they have their advantages,
> even leaving aside the dubious value of HTML formatting and graphics.
> For a start, any Tom, Dick or Harry can set up their own web-board,
> these days, whereas starting a new newsgroup is a mission and a half.


When I started regularly using the Internet back in 1997, it was sold to
me as a complete package of Email, WWW, Newsgroups, IRC and, to a lesser
extent, FTP.

These days, email and WWW are the only components that the average
Internet user recognises. Sadly, I think that email is heading the same
way as newsgroups in that people are increasingly preferring to access
their email via webmail interfaces because of ignorance about the
benefits of using a dedicated email program. The popularity of 'free'
web-based email services is probably also contributing towards this.

--
Regards, Alastair.
Wellington, New Zealand
www.alastair.geek.nz

My supplied email address is fake. Any views expressed in this posting
are personal and its content remains the property of Alastair. Alastair
accepts no responsibility for any misinformation resulting from this
posting.
 
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Rob J
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      05-13-2005
In article <(E-Mail Removed). co.nz> in
nz.comp on Sat, 14 May 2005 02:05:28 +1200, R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh
<(E-Mail Removed)> says...
> I hate web boards, but there's no denying they have their advantages,
> even leaving aside the dubious value of HTML formatting and graphics.
> For a start, any Tom, Dick or Harry can set up their own web-board,
> these days, whereas starting a new newsgroup is a mission and a half.
>
> On the other hand, even the best web-boards don't come close to usenet
> for readability. Web boards typically aren't well threaded and even
> if they are they have to be reloaded every 5 seconds to get the next
> thread, sub-thread or message. And there's no simple and consistent
> management system providing subscription or kill and watch filtering.
>
> It seems to me that a decentralised usenet would be better all round.
> Yes, yes, I know, it's highly distributed and redundant and all that -
> that's not what I mean. At the moment newsfeeds tend to be monolithic
> affairs, with a handful of providers providing large numbers of
> groups. Essentially, Usenet is the largest mirrorred data archive on
> the net - but why is it so large, and so widely mirrorred?
>
> Wouldn't it be better if every website that currently has a web-board
> had a newsserver instead, which only carried its own group(s).
> Newsreaders with multi-server capabilities could then be used to
> gather news from all one's favourite sites and present them in the
> nicely threaded and filtered form we all know and love. Even if they
> insisted on presenting messages in HTML, it would be umpteen times
> better than web-boards as they stand.
>
> So what's stopping it happening? news: URLs allow for identifying the
> server, by name or IP number, as well as the group or message. Many
> newsreaders already have multiserver capabilities. News servers
> aren't hard to set up compared to web-board servers (are they?) and
> needn't be huge resource hogs compared to web-board servers (right?).
> There's no reason why popular distributed newsgroups couldn't be
> cached by proxies just as easily as popular web-boards, and there's no
> reason why wide distribution (mirrored feeds) couldn't continue for
> popular groups alongside a distributed usenet.
>
> Thoughts?


From extensive experience with Yahoo Groups, people prefer the privacy
and other more sociable aspects of the groups, which you have to sign up
to, to Usenet. As well as being able to throw out obnoxious people.
 
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R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh
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Posts: n/a
 
      05-13-2005
In message <(E-Mail Removed)>, Adam wrote:

>I *hate* web based boards - particularly US ones (where bandwidth is
>cheap) and 200k jpg *signatures* are added to a 5-word post. Multiply
>that by a pageload of 25 messages ... grrrrrrr.
>
>However - in the past, I've subscribed to ColdFusion (and Macromedia)
>newsgroups that were *local* ie. You had to log in seperately. Some
>web boards can be set up to mirror messages to such a [local] group as
>well.


After posting that I had a look around and found a couple of examples
too. I still wonder why it isn't a more popular solution though.

>The problem (in those days) was that it was hard to find a good (free)
>newsreader that could cope with a multiple server setup. Nowadays,
>it's not too bad.


B'zackly. Maybe that's why it never happened - it wasn't practical
when the web was starting to take off and nobody's revisited the
technology since because "we've got a web-board, why would we want to
stuff around with nntp?"

I suppose there's probably some resistance from the commercial
websites too - less control over the advertising content... although
it wouldn't be hard to add html signatures, complete with dynamic
off-site ad content, to each post. It would be traffic intensive
compared to flat ASCII news, but no worse than web-boards.

--
R.G. "Stumpy" Marsh.
Timaru, New Zealand.
 
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Invisible
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      05-13-2005
On Sat, 14 May 2005 03:18:00 +1200, Adam wrote:

>
>I *hate* web based boards - particularly US ones (where bandwidth is
>cheap) and 200k jpg *signatures* are added to a 5-word post. Multiply
>that by a pageload of 25 messages ... grrrrrrr.


I've found a few Aussie boards, and they are terrible. HUGE friggen avatars &
sigs. AdBlock in Firefox comes in handy


 
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Richard
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      05-13-2005
Rob J wrote:

> From extensive experience with Yahoo Groups, people prefer the privacy
> and other more sociable aspects of the groups, which you have to sign up
> to, to Usenet. As well as being able to throw out obnoxious people.


There is no reason someone couldnt write an nntp server that spits out the exact
same contnet that is available via the PHPbb or similar.

NNTP can have authentication, and if the server spits the posts out as HTML can
have all the bullshit images of AOL online status etc.

It would be a win/win in my opinion
 
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Ralph Fox
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      05-14-2005
On Sat, 14 May 2005 02:05:28 +1200, in message
<(E-Mail Removed). co.nz>, R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh wrote:

> Wouldn't it be better if every website that currently has a web-board
> had a newsserver instead, which only carried its own group(s).
>
> So what's stopping it happening? news: URLs allow for identifying the
> server, by name or IP number, as well as the group or message.



Let's compare.

1. Joe Kidd Jr gets a new internet account.
Someone sends him a link to a cool new web board

http://www.lameboards.tld/?board=xbox2

Joe clicks on the link.
The web server shows a web-based sign-on screen
(bright and chock full of eye candy) where
• existing users can enter username and password
• new users (like Joe) can sign up for an account.


2. Joe Kidd Jr gets a new internet account.
Someone sends him a link to a cool new NNTP board

news://news.lameboards.tld/board.xbox2

Joe clicks on the link.
The news client pops up an unhelpful dialog asking
for username and password. There is no option to
sign up for an account, and no explanation of how
one goes about signing up.


Which one is Joe Kidd more likely to continue with?


--
Cheers,
Ralph

Change is inevitable. Progress is optional.
 
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steve
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      05-14-2005
R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh wrote:

> Essentially,*Usenet*is*the*largest*mirrorred*data*archive*on
> the net - but why is it so large, and so widely mirrorred?


Because for a long time, everyone wanted everything.

These days, those of us who have been around for a while appear to be much
more discriminating, following a very small number of newsgroups.

news.individual.net only carried 24,000 text-only newsgroups....and I wasn't
missing anything because of it.

But like a weed, it has grown and never been pruned.

 
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Jamie Kahn Genet
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      05-14-2005
<Adam> wrote:
[snip]
> The problem (in those days) was that it was hard to find a good (free)
> newsreader that could cope with a multiple server setup. Nowadays,
> it's not too bad.
>
> Adam.


Errr... why not pay for a decent one, in that case? Or am I being too
sensible?

Regards,
Jamie Kahn Genet
--
If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.
 
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