Web boards vs. usenet

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh, May 13, 2005.

  1. 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.
    R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh, May 13, 2005
    #1
    1. Advertising

  2. R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh

    Adam Guest

    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.
    Adam, May 13, 2005
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. In <> 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.
    Alastair McAllister, May 13, 2005
    #3
  4. R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh

    Rob J Guest

    In article <> in
    nz.comp on Sat, 14 May 2005 02:05:28 +1200, R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh
    <> 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.
    Rob J, May 13, 2005
    #4
  5. In message <>, 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.
    R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh, May 13, 2005
    #5
  6. R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh

    Invisible Guest

    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 ;-)
    Invisible, May 13, 2005
    #6
  7. R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh

    Richard Guest

    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
    Richard, May 14, 2005
    #7
  8. R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh

    Ralph Fox Guest

    On Sat, 14 May 2005 02:05:28 +1200, in message
    <>, 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.
    Ralph Fox, May 14, 2005
    #8
  9. R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh

    steve Guest

    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.
    steve, May 14, 2005
    #9
  10. <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.
    Jamie Kahn Genet, May 14, 2005
    #10
  11. In message <>, steve
    <> wrote:

    >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.


    Any idea how many dead groups there are out there - what proportion?

    I know I've got a handful still in my subs list.
    --
    R.G. "Stumpy" Marsh.
    Timaru, New Zealand.
    R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh, May 15, 2005
    #11
  12. R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh

    steve Guest

    R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh wrote:

    > Any idea how many dead groups there are out there - what proportion?


    Google Groups lets you see the newsgroups by hierarchy...and within a
    particular group (alt.a* to alt.af* - for example) it will list all the
    groups in that subset and present a graphic that represents their relative
    volume of message traffic.

    It looks to me like in the alt.hierachy about 50% of groups would not see
    any traffic at all. Maybe more.

    I have not looked in soc.* or comp.* or any of the others. I'd say that a
    good proportion (25%?) of the nz.* newsgroups see little or no traffic.
    There are a few groups where there are only 1-2 infrequent posters.
    steve, May 15, 2005
    #12
  13. R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh

    Rob J Guest

    In article <42853d88$> in nz.comp on Sat, 14 May 2005
    11:51:49 +1200, Richard <> says...
    > 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


    Yahoo Groups and the like offer a lot more than just messages.

    They offer photo and file storage areas, live chat, flat file database,
    membership control/administration and other stuff. Actually Yahoo Groups
    is way ahead of most other offerings of this type.

    As I've pointed out, people like being part of a community that is free
    of the kind of obnoxious abusive crap that is only too well known in
    Usenet.
    Rob J, May 16, 2005
    #13
  14. On Mon, 16 May 2005 23:04:46 +1200, someone purporting to be Rob J doth
    scrawl:

    > In article <42853d88$> in nz.comp on Sat, 14 May 2005
    > 11:51:49 +1200, Richard <> says...

    *SNIP*
    > As I've pointed out, people like being part of a community that is free
    > of the kind of obnoxious abusive crap that is only too well known in
    > Usenet.


    And some of us like the fact that most of Usenet is uncensored. How long
    do you think Pinky would last in a censored forum? He's obnoxious, and
    I've kill-filed him, but unless he engages in another one of his spamming
    floods with Shane I'm quite happy to let him spew his venom into the
    groups. I don't have to read it.

    The fact that people don't like to read things they find unpleasant says a
    lot - like somewhere over 90% of US high school students thinking the
    First Amendment is too liberal.

    --
    Matthew Poole
    "Don't use force. Get a bigger hammer."
    Matthew Poole, May 16, 2005
    #14
  15. In message <>, Matthew Poole
    <> wrote:

    >On Mon, 16 May 2005 23:04:46 +1200, someone purporting to be Rob J doth
    >scrawl:
    >
    >> In article <42853d88$> in nz.comp on Sat, 14 May 2005
    >> 11:51:49 +1200, Richard <> says...

    >*SNIP*
    >> As I've pointed out, people like being part of a community that is free
    >> of the kind of obnoxious abusive crap that is only too well known in
    >> Usenet.

    >
    >And some of us like the fact that most of Usenet is uncensored. How long
    >do you think Pinky would last in a censored forum? He's obnoxious, and
    >I've kill-filed him, but unless he engages in another one of his spamming
    >floods with Shane I'm quite happy to let him spew his venom into the
    >groups. I don't have to read it.
    >
    >The fact that people don't like to read things they find unpleasant says a
    >lot - like somewhere over 90% of US high school students thinking the
    >First Amendment is too liberal.


    Private newsgroups could be moderated too, of course. Even some
    public groups are moderated.
    --
    R.G. "Stumpy" Marsh.
    Timaru, New Zealand.
    R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh, May 17, 2005
    #15
    1. Advertising

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

It takes just 2 minutes to sign up (and it's free!). Just click the sign up button to choose a username and then you can ask your own questions on the forum.

Share This Page