I, like many, have noticed the gradual decline in UseNET posting activity over the last 10 years, but for some reason it seems like 2006 has been incredibly hard on user body count. Are web-based forums getting so popular that UseNET is taking the hit?
And of course the ISP's aren't helping. AOL dropped their admittedly pathetic Usenet support; my cable company killed their own servers and substituted a very limited Giganews account.
I think the biggest factor is the declining expertise of the average computer user. They'd actually have to find a reasonable client program and configure it. One of the things I do is train K-12 computer teachers, and most of THEM think Internet Explorer IS the internet.
Also blame AOL for that. A good friend of mine said, when his father had an operation to clear some blocked arteries to his brain, and when he soon after, changed from an AOL address to something else, the comment was, "The operation was proved to be a success!". AOL is the Nanny for the internet.
I think so. Most of my online time is now spent using web forums, and I am an admitted NNTP bigot.
Clown factor. Properly moderated web forums eliminate, or greatly reduce, the clown factor. Twits are given the boot, whereas killfiles are only so effective. The unholy trifecta ruined RMR...they wouldn't have lasted two days on a good web forum.
Multiple catagories on one site, that STAY on topic. Want to talk tech, or political, or just BS? It's all segregated, and good moderation makes it stay that way.
It's easier for non-technical users to access. If I want to talk with other racers, I don't want a lack of computer skills to limit participation. What about the "WebTV" effect? See number 1.
I agree. I still do not waste time with a kill file. Just because someone posts does not mean I have to read it. Sometimes I may, but it still tells me who is around. I used to do a lot of IRC, where one could create and moderate their own. Every now and then we'd have to k-line someone as they were there only to be a nuisance and flood the "room" with inteminable posts. But it was never permanent, just enough to stop the current action so they would move on. We never k-lined for difference of opinion, no matter how vehement. As long as you allowed others the same courtesy, you could stay. I have wasted many an hour on mindless banter, made a few friends, and traded ideas. But mostly it was an utter waste of time, albeit entertaining.
USENET is more open, and you don't often have anyone exerting the effort to "flood" a group. There is no "instant gratification", so there is less motivation to do so. On the other hand, it is far more permanent a record, as things you posted 10 years ago can come back to bite you, or to prove your record. I personally like USENET for the coding and analysis groups. I value that enough to pay GIGANEWS for my own feed, that I can use from any place, not relying on the current flavor ISP. This rmr is my only "fun" group. I don't have enough time to put into any others anymore.
I have considered joining ROL, but that is yet another time-sapper. Family life rocks!