From: Ricardo Aráoz on
On 14/07/2010 12:19 p.m., Kenneth Tilton wrote:
> Steven D'Aprano wrote:
>> On Tue, 13 Jul 2010 23:24:12 -0400, Kenneth Tilton wrote:
>>> The moral? If you look for the spam, you'll find it.
>> 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.
> 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!


From: Uday S Reddy on
On 7/13/2010 7:43 PM, Xah Lee wrote:

> 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.

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.