R. D. Davis wrote:
Quothe James B. DiGriz, from writings of Wed, Apr 30,
2003 at 01:55:35PM -0400:
Great to see more vintage and classic forums being
listed. The only
thing I hate to see is the fragmentation.
Yes, I know what you mean. If these new discussion groups each had
some particular specialty, then I could see a reason why various
classic computer collectors would use them. However, since they
don't, I can't see the point in going through the extra work that it
would take to access them.
If they shared articles/posts via RDF or XML feeds, that lessens the
work, significantly. Pooling articles reduces exclusivity and to some
extent individuality, of course, but at the cost of boosting the overall
signal, promoting the development of communities of interest, etc. which
benefits everyone in the long run. If the object is making money with
the site, based strictly on the editorial content, then it's easy to
imagine the interest of the site owner to be short-sighted here, though,
or at least that's how the short-sighted will be expected to see it. I'd
say that the much better overall content raises the floor for everyone,
in most situations, and that site design, other features, relevance and
value of associated advertising and merchandising, etc. will have more
to do with the final profitability of the site, if that's the goal or
justification. Compare IM, ICQ, or IRC vs. a purely local chat system
for an equivalent effect on content.
FTN-style and Qwk networks on BBS'es, etc. used to be able to
bring together scattered groups of people and individuals all over the
world in a non-centralized, non-single-point-of-failure way. Web-based
forums have really not tried to go there yet, in part because some are
For one thing, web-based forums are a blasted nuisance to use.
Browsers crash, and then an entire message is gone. If I can't use
emacs, or some other text editor that's reasonably useful, such as vi,
or even ed, then there's not much point to using a computer for
writing. The multi-line text-area fields in forms on the 'web are
nowhere near being a reasonable substitute for a good text editor.
Browsers crashing is all many people know, however. All the marketing in
the last 8 years or so is strictly for the 'net as Web. I prefer text
myself for discussions, period, but hardly anyone is trained on a
command line anymore, even at the college level. Actually this has it's
advantages sometimes, like if you have to use the library's computer and
need to work around CIPA mandated filters, etc. Usually it's just a
matter of the proxy settings in Exploiter, access to which will
typically be disabled. But as we all know, there is more than one way to
skin a cat.
If you want or need to raise the LCD, you have to make yourself
accessible to it. It doesn't and needn't make older, more fundamental
commercial and sometimes proprietary, with
excessive numbers of PHB's
What's a PHB? Sounds like a nasty type of chemical to avoid.
Pointy-Haired Boss, as in "Dilbert".
and lawyers making policy decisions instead of the
A good reason to avoid them. Is it just me, or does it give others
the creeps when they see user agreements telling them that they can't
have their first-ammendment guaranteed right to free speech on the
'net, whenever corporate droids, politically correct university
bureaucrats and ambulance chasers (lawyers), etc. get involved with
I didn't mean to knock lawyers or suits in general here. They're just
the instruments of bad politics and absurd premises being taken to
logical conclusions in this case. Don't shoot the messenger, in other
words, though there are plenty who have put their hearts into it and
have contributed to the absurdities and badness, especially when they
end up in legislatures and on the bench.
I should note that gating a web forum raises several spam-related
issues, which a lot of people tend to get bent out of shape about. Also
there is the matter of having to modify the actual body of an article if
it includes advertising and/or html, when sending to mailing lists
that forbid such, or to Usenet, where it's just not appropriate. And so
on. It's not just a matter of jealous proprietorship.or whipped dogs
worried about the next shareholders meeting.