Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(June 1998)

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Subject: Re: Finding A Listowner
From: Mike Nolan <nolan @ celery . tssi . com>
Date: Thu, 11 Jun 1998 21:43:07 -0500 (CDT)
To: list-managers @ GreatCircle . com (List Managers)
Reply-to: nolan @ tssi . com

Chuq Von Rospach wrote:
> I find it serves a major purpose -- the purpose being that we stop
> thinking in terms of fitting information into a transport layer, and
> start making information available the way the user wants it. If that's
> email, great. If it's web, great. If that's NNTP, great. The point is,
> stop thinking of e-mail as an entity unto itself, and start realizing
> it's just one way to communicate. 

I agree with this, but only up to a point.  The problem is net bandwidth
is still an exhaustible resource, and one that we list managers (or for 
most of us, our ISP's) have to pay more for as usage increases.  HTML encoded 
posts, to use one example, are generally more than TWICE the number of bytes 
of text-only posts.  And I find that a total waste of bandwidth if all it 
does is convert text int 14 point Times Roman with a few words in bold face.

> They will and are. Although frankly, USENET is dead, although NNTP is
> still quite useful. that's a distinction people miss...

Like Bob Hope, and before him Mark Twain, announcing the death of net news
is still somewhat premature.  With over 500,000 posts a day, it is hardly
dying, though like Diamond Jim Brady it may eventually collapse from its 
own weight.  Though Chuq is right that the original modem-based USENET
software (Bnews and Cnews) has little relevance in today's higher speed 
NNTP based world.  However, I believe that in the minds of most net users, 
including those of us who date back to Bnews days or even earlier, the term 
USENET applies equally to both forms, and Chuq is himself guilty of 
confusing the transport layer with the application layer here.

The problem is neither mailing lists nor web sites are an equivalent 
resource to USENET, at least not yet.  If I want to research something, 
looking through the past 30 days or so worth of USENET posts on the subject 
is often a more potent source of information than trying to wade through 
the dozens of invalid or duplicate pointers I get with most web searches.  

And for finding a group of people with similar interests quickly, it's 
still hard to beat, and there are still quite a few subjects for which 
USENET groups exist but no mailing lists.  

And though web-based discussion forums are getting better, too many are 
unwieldy, poorly organized, or have uncontrolled content. 

But both mailing lists and USENET are just isolated aspects of this new 
and still evolving communications medium, and ones which may eventually 
be supplanted by something else.
Mike Nolan

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From: Rich Kulawiec <rsk @ gsp . org>
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From: Mike Nolan <nolan @ celery . tssi . com>
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From: Rich Kulawiec <rsk @ gsp . org>
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From: Chuq Von Rospach <chuqui @ plaidworks . com>

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