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Is Usenet Still Worth It?

by CrunchyRoll (Sexton)
on Mar 03, 2005 at 03:26 UTC ( [id://436080]=perlquestion: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

CrunchyRoll has asked for the wisdom of the Perl Monks concerning the following question:

Every now and then I feel an urge to get current and up-to-date on everything that is Perl. In years past, this would have certainly implied reading comp.lang.perl.* on a daily basis. This is where my (Perl-related) urges have been faltering lately. I go to the trouble of getting my newsreader current and then browse the latest stuff for a day or two. But I quickly found my patience to wade through enormous quantities of chaff for an occasional kernel of Perl wheat running out.

Is Usenet still worth the effort to read, at least in c.l.p.*? (I gave up on non-technical newsgroups a long, long time ago.)

What are the alternatives? At one point, didn't ActiveState have some kind of premium mailing list that was a distillation of noteworthy Usenet discussion? I tried to subscribe, but they wanted the company I worked for to become a supported customer to the tune of $15k or so.

Should I just stick to the monastery?

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Is Usenet Still Worth It?
by mlh2003 (Scribe) on Mar 03, 2005 at 04:00 UTC
    I rarely use usenet or browse through newsgroups these days for the same reason you mentioned - too much junk.

    I prefer the forum-style communication such as here at perlmonks and at DevShed forums, where there's a Perl Programming forum and some members here actively contribute.

    Not to say that Usenet is not worth it in general. But for technical discussion, IMHO, forums are better and easier to use/find information you are after.

Re: Is Usenet Still Worth It?
by kvale (Monsignor) on Mar 03, 2005 at 04:57 UTC
    I have given up on the perl news groups except for .moderated, where some old timers like Ilya Zackarevich (sp?) stil post interesting stuff on occasion. As for comp.lang.python.*, yeah, the newsgroups are vibrant, active forums. comp.theory and comp.compilers have relevant discussions as well.


Re: Is Usenet Still Worth It?
by ysth (Canon) on Mar 03, 2005 at 04:10 UTC
    Can't speak as to .misc, but IMO perlmonks all but killed comp.lang.perl.moderated. The poor folk who still linger there would much better bring their questions here.
Re: Is Usenet Still Worth It?
by herveus (Prior) on Mar 03, 2005 at 12:07 UTC

    With a suitable threaded browser (trn), I have no trouble keeping up on about a dozen and a half newsgroups. I am able to pick the threads I think are interesting, and ignore the rest. A group with a couple thousand unread messages is no big deal, and a group with under a hundred unread messages is almost not worth the time to read.

Re: Is Usenet Still Worth It?
by Tomte (Priest) on Mar 03, 2005 at 16:55 UTC

    I skim the c.l.p.* groups and answer here and there, but almost never ask something; I come here in the monastery if I have a perl-related question.

    back when I started to use the internet, early 90s (gopher, ftp, telnet, ... looking down on the emerging www as a kind of poor-mans-net, much to slow to be useful :-) I liked the civil, to-the-point tone almost everyone cultivated in the newsgroups; after the beginning commercialization and "de-campus-ification" of the net I simply quit;

    recently I started to read news again in the hope that the "all-new shiny and colored" hypertext-www had acted as the pied-piper luring the people who had abused the usenet away, but was utterly disappointed

    Nevertheless, having to face crap everywhere in the 'net (mail, www fora/forums ?!, usenet, ...) I have to say, that the usenet ist still useful though, there is no greater concentration of information and first-class knowledge as easily available IMVHO.


    An intellectual is someone whose mind watches itself.
    -- Albert Camus

Re: Is Usenet Still Worth It?
by Anonymous Monk on Mar 03, 2005 at 09:48 UTC
    Is Usenet still worth the effort to read, at least in c.l.p.*?
    Yes. It's my favourite Perl forum. Sure, it has much garbage posts, but if you count wrong answers to questions as "noise" as well, c.l.p.misc actually has a better S/R ratio than Perlmonks.
Re: Is Usenet Still Worth It?
by zentara (Archbishop) on Mar 03, 2005 at 12:52 UTC
    Just search for whatever topic you want the latest on. Usenet is still the best repository of "chatter" out there, but is useless if it wasn't for google's searching and indexing. Don't wade through all the posts manually, let do selective searching for you.

    I'm not really a human, but I play one on earth. flash japh
Re: Is Usenet Still Worth It?
by Shotgun Bob (Beadle) on Mar 03, 2005 at 07:29 UTC
    just my 2 cents... meh, ditch usenet personally i'd stick to perl monks. i created this account when i was 14, forgot about it logged back in five years later and i still see this place is alive and kicking even more than back in '00. who knows how long this place will be active...
Re: Is Usenet Still Worth It?
by DrHyde (Prior) on Mar 03, 2005 at 09:59 UTC
    Usenet is still worth it, if you pick your groups carefully. But in my experience none of the perl newsgroups were ever much cop.
Re: Is Usenet Still Worth It?
by RolandGunslinger (Curate) on Mar 03, 2005 at 13:42 UTC
    I'm usually able to find what I need Perl-wise here on Perlmonks, or CPAN. I haven't used usenet in a *long long long* time. Too much junk there.
Re: Is Usenet Still Worth It?
by eyepopslikeamosquito (Archbishop) on Mar 03, 2005 at 21:17 UTC

    I started out on comp.lang.perl.misc and enjoyed the witty and educational responses from the likes of Uri, Abigail and merlyn. But it got spoilt by mug lairs such as Godzilla! Queen Of Perl Heretics.. So I don't go there anymore.

    Then I discovered the Perl Mailing Lists and became something of a serial mailing list pest, moving from fwp to golf to perl-qa and others. I enjoyed these much more than clpm because they felt more like a community and there was far less chaff to weed out. And I still recommend them. If I have a specialist perl-qa question, for example, I typically get the best responses from the perl-qa list.

    Nowadays, I spend most of my limited spare time lurking around the monastery. I like it here because it's so lively; you almost always get a quick response to any question you pose. And there are many knowledgeable Perl folks here, always willing to help.

      But it got spoilt by mug lairs such as Godzilla! Queen Of Perl Heretics..

      The great thing about Usenet is that, with any newsreader worth its salt, it's easy to filter out all Godzilla/Purlgurl postings - and any replies to them as well.

      It's much harder to do so using Perlmonks.

Re: Is Usenet Still Worth It?
by dpavlin (Friar) on Mar 03, 2005 at 22:28 UTC
    I always liked text-based clients, so Usenet was my first love (after e-mail). However, I stopped reading Usenet around y2k because S/N ratio decreased below my treshold.

    However, for me web-based forums aren't any alternative to good text-mode Usenet-like interface. Hack, I like it so much that writing NNTP-like interface to PM seeks like a nice fun project!

    However, I am frequent reader on PM (strange for me) mostly because community is great and feedback system (up/down vote) is so valuable that I would really missed it in NNTP-like client.

      However, I am frequent reader on PM (strange for me) mostly because community is great and feedback system (up/down vote) is so valuable that I would really missed it in NNTP-like client.
      Well, the technique is there, although it's mostly used to filter spam. Potentially far more useful than the (IMO) worthless XP system we have here. Feedback is useful if you can use its results - to ignore posts for instance. But here you can only find out the reputation of a note by voting for it - and hence, spending more time on it than you want.

      Usenet clients usually have a much better "feedback" system than Perlmonks has: the ability to score articles based on their headers.

Re: Is Usenet Still Worth It?
by doom (Deacon) on Mar 05, 2005 at 21:00 UTC
    From an old-time usenet user:

    You need to find a good feed (which should be free if you've got a good ISP/DSL provider) and you need a good newsreader, of which there are many candidates (I get by with gnus for the moment; I like nn when I can get it. The google groups interface started weak and has gotten worse with the new "beta", I don't use it for anything but searches). You microsofties: consider the fact that you can run a text-based newsreader in a ssh session.

    From a technical point of view, usenet has a number of advantages over the web: it's far more decentralized: it can't be slashdotted, it doesn't get nailed by a single server outage [1]. Because it's text based, there's none of the point-click-and-wait folderol you tend to get stuck with in using a web interface (I'm typing into a mozilla textarea now, but a newsreader would have kicked me into my favorite emacs).

    As far as social dynamics goes, well the bad news is that the web is where the action is, and the good news is that the web is where the action is. The eternal September has definitely ended. Usenet is a place you can go for the wisdom of the elders without being too annoyed by silly kid stuff. The perl groups are okay by me, and I stop by there on occasion to see what's going on (though I don't mess with *.moderated much, the moderation system has never let me post to it, for whatever reason).

    A hint for using usenet though: the social standards are collegiate rather than corporate, so if you're the kind of twit that gets bent out of shape by someone calling you a twit, you might as well stay off. Grow some skin, and learn to ignore insults, or stick to a moderated forum.

    Oh, and there are definitely some non-technical newsgroups that are worth a look.

    [1] It was funny watching the livejournal crowd slinking back to usenet for their net-fix back during the recent LJ outage.

Re: Is Usenet Still Worth It?
by crypix (Acolyte) on Mar 04, 2005 at 03:19 UTC
    I had given up on newsgroups also, until google groups matured. Perlmonks is still the 'goldmine' for anything Perl related.

    OT: For us that work int the Tech/IT/Support field, have any of you found the google groups search, a terrific tool in troubleshooting?
Re: Is Usenet Still Worth It?
by jordanh (Chaplain) on Mar 04, 2005 at 20:20 UTC
    I'm finding the Bloglines interface to Usenet to be convenient. No newsreader software to setup, but it does track unread items. The links on the Bloglines site take you to the Google copy of this data (which I think is actually what it monitors for you), which gives you threading.

    It's not perfect, no kill-files for example, but it does allow for light Usenet reading conveniently.

Re: Is Usenet Still Worth It?
by rupesh (Hermit) on Mar 03, 2005 at 04:21 UTC

    You still have to "Use" (the) "Net" to stick to the Monstery.
    Basically it's up to you...actually.

Re: Is Usenet Still Worth It?
by Mr. Lee (Scribe) on Mar 04, 2005 at 20:46 UTC
    Even with a modem, I don't see any real advantage of the usenet to the web forum. It does not seem to be faster. And either you have to install extra program, or use MS crap program reader, or go over an web interface, but then you can already stay with websites like these. Icons and stuff come from the browser cache anyways.

    Mr. Lee

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