You know Usenet is almost-dead when there is not even spam in most groups.

Spammers have decided "it's not profitable to send a few bytes to these open boards anymore" and if you think about it it's kinda sad

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Browsing the group list sure brings back memories of long gone topics:

search-engines.lycos
browsers.ariadne
atari-jaguar.discussion

And, of course, the alt.* groupname spamming

alt.something
alt.something-sucks
alt.something-sucks.somebody-is-gay
alt.something-sucks.somebody-is-gay.askdjasdlkjasd

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I downloaded my first warez from binaries groups. Some say they're still alive and kicking on paid servers, but I think all downloads have moved to the web or p2p nowadays

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The most similar thing to newsgroups today is Reddit, and I really enjoy following some communities.

Usenet had excellent usability, but Reddit has better moderation tools.

In the end, as experts say, tools don't create communities, they just allow members to find each other.

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I'm definitely browsing the newsgroup list to see if there is anything interesting left

3301/66518 (4%)

See you in like a week

Can you imagine creating a dumb newsgroup in 1988 like

alt.config.christina.[redacted].needs.to.get.a.life

and that message is still available for all the world to see 32 years later?

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There are a few posters in alt.conspiracy who still engage in discussions, and it looks like they're very active at it.

1116 messages in that group

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Let's dive into alt.current-events!

cebit95
bosnia
somalia
oj-simpson
clinton
massacre.columbine
war-on-terror

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Look at this groupname clusterfuck and the animosity somebody had against that "fred" guy.

There are a few "is-a-rapist" groupnames, you can see one here

Bonus: early 90s rare insults!

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Oh! Let's see what was popular in the Usenet!

alt.fan.*

aaron-carter
addams.family
adolf.hitler 🤨
austin-powers
bill-gates
bloodhound-gang
callista-flockhart
chocobo
courteney-cox
david-duchovny
dragonlance
dune
gillian-anderson
hello-kitty
jackques-chirac
jennifer-connely
jim-carrey
kevin-mitnick
lara-croft
lion-king.scar 😂
lucy-lawless
ninja-turtles
nutella
pam-anderson
power-rangers
pratchett
princess-diana

... wait what? STOP

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alt.fan.rush-limbaugh

11629 motherfucking messages right now

I have to check this out

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Ok so this is basically 10 people generating 11k messages per month.

And a few of them are crossposts or spam, but most of them are legit.

Legit like, somebody opened a text editor, wrote original content, and posted it to the group.

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There's a lot of crazy people there.

Not because of their political ideology, which I don't care about, but because they actively engage in conversations in their echo chamber and insult each other even though those they insult are the only ones who pay attention to them

I mean, what's the point??

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I have to admit there are interesting conversations there. Again, I don't care for that kind of discussions, but the posters can articulate reasonable arguments and follow discussions.

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Let's leave Limbaughtown.

alt.fan.starwars has some activity, yay!

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alt.flame.niggers --> exactly what you'd expect

alt.flame.rush-limbaug --> empty! the opposite of what you'd expect 😂

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alt.global-warming

Want to make a bet?

...

...

Yes, it's the same people as alt.fans.rush-limbaugh having similar but different discussions

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Hey, an active group only partially overrun by wackos!

alt.history.what-if

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@cfenollosa if you run across any good discussion groups post them up. I follow a few on my BBS (the alt.bbs groups are hit and miss though, mainly BBS ads now days). There are also a few good ones in comp.* that are still active

@mmn I'm trying to make a list of still active groups. Of course I can't check the full 60k groups, but I'm trying to curate those who used to be popular and still have some activity (comp, hardware, talk etc)

@cfenollosa this is literally the best thing I've heard this year, it's impossible to find references to active usenet groups now days. Are you going to publish this somewhere eventually?

@mmn Yes, I'll post them on this thread while I scavenger, and probably give this literal tootstorm some formatting into a blogpost.

You'll definitely see it around here for sure

@cfenollosa
I believe human attention works that way, specially as you get older and accustomed to some ways of interacting with your peers

@cfenollosa

i thought i'd check out alt.anarchism, but half of it is anti-Hillary spam and the other half is about the murder of Molly Tibbetts.

@Nikolai_Kingsley Yep, there are very very few active groups, and those are mostly populated by wackos.

@cfenollosa

i keep waiting for the Oldbies to return to talk.bizarre.

there's no indication they ever will, but i'm not going to let that stop me.

@Nikolai_Kingsley hope is the last thing one loses, they say ;)

I would honestly love a Usenet comeback. Too bad it will never happen.

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