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

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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 πŸ˜‚
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 πŸ˜‚

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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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A quick Google search indicates that apparently the Fred guy was active in the Usenet around 2005 and contributed to many flames. So maybe he made a few enemies? Or just one enemy with a lot of free time?

Remember, kids: don't get into useless arguments on the internet, you never know if the other person is a nutjob

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alt.journalism.* is pestered by rush-limbaugh fans

A few of the alt.linux.* have some activity

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Hey, this is a good one!

Who you'd say posts to alt.lunatics?

...

...

Got it right! rush-limbaugh fans πŸ˜‚

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Follow

I'm trying to hit every group whose target audience may intersect with the 2020 Usenet target audience.

e.g. linux/unix, microcontrollers, macintosh...

So far, little luck πŸ˜”

Let's continue scavenging

Β· Web Β· 1 Β· 0 Β· 0

alt.music.* is pretty great too, unfortunately, all empty

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πŸ›ŽοΈ πŸ›ŽοΈ πŸ›ŽοΈ πŸ›ŽοΈ FINALLY!

alt.os.linux

1492 messages

Most of them original, non-spam

WRITE THIS ONE DOWN!

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In any case, the alt.os.linux.* hierarchy has enough traffic to justify a visit. Check out the group for your favorite distro!

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There is an alt.pedophile.* full of people's names. And these are not hollywood stars, they look like regular people's. How disgusting.

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alt.personals.*

There's like 150 groups with different preferences for personal ads.

I wonder if they were ever used!

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There's a hierarchy of alt.planets.* with all planets and moons of the Solar System

Including, of course, alt.planets.pluto

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🀚 We've reached alt.politics

Should I even try? Or will I find our usual friends?

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Usual friends it is!

As a curiosity, most alt.politics posts are cross-posted to other alt.politics.* groups including, for some reason, alt.politics.homosexuality. Of course, posts have nothing to do with homosexuality. Maybe some unsolved sexual issues from posters?

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Whoever created alt.religion.macarena definitely made me chuckle.

The rest of the alt.religion.* groups is, again, exactly what you'd expect.

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alt.suopprt.dylsxeia πŸ™„

alt.survival --> our rush-limbaugh fans πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ

alt.time-travel is empty πŸ˜₯

πŸ›ŽοΈ alt.toys.transformers is pretty active with on-topic discussions!

alt.tv.beakmans_world :__)

The alt.tv.* hierarchy is huge, but most of the shows are not aired anymore!

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aaaand with

alt.zzzz.fred-[redacted]-is-a-piece-of-shit

we finish reviewing the alt.* hierarchy!

We're now at 22038/66520 (33%)

Let's continue...

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The amount of commercial hierarches like borland.*, 3dfx.*, adobe.*, microsoft.* and others make me think that providing customre support in "social networks" is not new!

What a better place to centralize all support requests than a public forum that the support team monitors regularly?

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The newsgroups were a great way of federating async chats. Every server could decide their retention policy, whether to carry some groups or not, filtering binaries... but it was under control of the institution and the sysadmin.

Man, this exercise is really making me nostalgic for the Usenet

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And now we jump into comp.*

This is my biggest hope, let's see which groups are still alive!

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YES!

Most comp.* groups have some original activity!

comp.lang.* and comp.sys.* are pretty active!

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The french are also quite active, a few fr.* groups still have original messages

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