Google breaks Usenet (was Re: How can I correct an error in an old post?)

Blair P. Houghton blair.houghton at gmail.com
Fri Oct 6 19:04:14 CEST 2006


Aahz wrote:
> In article <4SmVg.9105$GR.2172 at newssvr29.news.prodigy.net>,
> Bryan Olson  <fakeaddress at nowhere.org> wrote:
> >Blair P. Houghton wrote:
> >>
> >> But they do about 10 things totally wrong with Google groups that
> >> I'd've fixed in my spare time in my first week if they'd hired me back
> >> when I was interviewing with them.
> >>
> >> So if they want it to work, they know where to find me.
> >
> >Doesn't seem likely, does it? But don't let it stop you. You don't
> >need Google's permission to build a better Usenet service. They
> >don't have any copyright on the posts, or other special protection.
> >I'm a former Googler myself and I use their service all the time,
> >but if yours is better I'll switch.
>
> The problem is the network effect.  In this case, what Google has that
> can't be replicated is the history of posts.

Exactly.

Usenet isn't just the "send this message to all leaf nodes via tree"
behavior,
it's the "show me the message from 1987 or 1988 written by dickie
sexton where
he invents the '(*plonk*)' meme" behavior, and a lot of others.

It would be an interesting script that would crawl through Google's
online
copy of the DejaNews archive (which itself was incomplete, by the way)
to replicate all of that, with complete headers, minus Google's header
munging.

--Blair




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