reply to OT diversion (was: What is the best method to match a pattern in set of lines

Steven D'Aprano steve at
Sat Jun 20 21:09:19 EDT 2009

Dennis Lee Bieber wrote:

> On Sat, 20 Jun 2009 13:47:24 -0700 (PDT), Bearophile
> <bearophileHUGS at> declaimed the following in
> gmane.comp.python.general:
>> This is a small OT post, sorry.
>> Dennis Lee Bieber, may I ask why most or all your posts are set to "No-
>> Archive"?
> Taking into account some corrections from the last time I had to
> explain...
> I'm from the days when the majority of NNTP servers were configured
> to expire posts after some number of days (Netcom used to expire binary
> groups after 24 hours! and most others were something like 14 days).
> Then came the precursor to GoogleGroups -- DejaNews -- threatening
> to archive posts through eternity. This resulted in a fair amount of
> protesting by some, and the creation of the x-no-archive header
> convention (Agent even has configuration options such that, if one were
> to not normally use x-no-archive such that one's own posts could be
> archived, one could still honor it in replies to posts that did contain
> it -- so those replies with quoted contents would also not be archived).
> It was at that time that I added the x-no-archive header to my posts
> from Agent; as, while not as vocal as others, did object to DejaNews
> plans.

But your replies often contain useful information. It's a shame that they
disappear from record, making them invisible for anyone searching the

A good rule of thumb when judging behaviour is to ask, "What if everyone did
this?". If everyone set x-no-archive, then discussions on Usenet would be
ephemeral, we couldn't point people to past discussions for information,
and we would lose a lot of useful information. (Also a lot of garbage.) I
can't tell you how often I find useful information in the archives of
comp.lang.python thanks to those who archive the gname news-to-email
gateway, and Google groups. If everyone did what you use, the entire
community, including myself, would be far worse off.

As far as I'm concerned, setting x-no-archive is harmful, anti-social
behaviour on a technical newsgroup like this. You (almost) might as well
just email the poster you're replying to directly.


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