Managing Google Groups headaches

Roy Smith roy at panix.com
Thu Dec 5 01:58:54 CET 2013


In article <mailman.3565.1386170444.18130.python-list at python.org>,
 Rich Kulawiec <rsk at gsp.org> wrote:

> Yes, I'm
> aware of web forums: I've used hundreds of them.  They suck.  They ALL
> suck, they just all suck differently.  I could spend the next several
> thousand lines explaining why, but instead I'll just abbreviate: they
> don't handle threading, they don't let me use my editor of choice,
> they don't let me build my own archive that I can search MY way including
> when I'm offline, they are brittle and highly vulnerable to abuse
> and security breaches, they encourage worst practices in writing
> style (including top-posting and full-quoting), they translate poorly
> to other formats, they are difficult to archive, they're even more
> difficult to migrate (whereas Unix mbox format files from 30 years ago
> are still perfectly usable today), they aren't standardized, they
> aren't easily scalable, they're overly complex, they don't support
> proper quoting, they don't support proper attribution, they can't
> be easily forwarded, they...oh, it just goes on.  

The real problem with web forums is they conflate transport and 
presentation into a single opaque blob, and are pretty much universally 
designed to be a closed system.  Mail and usenet were both engineered to 
make a sharp division between transport and presentation, which meant it 
was possible to evolve each at their own pace.

Mostly that meant people could go off and develop new client 
applications which interoperated with the existing system.  But, it also 
meant that transport layers could be switched out (as when NNTP 
gradually, but inexorably, replaced UUCP as the primary usenet transport 
layer).



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