I don’t know why, but I found myself thinking about Usenet news groups and was wondering if anyone remembers them, or if anyone knows if they’re still a thing? For those that aren’t aware, there used to be a system called Usenet which enabled people to have discussion-style conversations on thousands of topics. These topics were hierarchically arranged by groups, called news groups. I used to love Usenet groups back in the early-mid 90S as I could use any number of Reader applications to participate in the groups. While today web-based forums seem to be the popular norm, the nice thing about the older news groups was that, for me at least, I had a standard way to participate in the discussion regardless of the group. In contrast, I personally struggle with web-based forums, each of which seeming to have its own interface: I find them often complex and I get distracted with how to participate so much that I don’t actually wind up participating at all. mailing lists are another discussion method that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed for the same reasons, but with many users becoming overwhelmed with Email and/or not understanding how to configure filters, these too have sadly fallen off in popularity.
So, does anyone out there remember Usenet news groups? Does anyone else miss them? For those wanting to learn more about Usenet, there’s a great Wikipedia article discussing its history which is really a fascinating read.