Monday, June 04, 2007

Death of the Sci.Polymers on the Usenet

Looks like the end of the line for the usenet, or at least sci.polymers. While sci.chem and sci.physic have degraded into festering cesspools of off-topic postings on every conspiracy theory know by any kook who knows a bit of English, sci.polymers is going out with a whimper. Looking at the about posting activity, you can see a large drop in the posts with each passing year, even taking the seasonal variation into account. This last month – May - there were only 22 posts. The last time there were that few posts was October, 1993 when the newsgroup was only 3 months old, and the number of internet users was 10% (?) of what it is today.

Why is this happening? Colleagues have suggested that blogs are the new usenet, but I don’t see an equivalence. The usenet was a unique resource for accessing information from “experts”. Blogs don’t have that mechanism in place. On the other hand, to the extent that the usenet was used as a site for discussion of a topic, blogs that allow feedback can fill that need.

I’ll probably linger around the usenet a little bit more, maybe to see if I can get my current email address up to the # 2 spot on the “All-Time Top Posters, (previous addresses are already at #1 and #9), but it certainly will sadden me to see it go. I very much enjoyed being able to help others as well as learn from the many experts that use to post their as well.

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