Have you ever noticed that sometimes “the next big thing” is a reinvention of the current thing, but worse?
Newsgroups have been around since the dawn of the Internet. They are a well-understood mechanism for distributing threaded discussions in a decentralised way around the world. You can choose a client which suits you, and have a consistent interface to many different groups on different topics.
However, a few years ago, web forums started becoming popular. Because they didn’t require another installed client or an open port on a firewall (ridiculous firewall port policies are a rant I’ll save for another day), people started using them instead of newsgroups even though you didn’t have consistency of interface across boards, you had to create accounts everywhere, the search was worse and so on.
Now, I read n.p.m.seamonkey and see the following:
As a reminder we will eventually phase out posts to this newsgroup in
favor of the developer blog:
Please be sure to check there for the latest news!
A blog is even worse than a web forum – there’s not even any threading, just a simple linear discussion, and the search usually isn’t as good. Additionally, only those who know the password can post, which is far less egalitarian. If that becomes our primary development announcement mechanism, the power to speak gets concentrated in the hands of a few. Developers are perfectly capable of using NNTP – our project even makes an NNTP client! If you want to access a message on the web, you can use Google Groups or Gmane. So why do we continually reinvent our communications mechanisms worse than before?