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Spam Causes Microsoft To Kill Newsgroups

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the good-bye-.die.die.die dept.

Communications 157

eldavojohn writes "Some 2,000 public and 2,200 private newsgroups devoted to and managed by Microsoft support are going to be phased out in favor of forums because of newsgroup spam. The Register calls it 'killing newsgroups' but Microsoft eloquently calls it 'the evolution of communities.' Always managing to spin it in a positive light! Let's hope the spam posts and voting bots in their forums remain controllable."

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What's the problem? (4, Insightful)

bondsbw (888959) | more than 4 years ago | (#32097144)

Microsoft is obviously choosing a path where they can control spam posting more easily. I don't see how this is bad. Not everything the company does is bad.

Re:What's the problem? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32097200)

Agreed. Forums are the evolution of news groups,

Re:What's the problem? (5, Insightful)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#32097432)

Whilst I think it's fine for MS to choose what's best for their own groups, I don't see web forums as an evolution. The biggest problem is that you're now restricted by what software the website runs, rather than running your own client (and websites are typically far more limited - have you seen one with a killfile? Even basic things like threading elude most webforum software).

Worse, decisions are made by admins for the decision of all when they should be a user option. Most notably, the "Lock thread" feature of a certain popular webforum software, which inevitably gets used by power crazy admins for "I'm bored of reading this thread now".

Slashdot is pretty good in terms of forum software, but most are far worse. And Slashdot still seems to have problems on every browser I've tried...

Are you joking? J-Slashcode is awful! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32098520)

250 comments at a time? MINUTES of time required to load more on a T1? CPU usage above 80% (of 2.33GHz) while loading? The new Javascript-based Slashcode is awful.
"And Slashdot still seems to have problems on every browser I've tried..." is NOT the hallmark of "pretty good" forum software!

Time to bring back usenet (1)

bpechter (2885) | more than 4 years ago | (#32098936)

Time to bring back point to point newsfeeds which limit access. Spam control by knowing exactly who you'll feed -- and who you cut off for spam.

Bring back the days before Eternal September and the great renaming.

Re:What's the problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32099340)

You can't manipulate public opinion, plaster advertising, and push agendas on usenet. Only on a site that YOU control can that happen.

There are MANY forums that I use (both technical and non technical) that would be MUCH better overall experience if they were plain old newsgroups.

Re:What's the problem? (5, Insightful)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 4 years ago | (#32097204)

The problem, in general, is the move to forums regardless of company.

I miss being able to just read my subscriptions, along with using a scorefile/killfile. Now I have to create accounts on dozens of web pages and monitor them all separately, without being able to rank based on what I'm interested in. Each web page has its own formats and options. Yes, there are rss feeds, but that doesn't help much if you are an active poster in the community.

We've gone backwards.

Re:What's the problem? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32097254)

Like you actually read Microsoft's usenet forums..

Put up or shut up, post your kill file.

Otherwise it didn't happen.

Re:What's the problem? (4, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32097340)

/^From:.*Anonymous Coward/h:j

Re:What's the problem? (3, Informative)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 4 years ago | (#32097496)

To be fair your argument doesn't hold water if you regularly visit official Microsoft sites or even have a Hotmail account. If you do you already have a Live Passport (I think thats what its called) that should work. Microsoft is big enough that it is actually a convenience to have a single login to all of their services and resources.

I'll even go so far as to say that the big *nix distros should get together and support OpenID universally across all their sites for a similar effect.

Re:What's the problem? (4, Insightful)

Speare (84249) | more than 4 years ago | (#32098226)

if you regularly visit official Microsoft sites or even have a Hotmail account ... the big *nix distros should get together and support OpenID universally across all their sites for a similar effect.

You make it sound like all that anyone ever wants out of their newsgroups is about the operating systems. Do you know just how many hobbies and topics there are on a real newsgroup server? Do you realize how many separate stand-alone "you-host-em" bulletin board services are out there? There's at least two competing boards for pretty much any major hobby or special interest. There's probably five or six just for radio-controlled-aircraft discussions, then another couple for motorscooters, several for do-it-yourself-electronics, and more for anime, audiophiles, cooking, you name it.

The world of discussion has gotten so fragmented, and everybody's got to authenticate on each service independently. Unless phpBB and the other popular forum software kits start supporting a third-party authentication (hah!), the problem is just going to get worse. Far worse.

Re:What's the problem? (1)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 4 years ago | (#32098748)

Fair point. I cited some wide ranging categories or vendors that could collaborate and bring things together.

I think its wise to target places like *nix forums, StackOverflow (already does OpenID), and other large admin/developer/power user venues for a consolidated login FIRST. You want to get the power users using it, providing feedback to the developers and getting the admins comfortable with it.

Once they embrace it, they'll be prepared to deploy it and MAKE the normal users start using OpenID instead of separate logins.

Re:What's the problem? (3, Interesting)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 4 years ago | (#32097558)

Exactly.

Moreover, a migration from usenet to web forums is made at the cost of increased bloat, complexity and a degradation of the user experience. I mean, in order for a web forum to provide the simplest features available in any usenet client for decades it has to force the user to download tons of javascript/silverlight scripts each time it refreshes a page. Meanwhile, with NNTP [wikipedia.org] you only download an extremely small text-only message which regularly doesn't even go near 1kB and with that web 2.0 shit you are forced to download more than that in any HTML header, let alone the entire page. Moreover, there is yet to be developed a way to organize a discussion in tree form in a web forum that is remotely decent, let alone capable of competing with what usenet clients have been providing for more than a decade.

So, what exactly are they trying to achieve? Obviously this isn't being done to fight spam. Why does Microsoft hate it's customers?

Re:What's the problem? (1)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 4 years ago | (#32097886)

OMFG!!! Slashdot doesn't have a usenet group!!!!!!

Re:What's the problem? (1)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 4 years ago | (#32099238)

No, but nntp access to Slashdot is something that has been asked about for quite some time. :-)

Re:What's the problem? (2, Informative)

Myopic (18616) | more than 4 years ago | (#32097994)

So, what exactly are they trying to achieve?

They are trying to achieve a reduction in spam. Didn't you even read the title of the article?

Re:What's the problem? (1)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 4 years ago | (#32098658)

They are trying to achieve a reduction in spam. Didn't you even read the title of the article?

I also don't see how, according to the GP, the user experience can possibly be degraded if it was already overrun with spam. If the simple usenet solution is overrun with spam, the only way to prevent it may require an increase in complexity. Simple solutions only solve simple problems, and spam is anything but.

Re:What's the problem? (3, Insightful)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 4 years ago | (#32099078)

So, what exactly are they trying to achieve?

They are trying to achieve a reduction in spam. Didn't you even read the title of the article?

But it's impossible to get a reduction in spam by cutting Usenet. Web forums clean up their spam by relying on moderation and on registered accounts. You have usenet newsgroups which have been moderated and accessible under registration way before the dotcom bubble burst. In fact, some ISPs restricted the access to their usenet servers exactly the same way as they restricted access to their email servers.

So, to put it short: no, you don't get a reduction in spam by cutting Usenet. And it's idiotic that someone suggests that as a reasonable means to fight spam.

Re:What's the problem? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32098006)

So, what exactly are they trying to achieve? Obviously this isn't being done to fight spam. Why does Microsoft hate it's customers?

MS hates its customers because they are customers, who demand things. And as they are customers, they are always right (they have money to give you).

MS wants to deal with consumers, brainless fuckers that just buy what they are told, and will go as far as indebting themselves to significant fractions (or over 100%) of their salary just to get the "latest and greatest"[1] products.

As for why MS are ditching newsgroups - it is all about control. With a website they control who posts, they control who reads, and best of all for them, they can slap adverts on the pages too.

Web 2.0 is just proprietary software 2.0. All the downsides of proprietary software on the desktop, with the added bonus that the application and your data isn't on your computer any more. So the application can be changed at any time (cutting support costs for the vendor - there is only ever 1 version of an app to support), and probably anything can be done with your data too.

[1] So says the marketing info.

Re:What's the problem? (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 4 years ago | (#32098058)

I know! Heaven forbid that we actually use all that extra bandwidth, processing power and memory that we have just lying around these days. Oh Lordy, it will be a disaster having to download a few hundred kbs on your ~4Meg connection, especially compared to downloading 1kb on a 56k modem of old.

And if that bout of sarcasm wasn't enough, how about a bit of Irony to go with it? You're moaning about the switch from newsgroups to a web-based system ON a web-based commenting system that shares all of the same aspects as any online forum.

Re:What's the problem? (4, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32098892)

Why is it so obvious that it isn't being done to fight spam? Virtually all of the newsgroups out there, outside of the moderated ones, have been completely overrun with spam. There is no really effective spam-control device for Usenet other than moderated groups, and it's virtually impossible to maintain a good conversational flow in a moderated forum.

Usenet was great in its time, but its fatal flaw turned out to be an inability to keep out spam. We fought it for years, but the fact is the spammers have won, and it's time to move on to technologies that are better able to control it, like web forums. Yes, Usenet was much nicer back in the old days before the Internet exploded, but a lot of things online were nicer then. NNTP was developed for a world where common courtesy and community policing were sufficient to correct bad behavior, but those days are gone now as the overall population of the 'net has increased exponentially and the technology of spammers has improved so that a few of them can easily drown out the many who are willing to abide by basic netiquette rules.

The world changed. You can either adapt to it or sit back and complain about how things were so much better then, and how kids have no respect for people's lawns anymore. Web forums may have a long way to go before they can match the feature set on Usenet 15 years ago, but they beat the hell out of today's Usenet in terms of signal to noise ratio, and for many of us that's the more important thing.

Global Reputation System (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 4 years ago | (#32097946)

The Internet's missing link.

 

Re:What's the problem? (1)

MediaCastleX (1799990) | more than 4 years ago | (#32098464)

Isn't there some way to collect all your forum accounts together the way some sites are collecting Social network accounts? I think that should happen soon if this is a trend. Seems like an easy fix to your backward incompatibility issues...and by "your," I mean "our."

Re:What's the problem? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 4 years ago | (#32098544)

We've gone backwards.

Back in the mid 90's, a former co-worker opined that the web had put user-interface design back by at least a decade -- it may have been attributable to someone else, not sure.

Fifteen years later, and I still find myself using a lot of web-based software and wondering what went wrong.

Re:What's the problem? (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 4 years ago | (#32099486)

I miss being able to just read my subscriptions, along with using a scorefile/killfile. Now I have to create accounts on dozens of web pages and monitor them all separately, without being able to rank based on what I'm interested in. Each web page has its own formats and options. Yes, there are rss feeds, but that doesn't help much if you are an active poster in the community. We've gone backwards.

You call it going backwards, I call it an opportunity for somebody to step in and provide a software solution. We have these computer thingies and programming languages. With these tools I figure we can do something to your liking.

GYPSIES (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32097210)

Burn 'em like your mom burned pop tarts when you were a kid

Re:What's the problem? (5, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#32097218)

Newsgroups had facilities for controlling spam before Microsoft was even aware of the Internet.

Re:What's the problem? (0, Redundant)

MediaCastleX (1799990) | more than 4 years ago | (#32098644)

Newsgroups had facilities for controlling spam before Microsoft was even aware of the Internet.

Ha, ha... that was *so* funny...*This is where I roll my eyes and type a stupid message to illustrate this* See, I can fail at being funny, too! =D (Disclaimer: Seriously, I'm just kidding. I really did think it was funny and I just wanted to share. No, I'm not being sarcastic. In fact, I actually think you would know more about this stuff than me. I'm just trying to fit in...I know, I suck.)

Re:What's the problem? (2, Funny)

Inda (580031) | more than 4 years ago | (#32098896)

I'm just amazed to learn that people can post text messages on Usenet!

In all my years of navigating a.b.*, I have never seen one!

Re:What's the problem? (3, Insightful)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 4 years ago | (#32097444)

How exactly do you control spam posting more easily by abandoning usenet and stick to a web forum? After all, usenet is nothing but an interface to the data. There are plenty of cases where organizations, including private companies, manage fending off spam just fine although they offer support through not only newsgroups but also mailing lists and web forums. For example, Trolltech offers usenet and mailing list access to it's discussion forum [trolltech.com] and you don't get a drop of spam on it. So why does Microsoft declares itself incompetent and ignorant by claiming that spam is forcing the company to drop support for usenet access?

Re:What's the problem? (3, Insightful)

Steauengeglase (512315) | more than 4 years ago | (#32098636)

Because if you want to get something off of a forum you just send a DMCA notice and it is gone. Also you can buy out someone's forum and easily wire that info into whatever social networking service you plan on building. From a top-down, birds eye view, forums are more easily viewed as assets (in other words, a good thing for everyone but the consumer), while Usenet is like some kind unseen Vole's den.

Re:What's the problem? (0, Troll)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 4 years ago | (#32097460)

"Not everything the company does is bad." -- Yes it is. It's Microsoft for God's sake. It's what they do. They are here to be evil.

Re:What's the problem? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32097548)

Newsgroup clients have lacked a spam categorization feature for years. Why, I have no idea, since email clients have that feature.

Unfortunate that Microsoft chose to abandon newsgroups as a "solution", though.

Microsoft may drop them (3, Insightful)

jra (5600) | more than 4 years ago | (#32097154)

I don't see that this means they're *actually* going to die, however.

That's precisely the difference between implementing them as newsgroups, and as Microsoft-"hosted" fora, in fact.

It will be interesting to see the results.

Re:Microsoft may drop them (1)

Linker3000 (626634) | more than 4 years ago | (#32098168)

"I don't see that this means they're *actually* going to die, however."

Paging Mr Netcraft.

surely it's about control (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32097158)

Forums are spammed to death too. The difference here is that NNTP is archived, and searchable by third parties, a web forum can be dumped at a moments notice.

Re:surely it's about control (1)

captbob2002 (411323) | more than 4 years ago | (#32098026)

...and often are.

Re:surely it's about control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32098236)

There's [viagra.com] no [cialis.com] Spam [nekkidpics.com] in [embiggenyourtool.com] forums. [meetsexyladies.com]

Re:surely it's about control (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 4 years ago | (#32098438)

Really? I stop by the technet forums all the time and have never seen spam.

Re:surely it's about control (1)

macshit (157376) | more than 4 years ago | (#32098738)

Really? I stop by the technet forums all the time and have never seen spam.

... and I read netnews via news.individual.net, and have never seen spam.

The point being, both technologies can be spammed, but largely eliminating spam is also possible with both.

Thus by saying they're making this change "to control spam," MS shows that they're either incompetent, or dishonest.

Yeah... right... (4, Informative)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 4 years ago | (#32097186)

"Let's hope the spam posts and voting bots in their forums remain controllable."

Like that will actually do anything. Spamming is just as much of a problem on forums as it is on newsgroups, maybe not as bad since they use captcha. Even then, captcha has been defeated time and time again. This is just a ploy to force people to register with them.

user data (1)

butterflysrage (1066514) | more than 4 years ago | (#32097516)

gotta catch em all! You can't do much targeted marketing to newsgroups.

Re:Yeah... right... (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32098246)

Microsoft has decided that upon registering for any of their forums, you must complete and pass a turing test. Twice.

Re:Yeah... right... (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#32098456)

> Microsoft has decided that upon registering for any of their forums, you
> must complete and pass a turing test.

So only AIs that can successfully masquarade as human will be allowed on the "forums"? How will that cut down spam? Who do you think posts most of it?

Re:Yeah... right... (1)

safetyinnumbers (1770570) | more than 4 years ago | (#32099400)

Microsoft has decided that upon registering for any of their forums, you must complete and pass a turing test. Twice.

Surely, for the second one, any human will say: "I've just done this test!"

Meh. (1, Interesting)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32097190)

Chances are it's because the forums will be more easily moderated, whether it be because of forum software or other tools that are available.

Does TFA mention anything about which forum technology they will be using? Or are they going to write their own?

Slashdot, StackOverflow, etc. (1, Insightful)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#32097266)

So essentially Microsoft is 10 years behind the curve? Why hasn't MS had forums? Why aren't they exploring crowdsourcing and open bug trackers?

Re:Slashdot, StackOverflow, etc. (1)

TimSSG (1068536) | more than 4 years ago | (#32097788)

You must understand that bug tracking for
Microsoft might have issues. What is the normal
max number of bugs per application; I can see MS
exceeding the normal range tested in Open
Source Bug tracker. Tim S.

Re:Slashdot, StackOverflow, etc. (1)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 4 years ago | (#32097920)

Hmm.. many people are screaming because evil MS now have forums. Another half is crying because evil MS now have forums. Great!

Re:Slashdot, StackOverflow, etc. (1)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 4 years ago | (#32097966)

OK, I fucked my post out... many people are screaming because evil MS now have forums. Another half is crying because evil MS did not implement forums earlier. Great!

I'll better post about how come evil slashdot doesn't allow post editing, year 2010. What's this, Usenet?

Re:Slashdot, StackOverflow, etc. (1)

V for Vendetta (1204898) | more than 4 years ago | (#32098332)

Why hasn't MS had forums?

Well, this pretty much looks like forums to me. [microsoft.com]

Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32097302)

It's not like newsgroups are obsolete or anything. Does anyone still post on usenet?

Re:Wow (1)

robably (1044462) | more than 4 years ago | (#32097400)

No. Nobody posts on Usenet. It is of no interest to you or anyone else. We can go about our business.

{ { { waves hand } } }

Re:Wow (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 4 years ago | (#32099312)

Does anyone still post on usenet?

Mostly Wearez and child / animal porn.

and a "binaries" forum too??? lol (1)

GuyFawkes (729054) | more than 4 years ago | (#32097306)

as subject, cos I can't talk about nntp

Control (5, Insightful)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 4 years ago | (#32097358)

It's about control - you can control a forum, you cannot control a newsgroup.

This has good aspects: with control you can kill spam, bounce griefers and trolls, and generally promote a more thoughtful discussion.

This has bad aspects: with control you can kill dissent, bounce critics and whistleblowers, and generally promote a more "corporate" discussion.

In the modern business environment, business managers are conditioned to seek control - it's no different Microsoft or Apple or IBM or RedHat, it's just a matter of degree.

Re:Control (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#32097462)

Of course you can control a newsgroup - it's Usenet that you can't control, but there's no reason why you can't run an account-required NNTP server with your own newsgroups, where you delete what you like.

It's unclear from the article what Microsoft were doing. Surely the latter - if it was on Usenet, surely they don't even have the control to delete them?

Re:Control (1)

vbraga (228124) | more than 4 years ago | (#32097568)

I believe it refers to the server news.microsoft.com (or nntp.microsoft.com, I used it a long time ago) that hosts microsoft.* groups.

And if I recall correctly, they already have a web interface to them. So, they're probably just closing the NNTP interface due to amount of spam. No problems, IMHO.

Re:Control (4, Interesting)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 4 years ago | (#32097752)

Newsgroups can be moderated and have been moderated for ages and if you really want to you can just as easily put up a usenet server that requires the users to register an account. It has been done in the past and it is still being done up to this minute. As usenet is nothing but an interface to access discussion data, obviously it doesn't offer any disadvantage. In fact, web forums have been continuously failing to provide the very basic functionality any usenet client has been providing for ages and every little feature that is implemented in a web forum ends up being terribly bloated (i.e., relying on tons of scripts whose code must be downloaded each time someone accesses the site) and terribly underwhelming.

So, if usenet doesn't bring any disadvantage in that oblivious fight against spam, it has been superior to web forums since it's inception and doesn't take any control out of the provider then what can possibly be driving this measure?

Re:Control (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 4 years ago | (#32099558)

Newsgroups can be moderated and have been moderated for ages and if you really want to you can just as easily put up a usenet server that requires the users to register an account.

Quite a few people, myself included, find moderated groups offensive. It has a ring of "Papers, please" to it. Yeah, there are a lot of spammers out there. But assuming I'm a spammer until you can prove otherwise? Fuck you.

Re:Control (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32097840)

Though, at some point, the change in degree of control becomes qualitative, not merely quantitative. And heck, we have just fine CentOS/Scientific Linux plus RedHat funds and links to Fedora from its homesite.

I can't blame them (4, Interesting)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32097396)

As a former very avid Usenet user, I really can't blame them. The medium is falling out of favor precisely because most of the groups are filled with junk.

I don't get why the spammers even bother anymore though. People on Usenet tend to be experienced users - few people just accidentally wander there anymore. These type of users HATE spam. They can't possibly be getting much, if any, of a response from their efforts there. Why waste the effort in the first place?

Re:I can't blame them (5, Interesting)

emurphy42 (631808) | more than 4 years ago | (#32097450)

Because various web sites that echo Usenet thereby become link farms?

Re:I can't blame them (1)

mujadaddy (1238164) | more than 4 years ago | (#32097458)

Low investment. You might as well ask why they spam at all.

Re:I can't blame them (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32097586)

In the first place, the effort is very small; it takes little to spawn spam.

Re:I can't blame them (1)

ferd_farkle (208662) | more than 4 years ago | (#32097806)

"most of the groups are filled with junk"

Quite true. There are >40,000 groups in my .newsrc, but the handfull of groups I subscribe to have very little spam, and that is mostly easily filtered out. I think it just might depend on what groups one is familiar with. Certainly nobody cares about "most of them". Most of what is on the Web is junk, too.

Re:I can't blame them (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#32098542)

> I think it just might depend on what groups one is familiar with.

It also depends on who you get your feed from. Some providers are much better at filtering spam than others (with ISPs generally doing no filtering at all)

Re:I can't blame them (1)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 4 years ago | (#32097892)

As a former very avid Usenet user, I really can't blame them. The medium is falling out of favor precisely because most of the groups are filled with junk.

That doesn't make any sense. The perceived problem with usenet spam is exactly the same as the email spam, as it's a problem which grossly depends on the service provider. For example, if your ISP fails to filter yout the spam so that you get 10 spams a day then does that make email a "medium which is falling out of favour"? Obviously it doesn't.

As Google does a decent job fighting spam on Google Mail, some usenet providers such as my ISP and even AIOE do a good job filtering the crap out of newsgroups. Moreover, usenet spam is even less of a problem than email spam. Besides being able to employ spam filters (possibly even the same ones which are applied to email) it is also possible to moderate newsgroups, exactly the same way that any web forum is moderates. In fact, its even easier to moderate a usenet group. Adding to that, you can also offer usenet access only to registered accounts, something which can't be done with email.

So, summing things up, if spam doesn't make email suck then why should it make usenet, a medium which is harder to attack, suffer more from it? It doesn't.

Re:I can't blame them (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32098118)

So, summing things up, if spam doesn't make email suck then why should it make usenet, a medium which is harder to attack, suffer more from it? It doesn't.

You're not thinking the problem out. With email, each and every spammer that decides to spam you has to find out your email somehow. Sometimes they share, sometimes they don't, but the more spammers find out your email address, the more spam you get.

Compare with Usenet - when you connect to a server, you can just ask for the list of current newsgroups and it'll give the whole list back (kinda necessary by the way it works). They don't have to discover anything.

Also, Google and most other email filters provide some level of bayesian filtering ability. You can say "yes this is spam", and "no this isn't" for individual emails and it'll learn on your preferences. The sheer number of people and topics available on Usenet make that very difficult to employ here.

When you factor in that a post to usenet propagates across all servers, it's far, far easier to attack than a single email address. Trust me, even on a good dedicated Usenet server (I've used several - most recently Astraweb, but I've also used Teranews and Giganews in the past), any group that is not moderated is FLOODED with spam, and the groups that ARE moderated can take 2-3 days for your posts to actually show up, making it more hassle than it's worth.

It's become easier to just use web forums for most things.

Re:I can't blame them (1)

macshit (157376) | more than 4 years ago | (#32098848)

Trust me, even on a good dedicated Usenet server (I've used several - most recently Astraweb, but I've also used Teranews and Giganews in the past), any group that is not moderated is FLOODED with spam

Try using news.individual.net, they do a great job of controlling spam -- there seems to be almost zero spam on any of the newsgroups I've read there (few of which moderated).

Re:I can't blame them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32098292)

email a "medium which is falling out of favour"

this might surprise soimeone who still uses usenet, but yes email is falling out of favor. personal communication has moved to social networking and IM, and even business mail is becoming useless crackberry noise.

Re:I can't blame them (1)

Comboman (895500) | more than 4 years ago | (#32098546)

As Google does a decent job fighting spam on Google Mail, some usenet providers such as my ISP and even AIOE do a good job filtering the crap out of newsgroups.

You're lucky to have a good ISP. Most ISPs treat usenet like a red-headed stepchild, many block binary and alt groups, have cut back on retention times/number of groups and some have even dropped support for usenet entirely, telling their customers to "use google groups".

Re:I can't blame them (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 4 years ago | (#32098354)

For the same reason they spam in the first place - the cost to spam is virtually zero, so any result provides profit way out of proportion to the effort.

Re:I can't blame them (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#32098600)

> As a former very avid Usenet user, I really can't blame them. The medium is
> falling out of favor precisely because most of the groups are filled with
> junk.

Then why isn't the Web falling out of favor? Almost all Web pages and most Web forums are also filled with junk.

Re:I can't blame them (1)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32099022)

I don't get why the spammers even bother anymore though. People on Usenet tend to be experienced users - few people just accidentally wander there anymore. These type of users HATE spam. They can't possibly be getting much, if any, of a response from their efforts there. Why waste the effort in the first place?

What effort? It doesn't cost any effort to spam a usenet group. You download a script and start it running. It spams every group in the usenet hierarchy with ads for shoes or handbags. This is the same principle as with email spam. When the incremental cost of sending a spam is zero, there is no incentive to worry about targeting your spams, trying to make them effective, etc.

Sue them! Class Action Style! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32097492)

Hahaha

Repost? (2, Funny)

erroneous (158367) | more than 4 years ago | (#32097494)

I think this a repost from 1995.

Didn't *everyone* stop using newsgroups about then?

Re:Repost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32097842)

That's just what they want you to think.

Re:Repost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32097938)

Erk no... but does this mean I might need to upgrade from Lynx? I don't see why I should as Microsoft's forums look [delorie.com] ok....

SPAM in forums? Are you kidding me? (0)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#32097544)

If you want to see REAL spam, log into a game of Diablo 2. There you will see the true evil of spamming.

Google Reader (1)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 4 years ago | (#32097616)

I have the Google Reader widget on my iGoogle homepage. I'd recommend it to anyone as reading truncated story titles like "Spam Causes Microsoft To Kill" can really brighten up your day.

the one thing that amazes me about nntp (4, Informative)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#32097628)

is all the godawful amounts of east european kiddie porn spam in the alt.binaries area

you would have thought law enforcement would notice and would have shut down nntp on that fact alone. but i guess nntp still inhabits that technical area of the web beyond the average user, so i guess the media and the soccer moms with their awareness of facebook, twitter, and nothing else, they're just unaware there's this horribly huge amount of freely accessible anonymous kiddie porn spamming going on. freely accessible, i guess, if you know how to download a newsgroup reader and enter the name of your internet provider's nntp server in a dialog box. which i guess is all the "technical hurdles" you need to make nntp completely obscure to most people, certainly public awareness, even law enforcement

don't click on ANY images in the alt.binaries area unless you want to unwittingly download child pornography onto your computer. its in completely unrelated groups, and it is purposefully mislabeled as something else

baffling and frightening problem

Re:the one thing that amazes me about nntp (1)

kaizendojo (956951) | more than 4 years ago | (#32097924)

"But officer, I downloaded those 500 megs of kiddie porn by accident! See, I even posted about it in slashdot!"

there once was a time (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#32098042)

i could go to something like alt.binaries.pictures.breasts and download a bunch of pictures of tits

i do that now, and i get naked eastern european children

it was accidental, and its not funny

Re:the one thing that amazes me about nntp (1)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 4 years ago | (#32098034)

Complaining that NNTP should be shut down because you see east european kiddie porn spam in some newsgroups is exactly like complaining that HTTP should be shut down because you see european kiddie porn in some sites: it doesn't make any sense and you only succeed in coming out as an ignorant fool.

And here's a tip: if you don't want to see east european kiddie porn then don't follow newsgroups/sites that post that sort of crap.

ALL image newsgroups post that crap (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#32098132)

constantly, and ALL of it is purposefully mislabeled as something else. its not labelled "kiddie porn"

if you got a picture group devoted to redheads there will be a picture labelled "on topic: attractive redhead", "mature redhead"... and you get... kiddie porn. and this is 3 out of 7 links, not a random few

it would be as if you went to nytimes.com, clicked on a number of articles purporting to be about breaking news "goldman sachs head defends company", "times square bomber was family man" and you instead got a snuff film on 3 out of 7 stories you clicked

that's the actual http allegory you are searching for. would you consider this more accurate allegory to be a genuine problem?

Re:the one thing that amazes me about nntp (1)

colfer (619105) | more than 4 years ago | (#32098232)

Difference is that NNTP binaries are stored at the ISP.

Not Just Spam (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32097728)

Read directly from the source:

http://www.microsoft.com/communities/newsgroups/default.mspx#ECB [microsoft.com]

There are a myriad of reasons, and "spam" isn't even the top reason.

Fixing it... (2, Interesting)

gjh (231652) | more than 4 years ago | (#32097864)

Of course, it IS still just about possible for one of us to fix USENET. If we cared enough.

- A distributed ratings system that works, and allows matching of your preferences to people with similar preferences.
- A better standard for signing articles, and ownership of virtual websites where threads or subforums can only be started by the owner
- Standards for structured documents and so on.
- Incorporation and acceptance into multiple CMS's so that you can actually read existing forums through NNRP

So far, in the 15 years since this has been an issue, noone has cared enough to fix it. Pity.

Can we give Microsoft *some* credit? (2, Insightful)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 4 years ago | (#32097870)

I was an avid newsgroup poster years ago, but the spam and typical lack of administration ruined it for me. Newsgroups were fun and I'll fondly remember downloading pics of Julia Taylor from alt.binaries.redheads or whatever, but time marches on.

Stupid Spammers (2, Funny)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#32098012)

Remember, a successful parasite doesn't kill the host, or make the host want to kill itself. Ramp down your spam relays or you're going to lose your host media. Eventually even email will become a burden again; I'm having to check three tiered spam filters for legit mail, and more spam is getting through all three while a little legit mail is getting caught in different filters.

That works for slackers... (1)

meburke (736645) | more than 4 years ago | (#32098092)

...but there are people who know how to actually work the knowledge contained in newsgroups, and these people will be be severely obstructed.

I subscribe to a number of newsgroups covering many technical subjects I'm very interested in. Using just the Microsoft newsgroups as an example, I have scripts that allow me to input keywords and conceptual ideas, search all the newsgroups simultaneously, and then present the relevant posts and threads prioritized by content. This cuts my browsing for relevant info by about 90%. (This saved me weeks of time on Siverlight and Expression alone!) Even the web-based MS Groups search system is faster than any tools I've seen in the forums.

My alternative seems to be to visit each individual forum separately, even if I do a forum search from the MS websites. Crap! what a time-waster. I expect I'll have to spend a lot of time browsing rather than getting relevant results. Until companies start implementing more OWL and semantic web enhancements, forums seem to be largely deficient compared to newsgroups.

BTW, I use a Bayesian filter for spam filtering, a Bayesian search function for first-level search, and a Neural Net for second-level relevancy. I almost NEVER have to contend with spam. (I wrote my own NN, but I got the idea from Logic Line by Thunderstone. http://www.thunderstone.com/texis/site/pages/ [thunderstone.com] )

I hope MS reconsiders.

Have had the same conversations about BBSs (2, Interesting)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 4 years ago | (#32098302)

the web does things better than a BBS.

- NewGroups/FIDO vs Web Forums... IMO Web win... the age of Bluewave mailer programs and its ilk are past
- Download BBS Files vs Download files from the web... again the Web Wins, it susually easier to browese via google for the files you want (especially pictures) than to log onto a BBS to get the File_ID.diz info or even just some sysops description.
- the only Area in which the BBSs win are with the door games, and only if you like text style games, otherwise the Web wins again.

sometimes things just are just no longer useful

Spam is unbelievable on newsgroups (2, Insightful)

jridley (9305) | more than 4 years ago | (#32098626)

I used to follow several newsgroups, but gave up on them years ago because the spam was simply unbearable. In the groups I was hanging out in, probably 70% of the messages were spam.

Isn't Spamming Usenet a Waste of Time? (2, Interesting)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 4 years ago | (#32098702)

I can see why email spam persists - People are still lured in by offers of cheap software, pornography, 'free smilies' and whatever - But usenet spam remains a mystery to me. I just don't understand why spammers take the energy to bother spamming usenet. Presumably usenet users are a higher class of user. While email spam presumably continues to yield good results, I just can't imagine usenet spam yields a single sale... What's the point?

Re:Isn't Spamming Usenet a Waste of Time? (1)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 4 years ago | (#32098816)

Its cheap (free) and easy. Even if there is *one* sale, its worth it.

User Friendly (1)

strstr (539330) | more than 4 years ago | (#32098762)

Looks like they want something a bit easier to use and more user friendly...

Derp (3, Insightful)

MikeURL (890801) | more than 4 years ago | (#32098920)

Spam and mentally ill trolls killed unmoderated groups a long long time ago. The long tail of mental illness meant that all it took was just a few really screwed up people to ruin an entire newsgroup. Further, there never was a good way to block users because the NNTP was never meant to be good at that kind of thing. So determined trolls could consistently get around even pretty sophisticated filters.

And if you're going to opt for moderated then you may as well go to web-based because the tools have a lot more features.

If it were Oracle... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32099172)

>The Register calls it 'killing newsgroups' but Microsoft eloquently calls it 'the evolution of communities.'

And if it were Oracle, they would call it "Desupporting obsolescent technology" and make you sign a bunch of new contracts. And whatever they switch you to will have been designed by a clearly dysfunctional committee.

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