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Re: mailing list vs "the futur"

On Tue, Aug 28, 2018 at 09:39:43AM +0200, tomas@tuxteam.de wrote:
No. I guess the thing is that *because* NNTP was comparatively efficient,
it was used for the "big stuff" (alt.pic.* anyone?). The point is that,
to reap the benefits of its efficiency, a provider has to set up an
NNTP server and do its care and feeding. And perhaps prune the newsgroups
it's ready to carry. A full feed was, for that time, taxing, but not
because NNTP was inefficcient, but because that's where the big stuff
was. No one mailed pictures or archives around (unless, that is, to
punish the occasional spammer: X11 sources were mailed around, if I
remember correctly)

NNTP was fairly inefficient for large binaries because they were repacked to 7 bits and then chopped up into small pieces, some of which tended to get lost--so either the entire thing is reposted or enough redundant information was sent to survive the loss of some pieces. And the servers kept exchanging the data whether anyone requested/looked at it or not. Heck, even the moderation (where it existed) was inefficient--first, transfer the spam; then, store the spam; transfer the cancel message; store the cancel message; check to see if the spam is in the stored messages; finally, delete the spam or wait for it to be transferred.

Binaries on NNTP took off not because they were efficient, but because they were perceived to be more anonymous than direct transfers. (There's no central logs of which clients look at which specific content, and the full feed is deniable as to intent.) This lead to a big child pornography problem, among other issues (not usenet's finest moment). Things are not nearly as anonymous now as they were 20 years ago and the most illegal content has tended to move elsewhere. (Though "anonymous VPN access" remains a feature point for the subscription news services--and this is not for the benefit of people accessing comp.misc.)

It really doesn't seem like you ever looked at the stats on what fraction of the feed an ISP received was ever requested by any customer, or you wouldn't argue that this was an efficient mechanism. (But god forbid you stopped carrying alt.binaries.stupid.waste.of.space because then customers would tie up the support line complaining that your newsgroup count was lower than your competitor's newsgroup count.) Again, nice idea 30 years ago, but incapable of withstanding abuse on the modern internet.

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