Who remembers Usenet?

I was somewhat active on Usenet and CompuServe but I was really into GEnie in the 90s. I still have friends I made on the Science Fiction RoundTable there; I had dinner with one last night.

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I used mutt for email, and my favorite CLI newsreader was nn. UseNet still exists.

One of my buddies that I’ve known since those days works under the same parent company as GigaNews’s, one of the biggest UseNet providers.


I had a look at Giganews as a modern Usenet provider and they look both really impressive and also very expensive! Have to say I’m tempted though.

A good value, modern usenet provider that I still use is Easynews. They have 4000 days retention and offer an unlimited nntp only account for $9.99 a month (you have to scroll down their main page past the packages that include a web interface). For $2 a month more they also include a VPN.

I still use usenet to ask programming questions, and there are still many active users. However, most general groups are just full of spam.

Thanks, Rob! I’ll check them out. Which client are you using these days?

I use Newstap on iOS and Hogwasher on the Mac.


reddit reminds me a lot of Usenet.


Except all the conversations are about memes!

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I remember the top-posting vs bottom-posting wars :slight_smile:

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Because we read from top to bottom, left to right.

Why should I start my reply below the quoted text?

Because it messes up the order in which people normally read text.

Why is top-posting such a bad thing?

The lost context.

What makes top-posted replies harder to read than bottom-posted?


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I’ve tried implementing this approach in my professional emails: reply after quoted material and quote only the relevant portion. People in the legal/business world are completely confused when you do this.

True. If I remember right, going back to the late 80s the blame mostly goes to Microsoft Mail, which quoted entire emails in replies and put the cursor for replies at the top. And, at least for the first years of their existence, Microsoft Outlook, AOL, and Yahoo! made it difficult or impossible to indicate which part of a message is the quoted original or did not let users insert comments between parts of the original.

Bottom-posting requires more effort, with trimming and reformatting sometimes needed for best effect. Back in the pre-OSX 80s/90s I used an extremely useful 3rd-party Desk Accessory that lived in the Apple Menu called ‘Quoter DA.’ It reformatted (to whatever line length you liked) and quoted any copied text with the canonical ‘>’ quote prefix (or any prefix you liked; some people back then preferred the ASCII vertical bar character ["|"]). But it was smart enough to notice if you’d quoted something quoted, so it would intelligently add quote marks to quoted threads, and reformat it to look good.

I used Quoter DA when I posted on Fidonet, Usenet and Relaynet (aka RIME). Eventually those networks started a precipitous decline, and forum software was able to quote text better. That Desk Accessory never made the jump to Mac OS X, and for a while I used custom sequential filters in a now-defunct multiple clipboard app, PTH Pasteboard.

The author of PTH Pasteboard, Paul T. Haddad, is now better known for making Tweetbot. But a few years back he resurrected the multiple-clipboard-with-filters in the excellent Pastebot app

But I have less need for sequential, custom text filters these days…


I don’t remember what I used. I started in 1983 and ended about 2000. Obviously I started with some command line based newsreader on UNIX. I think I ended with some newsreader built into whatever mail application I used. Newsgroups can be accessed with all their history at groups.google.com. Here is an early post of mine evaluating the Epson computer with Valdocs back in 1983:
https://groups.google.com/d/msg/net.micro/kkmFW91PneE/lili0UkfFHgJ note the “bang address” as this was before domain addresses.