Jackson Caulen <noemai...@example.com
> Mats wrote:
>> Good question. I always liked the simplicity of Usenet.
> I can't speak for others, but I came to Usenet specifically because
> I wanted to engage in some good conversation but wanted to avoid
> all the ad-driven mess of the Web along with all the shouting and
> so forth.
> I miss the graphics. I love eye candy, but ignoring unlikeables is
> much easier and I don't feel what I can only describe as the
> "cognitive weight" of dealing with posts online.
I just like to be able to choose my own interface instead of having
to find a browser that is compatible with the forum interface used
by the website (which in 99% of cases today means a browser that I
don't like (and my personal 1% case went offline a few weeks ago)),
_then_ be forced to learn and use that interface whether I like it or
not (and a new interface for every new forum).
With Usenet, as with Gopher, I can choose from a variety of software
all compatible with the vast majority of servers (without them all
using the same underlying "engines", as with web browsers). That
software can implement its own unique features, such as those to help
with "ignoring unlikeables" which not all web forum designers may
have implemented in their own software. Also keyboard navigation,
low resource usage, presentation configurability, are all much more
effectively implemented for Usenet and Gopher software than with the
web (where toying with such ideas inevitably leads to usability
issues with particular websites).
One other big advantage of Usenet is that you only need to connect
with one server, with one set of log-in details, instead of one for
each of countless web forums covering different topics, for which
it isn't practical to regularly check very many for new topics of
interest. All of which are also at risk of going down temporarily
or forever with no option to switch to another server and just pick
up where you left off as with Usenet.
That's one advantage not shared with Gopher, but then with Gopher
not requiring log-ins, it's less of an issue.
> Bringing this back to Gopher, I think what will help is the
> building of apps that run on top of the Gopher protocol that
> people will like. For example, an app that perhaps uses the
> Gopher protocol to reach a particular config file that then
> lists Gopher locations for images. The app then displays a
> slideshow or presentation.
Sounds like a Gopher client with an Add-Ons system. The risk
there is that someone will decide to set up their whole site as
a set of interconnecting slideshows just so that it looks pretty,
and Gopher clients that don't have the Add-On won't be able to view
it at all. In other words exactly what happened with Java and Flash
Add-Ons for the web.
But I don't think that would really happen, because most people
wanting to abuse it that way would have gone straight to the web in
the first place. Instead it would be just another fun play thing,
left alone in its own little corner, like Gohper is today as a whole
(maybe that's why it's expanding while Usenet is shrinking, Usenet
is just utilitarian, not "fun" - I don't know, I'm genuinely curious
about the question).
P.S. My personal preference is for well written HTML-only (no
scripts, little or no CSS) webpages, rather than Gopher. These
offer all the advantages of Gopher listed above, while adding
many things that I like about HTML. Unfortunately most web
designers (and all the commercial ones) no longer design web
pages this way. Using Gopher just forces designers into it, and
thereby creates an environment where users know that they won't
have to face the excesses of the modern web.