META+ The Root Cause of Usenet's Decline

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KalElFan

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Dec 28, 2010, 1:28:16 PM12/28/10
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[note crossposts to five unmoderated groups that I'm subscribed to
and have participated in, in some cases for 10-15 years]

So there I was thinking about what to title this thread and where to
post it, eh? Later in the thread I'll post the draft title I had prior to
the one I've settled on: "META+ The Root Cause of Usenet's Decline".
For now I'll just offer up my #1 answer du jour:

"The vast, vast majority of discussion board participants
will not be interested in a pitch that says "here's a bucket
and a strainer, now filter the cesspool yourself."

It's often called "signal to noise" but that doesn't really properly
convey the "worst of the worst" Usenet content that can scroll
across a user's screen. Well run servers may have automatic
filters for binaries and spam, but some of what gets through
can still be vile stuff that would quite arguably be actionable
or illegal, or violate hate speech laws in Canada and other
jurisdictions for example. The average person just doesn't
want to get near it.

There are other problems too, but those are either moot
points or symptoms, more than they are the root causes.
For example "very few know about Usenet, especially not in
recent years" is a fair statement. But promoting something
with a cesspool barrier and then a big signal to noise problem
is largely a waste of time. Relatively few who tried it would
suffer it.

So why have some of us been here for fifteen or more years?
Basically because we've become immune to the stench. We
ignore it or filter it, or if it annoys us enough we flame it but
mainly it becomes an ugly piece of the furniture.

Because we can get over the cesspool barrier, we get to the
several benefits or selling points that Usenet otherwise would
have for many people out there. The better posters can be
quite knowledgeable. There's a good core base of longtimers
who haven't all died off yet. I think it has the web forums beat
in terms of their clunky interfaces, vs. a good nntp newsreader.
Windows Live Mail, easily accesible and free for download last
I looked, works fine for the average user. There are all kinds of
groups on every topic you can think of that can be searched on
a newsgroup list.

Another big benefit is the existing Usenet infrastructure and
the "passive conduit" that it represents. It allows the main
or underlying foundation to be unmoderated. That's the
traditional version of Usenet that many of its existing users
value, and new users would like the ability to "turn off the
moderator" whenever they'd like too! So that can be a big
selling point as well, because too much moderation on the
web boards and in some groups can be a problem.

That underlying foundation is a great platform to build an
optional filtering system on, one that inherently encourages
self-moderation because the worst of the worst posters or
posts will know they won't get by those optional filters.
Those posters or posts will tend to go to the unmoderated
version directly, saving any moderation work at all. The
moderated process can also provide a hi-mod and lo-mod
version, and other tools so users who choose moderation
can tailor it to their preferences.

So the root cause can be addressed, but it would require a
Plan and lots of volunteers to assist with developing and
implementing it. Group by group, it would require not just
one but a team of moderators. Pick a topic though, any tv
show for example with a reasonable online base, and you
could probably find literally dozens and probably 100+
volunteer moderators of that topic across the web on the
various boards. It's fragmented, but it illustrates the large
potential pool if Usenet can be restored as "The" place for
worldwide discussion of a topic.

Even the Cylons had a Plan, right? And they didn't need
volunteers they just made them. :-) Usenet, it needs a
Plan and it needs lots of different volunteers to carry it
out. It needs a bunch of Ones (admins), Twos (techies)
Threes (programmers), Fours (moderators), Fives (PR folk),
a Six [this space reserved for Tricia Helfer :-)] a really
massive number of Sevens (nameless, faceless cyber-
entities called Users), and an Eight [this space reserved
for Grace Park :-)].

Scott Eiler

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Dec 28, 2010, 4:38:02 PM12/28/10
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On Dec 28, 10:28 am, "KalElFan" <kalel...@yanospamhoo.com> wrote:

> That underlying foundation is a great platform to build an
> optional filtering system on, one that inherently encourages
> self-moderation because the worst of the worst posters or
> posts will know they won't get by those optional filters.
> Those posters or posts will tend to go to the unmoderated
> version directly, saving any moderation work at all.  The
> moderated process can also provide a hi-mod and lo-mod
> version, and other tools so users who choose moderation
> can tailor it to their preferences.
>
> So the root cause can be addressed, but it would require a
> Plan and lots of volunteers to assist with developing and
> implementing it.  

Actually, that's about what Google Groups is doing with Usenet. So
many ISPs have given up Usenet newsfeeds, Google practically owns
Usenet now.

Bert Hyman

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Dec 28, 2010, 4:51:45 PM12/28/10
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In
news:0e264f82-26d5-4cba...@j25g2000yqa.googlegroups.com
Scott Eiler <sei...@eilertech.com> wrote:

> Actually, that's about what Google Groups is doing with Usenet. So
> many ISPs have given up Usenet newsfeeds, Google practically owns
> Usenet now.

ISPs have dropped USENET support ostensibly for legal reasons (NY
then-Attorney General Cuomo claiming it was a conduit for child porn),
but it's more likely financial; there's no money in it for most of them.

--
Bert Hyman St. Paul, MN be...@iphouse.com

Your Name

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Dec 28, 2010, 7:06:42 PM12/28/10
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In article <Xns9E5CA15D3D8...@216.250.188.140>, Bert Hyman

Also few people even know Usenet exists.

ISPs in general are becoming lazier and lazier, offering fewer services.
They are moving towards simply providing an Internet connnection, with it
being up to the user to supply their own email, newsgroup, etc. services.
Meanwhile, prices continue to rise, but we get less actual service (and in
the case of Vodafone New Zealand, often no service at all!). :-(

Your Name

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Dec 28, 2010, 7:08:16 PM12/28/10
to
In article
<0e264f82-26d5-4cba...@j25g2000yqa.googlegroups.com>, Scott
Eiler <sei...@eilertech.com> wrote:

> On Dec 28, 10:28=A0am, "KalElFan" <kalel...@yanospamhoo.com> wrote:
>
> > That underlying foundation is a great platform to build an
> > optional filtering system on, one that inherently encourages
> > self-moderation because the worst of the worst posters or
> > posts will know they won't get by those optional filters.
> > Those posters or posts will tend to go to the unmoderated

> > version directly, saving any moderation work at all. =A0The


> > moderated process can also provide a hi-mod and lo-mod
> > version, and other tools so users who choose moderation
> > can tailor it to their preferences.
> >
> > So the root cause can be addressed, but it would require a
> > Plan and lots of volunteers to assist with developing and
> > implementing it.
>
> Actually, that's about what Google Groups is doing with Usenet. So
> many ISPs have given up Usenet newsfeeds, Google practically owns
> Usenet now.

Nobody owns Usenet. Google has absolutely no control over Usenet
newsgroups and can't and won't. They do have control over the groups
created within Google Groups, but they are different even though accessed
via the same Google website service.

Your Name

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Dec 28, 2010, 7:09:38 PM12/28/10
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In article <Xns9E5CA15D3D8...@216.250.188.140>, Bert Hyman
<be...@iphouse.com> wrote:

Opps! I forgot to say that it's not just ISPs dropping Usenet newsgroup
support. The big companies like Microsoft and Adobe are dropping the
newsgroups and using their own forum-based systems (which used to include
newsgroup feeds).

Your Name

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Dec 28, 2010, 7:10:38 PM12/28/10
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In article <8nuoqu...@mid.individual.net>, "KalElFan"
<kale...@yahoo.com> wrote:

> [note crossposts to five unmoderated groups that I'm subscribed to
> and have participated in, in some cases for 10-15 years]
>
> So there I was thinking about what to title this thread and where to
> post it, eh? Later in the thread I'll post the draft title I had prior to
> the one I've settled on: "META+ The Root Cause of Usenet's Decline".
> For now I'll just offer up my #1 answer du jour:

<snip>

The "root cause" is people cross-posting off-topic messages. ;-)

The Doctor

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Dec 28, 2010, 7:53:14 PM12/28/10
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In article <your.name-291...@203-109-166-101.dial.dyn.ihug.co.nz>,

google is a joke when it comes to Usenet!
--
Member - Liberal International This is doc...@nl2k.ab.ca Ici doc...@nl2k.ab.ca
God, Queen and country! Never Satan President Republic! Beware AntiChrist rising!
http://twitter.com/rootnl2k http://www.facebook.com/dyadallee
Merry Christmas 2010 and Happy New Year 2011

Your Name

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Dec 28, 2010, 10:03:32 PM12/28/10
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In article <ife0pq$s3o$1...@gallifrey.nk.ca>, doc...@doctor.nl2k.ab.ca (The
Doctor) wrote:

Like most of Google's "apps", the interface is horrible.

Ed Stasiak

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Dec 28, 2010, 10:08:25 PM12/28/10
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> KalEIFan

>
> The Root Cause of Usenet's Decline

Facebook was the last of many daggers in Usenets back, that
started the day people could post pictures on the Internet.

> Usenet, it needs a Plan and it needs lots of different volunteers
> to carry it out.

"From the sacred shore I stand on, I command thee to retreat;
Venture not, thou stormy rebel, to approach thy master's seat:
Ocean, be thou still! I bid thee come not nearer to my feet!"

Ed Stasiak

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Dec 28, 2010, 10:08:52 PM12/28/10
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> The Doctor

>
> google is a joke when it comes to Usenet!

Not at all, I've been using Google ever since they acquired
DejaNews and have found it to be very convenient and
unlike annoying web forums, there's a thread tree.

KalElFan

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Dec 29, 2010, 1:01:43 AM12/29/10
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"Ed Stasiak" wrote in message
news:6483781f-9ab3-4fc8...@w17g2000yqh.googlegroups.com...

Several years back, probably more than 5 years ago, I registered
and found it clunky compared to Outlook Express, the newsreader
I was using. But I may not have been using the best view that
Google had at that time, or maybe they've since improved it.

I spent a bit more time on Google the last few hours researching
some material for other responses to this thread, for example
stats on different groups. Here's what I think is a beautiful
view of a 201-post thread in news.groups.proposals. It's the
discussion that basically preceded this one, and was extremely
helpful in arriving at certain conclusions about how any new
Optional Moderation system would have to work. No need
for anyone to read the whole thread because much of the
earlier stuff was supplanted and I'll be posting a description
in this thread of the "current" version and how it addresses
the key issues.

http://groups.google.com/group/news.groups.proposals/browse_frm/thread/8acdb8fdf6d9b01d?hl=en&scoring=d

Note that there's also the far right reference that this is a
Usenet group and a "learn more" button. There's also,
right under that and this is extremely interesting, a "View
this group in the new Google Groups" option. Click that
and you'll get a different view like this:

https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups#!topic/news.groups.proposals/is24_fbZsB0

And if you scroll down the first post a bit you'll see the
posts in this "Google Groups" version have a "Report
abuse" link. It leads to a popup page and check buttons
for one of six categories of abuse:

- Spam

- Hateful or violent content
For example, Anti-Semitic content, racist content, or
material that could result in a violent physical act.

- Illegal pornography

- Personal or private information
For example, a credit card number, a personal
identification number, or an unlisted home address.
Note that email addresses and full names are not
considered private information.

- According to the laws of my country, this content is illegal.

- Other

You can only click one, and the first one "Spam" is pre-
clicked. The threshold for them to do anything on a
Usenet post is probably high.

KalElFan

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Dec 29, 2010, 1:08:53 AM12/29/10
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"Your Name" wrote in message
news:your.name-291...@203-109-166-101.dial.dyn.ihug.co.nz...

[Your Name was responding to Scott Eiler]

> Nobody owns Usenet.

True, but the individual servers that make up Usenet are owned.
Here's a "Top 1000" site that's maintained and updated. It's not
perfect in its methodology but it's a pretty good guideline.

http://www.top1000.org/

http://www.top1000.org/top1000.txt

I just cut and pasted that latter page into Word and then Excel
for purposes of a quick calculation. I took the total of all servers'
(i.e., all 1000) weighted numbers as the base. Then I took the total
of the (five I believe it is) Google servers on the Top 1000 list.
The latter total is just under 2.5% of the total Top 1000 number.

So Google, using these numbers as a rough guide, only represents
about 2.5% of the Usenet "market," among the Top 1000 servers.

Google shows its number of "subscribers" or "members" of each
group. For example for the five groups on my crosspost list it's:

3235 rec.arts.tv
1406 rec.arts.comics.dc.universe
1085 alt.battlestar-galactica
996 news.groups
653 rec.arts.sf.tv

There'd be some overlap there where the same subscribers
are subscribing to more than one group, but let's take the
3235 for rec.arts.tv. If that's 2.5%, we need to multiply that
by 40 to get to the Top 1000 base, so 3235 x 40 = 129,400.
There are many other factors that may swing it one way
or another, but there may be 100,000++ potential readers
at least who are subscribed to rec.arts.tv worldwide. They
may actually read only 1% of the posts though, whenever
they happen to check in.

I suspect most of those 996 "subscribers" to news.groups
probably abandoned Usenet long ago. Maybe there's
a few hundred of them left, and only 77 were up to date
enough to subscribe to the newer moderated group formed
only 4+ years ago.

The BSG group's traffic is way down because the series is
cancelled. The comics group is also way down from its
peak in 1998, when it had over 100,000 posts. This year
it has just over 7200, so down about 93% in 12 years. A
part of that is the decline of comics not Usenet.

The rec.art.movies.current-films group also peaked in
1998 with about 118,500 posts. This year it's at its all-
time low of about 19,000 posts, but that's down "only"
about 84% not 93% like the comics group.

The rec.arts.tv group, for at least a couple of reasons,
is an anomaly and has fared much "better" in terms of
posting activity. In 1998 it had only about 45,400 posts.
In 2006 it peaked at just over 204,000 posts. This year
it's at just over 137,000 posts. So it's tripled its posts
from 1998, but it's down about 33% from 2006.

One reason is that the television dial, i.e. number of
channels and shows and TV to discuss and so on, has
exploded since 1998. But that also increased political
and off-topic postings, so the signal to noise as some
perceive it has become much worse. The increase to
2006 probably marked the point where Noise Finally
Got The Upper Hand Over TV Growth and it's been
downhill since. There's still signal there though, the
most in the rec.arts.* hierarchy, and there are still
good posters and it's a very stable topic. So it'd be a
perfect pilot test for any attempt to turn things around
for Usenet. Almost everyone watches some TV and is
interested in talking about it.

> Google has absolutely no control over Usenet
> newsgroups and can't and won't.

Correct, but they COULD actually "take over Usenet's
successor" to some extent, if they wanted to. Usenet
is not the Internet and certainly not the web. It existed
long before the web, at a time when there was no
"one-click" to a site that could house a massive
electronic bulletin board that allowed worldwide
participation of hundreds of thousands of users on
different topics. Today, Google already is that for its
Google Groups in a sense.

Aatu Koskensilta

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Dec 29, 2010, 6:16:43 AM12/29/10
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"KalElFan" <kale...@yanospamhoo.com> writes:

> True, but the individual servers that make up Usenet are owned.
> Here's a "Top 1000" site that's maintained and updated. It's not
> perfect in its methodology but it's a pretty good guideline.

Is it? It's not clear from the web page but it seems the statistics
include binaries. If so, your calculations are pretty meaningless.

> There are many other factors that may swing it one way or another, but
> there may be 100,000++ potential readers at least who are subscribed
> to rec.arts.tv worldwide.

This is a totally unrealistic figure.

--
Aatu Koskensilta (aatu.kos...@uta.fi)

"Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, dar�ber muss man schweigen"
- Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus

Steve Crook

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Dec 29, 2010, 6:18:49 AM12/29/10
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["Followup-To:" header set to news.groups.]
On Wed, 29 Dec 2010 13:06:42 +1300, Your Name wrote in
Message-Id: <your.name-291...@203-109-166-101.dial.dyn.ihug.co.nz>:

> Also few people even know Usenet exists.

Few people even get beyond their browser. If the functionality isn't
in Facebook, they don't use it.

Probably a bit harsh but it sums up the degree that services have to be
simplified in order for people to adopt them. Even email as we know it
is beginning to lose out to Facebook private messaging. Thankfully it's
so completely useless that most people still require a proper email
address. Let us hope they never improve it to the point that that
ceases to be the case.

> ISPs in general are becoming lazier and lazier, offering fewer services.
> They are moving towards simply providing an Internet connnection, with it
> being up to the user to supply their own email, newsgroup, etc. services.

I'm actually in favour of this. I want my ISP to focus on core
services, like my connection itself and a decent DNS (including a
reverse lookup that I can configure). The other services they offer(ed)
were always second-rate in comparison to providers that specialised in
them.

> Meanwhile, prices continue to rise, but we get less actual service (and in
> the case of Vodafone New Zealand, often no service at all!). :-(

I share your pain. Living in a very rural part of the UK, I'm lucky to
see 1Mb/s, despite paying for a business service. Over the next couple
of years I should see FTTH (Fibre To The Home) and speeds up to 50Mb/s.
As this technology rolls out around the world, we'll see yet another
shift to more glitzy, multimedia-centric services. Quality of content
will subsequently take another dive.

KalElFan

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Dec 29, 2010, 8:19:55 AM12/29/10
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"Aatu Koskensilta" wrote in message
news:87ipycn...@dialatheia.truth.invalid...

> "KalElFan" <kale...@yanospamhoo.com> writes:
>
>> True, but the individual servers that make up Usenet are owned.
>> Here's a "Top 1000" site that's maintained and updated. It's not
>> perfect in its methodology but it's a pretty good guideline.
>
> Is it? It's not clear from the web page but it seems the statistics
> include binaries. If so, your calculations are pretty meaningless.

Actually, no they wouldn't be meaningless at all if the statistics are
based on "articles viewed". Yes, binaries are massive but that's due
to one binaries post being so large. The binaries post is rarely if ever
much of an article per se, it might just have a "1 of 7" or whatever
structure and then all 7 posts could be a gigabyte of information.

The site may not even count it as an article, of if it does may count
all seven parts of it as one article. Even if they count each part as 1,
it's again the bandwidth that can cause us to jump to the conclusion
that binaries would skew the results.

Are there really that many more binaries *articles* than text
articles? My impression is it's the exact opposite. There are far
more text articles, it's just that they're far, far smaller in terms
of bandwidth. The average text article might only be 3K in size,
so getting to 1 gigabyte requires 333,333 articles. This is why text
news servers are so easy to run these days and in some cases get
offered for free. Compared to the old days in the 80s and 90s, text
is nothing in terms of bandwidth.

If the site was indicating its weighted numbers were directly
correlated to bandwidth, I would agree with you. But it says, in
a few places I think, that it's "articles viewed" or some similar
term.

>> There are many other factors that may swing it one way or
>> another, but there may be 100,000++ potential readers at
>> least who are subscribed to rec.arts.tv worldwide.
>
> This is a totally unrealistic figure.

In rec.arts.tv's case, we know Google shows the number of subscribers
and we know rec.arts.tv's pattern is such that unlike other groups it
has not declined in activity long-term. So it's simply a matter of what
the multiple is to get from Google to Usenet as a whole. If Google has
2.5% of the market and 3235 subscribers then what you or I or anyone
thinks is a totally unrealistic figure is irrelevant. There would, factually,
be well over 100,000 "potential readers" who are subscribed to the
rec.arts.tv newsgroup worldwide.

Now, to try to bridge that with the incredulity you or others may be
experiencing with that big number, as I said only 1% of that may read
any given post, so say 1,000 if it's a post that catches people's eye or
whatnot. The other 99% of "subscribers" may not check in to the group
very often, or check only for headers that really interest them and so on
and any particular post doesn't. An interesting-looking one to one
reader isn't to a large number of others.

There are also factors that work the other way though, and may increase
the numbers. Usenet posts will come up on a Google web search for
example. Go here and type in "Optional Moderation" in the "exact
wording or phrase" field right now as I write this:

http://www.google.com/advanced_search?hl=en

And of the 10 hits on the first page that come up, 2 are Usenet posts
from the discussions I've been in. One is a Google Groups URL and the
other another site that archived a post. A third reference is the
optionalmoderation.org site that I registered. So although we think
of Usenet as somehow off to the side someplace and inaccessible to
the masses, they do in fact routinely run across Usenet posts in the
course of their Google and other searches. I've seen it many, many
times. They just don't know it's "Usenet" that was the source of it.

But if you get into the weeds of that Top 1000 site and can figure out
if there is a binaries or other bias let us know.

The Doctor

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Dec 29, 2010, 10:19:49 AM12/29/10
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In article <6483781f-9ab3-4fc8...@w17g2000yqh.googlegroups.com>,

So have I - WAY too many unreasonable limits!!

The Doctor

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Dec 29, 2010, 10:21:27 AM12/29/10
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In article <8o01u0...@mid.individual.net>,

If they do anything. I complained about one anti-Semetic bigot
so many time, but google does nothing!

The Doctor

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Dec 29, 2010, 10:22:08 AM12/29/10
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In article <8o01u1...@mid.individual.net>,

top1000.org is your friend to the facts.

Whiskers

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Dec 29, 2010, 10:34:55 AM12/29/10
to
On 2010-12-29, KalElFan <kale...@yanospamhoo.com> wrote:
> "Your Name" wrote in message
> news:your.name-291...@203-109-166-101.dial.dyn.ihug.co.nz...
>
> [Your Name was responding to Scott Eiler]
>
>> Nobody owns Usenet.
>
> True, but the individual servers that make up Usenet are owned.
> Here's a "Top 1000" site that's maintained and updated. It's not
> perfect in its methodology but it's a pretty good guideline.
>
> http://www.top1000.org/
>
> http://www.top1000.org/top1000.txt
>
> I just cut and pasted that latter page into Word and then Excel
> for purposes of a quick calculation. I took the total of all servers'
> (i.e., all 1000) weighted numbers as the base. Then I took the total
> of the (five I believe it is) Google servers on the Top 1000 list.
> The latter total is just under 2.5% of the total Top 1000 number.
>
> So Google, using these numbers as a rough guide, only represents
> about 2.5% of the Usenet "market," among the Top 1000 servers.

Google doesn't carry any binary newsgroups, whereas the majority of
news-servers do. Binaries account for the vast majority of newsgroup
posts. I suspect that many news-servers are dominated by users who
contribute little or nothing to the text-only groups.

> Google shows its number of "subscribers" or "members" of each
> group. For example for the five groups on my crosspost list it's:
>
> 3235 rec.arts.tv
> 1406 rec.arts.comics.dc.universe
> 1085 alt.battlestar-galactica
> 996 news.groups
> 653 rec.arts.sf.tv

[...]

I think those numbers are simply a count of how many different email
addresses Google has detected posting in each group; they don't
differentiate between people using Google to post and people using other
methods. Any count of posts actually made using Google, will be inflated
by spam (some usenet groups seem to consist of nothing but spam posted
using Google), but even allowing for that Google posters may be the
most numerous in some groups.

A better indication of Google's share of usenet posters, is by analysing
'user agents'. For example,
<http://www.newsreaders.com/link/clientstats.php?file=all> shows Microsoft
(OE, Entourage, all versions combined) in top spot accounting for almost
30% of all articles posted in the past six years, with Google (G2) in
second place with almost 17% and Forte Agent and free Agent together
coming third with 13.5%. "Serious" user-agents such as Xnews or slrn
account for a few percent, or less than 1%, each. Even these figures take
no account of the fact that Google cannot read or post binary articles,
whereas the other user-agents mostly can (and some are designed to do
nothing else).

Sadly, most of the detailed analyses on that site seem to be broken at
present.

--
-- ^^^^^^^^^^
-- Whiskers
-- ~~~~~~~~~~

Mister Whiskers

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Dec 29, 2010, 10:53:53 AM12/29/10
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On 29/12/2010 10:34 AM, Whiskers wrote:
> A better indication of Google's share of usenet posters, is by analysing
> 'user agents'. For example,
> <http://www.newsreaders.com/link/clientstats.php?file=all> shows Microsoft
> (OE, Entourage, all versions combined) in top spot accounting for almost
> 30% of all articles posted in the past six years, with Google (G2) in
> second place with almost 17% and Forte Agent and free Agent together
> coming third with 13.5%. "Serious" user-agents such as Xnews or slrn
> account for a few percent, or less than 1%, each.

In which category does Thunderbird reside?

Jerry Gerrone

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Dec 29, 2010, 11:05:48 AM12/29/10
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On Dec 28, 7:10 pm, your.n...@isp.com (Your Name) wrote:
> In article <8nuoquFpb...@mid.individual.net>, "KalElFan"

>
> <kalel...@yahoo.com> wrote:
> > [note crossposts to five unmoderated groups that I'm subscribed to
> > and have participated in, in some cases for 10-15 years]
>
> > So there I was thinking about what to title this thread and where to
> > post it, eh?  Later in the thread I'll post the draft title I had prior to
> > the one I've settled on: "META+ The Root Cause of Usenet's Decline".
> > For now I'll just offer up my #1 answer du jour:
>
> <snip>
>
> The "root cause" is people cross-posting off-topic messages.  ;-)

Yeah. There's been a lot of that going around lately.

Your Name

unread,
Dec 29, 2010, 3:19:48 PM12/29/10
to

"Whiskers" <catwh...@operamail.com> wrote in message
news:slrnihml8v.c...@ID-107770.user.individual.net...

>
> Google doesn't carry any binary newsgroups, whereas the majority of
> news-servers do.

I doubt that's true. Many newsservers do not deal with binaries newsgroups
and some ISPs are dropping the binaries newsgroups (rather than dropping
newsgroups completely) to get around the copyright and porn issues.


> Binaries account for the vast majority of newsgroup
> posts. I suspect that many news-servers are dominated by users who
> contribute little or nothing to the text-only groups.

Certainly true, just like it is for all web forums / messageboards.

Ed Stasiak

unread,
Dec 29, 2010, 4:00:49 PM12/29/10
to
> KalElFan
> > Ed Stasiak

> >
> > Not at all, I've been using Google ever since they acquired
> > DejaNews and have found it to be very convenient and
> > unlike annoying web forums, there's a thread tree.
>
> Several years back, probably more than 5 years ago, I registered
> and found it clunky compared to Outlook Express, the newsreader
> I was using.

Initially when Google acquired DejaNews, it did suck as Google
changed it around and updates were extremely slow (24 hours
for some groups) but this was quickly corrected and IMO it works
very well.

Of course you need to know how to set it up to view the thread tree
and such and that's kinda awkward, as Google has you clicking all
around instead of putting all the settings in one spot.

But once you're set, I've found that it's more convenient than a news
reader, (OE for me also) especially when jumping from group to group
and back and forth to the Internet.

> "View this group in the new Google Groups" option. Click that
> and you'll get a different view like this:

Yuck, that looks like a shitty web forum. No thanks, I'll stick with
the tradition format.

> It's the discussion that basically preceded this one, and was extremely
> helpful in arriving at certain conclusions about how any new Optional
> Moderation system would have to work.

As I suggested in my other post, I think you're pissing in the wind
The beauty of Usenet is the wide-open, free-wheeling kind of
discussion that you're looking to restrict.

If I wanted to deal with a power mad junta of moderators and their
namby-pamby rules, I'd go to a web forum.

Ed Stasiak

unread,
Dec 29, 2010, 4:09:28 PM12/29/10
to
> The Doctor
> KalElFan

> >
> >The threshold for them to do anything on a
> >Usenet post is probably high.
>
> If they do anything.  I complained about one anti-Semetic bigot
> so many time, but google does nothing!

Man up, Doc! Why do you hate the 1st Amendment?

Whiskers

unread,
Dec 29, 2010, 5:22:51 PM12/29/10
to
On 2010-12-29, Your Name <your...@isp.com> wrote:
> "Whiskers" <catwh...@operamail.com> wrote in message
> news:slrnihml8v.c...@ID-107770.user.individual.net...
>>
>> Google doesn't carry any binary newsgroups, whereas the majority of
>> news-servers do.
>
> I doubt that's true. Many newsservers do not deal with binaries newsgroups
> and some ISPs are dropping the binaries newsgroups (rather than dropping
> newsgroups completely) to get around the copyright and porn issues.

Some news-servers don't carry binary groups; the best ones for text-only
users certainly don't have any binaries. But why is there a 'top 1000'
news-server list if there aren't at least several hundred news-servers
operating? ISP-operated news-servers have never had a good reputation for
reliability, as a general rule (although there have been exceptions) - and
the latest spate of ISPs cutting back or ceasing their in-house
news-servers is just a local USA thing, not world-wide. Out-sourcing to
one or another of the specialist NSPs is a trend at present.

>> Binaries account for the vast majority of newsgroup
>> posts. I suspect that many news-servers are dominated by users who
>> contribute little or nothing to the text-only groups.
>
> Certainly true, just like it is for all web forums / messageboards.

There are web forums and message-boards overwhelmed by binary posts? At
least HTTP is designed to shift binary files, which NNTP isn't.

Whiskers

unread,
Dec 29, 2010, 5:09:22 PM12/29/10
to

Still 'lightweight' in my opinion; it doesn't screw things up the way OE
and Google do, but it lacks the flexible filtering or scoring tools that a
serious newsreader requires.

The Doctor

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Dec 29, 2010, 6:13:57 PM12/29/10
to
In article <f19df89d-0fdd-47df...@l32g2000yqc.googlegroups.com>,

Ed Stasiak <esta...@att.net> wrote:
>> The Doctor
>> KalElFan
>> >
>> >The threshold for them to do anything on a
>> >Usenet post is probably high.
>>
>> If they do anything. =A0I complained about one anti-Semetic bigot

>> so many time, but google does nothing!
>
>Man up, Doc! Why do you hate the 1st Amendment?

Who said I did? It should not protect criminals.

Your Name

unread,
Dec 29, 2010, 7:26:49 PM12/29/10
to
In article <slrnihnd5r.c...@ID-107770.user.individual.net>,
Whiskers <catwh...@gmx.co.uk> wrote:

> On 2010-12-29, Your Name <your...@isp.com> wrote:
> > "Whiskers" <catwh...@operamail.com> wrote in message
> > news:slrnihml8v.c...@ID-107770.user.individual.net...
> >>
> >> Google doesn't carry any binary newsgroups, whereas the majority of
> >> news-servers do.
> >
> > I doubt that's true. Many newsservers do not deal with binaries newsgroups
> > and some ISPs are dropping the binaries newsgroups (rather than dropping
> > newsgroups completely) to get around the copyright and porn issues.
>
> Some news-servers don't carry binary groups; the best ones for text-only
> users certainly don't have any binaries. But why is there a 'top 1000'
> news-server list if there aren't at least several hundred news-servers
> operating? ISP-operated news-servers have never had a good reputation for
> reliability, as a general rule (although there have been exceptions) - and
> the latest spate of ISPs cutting back or ceasing their in-house
> news-servers is just a local USA thing, not world-wide. Out-sourcing to
> one or another of the specialist NSPs is a trend at present.

It's not a "USA thing". Here in New Zealand a couple of ISPs have dropped
their newservers completely and the one I use (now owned by Vodafone New
Zealand) dropped "all" binaries newsgroups a few years ago ... mostly
because they couldn't actually fix their newsserver, so they dropped the
binaries newsgroups under the guise of copyright and porn issues to lower
the data load (of course the newsserver still fell over, it just took
longer, and not all the binaries newsgroups were actually removed,
including still leaving some of the porn ones).


> >> Binaries account for the vast majority of newsgroup
> >> posts. I suspect that many news-servers are dominated by users who
> >> contribute little or nothing to the text-only groups.
> >
> > Certainly true, just like it is for all web forums / messageboards.
>
> There are web forums and message-boards overwhelmed by binary posts? At
> least HTTP is designed to shift binary files, which NNTP isn't.

No. The statement was that "many newsservers are dominated by users who
contribute little or nothing" ... many web forums and messageboards are
also read by people who contribute nothing.

Your Name

unread,
Dec 29, 2010, 7:29:09 PM12/29/10
to
In article <ifgfbl$89k$1...@gallifrey.nk.ca>, doc...@doctor.nl2k.ab.ca (The
Doctor) wrote:

> In article
<f19df89d-0fdd-47df...@l32g2000yqc.googlegroups.com>,
> Ed Stasiak <esta...@att.net> wrote:
> >> The Doctor
> >> KalElFan
> >> >
> >> >The threshold for them to do anything on a
> >> >Usenet post is probably high.
> >>
> >> If they do anything. =A0I complained about one anti-Semetic bigot
> >> so many time, but google does nothing!
> >
> >Man up, Doc! Why do you hate the 1st Amendment?
>
> Who said I did? It should not protect criminals.

Criminals already have enough protection ... it's called the "justice" or
"legal" system, full of weak-kneed, politicially correct idiots who at
best usually just slap criminals on the wrist with a wet paper towel. :-(

KalElFan

unread,
Dec 29, 2010, 8:25:50 PM12/29/10
to
"Bert Hyman" wrote in message
news:Xns9E5CA15D3D8...@216.250.188.140...

>> Actually, that's about what Google Groups is doing with Usenet. So
>> many ISPs have given up Usenet newsfeeds, Google practically owns
>> Usenet now.
>

> ISPs have dropped USENET support ostensibly for legal reasons (NY
> then-Attorney General Cuomo claiming it was a conduit for child porn),
> but it's more likely financial; there's no money in it for most of them.

In AOL's case there was also a lawsuit that Harlan Ellison brought
against them, after an AOL user posted his work on a newsgroup.
AOL won the main part of the case for purposes of our discussion
here, which is that they were a "passive conduit" as defined under
the DMCA. But there was some other part where they lost and
rather than appeal that part of it they settled with Ellison.

Again for purposes of the discussion in the thread title, the child porn
issue and copyright violation and the ISPs dropping Usenet and so on
are all part of Usenet's rep of having a cesspool barrier. That, and
the more sterile "signal to noise" description of the same kind of
problem, is the root cause of Usenet's decline.

Your Name

unread,
Dec 29, 2010, 10:07:49 PM12/29/10
to
In article <8o25il...@mid.individual.net>, "KalElFan"

<kale...@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
> Again for purposes of the discussion in the thread title, the child porn
> issue and copyright violation and the ISPs dropping Usenet and so on
> are all part of Usenet's rep of having a cesspool barrier.

The same can easily be said for the Internet as a whole, in fact there's
probably way more people using normal websites / servers to get copyright
material and porn than there is in Usenet newsgroups simply by the lesser
numbers using Usenet. :-( If ISPs were really serious (rather than just
using it as a lazy excuse as Vodafone New Zealand did and still not
following through properly) they would simply not be in this business at
all.

KalElFan

unread,
Dec 30, 2010, 1:35:26 AM12/30/10
to
"Whiskers" wrote in message
news:slrnihml8v.c...@ID-107770.user.individual.net...

> Binaries account for the vast majority of newsgroup posts.

Yes, checking the WIki article on Usenet, and a link in one of
their references, it's apparent that's true. It's not just bandwidth,
it's numbers of posts too. And it further fuels the cesspool
rep. The fact that "The Web" generally has porn and the like
is not a relevant comparison.

> A better indication of Google's share of usenet posters, is by

> analysing 'user agents'....

Better information would be if one of the sites posting Usenet
stats could get #s of users subscribed to the group rec.arts.tv,
or any particular group. If, say, the top 10 providers constitute
an estimated 50% of the market, then we could double their
total to get the number of available readers of rec.arts.tv.

Getting back to the thread title, it looks like text posting to
Usenet is probably down by at least 75% or probably more
off the peak in 1998 or so. Factor in signal to noise declining
and it's worse. As Usenet has burned the last 12 years, the
growth in the market for discussion forums and the like on
the web has exploded. Much bigger market, but basically
Usenet hasn't gotten any of it it's just lost.

It's an open and shut case at this point, on both the decline
and root cause. I'd already researched postings on this issue
and participated in discussions about this, and there's very
broad consensus on not just the decline (which is a fact) but
that the cesspool factor or signal to noise or however it's been
characterized in different ways or by other names, is the main
root cause. There's just too much pointing to that and much
of it was raised by others in this thread.

Martin Phipps

unread,
Dec 30, 2010, 2:08:12 AM12/30/10
to
On Dec 29, 2:28 am, "KalElFan" <kalel...@yanospamhoo.com> wrote:
> [note crossposts to five unmoderated groups that I'm subscribed to
> and have participated in, in some cases for 10-15 years]
>
> So there I was thinking about what to title this thread and where to
> post it, eh?  Later in the thread I'll post the draft title I had prior to
> the one I've settled on: "META+ The Root Cause of Usenet's Decline".

Well, obviously the decline is due to the fact that usenet used to be
for university students and today its for everyone. Or possibly no
one as you can't expect a system that tries to please everyone to
please anyone. Seriously, twenty years ago anyone who wasn't heavily
into either Star Trek or porn wouldn't have been interested in Usenet.

Martin

Captain Infinity

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Dec 30, 2010, 9:48:55 AM12/30/10
to
Once Upon A Time,
Martin Phipps wrote:

>Seriously, twenty years ago anyone who wasn't heavily
>into either Star Trek or porn wouldn't have been interested in Usenet.

I don't think there's anyone alive who isn't interested in Star Trek and
porn.


**
Captain Infinity

Alexander Bartolich

unread,
Dec 30, 2010, 10:22:04 AM12/30/10
to
["Followup-To:" header set to news.groups.]

Captain Infinity schrieb:

Well, not here in Usenet, that's true. But outside--you know, the big
room with blue ceiling and bright yellow light--there are lots of them.
I think they call them women.

--

suzeeq

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Dec 30, 2010, 10:53:05 AM12/30/10
to

True, but 'heavily into' them? I had other interests when I first found
Usenet 15 years ago.

Whiskers

unread,
Dec 30, 2010, 11:01:06 AM12/30/10
to
On 2010-12-30, KalElFan <kale...@yanospamhoo.com> wrote:
> "Bert Hyman" wrote in message
> news:Xns9E5CA15D3D8...@216.250.188.140...
>
>> In
>> news:0e264f82-26d5-4cba...@j25g2000yqa.googlegroups.com
>> Scott Eiler <sei...@eilertech.com> wrote:
>>
>>> Actually, that's about what Google Groups is doing with Usenet. So
>>> many ISPs have given up Usenet newsfeeds, Google practically owns
>>> Usenet now.
>>
>> ISPs have dropped USENET support ostensibly for legal reasons (NY
>> then-Attorney General Cuomo claiming it was a conduit for child porn),
>> but it's more likely financial; there's no money in it for most of them.
>
> In AOL's case there was also a lawsuit that Harlan Ellison brought
> against them, after an AOL user posted his work on a newsgroup.
> AOL won the main part of the case for purposes of our discussion
> here, which is that they were a "passive conduit" as defined under
> the DMCA. But there was some other part where they lost and
> rather than appeal that part of it they settled with Ellison.

AOL are commonly blamed for the beginning of the end of usenet - not by
withdrawing from it, but by making it accessible to their users. That
event marked the start of 'the eternal September'
<http://www.catb.org/~esr/jargon/html/S/September-that-never-ended.html>

> Again for purposes of the discussion in the thread title, the child porn
> issue and copyright violation and the ISPs dropping Usenet and so on
> are all part of Usenet's rep of having a cesspool barrier. That, and
> the more sterile "signal to noise" description of the same kind of
> problem, is the root cause of Usenet's decline.

Google Groups has taken over from AOL as the source of most of usenet's
woes, not least because AOL recommended their usenet users go to Google
when AOL shut down their usenet portal - although Google was already
becoming a problem by then.

The late Blinky the Shark was moved to found the Usenet Improvement
Project, which lives on here <http://twovoyagers.com/improve-usenet.org/>.
This project seeks to offer help for newbies wishing to use their own
news-reader software features to filter out the bulk of the noise (by the
simple expedient of blocking all articles posted from Google).

Ed Stasiak

unread,
Dec 30, 2010, 12:22:43 PM12/30/10
to
> Whiskers

>
> This project seeks to offer help for newbies wishing to use their own
> news-reader software features to filter out the bulk of the noise (by
> the simple expedient of blocking all articles posted from Google).

It's been mentioned that Google, with 30% of Usenet users, represents
the largest percent of posters. If you're going to killfile all of us
in one
fell swoop, you're going to end up being pretty lonely.

catpandaddy

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Dec 30, 2010, 12:55:38 PM12/30/10
to

"Ed Stasiak" <esta...@att.net> wrote in message
news:2edb3cd1-4b00-4807...@s5g2000yqm.googlegroups.com...

Better to kf AIOE, most of the deliberate troublemakers are from there.

Bert Hyman

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Dec 30, 2010, 2:28:40 PM12/30/10
to
In news:2edb3cd1-4b00-4807...@s5g2000yqm.googlegroups.com
Ed Stasiak <esta...@att.net> wrote:

I filter all posts by googlegroupers which are the head of a thread (no
References: header) but pass followups from them.

Nothing personal.

--
Bert Hyman St. Paul, MN be...@iphouse.com

A B

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Dec 30, 2010, 2:33:44 PM12/30/10
to
"Your Name" <your...@isp.com> wrote in message
news:your.name-291...@203-109-166-101.dial.dyn.ihug.co.nz...
> In article <Xns9E5CA15D3D8...@216.250.188.140>, Bert Hyman

> <be...@iphouse.com> wrote:
>
>> In
>> news:0e264f82-26d5-4cba...@j25g2000yqa.googlegroups.com
>> Scott Eiler <sei...@eilertech.com> wrote:
>>
>> > Actually, that's about what Google Groups is doing with Usenet. So
>> > many ISPs have given up Usenet newsfeeds, Google practically owns
>> > Usenet now.
>>
>> ISPs have dropped USENET support ostensibly for legal reasons (NY
>> then-Attorney General Cuomo claiming it was a conduit for child porn),
>> but it's more likely financial; there's no money in it for most of them.
>
> Opps! I forgot to say that it's not just ISPs dropping Usenet newsgroup
> support. The big companies like Microsoft and Adobe are dropping the
> newsgroups and using their own forum-based systems (which used to include
> newsgroup feeds).

That's on top of the way Outlook Express's bumf gives the impression that
Usenet is just a system for discussing Microsoft's programs with other
users!

Heike Svensson

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Dec 30, 2010, 2:34:46 PM12/30/10
to
On 30/12/2010 12:55 PM, catpandaddy wrote:
> "Ed Stasiak" <esta...@att.net> wrote in message
> news:2edb3cd1-4b00-4807...@s5g2000yqm.googlegroups.com...
>> It's been mentioned that Google, with 30% of Usenet users, represents
>> the largest percent of posters. If you're going to killfile all of us
>> in one
>> fell swoop, you're going to end up being pretty lonely.
>
> Better to kf AIOE, most of the deliberate troublemakers are from there.

So are plenty of us normal users whose internet providers no longer
provide usenet and who don't want to resort to google groups.

A B

unread,
Dec 30, 2010, 2:39:22 PM12/30/10
to
"KalElFan" <kale...@yanospamhoo.com> wrote on 29th December:
> I spent a bit more time on Google the last few hours researching
> some material for other responses to this thread, for example
> stats on different groups. Here's what I think is a beautiful
> view of a 201-post thread in news.groups.proposals. It's the

> discussion that basically preceded this one, and was extremely
> helpful in arriving at certain conclusions about how any new
> Optional Moderation system would have to work. No need
> for anyone to read the whole thread because much of the
> earlier stuff was supplanted and I'll be posting a description
> in this thread of the "current" version and how it addresses
> the key issues.
>
> http://groups.google.com/group/news.groups.proposals/browse_frm/thread/8acdb8fdf6d9b01d?hl=en&scoring=d

Thanks, I didn't know about that view. Handy. I'm not actually registered
with Google Groups, but often use it to get hold of old postings (my ISP's
news server has a pretty quick turnover).

David V. Loewe, Jr

unread,
Dec 30, 2010, 3:16:49 PM12/30/10
to
On Wed, 29 Dec 2010 13:06:42 +1300, your...@isp.com (Your Name) wrote:

>Bert Hyman <be...@iphouse.com> wrote:
>> Scott Eiler <sei...@eilertech.com> wrote:
>>
>> > Actually, that's about what Google Groups is doing with Usenet. So
>> > many ISPs have given up Usenet newsfeeds, Google practically owns
>> > Usenet now.
>>
>> ISPs have dropped USENET support ostensibly for legal reasons (NY
>> then-Attorney General Cuomo claiming it was a conduit for child porn),
>> but it's more likely financial; there's no money in it for most of them.
>

>Also few people even know Usenet exists.

BINGO!

>ISPs in general are becoming lazier and lazier, offering fewer services.
>They are moving towards simply providing an Internet connnection, with it
>being up to the user to supply their own email, newsgroup, etc. services.
>Meanwhile, prices continue to rise, but we get less actual service (and in
>the case of Vodafone New Zealand, often no service at all!). :-(
--
"...you know, it seems to me you suffer from the problem of
wanting a tailored fit in an off the rack world."
Dennis Juds

David V. Loewe, Jr

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Dec 30, 2010, 3:22:02 PM12/30/10
to