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Newsgroups vs. Web-Based Discussion Groups

Usenset Discussion Groups

Usenet newsgroups had a figurative monopoly on discussion outlets back in the 80’s and into the very early 90’s.  However, the popularity of Web-Based Discussion Groups began to grow. In its current most popular form, is the internet forum.  To say that internet forums “stole” its concept from Usenet newsgroups would be the same as stating that democratic countries stole the concept from the United States. Instead, it’s considered an adaptation of each.

Web based discussion groups/Internet forums ('forums') have a complete correlation in structure and organizational methods as its Usenet- father. The grand difference is the centralization and the limited audience that forums deliver versus Usenet. Again, we’ll use the muscle car fan. On Usenet, the group or newsgroups for this are one basic ideal of the topic. Typically, the group with the most articles at any given time of the group is obviously the most popular one. The delivery of articles in newsgroups encompasses a worldwide audience on the particular category.

Forums however, are typically limited as the audience is website related only. For instance, if you’re looking to discuss and share information on Aviation, there are hundreds if not thousands of web-based discussion groups and forums across the web. These forums though, are not tied together in anyway. So if a topic on one website about 747 jets is discussed on one forum, it will not replicate to the other forums that may be discussing the same subject matter.

This unique quality is what separates Usenet newsgroups from web-based discussion groups. The allowed exchange of information through newsgroups appeal to a worldwide audience that syncs the articles that tie in the international community into one single mass.

Additionally, web-based discussion groups also are limited on the subject matter. Forums and the like are specific to a specific category of information. With muscle car and aviation forums, you will not find the two on the same forum (for the most part). Let alone, other categories or subject matters. Usenet newsgroups bring the collective of practically every category you can think of into one mass of categories that continues to grow by the day.

Lastly, the articles or information on forums are sometimes limited in its capacity to share files that newsgroups provide. Usenet is limitless in its capacity of being able to store and share files uploaded to a particular category. While true that many forums have a longer span of holding articles on a particular subject versus the ever recycling Usenet, it’s still safe to say that forums still have a long way to go to match its Usenet foundation.


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