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Gooja's Got Old Stuff Online Now 158

Chrismo was one of several readers to contribute this news: "Google Groups now has the Deja content back to 1995 online." While that still leaves plenty of Usenet not yet accounted for, it's a huge step (backward) forward.
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Gooja's Got Old Stuff Online Now

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    For participants in such forums to have to worry about whether something they say today may be used against them decades from now kills participation by thoughtful people.

    Hmmm, wouldn't this be a new form of censorship? Effectively, if someone voices an opinion which you dislike, you could link him/her to an obscure/past post that will remove him/her of any credibility (say, a post in alt.sex.hampsters or somesuch) and blackmail him/her. I'm sure that'll shut him/her up.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    This is great! While browsing newsgroups back in 95, I came across a great piece of crossposting spam. I'm going to go look for it now.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I would have lied to you silly.

    " Nah, just used it to fix my C when windoze
    gave me grief."

    Then you wouldn't have seen all the posts I made
    about how I more often than not end up doing the
    Boss's wife.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 27, 2001 @01:05AM (#262518)
    I hope google does a deal so I can buy old stuff before it goes offline again, electronics repair and web stuff. Information to invalidate questionable patents will be in there. How about they cut some popular groups, and advertise special releases on DVD - real cheap for pre-orders. I'll buy, probably loose the cd some months down , then re-order. PS have 10 free onetime use seaches with the CD.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 27, 2001 @05:36AM (#262519)
    Anyone else having the problem that stuff they nuked from Deja YEARS ago has returned with Google Groups? Not all of it has returned; just about 200 posts from a account I don't have any longer--articles that I nuked in 1998.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 27, 2001 @12:15AM (#262520)
    Now my boss can check all my previous screw-ups and flames since 1995. Thanks, Google!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 27, 2001 @12:32AM (#262521)
    "I ofter wonder how anyone can find any specifically useful information in the newsgroups. "

    You really mean that? I find very usefull info in the newsgroups every day. How? I use a search engine, like google. Try it, it won't hurt.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 27, 2001 @01:03AM (#262522)
    If you check these groups, they are being archived. This looks like a labelling error.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 27, 2001 @03:16AM (#262523)

    oh wait..you said *grainy* pics not granny pics.

    my bad
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 27, 2001 @04:20AM (#262524)
    Deja allowed you to nuke your own old posts, though through a somewhat hidden web page. Google should really revive this old service, even if only to avoid copyright problems ("They don't even let me delete my own posts!").

    Google allows you to nuke your old posts. You only have to send them a message with your address and the URL of the article you want to delete.

    The details are at http://groups.google.com/googlegroups/help.html [google.com]

  • Exactly. Nearly all of my LaTeX questions are answered by searching Deja. Click Advance search, enter a few keywords, and put *.tex into the Group field, then I get the answers after a few seconds. Deja is the most useful if you know which newsgroups your questions are asked, which can raise the S/N ratio a lot.
  • I just checked out my dopey, USENET posting past, and I must say that it's a very weird feeling once again seeing messages and discussions that I thought were long dead.

    Also remember that people are also archiving large chunks of the web purely to capture a piece of "history".

  • USENET was one of the first 'email havens' to be spam-harvested; as soon as people realized this (c. 1994-6), the email munging began. I remember a book published in the early 90s, something like "All the email addresses in the World"; I recognized 7 of mine, and it was obvious that without a web, the only way they could get them was via USENET posting. Harvesting from USENET became passe in favor of going through the web at that point.

  • Does anybody know anything about their web server, GWS/1.10 running on Linux? Is it proprietary ("Google Web Server")?



  • X-No-Archive: Yes

    That's all you have to do.
  • by armb ( 5151 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @01:27AM (#262532) Homepage
    > The amount of useful content there is vanishingly small, and it takes far less time to just do a google search for the relevent information than it would to find the appropriate newsgroup and hope that there's someone else there with half a clue.

    And now USENET content from 1995, when it didn't suck half as badly, even if it was always September by then[1], is part of that googleable content. This is a _good_ thing. I've certainly found useful stuff on Deja in the past.
    (And there are still some usable bits).

    [1] http://info.astrian.net/jargon/terms/s/September_t hat_never_ended.html
  • by ACK!! ( 10229 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @12:28AM (#262534) Journal
    Wrong. Its the same 4GB of bad grainy pics over and over again. Trust me. My palm is sore and my mouse is sticky.


  • Yeah, I noticed two things right away:

    1) I was really stupid in 1995. :-)

    2) I found myself wanting to reply further to some of these discussions. It was really hard not to.

  • by GenericJoe ( 16255 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @07:02AM (#262543) Homepage
    I've solved more technical problems with google (and deja before it) by taking the error I was getting and pasting it into the search criteria. Or paraphrasing the problem and searching in the appropriate group.

    I've rarely found something so esoteric that *someone* hasn't asked the question. (Occasionally -- very occasionally -- I find something no one *responds* to ...)

    I've solved problems co-workers have spent days on, just by going to google/deja and searching. At one job, I taught people how to do the searches themselves as a research tool...

    Very cool, and glad more of it is on-line now!

  • Get a cheap shell account with an ISP and telnet/ssh in to a news reader for use during the day. Or, get an account with a beefier subscription-based news service with a web interface like newsfeeds.com.

    (Or you can go total geek like some people out there and colocate a unix box for all your non-work related activities which you connect to in the morning and logout from before you leave work...)

    ...More Powerful than Otto Preminger...
  • With this news, those of us who thought our long-ago blunders were in buried the bitbucket now see that they've been revived.

    Someone didn't read the USENET Primer [faqs.org] before they started! :-P

    (See "Be Careful What You Say About Others")

  • by Briareos ( 21163 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @05:57AM (#262547)

    Well, what do you know? I just searched for "pr0n", and what category links do I get?

    • Mature Content
    • Recreation > Theme Parks > Disney > Disneyland

    I don't even want to start thinking about how _THAT_ did happen... *g*

    np: Reinhard Voigt - Track 3 (Premiere World)

    As always under permanent deconstruction.

  • Amen. I was a first-year university student flaming away in rec.autos.driving - 8 years ago.

    Now that this stuff is back on-line, it is pretty damn embarassing. I hope they don't start going back even further.


  • ...but newsgroups posts has to contain a sender (thus a valid e-mail), right ?

    I've used fake sender and reply addresses on usenet since about 1995. The only trouble I've encountered is posting to moderated groups.

  • Adding the posts before 1995 is just a matter of people finding machine-readable archives of them. The disk space which would be required by all posts before 1995 is miniscule compared to the size of recent years.

    Of course, I've probably said something like that before, and now I could find it again...

  • by BeanThere ( 28381 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @09:15PM (#262551)

    As others have pointed out here, google isn't the only usenet archive around. Is one to go to every single one individually and ask them all? Should you have to keep track of every time a new usenet archive service appears? If a company buys an existing usenet archive, can they be trusted to continue to honour the "deleted" messages? What about usenet archives which don't allow you to do request that your posts be deleted?

    I don't see a way around it, quite frankly .. the proverbial cats out of the bag .. if you have some nasty stuff from your past that you want gone, its too late.


  • From the announcement [google.com]:

    With the completion of the archive project, we expect to offer posting by no later than mid-May.
  • Altavista has changed their submit URL [altavista.com] process. A picture of randomly created numbers and letters are shown, you have to type them in and only then you can submit your URL. They had to do this because most of the submissions were from auto-submission services, which sent 95% crap.

    A similar thing could be done with the email address display within Google Groups search results.
  • by WyldOne ( 29955 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @02:37AM (#262555) Homepage
    Looking up weird technical crap on hardware. Sometimes when setting up a Linux box you had some of that old hardware and needed to find out the settings for it. Sometimes it was to figure out WTF it was even.

    As if we all did not use it when those hand me down pc's were dumped in our laps. I don't think Linux would be where it is today without Deja.

    If only we could go back to Deja's content and moderate the hell out of it and remove the "Me too's", ads etc. But then some peoples treasure is anothers bit-bucket.

    I've seen several people complain about loosing their anoniminity by the USENET being archived. It was'nt until the spammers came around that we all started hiding our e-mail address and names. Google could fix this thou by removing the e-mail addresses/posters names. Then you you would have rants without any credibility. Would it matter anymore?*sigh*. A no win situation.

  • by DouglasA ( 31173 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @06:25AM (#262556)
    I think that's because of Google's reliance on links for importance weight. Tons of pr0n sites have enter/exit buttons, and most of those exit buttons link to Disney. Thus, if thousands of pr0n sites are linking to Disney, people searching for pr0n must find it relevant!

    Something similar happened with George W and the search term "dumb motherfucker."
  • by nutsy ( 33125 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @07:54AM (#262557) Journal

    Look, friend, Google Groups's interface is still in beta [google.com]. If you have a suggestion or complaint, then for heaven's sake stop whingeing and tell them [google.com], not us.

  • by Creosote ( 33182 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @08:23AM (#262558) Homepage
    In 1982, I was a graduate student in humanities at UC San Diego when the progressive computer support staff there decided as an experiment to provide Unix accounts to grad students and teach them to use vi and nroff/troff so that they could edit and print their dissertations on the mainframe. They wrote some front-end stuff to make it easier for non-techies to deal with, but once I discovered manpages and the wondrous labyrinth that cd / presented I was hooked on Unix.

    It didn't take long to discover Netnews. Because I was basically a sorceror's apprentice playing around without a wizard at my side, I made some incredible newbie mistakes, like trying to figure out what inews did, sending out a newgroup control message by mistake, and getting personally flamed by Mark Horton, if I recall. I was part of a minor flame war that erupted on net.jokes over the appropriateness of posting ethnic humor, a fuss that resulted in the creation of net.jokes.d to segregate the discussion from the humor.

    I didn't have the slightest clue that I was in on the beginning of something that would change the world, and so I saved almost nothing of what I contributed or enjoyed on Usenet in the early '80s. I'd love to recover it--embarrassing as some of it might be.

  • by Peter H.S. ( 38077 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @03:22AM (#262559) Homepage
    >What's the point of USENET? The few times I've ever bothered with it, it's been nothing more than random flamewars...

    There are still many great Usenet groups, you may not have found them, but they are there.
    That there also is a lot of crap groups, flooded with trolls, kooks and spam, is because it is free and anarchic (the alt.*).
    In many respects it is similar to the web; Huge, disorganized, full of crap, with some real gold nuggets here and there.
    How would you react to somebody who said "I have tried this web-thing a couple of times, but it was full of crappy, rotting homepages, pr0n, pop-up sites, and whizzbang rotating banners."

    About the kernel list. It too, like many other maling lists, had its of share spam (discussed many a times on the list, recently; Maps DUL)
    The Usenet groups I follow are either totally spam free, or almost (a spam twice a year), thanks to moderation, or vigilant spamfighting.

    And the kernel list do have a Usenet gateway, since Usenet readers, are an excellent way to read high volume lists.

    >But then again, it always suprises me how much "foward-thinking" tech types seem to want to cling on to the past.

    Usenet, as archived by deja /google, is the single largest repository for technical information in the world. I have often found better info on usenet, than on the web.
    If you need such info, then it would be a rather backward thing, to disregard Usenet.
    And yes, thanks to google, you too can access Usenet by the web, with all the hyperlinks and html, that you crave.
  • by chrisvr ( 41985 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @04:58AM (#262561)
    I haven't had the time to check it out in depth but I got this mail the other day:
    USENET archives are now available on http://www.etin.com [etin.com]

    Chronologically relevant searching of messages.
    Browsing of text and binary newsgroups. Posting.

    Free. Public. Complete. Anonymous.
    Text messages are archived and retained permanently.
    Binaries are retained 10 to 20 days.
    I don't know how good it is though. I tried a quick search for some of my old postings and got nothing.
  • If one is worried about having their Usenet posts archived and used against them some day, I don't imagine that person should be very reassured by Google's honoring of the X-No-Archive header.

    If I were such a person, I'd worry more about governments, corporations, and other potentially nefarious entities that are trawling for and archiving only those posts with X-No-Archive headers, in which all the potentially incriminating stuff is conveniently marked.

  • by xtal ( 49134 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @04:17AM (#262563)

    Usenet was great in the early 90's - it was like Fidonet or somesuch, except on crack. The quality of converstation was quite high, as the only people with meaningful net access were probably in university or involved in research activities. Once the boom started, there was a period of 1-2 years (or maybe a year or two more) where Usenet degraded into a spam-filled hell.

    Now, it seems most of the kiddies have gone to troll slashdot and it's kin, and left usenet alone - or at least the groups that I frequent. This has caused a slightly higher SnR... imagine getting useful information from Usenet again! Usenet is the ultimate for loading onto a palmpilot or handheld computer and wasting time-o-plenty, and at the same time, maybe learning something. The Usenet group FAQ's are an incredible repositiory of otherwise hard or impossible to locate information - I cite the rec.food.coffee FAQ as an example :).

    A slashcode to NNTP gateway would be da shit though. :)

  • I've certainly had linux lock up on me like a crackwhore with tmj

    Hackers really do have more phrases to describe software and hardware lossage than Yiddish has to describe obnoxious people.

    Gotta remember this one for when the next time the corporate Exchange swerver hoses itself...

  • I would *love* to be using tin (substitute your newsreader of choice) to read usenet instead of a heavily lagged web interface [google.com] (ie it takes a couple of days for messages to show up). However, I don't have access to a Real NNTP Server(TM). My school [smcvt.edu] isn't enlightened enough to provide one (which shocked me when I got here...I had always had NNTP access with my Internet access until that point), and I can't afford to pay for one of the commercial services. So I'm stuck with web-based interfaces [newsone.net].

  • Without the ability to follow threads of conversation, it has very limited value to me. The old deja was much better. :(
  • There's plenty of posts with invalid e-mail addresses in the headers. Some are forgeries from spammers, which often contain *no* valid e-mail address in the body, either. Others are 'munged' addresses, or outright invalid ones, but usually with information in the signature that gives a valid address when parsed by a human.

    For instance, the From: line might be

    From: foo@wFaItSeHr.com

    and in the sig --

    "Take the fish out of water to respond."

    Or, alternately,

    From: nobody@invalid.qqq

    and in the sig

    Reverse and reply to "com dot water at foo".

    The theory is that the munging inhibits a harvester program far more than it does a person. A cruel idea might be putting 'spamcop@spamcop.net' in your signature (as in "Spam gets redirected to..."), but a clueful spammer will probably have a script which ignores that and other booby-trapped addresses.
  • by Stonehand ( 71085 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @07:03AM (#262570) Homepage
    Well, considering that Huey, Dewey (sp?) and Louie don't even wear pants, is it really that surprising?

  • Try the little box with the button beside it saying 'search'.

  • This is wrong. My Usenet postings are certainly not public domain, even if I wished they were: according to German copyright law, a work cannot enter the public domain unless the author has been dead for 70 years.

    Posting something on on Usenet probably shows your consent to some ways of distributing it. But people get rather upset if, for example, their work is used in a book without their permission. Some authors (e.g. of FAQs) even limit redistribution explicitely.

    BTW: Does anybody know why about one third of the articles has a score of 4 and above? Is anybody an expert in Usenet matters nowadays?
  • by devjoe ( 88696 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @03:21AM (#262574)
    No, deja went out of business because they filled so much of the screen with ads that people refused to use the site, or only used it if they were able to simply ignore them all.

    In their latest incarnation, the top half of the browser window was entirely ads except for deja's logo and a few navigational controls. The bottom half had ads on the left and right sides, leaving only about 1/4 of the total screen to actually display the article. And they'd even started selling links attached to specific words in articles. They had so many ads that even the ordinary Joes would have to learn to ignore them or wouldn't be able to use the site.

    Google seems to be doing OK surviving on Yahoo's rental of search services (yes, Yahoo offers a search through the Usenet archive) and the few targeted ads that show up at the top of searches if you search on the right word(s). And they don't overwhelm you with so many ads that you can't find the articles.

  • And a whole DVD of millions of email addresses. Sounds like something spammers would love to get ahold of.
  • by Steeltoe ( 98226 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @05:47AM (#262577) Homepage
    Dang, I've read my own posts, and they are really really lame. Almost as lame as those I post nowadays, but with my real name attached to it!

    However, there are those who says that what Google is doing is nothing short of copyright infringement and killing the discussions on news. I beg to differ, and I believe this is just another area where we have to adjust ourselves to new technology and possibilities. If you can't live with the new times, that is your problem. If you can't live with what you've said and done, that is still your own problem. And if you can't tolerate what others say and do, that problem lurks within you until you change. We're just reaching one more step closer to a completely different type of society and life than we're used to. If you stop and notice, you can feel the movement of society. It's not just RIAA, MPAA, AOL, Microsoft and whoever else we got on our pick-list that has to change. Somehow, this is all common sense prevailing! When something becomes stupid enough, it's recognized as such and dealt with on all levels.

    This is a time to be humble, because the proud will surely stumble. Try to cover all your tracks, and you will never discover your lacks.

    - Steeltoe
  • by martin-k ( 99343 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @12:46AM (#262579) Homepage
    While Google might be a great web search engine, I don't think they understand Usenet in the slightest.

    Until they have threading by message ID (ANY threading at all, please) it is kind of pointless to try to follow a discussion.

    Until the basic search sorts by date instead of relevance, you'll get a jumble of messages from 1995, 2000, 1998, 1997, conveniently mixed up for your perusal.

    Until they find out that a Web search engine cannot be simply "tweaked" to also cover newsgroup messages, their interface will stay inferior to Deja's.

    I would have paid for a Deja subscription. Trouble is, Deja.com never asked me to until they went bankrupt.


  • by martin-k ( 99343 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @02:12AM (#262580) Homepage
    Deja allowed you to nuke your own old posts, though through a somewhat hidden web page. Google should really revive this old service, even if only to avoid copyright problems ("They don't even let me delete my own posts!").

    And, Google should not only honour X-No-Archive lines in the header but also in the first line of the body -- people had the clear intention of not having certain posts archived but Google displays them anyway.

    And about that IRC archive thing, ain't that a business idea ...


  • by martin-k ( 99343 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @01:11AM (#262581) Homepage
    They are threading by subject line instead of message ID. This means (a) that if the subject line changes mid-thread, the thread is broken and (b) that if you have a common subject line ("Help: Windows crashes"), all kinds of non-related messages will be grouped together.

    Furthermore, by not indenting replies to messages, Google makes it very hard to find out WHO replies to WHICH message.

    And the date sorting is only available on the "Advanced" page. Many people never bother going there. If you are using a boolean search on the basic search page (which Google doesn't really allow anyway), there is no point in ranking on relevance; therefore it should be sorted by date.


  • I tried a search for my old postings and got nothing, too. Oh well.
  • by moojin ( 124799 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @05:58AM (#262587)
    it is kind of wierd to read my old posts to the newsgroups that i frequented in college. i would never agree with some of the things that i said back then, or now do not feel as strongly about them as i do now. i guess i'm just getting older and less passionate about the things that i believe in. andrew
  • guess you could use bigfoot.com for that!
  • by BillGodfrey ( 127667 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @12:54AM (#262594) Homepage

    Usenet is full of junk? Try reading slashdot at -1 for a while.

    Bill, uses a newsreader.

  • by BillGodfrey ( 127667 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @01:00AM (#262595) Homepage

    Try using a regular newsreader. They work far better than the miriad of web-based services.

    A .newsrc is very useful. It keeps a record of which articles you have read, so then when you come back a day (or an hour) later, only new articles are presented.

    Why oh why can't slashdot do this?

    Bill, slashdot: 1-59,61-97

  • by BillGodfrey ( 127667 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @01:09AM (#262596) Homepage

    Repeat after me, "There is more to usenet than the alt.* hierarchy."

    Bill, "Slashdot is just a load of links to some goatsex website."

  • by number11 ( 129686 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @05:48AM (#262597)
    Yeah, they have USENET archived all the way back to March 29, 2001!!
  • by koolB ( 149856 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @05:52AM (#262598) Homepage
    During an interview with several prospective employees I have asked if they knew of, ever posted on the UseNet. If the answer was "yes". I would go further and ask if they used it for work related purposes. If that answer was yes I have asked for the email address of their posts. Then I would search deja: a~ emplyee@oldjob.com To see their comments. Amazing what you can find out about a person this way. I would hate for a potential employer to see *all* of my postings!
  • "By posting on usenet you do implicitly agree that your post will be copied to many servers and stored for some time, ... Googles archive (like Deja's before) is essentially just a newsserver ..."

    Yes, you agree your post will be copied and stored. And if I publish a book and sell copies and even mail many copies to public, non-profit libraries, I expect and agree my book will be stored and made available to the public for a long time and even copied to the extent permitted by fair use. But if a for-profit corporation started making copies and and profiting from them, either by selling copies or by generating advertising revenue from their distribution, they would be violating copyright law.

    I and many other people expected that our Usenet articles would be shared and distributed in Usenet as a reciprocal peer-to-peer cooperative effort. We did not expect or agree that our writings would be used commercially.

  • "So in what way is Google Groups more "commercial" than the newsserver an ISP provides as a service for its customers (for which they pay as part of their ISPs fees)?

    When a cab driver charges money to transport me to the library, where I make a copy for myself, that's fine. When an ISP charges money to provide me access to Usenet, that's fine. When somebody goes to the library, copies everything they can find in it, and sells the copies, that's illegal. When somebody goes to Usenet, copies everything they can find in it, and sells the copies, that's illegal. (For these purposes, "distributing copies to make money through advertising" equals "selling".)

    Another difference is that simple ISP access does not archive Usenet. The implicit permission an author grants in posting an article is permission to distribute in Usenet, which is designed to expire articles. Along with this permission may go permission for individuals to make their own copies permanently for personal use, since this is fair use. But it does not include the right to make copies for non-personal use.

  • by edp ( 171151 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @04:35AM (#262605) Homepage

    "If you post on usenet you put things in the public domain, ..."

    "Public domain" is a legal term that means not just that copies were given to the public but that rights were given to the public. Posting an article to Usenet is not putting it in the public domain.

    "If you wrote a letter to the NY times 20 years ago that was subsequently published it is still available in the archives today and there is nothing to be done about it!"

    Your letter to the Times is available to anybody who wants to look it up and make a copy for personal or other fair use. But if somebody started publishing copies, they would be violating the law.

  • No post since April 25th is available on Google right not (April 27)

    You can't tell me that comp.lang.perl.misc has had zero activity
  • by Fervent ( 178271 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @06:09AM (#262607)
    Doing a search on "sweet sucking schoolgirl" came up with a result. :) Ah, my days of porn as a teenager came back beautifully. lol
  • by PyRoNeRd ( 179292 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @02:15AM (#262608)
    Good, now I can read all the old posts from the heyday of alt.nuke.the.USA again ('93-'98).

    If only they brought back threading then I'd be really happy :-)

  • I loved the format that Deja presented its newsgroups in. I'd been using Deja since they day they started as it instantly proved useful in getting to the Usenet info that mattered to me at that moment.

    Now, the layout of Google pages is too spread out. Deja had a really compact format that let you scan the pages. Their ad links were extremely annoying, but on a couple of occasions they proved useful. The search word highlighting they started to use at the end was useful and Google seems to have done it one better with the colors, but their overall format still just seems wrong.

    Deja also let you post which was useful to me from anywhere I might be logged in. The current format means I have to go back to Outlook Express and friends to get on my local ISP's servers and wait as thousands of message headers are synced up.

    Now that the Google engine is in Yahoo and Deja, it's effectively covering a wide swath of Internet searching. The only good innovation is the Google Cache. I wonder how many Network Appliance boxes they have to support that.

    I wonder if there is an old old version of Deja pages in the Google Cache. =)

  • by revin ( 191651 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @04:27AM (#262611)
    People criticising the fact that newsgroup discussions are archived, don't think about the importance of the data it contains. Nearly everytime i have a fall-out, problem, ... in my job I can find the answer onto dejanews. maybe I have the luck my job is computer related, but I think you can find solutions for many other domains too.
  • by dbirchall ( 191839 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @12:50AM (#262612) Journal
    If you check various *.binaries.* groups - and I don't mean just alt.binaries.* either! - you'll see "This group is no longer archived."

    I can understand this - binaries are high-bandwidth. Though since Google strips out the encoded binary, like Deja did, not archiving the remaining text has got to yield some seriously diminishing returns.

    More interesting (and baffling/troubling, IMO) is the rather... selective approach Google appears to have taken with regard to other alt groups, particularly in certain hierarchies. Want to read about bondage? Okay, they archive alt.sex.bondage... but not alt.sex.stories.bondage. Into animals? alt.sex.bestiality.hamster.duct-tape is yours for the browsing, but not alt.sex.hedgehog.ouch.ouch.ouch. alt.alien.vampire.flonk.flonk.flonk is okay, but alt.alien.visitors is no longer archived. alt.rock-n-roll.symphonic is mysteriously no longer archived, while other groups in that sub-hierarchy are.

    I wasn't able to find anything in the Google Groups help explaining what their criteria are for deciding that a group should no longer be archived.


  • by ponxx ( 193567 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @02:54AM (#262618)
    If you post on usenet you put things in the public domain, and you will have to live with it being archived. If you wrote a letter to the NY times 20 years ago that was subsequently published it is still available in the archives today and there is nothing to be done about it!

    Besides in the FAQ google say they honor the 'X-No-archive: yes' header and it also gives you the chance to request deletion of individual old postings, so if you are really concerned about what you once wrote you can make the effort to get it out of the public domain again! So in fact you have more chances to exercise your copyright here than in other traditional media once you have released your post into to open :)


  • I've tried looking for old Slashdot articles on Google with little success. If I search for "ChaoticCoyote" and "Slashdot", I receive on three results... and I'm a lot more verbose than that... ;)

    Scott Robert Ladd
    Master of Complexity
    Destroyer of Order and Chaos

  • by ChaoticCoyote ( 195677 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @06:56AM (#262620) Homepage

    History, my friends, history. I was trying to find my old postings here on Slashdot, but the search engine is -- to put it politely -- poor. I go to the box at the bottom of the page, type in "ChaoticCoyote", and it can't find more than a few of my postings here.

    However, now that Google has the old Usenet stuff back online, I can search back and review what I've said over many years.

    Are old Usenet postings relevant? Well, consider the creation of a historical record -- as more communications travel the electronic road, fewer are preserved to provide a historical context of our times. Beyond the momentous issue of history, I often like to see what I was thinking 2, 5 or even ten years ago, to see how (or if) I've grown or changed.

    Let's see what Google digs up from my long career on Usenet... hmmm... sort it by date...

    1,620 hits since 1995. It sure does accumulate... let's see what I was talking about way back when...

    Okay, there's some leftist stuff (Native American and environmental)... a lot of messages about Age of Empires and naval gaming... a random dinosaur article or two... lots of dicussion of my books, mostly positive (yeah!)... and, of course, all my C++ and Java postings.

    Nothing embarrassing, to my relief. That is perhaps the only problem with history -- we have to live with what we've done. That's why I'm against Anonymous postings -- people don;t have to live with or learn from the immaturity or past stupidity.

    A suggestion to Slahsdot: If Google had an "obligation" to maintain the old Usenet archive, isn't it equally incumbent on Slashdot to make its old messages readily searchable? Just a thought...

    Scott Robert Ladd
    Master of Complexity
    Destroyer of Order and Chaos

  • by mirko ( 198274 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @02:44AM (#262622) Journal
    I saw some old postings that I commited 6 years ago.
    I believe that now they're available to anybody, spammers will collect my obsolete email addresses and flood the corresponding ISP.
    It is not that I care that much but maybe they should proceed with an user email protection so that automated collection of email addresses becomes tricky enough for most spammers.
  • by mirko ( 198274 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @03:21AM (#262623) Journal
    >I ofter wonder how anyone can find any
    > specifically useful information in the
    > newsgroups.
    > There is SO much info there that finding
    > something specific is literally looking for
    > a needle in a haystack, or 16k in a terabyte
    > of data.

    From my own experience :
    Yesterday I needed to modify Stronghold (aka RedHat Apache) source code (thanks, Open source :-).
    I don't know if you ever studied it but I have to admit it has been really painful to understand its internal logics until I found out about one function which name i submitted to Google Groups.
    3 minutes later I knew all that I needed to sort out my Proxy problem.
    Thanks Google Groups, also thanks to the newsgroups community.
    I strongly believe that a newsgroups search engine is mandatory to find the answer to your problem as soon as you realize that there are few chances that somebody has not had the same problem as you before and that he has not managed to solve it online.
    So, if you have a problem, just ask Google groups and you'll be astonished by how quickly you'll refer tothe solution of a similar problem, be it technical/troubleshooting related or a buying decision.
  • by szap ( 201293 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @01:08AM (#262624)
    Because it has worked longer than the web?

    Because, used properly, it can't get slashdotted? (a moderated slashdot newsgroup, gatewayed to the Real Thing would an interesting thing).

    Because it's more resilient than the web? (One newsserver down doesn't take an entire group with it).

    Because you could check up Linux's history [maxlinux.net] without linking to a page that pops up windows like I just did? (Can't find a more decent archive of Linus's Linux first annoucement. We need the 1991 archives on deja/gooja).

    Because of the scary devil monastery?

    Too many other reasons that if you've to ask, then it's probably not for you.

  • by ShaunC ( 203807 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @01:35AM (#262625)
    Am I the only one who sees Usenet archives like this as a bad thing? I've always been of the opinion that Usenet is a discussion medium, *not* a publication medium. If I wanted my text to linger forever, I'd be publishing it to a web page, not posting it to an informal Usenet discussion.

    Surely I can't be the only person who's received email about posts, months or even years after I made them! This in particular drives me crazy and I put these messages on the same level as spam. The fact that I happened to post to alt.hackintosh two years ago doesn't mean my mailbox is a 24/7 Mac Hack Helpdesk.

    Yet thanks to Deja (and now Google), if you forget that X-No-Archive header, your text - and perhaps your email address or an inane signature - will be there for the rest of the world to see forever. From my experience, a large portion of these people also like to revive year-old discussions, via email, and at their whim.

    With this news, those of us who thought our long-ago blunders were in buried the bitbucket now see that they've been revived.

    Archiving Usenet is, IMO, as insane as archiving IRC^H^H^HNevermind, I don't want to give Google any ideas...

  • by spacechrism ( 207272 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @12:50AM (#262626) Homepage Journal
    ...postings on the web, containing more than 650 million messages (over a terabyte of human conversation).

    SHOULD read:

    ...postings on the web, containing more than 650 million messages (over a terabyte of pr0n, spam, and inane self obsessed rantings).
  • My favorite USENET group, and only group that I read regularly, rec.music.gdead, was often crapflooded by a boring, uninventive troll. I was glad when deja went under.

    Now, like Taco, I have nothing against imaginative trolls, but when it's always the same old shit about Bill Kreutzman I get annoyed.

    Please, if you're going to troll, be imaginative.
  • Good luck Google, you're going to need it.

    Lest you join the web corpses of Remarq, Deja, etc.
  • Searched the archives for pr0n.
    Results 1 - 10 of about 23,200,000,000. Search took 0.15 seconds.

    Did you mean: porn [google.com]?

  • by iomud ( 241310 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @03:11AM (#262632) Homepage Journal
    My favorite quotes from Linux ROX Windows SUX [google.com]

    Linux is impossible to crash
    I have never had a program crash on me in Linux
    If a program does crash in Linux it is possible to jump to another virtual terminal and fix the program.
    Wait a tic...I thought you just said..

    This is the best troll I've ever read. I've certainly had linux lock up on me like a crackwhore with tmj (a rare ocassion and usually my fault) and as for applications crashing they sure do although not all that often. This is someone who needs serious professional help to save him from his delusions linux is far from perfect but it's getting there. (note that the post is in alt.news.microsoft and is dated 1999/11/10)
  • by LordArathres ( 244483 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @12:19AM (#262633) Homepage
    Now when you search or browse Google Groups, you access the largest collection of postings on the web, containing more than 650 million messages (over a terabyte of human conversation).

    Now all I need is tons of Mountain Dew, 24/7 Pizza, and several hundred years. Thanks Google.

    I ofter wonder how anyone can find any specifically useful information in the newsgroups. There is SO much info there that finding something specific is literally looking for a needle in a haystack, or 16k in a terabyte of data.


    I love my iBook. I use it to run Linux!
  • by ryanvm ( 247662 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @05:48AM (#262634)
    Want to read about bondage? Okay, they archive alt.sex.bondage... but not alt.sex.stories.bondage. Into animals? alt.sex.bestiality.hamster.duct-tape is yours for the browsing, but not alt.sex.hedgehog.ouch.ouch.ouch. alt.alien.vampire.flonk.flonk.flonk is okay, but alt.alien.visitors is no longer archived.

    Wow, you read some weird shit. ;-)

  • by jsse ( 254124 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @12:37AM (#262637) Homepage Journal

    Oh my! I can browse alt.sex.stories [google.com] and the like with google, in my office!

    It'd not be too long before my company discovers this and banned surfing google altogether.....

  • by jsse ( 254124 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @12:28AM (#262638) Homepage Journal

    I think Group Google is biased, when I search windows rox linux sux [google.com] it returns Linux ROX Windows SUX [google.com]

    hmm...kinda fishy....

  • Right up until the day Google took over, there was a sort of back-door way to be able to get a result set which still used the "Deja Classic" look.

    My suggestion for Google: try to bring back this "Deja classic" look or at least use smaller fonts and less spacing between lines to be able to get more stuff onto the page.
  • by Draghkar ( 262216 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @12:29AM (#262640)
    Wow, that's great, but didn't Dejanews go out of business precisely because they offered free usenet archive access? How long do we have until Google demands that we get a subscription? And how much will it cost? Hope it's less than google dollars. :-)

    Is there anything else Google can do to avoid the same fate?

    I'm concerned that the sad realities of the new-new economy may be difficult even for Google to avoid in the long-term. :-(

  • It would appear to me that there should be no conflict of interest when archiving Usenet if the authors' identities were to be masked. This would allow a vast quantity of potentially interesting material to be available for reference without raising the inevitable problems when contributors no-longer wish to concern themselves with a discussion from a decade previous.

    I would only be interested in the argument/information contained within posts, and the authorship is irrelevant to me. I realise that removing all names would be problematic as other contributors may have chosen to embed others' names into their articles, but surely it would be a simple compromise to strip headers and trailing signatures from well formed news posts?

  • by Liquid-Gecka ( 319494 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @12:34AM (#262642)
    This is why its nice to flame anonymously.. erm.. wait..

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 27, @04:15AM EDT

    Good man!
  • by silent_poop ( 320948 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @04:55AM (#262643)
    I read in the latest version of wired that Google looking to recover archived posts back to the initial tests in the late 70's.

  • by janpod66 ( 323734 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @09:41AM (#262647)
    Most of us would find that a natural thing to do. I do it every day. Regards.

    So, why is your response anonymous? Where are your real name and your E-mail address?

  • by janpod66 ( 323734 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @12:59AM (#262648)
    I participated for many years under my real name on USENET. The assumption was that, while people did archive parts of USENET from the beginning, nobody would republish the stuff widely: doing so would have been both impractical and legally questionable at the time.

    Once it became clear that USENET was increasingly becoming permanently fixed and searchable, I stopped participating under my real name. I never flamed on it or participated in particularly controversial subjects, but I still didn't want to have to deal with the possibility of being quoted out of context years later.

    While anonymity has many undesirable features, it is the second-best choice if you can't have informal, short-lived discussions (this is, incidentally, why I'm not using my real name on Slashdot). For me, what killed USENET was not anonymity but its permanent archiving.

    I think something similar has happened in politics: since everything is getting recorded and republished and analyzed word-for-word, politicians can't engage in thoughtful debate anymore in public for fear of offending someone or getting attacked on out-of-context quotes. Instead, every political message has to be carefully crafted and rehearsed; no extraneous utterance or debate is possible.

  • by resprung ( 410576 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @02:14AM (#262649) Homepage
    Regarding janpod66: That is a typical pissy reaction to change of any sort. There're a lot of great postings in the archives. It's a fine resource. A six-month limit just makes no sense. Rather, people should own up to what they post. Most of us would find that a natural thing to do. I do it every day. Regards.
  • Do you like to burn books, too? And perhaps we should destroy all the old microfilm archives of back-issues of newspapers?

    I'm sure there are plenty of articles and other literary works that people wish they had never written. But like it or not, they are history, and valuable information is still there for the finding. If you don't want any old records to be archived, don't ever publish anything -- electronic OR otherwise.

  • by dynamis ( 413289 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @12:31AM (#262651)
    That's a shame because most of the intelligent posts were made *before* 1995.

    For a really interesting debate, check out the 1993 Usenet anon.penet.fi vs. flame war here [eff.org] and and the other privacy goodies in the EFF anonymity directory [eff.org].

  • Just a few things:

    1) Modified newsgroups

    2) newsgroups that have more than two parts in their names
    (like: ibm.software.websphere.application-server.as400 , not alt.flame, alt.computers)

    I think if you really need information on something, you really can't ignore any channel.
  • by glenebob ( 414078 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @12:21AM (#262653)
    alt.binaries.* groups back to '95?
    no that's alot of porn :-)
    Damn it Jim, that's my sphincter, not a jelly donut!!!
  • If I could, I would. I do most of my news reading/searching from work, ie behind a corporate firewall. Most corporations do not see fit to open a hole for NNTP access. From home, I'm cruising, and I love a real newsreader vs the crap html based ones, but I've got no choice at work.....

  • by Gollo ( 415077 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @12:31AM (#262656)
    I'll be much more excited when we can all finally post to newsgroups through (Deja) Google again. AND my preferred newsgroups come up immediately when I log on. AND it keeps track of my read and unread postings. It's hard to get excited about 6 year old postings when the above (lack of) functionality has a far greater influence on my day-to-day usage of the service....anyone got any inside info on when (if) this functionality might arrive?

  • by Tech187 ( 416303 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @05:37AM (#262660)
    I think you're describing the things that Deja tried to do when they discovered they were running at a loss with the older, more geek friendly, interface.
  • by actiondan ( 445169 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @12:33AM (#262662)
    Does anybody know how far back it would be possible to take an archive of usenet?

    This one goes back to 1995 but are there any offline archives that go back further?

  • by actiondan ( 445169 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @01:04AM (#262663)

    Went off in search after asking the question...

    This one [ucsd.edu] has articles from 1981 - 1982:

  • by Plague You ( 445958 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @04:10AM (#262664)
    The lesson to be learned is that you are always accountable for what you do, especially if it something nice like helping someone with problems. Those will bite you more readily and consistently than any "evil" action.

    I've been telling newbies for years that whatever you say on the net has the potential to be stored forever. Choose your words wisely. It may seem transient, but redundancy of servers, mirrors, or users downloading content can propagate your words for a long time.

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger