This newsgroups federation is in need of thorough reform

Brief chronology
    Alain has the initial idea. Which is: that if each newsgroup has only one source, the reliability of the information will be greatly improved.
    Thierry develops this idea, particularly with a view to instituting a genuine inter-server system.

    Thierry has the idea of drawing up a Charter.

    Together, Alain and Thierry drew up this Charter.

    Alain comes up with the idea of NiouZeCoord, a regulatory body.

    Differences between Alain and Thierry.

    Thierry creates Niouzenet with Kloo. Then Alain comes back and helps them.

    Thierry, with others, forms NiouZeCoord, but without Alain who refuses to be involved.

    Alain believes that NiouZeCoord is failing to respect certain principles enshrined in the Charter. Chiefly, in october 1997,Thierry makes a solemn promise and then don't want to do it. Only in january 1998, it is done and Alain has to very much fight to obtain this, against the others contributors who follow Thierry.

    From February the 17th, there is a discussion about ways of supplying the Niouzenet groups. Alf, a member of NiouZeCoord, makes some personal attempts to set up a sort of supply-system called "a pool".

    Alain denounces this violation of the Charter, along with others.

    Thierry and most of the members of NiouZeCoord do not accept that it is a violation, because it was done on a purely personal basis.

    Alf writes a message attacking Alain. Alain describes the message as "squalid", an offence to human dignity. He calls on Alf to resign.

    The members of NiouzeCoord and the contributors say that Alain has gone too far; they insult him and describe him as a dictator. They even drag in his private life.

    Alf resigns.

    NiouZeCoord insists on Alf's re-instatement.

    Alain says that no organisation should allow its members to say such things. Alain is again insulted, more and more, by the contributors, and receives no support.

    Pee-Wee is a contributor who appreciates this and tries to understand and set up some sort of dialogue between Alain and the others. It is impossible.

Alain Beyrand, March 1998, the 7th

French News Groups
    News Groups are living places where users exchange information about a specific subject. It is a precious form of communication on the Internet, much more interactive than the Web.

    There are two main categories of News Group.
    • Those in the Usenet System, comprising more that 20,000 News Groups, present on many servers, each one supplying the other, and vice versa.
    • The independent NewsGroups, where messages are on only one server, all users receiving information from that server.
    • And there are mixed News Groups, like those of Microsoft. Users either receive news through Usenet (about 10%), or direct (about 90%).
    There are big problems with the Usenet system, the main cause being the system of supply.
    • The same information has to be kept on many servers, and there is no process of verification. So some messages are lost, are seen on some servers and not on others...
    • There are long intervals between updates. The generation of a message may take anything from a few minutes to several hours, sometimes more than 10 or 20 hours.
    • Cross-posting (of one message to several News Groups) is much more dangerous than multi-posting (of several identical messages to several NG), because it is easier to do, and because all the responses are also cross-posted. This cross-posting is used by lazy users who don't choose the best NG, and chiefly by advertisers and nuisance-mail.
Usenet the Dinosaur
    • Usenet was late using accents, now it is late using simple text (without the 80 characters truncation), so it is an old-fashioned organisation, hard to change.
    • Usenet is not free. Many providers now don't allow access to Usenet, or only allow limited access... and it is discouraging for some new users.
    So, at first, the justification for Usenet is historical. The system is too overburdened to evolve.

    The idea of "non-redundant News Groups" addresses all these problems. Centralised access on one server, as for web-sites, quick updates, the same information for all; cross-posting is impossible between two servers, and access is genuinely FREE.

    Alas there are today no significant non-redundant News Groups...

    But things are changing! In August 1997, the NiouZeNet system was created in France, a federation of such independent News Groups. Alas, as I explain on this site, it only pays lip-service to its principles; it does not apply them to the newsgroups.

    Alain Beyrand, August 1997

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