An initiative is underway to replace the Usenet/NNTP forum comp.databases.pick with a Google Group. This is a big deal. What do you think?
The forum commonly known as CDP was one of the very first Pick forums, started in 1993 by Dave Ruggiero. Here is the original petition for the creation of the group. And here is a later recap of the voting process to create the group (yes, there used to be a formalized process to create groups).
CDP was in its prime of membership and participation in the year 2000, but over the years its popularity has declined sharply. This occurred for many reasons, including the factionalizing of members to product-specific and special interest groups, a change in the group culture, spam and uncontrollable adult postings by bots, and a decline in the size of the Pick/MV market space.
In recent months we have seen an increase in abusive postings, as well as an all-time low of participation. I think these statistics are related but not entirely cause-and-effect. To address the problem of forum abuse and decreased participation, I’ve created a new moderated Google Groups forum to replace CDP as the common cross-platform Pick/MV meeting place for the community.
There are good reasons and benefits for this including:
- Moderation allows pre-screening of spam and adult content.
- Moderation allows banning of abusive email addresses, and is thus a deterrent to repeated abuse. It’s a significant hassle to repeatedly create a new email address, re-register with Google, and then to try to abuse the group.
- Google Groups is already used by many CDP participants. A real Google Group, compared to a Usenet/NNTP feed, will allow email reading/writing, which is not currently available.
- Google Groups is already in common use for almost all other Pick/MV forums. This is a familiar environment. CDP is the only Usenet forum left in our community, and this is one of the reasons why it’s hardly used anymore.
For concerns about who owns or manages the group, note that this is a community owned and managed resource. It does not belong to any one individual, including myself.
- I will be assigning other respected colleagues as group owners.
- A number of Managers have been assigned to moderate content from unrecognized sources. Anyone is welcome to request Manager status to help expedite processing. I expect some people will request to be removed from the Manager list and over time others will be added.
- Contributions from recognized members will not be moderated. However, we do have the ability to filter abusive content from compromised email addresses, which is not possible with CDP.
- We will not be censoring content, only filtering abuse. Abuse is specifically unsolicited commercial email (UCE = spam) from outside sources, and adult content. It will also include exceptionally vulgar content which is outside the generally agreed acceptance level of the audience. Since all managers get a copy of content it will be easy to correct errors in processing.
- Our community is already familiar with moderated forums like the U2 forums, jBase, DesignBais, Reality, TigerLogic, mv.NET, QM, and others. It’s already been established that people not only don’t mind moderation but they appreciate it.
Who is this Tony guy and why does he do stuff like this?
The discussion was out there and I just took it upon myself to begin the initiative without waiting for too much discussion. That’s what “grassroots” is all about. It’s something we don’t see a lot of in this community anymore. My attitude is “lead, follow, or get out of the way”. There are few people who try to make this market a better place, few who actually recognize it as a “community”, and I’m just trying to do my part. If someone else feels they can do a better job, I’ll be happy to pass the baton.
Will this be a flash in the pan?
Will people generally stick with CDP?
Is it too late for this?
Will this help to improve platform-independent exchanges?
Can this become a new home for newcomers to the Pick platform?
Is there any such thing as newcomers to the Pick platform?
All we can do is to take a little initiative once in a while, and hope for the best.
I would really like to see more comments on this initiative, brief or extensive, in favor of CDP or in favor of the new group. Whichever side you’re on, your vote matters. Please post to either CDP or the new forum. I also welcome off-list questions via e-mail.
(EDIT) I just posted a follow-up note about this. Rather than linking all such follow-ups, I’ll just ask you to peruse the blog for notes related to the forum. Thanks!