Discussion:
Book newsgroups dying?
(too old to reply)
Steve Hayes
2009-06-26 07:40:38 UTC
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For several years I've kept in touch with people who share similar literary
interests by means of Usenet newsgroups and mailing lists. Now many ISPs are
withdrawing their news service (it does require rather a lot of server space)
and so traffic in the newsgroups has dropped off a lot, and I've lost contact
with a lot of the people with whom I used to have interesting conversations in
the newsgroups.

I've found an alternative way of keeping in contact, through Good Reads, where
you can find me at http://www.goodreads.com/hayesstw. But more on that later
(see below).

You can also read a slightly more detailed version of this post on my blog at:
http://methodius.blogspot.com/2009/06/books-and-reading.html
where there are more clickable links.

For those who have suffered the fate of losing access to newsgroups, there is
a free news server at http://news.eternal-september.org where you can
subscribe to the various newsgroups.

My favourite newsgroups for books and reading are:

* alt.books.cs-lewis
* alt.books.inklings
* alt.books.beatgeneration
* rec.arts.books.tolkien

The Tolkien group still thrives, but the others have almost emptied of
participants since some of the major ISPs stopped their nntp service.

There are also other newsgroups that are (or were) useful for those who like
books and reading:

* rec.arts.books
* rec.arts.books.childrens
* alt.usage.english

Most of the better-informed participants in rec.arts.books took themselves off
to a Facebook group called The Prancing Half-Wits, but the Facebook interface
is clunky, and does not lend itself to interactive discussions the way
newsgroups do. alt.usage.english continues to thrive, perhaps because many of
the participants are a bit more computer-savvy than most, and know how to
connect to alternative news sources.

For those interested in the Inklings (C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams, J.R.R.
Tolkien & Co) I've started a mailing list called Neo-Inklings, which you can
find at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/eldil/. To subscribe to it, send e-mail
to eldil-***@yahoogroups.com, but it is worth also visiting the web
site, as there are facilities for uploading files and photos, creating polls
and databases and more. I've invited some of the former members of the
alt.books.cs-lewis newsgroup to join us there. For those interested mainly in
the works of Charles Williams rather than the other Inklings, there is a
Charles Williams list called Coinherence-L.

There are also several web sites for book lovers to keep track of their books
and make contact with others with similar interests. Three of the best-known
are Bibliophil, LibraryThing and Good Reads. For various reasons I prefer Good
Reads.

Good Reads

GoodReads is a combination of a book catalogue and a social networking site
for books, and I think it works better than the others.

Like most social networking sites, you can add people as "friends", but in
many social networks this is rendered useless by people wanting to add you as
a "friend" when they don't know you, don't want to know you, share no common
interests with you and you've never heard of them. It's a bit like regarding
everyone in the phone book as a "friend" -- if everyone is your friend, then
no one is.

But Good Reads provides a good way of seeing whether someone is likely to be
your friend.

First you need to join, and enter some of the books that you have in your
library or have read, starting with your favourites, but you can also add a
few books that you really hate. Like other such sites, you are asked to rate
and review them. When you've entered those books and rated them (with 1-5
stars), then you can look for friends. Find someone who owns some of your
favourite books, look at their profile and click "compare books".

There you can see if they've read your favourite books, and what they think of
them. It's expressed as a percentage. For example, with one of my friends (who
sometimes reads my blog), it produced this result:

You and booklady have 21 books (or 7.27% of your library and 2.07% of her
library) in common. Your tastes for those 21 ratings are 78% similar.

If it's over 70%, go to the next step, which is the "book compatibility test".
This compares your ratings of some popular books in various genres, or if
you've even read them. In this case my result was "Your compatibility with
booklady is 63%."

If you have read some of those popular books, but haven't entered them and
rated them, then do so, because it will make future comparisons easier.

So Good Reads is a good way to find and keep in touch with those with similar
literary tastes.
--
Steve Hayes
Web: http://hayesfam.bravehost.com/litmain.htm
http://www.goodreads.com/hayesstw
http://www.bookcrossing.com/mybookshelf/Methodius
Dave Moore
2009-06-26 08:37:23 UTC
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Thanks for that, Steve. I'll certainly investigate Good Reads.

Another useful website for booklovers is:

www.librarything.com

where you can list the books you own or have just read, and discover others
with similar tastes.

Dave
Post by Steve Hayes
For several years I've kept in touch with people who share similar literary
interests by means of Usenet newsgroups and mailing lists. Now many ISPs are
withdrawing their news service (it does require rather a lot of server space)
and so traffic in the newsgroups has dropped off a lot, and I've lost contact
with a lot of the people with whom I used to have interesting
conversations in
the newsgroups.
I've found an alternative way of keeping in contact, through Good Reads, where
you can find me at http://www.goodreads.com/hayesstw. But more on that later
(see below).
http://methodius.blogspot.com/2009/06/books-and-reading.html
where there are more clickable links.
For those who have suffered the fate of losing access to newsgroups, there is
a free news server at http://news.eternal-september.org where you can
subscribe to the various newsgroups.
* alt.books.cs-lewis
* alt.books.inklings
* alt.books.beatgeneration
* rec.arts.books.tolkien
The Tolkien group still thrives, but the others have almost emptied of
participants since some of the major ISPs stopped their nntp service.
There are also other newsgroups that are (or were) useful for those who like
* rec.arts.books
* rec.arts.books.childrens
* alt.usage.english
Most of the better-informed participants in rec.arts.books took themselves off
to a Facebook group called The Prancing Half-Wits, but the Facebook interface
is clunky, and does not lend itself to interactive discussions the way
newsgroups do. alt.usage.english continues to thrive, perhaps because many of
the participants are a bit more computer-savvy than most, and know how to
connect to alternative news sources.
For those interested in the Inklings (C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams, J.R.R.
Tolkien & Co) I've started a mailing list called Neo-Inklings, which you can
find at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/eldil/. To subscribe to it, send e-mail
site, as there are facilities for uploading files and photos, creating polls
and databases and more. I've invited some of the former members of the
alt.books.cs-lewis newsgroup to join us there. For those interested mainly in
the works of Charles Williams rather than the other Inklings, there is a
Charles Williams list called Coinherence-L.
There are also several web sites for book lovers to keep track of their books
and make contact with others with similar interests. Three of the best-known
are Bibliophil, LibraryThing and Good Reads. For various reasons I prefer Good
Reads.
Good Reads
GoodReads is a combination of a book catalogue and a social networking site
for books, and I think it works better than the others.
Like most social networking sites, you can add people as "friends", but in
many social networks this is rendered useless by people wanting to add you as
a "friend" when they don't know you, don't want to know you, share no common
interests with you and you've never heard of them. It's a bit like regarding
everyone in the phone book as a "friend" -- if everyone is your friend, then
no one is.
But Good Reads provides a good way of seeing whether someone is likely to be
your friend.
First you need to join, and enter some of the books that you have in your
library or have read, starting with your favourites, but you can also add a
few books that you really hate. Like other such sites, you are asked to rate
and review them. When you've entered those books and rated them (with 1-5
stars), then you can look for friends. Find someone who owns some of your
favourite books, look at their profile and click "compare books".
There you can see if they've read your favourite books, and what they think of
them. It's expressed as a percentage. For example, with one of my friends (who
You and booklady have 21 books (or 7.27% of your library and 2.07% of her
library) in common. Your tastes for those 21 ratings are 78% similar.
If it's over 70%, go to the next step, which is the "book compatibility test".
This compares your ratings of some popular books in various genres, or if
you've even read them. In this case my result was "Your compatibility with
booklady is 63%."
If you have read some of those popular books, but haven't entered them and
rated them, then do so, because it will make future comparisons easier.
So Good Reads is a good way to find and keep in touch with those with similar
literary tastes.
--
Steve Hayes
Web: http://hayesfam.bravehost.com/litmain.htm
http://www.goodreads.com/hayesstw
http://www.bookcrossing.com/mybookshelf/Methodius
Steve Hayes
2009-06-26 10:19:14 UTC
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On Fri, 26 Jun 2009 09:37:23 +0100, "Dave Moore"
Post by Dave Moore
Thanks for that, Steve. I'll certainly investigate Good Reads.
www.librarything.com
where you can list the books you own or have just read, and discover others
with similar tastes.
Yup, and there's also Bibliophil, which is free (LibraryThing only lets you
enter 200 books, then you have to pay).

But Good Reads seems to be better than both.
--
Steve Hayes
Web: http://hayesfam.bravehost.com/litmain.htm
http://www.goodreads.com/hayesstw
http://www.bookcrossing.com/mybookshelf/Methodius
Dave Moore
2009-06-26 17:38:20 UTC
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Raw Message
Post by Steve Hayes
On Fri, 26 Jun 2009 09:37:23 +0100, "Dave Moore"
Post by Dave Moore
Thanks for that, Steve. I'll certainly investigate Good Reads.
www.librarything.com
where you can list the books you own or have
just read, and discover others with similar tastes.
Yup, and there's also Bibliophil, which is free
(LibraryThing only lets you enter 200 books, then
you have to pay).
Just $10 per year, or $25 lifetime seems reasonable enough, though.

Dave
Steuard Jensen
2009-06-30 23:57:31 UTC
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Raw Message
Post by Steve Hayes
For those who have suffered the fate of losing access to newsgroups,
there is a free news server at http://news.eternal-september.org
where you can subscribe to the various newsgroups.
Thank you! I've been trying to figure out if there was a reasonable
replacement for my ISP's news server out there; this looks quite
promising. (It will look even more promising if this message posts
properly and propagates to the world at large.) I may end up
recommending it to people who are looking for a way to participate
here.

Anyone else out there have good suggestions for free news servers that
carry these groups? (I'd say "free or inexpensive", but I suspect
that when trying to attract newcomers to the groups it will be a lot
easier to get them to try out "free".)

Steuard Jensen
Miles Bader
2009-07-01 00:51:12 UTC
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Post by Steuard Jensen
Anyone else out there have good suggestions for free news servers that
carry these groups? (I'd say "free or inexpensive", but I suspect
that when trying to attract newcomers to the groups it will be a lot
easier to get them to try out "free".)
FWIW, I switched to news.individual.net -- 10 euro/year -- when my ISP
dropped its netnews service.

It has the advantage of reliability, wide coverage, and pretty much zero spam.

I first tried some of the more widely known free servers, but never
found anything very reliable.

-Miles
--
Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball.
Peter Ceresole
2009-07-01 06:23:45 UTC
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Post by Miles Bader
FWIW, I switched to news.individual.net -- 10 euro/year -- when my ISP
dropped its netnews service.
It has the advantage of reliability, wide coverage, and pretty much zero spam.
Definitely- I second that. NIN is excellent.
--
Peter
Öjevind Lång
2009-07-01 12:59:53 UTC
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Post by Peter Ceresole
Post by Miles Bader
FWIW, I switched to news.individual.net -- 10 euro/year -- when my ISP
dropped its netnews service.
It has the advantage of reliability, wide coverage, and pretty much zero spam.
Definitely- I second that. NIN is excellent.
I third it. It's excellent.Very cheap at the price.

Öjevind
Dan Clore
2009-07-02 11:04:27 UTC
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Post by Öjevind Lång
Post by Peter Ceresole
Post by Miles Bader
FWIW, I switched to news.individual.net -- 10 euro/year -- when
my ISP dropped its netnews service.
It has the advantage of reliability, wide coverage, and pretty much zero spam.
Definitely- I second that. NIN is excellent.
I third it. It's excellent.Very cheap at the price.
I fourth it. It's what I use.
--
Dan Clore

My collected fiction, _The Unspeakable and Others_:
(Wait for the new edition: http://hplmythos.com/ )
Lord Weÿrdgliffe & Necronomicon Page:
http://tinyurl.com/292yz9
News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo

Strange pleasures are known to him who flaunts the
immarcescible purple of poetry before the color-blind.
-- Clark Ashton Smith, "Epigrams and Apothegms"
Steve Hayes
2009-07-01 04:06:54 UTC
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Raw Message
Post by Steuard Jensen
Post by Steve Hayes
For those who have suffered the fate of losing access to newsgroups,
there is a free news server at http://news.eternal-september.org
where you can subscribe to the various newsgroups.
Thank you! I've been trying to figure out if there was a reasonable
replacement for my ISP's news server out there; this looks quite
promising. (It will look even more promising if this message posts
properly and propagates to the world at large.) I may end up
recommending it to people who are looking for a way to participate
here.
I've been using it and its predecessor Motzarella for several months now, and
it works better than my ISP's news server did.

Unfortunately it seems to have come too late and some of the newsgroups
devoted to books and reading seem to have dropped below critical mass.
--
Steve Hayes
Web: http://hayesfam.bravehost.com/litmain.htm
http://www.goodreads.com/hayesstw
http://www.bookcrossing.com/mybookshelf/Methodius
Dave Moore
2009-07-01 07:54:26 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Steuard Jensen
Anyone else out there have good suggestions for free
news servers that carry these groups? (I'd say "free
or inexpensive", but I suspect that when trying to attract
newcomers to the groups it will be a lot easier to get
them to try out "free".)
Steuard Jensen
freenews.netfront.net and nttp.aioe.org

Both free.

Dave
Jack Campin - bogus address
2009-07-01 09:37:34 UTC
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Post by Steuard Jensen
Anyone else out there have good suggestions for free news servers that
carry these groups? (I'd say "free or inexpensive", but I suspect
that when trying to attract newcomers to the groups it will be a lot
easier to get them to try out "free".)
I'm using albasani, which has never given me any problems.

I was using aioe.org before that - they went offline for a while
(due to a flood, I think) but apparently they're back again and
working well.

I think I killfile eternal-september for almost all newsgroups -
as the name suggests it was set up specifically to be a server
for spammers and trolls, and it does what it says on the tin.

==== j a c k at c a m p i n . m e . u k === <http://www.campin.me.uk> ====
Jack Campin, 11 Third St, Newtongrange EH22 4PU, Scotland == mob 07800 739 557
CD-ROMs and free stuff: Scottish music, food intolerance, and Mac logic fonts
****** I killfile Google posts - email me if you want to be whitelisted ******
Steve Hayes
2009-07-01 10:18:24 UTC
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On Wed, 01 Jul 2009 10:37:34 +0100, Jack Campin - bogus address
Post by Jack Campin - bogus address
Post by Steuard Jensen
Anyone else out there have good suggestions for free news servers that
carry these groups? (I'd say "free or inexpensive", but I suspect
that when trying to attract newcomers to the groups it will be a lot
easier to get them to try out "free".)
I'm using albasani, which has never given me any problems.
I was using aioe.org before that - they went offline for a while
(due to a flood, I think) but apparently they're back again and
working well.
I think I killfile eternal-september for almost all newsgroups -
as the name suggests it was set up specifically to be a server
for spammers and trolls, and it does what it says on the tin.
Ah well, then you won't see this.

Perhaps I should killfile albasini, since the name suggests that it was set up
specifically for scammers and phishers, by the Mafia.
--
Steve Hayes
Web: http://hayesfam.bravehost.com/litmain.htm
http://www.goodreads.com/hayesstw
http://www.bookcrossing.com/mybookshelf/Methodius
Peter Ceresole
2009-07-01 10:41:09 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Steve Hayes
On Wed, 01 Jul 2009 10:37:34 +0100, Jack Campin - bogus address
Post by Jack Campin - bogus address
I think I killfile eternal-september for almost all newsgroups -
as the name suggests it was set up specifically to be a server
for spammers and trolls, and it does what it says on the tin.
Ah well, then you won't see this.
Perhaps I should killfile albasini, since the name suggests that it was set up
specifically for scammers and phishers, by the Mafia.
Boys! Boys!

Criminality, yet? How about if it was set up by Dick Cheney?
--
Peter
Steve Hayes
2009-07-01 17:15:47 UTC
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Raw Message
Post by Peter Ceresole
Post by Steve Hayes
On Wed, 01 Jul 2009 10:37:34 +0100, Jack Campin - bogus address
Post by Jack Campin - bogus address
I think I killfile eternal-september for almost all newsgroups -
as the name suggests it was set up specifically to be a server
for spammers and trolls, and it does what it says on the tin.
Ah well, then you won't see this.
Perhaps I should killfile albasini, since the name suggests that it was set up
specifically for scammers and phishers, by the Mafia.
Boys! Boys!
Criminality, yet? How about if it was set up by Dick Cheney?
Though "eternal-september" seems an odd name, it makes me think of spring
flowers, but I don't see what the *name* of a server says about how well it
works. But if one is going to go by the name, the Joao Albasini was a rather
unsavoury, if not criminal character in history.

I started using Mozarella when someone recommended it and my ISPs news server
was getting unreliable. It's worked pretty well, and so when it changed to
eternal-september a couple of weeks ago, I switched to that, and it still
works well, with far less down time than my ISP's server.
--
Steve Hayes
Web: http://hayesfam.bravehost.com/litmain.htm
http://www.goodreads.com/hayesstw
http://www.bookcrossing.com/mybookshelf/Methodius
Peter Ceresole
2009-07-01 18:30:57 UTC
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Post by Steve Hayes
Though "eternal-september" seems an odd name, it makes me think of spring
flowers, but I don't see what the *name* of a server says about how well it
works.
But it says plenty about the sense of humour of the people who named it.
In this case, plenty that's good...
--
Peter
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