Modern social media could have learned some useful things from Usenet. Mostly, they haven’t.
Here are some of those lessons:
- Reverse chronological feeds (most recent first) are a disaster.
- Proper threading maintains context
- Every discussion group needs a nominal topic, even if that’s “friendly conversation”
- Groups can be formally or informally moderated, but when there is no moderation, the group explodes into chaos
- Every user needs an obvious and easy killfile
- No mercy for spammers, ever
- Good communities form around a nucleus of people who write good things
- Persistent pseudonyms become real people. Anonymous and drive-by posters don’t make good neighbors.