news filter? February 2, 2011 2:20 PM   Subscribe

how hard would it be to serve up metafilter like a newgroup? any chance of that happening? I could read it with slrn. I joked about it in a thread, but now that I think about it, it would be nice to have.
posted by bleary to Feature Requests at 2:20 PM (77 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

I don't know a lot about nntp, what would need to happen to get, say, an RSS feed posted to alt.nerds.metafilter?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:22 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


RSS would be fine for posts, but comments aren't served up that way (or, for that matter, syndicated at all), right?
posted by mkultra at 2:30 PM on February 2, 2011


How hard would it be to use capital letters in your post?
posted by gman at 2:34 PM on February 2, 2011 [13 favorites]


http://metatalk.metafilter.com/20310/news-filter/rss is the RSS feed for the this thread. And it includes the comments. Unless I misunderstand what you mean, mkultra.
posted by skynxnex at 2:35 PM on February 2, 2011


gman: "How hard would it be to use capital letters in your post?"

He did. There are three of them. :D
posted by zarq at 2:38 PM on February 2, 2011 [11 favorites]


Oops. She did.
posted by zarq at 2:39 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


bleary: "how hard would it be to serve up metafilter like a newgroup? any chance of that happening? I could read it with slrn. I joked about it in a thread, but now that I think about it, it would be nice to have."

No canonical threading mechanism. Give that up -- perhaps parent comments directly to post and you might have something. Is that (threading) important to you?
posted by boo_radley at 2:44 PM on February 2, 2011


Wow, not only did I not capitalize some of the sentences, I left out the 's' in "newsgroup". I'm feeling lame.

I don't know much about nttp either. I am just a user. I thought it might be nice to have a gateway that posts FPPs and comments to a group, and posts replies in the group to the comment thread. or would that be a horrible idea? I think I might be getting punchy from the snow day.
posted by bleary at 2:45 PM on February 2, 2011


boo_radley: "No canonical threading mechanism. Give that up -- perhaps parent comments directly to post and you might have something. Is that (threading) important to you"

Threading seems anti-metafilter. I thought perhaps FPPs have a top level post, but all replies are directly a reply to them.
posted by bleary at 2:47 PM on February 2, 2011


Hmm, I stand corrected. Though, to my point, it's serving everything in one document, whereas in NNTP, each comment would be its own entity.
posted by mkultra at 2:47 PM on February 2, 2011


Pretty cool idea. But what about cross-posting, moderation, dealing with logins, deleted comments, etc? My knowledge of how newsgroups are implemented and managed is pretty vague, but it seems like there may be some trickiness there.
posted by Maximian at 2:52 PM on February 2, 2011


Maximian: "Pretty cool idea. But what about cross-posting, moderation, dealing with logins, deleted comments, etc? My knowledge of how newsgroups are implemented and managed is pretty vague, but it seems like there may be some trickiness there"

Okay, all good points. Moderation would pretty much suck. This is not a pony it's a rhino. Sorry about that. delete?


(I had been thinking in terms of local groups that some ISPs and schools used to (maybe still do) provide, which didn't go out to general usenet. Less complicated, but still probably too complicated)
posted by bleary at 3:09 PM on February 2, 2011


You could write software that would monitor a comment thread and mirror new comments as newsgroup posts. But there are severe limitations: everything would be on a delay, no threading, no ability to reply, and it's impractical to monitor every thread on the site so you'd have to manually add threads that you're interested in and keep the total number of monitored threads to a small number otherwise you'd be flooding metafilter with an abusive amount of requests. All in all I don't think it would be worth the effort.
posted by Rhomboid at 3:45 PM on February 2, 2011


OK, how about MetaFilter on a YahooGroup? No?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:45 PM on February 2, 2011


No threading? Wouldnt you just make each post a message, and then the comments would just be additional messages RE: the thread title?
posted by smackfu at 3:57 PM on February 2, 2011


Are we seriously having a discussion about NNTP? What fucking year is this - 1996?
posted by GuyZero at 3:57 PM on February 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


Don't knock NNTP, it still has use today. For example gmane mirrors about 15,000 various mailing lists to NTTP. If you're interested in quickly browsing through archives of a mailing list it's a lot faster to do it in a newsreader (where you can e.g. download all headers and bodies for a given date range and then view them offline and instantly) than to read the archives on the web where you have to click and wait for a page to load for each message.
posted by Rhomboid at 4:05 PM on February 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


I guess this is where I cross-link to the Kevin Kelly thread about technology never dying.
posted by GuyZero at 4:12 PM on February 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


telnet metafilter.com_
posted by backseatpilot at 4:24 PM on February 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


> deleted comments, etc?

They could send out cancel messages, which would work as well as they ever did.
posted by jfuller at 4:29 PM on February 2, 2011 [10 favorites]


jfuller: "They could send out cancel messages, which would work as well as they ever did."

Good god. Could somebody, I dunno, cross stitch this into a sampler for me? I'm in love.
posted by boo_radley at 5:54 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Could someone stand on a hilltop and semaphore me? That would be cool.
posted by unSane at 6:35 PM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]




unSane: "Could someone stand on a hilltop and semaphore me? That would be cool"

                    /\
                   /  \
    ___            \  /\ 
   / | \            \/  \
  /  |  \                \
 /\  |  /\          ______|     
/  \ | /  \         |   | |
\  / | \  /         |   | |
 \/  |  \/          |___| |     


posted by boo_radley at 7:11 PM on February 2, 2011 [8 favorites]


Are we seriously having a discussion about NNTP? What fucking year is this - 1996?

Hey man I'm happier here than in the Penny Arcade thread. I still read some stuff via gmane's interface, though I guess I RSS it in. So yeah I guess this is unworkable as a real thing, but as a thing to think about, I like it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:16 PM on February 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think it's funny that among a certain subset of people my age, having embarrassing stuff on Usenet is such a huge shared experience. When Google decided to exclude Usenet from search results by default, it was like they were letting the whole world hit reset on itself.
posted by roll truck roll at 7:28 PM on February 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


jessamyn: "Hey man I'm happier here than in the Penny Arcade thread."

Weirdly, I think that thread is not going horribly. Yes, that is a low bar. Yes, I am still surprised.

NNTP is actually pretty useful, and it's terrible to see kids what dun know their history bagging on it. Maybe it's because usenet turned into a minefield of garbage, and the protocol got ruined by association? I dunno.
posted by boo_radley at 7:30 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Are we seriously having a discussion about NNTP? What fucking year is this - 1996?
Mock if you like, but it's still ridiculous for countless sites with essentially the same function (posts and discussion) to each have their own interface (that has to be written, and maintained, and learned, and worked around when it's not quite as sophisticated as you'd like it to be).
posted by cdward at 7:31 PM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


The idea of NNTP could certainly come back. Something that does for message boards what RSS does for blogs.

The actual NNTP thing of distributing the posting around various servers and mirroring the content around and allowing anyone to post... that's pretty much dead forever.
posted by smackfu at 7:36 PM on February 2, 2011


PubSubHubbub is the Hot New Way of doing the "getting posts/comments to the client" side of this equation; whether it will stick around or be replaced by another Hot New Thing remains to be seen.
posted by cdward at 7:41 PM on February 2, 2011


telnet metafilter.com_
                       __             ____         ___    __                   
       /'\_/`\        /\ \__         /\  _`\   __ /\_ \  /\ \__                
      /\      \     __\ \ ,_\    __  \ \ \L\_\/\_\\//\ \ \ \ ,_\    __   _ __  
      \ \ \__\ \  /'__`\ \ \/  /'__`\ \ \  _\/\/\ \ \ \ \ \ \ \/  /'__`\/\`'__\
       \ \ \_/\ \/\  __/\ \ \_/\ \L\.\_\ \ \/  \ \ \ \_\ \_\ \ \_/\  __/\ \ \/ 
        \ \_\\ \_\ \____\\ \__\ \__/.\_\\ \_\   \ \_\/\____\\ \__\ \____\\ \_\ 
         \/_/ \/_/\/____/ \/__/\/__/\/_/ \/_/    \/_/\/____/ \/__/\/____/ \/_/ 
          community weblog

[E]nter site
[N]ew user
[V]iew favorites
[A]sk MetaFilter
[Q]uit
> _
posted by girih knot at 7:43 PM on February 2, 2011 [51 favorites]


Wow, I thought PubSubHubbub was a joke name.
posted by smackfu at 8:15 PM on February 2, 2011


Weirdly, I think that thread is not going horribly. Yes, that is a low bar

It would likely have been going a hell of a lot worse if certain... ill-advised... comments hadn't been deleted earlier in the thread.

Then again, the night is young, and someone just called someone else an "a-hole."
posted by zarq at 8:20 PM on February 2, 2011


What it really needs:

[T] Trade Wars 2002
[S] Solar Realms Elite
[O] Operation Overkill
[F] Food Fight
[S] Page sysop for chat

posted by Rhomboid at 8:46 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Don't forget Falcon's Eye. <g>
posted by Maximian at 9:06 PM on February 2, 2011


 Root Gopher server: gopher.metafilter.com 

--> 1. Information about Metafilter   
    2. Metafilter Main Page/
    3. Ask Metafilter/
    4. Meta-Taik/
    5. Fun pages that we like a lot but aren't really relevant/
    6. Veronica search
    7. Fun & Games
    8. About gopher

Press ? for Help, q to Quit, u to go up a menu      Page: 1/1
r.i.p.
posted by miyabo at 9:16 PM on February 2, 2011 [7 favorites]


finger metatalk@metafilter.com

"Everyone needs a hug."
posted by tzikeh at 9:25 PM on February 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Rhomboid: "What it really needs:

[T] Trade Wars 2002
[S] Solar Realms Elite
[O] Operation Overkill
[F] Food Fight
[S] Page sysop for chat
"

Where is Red Dragon?
posted by boo_radley at 9:40 PM on February 2, 2011


I thought it might be nice to have a gateway that posts FPPs and comments to a group, and posts replies in the group to the comment thread. or would that be a horrible idea?

meow
posted by pyramid termite at 9:40 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


but let's worry about the important stuff, here - how would we do cascades?
posted by pyramid termite at 9:41 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, and can we get some additional lines and upgrade to 9600 baud modems.

Man i miss BBSing.
posted by hal_c_on at 9:42 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm all for MetaFilter demakes. I would like a printed MetaFilter newspaper, with each post written as an article, and then an enormous Letters to the Editor section containing all of the comments.
posted by ignignokt at 9:52 PM on February 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


Are we seriously having a discussion about NNTP? What fucking year is this - 1996?

Yes

/raises eyebrow
posted by Sparx at 9:58 PM on February 2, 2011


Root Gopher server: gopher.metafilter.com

You know that actually existed for a while, right?
posted by grouse at 9:59 PM on February 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


it was taking 2 or 3 Mb of RAM to run the server, so I decided to finally drop it and removed the service.

Amazing how much of a difference 10 years makes.
posted by txsebastien at 10:13 PM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


holy crap, we had a gopher server?! wow, I love this place.
posted by bleary at 10:20 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, and can we get some additional lines and upgrade to 9600 baud modems.

I saw a phone the other day that would fit my acoustic coupler. First time this century, probably.
posted by pompomtom at 10:37 PM on February 2, 2011


talk.metafilter? Oh god, I think I would die. OF AWESOME.

I could use a Perth sig! A PERTH SIG.
posted by Justinian at 11:08 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am inventing a 1995 computer village.
1:1 in cyberspace
or Florida.
posted by clavdivs at 11:14 PM on February 2, 2011


Can we have zork.metafilter.com?

Because that would be awesome.
posted by tzikeh at 11:36 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can we have zork.metafilter.com?
You are standing in a thread. The stench of snark permeates the air. 
> look around
There is a plate of beans nearby.
> overthink beans
They're just a plate of beans.
posted by Mikey-San at 2:03 AM on February 3, 2011 [11 favorites]


Exits are north, south, and MetaTalk.
>_

posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:51 AM on February 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


Thanks for taking the time to register here at MetaFilter. 
After registering you'll be able to post both links and comments.
Username: 
> WebmasterSEO_

It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.
posted by RichardP at 3:04 AM on February 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


> go metatalk.

You move MetaTalkwards. It is pitch grey. You are likely to be snarked at. Exits are north, west, and flameout.

posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:40 AM on February 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


What about http://gwene.org/? also http://www.methodize.org/nntprss/ might do the trick.
posted by jaymzjulian at 4:26 AM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


In all seriousness, how hard would it be to bring the Gopher site back online?
posted by schmod at 7:14 AM on February 3, 2011


alt.metafilter.cats.declaw
alt.metafilter.circumcision.male
alt.metafilter.circumcision.female
alt.metafilter.boingboing.cory-doctorow
alt.metafilter.boingboing.xeni
alt.metafilter.sarah-palin.general
alt.metafilter.sarah-palin.rants
alt.metafilter.sarah-palin.quotations
alt.metafilter.sarah-palin.guns
alt.metafilter.sarah-palin.bikinis
alt.metafilter.sarah-palin.guns-and-bikinis
alt.metafilter.fat
alt.metafilter.fat-fat-the-water-rat
alt.metafilter.comic-sans
posted by jfuller at 8:28 AM on February 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Fuck y'all, I've been whistling at 300 baud this entire time!
♪ ♬ tweeeeeEEEEEeeeeeeshhshhhseeeeshssshshhhhhhhs ♪ ♬ ♬ ♩
posted by not_on_display at 10:03 AM on February 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


After discovering the awesome Cathode app for OSX, I posted this picture to Facebook.

Sometimes you *want* that retro feel. However, that's my current SLRN setup, just a vintage terminal emulation/look. 8-)
posted by mrbill at 11:01 AM on February 3, 2011


You forgot

alt.metafilter.butter-eater.hurf-durf
posted by mrbill at 11:01 AM on February 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sweet, sweet killfiles
posted by banshee at 11:08 AM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


> go flameout

(First picking up the chainsaw.)
You cut off your hand. You are now standing in a pool of blood of your own blood, while passers-by laugh at you. On the ground, there is a severed hand, middle finger extended. Exits are north, south, and banhammer.

>_


posted by kaibutsu at 12:10 PM on February 3, 2011


One of the first things I did when I got a G1 was to ssh in to one of my shell accounts and post to a local newsgroup.

I had a shell account on Enteract, a Chicago isp, which was bought by someone then someone else, but they still kept the shell accounts around for a long time. They had internal newsgroups, and when they finally pulled the plug on everything, users decided to up and get their own box with its own newsgroups. (it used to be something off ebay. these days it is on linode).

I've actually been too busy to keep up with the newsgroups there (too busy reading metafilter), but I check in from time to time and we even had a meetup at the Vienna Beef factory the other day. long time no see. and I met mr. bleary through all this.

There could be news.metafilter.com off in its own little corner living its own life without copying posts maybe? It's not like you guys copy posts and comments on to irc, or do you? I was too afraid of snark to go on mefis irc.
posted by bleary at 12:13 PM on February 3, 2011


It wouldn't be that difficult to expose MetaFilter in a variety of formats (NNTP, Gopher, Videotext) if there was some API exposed ... but AFAIK, the only ways you can get MetaFilter are either as RSS or HTML.

RSS to an NNTP spool file (that you'd read like an offline cache) probably isn't impossible though. You could probably rig something up that scraped all the RSS feeds and then turned each one into a thread; make the post the top of the thread and then have all the comments as responses to that post. That would make it fairly easy to read with slrn.

I'm probably not going to actually do it, but if you're OK with read-only and just refreshing everything every few minutes (whatever the maximum rate is you're allowed to hit the RSS feeds) you could probably do it with some relatively simple XML transforms and scripts.

Posting would be harder.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:59 PM on February 3, 2011


Cathode is for posers. It's a real green-screen terminal or it ain't.

Also, why doesn't this site have a professional paper-white background?

(man, you just cannot google for old-fashioned x-terminal units these days. sheesh)
posted by GuyZero at 1:18 PM on February 3, 2011


GWENE is a RSS-NNTP gateway. Or so it claims.
posted by GuyZero at 1:19 PM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Pine is not elm.
posted by not_on_display at 1:58 PM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


In alt.? No way, we'll run this shit ourselves:

metafilter.mefi
metafilter.ask
metafilter.music
metafilter.music.binaries
metafilter.irl
metafilter.projects
metafilter.jobs

Read-only, so you don't have to worry about logging in or posting NNTP->metafilter. Very flat threading: FPPs will be posts and comments will be replies.
posted by kenko at 3:09 PM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


You could probably rig something up that scraped all the RSS feeds and then turned each one into a thread

Uh... by my rough estimation from the infodump there are currently about 770 + 31,700 ≅ 32,500 open threads on the blue and green, respectively. (I don't recall off-hand how long MeTa threads are open but threads there are often prematurely closed which isn't reflected in the infodump so it doesn't really matter.) If you limited your request rate to one hit every 30 seconds it would take about 11 days to read the RSS feed for every open thread one time. There's no way to do this that isn't horribly abusive, or without a update lag time measured in double-digit days.
posted by Rhomboid at 3:56 PM on February 3, 2011


It would be cool if we had an API for logging in and commenting. Someone could do a command line interface, or whatever they wanted. We could use OAuth like facebook.
posted by delmoi at 5:25 PM on February 3, 2011

There's no way to do this that isn't horribly abusive, or without a update lag time measured in double-digit days.
Well yeah, you'd want a feed of new comments site-wide.
posted by cdward at 5:41 PM on February 3, 2011


Are we seriously having a discussion about NNTP? What fucking year is this

So far as UI goes, I've never been even remotely as happy with a web forum as I was reading newsgroups with nn.
posted by Zed at 9:38 AM on February 4, 2011


11 days to read the RSS feed for every open thread one time

Yeah, I should have been more clear, I was thinking of this as a day-forward kind of deal, not something that would give you the archive. For that you'd really want an API with less overhead than scraping, or better yet a snapshot of the database...
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:17 PM on February 4, 2011


It would be cool if we had an API...

Has metafilter ever looked into adding an API? That would be pretty awesome.

I'm so, so sorry, PB
posted by !Jim at 12:36 PM on February 5, 2011


We have the Infodump!
posted by pb (staff) at 4:24 PM on February 5, 2011


Yeah, what kenko said - alt.* was ever a cesspool, and speaking as someone who used to spend almost all her time in news.groups, the wank about whether it would be rec.metafilter.* or talk.metafilter.* or soc.metafilter.* would be worse than the comics groups reorg.

talk.metafilter.talk would have been an awesome groupname, though.
posted by catlet at 4:27 PM on February 5, 2011


NNTP when you're the one running the server is a whole different plate of beans to USENET proper , otherwise known as the pit of voles. (Or is that fanfiction.net ?)

The reason no one wants to resurrect NNTP these days for website commenting is because it's too hard to extend in useful ways because you have to get support in the client for any new features. When you can control the way the client sees your data (as you do on the web), then you have far more flexibility†.

Where by flexibility I really mean "show them adverts" of course.
posted by pharm at 7:04 AM on February 6, 2011


That should be "presents" rather than "sees" your data of course. Sigh.
posted by pharm at 9:16 AM on February 6, 2011


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