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February 14th, 2006

History of WebDiscuss

By JTK

Web Discuss
Non-Usenet Newsgroup Community

For about 5 years now I have been reading and participating in an online free speech experiment/newsgroup called WebDiscuss.

This news server was orginally hosted by LinkExchange and was evidently set up to discuss banner ads and other topics related to LinkExchanges service.

Somewhere along the line the discussion changed – there was a conflict between those anal retentive types who wanted us to stay on topic, and then there were those of us that wanted it to become a forum for free speech.

Left on our own, with out any big brother types looking over our shoulders, free speech won out. Why? Because those of us that believed in the free speech aspect continued to post as we saw fit and eventually the on topic guys became frustrated and left. So as new people began to frequent this server, free speech was the defacto standard.

So now we had a self-regulated newsgroup that supported free speech and we all lived happily ever after – not! Originally WebDiscuss was moved to a another server when Microsoft took over LinkExchange and decided to shut us down.

It lived happily on this new server for a couple of years until the administer of that server got into a heated flame war, began to censor and block regulars, and eventually threw us off.

WebDiscuss newsgroup is now in the hands of a few the people responsible for the WebDiscuss membership and website, just as it should be.

Free speech has a way of drawing out your real opinions and your opinions inevitably will conflict with someone elses. This not only makes for very interesting discussion, but when religion, politics, etc are the topics it often degenerates into: Flame Wars! For the uninitiated flame wars are very heated arguments that some times de-evolve all the way into name calling, threats, etc. – and this is okay too.

Nobody is hurt ( well physically anyway ) and if you are open it is a great way to learn about other points of view as well as about yourself. Anyway, most of the posts are not flames and tend to be about computers and the WWW especially.

At this point I would be remiss if I did not talk about the regulars of WebDiscuss, as they are the lifeblood of the NG. We are nothing if not diverse as we have participants from early teens to 50+, from all over the U.S. , Europe, and Asia. There are artists, programmers, hardware specialists, and web designers – students, professionals, and amateurs.

Many of my opinions on various subjects have been shaped by these people. For example my thoughts about the war in Kosovo was totally reshaped by reading the thoughts of a regular who is from the region. There is at least one regualr that is like a parrot and just waits for someone to post something that he can flame them about; parroting the arguing techniques of yet another member.

Another regular believes he has lived many lifetimes and will live many more – and in one of these lifetimes he will build a space ship for interstellar travel and he must find a mate in one of the lifetimes before then so that she can be his co-pilot.

So if you dont mind your thoughts and opinions being challenged, need some help with a web project, or just want to interact with an interesting mixture of people – drop by some time. You can find the server here: WebDiscuss Its not for everyone, but maybe its for you.

If you even think it might be you owe it to yourself to drop by and find out. Being involved with the people that make up WebDiscuss has been one of the most rewarding experiences I have had online.

One Response

  1. Jtk Says:

    Hey Now! I had forgotten all about this little mini-article. Great to see it and remember the glory days of WD!

    I saw a link exchange banner the other day and had a flashback :)

    JTk

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