The more I hang out on usenet, the more I realize that it has no use as a place for serious discussion. If we want to bring the golden age of usenet (1984) back, we need to take serious steps. I don’t know that it can be done, or even that taking the required steps would be a particularly good idea (I suspect not). However, the following is what would need to be done to save usenet:
Crossposting has no value, and should be disabled on all news servers world wide; articles with more than one group in the header should be rejected, and the posting account should be terminated. Also, news servers should run fuzzy matches to look for near identical articles in multiple groups, cancel them, and terminate the posters account. I am also of the opinion that: people who have not been regularly downloading the headers of a particular group for at least a month, and have not responded to at least 10 other threads, should not be allowed to start new threads. All alt.binaries groups should be removed, and any post with an attachment (of whatever encoding or scheme) should be disallowed, and the poster banned. No messages with http or ftp links should be allowed on standard usenet; a separate set of groups that need these (like biz and jobs) should be created and moderated; links should be removed from the rest of usenet. No posts shorter than 10 lines should be allowed. No posts longer than 1000 lines should be allowed. No posts that are made up of over 40% quoted text should be allowed. All local groups (like alt.toronto) should restrict posting and reading to IP’s located in that geographic area. All groups with less than one post per week should be deleted, and not allowed to be recreated for at least one year. All groups should have an associated owner, with verified postal and electronic address. If the owners usenet account is removed, groups s/he owns should be deleted. All usenet posts should be required to have a valid electronic address in the reply-to and other headers. All usenet services should require users to have a verified postal address on record, and verify posters identity through passport or other government document before allowing either reading or posting. The free.* and alt.* groups should be removed, as they promote chaos and stupid groups. News servers should be disallowed from inserting spam for the service at the bottom of posters messages. News services should be required to share the list of banned users, and not allow account re-creation for users who just had an account removed from another news server. Usenet2 tried, but it didn’t go nearly far enough. The usenet needs to be cleaned up, so it can become a valid forum for discussion once more. Okay, I’m done ranting, now.