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20 October, 2006

Nostalgia vs. Progression

In a post primarily about the decline of e-mail based discussion groups, Hippydave discusses the alternative career routes of long-established bands: nostalia or progression.  Or a combination of the two, though polarity is undeniably more common.

Worth reading, it broadly restates (or at least overlaps) the endless 'prog'-or-progressive debate, mainly in the context of Marillion.

On the initial topic (e-mail groups vs. online fora), I definitely favour the latter, for one main reason: threads. For me, that's the 'killer app' of fora, with which e-mail lists can't compete. I drastically prefer to read the topics I choose, rather than an undifferentiated stream of all traffic.
I liked the pt-darkmatter Porcupine Tree Group at Yahoo!, but found that I gravitated to the PT Forum instead when that became available. The 'signal-to-noise' ratio is probably no different, and I suspect pt-darkmatter has slightly better-informed participants, but at the PT Forum I don't need to read anything off-topic (e.g. last night's US TV programmes), nor on-topic subjects that don't interest me (e.g. musicians' technical discussions).

[Via Tim.]


I see your point on signal-to-noise ratios, but I find that the extra time spent checking and navigating web forums is longer that the time skimming and deleting off-topic postings on most mailing lists. This may be because I'm still on dialup, and I find web forums with all those graphic avatars and other cruft take forever to load.

Most mailing lists support threading if you use a decent mail program (i.e not Microsoft Outlook), although that gets weakened by poor thread disclipline (mostly from Outlook users)

One of these days someone will come up with a 'killer app' that combines the best elements of both. Although I think the usability of web fora would be dramatically improved by the simple addition of RSS feeds - I can't imagine the Blogosphere without RSS.

Posted by Tim Hall at October 22, 2006 04:48 PM
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