The fate of Usenet has been bantered about quite a bit lately. Slashdot posters have proclaimed the death of Usenet (http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=00/02/04/2224201), and even a Washington Post article claims that Usenet may have outlived its usefulness (http://search.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/WPlate/2000-02/04/066l-020400-idx.html). They both seem to suggest that Usenet newsgroups will be replaced by special-purpose web-based discussion forums, like Slashdot. Furthermore, flamewars and a barrage of CGI questions in comp.lang.perl.misc have had many in the Perl community wondering about the viability of comp.lang.perl.misc, and how long it can last. Figure 7-1 shows a sample posting from the newsgroup.
Figure 7-1. A question and answer on comp.lang.perl.misc
Myself, I’m a big fan of the newsgroup. I learned a lot of Perl from it, and more importantly I learned how to answer questions for new Perl programmers. I gained a lot of experience by simply lurking, and then posting, to the group. What follows is an in-depth analysis of the articles posted to comp.lang.perl.misc, all nicely trimmed and categorized—and a little speculation on what makes the group tick.
The Usenet group comp.lang.perl.misc was created in May 1995, deprecating the older newsgroup comp.lang.perl. The charter describes it as a newsgroup ...