Developer Perspective: Newsgroups or forums?

Yesterday I was talking with Betsy and
Tina about Newsgroups vs. Forums, and whether developers prefer one over the other.
For me, it's kind of a mixed bag.  In general, I like the rich client experience
that I see in forums, but I also like the ability to search across newsgroups with Google
. But then again I'm not a developer (and I've never even played one on
TV, although I did work in the computer center in college, where my claim to fame
was deleting everything in [1,2]  ;-)  So I'd love to hear what *you*
-- do you have a preference, and if so, why?  Blog it and let me know
in the comments, or send me email at lauraj at

[Now Playing: Buffalo Springfield - Expecting to Fly (03:43)]

Comments (8)

  1. I prefer the idea of newsgroups but it never seems to work out like I want. I am able to find information easier on forums and I am able to "subscribe" to them, usually, so any new posts will be mailed to me.

  2. G says:

    NNTP through Outlook Express all the way baby! You can flag messages, watch messages, sort messages, search messages, expand and collapse messages … save messages, forward messages … I’m sure there’s more that I’m not thinking of.

    I’ve used NNTP newsgroups via Outlook Express for years and I’ve never really felt comfortable with the Forums. I can fly around the newsgroups and perform actions all over the place. With the forums, it’s like I just read and scroll and blah, blah, blah ….

    Even this reply is taking me an abnormally long time to write because I’m not used to it!

    I’ll send this message to your blog and I’ll forget about it. In Outlook Express, I’d flag it and check back on it.

  3. tim says:

    for me, newsgroups are much better…forums are usually spread out, you have to register, etc. i wish every "news" standard could move to a simple model…nntp works because i can configure multiple profiles in outlook express and only launch one place to see my threaded discussions, etc…not go to xyz blog, or google group a, or custom forum b, etc…


  4. Kent Sharkey says:

    Forums for me. The only way I use newsgroups is the Google search engine over them. However, I’ve been bad for going to lately, so perhaps it is moot.

    TTFN – Kent

  5. Both. Forums work well for certain types of community (see ‘s forums), and not for others.

    I personally preffer forums for the simple reason that people tend to be less big headed, and the traffic is lower so you can keep on top of it.

  6. Newsgroups. I find forums dispersive. First: every site has its own… this creates also problems of managing the community, screening them for inappropriate or illegal material as well. Second: some forums are less featureful than newsgroups. Yes, on newsgroups you can’ t link your image, or you can’t have your avatar, or have fancy html… but this also means that on usenet you focus more on the message than on a forum.

  7. lauraj says:

    Thanks, everyone, for your comments, they have been very helpful!

  8. Ron Green says:

    Definitely forums.

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