How useful are newsgroups?

I think tech blogging might have overtaken newsgroups. Not in terms of quantity, but definitely quality.
Consider this comment I just saw moments ago (thus prompting this post):

> is there a good, easy and safe way to:
> – put all threads into a ‘wait until I tell you to continue’

Yes, don’t use assynchronous processes that have to be synchronized.

I don’t need to explain here why it’s wrong, but it is. This is the inherent danger of using newsgroups to get help on software development topics.

There was a time a long time ago when I spent a lot of time on VB newsgroups answering people’s questions on how to things or solve problems they were having, but I gradually found less and less time to do this, especially when carefully thought-out replies were lost in the midst of things like this. Now I find that CodeProject or even MSDN itself are often better places to find accurate information. Moderated newsgroups that only experts (so not me) could post answers on might be better, but that introduces a raft of problems, not least of which, defining “expert”.  All these things are voluntary, and real experts have only the same hours in the day as the rest of us.

Could something like Twitter help here?  It would be lovely to build a community of respected “answerers”, where you could choose those users whose answers you generally find useful, and filter out the detritus.  If you could post a question somewhere, it pops up on an RSS feed, and if someone knows the answer and has a few minutes, they post it.

Am I missing something?

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2 thoughts on “How useful are newsgroups?

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