Cutting back on Usenet

This feels very strange.

I decided last year that I'd done Usenet politics for long enough and was going to start cutting back, including getting out of doing Usenet newsgroup creation. The deadline is next month, so now I'm starting to really trim back. This past weekend, I started figuring out what I was going to do about Stanford's news peering and how I was going to cut it back to something that looks more like a top-tier university news server instead of a strange expression of my Usenet hobby and personal whims.

So today I deleted a bunch of peers, started mailing other peers about dropping or reconfiguring feeds, and started getting a handle on who the servers are talking to again. (It's really a credit to this software that it's run with very little intervention for months at a time; I've not had time to pay attention to it.)

It's not really a good feeling. Whenever I touch Usenet again, I remember how much I like it, and I want to go off and fine-tune feeds and get peers to fine-tune them and find more peers and be a more central site again for text Usenet, and I have to keep reminding myself that there aren't enough hours in the day and I'm already involved in way too much. But it's painfully difficult to give up a hobby, particularly one that I've been playing with for ten years. (I'm not giving it up entirely, mind, but I'm doing an upgrade of the news servers to Debian this fall, fixing a few automation problems, adding spam filtering to our mail to news gateway, and then will be trying to leave them completely alone for at least a year.)

Part of the trouble is honestly an ego thing. I made the biggest splash of any community in my life on Usenet. For a long time, I've been a significant figure in Usenet politics, around Usenet software, and in Usenet peering. There's no getting around it -- that's a nice feeling, and it's hard to give it up. I liked being listened to and I liked having a lot of leverage, but if I'm not going to stay engaged in the politics and discussions, it doesn't make sense for me to try to keep the leverage or to continue to occupy that sort of position. I won't, even if I want to, and that's the way it should be. Still, I come away from that decision feeling smaller.

However, it's time to stop. I want to get the time back so that I can use it to work on Debian, or Kerberos software, or OpenAFS, or other things that involve less ego gratification but more productive and important work somewhat closer to the leading edge of technology (and somewhat more relevant to my day job). For that matter, I want to get the Usenet politics and peering time back so that I can use some of it to work on INN; I'm not going to give up the software side, and there's certainly a lot of work there that needs to get done.

Goal: By the time I go on vacation next month, unsubscribe from news.groups permanently, document and release the software that I use to maintain the ftp.isc.org archives, and finish some automation around the news.announce.newgroups posting so that I can get more time back there as well. By the end of the year, move all of Stanford's news servers to Debian (must decide if I'm going to create my own Debian packages or use Marco's), move the mail to news gateway to a separate system and spam-filter it, and possibly automate notification to peers that the server is running a backlog trying to talk to them. By next summer, release INN 2.5.

Posted: 2006-09-05 21:38 — Why no comments?

By the way, in case you still have the macromedia feed going and didn't notice it died... well, some punk at Adobe turned the server off, so feel free to drop the feed.

Posted by rone at 2006-09-05 23:10

Yeah, I dropped that last night. Grr.

Posted by eagle at 2006-09-06 11:06

Last spun 2013-07-01 from thread modified 2013-01-04