Re: Thoughts on NodeNet

Michael Nielsen (
Mon, 8 Jun 1998 11:27:09 -0600 (MDT)

On Mon, 8 Jun 1998, Sarah Marr wrote:

> At 21:55 05/06/98 -0600, Michael Nielsen wrote:
> >How will this system differ from Usenet?
> >
> >Consider especially that there already exist structures for moderation, a
> >world-wide system for distribution, a large user-base, and tested
> >protocols. Propogation is reasonably fast and reliable.
> I think you answered this in your mail.

Hmm. I sketched one possible solution, that _might_ be feasible, with a
lot of work. Other solutions might also be feasible, and perhaps
function rather better. I'd be interested to hear other people's

> One other answer is, 'marketing'
> (cf. Betamax vs. VHS).

Marketing only works up to a point, and it costs money. I don't know how
much money has been invested in Usenet, but I imagine hundreds of
millions, at a minimum. Certain key players, such as Microsoft and
Netscape, have invested considerable time and resources in integrating
Usenet into their product.

Overcoming this initial investment will require some pretty hefty
marketing. I note that Usenet II does not seem to have taken off.

> >I am consistently amazed at the extent to which technical innovation is
> >centralized in the US. This has great cost benefits for people wishing
> >to reach innovators. If I wished to reach the technical innovators of
> >tomorrow, I'd target Stanford, Caltech, Berkeley, MIT, and a few other
> >places, inviting bright undergraduates and graduate students to take
> >part.
> Free membership for the best essay written by an undergraduate in the
> following disciplines, etc.

Thus making it a status thing. That's a good idea.

Michael Nielsen

"I know the answer! The answer lies within the heart of all mankind!
The answer is twelve? I think I'm in the wrong building."
- Charles Schulz