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Lugnet down?

Postby Draykov » Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:38 pm

Anyone know what's going on with Lugnet? Seems like it's been down for a couple of days now.

Edit: looks to be up now.
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Re: Lugnet down?

Postby Rook » Wed Jan 25, 2012 11:46 am

Was it ever up? I tried to become a member about 6-12 months ago, and haven’t heard back. I’ve heard from other AFOLs have had the same story with some waiting actual years. If you've got some inside knowledge, is this something that the community is looking at updating/making more user friendly?
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Re: Lugnet down?

Postby legodavee123 » Wed Jan 25, 2012 2:29 pm

Rook wrote:Was it ever up?


It's *mostly* still there for anyone who still wants to use an NNTP interface.

The newsgroups that are there are pretty light traffic-wise, and has been going *slowly* downhill since roughly mid-2001 (it went way up from 1998 until 2000 when it peaked). Since about 2005, the administration changed majorly, and the site has mostly just been kept alive for historical uses.

Rook wrote:I tried to become a member about 6-12 months ago, and haven’t heard back. I’ve heard from other AFOLs have had the same story with some waiting actual years. If you've got some inside knowledge, is this something that the community is looking at updating/making more user friendly?


"Member" is an unfortunate term.

In order to post to LUGNET, you need to have a posting setup with them, which is NOT a "membership". It's basically something that a LUGNET admin has to acknowledge in order to let you post, and requires a valid name and email address. That'll let you post via email, via NNTP, or via the web interface. HOWEVER, before your posts appear, you'll have to manually verify them via email (VERY ANNOYING).

However, there's also something called "membership". In late 1999, LUGNET introduced "memberships", which essentially was a way to support LUGNET financially. Being a "member" allows you to:
- Post WITHOUT email verification, but only if using the web interface.
- Maintain a set list using LUGNET's set database.
- Host limited (textural) web content.
- View LUGNET without ads banners.

Becoming a "member" ALSO requires administrative action, but it ALSO requires a $10 payment, *AND* it requires that you have a posting setup.

The problem is that, well, nobody's actively maintaining the admin side of things on LUGNET. The admin interface is very annoying and complex-- it was originally created to run on the UNIX command line, and NOT through a web interface (a very bare-bones interface was added later). So it's difficult for admins to use. Also, there was never any pro-active attempt to keep admins who would be active. As far as I know, there are 6 people with admin privileges for posting/member setups, and those people aren't really able to perform *all* of the needed functions (only 2 of the 6). And pretty much all 6 members aren't really interested in updating the system, or have forgotten how to do so.

So... it's not getting better in any hurry. It's mostly there for historical reference-- so if you weren't already a member or had your posting setup done in 2006 or so, chances are slim that you'll get it set up now. It's still possible-- you just need to get the attention of one of the 2 admins who can get your account set up.

As for making it more friendly? Um... There's currently some new functionality under development at LUGNET, but I doubt that the existing newsgroup system will become friendlier to use any time soon. The NEW content might be, but the old content, probably not.

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Re: Lugnet down?

Postby Rook » Thu Jan 26, 2012 1:43 pm

Ah thanks for the history lesson, it was actually what I was wanting hear more about. Coming out the "dark ages" in 2001 and getting online in 2006 has really left me out of the loop of how the AFOL & LUG communities developed. It seems that there's lot of protocols and rules and regulations but that they are not very accessible to general public, which is surprising for a basic internet savvy generation. I would love for Lego® to kind of lead the charge into the new era of AFOLs &LUGs but I find to often that things that are put together for AFOLs tend to be over run by non-AFOLs. Getting something like that more organized on a global level with information to the general public would be awesome. I think there are ton of events that happen regularly that people would travel to do and see if the network/facilitator was in place.
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Re: Lugnet down?

Postby Draykov » Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:32 pm

legodavee123 wrote:- Maintain a set list using LUGNET's set database.


That's pretty much all I've ever used it for.

Rook wrote:Coming out the "dark ages" in 2001...


That's more or less the same for me. If memory serves, by that time, .space had splintered off into Classic Space.
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Re: Lugnet down?

Postby legodavee123 » Sat Jan 28, 2012 10:31 pm

Rook wrote:Ah thanks for the history lesson, it was actually what I was wanting hear more about. Coming out the "dark ages" in 2001 and getting online in 2006 has really left me out of the loop of how the AFOL & LUG communities developed.


Well, it won't give you much texturally, but:
http://www.suave.net/~dave/afol_history.pl?timeline=1

Rook wrote:It seems that there's lot of protocols and rules and regulations but that they are not very accessible to general public, which is surprising for a basic internet savvy generation.


Actually, considering when it was built, it was very accessible-- But it's based on an NNTP model. You might say that today's generation is *WEB* savvy, but not necessarily *INTERNET* savvy. Essentially, it was built when it looked like discussion online was going to be done using an NNTP-style model, and that the web was going to be more geared towards static web content, or things that required more advanced or automated inputs. But around 2000-2001, things started turn turn around, and web-based discussion forums started appearing more and more. By 2003 or 2004, it was clear that NNTP was going to die, and the web would take over.

In that sense, if you were familiar with NNTP, and how it worked, LUGNET wasn't actually that difficult to work with. Having posting setups was pretty common for controlled boards, and LUGNET worked like a lot of other things did at the time. What it did NOT do was give you a simple path via the web to automatically set up user accounts, and it didn't follow what would later become the standard for defining things like "membership".

Basically, when you look at LUGNET, you're seeing someone's vision from about 1997 or 1998, and what their prediction of the future of online discussion might look like. The fact that it's still in existence is actually pretty amazing!

Rook wrote:I would love for Lego® to kind of lead the charge into the new era of AFOLs &LUGs but I find to often that things that are put together for AFOLs tend to be over run by non-AFOLs. Getting something like that more organized on a global level with information to the general public would be awesome. I think there are ton of events that happen regularly that people would travel to do and see if the network/facilitator was in place.


LEGO has always sort of *wanted* it to happen, but hasn't thanks to lack of resources. In order to do it, they'd have to put in a TON of money. They've tried a few times to co-ordinate with fans such that hobbyists are the ones at the wheel, with LEGO's support, but those projects have also eventually failed for various reasons.

The last remnant of LEGO-centric coordination is the Ambassador program, but it's not really living up to its original intention. These days, I get the impression that it's more of an open-ended question and answer session with LEGO, rather than a source of genuine co-ordination. So many other, more specialized channels exist with the LEGO company and fans that the Ambassador program isn't really "special", and doesn't really serve the community nor the LEGO company as well as the various other facets of the community that are more targeted towards particular functions.

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