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    make bbs, give it some hype as solving business communication problems, sell to enterprise. become rich.

    Worked for slack and irc.

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      make bbs, give it some hype as solving business communication problems, sell to enterprise. become rich.

      This is how Citadel the BBS became Citadel/UX.

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        Ok, I see where you’re going with this. They did update it into groupware. I don’t think it’s quite what @ac had in mind with Slack/IRC reference, though. The Citadel page…


        …shows a UX that’s quite different from the chat-oriented BBS with chat being just one feature among many on the bottom. Whereas, Slack is much like IRC in that it centers on chat, it happens in chat rooms, and the extended features or UX is all about supporting that. That’s the core experience.

        If done for BBS’s, the new service would have to create the BBS experience in useful way. It would have to present the services in a nice-looking textual UI or graphic one with similar style. The system should have easy navigation with keyboards. It should support web access. The product or project should have a thriving community. It needs notifications for whatever happens in its space. It should… oh wait, someone already did something like that:


        Now, just need to re-target such a proven method to new business needs in a market that would tolerate terminal apps. Maybe the mainframe migration market or something P2P/Owncloud-style involving dirt-cheap computers (eg Pi’s) needing bloatfree apps. Start with Mastodon in a BBS. Ok, kidding aside, I’m still giving @jcs credit for a modern BBS app that was both fun and useful given Lobsters community does useful things. If being real about it, I’d prefer an API so native apps can connect to it as an alternative to web UI. Might already have one…

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          To be honest, the lobste.rs code would be a good start for a bulletin board within orgs.

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            Most people just can’t deal with a threaded conversation view. Most popular forums have a flat reply structure.

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              I do find them easier to follow if few to no tangent discussions. Especially if reply automatically adds parent’s name, timestamp, and/or a link back. Even anon’s can be differentiated that way.

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                Well I like threaded conversations too, and granted, they’re not that un-prevalent (Reddit is a huge site that uses them). But I bet if you’d ask there’s a large proportion of Reddit’s users who’d prefer a flat structure. I have absolutely no proof though!

                FWIW the monstrosities that are “corporate intranets” generally ape the most popular format - one hopes it’s because there’s been market research done on what people prefer.

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            Actually, Citadel has builtin IRC-like chat: http://www.citadel.org/doku.php/documentation:appproto:im

            But yes, it’s groupware, of the very old variety, but it went directly from BBS -> Corporate Groupware with all the functions we’d expect: mail, chat, search, “portals,” and so on. That’s exactly what made me think that the model is viable, since the thing is still around, alive, and kicking :)

            edit: just to extend, I think it could very easily be made to support such things, or as @ac says, lobste.rs itself could be an interesting model for the same.

            And I agree, a modern BBS would be useful, replete with things like Fido and the like, esp. if they can be anonymous & private. Usenet, DEC NOTES, &c. could all be useful models in the right environment; I’ve thought about & experimented with the same atop Gopher, SMAP, &c. It’s a fun model for experimentation.

            edit 2 to expand even further, I’d love something that could do:

            • authenticated & signed messages.
            • multi-party multi-channel chat with PFS.
            • out of band, async chat/mail.
            • with a semi-generic RPC that could be easily used for other things.

            News, chat, mail, and simple other services would be pretty nice with decent encryption (Noise + decent PGP-alike with ephemeral signed keys like we did at Wickr), signing, &c. , but I’m getting ahead of myself.

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              My point was that they survived by dumping the BBS model. Whereas, Slack is recognizable as IRC-like to anyone who even dabbled in IRC. Citadel would be further proof that businesses or projects can pivot into something the market is demanding to survive. That’s not controversial. It is controversial if someone tells me they have a modern offering that will succeed in the Web era that’s designed like a BBS. Honestly, I’d probably not even look at it at this point the survival rate is so low. I was really stretching my mind for existing,surviving apps with terminals in my prior comment.

              I like your idea for a text-only solution for collaboration with privacy features. There could even be uptake among people in UNIX userbase or on older hardware. It would be a tiny market that I wouldn’t bet on. What I considered for this is to pick the kind of text-based tools people are already using to enhance them with security. Possibly make a distro that’s private/secure by default that only supplies those.

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        I disagree with the idea that there’s anything technological that distinguishes BBSs from the modern social media landscape. BBSs run on fundamentally the same model as web forums which are, collectively, fairing poorly in the Facebook era. Forums and BBSs both are fundamentally centralized (there’s the possibility for federation but in practice you don’t really see it), pseudonymous, and cheap to start or access. The last two attributes which aren’t shared with Facebook, as the last ~10 years have shown, aren’t compelling enough to draw a significant user base away from FB. While there are a lot of things that go into a successful BBS users are the table stakes.

        A successful modern BBS doesn’t need more software, it needs users that see value in it.

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          I think there is something they have other things in common as well. They are functional, rather than fancy. Facebook got its hype without ever looking modern. Some forums had the same happening to them. Facebook alternatives largely focused on other areas than being practical.

          Similar things could be said about Gmail, Google, eBay, Craigslist and Amazon as well as many chat platforms.

          I don’t think you are wrong at all, in fact I agree, I have my doubts about the reason for Facebook being successful is real names. However I do agree, that the lack of some form of centralization or the lack of really simple federation is a reason.

          Another thing is that BBSs and Facebook are rather different from Facebook, when it comes to the intent and structure of users sending content. Facebooks only structure is Comments and Time. There is nothing like “off topic”, really. There is also no moderator watching over things outside of their Groups feature. Also forums and BBSs while in general allowing for such things, don’t really make it a normal action to decide on what you read (follow) or plan events. Facebook and many other social networking sites focus on human interaction/communication over everything, while BBSs and forums focus on topics in strong hierarchy. You have a forum/BBS about the BSDs, then you have subsections about the individual BSDs, each having something about the base system, applications, hardware, programming, news, you have an Off Topic general talk section, something about meeting, something about jobs, in each of those you have threads on more specific topics/problems. You have a search functionality to use this kind of hierarchy and so on.

          I think Facebook benefits from it basically being a completely open way to distract yourself. People write about random happenings, and people expect to read rather random parts.

          It will always show you more, if you want, because that’s what those networks aim for (keeping users busy on their website). This is not what your average forum aims for. You usually arrive looking for information and write to ask or inform.

          Of course that’s not true for every forum out there, but even though it might not really be big technical difference it certainly is a difference in use case. It probably is also why many alternatives didn’t get there. They often were topic heavy, sometimes even on accident. For example alternative that came up for privacy reasons had privacy as a very dominant topic. There was a big fraction of Linux/BSD/… users or at least very tech savvy people. So random strolling there never was really random.