I still thing the internet from today, especially social media, has a lot to learn of the ecosystem of these old days - especially usenet. Features we had in newsreaders to find, save, organise posts - filters, killfiles, saving, collate into collections - are sorely missing from . And some of the idioms of the days could do with a revival (standard format for collections, finger, plan files, geek codes) perhaps as microformats Oui, je suis d’accord.
We have more problems with noise, trolls, fame-seekers, topic hijacking, fakeries etc. now than we had then, and the way communities had evolved to handle it could be useful patterns even now
I think you're spot on about the benefits to be gained if the internet users copied the best practices that came out of Usenet community development. Because that might provide the community that Usenet had - and most of the web lacks.
To some extent, most of our current community problems could be expected however. Because the web and Usenet came into existence in very different ways.
Usenet participants developed a sense of community because they were actively involved in bringing Usenet into existence. They were participants
rather than simple users
. But such large-scale community development doesn't seem to happen very often on the web. Most of today's internet is released as a fully developed experience which is then 'sold' to a target audience
As a result, much of the web has devolved into a form of interactive entertainment, designed for an audience
rather than as a vehicle to serve as a source of community. Some of the more successful ventures (Twitter, most MMORPGs, etc.) have succeeded in bringing about a faux
community experience of sorts. But these "user experiences" have more in common with affinity groups or poker clubs than they do with the classic notion of an online community.
I guess you could say that that the reason a sense of community is so sorely lacking is because there's not a global community for the web like there was for Usenet.
And there's also a lot of truth to the adage: Nothing good ever survives being discovered
The Native Americans probably felt much the same way when they realized the whole world would soon becoming to their shores.