Saturday, December 16, 2006

Checking In at the Senior Citizen's Home, Visiting RGP

Ahh, rec.gambling.poker, long the outpost of poker discussion on Usenet. A bit of ancient history is in order, for those who may be unaware: Have you ever visited RGP? It's just one of tens of thousands of "newsgroups," actually discussion forums that were and are unmoderated, for the most part, and make up Usenet thing, which at one time was a part of the Internet that was separate and distinct from the World Wide Web. Eventually, web browsers and mail programs integrated Usenet access into their own functionality, and so Usenet is less of a distinct entity these days.

It's also less relevant, though rec.gambling.poker (usually just called RGP), despite being something of a dinosaur in Internet terms, soldiers on. RGP existed before sites such as pocketfives.com and the 2+2 forums became the preferred locales for poker talk, again showing the difference between moderated and unmoderated sites. RGP and the greater entity that is Usenet fell into decline amid one of the first waves of spamming to hit the 'Net, rendering it less useful and more irrelevant. Out of the forty or fifty thousand (or how many ever there are) Usenet groups, only a few hundred can claim active participation and readership.

These days RGP is a mishmash of poker content and commentary, blatantly pimped bonus offers, p0rn spam and a whole lot more. It's a noisy place, though a few veteran posters such as Gary Carson and Howard Beale make it worth the occasional visit. Oftentimes the "OT" (Off Topic) posts provide the most entertaining reading; a recent visit shows that the topics listed below are the ones generating the most reads and follow-up comments. You want to talk about an eclectic mix? Try this:

a) A thread about Annie Duke's tattoo;

b) An OT thread about the Middle East, called "Israel's days are numbered...";

c) A Home Depot trip report, which simply must have degenerated into a flame war, since it boasts, at last count, 181 posts;

d) A topic about the poker movie The Cincinnati Kid, now available on DVD;

e) A thread called "God Bless Donald Rumsfeld" --- and if this isn't poker, what is?

Oh, yeah, and there's the standard mix of strategy posts and such, but that's the boring and predictable stuff.

I don't stop in often at RGP these days, because it's a noisy din with not a whole lot of real substance goin' on. That said, there are those days that I find I cannot resist the siren song of crap, and it's in these moments and moods that a visit to RGP is in order. If you've never visited, then what are you waiting for? It's like staring at a giant ant farm: you know they're all contributing to something, but you're never quite sure exactly what it is.

4 comments:

Lottery Larry said...

"A Home Depot trip report, which simply must have degenerated into a flame war, since it boasts, at last count, 181 posts;"

If you'd read it, instead of browsed titles, you'd know that it had NOTHING to do with Home Depot... and you'd know why it has 181 replies to the original troll post

Haley (a.k.a. "Cawt") said...

LOL. Yeah, I should have typed that as a "Home Depot" trip report --- because it was the thread I -didn't- read. On purpose. Me know better.

Anonymous said...

Like you mentioned, I still post at rgp, but I've actually moved most of my poker posts to a couple of blogs, http://garycarson.blogspot.com and http://www.mathandpoker.com

Pretty much all online discussion has become to commercilaized to really serve the kind of benefit that RGP used to be.

Most moderation is done for personal ego or commercial reasons and a lot of people (at least me) doesn't really see the point in trying to make a contribution in that kind of controlled environment.

The BARGE mailing lists are still pretty much ego and spam free.

But, I think independent blogs are where the future discussion is. They're commercialized, I make a little money from ads on my blogs, and some are very arbitraily moderated, but that's still where it it I think.

I think the thing to do is get a blog and link back and forth. It's not as clean as discussion forums, but I think eventually the blog software will ba able to make some of the blog conversation almost seamless.

Gary Carson

Haley (a.k.a. "Cawt") said...

Which is why losing pokerblog.com was such a sad day. It definitely marked the path of future poker-discussion sites on the 'Net, allowing some free trade of ideas while still restricting the cacophany that marks many more open forums.

I don't mean to sound elitist, because everyone, at some point, has something worthwhile to say. The problem illustrated by sites such as RGP and 2+2 is that most people don't wait to think up something worth others' time to read --- they just vomit random brain waves into the medium.