One of the best places to get SpecFic gossip was at speculations. It was an elegantly simple message board system that allowed you to view messages in a variety of very useful ways. A year ago they folded under the weight of spam. They had unrealistic ideals about anonymity and the sanctity of the message and the spammers took advantage. The process of marking spam (but never deleting it) eventually killed the board.
I went to far as to duplicate many of the speculations features in a prototype system, but I never released it.
Now, after a long hiatus they are thinking about returning with a new functionality. I accidentally clicked on the link and found that they are creating a mash-up with twitter and livejournal. I don’t know how this will work. I don’t use my livejournal account and I am not a big fan of twitter. I don’t need to read more meaningless messages about what kind of bagel someone had at coffee break.
Twitter is not focused on a particular community. Twitter is very unfocused and I have dropped some interesting people (like Neil Gaiman) who suffer from the twitter “runs”. I am eagerly waiting to see what comes up. The old speculations had incredibly useful information. I wish that they would at least make the old messages as a read-only archive.
Coincidentally, John Shirley has dropped support of his discussion board. He took his name off of it. He was the object of political flaming and he found himself trying to moderate extreme left and right elements and just got sick of it.
This is unfortunate because Shirley seemed to spend a great deal of time on the internet and always had interesting links to odd news or important information. I think that the bbs was taking up too much of his time, especially in the act of moderating, and he should have been spending more time writing.