Yeah, I saw the thread on RSS below, but if a newer technology isn't in the cards, how about an older one?
Some pros: - The end-user interface is better, IMHO. Newsreaders had 15 years of development before the Web even existed, and five more before everyone started trying to do Usenet in HTML. Tabbing through the latest articles is nice. Threads that stay sorted by time is nice. The killfile is a lovely invention. :) - If carefully done, it _might_ be a bandwidth win. No graphics for avatars, etc. - The five people that would use it would probably buy Sangiro lots of beer.
Some cons: - Harder to run the ads which help pay the bills. You could append them in HTML (something like the 'brought to you by dz.com' on the end of email) but 95% of people who know what NNTP is will use it with HTML shut off anyway. Perhaps mitigate this by making it premier-only. - Having to support it. It'd be nice if you could get away with saying "If you don't know what this is, you don't need it" but that probably wouldn't fly. People would probably also expect things like syncing of the "new articles" flag between the newsreader and the browser and other difficult stuff. - Additional CPU and possibly disk load. - It _might_ make it easier to scrape email addresses. Some of the Usenet software might complain if there isn't a semi-valid-looking email address in at least one of the headers. Also, it'd be nice if the "email direct to poster" option (known here as a PM) in most newsreaders worked correctly. - It may be difficult to allow some current features, like editing your post for a few hours, or allowing moderators to easily edit or remove a post. On the other hand, in a closed system, you could get some of this functionality by using cancel messages or supercede headers, knowing that they would be honored.
Some notes: - It'd help if most of it was handled by whatever forum software is in use. Given the database schema and such, it'd be _possible_ to write a forum-to-news translator and glom it on to the side, but it probably wouldn't be much fun. - I am _not_ talking about making the dz.com forums available on Greater Usenet, or on Google's Usenet archive. dropzone.com would run its own news server, and would only accept posts from people with a username and password.
So far, out of maybe a dozen websites on various topics with forums I might like to participate in, this is the only one where I want the content enough to deal with the interface. (This is a compliment, not a complaint.) I realize that in these latter days, 95% of the audience expects the Web-forum format, not NNTP, and definitely not a mailing list, and to some extent, you have to give the people what they want. But hey, asking is free. :)