John Floren

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Posted 2023/10/12

Google Groups may finally get (effectively) depeered from Usenet

It’s been known for years that most of the Usenet traffic originating in Google Groups is either spam or just the most unhinged lunatics. They ignore any abuse reports, and some people have occasionally called of a Usenet Death Penalty against their servers, but it’s never really picked up steam because the volume was low enough to easily ignore. Recently, though, some groups have seen a huge influx of Thai-language spam originating from Google Groups. comp.lang.c has been hit especially hard:

It hit other newsgroups too, including (ironically) and other groups I was actually reading, so I finally took action and put into the bad_paths file in my Cleanfeed configuration. Here’s the filter results from the last 24 hours:

INND Perl filter [Top 20]:                                                                                                    
Reason                                                                    Count                                               
Bad path (                                 33779                                               
EMP (phn path)                                                              504                                               
EMP (md5)                                                                    15                                               
Too many newsgroups                                                          14                                               
Subject (LSD 25 Blotter 155µg USA | Order LSD Sheet  Online)                 3                                                
User-issued cancel                                                            2                                               
hierarchy violation - crosspost outside sdnet                                 2                                               
TOTAL: 7                                                                  34319                                               

I was only offered 50634 articles in that time period, so 66% of Usenet text traffic was coming from Google Groups and has now been blocked.

I read a few news admin newsgroups, and several admins have mentioned that they’re also dropping Google Groups traffic. Regular users are adding to their killfiles. There may not be an official depeering, but it looks like Google’s apathy may finally be catching up with them – and good riddance!