When I first started to read Usenet news in 1992, there was a wonderful sense of freedom to the Usenet community. Posters were mainly academics and students. The masses were not about to find Usenet for almost a decade. The community was smaller, much more tolerant of varying opinions, and the level of discussion was light years ahead of the mainstream media in frankness and openness compared to what it is today. No mainstream politician's career would have survived a day participating in those debates. There was a number of well known cooks, some of whom were, while batshit crazy, intelligent and highly entertaining. (All veterans of sfnet can surely remember the fellow who had, ahem, extremely controversial views on sexuality and who wrote many memorable and hilarious poems on that topic. Memorable is also a certain young fellow from Kotka whose antics earned him instant outcast status. Not to mention a gentleman and historian from Hervanta and his arch enemy, the infamous "blue blood", and the hilarious all-out cyberwar fought by the two on highly unexpected battlegrounds.)
Around the year 2000 or so, the atmosphere started changing. The number of users expanded rapidly. An increasing number of people were genuinely offended by the cooks and the sometimes brutal style of debating. The average IQ of the users declined and so did the quality of arguments. Moralism increased.
In the beginning of 2003, I'd had enough. Blogging was something new at the time. At the request of a friend, I started a blog of my own, too. During the past couple of years, blogs have become mainstream as well. The blog scene has been infected with all of the negativity of mainstreamization.
If you have any hints as to the location of a new realm of freedom, I'm all ears.