In it's heyday, SAA was the best amateur astronomy newsgroup in the world, bar none, and it was an important part of my life. At one time, I was dealing with cancer, and if I didn't make it, my last post would have been to my friends in SAA. I still have treasured friends I met in SAA that I never would have met otherwise. The lack of moderation which led to it's collapse also made it an exciting, colorful, place to check into. As varied and diverse as the history of astronomy, an incredible source of information and comradery, peppered through with a few weird cranks and trolls. One crank that did genuine damage is one of the few people who are still in there. He's not an evil man, and seems sincere, but he evidently figures astronomy took a wrong turn back during the time of Flamsteed, and he infested every thread with his arguments and lectures about the motions of the solar system. He should have been aggressively ignored. At least one troll I can remember was often genuinely funny in a sort of Andy Kaufmanesque way, but it was the bullies that really destroyed SAA. They mercilessly tore into one of the well meaning, productive, members who was active in public sidewalk astronomy but may well have been a bit "special needs." I think number of members (myself included) would have liked to have hunted this jerk down for legal action or a serious "discussion" if we could have, but they successfully hid behind the anonymity of the internet.
Cloudy Nights has picked up the torch and run with it. It's a wonderful group, but the moderation that makes it possible also sometimes make it feel like attending a Sunday School teacher's kid's birthday party. Some things gained, some things lost.
Edited by bumm, 14 February 2019 - 09:59 AM.