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    Deja Who?

    July 2, 1999

    Since late 1995, the answer to the question "didn't I hear that somewhere online?" has been two words: "Deja News." Recently, though, the answer changed to the considerably less clever moniker, in the wake of a redesign of the newsgroup-archive site. But while the place now looks a lot more stylish, its substance isn't much improved. Yes, the old Usenet-search tools live on, but they're harder to access; meanwhile, the new "Deja Ratings" get much more play but offer less utility. These tally site visitors' "rate this on a scale of 1 to 5" votes on everything from car CD changers to U.S. Open golfers. (My colleague Cathy is wondering when polling will open for "best religion.") The results rarely deliver much substantive information and the whole concept invites ballot-box stuffing.

    Rob Pegoraro

    © Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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