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When did computer user groups die out?

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I remember going to user group meetings back in the mid to late 80s, but when did they start fading away? When owning a computer was no longer considered a hobby?

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In the 90's when multimedia PC's were sold everywhere and pretty much became appliances, and they all look and work the same...

 

Around that time everyone in my Atari user group eventuallyn moved on to PC's and the only support for anyone still using the non-PC clones were Internet newsgroups, IRC chat rooms & FTP sites for software.

 

 

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Never.  We are one big giant user group.

 

/thread ;)

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Posted (edited)

We still had user group meetings in the late 80's where I lived at the time, but I think that died around the same time as the Amiga & Atari ST.

Edited by JamesD
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On 5/3/2020 at 4:16 PM, MrMaddog said:

In the 90's when multimedia PC's were sold everywhere and pretty much became appliances, and they all look and work the same...

 

Around that time everyone in my Atari user group eventuallyn moved on to PC's and the only support for anyone still using the non-PC clones were Internet newsgroups, IRC chat rooms & FTP sites for software.

 

 

This is my impression as well.

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Yes.. And with the rise of the PC, "sigs" and newsgroups became popular. But they soon turned stuffy with "know it all" UNIX users that were downright hostile to others not in their circle. Thankfully those died out too.

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We of the Fresno Commodore User Group are celebrating our 39th anniversary this year.  Also the Southern California Commodore & Amiga Network hits its 15th anniversary.  The Other Group of Amigoids (San Jose, CA) hails from the 1990's as does the Sacramento Amiga Computer Club.  The Portland Commodore User Group and the Puget Sound Commodore User Group are the relative new ones as is the Commodore 64 Users of Victoria (British Columbia).  And those are just the active clubs on the West Coast, USA.

 

Notwithstanding the current postponement of meetings due to the pandemic,

Robert Bernardo

Fresno Commodore User Group - http://www.dickestel.com/fcug.htm

Southern California Commodore & Amiga Network - http://www.portcommodore.com/sccan

The Other Group of Amigoids - http://togausergroup.org

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In my area they were strong until the Internet really took off with the rapid adoption of HTTP.  Prior to that a lot of the UGs were even Internet Service Providers in additon to just User Groups.  You'd join the local club, go to meetings, then do SLIP dialup...

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Posted (edited)

The end of life of the Amiga and ST, plus the rise of the CD-ROM and PC's was when it happened.

 

For me also the scene started to get commercial (ie there were parties looking to make some money out of it) and even noticably hostile towards those just wanting to hang out and be nerds. The big groups petered out. Some of us tried to keep them going in smaller groups but inevitably it just got smaller and smaller until eventually no one turned up. It was the end of the golden age of computers for me. They went from being a hobby for enthusiasts to being a thing. Of course that's meant all manner of good stuff since, but man it comes with some baggage. I miss the old computer clubs.

Edited by juansolo
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User groups functioned to connected you with other people in your area who had the same obscure hardware as you, at a time when many people were not yet online.

 

So they probably died out when everybody capitulated and got PCs and got dial-up internet or AOL.   Probably mid to late 90s

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In 2004, I had released game for MacOS X and wanted to send a copy to every Apple newsgroup to raffle. Apple gave me a large list, so they were still around in 2004.

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The Tandy Color Computer still have a Club, and they have Monthly meetings and a Once a Year, get together, usually in April, but not this year...

http://www.glensideccc.com/

 

I also participate in a Weekly Live Stream, for the Tandy Color Computer, called CoCoTALK!   It's kind of like a User Group Meeting, with a World Wide audience..

http://live.cocotalk.live/

 

MarkO

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Naturally one cannot address "ALL" user groups, but from my personal experience "MANY" user groups started dying off as members started bailing on the individual pre-PC systems like the TI-99/4A, Atari's, Commodores, Apples, etc for the more popular PC's with tons of software.  Local BBS's systems, many run by user groups themselves kept some of the groups viable longer, and with FidoNet and PC-Pursuit kept many of these users connected across the country and world as more individual groups disbanded.  What finally put the nail in the coffin was the Internet itself (my opinion).  In 1995-1996 as the Internet became available to an ever increasing audience, it drove even more PC compatible sales as that was the platform that ran the really good browser of the time, (again my opinion).  With the Internet, the BBSes became "less interesting" and unfortunately many of the local friendships and associations that came with them were lost as people "moved on".  As the world opened up online, we became ever more personally isolated from local associations and "MOST" user groups had their obituaries read.

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