NZB forums seem to be on the way out, but there are still a few around. These are still human index sites. I talked a little bit about them earlier, but I never went into much detail.
One of the best reasons to use the forum NZB indexers is that a lot of the content being indexed is actually uploaded by the forums users themselves. Need more PARs? Need to file a request? You’re talking to a lot of the uploaders right in the forum so its never much of a problem.
The big player that never gets attention are the IRC groups. No doubt you’ve seen IRC channels listed in the subject lines of Usenet posts. You’ll frequently see references to channels like #alt.binaries.teevee or #altbin.They’re not exactly trying to hide. IRC groups are the big reason why new content will show up within 15 minutes on Usenet. The average user doesn’t go into these channels, and I’m not sure how valuable it would be to them.
Auto Indexers will auto index all of the content coming from these channels, so you won’t be missing out if you never go into the IRC channels. Going into the IRC channels is a good experience, but I wouldn’t rely on it as source of searching for content that’s been uploaded.
The most useful part of IRC is that it’s a good place to request content, actually much better than NZB forums. The channels will have a help bot and websites to help you add requests, but like most internet subcultures, you can always expect the users to be friendly or helpful. No pain no gain.