Questions Frequently Asked by New Newsgroup Users

From Big-8.org

Contents

What is a newsgroup?

  • A newsgroup is something like a mailbox that the public is invited to use to store e-mail ("posts") sent to the mailbox. Anybody who wants to look in the newsgroup to read the posts that have been sent to it may do so.
  • The name of a newsgroup is its mailing address.

What is a newsreader?

  • A newsreader is a piece of software that lets users look in the newsgroup, sort the posts that are there, read the posts, or make new posts.
  • GARNA: "Get a real newsreader, [amigo]."

What is Usenet?

  • The history of the big-8, which played a major role in the history of Usenet.
  • "Usenet is a worldwide electronic discussion community. It dates from before the Internet, when articles were tranmitted with modems over phone lines. Now the Internet is used. Each newsgroup is dedicated to a specific topic. Articles are copied from the originating site to other participating sites [news servers]" of Virgina ITC.

What is a hierarchy?

  • An ordered list of newsgroups.
  • Each of the subsets of the Big-8 is a hierarchy (comp.*, humanities.*, misc.*, news.*, rec.*, sci.*, soc.*, talk.*).
  • Each of the subsets of the eight hierarchies may be called a hierarchy if it does have or potentially may have more than one newsgroup sharing the same initial components in the name. So, for example, the misc.health.* hierarchy is the list of all newsgroups whose names begin with "misc.health":
misc.health.aids	AIDS issues and support.
misc.health.alternative	Alternative, complementary and holistic health care.
misc.health.arthritis	Arthritis and related disorders.
misc.health.diabetes	Discussion of diabetes management in day to day life.
misc.health.infertility	Treatment & support of infertility.
misc.health.injuries.rsi.misc	All about Repetitive Strain Injuries.
misc.health.therapy.occupational	All areas of occupational therapy.
  • In the preceding example, "misc.health.injuries.rsi" could become a new hierarchy if other newsgroups beginning with those four components were added to the list such as "misc.health.injuries.rsi.diagnosis", "misc.health.injuries.rsi.support", or "misc.health.injuries.rsi.tech".

What is the difference between Google Groups and Usenet?

  • Google archives most newsgroups on Usenet and makes the old articles available through a page-based interface. Most news servers only hold articles for a short time depending on how the news administrator has set up the system.
  • Google also provides a method for creating new Google Groups that are Google-specific; such groups do not circulate on Usenet news servers.
  • Google is not a traditional news service provider. Neither the newsgroup archives nor the non-Usenet Google Groups can be accessed by a newsreader.

What is the difference between a web forum and Usenet?

  • On Usenet, articles are copied from the originating site to other participating sites; web forums are hosted by one internet site.
  • Usenet groups can be accessed using a newsreader; web forums are accessed using an internet browser (Internet Explorer, Mozilla, Opera, etc.).
  • The person who controls the host site for the web forum controls the forum; there is no such central administration for Usenet.

Who's in charge of this system?

  • Nobody. It's decentralized.
  • Everybody who uses it. Drive carefully. Buckle your Usenet seatbelts.
  • News administrators. They decide what newsgroups are carried on their news servers.
  • Moderators of groups (if the group is moderated).
  • Hierarchy administrators. They make up lists that may or may not be carried by news administrators. The Big-Eight Management Board is an example of hierarchy administration, except that the Board has eight lists to think about.

What is the Big-8?

comp.* Computer topics, both hardware and software.
news.* Administration of the Big 8, as well as about Usenet and Netnews in general, and related topics.
sci.* Science and technology.
humanities.* The humanities.
rec.* Recreational topics, including music, sports, games, outdoor recreation, hobbies, crafts, ...
soc.* Socializing, society, and social issues.
talk.* Endless discussion, largely about politics.
misc.* A mixture of newsgroups that don't fit the other 7 hierarchies. Many are about the practical aspects of everyday life.

What is a mail-to-news gateway?

  • It is a site that translates news into mail and (sometimes) mail into news.
  • If it is uni-directional, the translation only goes in one direction. People can read input from one source but not respond to it.
  • If it is bi-directional, the translation goes in both directions. Users receive all input both from the mailing list and the newsgroup and may reply to any post/e-mail by using e-mail or a newsreader.
  • Links to mail-to-news gateways.

How do I get answers to my other questions?

  • Why can't I see the newsgroup?
  • Why can't I see posts that other people see?
  • Why can't I see my posts?
  • How do I post pictures to the newsgroup?
  • Why is everybody yelling at me for posting pictures to the newsgroup?
  • What is HTML?
  • Why don't people like HTML?
  • WHAT IS A 'CAPS LOCK KEY'?
  • Can't somebody get rid of all that spam?
  • How do I post a message to every newsgroup in the world?
  • How do I keep from seeing all the pornographic pictures?
  • How do I get to see all the pornographic pictures?
  • How can I post my pornographic pictures to a newsgroup?
  • Is everybody as sarcastic and short-tempered as you are?
Visit Other Websites
The Absolute Beginner's Guide to Usenet
Getting Started with Newsgroups
How to Ask Quesions the Smart Way
How Newsgroups Work
Internet FAQ Archives
Introduction to the *.answers newsgroups
news.newusers.questions Links Page
MIT news.announce.newusers archive
Newsreaders.com Introduction to Netiquette
Newsville FAQ on Usenet
Outlook Express Newsgroup Tutorial
Outlook Express newsgroups 101 (Microsoft)
RFC 1855: Guidelines on Netiquette (1995)
University of Virginia FAQs
Stanley: User's Guide to the Changing Usenet
UsenetSupport.com (Giganews)
Using Usenet Newsgroups
Visit Newsgroups Designed for New Newsgroup Users
news:news.announce.newusers
Google news.announce.newusers
Explanatory postings for new users. (Moderated)
news:news.answers
Google news.answers
Repository for periodic USENET articles. (Moderated)
news:news.groups.questions
Google news.groups.questions
Where can I find talk about topic X?
news:news.groups.reviews
Google link to news.groups.reviews
What is going on in group or mailing list named X? (Moderated)
news:news:news.lists.misc
Google news.lists.misc
News-related statistics and lists. (Moderated)
news:news.misc
Google news.misc
Discussions of USENET itself.
news:news.newusers.questions
Google news.newusers.questions
Q & A for new users of Usenet. (Moderated)
Official n.n.q. homepage
news:news.software.readers
Google news.software.readers
news.software readers--GARN, Amigo!
Whatever You Do, Don't Visit This Newsgroup Unprepared :-O
news:news.groups can be a little hard on newcomers. Proceed with caution!
Read Google's news.groups archive to see what I mean.
Other Pages on This Website
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Understanding Usenet
news.groups.proposals History of the Big-8
List of All Big-8 Newsgroups News Service Providers
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