From Usenet Big-8 Management Board
Revision as of 20:51, 7 July 2010 by Moleski (talk | contribs) (→‎RFC)


A very large list of newsgroups in an unmanaged hierarchy. Any newsgroup whose name begins with "alt" is part of the alt hierarchy.


A small subset of Usenet. Newsgroups in the Big-8 begin with one of the following components:

  • comp
  • humanities
  • misc
  • news
  • rec
  • sci
  • soc
  • talk


The Cabal

  • "In the real old days, when it cost real money to make long distance phone calls to send netnews around the world, some people were able to get their management to look the other way when they racked up multi-thousand dollar phone bills. These people were called the "backbone cabal", and they had a disproportionate influence on news traffic because, after all, they were managing to get someone else to pay for it" [Vielmetti, "What is Usenet? A Second Opinion."].
  • [[wp>Backbone_cabal|The Rise and Fall (perhaps) of The Backbone Cabal]].
  • tinc.





  • An organization whose products are based on a database and search engine that covers almost everything that happens on the internet.
  • Folks who use Google may often hear others saying, "GARNA!"


  • 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* hierarchy is the list of all newsgroups whose names begin with "".
  • "A Usenet hierarchy is, reduced to its essence, a set of Usenet newsgroups that share a common naming prefix, such as all groups starting with 'comp.' or all groups starting with 'de.' The names of Usenet newsgroups define a hierarchy of names, with '.' used as the separator between the levels of the hierarchy ... The most significant part of the name is given first. The first component of the name is special and more significant than the rest of the name, since it defines the top-level Usenet hierarchy to which that group belongs" (Allbery).





  • A stream of bytes.


  • Internet Service Provider. Someone who provides end users with a stream of bytes from the internet.
  • Your ISP is the agency that provides dial-up, DSL, or LAN access to the internet.
  • The stream of bytes provided by ISPs usually includes e-mail and web pages. Some ISPs also provide newsgroups as part of their basic service; others do not.



  • "The set of names in a naming system" (Webopedia).
  • The namespace of the Big-8 is the set of names of newsgroups that begin with comp, humanities, misc, news, rec, sci, soc, or talk.


  • The name under which someone posts to Usenet.
  • Shortened form of "pseudonym" (?) because so many names used in posts evidently are not the person's "real" name.


  • A collection of messages (AKA articles, postings, posts) associated with a particular topic.
  • A stream of bytes that can be broken up into individual "posts" that, in turn, can be grouped into "threads."
  • A newsgroup post is a lot like a piece of e-mail, except that it is mailed to the group and can be read by anyone who wants to read the things sent to the newsgroup's address (the <a href="">name of the newsgroup</a> is the address of the group).

news server

  • A computer attached to the internet that allows users to obtain news articles in a threaded format.
  • News servers, as a general rule, only keep articles for a limited amount of time.
  • A news provider is an organization that runs one or more news servers for its clients.
  • Some news service providers provide page-based access to their news servers; many newsgroup users prefer to use a news reader to read and reply to recent articles on the news server.



  • Network News Transfer Protocol


plain text

  • Ordinary numbers, letters, and punctuation with the most minimal formatting commands (TAB, HRT, space, new page).
  • A document that does not use HTML, Rich Text Format, or other wordprocessor codes to set font, margins, paragraph styles, etc.
  • See this page for more details.


Request For Comment: As used by the Internet Society, an RFC may be:

  • The first step towards establishing or modifying an official Internet standard.
  • A description of an existing interface or method of operation (i.e., a convention).
  • The documentation of an algorithm.
  • A suggested method for using the Internet.

For RFCs relevant to Usenet and NNTP, see Requests for Comments (RFCs).



  • Read the [friendly] manual.
  • An MIT website loaded with information about Usenet. Much of it is outdated.


  • Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. This set of standards is what makes e-mail work.

sock puppet

  • A counterfeit identity (username, reply address, and personality) created to give the illusion that "many people" are all on the same side of a question.


  • Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. These "sets of rules" format the streams of bytes that go into and come out of the Internet. The formatting helps to keep the streams of bytes from turning into gobbledygook most of the time, unless it happens that the author of a particular stream is writing gobbledygook. That kind of nonsense can't be stopped by a computer protocol.

text editor



  • "There is no we."


  • The totality of all newsgroups that are carried from computer to computer around the world.
  • A honkin' big stream of bytes. You wouldn't want to have to copy them by hand.
  • a.k.a. "the Usenet" or "USENET" or "the USENET."


  • UNIX to UNIX Copy Protocol. This is where it all began.



  • A website is a stream of bytes or potential stream of bytes that may be accessed by users who want to be inundated with the information (or gobbledygook) coded in that stream.


  • A website that can be quickly edited by the people who use it. This website is a wiki.


Other Glossaries