Questions Frequently Asked by New Newsgroup Users
From Usenet Big-8 Management Board
- 1 What is a newsgroup?
- 2 What is a newsreader?
- 3 What is Usenet?
- 4 What is a hierarchy?
- 5 What is the difference between Google Groups and Usenet?
- 6 What is the difference between a web forum and Usenet?
- 7 Who's in charge of this system?
- 8 What is the Big-8?
- 9 What is a mail-to-news gateway?
- 10 How do I get answers to my other questions?
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.
What is Usenet?
- The totality of all news servers that provide newsgroups.
- Exactly how to define it is a matter of much debate. Here is a classic article on Usenet; and a reply to that article.
- A brief description of 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?
- It is a consortium of eight Usenet hierarchies. The eight lists are all managed by Big-Eight Management Board.
|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.|
|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.|
- For more information, see the history of the Big-8.
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?