Questions Frequently Asked by New Newsgroup Users
- 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 Other questions
- 10.1 Why can't I see newsgroup XYZ?
- 10.2 Why can't I see posts that other people see?
- 10.3 Why can't I see my posts?
- 10.4 How do I post pictures to the newsgroup?
- 10.5 What is HTML and why don't people like it in on Usenet?
- 10.6 Can't somebody get rid of all that spam and trolls?
- 10.7 How do I post a message to every newsgroup in the world?
- 10.8 How do I keep from seeing content that I don't like?
- 10.9 How can I post pictures to a newsgroup?
- 10.10 Is everybody as sarcastic and short-tempered as you are?
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.
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 are not a part of the Usenet and 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 Usenet Big-8 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.
Why can't I see newsgroup XYZ?
Check with your Usenet provider. They should have a list of all newsgroups that they provide. Some local groups may not be available from all providers and some providers provide groups that others don't.
Why can't I see posts that other people see?
Check to see if you haven't created a filter to ignore or delete them.
Why can't I see my posts?
If you post to a moderated group, it may take time for that message to be approved and added to the group.
How do I post pictures to the newsgroup?
If it is absolutely necessary to share a picture, a best practice would be to link to a picture on a service like imgur.com. Most newsgroups in the Big-8 hierarchies do no allow anything except text (with a very few exceptions).
What is HTML and why don't people like it in on Usenet?
HTML is that code that looks like <h>hello world</h>. It makes your message hard to read. It's best to just use plani language.
Can't somebody get rid of all that spam and trolls?
Because Usenet is de-centralized, it is up to you to filter out any kind of content that you don't like. See our tutorial: Filtering Spam with Thunderbird
How do I post a message to every newsgroup in the world?
Don't. It's a good way to get banned by your provider.
How do I keep from seeing content that I don't like?
Don't subscribe to groups with that content and filter any content that happens in groups that you are subscribed to?
How can I post pictures to a newsgroup?
Find an alt.binaries newsgroup where your pictures will be on-topic and post them there.
Is everybody as sarcastic and short-tempered as you are?
No, I'm super chill and level headed. I don't know what you're talking about.