Asked Questions (FAQ) For Usenet
What's The Difference Between Usenet and
Newsgroups are forums containing messages posted by anybody who cares
to contribute. There are literally tens of thousands of newsgroups
in existence. Usenet is the collective term for the vast network of
systems that contain the newsgroups.
Who Runs Usenet?
No one person or organization runs or controls Usenet.
Anybody with access to it can post and read articles in
newsgroups. That being said, most Internet Service Providers
have a Terms of Service statement that customers agree
to adhere to when signing up for service. Your Internet
Service Provider may terminate your account if you abuse
the service (i.e., spamming newsgroups).
This means that everybody has a right to post their thoughts
and opinions on Usenet, whether somebody else may disagree
or think it offensive. People from many countries with
many ideas post to newsgroups. It is your right to not
subscribe to newsgroups that you are not interested in.
How Are Newsgroups Organized So I Can Find
One I Like?
Newsgroups are grouped by hierarchy, starting off with a category,
and then branching off into other categories. Hence a newsgroup's
name reflects these categories in order of branching, separated by
dots. There are eight main branches in the hierarchy, sometimes referred
to as the Big Eight:
Then there is the alt category, which contains newsgroups that may
not fit in any of the above.
subjects, ranging from the serious to the unconventional
like jobs, items for sale, etc.
about newsgroups themselves
topics -- hobbies, sports, the arts, movies
discussions about a vast variety of scientific topics
and debate groups
are many more categories, but these are the main ones
that most newsfeeds carry. We recommend that new users
and news.answers to get
a feel for what Usenet is like and how newsgroups operate.
Can I Create A Newsgroup?
It is not recommended for new users to attempt to
create newsgroups. Creating a newsgroup is a slow and
complex process: It is only taken seriously when no other
avenue of discussion for a topic is available, and there
is sufficient interest from other parties. If you have
a good newsgroup idea, then read the news.groups
newsgroup for a while (six months, at least) to find out
how things work. You will usually find, after becoming
familiar with the Internet and Usenet, that a place of
discussion for your topic already exists.
What Is Netiquette?
Netiquette is a commonly agreed-upon set of rules
and etiquette for the Internet and Usenet. Violators of
netiquette may be ignored by fellow posters or get "flamed"
(your post will be replied to critically by other posters).
What Are The General
Rules Of Netiquette?
TRY NOT TO SHOUT. Typing in all capital letters
is hard on the eyes, and rarely will most people bother
to read it.
Avoid excessive cross-posting. It is possible to
post your message to more than one newsgroup at a time,
but make sure it is both necessary and relevant to the
newsgroups you post to. If it is unwelcome or off-topic,
others may consider it to be spam.
Do not reply to an article just to say "Me too".
You will notice that there is a lot of traffic on
usenet. If you agree with what somebody says but have
nothing additional to say, reply by email to let them
know you agree. This cuts down on the number of posts
that everybody has to download.
Try to keep your signature file at four lines of text
or less. Some people configure their newsreaders to
include a few lines of text at the end including their
email address or a witty saying or both. Signature files,
if excessively long, make the post take longer to download
- and may make others avoid your posts.
Don't post HTML or files to non-binary groups. There
are specific newsgroups where posting files and the resulting
heavy traffic is welcome. An example of this would be
the mp3 hierarchy -- alt.binary.sounds.mp3 is one. If
it doesn't say binary in the newsgroup name, then don't
chance it. Most people's newsreaders are not set up to
read HTML, and it takes longer to download than plain
"Lurk" a while in a newsgroup before posting.
If you don't understand what the newsgroup is about or
have other questions even after lurking for a while, post
a message asking if there is a FAQ for that newsgroup
that you can refer to. Although people may answer your
questions, regulars frequently get tired of answering
the same questions over and over from "newbies".
However, if your question is not answered in the FAQ for
that newsgroup, or they have no FAQ, don't be afraid to
ask. It's better to know the assumed rules than to unwittingly
step on feet.
There are more rules of Netiquette, but the best way to
learn them is to lurk around Usenet a while and get the
feel of how things work.
Somebody Has Flamed Me,
Or Is Posting Material I Find Offensive.
solution is not to flame this person back. The Internet
is literally a free community, and no one organization
or entity oversees or polices Usenet. The best thing to
do is either ignore the offending party and/or add them
to your killfile. Forté Agent has a killfile function
for hiding posts based on criteria such as the sender's
name, as does Outlook Express. This way you can control
what posts you do and do not read. Remember, everybody
has the right to say what they want on Usenet - but only
you have the right to choose what you do and don't read
(or respond to).
I Posted A Message, But Don't
See It Listed On The Newsgroup Yet.
Your message will not show up until the next time
you retrieve headers for that newsgroup. Also, posting
is not an immediate process: it may take a few minutes
for your post to show up on the newsgroup you post it
to. So to avoid multiple copies of the same message, simply
wait about five minutes and retrieve headers again instead
of trying to re-post the article.
I Tried To Reply To Somebody
By E-Mail, But My Message Got Returned. Why?
Most likely they have placed a spamblock in their
e-mail address. This is also known as munging.
On Usenet, people will frequently munge their e-mail address
so that spammers who scout Usenet searching for e-mail
addresses will not be able to e-mail them. This can be
done by placing a word or phrase in your e-mail address
settings after the "@" symbol, like this:
It is recommended that if you munge your e-mail address,
you should place the spamblocking phrase or word after
the "@" symbol, and not before it. This cuts
down on unnecessary traffic hitting the mail server (and
keeps your service fast)! You may want to mention at the
bottom of your posts what people can remove from your
address to reply by e-mail. This is normally safe, since
spammers use "bots" to search Usenet for anything
resembling an e-mail address, instead of searching messages
individually one by one.
I Want To Learn More About
SPAM (Unsolicited Commercial E-Mail) And How To Stop It.
You may want to visit the CAUCE (Coalition Against Unsolicited
Commercial E-Mail) homepage at http://www.cauce.org.
This is a grass-roots non-profit organization with a comprehensive
website on what UCE is and how to avoid it.
How Do I Keep My Posts From Getting
Archived At DejaNews?
Dejanews is a great
resource for research and catching up on threads that
you missed. However, if you don't want your articles to
be archived, you can type the following string in the
first line of your messages:
This string must be present in either the headers of the
message, or on the first line of the message. In some
newsreaders such as Forté Agent (full version,
not Free Agent), you can configure this in the program
settings to be included in your headers. However, in Outlook
Express and Netscape, this will have to be typed on the
first line of the message. Also, this will only keep your
initial post from being archived; any replies to your
post will be archived unless the author also uses the
Whoops! I'd Like To Cancel
A Message I posted.
For whatever reason, if you post a message that you
later wish to cancel, you can do so provided the following:
You are dialed into the same ISP and using the same news server
that you used to originally post the message.
2. Your newsreader is set up with the same e-mail address and other
settings that you posted the message under.
are important because nobody can cancel your message but
you. If the above conditions are not met, you may get
an error that you cannot cancel a post that is not yours.
If the above conditions are true, then you can cancel
your message in the following ways:
In Outlook Express, highlight the message that
you wish to cancel. From the text menu, click on Message
> Cancel Message.
In Netscape Collabra, highlight the message that
you wish to cancel. From the text menu, click on Edit
> Cancel Message.
If your message has already expired from the server and
you are wishing to cancel it in Dejanews, you will need
to visit Dejanews' home
page to read their guidelines and instructions for
canceling an article from their archive.
Trying To Access RPA's News Server From A Different Dialup
Account, But I Can't Read Or Send Posts.
RPA members are lucky in that our newsfeed is provided
by Newsguy. Newsguy
News services are well-known among the most demanding
Usenet users who appreciate their complete list of newsgroups,
reliability, and speed. Newsguy is normally a pay service
-- but RPA members enjoy redundant Newsguy newsfeeds as
part of their regular dialup account! This means that
you don't need a username and password to log onto the
news server -- your IP address identifies you as an RPA
customer. If you are dialed into another dial-up service,
there is no way for Newsguy to authenticate your identity,
and you will not be able to read or send posts.