Creating Alternative Usenet Discussion Groups

An alternative Usenet group is one that has been started without any special procedures, such as voting or discussion. Unlike mainstream groups -- which do undergo such procedures before they can be started -- alternative groups can be created by anyone who knows how to do so. The disadvantage to such groups is that they are not carried by as many news servers around the world. Alternative groups are important, however. They provide a counterpoint to the more sedate, controlled world of mainstream groups in that people are more free to create and remove alternative groups, with a minimum of fuss, as the need arises. Here is information about how alternative groups should be created. If you want to create a group, please read and follow the guidelines. They were developed by trial and error and a lot of smart thinking over a period of time. Usenet works best when people (1) think before acting, and (2) do not try to re-invent everything.


Web:

http://livinginternet.com/?u/ua_create.htm
http://www.faqs.org/faqs/alt-hierarchies/emily-alt-advice/
http://www.nylon.net/alt/newgroup.htm
http://www.visi.com/~barr/alt-creation-guide.html


Creating Mainstream Usenet Discussion Groups

A mainstream Usenet group is one that is created by following a specific set of procedures, involving one or more votes, serious discussion and deliberate planning. It takes time and effort to create a mainstream group (compared to an alternative group which anyone can create if he or she knows how). The advantage of mainstream groups is that they are respected as real groups and are carried by virtually all news servers around the world. Here is an explanation of how such groups are started.


Web:

http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/faqs/big-eight.html
http://www.faqs.org/faqs/usenet/creating-newsgroups/naming/
http://www.templetons.com/brad/trial.html
http://www.uvv.org/docs/howto.txt


Discussion Groups (Web-based)

Usenet discussion groups (which you see throughout this book) are wonderful places to talk and share. Usenet is a rich system, with many people participating from around the world. However, to use Usenet, you need special software and you need to learn how the system works. (For details, see the section on Usenet in the front part of this book.) Alternatively, there are a great many Web-based discussion groups -- sometimes referred to as forums or message boards -- that you can access easily using your browser. These discussion groups are less permanent and have a much smaller audience than Usenet. However, they provide a simple way to share thoughts, ideas and opinions with other people. (Idea: Why not start your own forum, just for your friends or family?)


Web:

http://groups.msn.com/
http://messages.yahoo.com/
http://www.ezboard.com/


Flames

Within Usenet, a flame is a message that contains an angry or abusive response to a previous message. A flame might be a complaint, a criticism of someone's ideas, or a good old-fashioned, mean-spirited tongue-lashing. The next time you feel like a good argument, join one of these groups and see what it is like to play with the people who live to complain.


Usenet:

Google Newsreader alt.flame
Google Newsreader alt.flame.abortion
Google Newsreader alt.flame.airlines
Google Newsreader alt.flame.rush-limbaugh


Harley Hahn's Master List of Usenet Newsgroups

Usenet is a worldwide system of discussion groups. To access Usenet, you use a program called a newsreader. (Usenet was originally designed to carry local news between two universities in North Carolina. Thus, for historical reasons, Usenet groups are often referred to as newsgroups, even though they don't carry news.) Both Internet Explorer and Netscape come with a newsreader program. With Internet Explorer, the program is Outlook Express. With Netscape, the program is built into the browser. There are between 20,000 and 60,000 different newsgroups (depending on whose numbers you believe). However, most of these groups are not of general interest and do not have worldwide distribution. Moreover, many newsgroups are "bogus", that is, non-existent or filled with spam (unsolicited advertising). To help you find the groups you want, I have created Harley Hahn's Master List of Usenet Newsgroups. Go to my Web site and you can search for newsgroups by topic, by name, or by looking for a particular keyword. I have taken a great deal of time and checked all the groups, keeping only those in the thirteen major hierarchies as well as throwing out all the bogus groups. I then wrote a short, accurate description for each group and placed it in a category, and organized the whole list to be easy to search. Enjoy.


Web:

http://www.harley.com/usenet/


Moderated Newsgroups

With most Usenet groups, anyone can post (send) any message he wants whenever he wants. This freedom is what makes Usenet so powerful. However, for some groups, such freedom doesn't work well: there are too many off-topic postings and too much spam (unsolicited advertising). One solution is to create a moderated group. One person, called a moderator, receives all the postings, and he or she decides which ones are actually sent to the group. Many Usenet groups are moderated, which cuts down on the spam and increases the usefulness of the newsgroup. This FAQ (frequently asked question list) explains moderated newsgroups, including the difference between moderation and censorship, what it takes to become a moderator and where to find resources for moderators.


Web:

http://www.faqs.org/faqs/usenet/moderated-ng-faq/


Net Abuse

Heavy cross-posting, spamming, and annoying commercial advertising are at the top of the list of Ways to Abuse Your Net Privileges. Read about the latest sins against the laws of Net etiquette, thoughts and ideas on the concept of minding our manners, and general ranting and raving about people who rant and rave.


Web:

http://www.cybernothing.org/faqs/net-abuse-faq.html
http://www.faqs.org/faqs/net-abuse-faq/

Usenet:

Google Newsreader alt.current-events.net-abuse
Google Newsreader alt.current-events.net-abuse.spam
Google Newsreader news.admin.net-abuse.bulletins
Google Newsreader news.admin.net-abuse.email
Google Newsreader news.admin.net-abuse.misc
Google Newsreader news.admin.net-abuse.policy
Google Newsreader news.admin.net-abuse.sightings
Google Newsreader news.admin.net-abuse.usenet


Newsgroup Catalogs

There are thousands of Usenet discussion groups (newsgroups) and it's not always easy to find the ones you want. These resources can help. You can search for the groups you want by name, by keyword, or by looking through a particular hierarchy.


Web:

http://www.cyberfiber.com/
http://www.tile.net/news/


Picture Grabbing Software

There are lots of pictures posted to Usenet (and some of them are even non-pornographic). If you like looking, you'll love these programs. They will visit your favorite groups, snarf out all the pictures automatically, and save them on your hard disk, where you can peruse them at your leisure. I like these programs, and they sure save me a lot of time. (My research requires me to look at lots of pictures...)


Web:

http://www.allpicturez.com/
http://www.binaryboy.com/
http://www.kbrowning.com/
http://www.newsbin.com/
http://www.newsrobot.com/sbnews/frsbnews.html
http://www.nijico.com/
http://www.techsono.com/pixnewslite/
http://www.tifny.com/


Usenet Announcements

Stay informed on the latest new discussion groups that are cropping up in Usenet. The .newgroups group is where people post when they want to propose a new group. The .newusers group is a place where periodic explanations about Usenet are posted for the benefit of new users.


Usenet:

Google Newsreader news.announce.conferences
Google Newsreader news.announce.important
Google Newsreader news.announce.newgroups
Google Newsreader news.announce.newusers


Usenet Culture Talk and General Discussion

Usenet has a culture all its own. Once you spend a lot of time on Usenet, you will get a feeling for its energy, its customs, its vocabulary and its importance: in other words, its culture. This is the group where you can discuss all these subjects.


Usenet:

Google Newsreader alt.culture.usenet


Usenet Discussion Group Administration

It's bound to happen. When you get thousands of people posting to Usenet, someone is going to decide that things need to get more organized. The news.admin groups are a central point for administrative topics relating to Usenet, such as the dissemination of information, statement of policies, and the relating of technical details about forming and moderating Usenet groups.


Usenet:

Google Newsreader news.admin
Google Newsreader news.admin.censorship
Google Newsreader news.admin.hierarchies
Google Newsreader news.admin.misc
Google Newsreader news.admin.policy
Google Newsreader news.admin.technical


Usenet for New Users

Usenet consists of many different discussion groups. Through the years, millions of people have participated in Usenet and, in that time, a good many conventions have been established. If you are a newcomer, there is a lot to learn. One way to start is to read the articles in news.newusers.questions, a group for new users. If you have any questions, this is a good place to post them, as there are experienced people who read this group and answer questions. In addition, I have some extra material that can help you. First, on my Web site, I have a short article will orient you to Usenet. (The article is also printed in the front part of this book.) Second, in my book Harley Hahn's Internet Advisor, you will find a more comprehensive discussion of Usenet, in which I explain everything you need to understand to get started and to use Usenet well.


Web:

http://www.harley.com/usenet/whatis-usenet.html

Usenet:

Google Newsreader news.groups.questions
Google Newsreader news.newusers.questions


Usenet Hierarchies

Within the name of a Usenet group, the first part of the name indicates the hierarchy (major category) to which the group belongs. For example, when you see the names alt.politics.usa and alt.sex.stories, you can tell they are part of the alt (alternative) hierarchy. When you see the name comp.infosystems.www, you know the group is part of the comp (computer) hierarchy. Here are the most important hierarchies (the ones I want you to remember): alt (alternative), bionet (biology), biz (business), comp (computers), humanities (arts and humanities), k12 (K-12 education), misc (miscellaneous), news (Usenet itself), rec (recreation), sci (science), soc (society) and talk (debate). However, there are literally hundreds of different hierarchies, most of them devoted to a particular geographical area, language or organization. This Web site has a large list of Usenet hierarchies along with a brief description. If you encounter a strange name that you don't understand, look here for help.


Web:

http://www.faqs.org/faqs/usenet/hierarchy-list/


Usenet News Servers (Commercial)

I go to a lot of trouble to make sure that all the resources I choose for this book are free. So why am I giving you information about services that cost money? There are free news servers on the Net, in fact lots of them. However, if you really like Usenet, it may be worth a few bucks for you to use a reliable, well-maintained news server that you can count on.


Web:

http://www.airnews.net/
http://www.altopia.com/
http://www.mammothnews.net/
http://www.news-service.com/
http://www.newscene.com/
http://www.newsfeeds.com/
http://www.supernews.com/
http://www.triton.net/tritonnews/
http://www.usenetserver.com/


Usenet News Servers (Free)

To access Usenet discussion groups (usually called "newsgroups"), you need access to a Usenet news server. Normally, your ISP would provide such access. If it doesn't, or if you don't like the service, there are many news servers around the Net you can use for free.


Web:

http://freenews.maxbaud.net/
http://newssearch.pilum.net/
http://www.arcwebserv.com/jumpsite/usenet.html
http://www.findolin.de/
http://www.netwu.com/newswolf/
http://www.newzbot.com/
http://www.wnabb.freeserve.co.uk/list.htm


Usenet Newsreaders

To read and send articles to Usenet discussion groups, you use a program called a newsreader. Your browser can act as a newsreader, but if you use Usenet a lot, you may want to use a program that works better than a browser. Here are places where you can find newsreaders for different systems. If you take the time to try the various programs and choose the one you like best, you will greatly enhance your Usenet experience. However, if you are a beginner, many of the newsreader features won't make sense to you, so you should reevaluate once you have gained some experience.


Web:

http://cws.internet.com/news.html
http://nnr.freeservers.com/
http://www.forteinc.com/agent/
http://www.microplanet.com/gravity/
http://www.tin.org/
http://www.tucows.com/news95_default.html
http://www.usenetopia.com/
http://xnews.newsguy.com/

Usenet:

Google Newsreader alt.sys.amiga.thor
Google Newsreader alt.usenet.offline-reader.forte-agent
Google Newsreader alt.usenet.offline-reader.forte-agent.modified
Google Newsreader alt.usenet.pirated.agent
Google Newsreader news.software.nn
Google Newsreader news.software.readers


Usenet Search Engines

Usenet is a vast system of thousands of discussion groups. (For historical reasons, the discussion groups are called "newsgroups".) A Usenet search engine allows you to specify keywords, and then search a large archive, looking for all the newsgroup articles that contain those keywords. Millions of people around the world participate in Usenet every day, so being able to find what you need is a tremendous resource.


Web:

http://groups.google.com/


Web-Based Usenet Access

The basic way to read and post Usenet articles is by using a program called a newsreader. Your newsreader acts as a news client and contacts a news server on your behalf. However, there is another way you can access Usenet: you can use one of these these Web sites. They will display Usenet articles for you on Web pages, and allow you to post articles of your own. This means you can read Usenet articles as if they were regular Web pages, so you don't have to learn how to use a newsreader program. If you are a casual Usenet user, this may be all you need. However, if you want to use Usenet a lot, you are better off with a real newsreader.


Web:

http://groups.google.com/
http://news.interbulletin.com/
http://www.mailgate.org/
http://www.news2web.com/
http://www.newsone.net/
http://www.newsranger.com/
http://www.randori.com/
http://www.webnews-exchange.com/