This Web page is an electronic companion to the book Learning to Use the World Wide Web, by Ernest C. Ackermann . It contains links to the Internet resources, sites, and services mentioned in the text.
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Usenet: Reading and Writing the News
Chapter 5.
Newsreaders | Posting an Article |
Etiquette | FAQs | Finding Newsgroups
Recommended Newsgroups and Articles
  Newsreaders We use the newsreader that comes with Netscape Communicator called Collabara in the text. However, there are other popular newsreaders

Collabara is similar to the others, and you'll see that in many instances the same commands and concepts are used with the News as used for the email and Web browser portions of Navigator or Communicator.

Take a look at ZDNet's Help Channel Tips and Answers about using Collabra, the name Netscape gives to the newsreader that's included with Communicator. 

  Posting an Article Posting an article means composing an article-a message, a question, a great discourse on some deep philosophical or extremely important political topic-and distributing it to a newsgroup. Usenet is a fairly wide-open forum. There is no central control and there are thousands of newsgroups on all sorts of topics. But some topics are not appropriate for some newsgroups. Before you post anything, read A Primer on How to Work with the Usenet Community. You'll find it posted in news.announce.newusers
  Proper Usenet Etiquette It's reasonable to think about the people who use Usenet as a community of users. With such a large and diverse community, some rules of behavior or etiquette are necessary. Many of the sites that are part of Usenet have rules, policies, and procedures that need to be followed as well. In some cases, not following the rules means you lose access to a computer system.

Over the years several documents have been developed about proper Usenet etiquette. These are regularly posted in news.announce.newusers, news.answers, or news.newusers.questions. Here is a list of some you ought to read:


FAQ stands for Frequently Asked Questions, a collection of common questions with answers, or a single Frequently Asked Question. Many newsgroups have volunteers who put together and maintain a collection of questions and answers. Most newsgroups have a FAQ and they're very informative and useful. You can find them posted either in the newsgroup the FAQ was created for, or posted to news.answers. Several newsgroups hold these FAQs; you'll see them referred to as the *.answers newsgroups. Some of these are alt.answers, comp.answers, and sci.answers.

Be sure to consult the FAQ for information before you post a question to a newsgroup. It may be embarrassing for you if you post a question to a newsgroup and you get several replies (or follow-ups) letting you (and everyone else reading the newsgroup) know that you should read the FAQ before asking other questions. It also could be annoying to other members of the group to see questions that could be answered by a little research beforehand.

Some places to look for FAQs (other than the newsgroup) are

Visit Infinite Ink's Finding Periodic Postings for information about FAQs.

  Finding Newsgroups

There are thousands of newsgroups. How can you find out which to read or even which ones exist?

To find the groups that your server carries, you select Show All Newsgroups from the pull-down menu Options in the Menu Bar of the news window.

There are several lists of newsgroups available through Usenet. Keep your eye on the newsgroups news.answers, news.lists, or news.groups so you can read or save these listings when they appear (usually monthly).

There are some sites on the WWW that provide the facilities so you can search for newsgroups. For the sites we'll mention, click on the name to bring up a Web page. On that page you enter a key word or phrase, click on a button labeled Search, and then work with the results.

Recommended Newsgroups and Articles There are several newsgroups that a beginning or infrequent user should browse. These newsgroups include information about Usenet, lists of FAQs for Usenet and several newsgroups, and articles that will help you use Usenet. The newsgroups are:
  • news.announce.newgroups Articles dealing with forming and announcing new newsgroups. A place to get the lists of all newsgroups.
  • news.announce.newusers Explanatory and important articles for new or infrequent Usenet users.
  • news.answers This is where periodic Usenet postings are put. The periodic postings are primarily FAQs. This is often the first place you should look when you have a question.
  • news.newusers.questions This newsgroup is dedicated to questions from new Usenet users. There is no such thing as a "dumb question" here. You ought to browse this group to see if others have asked the same question that's been bothering you. Once you get some expertise in using Usenet, you'll want to check this group to see if you can help someone.
The articles you will want to read are posted in news.announce.newusers. Here's a list:

Here are some hyperlinks to other resources.

NewsReaders | Posting an Article | Etiquette | FAQs | Finding Newsgroups | Recommended Newsgroups and Articles

Changes/corrections to the most recent version of the book.
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