• Directory of Internet terms
  • Usenet newsgroups — Usenet Newsgroups are discussion groups about a topic that is reflected in their titles, such as comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.adventure or sci.astro.hubble. Many of the newsgroups have worldwide distribution, and their followers post messages, properly called "articles", for all to read and respond to. The "Usenet" part of the title refers to their distribution via the unix to unix network. Strictly speaking, newsgroups are a Usenet, not an Internet protocol, but they are widely picked up by Internet providers. There are eight major primary series of newsgroups: comp, humanities, misc, news, rec, sci, soc, and talk. Newsgroups in the eight primary series are only created after a formal approval process, which includes formal discussion and voting. In addition, there are less formal alternative newsgroups with the alt series the primary one, and many others with a regional or local focus such as the nyc series or the uk series or topics with limited distribution and purpose like k12 or fedreg. To participate in newsgroups, you should learn the purpose and the norms of the newsgroup before posting any articles of your own. A good rule of thumb is to read for two weeks before posting, and then follow the norms. Many newsgroups post a FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions file about once a month, which you should look at before posting for the first time. See the Newsgroup FAQ for more help.