Usenet is an internet protocol that allows the distribution of news articles or messages through news software to readers of those Usenet groups (newsgroups). You can respond to messages that tickle your fancy or interest you minutes, hours or days after the message first appears. Think of it like an ordinary a bulletin board (except on the internet!) - someone sticks a message on the board, where many others are able to read it. Then someone will go on to read or post other messages, but others will tack up a response to the original message, which then will start a type of conversation. This is what Usenet is - a way for many people to interact (and maybe even get to know one and other) through their computers, and read and post messages on many different topics of conversation.
Newsgroups are categorized into a type of hierarchy based on certain topics that get successively more narrow. There are 8 or so major divisions:
Like email programs, there are many programs out there that you can use to view news groups. Below is a list of just some of the more popular ones that can be used, with links to sites where you can download them:
For those of us who pay by the hour for internet service, unwanted attachments can be quite costly and cumbersome. It’s also just plain time-consuming. Many news groups do not allow binary attachments to be posted, therefore you should check first before posting these. This can be done by either finding a site telling you about the specific news group, or even easier, ask in the news group!! Others who use the news group regularly will be able to tell you the answer to that straight away. So, in short, if you’re going to send an attachment, get permission first.
All Virgin Media hierarchy (those with virginmedia.*.*) newsgroups are non-binary (no attachments allowed) except for virginmedia.test which will allow a limited number of small attachments to be included (good for posting file logs, like modem logs, etc).
Although using html (rich text) rather than plain text can make a post look pretty and original, not all browser programs that people use to read the newsgroups supports this type of posting. All they will see of this is gibberish. So on general principles and to be nice to other users, stick to plain text formats for posting.
There are quite a few rules out there that people should really adhere to when posting to news groups (even when sending email). Below are a list of the most common ones that should be followed, but for the most part netiquette is common sense, meaning don’t do to others what you don’t like to see done to you. More netiquette rules can be found on the Netiquette page.
The problems with only typing something out is that most people can’t actually grasp what you are meaning without a lot of smilies ( ‘:)’, ‘:(’, etc) to show how the feel of the post should be. The same goes with typing in capital letters. Some people will type in capital letters to MAKE A POINT. The only problem with this is that to many people this comes across that you are shouting, so it is generally not a wise idea. Of course, the choice is still yours, but don’ be surprised if people post back telling you not to shout or in general sounding annoyed at you.
Flaming is the practice of attacking people on a personal level. While flaming is relatively common on the Internet, almost everybody will claim they’re opposed to it. Some may even flame you for having flamed someone else! If you stick to a simple rule, you shouldn’t go wrong on this one : say nothing about anybody (be it religious, habits, weight, sex, age, etc.) that you cannot back up with facts. If you do have to flame someone for doing something you don’t like, make sure to back it up with facts or be it on your own head the reaction you get back from them.
this should never be allowed without setting a follow-up to a single news group. It can cause chaos and confusion when trying to follow a conversation as well as taking up valuable space on the news server, which can slow the whole news system down. If you must cross-post remember to set a follow-up to one specific group that seems the most appropriate one for the post. If you really don’t need to cross-post something, then Don’t Do It.
posting an article to many or all of the newsgroups. This is similar to a mass mailing in the regular email. Spamming often happens when someone sends out advertising for their product or service or as a marketing ploy. The article has little in common with any of the posted newsgroup messages. This should never be carried out and in many cases if you are reported for spamming you may end up losing your account. Many newsgroups are moderated (that is, someone keeps an eye on the content and decides whether or not it is suitable) and can usually trace a spammer to their original location and which Internet Service provider they use. If there is no moderator, users of the newsgroups may become so annoyed at any spamming that they report it themselves. So, be warned!
Not all newsgroups will be carried by your Internet Service provider as it is useless to have newsgroups that no one uses taking up valuable space on the news servers that could be used for more popular newsgroups. They will probably also not allow any groups that have been banned and they all must fall under a certain set of standards and be publicly available to all news servers. If you want to know which newsgroups this covers, please see:
If you have found a newsgroup you would like added to the Virgin Media news server, and it can be found at the above site (which means it will be acceptable), then contact Virgin Media support via the newsgroup virginmedia.support.usenet and they claim the group should be added within one hour of them acknowledging your post.
An FU is a follow-up that is set to a post to move in into another newsgroup. This is usually done by support (or indeed other users) who feel that the topic has wondered away from the original posting and no longer has any baring on the newsgroup. For example, say that you posted a message in virginmedia.feedback with honest feedback abut the service. Then someone else responds to your message agreeing/disagreeing with your views. Perhaps then another person (perhaps even yourself) comes along and responds to this second message, but doesn’t include any relevant feedback information. This post is now viewed in terms of a discussion and most times support will answer this post by setting a follow up to virginmedia.discussion.general, which means that any new posts after this will appear in the disc.gen newsgroup.
Alternatively, you can also put a follow-up to your own post if you want responses showing up elsewhere (or if you feel you are making a discussion of the topic and it is no longer relevant in that group). Doing so is quite easy: (A tongue in cheek explanation)
When composing a new message or replying to a message, go to the View menu and select “All Headers”. This will show the “Followup-To:” field. Enter the appropriate group (e.g. virginmedia.discussion.general) here. Alternatively, clicking on the “Followup-To:” button brings up a selection list, if you prefer to select the newsgroup this way.
When composing a message, click “All Fields >>” (or press Alt + D) if the “Fields” list is not shown. Scroll down the “Fields” List until you see “Followup-To”. Highlight it, and enter the appropriate group (e.g. virginmedia.discussion.general) into the box below the “Fields” List, now called “Value for Followup-To:”
When you hit reply, in the address area you see two drop downs selections labeled “group”. Click the second of these and set it to “Followup-To:”. Then enter the appropriate group (e.g. virginmedia.discussion.general).
When composing a news article, click “Edit news header”. Type the name of the required newsgroup in the box labeled “Followup-To:”, then click OK.
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