How do I use Newsgroups?

© 2000 Walt Howe
(last updated 16 April 2001)

Usenet Newsgroup questions:
  • What are Usenet newsgroups?
  • What guidelines should I followin posting to newsgroups?
  • What does flaming mean?
  • How do I find newsgroups I'm interested in?
  • What does spam mean?
  • How do I create a new newsgroup? <

    How do I create a new newsgroup?.
    To create new newsgroups in the big eight (comp, humanities, misc, news, rec, sci, soc, and talk), a formal process is followed. The process starts with RFDs (Requests for Discussion) and eventually goes to a formal CFV (Call For Votes). The vote is monitored by an impartial person, and votes must follow strict rules to be counted. The YES votes must be two-thirds or more of the votes and must exceed NO votes by 100 votes or more. If the vote meets those requirements, a control message is sent out creating the new group. The process works, because enough newsadmins (newsgroup administrators) agree with it, and they are ultimately the ones who review the incoming control messages and decide whether a given newsgroup is carried on their system or not. There are occasional anarchists who try to break the system, and although they can become quite a nuisance, the system still works.

    Alternative newsgroups, particularly the alt series, follow a much less formal procedure. No votes are taken. but a group can be proposed and discussed on alt.config. If a group has been discussed favorably on alt.config, someone sends out a control group creating the new group. Acceptance is up to each newsadmin, and it will have wider acceptance if it has been discussed favorably first.

    You can read about new and proposed newsgroups in news.announce.newgroups and alt.config. You can learn more about creating big 8 newsgroups in the FAQ on Creating Newsgroups. You can learn about creating alt newsgroups in the Alt Creation Guide.

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