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Related to News group: Usenet


Computing a forum where subscribers exchange information about a specific subject by electronic mail


(computer science)
A collection of computers on a wide-area network that form a discussion group on a particular topic, such that a message generated by any computer in the group is automatically distributed over the network to all the others. Also known as forum.


One of Usenet's huge collection of topic groups or fora. Usenet groups can be "unmoderated" (anyone can post) or "moderated" (submissions are automatically directed to a moderator, who edits or filters and then posts the results). Some newsgroups have parallel mailing lists for Internet people with no netnews access, with postings to the group automatically propagated to the list and vice versa. Some moderated groups (especially those which are actually gatewayed Internet mailing lists) are distributed as "digests", with groups of postings periodically collected into a single large posting with an index.

Among the best-known are comp.lang.c (the C-language forum), comp.arch (on computer architectures), comp.Unix.wizards (for Unix wizards), rec.arts.sf-lovers (for science-fiction fans), and talk.politics.misc (miscellaneous political discussions and flamage).

Barry Shein <> is alleged to have said, "Remember the good old days when you could read all the group names in one day?" This gives a good idea of the growth and size of Usenet.

See also netiquette.


A discussion group on the Internet as well as a source for MP3 files and images. Newsgroups make up the Usenet (user network), which preceded the Web by more than a decade. Starting in the late 1970s, newsgroups were message boards for Unix technical issues. However, they continue to prosper alongside Web-based discussion groups called "forums" (see Internet forum).

Although a topic can be newsworthy, newsgroups have nothing to do with the daily news. Organized into categories, alt (alternative) contains the most diversity (see newsgroup categories).

The Usenet Network
There are tens of thousands of newsgroups originating from many sources and hosted on many news servers. A small percentage are moderated either by a human or a software agent. An ISP may offer newsgroups to its customers, either by hosting them or funneling them from another source, although the ISP decides which ones and how long they remain online. Dedicated Usenet providers do not discriminate and store most newsgroups indefinitely.

NNTP and Newsreaders
The NNTP protocol is used to transport newsgroup content, similar to the way HTTP is used for Web pages (see NNTP).

Newsreader software (an NNTP client), which may be a stand-alone application or an e-mail or browser plug-in, is used to search for and subscribe to newsgroups as well as read and post messages. When a user posts a question or comment, the chain of replies is called a "message thread." See Usenet, newsreader,, syndication format and newsgroup categories.
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