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Naming Usenet Newsgroups

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Basics in Naming Newsgroups

You may wonder why we are discussing the issue of naming newsgroups here. Well, with Usenet growing larger and larger each day, it is getting harder and harder to find the newsgroups you are looking for. Sometimes, even when you think you have located the newsgroup you were looking for, you are disappointed to find out that it does not contain what you were hoping it would. That is due to the fact that sometimes, newsgroups are named incorrectly and the names are far from intuitive and self-explanatory. Therefore, we fee it is important for every member of the Usenet community to know a little about naming newsgroups.

How to Go About Naming Newsgroups?

You may wonder how you should proceed when adding and naming a new group. You should follow a few basic rules. First issue to be considered is to group similar subjects together, in the same hierarchy if possible, so that people looking for a related subject will have a good idea where to find it. It is often better to put a new group with others in an approximately right “place” than to insist on getting the name precise at the expense of putting the group in some obscure area that many potential users will not look at.

Second, try to create general groups before creating very specific ones. If the group alt.video.games did not exist, creating one about a specific game (such as alt.video.games.nintendo) would be inappropriate. Next rule is to avoid abbreviation in naming newsgroups. Do not abbreviate or use obscure names. Your abbreviation may well be recognized by someone else as meaning something entirely different. At the moment, Usenet transport limitations restrict the length of any component to 14 characters.

This may sometimes force abbreviation. In this case, create as meaningful an abbreviation as possible within 14 characters, one that will be commonly understood by most users. Last, but not least, always use properly spelled English words in newsgroup names. If you are not sure how a certain word is spelled, look it up in a dictionary or a spell checker before naming newsgroups. The articles in a group should use whatever language is appropriate for that group, but group names should use English, as that is the one language that can be understood by almost all Usenet users.

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