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Usenet Newsgroup Names

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What is a Newsgroup Name?

A newsgroup name is simply the name of a Usenet newsgroup. Newsgroup names are usually comprised of several parts, to denote the hierarchy that they are in.

The Major Newsgroup Names

There is the Big 8 hierarchy of newsgroups, which contains 8 famous groups of newsgroups. The “Big Eight,” most common first-level categories include: comp.* (computer discussions), rec.* (recreational interests), soc.* (social discussions), talk.*, sci.* (scientific topics), misc.* (miscellaneous topics), news.* (news discussions), and humanities.* (humanities discussions). More specific newsgroup categories include: can.* (Canadian groups), k12.* (kinder garden to grade 12 discussions), etc.

Because many people weren’t happy with the way the BIG-8 newsgroup hierarchy works, a Usenet administrator one day started the alternative groups or the ALT. groups (which are alternative to the BIG-8 groups). Basically, he tried to create certain groups as BIG-* groups, but the main Usenet provider at that time refused to carry his groups, so he created them on his own and used an “alternative” backbone to distribute messages for those groups.

The alt. binary hierarchy is dedicated to the newsgroup names that refer to newsgroups containing Usenet files (called binaries). You can easily search these groups at FastUsenet.org using our customized version of GrabIt newsreader and find what you are looking for within seconds. So, as you se, there are a few rules and conventions to follow when it comes to newsgroup names.

Newsgroup names are usually very self-explanatory and you can easily tell what he group is all about just by its name. For example, alt.binaries.cartoons.french is obviously a group that contains files (binaries) with French cartoons. Alt. binaries.country.audio is a group containing country music.

As there are over 100,000 newsgroups carried by good Usenet providers like Fast Usenet, there are that many names as well. And the great thing about the newsgroup names is that you don’t have to remember them all. You don’t have to remember website addresses, server addresses or anything else. All you have to know is what you’re looking for and you can find it within minutes in the appropriate newsgroup because the newsgroup names are designed to make it easy for you, the user.

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