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Guidelines for Posting Messages to Newsgroups

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Unwritten Rules of Posting to Newsgroups

There are certain unwritten rules about newsgroup posting that we would like to write here and make you aware of so you can learn how to post responsibly. Many users (especially new Usenet users) do not know what is appropriate when posting and what isn’t. That is why they often end up violating those “unspoken rules” and making people angry. There are a few common reasons for that. First, many users try to spam different newsgroups, pretending to be marketing a product or service.

There is a big difference between spamming and marketing. Whereas marketing is promoting and selling a product, spamming is the unauthorized flooding of a mailbox or a newsgroup with irrelevant messages that the user(s) of that mailbox or newsgroup have not requested or signed up for.

Do not spam – if the material you are posting is not relevant to the newsgroup you are posting it in, this is considered spam. While most users can filter through and ignore spam postings, you will soon be stripped off your Usenet posting privileges because spammers are easily detected by administrators (often after they have been reported by other users) and kicked out of the system.

Posting In The Wrong Position

Another common mistake is posting you answer at the top of the quoted posting. Because most users read from top to bottom, they can easily miss the context of the discussion if they read you answer before they read the message you were replying to.

Cross Posting

You can cross-post your message to more than one newsgroup if your message is relevant to more than one group. Cross-posting is easy to do, and it is similar to emailing to more than one person. Simply put a comma between each newsgroup name you wish to post to in the address field.

However, remember that excessive cross-posting is considered bad form without a good reason, because it multiplies the traffic in Usenet several times without adding any new content. In the extreme case, if everybody cross-posted every message to every group, then every group would look exactly the same.

You should cross-post only when it is really needed, and usually not to more than three groups. All cross-posted groups should be closely related in subject. It is considered bad netiquette to cross-post a message to totally unrelated groups, and could cause you to receive a large number of complaints by email.

Because cross-posting of commercial advertisements has become a problem, some news servers will ignore any message which is cross-posted to too many groups. Depending on the server configuration, somewhere between five and fifteen is the usual limit. When you cross-post an article to more than one group, you may want to specify that all responses should be directed to a single group.

Don’t Post Personal Information

Furthermore, do not post your personal information or anyone else’s personal information in Usenet. You wouldn’t like anyone to do that to you, would you? In addition to that, do not make offensive remarks about other users of the Usenet community – it does not speak well of you plus you may invoke retaliatory action which is probably not something you are looking for.

A rule of thumb in newsgroup posting is to follow your common sense and not to do anything that you would not do outside of Usenet. The fact that Usenet is an electronic community and can be anonymous does not give anyone the right to abuse it.

Posting Software

Fast Usenet is compatible with just about any Usenet software out on the market today but we’ll give you a few ideas on what types of software to try out. The first type of software that will upload or post is a newsreader. Just about every newsreader made has a posting tool built into it. Agent, Xnews, NewsBin Pro, News Pro, Outlook Express, and News Rover are all of our recommended newsreaders. Most of them can upload both text and binary. The other posting program that we recommend is Power Post 2000 which is a shareware program. It sets up so easy that you’ll be posting in about ten minutes; it’s that simple and user-friendly.

How Is Binary Posting Accomplished?

Binary posting can be done very easily at the click of a button, with the help of a software application called a “newsreader.” Newsreaders are programs that are very helpful in Usenet and that we recommend to everyone who has a Usenet account. Most newsreaders cost money but some providers such as FastUsenet.org provide it for free to their members with their membership.

So, binary posting is usually done with newsreaders because they are multi-functional Usenet tools which allow you not only to browse the groups, but also to download and post binaries or just plain text messages if you wish to participate in the ongoing discussions that some groups have going on. There are also software programs called “posting applications” (PowerPost is an example of such program) that you can only post binaries with.

They are good to use when you do not have a newsreader and are using the web to news gateway that your provider offers. It is most simple to use just one program, however, so it is recommended that you get a copy of a good newsreader that you learn and get used t.

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