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What Are Newsgroups?

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What are Newsgroups

Newsgroups are a unique media for information exchange. Ever since the Usenet network was introduced more than three decades ago, it has grown steadily and has become a very attractive place for discussions and file sharing.

Newsgroups can be generally divided in two categories – text and binary. The text groups are intended as a bulletin board for sharing of opinions and ideas. The binary groups are focused on exchanging files (binary data) with other users.

How to Use a Text Newsgroup

The messages in text groups can be looked at as simple email messages arranged in threads by subject. Each newsgroup can contain many discussion topics but they are all generally related to the group name. For example, alt.comp.c++ will most likely contain various discussions about the C++ programming language. Thus, in order to use the newsgroup the user needs to connect to Usenet through a Usenet provider like Fast Usenet, which will grant him or her access to the flow of news articles that propagate around the world from one provider to another.

Once connected to a news server, the user must download the list of newsgroups available on the server. Then he or she can open the group they are interested in and retrieve the list of articles already published in this group. This will reveal a number of subject threads to which the user can contribute or just read through.

With binary groups, the process is exactly the same. The only difference is that the ‘dialogue’ among users of these groups is limited to requesting certain files and posting files in return (as attachments to the messages in the group).

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