[Support & Help Index]

Usenet (aka "Newsgroups")

Newsgroups started when a few people at a few campuses wanted to share information through postings for anyone to read and respond to. Legend has it that way back then - about 10 years ago - you could read every message in every group over a (single) cup of coffee.

Today there are thousands and thousands of newsgroups on every topic imaginable. Each Internet service provider decides how many of the newsgroups it will make available, but most services provide at least several thousand newgroups for their clients to access. Through the use of newsgroups, terms such as "spaming" (useless/blatantly promotional messages posted en masse) and "flaming" (a torrent of angry replies to a message) originated. If you spam a group, you're likely to get flamed (see netiquette). Still, reading the newsgroups can be fascinating (sometimes really useful) and asking a question can elicit replies from all over the world.

The Latest Software | Guides to Usenet
Finding Newsgroups | Reading and Searching Newsgroup Posts on the Web | What's New with Usenet

The Latest Software

You can read and participate in newsgroups using your Web browser, or different software made especially for newsgroups.


With NewsWatcher, you can easily read and post messages to Usenet newsgroups.


Free Agent
This newsreader has many features and is easy to configure.

Guides to Usenet

What is Usenet?
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Usenet.

Rules for posting to Usenet
This is a more in-depth discussion of the rules of conduct on Usenet.

Netizens: An Anthology
The history of the Usenet, a description of what it is, and speculation about its future. From 1996.

A Primer on How to Work With the USENET Community
Chuq Von Rospach's guide to using Usenet politely, effectively and efficiently. Also from 1996.

For an extensive collection of Usenet guides visit the Usenet Help page at the Usenet Info Center Launch Pad.

New Usenet users should also read news.newusers.questions, news.answers and news.announce.newusers to help orient themselves to the Usenet environment.

Finding Newsgroups

Search and browse directories of newsgroups, mailing lists and Web forums.

Usenet InfoCenter Launch Pad
This is the best place to visit to find information about Usenet, browse or search for newsgroups, archives, and more.

Alternatively, you can browse these hierarchical and alphabetical lists of newsgroups.

Usenet FAQs in Hypertext
At this up-to-date site you can search for newsgroup FAQs or browse them by newsgroup name, category, author, and so on.

Reading, Searching and Posting Newsgroup Messages on the Web

Search this archive of newsgroup articles, read and post messages. DejaNews offers access to more than 25 000 newsgroups and more than a year's worth of posts.

Alta Vista
Search a full-text index of newsgroup posts for the last several weeks.

Search archived messages for many newsgroups and mailing lists. You can also post messages to newsgroups from this Web site.

Search for and read Usenet newsgroup articles and FAQs.

Hotbot also allows you to search newsgroup posts.

Public Access Usenet Sites
Some universities provide public access to their news servers via gopher. Yahoo provides links to several lists of these public access sites.

What's New with Usenet

This is the place to see what new newsgroups have been created lately.
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