||Newsgroups are not news and are not groups. Newsgroups are similar
to public message areas of an electronic bulletin board, or BBS.
are more than 20,000 of them. Some newsgroups might only have one two articles
per week, others might have hundreds a day. Some are as serious as nuclear
physics, and others are as whimsical as "Elvis lives!"
To read newsgroups you need access to a news (Network News Transfer
Protocol, NNTP) server. If your own Internet Service Provider manages one,
you should probably use it. If not, you might want to take advantage of
one of the public servers:
To read and participate in newsgroups you must have a newsgroup
client program installed on your computer. Both Netscape Navigator and
Microsoft Internet Explorer have built in readers, but if you are a heavy
user of newsgroups you may want to install a more powerful stand-alone
Newsgroup FAQs serve two purposes. First, they are manuals for the
newsgroups, and explain the groups' rules and expectations. For example,
alt.quotations requires an obligatory quotation, or obquote in every posting.
Newsgroups covering current movies and books usually require you to put
the word spoiler in front of the subject line of any message that
might give away the plot. The second purpose of FAQs is to summarize basic
ground so that regulars to the group are not faced with the same elementary
questions time and time again. Some FAQs are lengthy and contain a wealth
of information; they are worth reading and saving even if you do not intend
to follow the newsgroup regularly.
Usenet is, in essence, a collection of topics available for discussion.
These discussion groups (or newsgroups, as they're normally called) are
open to all and sundry, and they won't cost you a dime (aside from the
usual connection charges, of course)
Getting News via E-Mail:
If your only access to the Internet is via e-mail (with Juno, for
example) it is still possible to read newsgroups.