A newsgroup is an Internet-based discussion around an individual, entity, organization or topic. Newsgroups enable remotely connected users to share, discuss and learn about their topic of interest by exchanging text messages, images, videos and other forms of digital content.
Newsgroups are also referred to as usenet newsgroups.
Newsgroups were initially created in 1979 by some university students to exchange messages. Users can subscribe for free by submitting an email address, and the group generally consists of several topics/categories based around a main theme. The user/subscriber can post a message in a particular topic/category, which is either automatically visible in open newsgroups, or can only be viewed by approved members in moderated groups. All subscribers participating or following a particular topic/newsgroup will be notified of new messages and updates. Moreover, news/stories/topics in the newsgroup can be read through a downloadable news reader application.
Despite new technologies such as social media, newsgroups continue to thrive online.
Working of Usenet Newsgroup
When a newsreader such as outlook express connects to a news server, it downloads all the new messages posted in the subscribed newsgroup. We can either reply a message after reading or post a news article to the news server.
The article posted to a news server is appended to the file maintained for that newsgroup Then the news server shares article with other news servers that are connected to it.
Then each news server compares if both carry the same newsgroup. If yes, then by comparing the files it checks that if there are any new articles in the file, if so they are appended to the file.
The updated file of the news servers is then sent to other news servers connected to it. This process is continues until all of the news servers have updated information.
If user wants to read article, user has to connect to the news server using the newsreader. The newsreader will then display a list of newsgroups available on the news server where user can subscribe to any of the news group. After subscription the newsreader will automatically download articles from the newsgroup.
After reading the article user can either post a reply to newsgroup or reply to sender by email. The newwsreader saves information about the subscribed newsgroups and articles read by the user in each group.
Posting an Article
In order to send new article to a newsgroup, user first need to compose an article and specify the names of the newsgroup to whom he/she wants to send. An article can be sent to one or more newsgroup at a time provided all the newsgroups are on same news server.
It is also possible to cancel the article that you have posted but if someone has downloaded an article before cancellation then that person will be able to read the article.
Replying an Article
After reading the article user can either post a reply to newsgroup or reply to sender by email. There are two options available Reply and Reply group. Using Reply, the reply mail will be sent to the autor of the article while Reply group will send a reply to whole of the newsgroup.
Cancelling an Article
To cancle an article after it is sent, select the message and click Message > Cancel message. It will cancle the message from the news server. But if someone has downloaded an article before cancellation then that person will be able to read the article.
While posting an article on a newsgroup, one should follow some rules of netiquette as listed below:
- Spend some time in understanding a newsgroup when you join it for first time.
- Article posted by you should be easy to read, concise and grammatically correct.
- Information should be relevant to the article title.
- Don’t post same article to multiple newsgroups.
- Avoid providing your business email address while subscribing to a newsgroup as may be used by spammers.
- Avoid using capital letters as someone may interpret as shouting.
- Prefer to use plain text wherever possible in your article.
Mailing list vs. Newsgroup
|1.||Messages are delivered to individual mailboxes of subscribed member of group.||Messages are not posted to individual mailboxes but can be viewed by anyone who has subscribed to that newsgroup.|
|2.||Working with mailing list is easier than newsgroup. It is easy to compose and receive emails.||Working with a particular newsgroup requires proper knowledge of that newsgroup.|
|3.||In order to send or receive mails, you required an email program.||It requires a newsgroup reader.|
|4.||Messages are delivered to certain group of people.||Messages are available to public.|
|5.||Mailing list does not support threaded discussion.||Newsgroup supports threaded discussion.|
|6.||Messages delivered to listed subscribers can not be cancelled.||Article posted on a newsgroup can be cancelled.|