Itís Big, Really Big

                  What it is?

Usenet is a world wide system of newsgroups that millions of people access. It consists of a set of "newsgroup" names that are classified hierarchically by subject. It can be accessed with numerous pieces of software called newsreaders. Newsgroups can also be accessed through the World Wide Web. Some of the services such as require a monthly fee. Others such as Google groups are free. The sites that require a fee usually offer extra services such as the ability to download music. Usenet consists of government agencies, large universities, high schools, businesses of all sizes, home computers, etc.

The Thirteen Most Important Usenet
alt Wide variety of miscellaneous topics
bionet Biology
bit Miscellaneous topics
biz Business, marketing, advertising
comp Computers
humanities  Literature, fine arts
k12 Kindergarten through high school
misc Miscellaneous topics
news Usenet itself
rec Recreation, hobbies, arts
sci Science and technology
soc Social and cultural issues
talk Debate, controversial topics
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                  What it is not?

  • Usenet is not an organization.
  • Usenet is not a democracy.
  • Usenet is not fair.
  • Usenet is not a right.
  • Usenet is not an academic network.
  • Usenet is not the Internet.
  • Usenet is not a United States network.
  • See a more detailed disscusion here
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                      When did it start?

    Usenet was first started in 1979 by Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis, two grad students in North Carolina. They were using computers running the Unix operating system and wanted to hook computers together to share information with the Unix community. Steve Bellovin, a grad student at the University of North Carolina, was first to use this idea to make a news software using shell scripts and installed it on the first two sites: "unc" and "duke." These two groups and one other "phs" were the only ones until 1981. At this time a U. C. Berkeley, grad student Mark Horton and high school student Matt Glickman rewrote the news software to make it more functional. Up until this point the newsgroups could only handle a few articles per day. There was however an increased interest in the newsgroups and demand was growing. Usenet continued to grow and it was updated numerous times to make it easier to use and access and to maintain the increasing amount of news.    -paraphrased from usenet/what-is/part1 (Chip Salzenberg)

    "Those who mourn for 'USENET like it was' should remember the original design estimates of maximum traffic volume: 2 articles/day" -Steven Bellovin

                      Who has control?

    "Every administrator controls his own site. No one has any real control over any site but his own. The administrator gets her power from the owner of the system she administers. As long as her job performance pleases the owner, she can do whatever she pleases, up to and including cutting off Usenet entirely. Them's the breaks."-usenet/what-is/part1 (Chip Salzenberg)


    Those who have never tried electronic communication may not be aware of what a "social skill" really is. One social skill that must be learned, is that other people have points of view that are not only different, but *threatening*, to your own. In turn, your opinions may be threatening to others. There is nothing wrong with this. Your beliefs need not be hidden behind a facade, as happens with face-to-face conversation. Not everybody in the world is a bosom buddy, but you can still have a meaningful conversation with them. The person who cannot do this lacks in social skills. -- Nick Szabo


    Anarchy means having to put up with things that really piss you off. -- Unknown

    If you would like to access newsgroups register at the following web site.
    click here
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    Use this site to download a free agent that will accept user information from your previous registration.( Scroll down and look for Free Agent)
    click here
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