What is a
A newsgroup is a discussion that
place online, devoted to a particular topic. The discussion takes the
form of electronic messages called "postings" (or articles) that anyone
with a newsreader can post or read. (From
There are tens
of thousands of newsgroups. .Some of them are applicable
to a global audience; others are more applicable to a county city or
organization. Some newsgroups are "moderated"; in these
newsgroups, articles are sent to a moderator before appearing n the
No one on the Internet could possibly read every article, in every
every day. With newsgroups the only
who might read your article are those interested in the subject area of
reaching out to those people who have shown enough of an interest
subject to read that newsgroup.
There are many
freely of their time and experiences. If you ask a question in a
you're sure to receive a few answers and perhaps raise some discussion
those who did answer. By the time you get a final answer, people may
debated the question for quite awhile. It's fun to follow the
even the simplest of queries. It's amazing to see how many people
have something to say, or at least have something in common with you.
You will find that most people reading and replying in a newsgroup are
helpful and considerate. However, you will also come across a few who
the patience to deal with your question, or they may be rude in their
That's the nature of the Internet and Usenet News.
Usenet is a
world-wide distributed discussion system. It consists of a set of
"newsgroups" with names that are classified by subject. Usenet is
available on a wide variety of computer systems and networks but
the bulk of modern usenet traffic is transported over the
internet or UUCP. (from http://www.faqs.org/faqs/usenet/what-is/part1/)
Freenet has its own set of groups called Special Interest Groups (SIGS)
that are only available to ncf members. There are hundreds of SIGS on
many many topics. Some are more locally oriented and some are more
general. It can be advantageous to read a local newsgroup if you want
to sell a computer or rent an apartment.
Freenet's "about" page says about SIGS
About Special Interest Groups
The Special Interest Group (SIG) area is designed to accommodate a diverse
collection of discussion groups or newsgroups where NCF users can meet to
discuss any defined topic that is of common interest. The emphasis is on
informal groups of NCF users, with no specific organization or association
dominating the operation of the group. The only affinity is that each
group involves NCF members who share some common interest.
All SIGs include an "about" file as the first item in their menu. This
defines the purpose of the SIG, and the range of discussion topics that
are appropriate. Please read the about file before posting to ensure that
your contributions are on topic and that they will be a useful addition to
As an NCF user, you are welcome to read any SIG and to contribute to it
according to your interests. In doing so, please remember that good
discussion thrives on well stated information and opinions. There is a
place for conflicting opinions and controversy in any discussion, but this
should be done with some degree of diplomacy. Flaming or personal attacks
are generally not welcomed by other SIG participants and should be
Please join in and enjoy.
For the full text please go to http://www.ncf.ca/ip/sigs/about/about)
For more information on Freenet SIGS please go to: http://www.ncf.ca/freeport/sigs/about/menu
How to access newsgroups
To read and post
articles in a newsgroup, you need the appropriate software.
We call this software a newsreader
. There are many newsreaders
available, some are free, others are shareware, and still others are
by retail. These newsreaders include WinVN, Agent, NewsXpress, and
the PC, and NewsWatcher, InterNews, and NewsHopper for the Macintosh.
many Internet web browsers have their own newsreader component as a
their product. Although there are many programs available to read the
most of them provide the same basic functionality and features.
Once you have connected with your Internet service provider, or ISP,
newsreader program can request a list of all the newsgroups available
your ISP. This may take a few minutes depending on how many newsgroups
ISP carries and the speed of your connection.
To read more please go to http://www.islandnet.com/~tmc/html/articles/usentnws.htm#Newsreaders
To connect you need to find out the name of the news server and
programme it into your newsreader so that the software can hook up to
the ISP and the newsgroups that the ISP carries. Please go to http://www.ncf.ca/ncf/support/newsSetup.html
for Freenet's instructions on how to configure your newsreader. This is
where you can
run into trouble.
I moved into a house with a network
up. For technical reasons I could not configure my browser to read the
NCF groups and for a while I did not know how to solve this problem.
At first I thought that I could go to
the library and access them there. Unfortunately library computers are
not configured to be able to access newsgroups.
But then I hit on my solution Telnet
What is Telnet?
Telnet is an
application based on the Telnet protocol. This application
is used to connect to remote computers, usually via the telnet port
For example, when you "telnet in from home to check your mail at
school", you are using telnet to connect from one computer (your
to another computer (school's computer) generally in a different
Once you have established your telnet connection, you then log in to
computer and execute commands remotely on that computer through your
interface. (from http://www.telnet.org/htm/faq.htm)
Freenet has a telnet set-up to a text version of freenet. (This was how
freenet was originally set up back in the day)
You can read mail this way too. It is all text based - very old
school but functional.
I spent may hours reading email and
newsgroups this way. You can read Freenet SIGS as well as
Login to NCF and go to the start page. On the left under Use NCF you
will see - Telnet to NCF FreePort
Click that and you will get the Terminal - Yes it looks like the 1970s!
Login with your user name and password
It will take a minute to set up,
You should get a screen that looks like this:
Then go to the Main Menu (1)
Then select Number 4 the
Then select 5 Newsgroups.
From that menu you can set up a list of your favourite newsgroups, or
read the group of your choice. Just follow the menus.
Here is Freenet's page on newsgroups including information on how to
up your own SIG.
Hope this helps,