ISC is the official maintainer for the
"Big-8" set of newsgroups and keeps up to date versions of both active and
newsgroups files. They can be found at: ftp://ftp.isc.org/pub/usenet/CONFIG
Note that the correct term is "newsgroups"; they are not called areas,bases,
boards, bboards, conferences, round tables, SIGs, echoes, rooms or usergroups! Nor, as noted
above, are they part of the Internet, though they may reach your site over it. Furthermore,
the people who run the news systems are called news administrators, not sysops. If you want
to be understood, be accurate.
A newsgroup is a discussion about a particular subject
consisting of notes written to a central Internet site and redistributed through Usenet, a
worldwide network of news discussion groups. Usenet uses the Network News Transfer Protocol
Newsgroups are organized into subject hierarchies, with the
first few letters of the newsgroup name indicating the major subject category and
sub-categories represented by a subtopic name. Many subjects have multiple levels of
subtopics. Some major subject categories are: news, rec (recreation), soc (society), sci
(science), comp (computers), and so forth (there are many more). Users can post to existing
newsgroups, respond to previous posts, and create new newsgroups.
Newcomers to newsgroups are requested to learn basic Usenet
netiquette and to get familiar with a newsgroup before posting to it. The rules can be
found when you start to enter the Usenet through your browser or an online service. You can
subscribe to the postings on a particular newsgroup.
Some newsgroups are moderated by a designated person who
decides which postings to allow or to remove. Most newsgroups are unmoderated.
Usenet is the set of people who exchange articles tagged with
one or more universally-recognized labels, called "newsgroups" (or
"groups" for short).
There is often confusion about the precise set of newsgroups that constitute Usenet; one
commonly accepted definition is that it consists of newsgroups listed in the periodic
"List of Active Newsgroups" postings which appear regularly in news.lists.misc and
other newsgroups. A broader definition of
Usenet would include the newsgroups listed in the article "Alternative Newsgroup
Hierarchies" (frequently posted to news.lists.misc). An even
broader definition includes even newsgroups that are restricted to specific geographic
regions or organizations. Each Usenet site makes its own decisions about the set of groups
available to its users; this set differs from site to site.