Usenet is a global discussion system that has existed long before social media. Users of Usenet are spread across different locations around the world and they post messages on it via the internet. These messages get compiled in data repositories called newsgroups. These newsgroups are essentially discussion boards and not dedicated news publications. Akin to forums on the internet, newsgroup content can be accessed and consumed by the use of certain newsroom software.
Prior to the worldwide spread of the internet, Usenet newsgroups existed as the foremost system of data transmission across the world. The only reason the internet surpassed Usenet was the commercial importance of the internet in highly advertised consumerism. Usenet did not migrate to a commercial system because it continued to be compatible across the dial in and low hardware systems. Internet, on the other hand, upgraded itself from obsolete technologies and seized to be compatible with low tech infrastructure. Social media, like everything else on the internet, also started to acquire behavioral data of its users, hence the need for the latest network configurations. For access to ad-free content and protection of personal data from social media platforms, users are reverting to Usenet, which performs much better on the latest hardware, but hasn’t surrendered its compatibility with preceding technologies.
CREATING & NAMING USENET NEWSGROUP
You can create a newsgroup yourself or send a name of a newsgroup and your username to any legitimate Usenet operator. Either way, creating a newsgroup does not require you to furnish too much personal details like a social media profile, instead, the minimum verifiable information can suffice. Make sure you get a good grasp of the hierarchies of newsgroups and assign the relevant extension to your newsgroup. All you need to do is to ascertain that no newsgroups pertaining to a particular topic or area of interest exist. Next, if the subject of the intended newsgroup is well within the guidelines of Usenet and legally admissible within the jurisdiction, governing your location, you can opt to create a Newsgroup by letting us know the name of your intended Newsgroup and a request with your username. Thereafter we can create it for you in no more than 24 hours.
One prescribed guideline for such a Newsgroup is to name it within the stated alt* hierarchy. If not, then you would require a vote of acceptance from neutral and unbiased 3rd party voters via the Volunteer Vote-takers of the entire Usenet. These vote-takers are deputed with the responsibility of collecting and counting votes for any fresh newsgroup request or proposal, in a transparent and fair manner. This process mandates that your proposed name is part of a period of discussion for at least 21 days of voting. This permits a few repetitions for a call to voters well within the voting timeline as long as the cotes are explicit and exclusive to a given Newsgroup proposal. A word of caution, votes ought to be mailed to vote takers and not to the user who initiates a request and they should be for a single group proposal.
Now, the next big question arises on how to name a Newsgroup. It is still possible to name a Newsgroup based on the subject matter, reinforced with the hierarchy extension. Simple names which are easily understandable, are always a better option as opposed to abbreviations and vague terminology that may confuse and repel users from accessing your newsgroup.
Newsgroups are usually named according to hierarchies, the original 7 of them being:
- .news for news
- .comp for computers
- .sci for science
- .rec for hobbies and recreation
- .talk for religion and politics
- .soc for socializing
- .misc for all other topics
Now that you have started your own Newsgroup, you may have to think about the nature of it i.e. whether you wish to moderate its content or leave it as a platform for unhindered free expression. Most Newsgroups are non-moderated. Hence, they allow for freedom of speech and expression,, and unlike social media which arms users with the ability to report or block users, unmoderated newsgroups do no such thing. In fact, the entire discussion is unfiltered and posted immediately.
Newsgroups can be moderated to host-specific information or they can permit various posts based on a wider variety of themes. Moderation is done by a news admin, who decides the tenure of retention of a post on a particular newsgroup before it gets deleted or reaches its date of expiry.
Operating with the extension .mod, these newsgroups are few and far between, but they are hosted on servers that can be moderated by administrators and allow for review of posts from a distinct address, before uploading it on a newsgroup and preventing default replication of an uploaded post across multiple servers, unless permitted by the moderator.
Even though the newsgroups have grown by 1100% since 1983, the current number of active newsgroups amounts to 20K. Then what about the remaining Newsgroups? Well, the other Newsgroups are not dead, merely inactive. Nothing is posted on these Newsgroups but it doesn’t mean that nothing will be posted on them in the foreseeable future.