Newsgroups,Newsgroups,are,grea DIY Newsgroups
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Newsgroups are a great way to communicate with dozens or thousands or even millions of other people at a time. They are very popular (as evidenced by over 80,000 newsgroups and more being created all of the time) and are exceptionally easy to use.The really cool thing about newsgroups is that you can communicate with just about anyone about any subject. Some newsgroups are completely useless because of spam, and others are made useless by hostile users. It's quite common for a very active newsgroup to suddenly become dormant, then start up again.The key to having a successful newsgroup is having one or more people interested in posting to the newsgroup on a regular basis. A newsgroup such as alt.www.webmaster or alt.binaries.clip-art can be wonderful as there are active, interested and interesting people posting all of the time. Other newsgroups just contain junk and are avoided like the plague.The thing that can destroy a newsgroup fast is spam. Man, I've watched many newsgroups go straight into the toilets due to some idiots without a clue posting vile spam to newsgroup after newsgroup. It may be cool to post an ad or two when it's on-topic (check the charter and FAQ first, though), but going beyond that is not acceptable.So how does one begin using newsgroups? Well, each newsgroup has a culture all to its own, and the rules for each newsgroup are different and unique. Sometimes a newsgroup is rancorous and irritable about certain subjects (alt.www.webmaster tends to be more than a little touchy, for example, about Microsoft products and spam). Others are happy and lighthearted (alt.binaries.clip-art comes to mind).The first thing you want to do it just read posts for a few days or weeks (depending upon the size of the newsgroup) to get a feel for it. See if you can find the FAQ or Tips or something like that. Generally, if a newsgroup has an FAQ it will be posted occasionally. If you don't see it after a few weeks you can ask the newsgroup where to find it.Probably the most important rule is to stay on topic. If the newsgroup is about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, don't post about the World Wrestling Federation, unless, of course, you are trying to set up a match between Buffy and Austin (grin).Don't post in HTML format. This annoys just about everyone. And please don't create HTML signatures either.Oh yes, and if you post binary files, please, please, please run your virus checking program before you post. Nothing will annoy people faster than someone who posts (accidentally or otherwise) viruses to a newsgroup.When you post a follow up message, you should quote enough of the original message to orient your readers. You generally do not need to include the entire original message - it's perfectly okay to delete large parts of it.Some people prefer putting your follow up remarks at the bottom of the message. I prefer putting them at the top - it's really up to you.Don't flame. I know it's incredibly tempting to call that guy a moron and a few other choice words, but please refrain. You will only start some useless posts which benefit no one.And, again, don't spam. Believe me, everyone who frequents newsgroups has seen more pornographic spam then they want, and your pay-to-surf program, while exciting to you, is definitely old, unwelcome news. Remember, people who spam to the wrong places tend to get their internet accounts canceled, their pay-to-surf dollars confiscated and their web pages deleted.