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Newsgroups [ ˈnjuːzˌgruːps ] ( English for newsgroups ) are Internet forums (formerly also off the Internet in independent ( mailbox ) networks) in which text contributions (also called news, articles or postings ) are exchanged on a limited topic . If a user publishes an article in a newsgroup, it is sent to a news server . This can then make the article available to his users and forward it to other servers, which in turn make it available to their users.


Technically, the format of e-mails is used for newsgroup posts , with only a few other types of header lines being introduced. The RFC 1036 ( Request for Comments , Standard for Interchange of USENET Messages) specifies the details firmly.

Various news systems have existed around the world for decades. The best known is Usenet , which connects a large number of news servers around the world. Often, however, newsgroups are also distributed purely regionally, or they are made available on intranets . The NNTP protocol is often used, in earlier times mainly UUCP .

You can access newsgroups through special as a newsreader called computer programs or web interfaces such as Google Groups . Newsreaders are often included as part of a program in general e-mail programs (e.g. Mozilla Thunderbird ) or are also available as add-ons for web browsers such as Mozilla Firefox . Also mail2news gateways ( Gmane ) should facilitate work on Usenet. Compared to specialized software, however, they only work with restrictions.


A newsgroup is identified by a hierarchically structured name. Using these hierarchies, Usenet is divided into subject blocks. Most newsgroups are assigned to the nine largest hierarchies. These are comp. *, Talk. *, Soc. *, Sci. *, Humanities. *, Misc. *, News. *, Rec. * (The so-called Big Eight ) and alt. *. In addition, it usually has a short description, called English (and in the narrower sense technically) tagline , which can be displayed by many newsreaders. A longer description can be found in the optionally available charter .

An example:

Name: de .rec.sf.misc
Brief description: "Other in the field of speculative fiction (fantastic)."
Charter: "The group's topic is everything in connection with _S_peculative _F_iction (fantastic, especially science fiction, fantasy, fantastic horror) for which there is not already a special group."

Other names

In some networks such as FidoNet , Z-Netz or MausNet , newsgroups are sometimes referred to with different terms. For this reason, the acronym GABELN (group, area, board, echo, list, network) is sometimes used as a more general expression.

Types of groups

There are generally two different types:

  • unmoderated groups, in which every post is immediately visible to everyone;
  • moderated groups, in which each contribution is first run by one or more moderators and only becomes available to everyone after approval by them. So that z. B. Spam can be prevented.


The newsgroups have been increasingly replaced by web forums since the 2000s , so that their practical importance is continuously decreasing.

Web links

Commons : Usenet  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Newsgroup  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. c't ticker: Usenet nucleus goes offline