X-No-Archive (abbreviated XNA or XNAY ) is a header line of a Usenet article with which the article author can ask that the article should not be included in archives.
Origin and background
Usenet articles are passed on according to the flood-fill principle worldwide to all news servers that run at least one of the newsgroups to which the article in question was sent. Usually a news server only keeps articles for a limited time in order to delete them at some point. However, this is not stipulated anywhere and is more pragmatic. On the one hand, the storage space of a server is limited; on the other hand, large quantities of old articles are not of interest to most users. Usenet discussions always had a fleeting character for some participants, as older articles were no longer available to everyone after a certain period of time.
The web-based Usenet articles archive Deja News was in a mid to 1990 year set a goal to reproach as many items indefinitely. In 1995, the X-No-Archive header was created to give Usenet subscribers the option of excluding their contributions from being included in the archive . Like all headers whose names begin with X- , this is an unofficial optional header. The only meaningful and defined value is yes . Translated, the complete header line means X-No-Archive: Yes, so No Archive: Yes . It is sometimes abbreviated as XNA or XNAY .
Respect from archives
Both Deja News and its successor service Google Groups pay attention to this header and do not show XNAY articles in their search results. Google Groups 2 shows such articles within discussion threads for up to seven days after they have been sent, but also suppresses them as a search result within this time interval.
In order to enable users whose newsreader does not allow the setting of new headers, the inclusion of X-No-Archive: yes as the first line in the body of the article is taken into account in Google Groups .
There are also a number of websites that have Usenet articles from the past few months. Some of these sites ignore XNAY. Strictly speaking, however, they are not archives because of the limited holding time.
The use of XNAY is controversial on Usenet, its purpose is discussed regularly. Users point out that this can counteract the automatic data collection and the transparent human being. Opponents claim that replies to XNAY articles are still archived - so the original can be read indirectly - and that there are also non-public archives that do not take the header into account. Thus, protection by XNAY is eyewash and one should use more suitable measures to actually protect one's privacy.
Depreciation of the archive
Some Usenet participants consider long-term archives to be part of Usenet (by integrating the archives, redundant questions can be avoided). You don't like the use and attention of XNAY, as archives become less complete and thus less valuable as a source of information. Some of these participants therefore explicitly no longer respond to articles in which XNAY is set.
Protest against Google Groups
Since Google Groups started offering the ability to write and submit articles, there have been a number of Usenet subscribers who are unhappy with the way the company is handling the abuse of this service. In fact, there are a large number of spam articles that are delivered via Google's own news server. In protest against what they consider to be a lack of action by Google Inc., some Usenet participants consciously use the XNAY header line in order to make Google's archive less valuable and not to contribute to Google's commercial success.
In the next specification of the Usenet article format, an official header is provided for statements on readiness for archiving. It will be called archive and has the possible values yes and no . As an author, you can therefore explicitly agree to or reject the archiving. As a third option, you can still do without a statement about archiving by not setting this line at all.
- IETF working group for the item format (English) ( Memento August 12, 2014 Internet Archive )