Newsgroups are online forums in which people discuss thousands of different topics. Each topic has its own newsgroup, and many topics are divided into sub-groups. People post articles to the newsgroups, which anyone with access to the group can read. Other people then post replies to the article. The exchange is not "real time," meaning it does not take place at the speed of a conversation, but it is as fast as email and involves much greater numbers of people.
The terms "news" and "article" should not lead you to think Usenet is like more conventional news media such as newspapers and television. Some of that kind of news is certainly available online. But mostly newsgroups cover topics that might not be considered "news" in the traditional sense, and posts range from very serious and professional to downright silly.
A. There are over 45,000 groups available on our server to our users. Most of these will not interest you. Many are local groups for other regions of the world. Given the abundance of topics, though, there is certain to be something out there that interests you.
A. Newsgroup names are read from left to right, and move from general to specific information. On the highest level of organization they are grouped in "hierarchies". The hierarchy is followed by a dot ,".", then the next most general part of the name, and so on.
For example, the name "alt.fan.muppets.gonzo" means the group is in the "alt" hierarchy, and the sub-categories are "fan" and "muppets". The topic is "gonzo".
A. To accommodate the new we run a dedicated news server with five 9 gigabyte hard drives, and 2 gigabyte hard drive for the directories. This allows us to keep approximately 21 days of news available at all times.