FAQ's about UseNet NewsGroups

Q. What are UseNet NewsGroups ?

A. Usenet is a collection of newsgroups.

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.

Q. How many newsgroups are there ?

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.

Q. What are hierachies ?

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".

Q. How long do we keep newsgroups here ?

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.

Q. Common hierarchies ?


alt - topics too wierd or too new to be in another category
ba - bay area related groups
biz - business-related groups
comp - computers
fido - groups from Fidonet
misc - miscellaneous
news - news administration
rec - recreation
sci - science
soc - social
talk - current or topical issues

For a more complete list of hierarchies, use your news reader.

Bay Area Internet NewsGroup

Q. What is the News (NNTP) Server ?

A. In order to read from the news server you need to configure your news reader to our news server.

In the perferences there should be a space to insert the name for the news server.
Find News (NNTP) Server and type 'snews.accesscom.com'.

*Note - In order to read news you must be dialed into AccessCom.com.

Q. My subscribed newsgroups keep disappearing ?

A. Since we rebuilt the News server, we have noticed that the news.rc file for Netscape and many other news reader programs has caused subscribed newsgroups to disappear.

For whichever news reader you are using, remove the news.rc file and restart that program.
You will now need to resubscribe to all your newsgroups.

Q. Recommended programs ?

A. Here are just a few.

Macintosh - NewsWatcher
Macintosh - Netscape Navigator
Windows - News Xpress
Windows - Netscape Navigator
UNIX - tin

Q. Does Accesscom.com have any internal newsgroups ?

A. No, we have no internal news groups at this time.