Here are some guidelines for polite usage of the
usenet and the various newsgroups:
- Read news.announce.newusers before you start posting messages. This
newsgroup will fill you in on the history of the usenet, some of the newsgroups
that are available, and the rules of etiquette. Most of the items mentioned below
are explained there.
- Quote as little as possible from others' messages. This is the only major
deviation between mail etiquette and news etiquette. Your news message may
be sent to thousands of other sites. Most of these sites keep anywhere from
several days to several weeks' worth of old news articles. This means that the
article you are replying to is probably available, if someone needs to look at it.
In particular, "me too" messages, where you quote several dozen lines from
someone else's news article, and then add a one-line comment at the end are
frowned upon. Make sure that all the quoted text is absolutely necessary.
- Before you ask a question, you should check to see if that question has been
asked in the recent past, and if it has been answered. Many newsgroups have
postings that show up once a month or son and provide answers to frequently-
- Use appropriate newsgroups. In general, read a newsgroup for a little while to
get a feel for what it is about and what is appropriate to discuss there. The
purpose of some groups is not immediately obvious from the name.
- Appropriate content for a newsgroup may depend on whether or not there are
other newsgroups that would be more appropriate. It is appropriate to post a
"For Sale" message selling a set of golf clubs to the newsgroup misc.forsale.
However, a message offering your IBM PC up for sale is not appropriate in
misc.forsale, because there is a more appropriate group: misc.forsale.computers.
- Use appropriate distributions. When you are posting with Pnews, you choose
one of seven different distribution levels. The distributions range from only
making your article available within the department, to making it available to
anyone in the state, to sending it out to the whole world. "For sale" messages
are again excellent examples; people in France are not likely to want to buy your car.
- Do no post the same message several times. If you think there was a problem
with the message such that it did not get posted, wait a few minutes and check
to see if your message shows up in rn. If you do not think your messages are
getting to other sites, talk to the operators about it, rather than posting the same
- Do not post copyrighted materials.
- Follow the rules of the group you are sending to. Some groups have some rules
of thumb to make life easier for the people reading the group. Again, reading a
group for awhile before posting is a good idea.
- Reply to other people's articles by mail unless there is a specific reason to do
- ".signature" files at the end of email and rn messages should be no longer than