Use Net

Usenet is a collection of user-submitted notes or messages on various subjects that are posted to servers on a worldwide network.

Usenet is divided into some 40,000 topics or "newsgroups" arranged in hierarchies. The "Big Five" hierarchies are: There are numerous other hierarchies: some local to particular news servers, others vanity hierarchies used by software manufacturers and others regional hierarchies such as uk.* (which are often closely administered).

 It used to be the case, at least for some of us more pedantic types, that Usenet only referred to
 the "big 7" (now "big 8") news hierarchies which are governed by a democratic process performed
 through the use of newsgroups themselves, these hierarchies being: comp, rec, soc, misc, news,
 talk, sci, humanities. The total mass of different news hierarchies was referred to as NetNews?,
 or just News. Has this distinction gone out of fashion? -LasseHp

You can browse Usenet free, via the web, at

The Usenet contains text discussion groups, as well as binaries. Binary content generally includes images, video, music and software.

NNTP is governed by RFC 977 and RFC2980.

"Usenet is like Tetris for people who still remember how to read." -- KenIverson

"Usenet is like a herd of performing elephants with diarrhea -- massive, difficult to redirect, awe-inspiring, entertaining, and a source of mind-boggling amounts of excrement when you least expect it." -- Gene Spafford, 1992

"Give a million monkeys a million typewriters... and you get Usenet!" (source unknown but gee it's obvious)

"And talk radio is usenet without the 'Next Message' key." -- S. Cherlin, alt.religion.kibology

A phenomonology of the undersoul

It occurred to me that a forum like Wiki might be improved if newcomers were forced to spend a year in UseNet, first. We could send them on their way with instructions like:

Go there, and try to have reasonable conversations, waste hours and hours getting sucked into flamewars, trying to find cohesion out of a torrent of sprawling ephemeral threads ... Then come here, and reflect on how Wiki can be different. Then make it so.

It occurred to me long ago that the self-righteous attitude of many wikizens with regards to UseNet is violently contradicted by facts, if not prejudiced and consequently plain stupid. Though wiki is different, wiki's net results are not better and in some aspects they are considerably worse. Because even with its noise, UseNet is the place where you find lots of extremely valuable content from some of the best professionals in software. Probably UseNet archives beats wiki on most of the software related subjects in the amount of high quality content. Not only the sheer amount of valuable content, but also the speed with which new valuable content is generated. Of course, you have to know how to read and whom and what to read on UseNet, and if you get sucked into flame wars you have to know how not to get offended. And flamewars have their beauty, too:) Not rarely the content you want to read and you need to read is inside flame threads.

Simple experiment : evaluate how many insights on C++ you can find on wiki vs. how many you can find on And that's only choosing a neutral subject, if you choose something like AdaLanguage, or CeeLanguage or FunctionalProgramming, wiki just stands absolutely no chance of competing. It is as simple as that. Therefore, instead of patting yourself on the back as a proud wikizen, you may as well go and create some content. And be sure not to miss checking UseNet at least from time to time. It is guaranteed to help you as a software professional. -- CostinCozianu

You know, a similar conversation was probably held recently regarding the 2002 JoltAward (GoogleGroups v. WikiWikiWeb). -- SeanOleary

Also see HipcrimeFloods

I think wiki is better to document long lasting things, that interest many people, and newsgroups are better to discuss and solve special/individual problems. -- Thorsten van Ellen

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