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Newsgroup Categories

Newsgroups follow a simple hierarchical naming system which both organise and identify each group. The first few letters of a newsgroup's name shows it belongs to one of these major categories:

COMP. is used for discussion of all matters relating to computers.

NEWS. is for information about newsgroups themselves.

REC. stands for recreation and touches on every conceivable form of recreation, hobby or past-time.

SCI. is for science, from the traditional realms of physics and mathematics to engineering and astronomy.

SOC. is where social issues are discussed; cultural, religious, lifestyle and a multitude of other forms of human interaction.

TALK. is free and wide-ranging discussion on almost any topic.

MISC. was originally intended to cover any pursuit which did not belong in the other categories. To a large extent this role has been assumed by the ALT. newsgroups.

ALT. for alternative, is far and away the most active and the most controversial area of the Net.

Each of these categories is divided again and again, like a tree branching out from trunk to tip. As you move further from left to right the descriptions become more specific and the nature of the group becomes more apparent.

Newsgroup names containing the word .binaries, are used for sharing binary files instead of plain text messages (pictures, music, video). Any newsgroup whose name ends in .d is a group used for discussion. Groups named .info and .answers are where you can read announcements and FAQs about a related group.

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