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Reading the News

Most, if not all, of the news readers provide the same basic functions:

Subscribing to newsgroups
Your news reading software will make these groups immediately accessible, so that you can read their contents quickly and easily.

Unsubscribing from newsgroups
Removing groups from your easy access list.

Reading newsgroup postings
Your news reader presents new messages - postings - to you, and keeps track of which postings you have and have not read.

Threads of discussion
Replies to a posting are grouped together with the original posting, so that the reader can follow the messages within a newsgroup which are part of a particular discussion or a topic.

Posting to news groups
You can participate in group discussions; your news reader knows where to send your posting.

Responding to a posting
You can send a response to the newsgroup, often called a follow-up, or if to the author of a posting, it is called a reply.

When you run your newsreader for the first time, it will connect to the news server and retrieve a list of all available newsgroups. This can take a while.

You can then select any newsgroup from the newsreader and scroll through the list of articles or messages posted on a newsgroup.

Newsgroup articles are identical in composition to e-mail with the exception that they are sent to the newsgroup rather than an individual. A series of articles on any topic is called a thread.

If you find a newsgroup of special interest you can subscribe to it. This means that all new postings in the group will always be downloaded from the server whenever you start your newsreader, to save you from manually having to select that group.

The better newsreaders allow you to work offline. You download only the messages you want to read, then disconnect to browse them and compose your replies. This is the best approach for busy newsgroups and a great way to ignore the rubbish.

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