Guide to Using Newsgroups
(Macintosh Netscape 3.0)
Newsgroups are a worldwide network of people exchanging messages. Each newsgroup concentrates on a topic. Some newsgroups are moderated to keep the discussion on topic. While newsgroups may be useful for learning information and for finding people for stories, newsgroups should NOT be confused with verified or edited news. While there may be good information or leads in a newsgroup, newsgroups, like bulletin boards, are places for discussion.
Newsgroup names are hierarchical from broad category to narrow category. For example, in the group rec.crafts.brewing, rec is the broad topic recreational, crafts is narrower, and brewing is very specific.
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A newsgroup consists of discussions created by messages with accompanying responses. Each discussion, or message with its responses, is called a thread. Users can read and post messages, either starting or continuing a thread.
You may read newsgroups using Netscape. From the title bar menu choose Window, Netscape News. A window will appear. The window consists of four parts:
Note: All headers and panes can be resized.
The first time you use newsgroups there will be only three subscribed newsgroups. The name of the newsgroups will be on the left, followed by a check showing that the newsgroup is a subscribed group, the number of unread messages, and the total number of messages currently in the newsgroup.
To display a list of messages for a newsgroup, click on the newsgroup name. The list of messages and threads will appear in the right pane. The subject line is followed by two columns, one for flagging messages, one for the read / unread marker. The name of the sender and the date the message was posted appear next. You can move through the list using the scroll bar or your PageUp, PageDown keys. A thread is noted by a triangle to the left of the subject.
Reading messages: To read a particular message, click on the subject in the right pane. The message will appear in the bottom pane. You can move through the message using the scroll bar or your PageUp, PageDown keys.
Next message: To move to the next unread message in the thread, click on the Next button in the button bar. If you are at the end of a thread, you will go to the next thread.
Previous message: To move to the previous unread message, click on the Previous button.
Print: To print a message you have selected, click on the Print button. When the print dialog box appears, click on Print.
Mark thread read: To mark all messages in a thread as read, click on the Thread button.
Mark all read: To mark all messages in the newsgroup as being read so that only new messages will be displayed, click on the Group button.
You can post a question to a newsgroup, but remember that your competitors may be among the readers. A better approach is to identify individuals from newsgroup postings and message them privately.
You must specify an e-mail address in preferences to be able to use any of the posting options. If you do not have one specified, Netscape will give you an error message and then open the box where you need to enter your e-mail address. WARNING: If you are not using your personal Mac and you specify an e-mail address, all mail sent from that Mac will appear to have come from you. Be sure to erase your address by choosing Options, Mail and News Preferences, Identity before walking away from the Mac.
The Netscape Composition window will appear for each of these options. You can quote any message by using the Quote button. The message you are quoting will be set off by > marks.
Reply: To respond to the author of a posting directly, select the message and click on the Re:Mail button.
Mail: To send a message to anyone while in newsgroups, click on the To:Mail button.
Forward: If you see a message that another staffer should see, you can forward the message using the Forward button.
Posting: If you do choose to post a message:
Post new: To post a new message to the current newsgroup starting a new thread, click on the To:News button.
Post reply: To post a reply to a message continuing the thread, click on the Re:News button.
Post and reply: Since people may not read a newsgroup regularly, you might want to respond to a posting both via the newsgroup and by mail to the author. To do so, click on the Re:Both button.
Showing all newsgroups: To see a complete list of newsgroups, choose Options, Show All Newsgroups. The list displayed will be grouped by broad category. To see the newsgroups in a category, click on the sideways triangle to the left of the category.
Subscribing: To subscribe to a list, click next to the name of the newsgroup under the checkmark heading. You will want to subscribe to a newsgroup if you are going to read it regularly. To view your subscribed newsgroups, choose Options, Show Subscribed Newsgroups.
Searching: Two services let you search newsgroups, Liszt of Newsgroups and Deja News.
Liszt will search only the newsgroup name and brief description. Type a word in the search box and click on Submit Query. You will receive a list of newsgroups. Click on a newsgroup and the news reader will open with that newsgroup.
Deja News will search the content of current messages. Type a word in the search box and click on Find. You will receive a list of messages that contain your search term. You may be able to find a relevant newsgroup in this manner.
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