The Group Data is layed out in the folling manner:
        (SB = See Below) (SE = Self Explanatory)







  Readers: SB-1 (SB-2) {SB-3}        Mesgs per month/day: SE/SE      {SB-P}
  Crossposting: SE {SB-P}            Megs  per month/day: SE/SE      {SB-P}
  Sites reciving this Group: SE      Cost ratio ($US/month/rdr): SB-4

SB-1 Estimated number of readers
SB-2 Percentage of the total number of newsreaders who read this group.
SB-3 Percentile ranking of the estimated number of readers
SB-4 The estamited cost ratio in US dollers per mounth per reader
SB-P Percentile ranking for that catagory

Please note that if there is no information on any given area the line(s)
are left out.
(This is a first draft, suggestions and comments are more then welcome)

Short Description

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A Brief One Line Description of the Group. (Active, Alt)

Long Description

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A Long Description for the group when availble. A lot of these will be the offical chartes sligtly reworded. This is where I could use the most help.

Moderation Info

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A number of moderated groups exist on the net. These are groups which usually have one or more individuals (acting as editors and/or moderators) who must approve articles before they are published to the net. In general, these groups fall into one of five categories:

  1. Groups with postings of an informative nature not suited to discussion and always originating from the same (very small) group of posters. Groups within this category include news.lists, news.announce.newusers, and comp.mail.maps.
  2. Groups derived from regular groups with such a high volume that it is hard for the average reader to keep up. The moderated versions of these groups are an attempt to provide a lower volume and higher quality version of the same forum. An example of this category is news.announce.newgroups (a reduced form of news.groups).
  3. Groups derived from regular groups that have often been abused. That is, the regular groups often received postings of items that were not germane to the stated topic of the group (or sometimes even within the realm of politeness for the net). This also includes groups suffering from an annoying number of duplicate postings and inappropriate followups. Moderated groups in this category include comp.sources.unix.
  4. Groups designed to serve also as direct feedback to an off-the-net group. The discussion in comp.std.mumps is an example of this.
  5. Groups which are gatewayed into the Usenet from an Internet mailing list. These groups are moderated by someone on the Internet side but are shared with the Usenet population. Submissions mailed to the proper addresses, given below, will appear in both the group on Usenet, and the Internet list. This includes some groups in the "inet" distribution which are listed here for completeness: and comp.std.announce.
The Data is Displayed in the folling fields:
Moderated by
Below is a list of the current moderated groups and the moderators of those groups.
Requests to
The addresses to use if you have questions of comments about the groups.
Submissions to
The addresses for the submissions of articles to that group. These addresses can be used to build the "moderators" file so that "postnews" can automatically mail an article to the correct moderator.
Many of the in hierarchies other than the "main Usenet" have been collected from a number of different sources, including the alias file at, and they may not be completely accurate over time.

UUCP-only sites, the addresses given are in Internet/domain form. You can mail to an Internet (EDU, GOV, etc.)-only site by mailing through the gateways using a uucp-style path, e.g.:

To post to a moderated group, write your article and mail it to the listed SUBMISSION address. The moderator will then do the actual posting of the article. The news software on the Usenet will not allow direct posting to moderated newsgroups, nor will it forward unauthorized articles to other sites. The only way to post to a moderated group is to mail it to the moderator. If your system is running a version of news more recent than B news 2.10 -- including C News and INN -- your news software will automatically mail your article to the moderator if you attempt to post it. Thus, posting to a moderated newsgroup should appear the same as posting to any other group (except you don't see the posting right away).

Depending on the newsgroup involved, if the moderator feels that your article is inappropriate for the group, s/he will return the article to you with a suggestion for other newsgroups in which to post it, and/or an explanation of why it is not appropriate for the moderated group. You may still post such articles to the regular groups as you currently do, if such groups exist.

If you have questions or complaints about the way a moderated group is run, please contact the moderator by mail. If you don't get a response in a reasonable amount of time, you can send mail to the mailing list "" and it will be rebroadcast to many electronic group moderators, who might be able to help.

If your system is running a version of news more recent than B news 2.10 -- including C News and INN -- posting to moderated newsgroups is done by mailing your submission to well-defined aliases at a nearby well-connected site. The mail path to that site should be in your news library, in the file "mailpaths" -- there is no need to update a moderators file with the information in this article, nor is there a need for you to mail your articles individually. Information on how to construct the paths in the "mailpaths" file so this works correctly are posted in a companion article.

If you are NOT running a recent version of news, you are *STRONGLY* advised to upgrade to it so as to take advantage of this feature, as well as the numerous bug fixes and other enhancements.

(List of Moderators for Usenet)

FAQ Info

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Many newsgroups contain articles which are posted on a periodic basis. These articles tend to be useful for both novice and experienced users, as they usually fall into one of these categories:

  1. How-to articles explaining some of the basics and fine points of network usage, etiquette, standards, etc.
  2. Introductory notes about one or more newsgroups, covering policies (if any) for submissions to that group, usage, etc. Common questions and answers pertinent to a newsgroup(s).
  3. Indexes of archives, or pointers to archives for various groups. Periodic newsletters, calendars, pointers to publications.
  4. Statistical information and reports about Usenet; tables of Usenet hosts, links, etc.
  5. Miscellany, including small useful sources, "fun" lists, etc.
A few points on the fields:
FAQ Subject(s)
The Subject line(s) to the FAQ. If more then once subject appears it means that all of those FAQ go together in one Collection. The character '*' is used as a wildcard, e.g. "v*INF1" matches "v01INF1", "v02INF1", etc.
Archive Name and Summery
The Archive-name, where present, indicates the archive name that appeared in the posting when it was last posted. Note that if one entry matches multiple postings because of wildcarding, then only one archive name will appear. Similarly, the Summary indicates the summary that appeared.
The Frequency the FAQ is posted.
Last Posted Date
The Date in a posting's entry indicates, where given, when the posting last appeared. However, it may be inaccurate if (a) the maintainer of the posting has changed the Subject line, or (b) the most recent version has not reached my site, or (c) the entry actually corresponds to multiple postings because of wildcarding.
Corrections and additions (via MAIL) are most welcome. New entries for the list should be submitted in the same form as the entries below, with From, Newsgroups, Subject, Frequency, and (optionally) Comments lines, in that order.

Several archives of USENET periodic informational postings exist. To find out more about them and how to access them, see the posting entitled "Introduction to the news.answers newsgroup" in the news.answers newsgroup. If you do not know how to get that newsgroup and/or your site does not receive it and/or that article has expired in it, you can retrieve it via anonymous ftp from [] in /pub/usenet/news.answers/news-answers/introduction. If you do not have access to anonymous ftp, you can retrieve it by sending a mail message to with the command "send usenet/news.answers/news-answers/introduction" in the message.

(List of Periodic Informational Postings)

Mailing List Info

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There are many known gateways between public mailing lists and network newsgroups in the seven USENET hierarchies and other worldwide alternative hierarchies.

Gateways exist in several forms. They can be fully bi-directional between the list and the group, one way from the list to the group, or only partially passed from the group to the list and back, with the list moderator selecting articles which are appropriate. Lists can also be packaged as digests --- single multiple messages bound in a single collection --- and possibly appear as such in the corresponding group.

Traffic on mailing lists whose incoming traffic from the corresponding newsgroup is unrestricted is often very unlike that which comes to lists that solely exist in the mail realm. This is because of differences of the two overall environments and how they are used by people. Both list members and group participants should be wary of it and try to be sympathetic with the other side, but this is often a point missed by the group users who don't even realise their articles are being redistributed via an automatic gateway.

Mailing lists also have administrative contact addresses for reaching the people who run them. These addresses are meant to be used for issues pertaining to the operation of the lists, rather than for messages which are meant to be published in the list.

You can subscribe or unsubscribe most mailing lists by writing to an address formed by putting "-request" after the list name but before the "@"; eg, to subscribe to, send a request to Some lists do not support the -request convention, but support automated subscription. If the -request address fails, try mailing "subscribe LISTNAME YOURNAME" in the body of a message to "listserv" at the site. That is, to subscribe to, send "subscribe swl-l YOURNAME" to, substituting your full name in for YOURNAME.

Also note that moderators of Usenet groups may not be in charge of the corresponding mailing list or gateway. For example, the moderator of comp.sources.unix does not have anything to do with the unix-sources mailing list; matters concerning the mailing list should be addressed to

(Mailing Lists Available in Usenet)

Stats (Last Part)

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The info in this section comes from a monthly posting series from the Network Measurement Project at the DEC Network Systems Laboratory in Palo Alto, California. The percentiles are calculted by me (Kevin) with a perl script. The percentile calculation for the number of readers is actully based on the ranking used in the report, not the actual number of readers.

This survey is based on a sample of data taken from various USENET sites. At the end of this message there is a short explanation of the measurement techniques and the meaning of the various statistics. The messages that follow this one show survey data sorted by various criteria.

The newsgroup volume and article counts that gets posted are often significantly different from the ones posted by Rick Adams, because he includes the size of a crossposted article in every group to which it is posted, whereas that size only gets charged to the first-named group.

How Its Done

Survey data is taken by having one person at each site run a program called "arbitron", which looks at the news or notes files and determines the newsgroups that the user has read within a recent interval. To "read" a newsgroup means to have been presented with the opportunity to look at at least one message in it. Going through a newsgroup with the "n" key counts as reading it. For a news site, "user X reads group Y" means that user X's .newsrc file has marked at least one unexpired message in Y. If there is no traffic in a newsgroup for the measurement period, then the survey will show that nobody reads the group. For a notes site, "user X reads group Y" means that user X has been in the notesfile with the sequencer in the last 14 days. The "14 days" interval for notesfiles corresponds to "unexpired" for news.

The "arbitron" program is periodically posted to comp.sources.d, or is available from me (decwrl!reid). The notesfiles version of the program should be available through standard notesfiles software distribution channels as well.

Sites Surveyed In This Sample

"This Sample" means the set of sites that have sent in an arbitron report within the past "Readership measurement interval" days. In every case the most recent report from each site is used. At the moment, some of the readership reports are several months old. In future postings those reports will have expired and will not be included.

The number in parentheses after the site name is the number of users that the site reported. A value of (0) usually means that the software has been configured to use the wrong technique for counting users at that site; a report showing 0 users but 6 readers of rec.humor.funny is statistically meaningful.

One might argue that the sample is self-selected, and thereby be biased. It does in fact have a certain self-selection factor in it, because we only get data from sites at which someone participates in the survey. However, we do not require the participation of every user at a site, only one user. The survey program returns data for every user on the system on which it was run. Since there are an average of 30 people per site reading news, there is a certain amount of randomness introduced that way. Of course, the sample is biased in favor of large sites (they are more likely to have a user willing to run the survey program) and software-development-oriented sites (more likely to have a user *able* to run the survey program).

Network Size

the network size is determined by looking at the set of sites that are mentioned in the Path lines of news articles arriving at decwrl. This number is consistently higher than the number of sites that posted a message (as measured and posted from uunet) because it includes passive sites that are on the paths between posting sites and decwrl. Each month the names of the hosts that are named that month get stored. 13 months of data gets stored for this report.

There are 257417 different sites in the Path lines of articles that arrived at decwrl in the last 13 months. There are 19296 different sites in the comp.mail.maps data, but comp.mail.maps tends to include only one or two machines for each organization, leaving the rest unmentioned. Also a large number of sites participate in USENET without participating in UUCP.

Brian Reid believes that 260000 is the best estimate for the size of USENET. Because it is actually a measurement of the number of sites that have posted a message or that are on the path to a site that has posted a message, it will be slightly smaller than the number of sites that actually read netnews. Any site that believes it is not being counted can just ensure that it posts at least one message a year, so that it will be counted.

Number Of Users

The number of users at each site is determined in a site-specific fashion. Sometimes it is done by counting the number of user accounts that have shells and login directories. Sometimes it is done by counting the number of people who have logged in to the machine in some interval. Sometimes other techniques are used. This number is probably not very accurate--certainly not more accurate than to within a factor of two.

Site Partitipation

Brian Reid would like to receive data from every site on USENET. The arbitron programs (posted comp.sources.d along with this report) work on news 2.9, 2.10.[1-3], 2.11, and on many versions of notesfiles.

How the Fields are Calculated and What they Are:

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Estimated total number of people who read this group, worldwide

There are two sources of error in this number. The number is computed by multiplying the number of people in the sample who actually read the group by the ratio of estimated network size to sample size. The estimated total can therefore be biased by errors in the network size estimate (see above) and also by errors in the determination of whether or not someone reads a group. Assuming that "reading a group" is roughly the same as "thumbing through a magazine", in that you don't necessarily have to read anything, but you have to browse through it and see what is there, then the measurement error will come primarily from inability to locate .newsrc files, which can either be protected or moved out of root directories. There is no way of measuring the effect on the measurements from unlocated .newsrc files, but it is not likely to be more than a few percent of the total news readers.

Sites reciving this Group
Propagation: How many sites receive this group at all

This number is the percent of the sites that are even receiving this newsgroup. The information necessary to compute propagation was not generated by early versions of the arbitron program, so the "basis" (number of sites) used to generate the Propagation figure is smaller than the "Sites in this sample" figure. A site's data will be used to compute propagation if either (a) it reports zero readers for at least one group, or (b) it is using an arbitron with an explicit version number that is high enough.

Mesgs per month/day and Megs per month/day
Messages per month/day and kilobytes per month/day

Traffic is measured at decwrl, in Palo Alto, California. If for some reason decwrl has not received any traffic in that newsgroup during the measurement period, this is indicated with dashes ("-") in the traffic columns.

Any message that has arrived at decwrl within the last "Traffic measurement interval" days is counted, regardless of when it was posted. Monthly rates are computed by taking the total traffic, dividing by the number of days in the traffic measurement interval, and multiplying by 30. Daily rates are taken by dividing this number by 30.

By definition the message traffic values are correct, because they are an exact measurement, but they may differ from the traffic at your site because of differences in timing and propagation. Timing differences will be random, but will average out in the long run.

If a message is crossposted to several groups, it is charged only to the first-named group in the list. Note that this differs from the statistics posted from uunet every 2 weeks: the uunet data charge a message equally to every group that it is crossposted to.

Crossposting percentage: What fraction of the articles are crossposted

"Crossposting" means to post the same article simultaneously in more than one newsgroup. In genuine "news" systems crossposting is implemented with Unix links and does not increase the storage or transmisison cost, though in some other systems crossposted articles are unbundled and must be stored and transmitted separately.

The "crossposting percentage" is the percentage of the articles in this group that are crossposted to at least one other group. If every article in this group is crossposted, the percentage will be 100%; if none is crossposted, then the percentage will be 0%. The crossposting percentage figure does not take the size of the article into account, only the number of articles. Crossposting a 50,000-byte article or a 50-byte article both cause the same tally.

Cost ratio ($US/month/rdr)
Cost ratio: Dollars per month per reader

The most controversial field in the survey report is the "$US per month per reader". It is the estimated number of dollars that are being spent on behalf of each reader, worldwide, on telephone and computer costs to transmit this newsgroup. The rate of $.0025 per kilobyte is the same value used in the UUNET statistics reported biweekly. It is based on discussions among system administrators about the true cost of news transmission.

The cost ratio is computed as follows:

$US/month/reader = ($USPerMonthPerSite * numberOfSites) / numberOfReaders
$USPerMonthPersite = KBytesTrafficPerMonth * $USPerKByte * Propagation factor
$USPerKByte = 0.0025

Combining all these gives

$USPerMonthPersite =
    KBytesTrafficPerMonth * 0.0025
  = KBytesTrafficPerMonth / 400


$US/month/reader =
(KBytesTrafficPerMonth * numberOfSites) / (400 * numberOfReaders)
The accuracy of this number is in fact better than the accuracy of the participation ratio, because the source of error--the network size estimate--is present both in the numerator and the denominator, and therefore cancels out. The primary source of bias in this number comes from the bias in the "estimated number of readers, worldwide", which is described above. Treat this value as being accurate to within about 25%.

(Usenet Readership Summary Report)

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