How to cancel an article that you've posted

Sooner or later it will happen to you. You've posted an article and then realized that you've committed a horrendous faux pas. Or there's a really stupid typo or misspelled word. Or you just plain goofed up a crucial fact. Or you've advertised something for sale, sold it almost immediately, and your mailbox is still filling up with offers.

You don't (usually) have to suffer like this! Most newsreader programs allow you "cancel" articles that you've written. This deletes the article from your own news server, and sends out a special "control message" that asks all other news servers to delete it, too.

This article is intended (eventually) to describe how to cancel articles in as many newsreader programs that people care to send me information on. If your favorite newsreader doesn't appear here, tell me how to cancel in it, and I'll give you a paragraph of Net fame. :-)

NOTE #1: Most newsreaders allow you to cancel an article only while the article has not yet expired on your news server, so that you can call it up and read it again. If the article has already expired from your server, you're probably out of luck.

NOTE #2: If you follow the instructions, but get an error message that says something like "You can't cancel someone else's article", that means that your newsreader was not installed properly. Complain to your system administrator about it, if he/she installed your newsreader. If *you* installed it, check your documentation and make sure that your newsreader and news-server software agree on what your e-mail address in the "From:" line should be.

(If you *were* trying to cancel someone else's article, please be aware that that is usually considered a severe breach of "netiquette.")

Gnus (under Emacs) -- Select the article and start reading it. Press 'C' (*upper-case*) to cancel it (function `gnus-summary-cancel-article') [Thanks to Nat Makarevitch (nat at, 8 Oct. 1995]

Netscape (Macintosh, Windows) -- Netscape versions prior to 2.0 can't cancel articles. In version 2.0, use the "Cancel" command in the "Edit" menu.

NewsWatcher (Macintosh) -- Select "Cancel Article" command from the "Special" menu. This can be done while reading the article or while the article is selected in the author/subject window. BTW, this is for v2.0b27. Other versions may vary (but I doubt it). [Thanks to an anonymous contributor, 6 Jan. 1996]

nn (UNIX) -- Select the article and start reading it. Press 'C' (*upper-case*) to cancel it. [Thanks to Wolfgang Schelongowski (spamtrap at, 30 Sep. 1995]

pine (UNIX, DOS) -- Sorry, pine can't cancel articles. Get a real newsreader! :-)

rn, trn (UNIX) -- Select the article and start reading it. You'll probably have to use the 'U' (*upper-case*) command while looking at the thread selector, to show you previously-read articles. While you're reading the article, or at its end, press 'C' (*upper-case*) to cancel it. If you want to post a corrected version of the article, press 'Z' instead. Then you can edit the article, and trn will post it in such a way that it simultaneously cancels the old version. (This works in trn, but I don't know if it works in rn, too.)

slrn (UNIX, VMS) -- In article mode, select the article that is to be canceled. Then press ESC then Ctrl-C. [Thanks to John E. Davis (davis at, 3 Oct. 1995]

Tin (UNIX) -- While you're looking at the article text (you may have to use 'r' to toggle read/unread articles), just press 'D' (must be capital). [Thanks to an anonymous contributor, 8 Oct. 1995]

Turnpike (Windows) -- Select the article in the newsgroup (or if it has not yet appeared, by locating it in a mailroom view (file/new maillist/mailroom). Then select "cancel article" from the article menu. A new window will appear containing the details of the message to be canceled. The body text of the message should be edited to indicate why the message is being canceled (this is not strictly necessary, but it is polite to indicate why since at some sites humans will look at the cancels). Then press "post", go online and send the cancel. You can only (of course) cancel your own messages. The article you are canceling must be in the newsgroup on the dialup machine or in the record of outgoing articles. [Thanks to Richard Clayton (richard at, 19 Sep. 1995]

WinVN (Windows. Versions above 0.99.4) -- In the group list window, open the article. Then in the article text window, just Select File/Cancel article. You may edit the text of the cancel article. This is only possible on articles you've written. [Thanks to Christian Perrier (bubulle at, 4 Oct. 1995]

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