Creating New Newsgroups

How to Create a Newsgroup

Before you get too far into trying to create a newsgroup, you should first make sure that you really want to do this. Learn about the various kinds of forums that you can create on the net, and decide which kind fits your purposes best.

After that, if you're still set on creating a newsgroup, you need to decide next what kind of newsgroup you want to create. More technically, you need to decide which top-level hierarchy you want to put the group in. That is, will it be a comp group, a rec group, an alt group, a us group, or what? Different hierarchies of newsgroups have different rules for creating new groups. Here are some broad guidelines for choosing a hierarchy:

Fundamentally, no matter what the hierarchy, a new group is "created" when someone posts a special kind of message called a newgroup control message that asks news server administrators everywhere to create the group locally on their servers. Depending on which hierarchy the control message is for, and on who sent the control message, and on how a particular server is configured, the server may do one of the following:

Most hierarchies have a designated "maintainer" who, by general custom and/or agreement, is the "official" source of newgroup control messages for that hierarchy. The single most important exception is the alt hierarchy, where (in principle) anyone can post a control message. In most cases, there is a widely-accepted procedure which one must or should follow in order for an "official" control message to be posted, or before you post a control message yourself. Following is a collection of links to "standard" newsgroup creation documents for various hierarchies, with some commentary.

"Mainstream" or "Big-Eight" Usenet Newsgroups

In the "Big 8" hierarchies (comp, humanities, misc, news, rec, sci, soc, and talk), you submit a formal proposal (a Request for Discussion, or RFD) to the moderator of news.announce.newgroups, who then posts it to that group, to news.groups, and to other newsgroups that have an interest in the proposal. The proposal is then discussed for at least three weeks in news.groups. You may need to revise and re-submit the RFD for another round of discussion (or two, or three...).

Finally, when you think you're ready, the Usenet Volunteer Votetakers (UVV) appoints a votetaker who posts a Call for Votes (CFV) and conducts a "vote" (more properly an "interest poll"). People now have a chance to formally register their support or disapproval of your proposed group. If the proposal passes, the moderator of news.announce.newgroups posts the newgroup control message for the group.

For details, see the documents listed below. It is a very good idea to read news.groups for several weeks before you submit your own proposal, in order to see how other proposals are treated, and what sort of issues are likely to arise in the discussion of your proposal.

alt Newsgroups

In the alt hierarchy, you post a proposal for the group in alt.config and give some justification for it. Listen to suggestions and advice, and make any changes that seem appropriate (e.g. with the name of the group). When you get to a point where there are no significant objections, post the newgroup control message yourself, or ask someone in alt.config to do it for you. There is no "official" source of newgroup control messages in alt. If you post a newgroup control message against significant objections, you can expect that someone will post rmgroup control messages (requests for servers to remove a group) to try to block the effects of your newgroup messages. You should read alt.config for a while and see what happens there, before you try to make a proposal yourself.

biz Newsgroups

The biz hierarchy is for commercial and business-related newsgroups.

us Newsgroups

The us hierarchy is a national hierarchy for the United States of America.

aus Newsgroups

The aus hierarchy is a national hierarchy for Australia.

uk Newsgroups

The uk hierarchy is a regional hierarchy for the United Kingdom (of Great Britain etc.).

de Newsgroups

The de hierarchy is for newsgroups with discussions in the German language. It is not restricted to Germany-specific topics.

fr Newsgroups

The fr hierarchy is for newsgroups with discussions in the French language. It is not restricted to France-specific topics.

es Newsgroups

The es hierarchy is a national newsgroup hierarchy for Spain. The primary language is Spanish.

nl Newsgroups

The nl hierarchy is a national hierarchy for the Netherlands. The primary language is Dutch.

be Newsgroups

The be hierarchy is a national hierarchy for Belgium. The primary languages are Dutch (Flemish) and French.

sfnet Newsgroups

The sfnet hierarchy is a national hierarchy for Finland. The primary language is Finnish.

Moderated Newsgroups

If you are thinking of creating a moderated newsgroup (in which all postings are automatically forwarded to a moderator for approval before being posted), you should read the following:

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Last Updated: Monday, January 3, 2005

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