Newsgroups are essentially online discussions posted by anyone interested and centered around specific topics. For example, a newsgroup may be focused on computers, education, or music. Within those categories there can be many subcategories. Usually, the subject of a particular newsgroup can be quickly discovered by the first few letters of the newsgroup’s name, such as comp for computers or edu for education. You may interact with a newsgroup in three ways: simply observing what others have written, posting a new discussion, or responding to a previously posted discussion. These discussions are all bound together through Usenet, the worldwide backbone of newsgroups. When you wish to participate in these newsgroups, there are certain guidelines of online conduct that are commonly observed in Usenet, and can be learned when you enter Usenet through your online service. Otherwise, all you need to participate in newsgroups is a newsreader, which can connect you to the news server. The newsreader permits you to read and respond to online discussion in newsgroups. Many Web browsers include a newsreader, although there are other options available if yours doesn’t. Some newsreaders are given away freely with no strings attached by their programmer, and some are provided for free but assume you’ll pay a voluntary fee if you use them regularly.
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