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Former good article nominee Usenet was a Engineering and technology good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
March 14, 2008 Good article nominee Not listed


A Comparison of payservers needs to be made. Divide into blockaccounts (ie Astraweb, ...) and servers requiring a subscription (ie Giganews). Appearantly many ISP's disallow the downloading of binaries via usenet groups and/or don't allow the use of it al all. Payservers appearantly work around this problem. (talk) 09:21, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

Overlooked emergent fact about UseNet[edit]

On the main page:

... because article storage expires in relatively short order anyway.

Articles have completely failed to "expire" as of early September 2008. Everything before this date is long gone.

But EVERYTHING after that date is now a permanent record.

I know the cry of "new research" is just waiting to pounce here, but give it a thought and see if somehow this complete paradigm shift in human knowledge storage can't be mentioned and investigated.

Major UseNet service providers are increasing "retention" at the same rate as the passage of time. This has the potential for being the cheapest free "cloud storage" system ever conceived. Post valuable digital data and it will be there for retrieval for the foreseeable future.

Drastically falling storage rates has made it relatively cheap to offer (currently 2012-10-06) 1500 days retention. Subtract your current date from my date and you have the exact increase in advertised retention rates. and the National Film Registry protect for posterity data deemed worthy. UseNet protects for prosperity EVERYTHING anyone wants to post.

As mentioned, cancellation is pretty much a dead issue, not the least of which no commercial service is likely to invest in what it takes to coordinate a complete removal of any one article. All you need is one maintained server to ignore removal requests and propagating will put it all back.

Nobody could get rid of a single byte no matter their determination.

OK, lots of supposing on my part. So here's the deal - post anything to alt.binaries.multimedia and when it expires and is no longer available anywhere (I'm not even counting archives) and then remove this as proven false. Until then - at least suspect that it might be true.

PcGnome (talk) 19:57, 6 October 2012 (UTC)

This is a creative interpretation of statistics. 1000-1500 days retention is now the norm for the major Usenet providers, but it would be original research and crystal ball gazing to say that any binary file posted on Usenet today will still be available in five or ten years' time.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 20:09, 6 October 2012 (UTC)

Introduction: "(If all goes well)"[edit]

I don't think that is helpful. What can go wrong and why? Does the usenet network have/develop any partitions intentionally or otherwise? Prodded, left unanswered. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:21, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

"If all goes well" seems to be referring to the completion rate of Usenet newsgroups. No Usenet server promises a 100% completion rate, but most promise 99% plus, eg here.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 15:17, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
There are private hierarchies that deliberately limit distribution, and some news servers run spam filters. Of course not propagating certain articles further is the intended behaviour in these cases.
More relevantly, it occasionally happens that one news server emits an article that another thinks is malformed, and that can limit propagation of the affected articles. At least one of the servers involved (or the specification) has to be buggy for this to happen of course, but it isn't theoretical; a real example was discussed on in August last year. Ewx (talk) 08:48, 21 March 2013 (UTC)


Just a heads up, today's xkcd appears to reference this article in a way which actively encourages modifying it to change the first mentioned NASDAQ100 company. This would appear to explain why there are so many IP editors changing the article today. Given xkcd's large readership, this article will probably need a major cleanup tomorrow or on Wednesday, to make sure none of the editors have changed the article for the worse. (talk) 23:05, 1 April 2013 (UTC)

I believe that you may have accidentally posted this to the wrong talk page. --Guy Macon (talk) 00:15, 2 April 2013 (UTC)
@Guy Macon - why do you believe that? mabdul 04:53, 2 April 2013 (UTC)
Because today's xkcd has absolutely nothing to do with Usenet. --Guy Macon (talk) 06:35, 2 April 2013 (UTC)
Hover over the first image... mabdul 07:29, 2 April 2013 (UTC)
How does it refer to USENET?? Rp (talk) 07:35, 2 April 2013 (UTC)
It doesn't matter. Like any other article, we'll revert them and ban any that do it too much. - Denimadept (talk) 07:43, 2 April 2013 (UTC)
It won't be a problem, because the XKCD page has no references to USENET on it. None. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Diddly Squat. Scratch. Nullity. Zip. Naught. Bupkus. --Guy Macon (talk) 08:28, 2 April 2013 (UTC)
The content of this particular comic changes dynamically, see e.g. [1]. Regards, HaeB (talk) 09:41, 2 April 2013 (UTC)
Aha! Mystery solved. I had checked it a bunch of times but only saw the university and the NASDAQ-100 company changing, not the Wikipedia page. Thanks! --Guy Macon (talk) 10:22, 2 April 2013 (UTC)

there is a few errors in the article[edit]

registration is required so that is one error. i also couldnt find out anything about the cost to use it so that needs to be added. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:06, 14 September 2013 (UTC)

The cost issue has still not been addressed. Is it still free? Or $2-$4/month? -- (talk) 22:50, 31 March 2014 (UTC)Doug Bashford
What cost? Through which company? This is not an advertising article for one of many companies. - Denimadept (talk) 02:05, 1 April 2014 (UTC)
Usenet does not have a cost. That's like asking how much the World Wide Web costs. --SubSeven (talk) 02:48, 1 April 2014 (UTC)
Good point. To the OP: how does one "register" with the web or USENET? I'm curious. :-) - Denimadept (talk) 02:57, 1 April 2014 (UTC)

No "Use" in the Usenet article?[edit]

I'm not sure that Usenet merits an article that is all past-tense. Is it really THAT dead!?
    It seems the article would benefit from a section on how modern users use it--for neophytes this needs to be explicitly enunciated...what's modern, what's just memories. Recognizing Usenet's past culture, I'd think emphasis on cost free or near-free usage would be in order. (Remember when Usenet was considered part of basic Internet service?) For example, it's unclear if one can still post via Deja or Google's Web interfaces (without registration). In my mind this this should go before the historic and technical sections, perhaps even in the lead. See Wikipedia:Manual of Style (lead section)

If these are in the article, I couldn't find them, hence my suggestion of putting that info in its own section. Also, it seems like there is too much jargon, (again, oriented to past users...that dusty, cryptic feel.) Thanks!
-- (talk) 22:42, 31 March 2014 (UTC)Doug Bashford

History is all past-tense. If you have something you want to say about what's going on with it now, feel free. - Denimadept (talk) 02:56, 1 April 2014 (UTC)

Thanks! Care to help? -That was kind of my point, it reads like all-history. And it's been 3? years since I've done Usenet so I'm not a good source, —but looking to get back in, I find almost exclusively outdated historical material (worst of all:) old but undated but written in the present tense. A newbie could find that to be an unrecognized, —therefore insurmountable,— problem.
After some searching, here is something that does NOT seem old and dreary: Quotes:

What Is Usenet and Why Should I Care?
First, let’s talk about a system nearly everyone is familiar with, BitTorrent. Torrents are a form of distributed file sharing. ....
By contrast Usenet is private, secure, and as fast as your broadband connection can handle. What exactly is Usenet and how does it provide these things?

While Wiki discourages "how-to"s, many of those modern analogies & much of that info is critical for newbies today to Understand Usenet, —Wiki's mission. Terms like "BBS" are friendly but arcane nods to old-timers like me (us?). (Yet inappropriate jargon is one my pet peeves.) The above article says Usenet costs a few dollars (after the free trials). True? Then free Deja (now Google?) or Google's Web interfaces are no longer available? Yes/No?
Shouldn't the article mention Google's apparent unending effort to ruin usage of the term "Usenet" and replace it with a term they like better..."Newsgroups?" ...and their related efforts to seemingly mentally smudge and mingle Usenet with their "Google Groups" that they call (re-brand) "Newsgroups?" Certainly those confusing terms/usages need to be mentioned, if not defined. That failure would not meet wiki specs, no? (branding re-brand, de-brand?)
-- (talk) 16:05, 1 April 2014 (UTC)Doug Bashford
Usenet is "private" and "secure"? Not any Usenet I ever saw. And the term "Newsgroups" was common long before Google showed up. Jeh (talk) 20:25, 19 September 2016 (UTC)

USENET Access via the Web[edit]

USENET Access via the Web should be in the article. One can still read Usenet (at least the text forums). I used a roundabout method, I googled the desired newsgroup plus the keywords.
I did snag the thread I was looking for, first try, (one of the longest natural threads in Usenet history, "1,329 posts by 140 authors,") on a well-used political debate forum. Yes a Web interface is rather awkward compared to a newsreader, yet I'm guessing it could be the best method for occasional USENET usage, plus the menus are similar to Web-shopping and so forth.

I googled The Nazis were liberals? Those results gave me a thread that was sorted according to relevance and needed to be sorted according to chronological order for the debate to make sense, so I ended up here:!topic/ My impression is, I could do anything, go anywhere USENET from those menus.

I didn't try to post anything (reply) since I presume one must now sign up (or register) for free. True? ...Anybody?

(The above thread was also crossposted to these popular debate newsgroups:

alt.california,,   alt.conspiracy,,,    ca.politics    talk.politics.misc ) 

-- (talk) 22:14, 1 April 2014 (UTC)Doug Bashford

Web access via Google Groups is mentioned in the article. This allows access only to the text based groups, and not to binary files which use formats such as yEnc.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 06:48, 2 April 2014 (UTC)
Thanks! I wanna re-emphasize that as USENET info on the Web continues to grow more stale, incorrect, and misleading, the importance of the tone and info here will also grow.
  BTW, is full USENET service still under $6/month?
-- (talk) 15:05, 3 April 2014 (UTC)Doug Bashford
Methods of access such as that aren't relevant. How people get to USENET is up to them. Cost is up to them as well. I get it for 10euros/year, for instance. - Denimadept (talk) 20:28, 3 April 2014 (UTC)

Almost all groups supposedly spam[edit]

"Almost all unmoderated Usenet groups have become collections of spam unrelated to the ostensible subject of the group" is an essentially objective claim, if it's true then you should be able to find some numbers somewhere demonstrating it. Personally last time I checked the claim didn't seem to be true. If I put the results of that directly into WP then that would be "original research", of course. Ewx (talk) 07:53, 7 May 2015 (UTC)

There is a separate article called Newsgroup spam which also has a tendency to rely on original research. While it isn't in dispute that there is a lot of spam on Usenet, the above statement needs qualifying and sourcing.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 11:54, 7 May 2015 (UTC)

No mention of ClariNet?[edit]

Why not add a note about ClariNet as it used the Usenet protocol and was carried at many Universities on their Usenet servers? clari.feature.dave_barry in particular was a very popular feed that was read (and copied) by many.

Topher67 (talk) 20:41, 26 February 2016 (UTC)

Find some references... Jeh (talk) 22:02, 26 February 2016 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Stands for "[Unix] Users Network";

  1. The jargon file v4.4.7, Jargon File Archive.
  2. Chapter 3 - The Social Forces Behind The Development of Usenet, Netizens Netbook by Ronda Hauben and Michael Hauben.
  3. A piece of internet history - Duke to shut Usenet server, home to the first electronic newsgroups, DukeTODAY; may 17, 2010; Cara Bonnett.
  4. Gurdeep S. Hura; Mukesh Singhal. Data and Computer Communications: Networking and Internetworking. CRC Press, 1st edition (March 28, 2001). p.758. ISBN-13: 978-0849309281
  5. Roger P. Smith; Margaret J. A. Edwards. The Internet for Physicians. Springer, 1999. p. 52. ISBN-13: 9780387987248. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:06, 18 September 2016 (UTC)
The article does not explain the origin of the word usenet, but the sources agree that it is a portmanteau word based on a combination of Usenix/user and network, and first appeared around 1980.[2]--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 16:04, 18 September 2016 (UTC)
Perhaps we've overlapped, but as of yesterday the article says "The name come from the term "users network"." - I moved that out of the first sentence, where it was over-emphasized. (It is not, strictly speaking, a portmanteau, since it contains letters not in the component words.) - DavidWBrooks (talk) 13:49, 19 September 2016 (UTC)
It is a sort of portmanteau word, as various ingredients such as Usenix, use, user and network have been put into creating it, as the Oxford English Dictionary entry says. The explanation given in the lead is slightly oversimplified because the word USENIX appears to have influenced its creation and existed for around three years before the word usenet was coined..--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 17:26, 19 September 2016 (UTC)
I believe that it is very important for the articles in \\//ikipedia, and CS articles in particular, to provide the etymology of terms/commands/technologies as they not only may help the reader internalize the concepts but also help trace them back along their evolution to the ideas and opinions of inventors thereof.
However, "resolving" the etymology may not be a straightforward task, due to various physical and metaphysical (in the Newtonian sense) reasons, and the etymology of *nix terms are also notoriously flamable, e.g. incorporating the etymology of sudo in the lede section, especially after reading the vigorously sputnik discussion-if you can call it that- in the talk page, was a pain in the heart.
As such, faithful, conflict-free, and most importantly accessible introduction of some terms requires intuition and/or insight, and unfortunately, sometimes even 'abilities some consider to be unnatural'.
I just wondered what "usenet" stood for, and found myself reading the article without even knowing how I got here. Seeing that the article actually didn't provide the etymology of such a term as "Usenet" felt critically incomplete. So, I thought: why not get my hands dirty? Just like it was "Unix Users Group" in '75, it was "Unix Users Network" in '80, obviously.
Some resources said that it was "Users Network" as in a network-of-users (owing to Usenet's decentralized architecture) instead of a network-of-a-central-authority such as a conventional forum. However, following the establishment of USENIX, it felt like the term "Usenet" did not actually alluded to the decentralized nature of Usenet, but rather simply referred to "[Unix] Users Network", indeed.
The explanation in the lede is not oversimplified, because there isn't an explanation in the lead, and I think this is an oversimplification. At least, people who are curious about it can find what "Usenet" stood for now, and absence of an explanation would probably make them take the constituent words in the expansion with their denotative meanings, i.e. users network is a network of users. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:35, 21 September 2016 (UTC)
Wikipedia isn't a dictionary, which is Wiktionary's line of work. The Wiktionary entry for usenet is here, and gives the etymology as derived from USENIX, similar to the Oxford English Dictionary. The article here could add a brief expanation of the origin of the word.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 05:26, 21 September 2016 (UTC)
Unfortunately the Wiktionary etymology includes no reference for the bold claim "From USENIX, group of computer programmers using the operating system Unix, from users of Unix" - it might just be some past editor's guess. Still, I think we can incorporate a non-absolute mention of this into this article; I'll give it a shot. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 12:05, 21 September 2016 (UTC)
.... or not, as it was reverted as OR almost immediately. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 12:24, 21 September 2016 (UTC)