Usenet news

Usenet is a worldwide distributed discussion system available on computers. It was developed from the general-purpose Unix-to-Unix Copy (UUCP) dial-up network architecture. Basically format and transmission of Usenet articles is similar to that of Internet e-mail messages.

Usenet started to operate at 1980 and I started using it in 1989. Users read and post messages (called articles or posts, and collectively termed news) to one or more categories, known as newsgroups. Usenet is culturally and historically significant in the networked world, having given rise to, or popularized, many widely recognized concepts and terms such as “FAQ”, “flame”, sockpuppet, and “spam”. Quality of content in a specific newsgroup depended on culture of that newsgroups’ following.

Today, Usenet has diminished in importance with respect to Internet forums, blogs, mailing lists and social media. But Usenet still works today. It is still possible to read and participate in Usenet newsgroups to a large degree using ordinary web browsers since most newsgroups are now copied to several web sites, including Google Groups.

Sfnet is a Finnish-language newsgroup hierarchy founded in 1985. The sfnet hierarchy was managed during its active days (up to year 2013), which meant that only certain people called coordinators could add or remove newsgroups.

I was pretty active on several Finnish Usenet in 1990′s and early 2000′s. I was especially active at sfnet.harrastus.elektroniikka and groups. I even maintained and hosted the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) lists for both newsgroups: sfnet.harrastus.elektroniikka usein kysytyt kysymykset and usein kysytyt kysymykset (FAQ). The content of them is still on-line although the news groups have pretty much faded over years.


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  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The rise and fall of Usenet: How the original social media platform came to be
    With Google dropping support for the oldest of social networks, Usenet is now left without another major entry gate.

    Long before Facebook existed, or even before the Internet, there was Usenet. Usenet was the first social network. Now, with Google Groups abandoning Usenet, this oldest of all social networks is doomed to disappear.

    Google declared:

    Starting on February 22, 2024, you can no longer use Google Groups (at to post content to Usenet groups, subscribe to Usenet groups, or view new Usenet content. You can continue to view and search for historical Usenet content posted before February 22, 2024, on Google Groups.

    Some might say it’s well past time. As Google declared, “Over the last several years, legitimate activity in text-based Usenet groups has declined significantly because users have moved to more modern technologies and formats such as social

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Usenet, today
    In many ways, Usenet is a warning about how social networks can go bad. All the same, problems we see today on social networks appeared first on Usenet.

    Many Usenet newsgroups, the so-called binary groups, don’t have discussions at all. Instead, they’re used to share files. Some of these files are legal, others… less so. More users probably use these groups to pirate movies, games, and the like than use the discussion groups for conversations.

    If, going forward, you want to keep an eye on Usenet–things could change, miracles can happen–you’ll need to get an account from a Usenet provider. I favor Eternal September, which offers free access to the discussion Usenet groups; NewsHosting, $9.99 a month with access to all the Usenet groups; EasyNews, $9.98 a month with fast downloads, and a good search engine; and Eweka, 9.50 Euros a month and EU only servers.


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