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
group, or what? Different hierarchies of newsgroups have different rules
for creating new groups. Here are some broad guidelines for choosing a
If the topic is of broad international interest, then the logical
place is an "international" hierarchy such as one of the so-called "Big 8"
The choice between the "Big 8" and
alt is basically a
tradeoff between ease of creation and speed of "propagation" of the new
group (that is, how rapidly it gets created on the tens of thousands of
news servers all over the globe). Creating a new group in the "Big 8" can
be a rather drawn-out and politicized process (figure at least
two or three months from start to finish), but once you've completed the
process successfully, most servers will add the new group fairly rapidly.
Creating a new
alt group can be very quick (perhaps a couple
of weeks), but it can take a long time for a significant number of servers
to add the group, and they may need prodding from their own users.
Also, some smaller servers don't carry
alt groups at all.
If the topic is basically of local or regional interest, you should
look for an appropriate national, regional, or local newsgroup hierarchy.
We list sources of information for some of these below; for others, look
*.config group in the
hierarchy and ask about the proper procedures.
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.
In the "Big 8" hierarchies (
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
Guidelines: The Big Eight Newsgroup Creation Process, by Russ Allbery (this is the new version of the "guidelines")
How to Create a New Usenet Newsgroup, by David Lawrence (this is the old version of the "guidelines", and is listed here only for historical reference)
Guidelines on Usenet Newsgroup Names, by David Wright and Mark Moraes
How to Format and Submit a New Group Proposal, by Russ Allbery
How to Write a Good Newsgroup Proposal, by David Lawrence and Una Smith
Usenet Newsgroup Creation Companion, by Ron Dippold. This hasn't been updated in a few years, so some specific details may be outdated, but it's still a good general guide. A new version is being prepared.
news.groups: A Survival Guide, by Joe Bernstein and Rebecca G. McQuitty
The User's Guide to the Changing USENET, by John Stanley
Why People Vote 'No' in USENET Polls, by John Stanley
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
alt.config to do it for you. There is no
"official" source of newgroup control messages in
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
biz hierarchy is for commercial and business-related
us hierarchy is a national hierarchy for the United
States of America.
aus hierarchy is a national hierarchy for Australia.
aus.*Newsgroup Administration (including information on creating
uk hierarchy is a regional hierarchy for the United
Kingdom (of Great Britain etc.).
de hierarchy is for newsgroups with discussions in
the German language. It is not restricted to Germany-specific topics.
fr hierarchy is for newsgroups with discussions in
the French language. It is not restricted to France-specific topics.
es hierarchy is a national newsgroup hierarchy for
Spain. The primary language is Spanish.
nl hierarchy is a national hierarchy for the
Netherlands. The primary language is Dutch.
be hierarchy is a national hierarchy for Belgium.
The primary languages are Dutch (Flemish) and French.
sfnet hierarchy is a national hierarchy for Finland.
The primary language is Finnish.
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:
Denis McKeon's Moderated Groups FAQ, which discusses general and technical aspects of newsgroup moderation.
Russ Allbery's Pitfalls of Newsgroup Moderation FAQ, which discusses things that can go wrong with moderating a newsgroup, that prospective newsgroup moderators should be aware of. (Russ is a moderator himself and has witnessed the discussion of many proposals for moderated groups.)
This individual document is maintained by: Jon Bell
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Last Updated: Sunday, October 29, 2000