How to Start a Newsgroup in USENET

Last Updated: Aug 20, 2019

If you have an idea for starting your own Newsgroup on USENET, it’s not as easy as simply hitting a “create” button. There’s a sort of “best practices” you need to follow in order to ensure your group will stand a chance of being formed.

Check for a Similiar Group

First, make sure your group doesn’t already exist_. Obviously, trying to start another version will be a waste of time. Furthermore, it won’t get approved for creation anyway.

As long as your idea doesn’t already exist, it’s time to go ahead with your charter. This is essentially a constitution of sorts for your newsgroup. Use this document to explain which types of articles will be accepted and which type you classify as unacceptable. You’ll want to talk about how moderators will be appointed, replaced, etc. Anyone who wants to become part of your newsgroup needs to abide by the charter you have created. You don’t have to overcomplicate things though, either.

Newsgroup Formation

Step Two - Newsgroup Hosting

Next, you’ll need a hosting service for your group, which is where the procedures will differ some. Basically, you need to apply to these hosts, which means they may ask certain things of you before approving your group. Amongst other things, they will review your charter to see if it’s something they approve of.

With approval confirm, create a specific control message for your newsgroup and inject it into your USENET news server. Usually, you’ll need to understand NNTP protocol in order to manually do this. While it’s not overly challenging to learn, you will need a fairly comprehensive understanding of the ins and outs of USENET.

After this proposal for a newsgroup, you also need to post one for review from people who may be interested in joining. Don’t be surprised if you receive objective critiques by various parties, some of which will include outright criticisms of your idea. This is to be expected and should be welcomed, because it can help you avoid issues with your newsgroup down the line.

Dont Let Them Get You Down

That being said, no amount of criticism can somehow stop you from creating your group. Again, though, it can help you from making a critical mistake. Be friendly to those supplying their opinions and you’ll get more advice than insults.

Timeline For Approval

If you’re hoping to post to one of the Big Eight, then understand that there is a lengthy vetting process, which means it could be a while before you hear back about it (i.e. weeks).

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