What is the Big 8?

Last Updated: Jul 12, 2021

The Big 8 is a group of newsgroup hierarchies established in order to make it easier for users to search and find topics they want and the groups they want to join in. These hierarchies are subject to the same approval process where the creation of new groups is concerned as are the mainstream hierarchies and contain many high-quality groups. Creating a group involves a democratic process where people can Call for Votes (CFV), which is a Usenet decision-making process. Usenet users are called upon to vote on a topical administrative issue under the supervision of the Big 8 management board. New newsgroups go through a process of nomination, discussion and, as mentioned, voting.

Usenet Rec

Aside from supervising the approval process of new newsgroups in the Big-8 hierarchies, the Big-8 management board also makes the necessary adjustements to existing groups, removes groups that are not well-used and assists and encourages the support of a canonical Big-8 newsgroup list by Usenet sites.

Currently, the Big 8 consists of the following hierarchies:

  • comp. - computer-related discussions
  • humanities. - humaties topics
  • misc. - miscellaneous topics
  • news. - newsgroup-related matters; topics about Usenet
  • rec. - recreation and entertainment
  • sci. - science-related discussions
  • soc. - social discussions
  • talk. - discussions about various controversial topics with no obvious categorization.

These heirarachies make it easier for Usenet users to find the topics they want quickly and more efficiently. For example, if you wish to search for a newsgroup that discusses movies, then you will likely find a group for that on the rec hierarchy.

Hundreds of newsgroups can be found in Big 8 hierarchies similar to discussion groups in the world wide web. For many years now, however, no additional Usenet newsgroup has been added in the Big 8 and currently, there is a request to add a new newsgroup within one of the hierarchies, specifically the recreation and entertainment hierarchy.

According to a Usenet reddit thread, rec.audio.pcdaw is being requested for inclusion. In the coming weeks, a Call to Vote will be sent out. This proposed new newsgroup will be discussing audio recording on pc digital audio workstation. While some users appreciate this possible new addition, some find this a very niche category.

As of the moment, voting and approval on this new newsgroup is still pending. And, ultimately, if approved, it will be up to Usenet server administrators if they would want to carry rec.audio.pcdaw. Based on a recent AMA of the Usenet Big-8 Management Board on reddit, the Big-8 hierarcy hasn’t had a new group added in 8 years. However, during the past year there has been one or two expressions of interest but no one has followed through yet on creation proposal. Further updates on the progress of this news will be posted here.

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