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Chapter 20. Participating in Internet Ne... > Understanding Articles and Threads

Understanding Articles and Threads

Articles, as you can imagine, are the lifeblood of Usenet. As I mentioned earlier, every day people post hundreds of thousands of articles to the different newsgroups. Some newsgroups might get only one or two articles a day, but many get a dozen or two, on average. (And some very popular groups—rec.humor is a good example—can get a hundred or more postings in a day.)

Happily, Usenet places no restrictions on article content. (However, a few newsgroups have moderators who decide whether an article is worth posting.) Unlike, say, the heavily censored America Online chat rooms, Usenet articles are the epitome of free speech. Articles can be as long or short as you like (although extremely long articles are frowned on because they take so long to retrieve) and, within the confines of the newsgroup’s subject matter, they can contain whatever ideas, notions, and thoughts you feel like getting off your chest. You’re free to be inquiring, informative, interesting, infuriating, or even incompetent—it’s entirely up to you. (Although you should read the section “Practicing Newsgroup Etiquette” later in this chapter for hints on how to behave.)


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