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Advice For New Newsgroup Users

If you have never spent time using Internet newsgroups, here is a little background and some advice.  I suggest you read this before posting messages for the first time.  At a minimum, read the Posting Advice section below.

What Are Newsgroups?

Newsgroups are message forums where people with common interests can post questions, answers, comments, opinions, and so on.  In some ways, it is like e-mail. Just as anyone can send you an e-mail message, anyone can post a message to a newsgroup.  Unlike your personal e-mail, anyone who is interested can read the newsgroup messages.

There are literally thousands of newsgroups available on the Internet.  They are generally divided into topics, or groups, devoted to specific areas of interest or to general mayhem.  The ones devoted to specific interests are sometimes "monitored," that is, there are people who read the messages and delete those that are unacceptable, e.g., contain profanity or are "off-topic" (i.e., the message deals with subject matter not appropriate for the newsgroup).  Other newsgroups are unmonitored.  Be aware that unmonitored groups may contain messages that you find offensive.

Just as you must configure or attach to an e-mail server, or "post office," you must attach to a newsgroup server to read the messages stored there.  Not all newsgroup servers are available to the public at large.  For example, Borland operates a public newsgroup server for anyone who cares to use it as well as a private server for internal use and for beta customers to share information.  Further, not all servers carry all newsgroups.  For example, Borland's server carries only newsgroups relating to Borland products.

To participate in Borland's newsgroups, you will need to set up your newsgroup reader to attach to:

See your browser or newsgroup reader help file for information about adding a newsgroup server.  Borland also provides information on setting up your newsgroup reader at

Posting Advice (And A Few Personal Opinions)

These are my tips for happy newsgroup participation and improving the chances of getting your programming questions answered.  Be aware that none of these are absolute requirements and, further, some of these suggestions are simply my opinion.  They are also slanted toward the Borland programming newsgroups (and, I suppose, other newsgroups where people pose questions and ask for answers).

[ Thanks to Dr. Kenneth R. de Camargo for many insights on this topic. ]

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