newsgroups - List of newsgroups and their short descriptions
The file pathdb
/newsgroups contains a list of newsgroups for which a
short description is available. This file is generally updated by
(8) whenever a control message is received; it is used by
in response to LIST NEWSGROUPS and is only meant to provide
information to users. News readers often show the list of carried newsgroups
along with these descriptions.
It is not necessary that all the groups carried by the news server (that is to
say all the groups listed in the active
file) be listed in the
file. And it is also not necessary that all the groups
listed in the newsgroups
file be carried by the news server.
Nonetheless, it is of course better if the active
files have exactly the same newsgroups.
If you use "ctlinnd newgroup" to manually create a group, only the
file is updated. You should then edit the newsgroups
in order to add a short description for the created group. The same goes for
manually removing or changing the status of a newsgroup.
Each line of the newsgroups
file consists of two fields separated by at
least one tabulation:
The first field is the name of the newsgroup. The second field is its
You can get the newsgroups
file of another NNTP server with
As far as the format of the newsgroups
file is concerned, there is a
preferred format for each line. Since news administrators do not generally
have the time to fix up the lines that are being automatically included from
newgroup or checkgroups messages, this information is provided so that control
message senders can craft better control messages. It will also be useful for
news administrators to know how to format the description of their local
There should be at least one hard tab (8 column tab stops) between the group
name and the description. If the group name is at least 16 characters, it
should be followed with one tab. If the group name is at least 8 characters,
it should be followed with two tabs. And in the unlikely event the group name
is less than 8 characters, it should be followed with three tabs. For
misc.transport.rail.europe Railroads & railways in all of Europe.
news.admin.nocem NoCeM protocol policy issues and information.
news.groups Discussions and lists of newsgroups.
The total line length should be at most 79 columns. The description should start
with a capital and not be more than 55 characters (79 - 24) long. If the group
name is longer than 24 characters, the description should be correspondingly
shorter. If the group is moderated, it should have " (Moderated)"
(note the space before the opening parenthesis) at the very end of the
description, not counted as part of the length of the description. This text
must be exactly that, with no variations, as it is used by news software to
find moderated groups.
Here is an example of moderated newsgroup:
news.lists.misc News-related statistics and lists. (Moderated)
Traditionally, all newsgroup descriptions ended with a period, but this is not
necessary and steals away one character that is occasionally useful for
forming a better description.
Some over-long descriptions could be made to easily fit the length by dropping
useless wordings like "Discussion of" which do not meaningfully
contribute to the description. Others are usually pretty easy to get to no
more than column eighty, except when the group names start getting really
long. Hopefully then the group name itself contains quite a bit of
In some cases, a longer description really will be necessary; they can of course
be used within the newsgroups
file. However, they will probably be less
readable and less useful for some Usenet users.
Descriptions must not contain any control characters (octets between 0x00 and
There is, at present, no good mechanism for managing the character set of the
newsgroup descriptions. Many non-English hierarchies include newsgroup
descriptions in their native languages, since this is more useful for their
users, and those are included verbatim in the newsgroups
unfortunately means that different lines of the file will require different
character set settings to read properly, and those character sets are not
documented in the file. Hopefully some future standard will provide a way to
address this; in the meantime, using UTF-8 for non-ASCII characters is
The minimal newsgroups
file shipped with INN is:
control Various control messages (no posting).
control.cancel Cancel messages (no posting).
control.checkgroups Hierarchy check control messages (no posting).
control.newgroup Newsgroup creation control messages (no posting).
control.rmgroup Newsgroup removal control messages (no posting).
junk Unfiled articles (no posting).
These lines must
be tab-delimited, so please be careful in case you copy
and paste them from above.
Written by Julien Elie for InterNetNews. The preferred format for a one-line
newsgroup description is based on the policies by which the newsgroups
file in <https://ftp.isc.org/pub/usenet/CONFIG/> is maintained; they
were originally written by David Lawrence <email@example.com> and updated by
Russ Allbery <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
$Id: newsgroups.pod 10097 2016-11-04 22:19:07Z iulius $