Newsgroups - Discussion forums
You can participate in numerous discussions in more than 200,000 newsgroups
For over 30 years, Usenet has been a popular place to share information. People all over the world communicate freely and anonymously on a extremely wide range of topics, share valuable information, and poll the opinions of other users. For everything from political debates and scientific discussions to everyday events and topics related to computers, technology or culture, there's something to suit every interest.
To provide an overview of the enormous variety of topics on the Usenet, they are classified in a hierarchical structure know as the Big Eight or Big-8: comp.*, humanities.*, misc.*, news.*, rec.*, sci.*, soc.* and talk.*.
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There is also another group called alt.*, which arose in the 1990s in an attempt to "sort out" the Usenet. Some users found the Big Eight system too rigid and constraining. They were afraid of restrictions on the free exchange of opinions, which is the underlying idea of Usenet. They therefore started the group alt.*, which according to rumour stands for "alternative". The openness and enormous range of topics in this group make it extremely popular.
Newsgroups in other languages have also been set up as a result of the ongoing expansion of Usenet outside the USA.
The names of individual newsgroups, which often indicate their content, have the following format: country_code.category.topic
For example, de.talk.tagesgeschehen is the newsgroup for general discussions of daily events in German.