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Subject: <2005-04-03> FAQ: The ch.* -Newsgroups

This article was archived around: Thu, 26 Jul 2012 08:06:19 +0000 (UTC)

All FAQs in Directory: usenet/ch-general
All FAQs posted in: ch.admin, ch.talk, ch.market, ch.comp
Source: Usenet Version

Archive-name: usenet/ch-general/intro-english Posting-Frequency: monthly Last-Modified: 2005-05-08 URL: http://www.use-net.ch/Usenet/faq_engl.html
The ch.*-Newsgroups (issued monthly) F A Q Last modification: Sunday, 8th. May 2005 Adapted section on free news servers. (FAQ = Frequently asked questions ) This FAQ is also accessible on the WWW under the URL: http://www.use-net.ch/Usenet/faq_engl.html The exponential growth of the Internet (and thus also of the Usenets) attracts a growing number of people to the Net, who are unfamiliar with this new medium. This text has been written to help such people through their initial period on the Net. People new to Usenet, especially those new to the ch.* newsgroups, should read this document through in order to familiarize themselves with the structure and use of the individual newsgroups. This text is protected by the "Berne Convention", with the exception, that permission is given herewith to copy it as part of a normal Usenet article, to store it with other "FAQ"s and to permit access to it by means of ftp or the WWW. All other copies are authorized, as long as no charge is made for accessing it, and as long as the text in its entirety is copied. This also applies to Internet providers who provide their customers with this text in any form, in order to give new users a starting aide, as long as no extra charge is made for it. The distribution and sale of this text on CD-ROM as part of another work is expressedly forbidden, unless a donation is made to a recognized charity or to the FSF GNU Project and I have been asked for permission in advance. 0. Contents 1. Introduction 1.1 What is the aim of this text? 1.2 What is not the aim of this text? 2. Overview of Newsgroups 3. What can I find where, what should be posted to which Newsgroup? 3.1 All ch.*-Newsgroups 3.2 ch.admin 3.3 ch.test 3.4 ch.market 3.5 ch.market.comp 3.6 ch.market.jobs 3.7 ch.comp 3.8 ch.comp.os.linux 3.9 ch.comp.os.ms-windows 3.10 ch.comp.networks 3.11 ch.rec 3.12 ch.talk 3.13 ch.bulletin.avalanche 3.14 ch.bulletin.chancelbot 3.15 ch.comm 3.16 ch.soc.law 3.17 soc.culture.swiss 3.18 Why do I have a different list of ch.*-Newsgroups? 4. Where can I test sending a posting ? 5. How can I form a new Newsgroup ? 6. How can I find an Internet Provider? 7. Are there any "free" News Servers ? 8. Other articles, addresses, links 9. Staff, Contributions 1. Introduction A growing number of people are discovering the advantages of the Internets and arrange access with a local Internet Provider. However, unfortunately only very few Internet Providers provide their new customers with sufficient start-up and introductory support, so that many people new to the Internet feel lost and find themselves struggling to find the right information on the Net. Often, during this period, they discover the Usenet (which is NOT the Internet, although part of the data exchange is carried out over the Internet). Unfortunately, as far as the Swiss Newsgroups go (Newsgroups are subdivisions of the Usenet and can be compared to notice boards), there is still no official introduction and still no guide as to which kind of postings ( = messages or articles) should be posted (sent) where. For this reason, a large number of postings are erroneously sent to the wrong Newsgroup, with the result that the posting does not have the desired effect, and which annoys regular users. 1.1 What is the aim of this text? The aim of this text is to bring order to the Swiss Newsgroups and especially to help "Newbies" to find their way around the Swiss part of the Usenet better, so that they send their postings to the correct Newsgroup and are able to find the information they require, faster. The text works on the presumption that the reader already has a small amount of Usenet experience. The aim here really is to present a short overview of the Swiss Newsgroups (all of which begin with the prefix ch.). References to other helpful articles can be found in paragraph 8. 1.2 What is not the aim of this text? This text should not be viewed as a general instruction course for the Usenet. For this, we refer you to the articles mentioned in paragraph 8. We shall also not go into the Newsgroup soc.culture.swiss in depth, because this is already provided with an excellent FAQ written by Marc Schaefer (schaefer@alphanet.ch), and whose subject is Swiss culture. 2. Overview of Newsgroups Switzerland currently has the following Newsgroups: ch.admin ch.test ch.comp ch.comp.networks ch.comp.os.linux ch.comp.os.ms-windows ch.market ch.market.comp ch.market.jobs ch.rec ch.talk ch.bulletin.avalanche ch.bulletin.chancelbot ch.comm ch.soc.politics ch.soc.law If your Internet provider does not offer access to them all, then by all means send them a complaint. Swiss Internet providers should at least have the Swiss Newsgroups on their servers. Furthermore, following a vote in June 1998 the following Newsgroups were deleted or replaced by others: ch.avalanche ch.chuug ch.ewish ch.network ch.philo.agenda ch.pollen ch.si.choose ch.si.general ch.si.sgaico ch.soc.sidos ch.sun-managers In April 1999 it was decided by vote to delete ch.general. Because the deletion of a Newsgroup can take a while, it is possible that you can still find deleted Newsgroup on some News Servers. But the Newsgroups should no longer be used. 3. What can I find where, what should be posted to which Newsgroup? This section will explain which kind of text belongs in which Newsgroup and where you can find what. The descriptions are based on the Charters of the various Newsgroups. The Charter is the text which documents the founding of a new Newsgroup and in which the current rules for that Newsgroup are formulated. The Charter is accessible via the WWW at the address http://www.use-net.ch/Usenet/charter.html. 3.1 All ch.*-Newsgroups The first golden rule is to use ASCII Text only. One should *never* send postings in binary form, which means no pictures, no Word documents (.doc), no programs. Also forbidden on the Usenet are postings in HTML form. If you use Umlauts or other special characters, write your articles using a Newsreader which is set to use the ISO-8859-1 standard. (Note: Such special characters can cause problems if used in the header lines) We do not recommend the use of "Quoted-Printable" coding which results in things like CyberCaf=?iso-8859-1?Q?=E9?=. In general, we also strongly advise against 'crossposting' (i.e. sending identical articles to several Newsgroups simultaneously.) Even worse is sending the same article to several Newsgroups individually - a practise that is strongly frowned upon in Usenet. Articles and postings may be written in any of Switzerland's written languages. In addition, English is also permitted. Dialect should not be used, as these often cannot be understood by readers of other language regions. Short summaries in another language are welcome, if the subject of your posting is of interest to the whole country. 3.2 ch.admin This Newsgroup is for questions and answers about the Swiss part of Usenet and about Usenet in Switzerland. The discussions can include the following subjects: - Founding and deleting Newsgroups - Votes and related subjects - Structure of the ch.* hierarchy - Network misuse and bad behavious on the new such as Spam and UCE (Unsolicited Commercial Email) In general then, this Newsgroup deals with the administration and management of the Net. The name ch.admin has no connection with the website of the Swiss Governmental Departments (www.admin.ch). 3.3 ch.test If you just wish to test whether your News configuration is set up correctly and whether your posting actually goes through, this is the place to send it to. Some tests can also be made in a local newsgroup. In this case please have consideration for the other people on the Net and test your system in the appropriate Newsgroup. 3.4 ch.market This Newsgroup is for small ads in which you can buy items, offer items for sale or for exchange. Examples are: - Sale / Purchase of any kind of items - Rental of cars, houses etc. - Commercial notices Note the word "notices" in the last example above. Endless pages of kilobyte-gobbling hype for a product do not belong in this Newsgroup. Also unwanted in this Newsgroup are postings and offers from other countries unless they are from an area (not an entire country) which shares a common border with Switzerland, or for items which have a close connection to Switzerland. It is important to note that, especially in this Newsgroup, it is generally viewed as bad manners to post the same article several times. Commentless pointers to auctions on other platforms such as eBay or Ricardo are often not solicited. However, the topic is controversial. To make sure not to offend anyone, you should auction your items either on the auction platform or in the Usenet and refrain from cross references. 3.5 ch.market.comp This Newsgroup is for the purchase of and offers for items from the computer world. These include software, literature, hardware and anything else (e.g. courses), which is of interest to computer users. The subject line should clearly refer to the subject of the posting; if a posting refers to a number of different items, then the subject line should at least mention the appropriate computer system. Traditionally the Swiss Newsgroups use the prefix "V:" for sale and "S:" for want ads. Commercial postings are not welcome here. Unwanted are sale and want ads from other countries, unless they they are from an area (not an entire country) which shares a common border with Switzerland. Here too, we would like to point out that it is generally considered bad manners to post the same article several times. Commentless pointers to auctions on other platforms such as eBay or Ricardo are often not solicited. However, the topic is controversial. To make sure not to offend anyone, you should auction your items either on the auction platform or in the Usenet and refrain from cross references. 3.6 ch.market.jobs Offers and want ads for work can be posted to this Newsgroup. Unwanted are sale and want ads from other countries, unless they they are from an area (not an entire country) which shares a common border with Switzerland or unless the posting has a close connection to Switzerland. Here too, it is generally considered bad manners to post the same article several times. 3.7 ch.comp This Newsgroup deals with everything to do with computers, as long as the subject matter is not catered for in a different Newsgroup. Possible subjects are: - Generally interesting subjects by the Swiss UNIX Users Group - Notices of and invitations to attend conferences - General discussions about computers and drivers - Discussions about the Internet and related matters - General discussions about programming - Various subjects concerning the Swiss Informatics Association (SI) - General discussion about the availability of programs Please remember that not everyone on the Usenet has the same computer as yourself. If your article refers to a particular computer or problem, mention the type of computer in the subject line if possible. We strongly ask you not to crosspost your article to appear simulataneously in one of the other subgroups. There are special subgroups for users of popular operating systems such as the Windows family and Linux (see below). Questions or comments about these operating systems should always be posted to the appropriate subgroup only. 3.8 ch.comp.os.linux This Newsgroup is for discussions about the Linux system. Linux is a free operating system similar to the UNIX. Subjects can include: - Discussion of questions concerning compatibility and use of hardware components with a Linux installation on various computer platforms for which Linux is available - Software-technical aspects of networking and communication under Linux - General questions about the Linux X Window System - Discussion of non-technical subjects with a certain relevance for Linux users 3.9 ch.comp.os.ms-windows This Newsgroup is for discussions concerning all operating systems of the Microsoft Windows family, independent of the basic hardware, as well as the utilities which run under this operating system. 3.10 ch.comp.networks This Newsgroup is for discussions about networking technology and network security. Network breakdowns and the introduction of new networks are also announced here. 3.11 ch.rec This Newsgroup concerns itself with anything to do with hobbies, recreation and recreational activities. Possible subjects are: - Announcements for recreational events - Discussions about music, concerts etc. - Bulletins and informationen about nature in Switzerland - Discussions about sport in Switzerland - Discussions about how to spend your holidays in Switzerland Questions and postings concerning the hobby "Computer" would be more suitable in either ch.comp or in one of the subgroups. 3.12 ch.talk Anything that is not dealt with by another newsgroup can be posted here. Especially suitable here are postings about Switzerland's various language groups, Swiss politics, the Swiss Newsgroups etc. You may see discussions about the following subjects: - The German-language Swiss (in German) - The security of our territory - The French-language Swiss (in French) - The Italian-language Swiss (in Italian) - Swiss politics - The Romansh-language Swiss (in Romansh) If you are unsure where to put your article, then ch.talk is probably the right place ! 3.13 ch.bulletin.avalanche The Swiss Federal Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research in Davos post the national avalanche bulletins to this Newsgroup. This Newsgroup is principally for information only and therefore postings from private users should only be made in special circumstances. 3.14 ch.bulletin.chancelbot This newsgroup contains current status reports from CHancelbot. This is a program which automatically and according to clearly defined technical criteria, deletes articles from ch.* Newsgroups which do not comply with the rules of usage. Because the Newsgroups have a informative purpose only, articles from private users are only accepted in special circumstances (e.g. following incorrect details or an incorrect action on the part of CHancelbot). 3.15 ch.comm This Newsgroup deals with telecommunications in Switzerland and includes all those subjects not dealt with by a special, specific Newsgroup. These can include: - Discussion about the various and / or new communications providers (telephony, internet access, mobile communications) in Switzerland - Notices about events such as conferences, congresses and expos - Questions and answers about problems with the various communications companies in Switzerland - Discussions about equipment e.g. telephones and mobile phones - Discussions about new methods of communications If the problem refers to a certain provider or a certain system, this should be noted in the subject line of your posting. Please note that the Newsgroup ch.comp.networks is available for problem in relation to computers and computer networks. Please do not post your articles to several ch.* . 3.16 ch.soc.law Discussions on justice and law, verdicts, administrative proceedings, and the like. Due to legal reasons, no counseling is allowed in this group. General questions can be discussed on the base of specific cases, though. The discussions may cover the following topics: - Discussions on specific laws and their applicability - Discussions on criminal, civil, labour law, copyright, the constitution and others - Discussions on the justice system (police, public prosecution, ...) - Questions on legal procedures - Discussions on verdicts - General exchange of experience on those topics. Advertisment (even from lawyers, counsellers etc.) are deemed not appropriate. Anonymous and pseudonymous postings are considered appropriate as an exception from the rules, especially if the poster finds him/herself in ongoing legal proceedings or for privacy reasons on certain areas of law. Even in these cases, a valid mail address is required. 3.17 soc.culture.swiss Although this Newsgroup is not prefixed by ch.*, we would like to mention it here. In contrast to the other Newsgroups described above, this Newsgroup is international and has as its main subject Swiss culture in general. For more information please refer to the detailed FAQ about soc.culture.swiss written by Marc Schaefer (in English), which appears in that newsgroup once per month. 3.18 Why do I have a different list of ch.*-Newsgroups? If you find other ch.* Newsgroups on your provider's server which are not listed above, or when you cannot find the Newsgroup listed above on your provider's server, then it is the News server of your provider which is wrongly configured and/or which does not reflect the current status. Please advise your Provider about the error, or post a message to the ch.admin Newsgroup. The people there will probably be able to help you. 4. Where can I test sending a posting? It is alright to test your configuration, but please, do not send test mails to unsuitable Newsgroups. Normal Newsgroups are not there for you to test your system. Apart from that, tests annoy the regular users of Newsgroups. So where can you send a test message? Preferable to alt.test, ch.test, news.test, de.alt.test or to the local test Newsgroup of your privider (if available). Articles sent to these Newsgroups are accessible from all over the world, just like a regular posting. Apart from that there are special programs used in different areas of the world which wait for articles to be sent to alt.test and which then send the sender a short email of confirmation. In this way, you receive confirmation of whether it worked or not within a day or so, often within hours. If you do not wish to receive the automatic reply, include the word 'ignore' anywhere in the subject line of your test message. After you have sent your test posting, wait a while. Depending on the News server, it can take up to an hour until your message is visible. So please, don't send dozens of tests within a short space of time. Just send one and be patient. 5. How can I form a new Newsgroup ? It is not usual for anyone to form a new Newsgroup just like that. The decision on whether to form a new Newsgroup is made by all Usenet users in a democratic manner. There are no rules to do this in a legal sense, but this is the standard procedure and one which has proved itself over many years and which has successfully been applied when forming or changing Newsgroups. The procedure is generally accepted and when applied correctly, the chances are good that new Newsgroup will also be accepted by all News servers. But it is the Administrator of a News server who has the final word, as to whether that server accepts a certain Newsgroup or Newsgroup hierarchy or not. Here is a short summary of the procedure. For more details please see the "Forming Newsgroups" FAQ in the Newsgroup de.newusers.infos. 1. An "RfD" (Request for Discussion) is published in ch.admin. The outline and idea behind the planned Newsgroup is described in the RfD. This is followed by a general discussion, as to whether the suggestion is sensible or not - e.g. is there a need for such a Newsgroup, is the name and description of the Newsgroup suitable, etc. This phase takes 30 days. 2. If the discussion which follows the initial RfD results in agreement, then this is **followed** by a "CfV" (Call for Votes). This includes the final name, a short description as well as the charter (like the "Constitution" of a Newsgroup) and explains precisely to whom the votes the should be sent and which format the vote should take. Normally, the voting period lasts from three to four weeks. 3. After the CfV phase, the votes received are published in ch.admin for control purposes. If, after 5 days, no-one has expressed valid doubt as to the validity of the vote, the new Newsgroup is formed, as long as: - The Yes votes are at least 2/3 of the valid votes, - At least 60 valid Yes votes were received. In a relatively small hierarchy such as that of the ch.* Newsgroup, it is not particularly easy to win such a vote. One should therefore consider, whether one truly wishes to take the entire voting procedure upon oneself. Sometimes it is better just to set up a mailing list, which is usually much simpler. This is another method of exchanging views and ideas about a certain subject. Apart from that, most subjects are covered by ch.talk and so, as long as this Newsgroup does not become too complex, it is hardly worth forming a splitter group. Finally, one should remember that it is possible to form local Newsgroups. This is useful to know, when your Internet provider provides local *.test or *.announce Newsgroups on their servers. How this is set up depends on the News server in use. 6. How can I find an Internet Provider? On the WWW there are a number of lists which simplify finding an Internet provider. We cannot include all the lists here, but the following links may be of use: http://www.bbb.ch/providerinfo/ http://www.disp.ch/ http://www.providerliste.ch/ 7. Are there any "free" News Servers ? "Free News servers" (also named "open News servers") are computers on which News is accessible from anywhere. Because the providers of such servers dislike being misused, most of them permit only the reading, not the writing of articles. A list of such servers can be found on the following URL: http://www.freenntp.com/ The News server of the University of Berlin is very popular. You need to register with them, and since April 1st, 2005, there is a annual fee of 10 EUR: http://news.individual.net/ In addition there is also the (free) "Deja" service (formerly DejaNews). Deja allows you to search the entire Usenet, as well as to read and write articles. Deja was acquired by Google, but is still available under the following address: http://www.deja.com/ 8. Other articles, addresses, links It is impossible for anyone to know all the best sources which could be of interest and use to Usenet beginners. For this reason, I welcome suggestions. Several useful articles, for example, the rules of Netiquette can be found on the www page "http://www.use-net.ch/Usenet/". We recommend that English-speaking readers read the Newsgroups news.announce.newusers and news.answers (these do not of course refer specifically to the Swiss Newsgroups, but to Usenet in general). And of course you can always post a question in the appropriate Swiss Newsgroup. 9. Staff, Contributions This article is based on the original charters for the newer ch.* Newsgroups, which were formulated by Stefano Unternaehrer (stefano@unternaehrer.net), Andreas Aemissegger (aae@bluewin.ch), Benjamin Weidmann (b.weidmann@pobox.com), Michael Bleichenbacher (bleichenbacher@mol.biol.ethz.ch) and Blaise Galland (galland@dasun1.epfl.ch). The WWW-version of this FAQ was hosted by NiCE - NeXT User Group Switzerland until april 2003 and is since then hosted by trash.net. The author of this article is Felix Rauch (felix.rauch@nice.ch). I would be happy to accept corrections, modifications and translations of this article. Copyright (C) 2005 by Felix Rauch.