What Are News Groups: An Introduction

What are news groups?

News groups are parts of the internet where people go to discuss specific topics. Inside news groups, people are able to write messages and leave them in the news group for other visitors to read. As a visitor, you can also respond to messages you read and leave them for others to see as well. Dynamic discussions are often sparked by one letter which generates many responses from other visitors. Many people enjoy reading other people's opinions about certain topics or "threads" and return to see how discussions develop.

You can visit news groups from the WWW by clicking on the topics listed in the MedWorld community news groups menu. We will be adding new medical student-related groups as they are formed.

Now some information about how to use news groups in Netscape

At the top and bottom of the screen are identical rows of buttons (some lists are long, so this allows you to save scrolling time). Stanford students should ignore all the buttons except "post new article," as they are only useful for people who have a dedicated computer of their own, unlike cluster macs in the FLRC.

To read an article, press on the sentence which interests you. After reading the message you may "post followup," which sends a message to the news group in response to the message you just read (so every visitor can read it), or "mail and post reply," which will send your response to the news group and the original author's e-mail address.

If you are using public computers (i.e. FLRC), chances are that your e-mail address will not be properly configured for your computer. Don't worry about this, just click o.k. at the error message and enter your e-mail address in the "Your Email" blank on the Netscape preferences menu. Then press okay, and your ready to type your message! Also check that the e-mail address in the "from" blank is yours, it is possible it is the e-mail address of the previous user!

This sounds pretty complicated, but it really isn't. You could probably figure it out by trial and error. But come back to this page if you have difficulty. Also, one final comment. New postings are not immediately visable to everyone, it can sometimes take up to one day to get your message posted on the news group. Happy surfing!

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