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Netnews FAQ

1. Connections

1.1. Who is allowed to connect to the Oxford News Server?

Members of Oxford University (ie those using a computer in the domain) are implicitly authorised to access the news server for bona fide purposes.

The IT Rules will apply.

1.2. Which news server is available at Oxford?

The Oxford news server is called

The system runs the InterNetNews (INN) news server.

The news server is run by IT Services on behalf of the University.

1.3. I can't connect to the news server

If you try to connect to the Oxford News Server from a system which is not in the domain, you will be denied access.

Otherwise, if you can't connect your system may not have been registered in the Domain Name Server (DNS). Please contact your local network administrator to register your system.

1.4. Misuse and abuse of news

Please do not be tempted to forge news article headers, or to "spam" newsgroups. As well as being a breach of "Netiquette", both actions are violations of IT Rules. Offenders risk being banned from using the Oxford news server, and/or having other sanctions placed on their accounts.

Please note: The University DOES take such incidents seriously - you have been warned!

2. News Feed, Newsgroups

2.1. Where does the news feed come from?

Oxford takes its news feeds from a variety of other news providers. You can see the route a given message took to reach us via the Path header.

Newsgroups which are regarded as offensive, or containing material which may contravene legislation, are excluded from the feed.

2.2. The newsgroup I want doesn't exist on the local server. Who should I contact?

To request a newsgroup, send an email to the Newsmaster. Please note that reasonable requests for genuine newsgroups are likely to be approved, but that we do not carry alt.binaries groups.

2.3. How do I cancel a message I've posted?

Most news programs allow you to cancel a message you've posted. Cancelling a message not only removes it from the local server, but eventually also from the whole network (it takes time to propagate the cancel message through the network).

If you want to cancel a message you have posted, and you are unable to do so, please mail a request to the Newsmaster.

2.4. How do I get a new local newgroup set up?

  • Club/Society Newsgroup

    A University club or society approved by the Proctors may have a newsgroup in the ox.clubs hierarchy. A request for the creation of such a group must come from an official of the club or society (preferably the Secretary).

  • College Newsgroup

    Colleges and Permanent private Halls may have a newsgroup in the ox.colleges hierarchy. A request for the creation of such a group must come from a registered ITSS of the College or PPH.

  • Departmental Newsgroup

    Departments may have a newsgroup (eg ox.{dept}), or a newsgroup hierarchy (eg ox.{dept}.{group}). Requests should come from a registered ITSS of the department.

  • Other Newsgroups

    If you think that a new local newsgroup is required (other than in the above categories), start a discussion in ox.general. If a consensus is reached, the group has a good chance of being created.

All newsgroup creation requests should be mailed to the Newsmaster

2.5. Can I post to a newsgroup via email?

There is no mechanism at Oxford to allow posting to newsgroups via mail messages.

3. News Client Software

Details of news reader software for various platforms can be found on the web site.

4. Information

4.1. What is NNTP?

NNTP stands for the Network News Transfer Protocol, and is described in RFC 977. It defines the way that news items are transfered across the network.

4.2. Searching Newsgroups

Google run a system for browsing and searching newsgroups, at

Please note, Google cannot archive the local ox.* newsgroups. Some other search engines also have a netnews search option.

4.3. Where can I get more information about Network News?

The Netnews web pages contain articles about Netnews, covering topics such as what Netnews is (and is not), and how to work with the Netnews Community.

Further introductory information can be found in the news.announce.newusers and news.answers groups.

4.4. Effects of the daily news expire

Once a day, news items which have expired are removed from the system. This requires that the server is paused for a short period at about 1am. During this time new messages will be rejected.


Written by IT Services. Latest revision 5 September 2014