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Introduction to Network News

IT Services provides a Network News service for members of Oxford University, using the InterNetNews (INN) news software.

1. Accessing the News Server

To access the server from a personal computer, you need a network connection and a news client program.

Once you have acquired a suitable news client program, you should configure it to use as its server. Before you can access the server, your computer must have an IP name registered; contact your local network manager to achieve this.

2. News Client Programs

A number of news client programs are available (this is not an exhaustive list):

  • MS-Windows
    • Trumpet for Windows
    • Thunderbird
    • Free Agent
  • Mac
    • Newswatcher
    • The-News
    • RNMac

3. Newsgroups Carried

About 7000 newsgroups are carried at present, and new ones are being created all the time. The main hierarchies available from the Oxford news server are: comp,humanities,misc,news,rec,sci,soc,talk,uk. In addition we also carry a local hierarchy, ox, and a selection of other smaller hierarchies, as well as a selection of groups from alt. A full list of groups on the server can be retrieved using most news client software.


News items are retained for 14 days, except those in local groups which are retained indefinitely.

4. Local newsgroups

Local ox newsgroups include:

  • General-purpose groups (ox.announce, ox.general)
  • University society groups (ox.clubs.*)
  • Departmental groups (eg*)
  • Special Interest groups (ox.sig.*). All the SIG newsgroups are gatewayed to mailing lists.
  • College Groups (*)
  • Mailing List gateways (ox.list.*)

5. If you have not used Netnews before

Please read the articles in the group They are also available from the local Netnews Home Page

They give information about what Netnews is (and is not), and how to work with the Netnews community.

The group news.announce.newusers contains additional information.

A list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Netnews at Oxford is posted regularly to several local newsgroups.

Finally, mark, read and inwardly digest the following points about using Network News:

  1. Never forget that the person on the other side is human.
  2. Don't blame system admins for their users' behaviour.
  3. Never assume that a person is speaking for their organization.
  4. Be careful what you say about others.
  5. Be brief.
  6. Your postings reflect upon you; be proud of them.
  7. Use descriptive titles
  8. Think about your audience.
  9. Be careful with humour and sarcasm.
  10. Only post a message once.
  11. Summarize what you are following up.
  12. If appropriate, reply by email rather than posting a follow-up.
  13. Read all follow-ups and don't repeat what has already been said.
  14. Double-check follow-up newsgroups and distributions.
  15. Be careful about copyrights and licenses.
  16. Cite appropriate references.
  17. When summarizing, summarize.
  18. Mark answers or spoilers.
  19. Spelling flames considered harmful.
  20. Don't overdo signatures.
  21. Limit line length and avoid control characters.
  22. Please be sensible about advertising.


Written by IT Services. Latest revision 18 October 2017