What are you looking for on Usenet? It really doesn't matter because, chances are, you'll find it on Usenet.
The major set of worldwide newsgroups is contained within nine hierarchies, eight of which are operated under consensual guidelines that govern their administration and naming. The current "Big Eight" are:
The alt.* hierarchy is not subject to the procedures controlling groups in the Big Eight, and it is as a result less organized. However, groups in the alt.* hierarchy tend to be more specialized or specific, for example, there might be a newsgroup under the Big Eight which contains discussions about children's books, but a group in the alt hierarchy may be dedicated to one specific author of children's books. Binaries are posted in alt.binaries.*, making it the largest of all the hierarchies.
- comp.*: computer-related discussions (comp.software, comp.sys.amiga)
- humanities.*: Fine arts, literature, and philosophy (humanities.classics, humanities.design.misc)
- misc.*: Miscellaneous topics (misc.education, misc.forsale, misc.kids)
- news.*: Discussions and announcements about news (meaning Usenet, not current events) (news.groups, news.admin)
- rec.*: Recreation and entertainment (rec.music, rec.arts.movies)
- sci.*: Science related discussions (sci.psychology, sci.research)
- soc.*: Social discussions (soc.college.org, soc.culture.african)
- talk.*: Talk about various controversial topics (talk.religion, talk.politics, talk.origins)
Many other hierarchies of newsgroups are distributed alongside these. Regional and language-specific hierarchies such as japan.*, malta.* and ne.* serve specific regions such as Japan, Malta and New England. Companies such as Microsoft administer their own hierarchies to discuss their products and offer community technical support. Some users prefer to use the term "Usenet" to refer only to the Big Eight hierarchies; others include alt as well. The more general term "netnews" incorporates the entire medium, including private organizational news systems.
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