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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

An important Usenet tradition is the FAQ, or frequently asked question list. Over the years, people noticed that most newcomers to a newsgroup seemed to ask the same questions. In the computer newsgroups, beginners would ask the same computer questions; in the cat-related newsgroups, beginners would ask the same cat-related questions; and so on.

In general, people who spend a lot of time using Usenet like to help one another and answer questions. However, answering the same questions over and over (for years) gets tiresome. I'm sure this makes sense to you.

As a solution, many of the newsgroups have a volunteer who produces a FAQ containing all the frequently asked questions with their answers. Usenet has hundreds of FAQs on a large number of topics. Most FAQs are posted regularly — typically once a month — to the appropriate newsgroup. In addition, there are special newsgroups to which copies of many of the FAQs are posted. These groups are shown in the table below.

Newsgroups to which FAQs are posted

Newsgroup Description
news.answersMost of the FAQs from other newsgroups
alt.answersFAQs from the alt newsgroups
comp.answersFAQs from the comp newsgroups
humanities.answersFAQs from the humanities newsgroups
misc.answersFAQs from the misc newsgroups
rec.answersFAQs from the rec newsgroups
sci.answersFAQs from the sci newsgroups
soc.answersFAQs from the soc newsgroups
talk.answersFAQs from the talk newsgroups

Whenever you start reading a newsgroup for the first time, it is a good idea to begin by checking out the FAQ. It will contain wisdom and knowledge that has been distilled from the newsgroup over a long period of time. Personally, I find the various FAQs fascinating, and I like to browse through them every now and then.

There are literally thousands of different Usenet FAQs, many of which are available on the Web, as well as within the Usenet newsgroups. Below, you will find links to several Web sites that serve as important FAQ repositories.

— hint —

On Usenet, it is considered good manners to look in the appropriate FAQ before you ask questions.

When you start to read a newsgroup that has a FAQ, you must read the FAQ before you post your first article to that group.

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