Usenet (//) is a type of discussion system on computers. It was created from the Unix-to-Unix Copy (UUCP) dial-up network architecture. Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis began the idea in 1979. The system was created in 1980. People read and post messages (called articles, postsor news) to one or more categories. These categories are called newsgroups. Usenet is similar to a bulletin board system (BBS) in many ways. It is the precursor to Internet forums. Discussions are threaded but posts are stored in order of when they were posted.
A main difference between a BBS and Usenet is that usenet has no administrator. Also, the network used to share the messages is not constant. Usenet is spread over a large, constantly changing group of news servers. The servers store and forward messages to one another. Each user reads messages from and posts messages to a local server. The local server can be operated by anyone.
Usenet is important in the networked world. Many well known ideas and terms were either created on usenet or made popular there. These include "FAQ", "flame", sockpuppet, and "spam". In the early 1990s, Usenet connections via Fidonet's dial-up BBS networks made it more common for people to discus things worldwide. They did not need a server, just (local) telephone service.
- From Usenet to CoWebs: interacting with social information spaces, Christopher Lueg, Danyel Fisher, Springer (2003), ISBN 1-85233-532-7, ISBN 978-1-85233-532-8
- The jargon file v4.4.7 Archived January 5, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, Jargon File Archive.
- Chapter 3 - The Social Forces Behind The Development of Usenet Archived August 4, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, Netizens Netbook by Ronda Hauben and Michael Hauben.
- "USENET Newsgroup Terms – SPAM". Archived from the original on 2012-09-15.
- Pre-Internet; Usenet needing "just local telephone service" in most larger towns, depends on the number of local dial-up Fidonet "nodes" operated free of charge by hobbyist "SysOps" (as FidoNet echomail variations or via gateways with the Usenet news hierarchy. This is virtual Usenet or newsgroups access, not true Usenet.) The participating SysOps typically carry 6 - 30 Usenet newsgroups each, and will often add another on request. If a desired newsgroup was not available locally, a user would need to dial to another city to download the desired news and upload one's own posts. In all cases it is desirable to hang up as soon as possible and read/write offline, making "newsreader" software commonly used to automate the process. Fidonet, bbscorner.com Archived 2022-02-07 at the Wayback Machine