Sunday, February 24, 2008

USENET’s Benefits and Downsides

According to, “Usenet newsgroups are thousands of virtual bulletin boards on a wide range of different subjects available around the world.” (The Usenet Newsgroups, 2008) Anyone who has access to the Internet can post messages on the Usenet, and communicate with many people from around the world. “Usenet offers people around the world a vast wealth of free resources. It is a place where everyone can offer their experience and knowledge to others and benefit from others.” (USENET Services, 2008)

After completing my assignment for week 6, I realized some benefits and downsides from using the Usenet. For example, I joined a group on the Usenet and enjoyed the discussion. I received many responses from other users, with helpful tips that were beneficial and reliable after verifying with other sources. To see the group discussion that resulted from my questions, please click the link

I learned that Usenet is a place where people can communicate and exchange their ideas with no cost. We can search for answers to our questions on many topics, such as fashion, food, health, news, etc. However, it was discomforting to think about some of the possible downsides of using the Usenet. For example, some of the advice given on the Usenet may be incorrect and should be reviewed critically before accepting. (Why you should not ask for E-mail responses on Usenet, 2008). A good rule of thumb would be consulting reliable sources of information. Fortunately, since the responses are public, others can comment on the postings.

I also noticed other group’s discussions on the Usenet that were outdated and some included postings from users who did not use netiquette guidelines when expressing their point of view. For example, someone in the group was using foul language to defend his position as to why Barack Obama was a better candidate for President than Hillary Clinton. In my opinion, Usenet users should follow netiquette when posting messages.

According to, “Usenet is like the Internet-at-large; there is no single governing body or owner with absolute control, but there are recognized systems and groups who keep the whole thing almost organized.” (Usenet: Usenet Newsgroups, 2008) We can actually benefit from other people’s comment to someone’s answers. In addition, answers that are posted to the group can be criticized by others and discussed there.

I also learned that there is a difference between the Usenet and the Well. The Well is meant by its sponsor to be a special place online that offers literate information for some articulate and unpretentious thinkers and membership is not for everyone, partly because this group is non-anonymous. (The Well, 2008) As a member, you know the names of people who are talking to and they know you as opposed to most Usenet groups, where you can shield your identity. (The Well, 2008) Another difference is that to become a member of the Well you must pay a fee. (The Well, 2008) People who participate in The Well includes, noted authors, journalists, activists and other creative people who exchange information with one another in wide-ranging conversations. (The Well, 2008)

If I have time in the summer, I may explore the Usenet instead of The Well since there is no fee for the service. I see potential in discussions with others in the groups of their experiences and thoughts on health, fitness, fashion, movies and recipes. I would not use The Well since there is a fee and because I rather remain anonymous. For now, since I am limited on time, due to work and school, I prefer to rely on dependable sources at no cost and quickly accessible for my research.

Remember, the Usenet is a great place where everyone can offer their experience and knowledge to others and benefit from others; however, it is important to remember that just like other sources on the Internet, not all information is trustworthy and should be treated with caution. One must remember to confirm their information received on the Usenet with reliable sources. For more information on Usenet services visit

Works Cited:

Usenet Services. Retrieved, February 22, 2008 from

Usenet: Usenet Newsgroups. Retrieved, February 22, 2008 from

The Usenet Newsgroups. Retrieved, February 22, 2008 from

Why you shouldn’t ask for E-mail responses on Usenet. Retrieved, February 22, 2008 from

The Well. Retrieved, February 17, 2008 from

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