About AAPC

The Basics

Usenet newsgroups are discussion forums. Someone sticks up a message; other people reply. The discussion develops into a 'thread' of replies and replies to replies. The threads look like this:

screenshot of newsgroup threads

If the above picture were a real newsreader, clicking on a line would display that message.

For example, clicking on Dai Crowther's post Atrophy//tdc would display a draft of a (no doubt fine) poem by Dai. Of the many people who will have done so, 5 have posted comments (Zinc, Tiniap etc.) By clicking on those replies, you could view those comments. You could post your own comments. You could comment on other people's comments. And so on.

The main technical advantage of newsgroups (over, say, web-based discussion forums) is that it's a fast technology and works a bit like email; you only connect to the Internet to collect new posts and to upload your own.

About AAPC

The threads on aapc should, theoretically, be a series of posted poem drafts, with comments attached. In practice, there's a lot of that, and then there's a lot of other stuff, good, bad and ugly. Like most newsgroups, aapc is entirely unmoderated (i.e. no-one has any direct control over what is posted). This can take a bit of getting used to, but once you understand how it works, it can be exhilarating.

If you decide you want to join in (there are technical instructions coming up soon), you should read the FAQ and Understanding AAPC, to get a feel for the culture of the newsgroup. And lurk (read without posting) for a week or so.

Getting Started

To use newsgroups, you need some software and an Internet Service Provider which supplies a Usenet newsfeed.

  • Best Solution
    Most modern browsers include a news client, but a dedicated one is best: try searching somewhere like VersionTracker for one suitable for your system.
  • Other Solutions
    If you want/need to use a different news client (most modern browsers include one, for example, and Outlook will access newsgroups), you will have to read the helpfiles specific to those programs.
  • Web-Based NewsReaders
    You can read Usenet through Google. Go to Google Groups to set up an account.