If you’ve joined USENET because you want access to experts on a variety of topics, you’re certainly not alone. One of the most intimidating things about joining a new newsgroup is the fact that many of the people posting will be exceptionally knowledgeable. In fact, many of them will be posting in terminology that you’ve probably never even heard before. Approaching experts with a simple question can be a hard thing to do. If you want to make certain that you are doing it right, heed the following advice.
Look it Up First
The first thing you want to do is to look up the information on your own before you ask. There are two places that you will definitely want to look for this information: the Internet and Google groups. Check the Internet to see if you can find an easy answer to the question you’re curious about. Of course, if you’re thinking about asking on USENET, you’re probably overwhelmed with the amount of responses you can find to the question that you want to ask and more concerned about which among those responses are actually accurate.
Check Google groups. Google groups has an archive of approximately 20 years of USENET posts. You can search through the posts to see if anybody else has answered your question prior to you becoming interested in it. You may well find that somebody has, in fact, asked the same question you wanted to ask and has already gotten a great answer for it from a real expert.
After you’ve done all of your research, go ahead and ask the appropriate USENET group if anybody knows the answer to your question. Point out the fact that you’ve already looked for information and other resources and that you’re very interested to hear the opinions of the experts on the newsgroup. You may find that you get an answer right away or you may find that you get pointed toward other resources.
If something about the information that you found confuses you, asking for clarification is always welcome on USENET newsgroups. In fact, this is usually the best way to ask for an answer. Point out the question that you’re curious about, show some of the information that you already found and indicate what parts of that information aren’t clear to you or which parts of that information confuse you altogether. Most of the time, somebody will jump in right away and try to help you understand the information that you found on your own.
There are some very knowledgeable people on the USENET system and most of them are there because they…