2. What Netnews Is Not
Netnews is not an organization
No person or group has authority over Netnews as a whole. No one controls who gets a news feed, which articles are propagated where, who can post articles, or anything else. There is no "Netnews Incorporated," nor is there a "Netnews User's Group." You're on your own.
Granted, there are various activities organized by means of Netnews newsgroups. The newsgroup creation process is one such activity. But it would be a mistake to equate Netnews with the organized activities it makes possible. If they were to stop tomorrow, Netnews would go on without them.
- Netnews is not a democracy
- Netnews is not fair
Netnews is not a right
Some people misunderstand their local right of "freedom of speech" to mean that they have a legal right to use others' computers to say what they wish in whatever way they wish, and the owners of said computers have no right to stop them.
- Netnews is not a public utility
Netnews is not an academic network
It is no surprise that many Netnews sites are universities, research labs or other academic institutions. Netnews originated with a link between two universities, and the exchange of ideas and information is what such institutions are all about. But the passage of years has changed Netnews's character. Today, by plain count, most Netnews sites are commercial entities.
Netnews is not an advertising medium
Because of Netnews's roots in academia, and because Netnews depends so heavily on cooperation (sometimes among competitors), custom dictates that advertising be kept to a minimum. It is tolerated if it is infrequent, informative, and low-hype.
Netnews is not the Internet
The Internet is a wide-ranging network, parts of which are subsidized by various governments. It carries many kinds of traffic, of which Netnews is only one. And the Internet is only one of the various networks carrying Netnews traffic.
Netnews is not a United States network
Keep Netnews's worldwide nature in mind when you post articles. Even those who can read your language may have a culture wildly different from yours. When your words are read, they might not mean what you think they mean.
- Netnews is not a Unix network
Netnews is not software
Software designed to support Netnews traffic can be (and is) used for other kinds of communication, usually without risk of mixing the two. Such private communication networks are typically kept distinct from Netnews by the invention of newsgroup names different from the universally-recognized ones.