This article is based on material authored by members of the news.newusers.questions Moderation Board and nnq-workers mailing list, particularly by Jon Bell (until 2005) and Thor Kottelin (since 2007).

How to go to soc.penpals or any other newsgroup

Introduction

Many newsreader programs present a first-time user with only a short list of newsgroups, because the full list may contain several thousand entries. Usually this list contains some of the "announce" groups, along with news.newusers.questions, but little (if anything) else. This means that the frequently-given advice to "go to soc.penpals if you want to ask for email" sometimes brings the response, "but how do I go to soc.penpals?"

This article contains instructions on how to go to soc.penpals, using a variety of newsreader programs. It assumes that you are currently reading an article in news.newusers.questions, and that you are not currently "subscribed" to soc.penpals.

These instructions should of course work for any other newsgroup, if you make the appropriate substitution for soc.penpals. :-)

If you don't see your favorite newsreader listed here, and you know how to go to another newsgroup with it, please send us a description, and we might give you a paragraph of Net fame.

If at some point you get a message that says something like "can't find that newsgroup" or "that newsgroup doesn't exist", check your spelling and capitalization carefully. Newsgroup names usually must be in lower-case only. Also, some newsreaders may get confused if you put any blank spaces before or after the newsgroup name. If you still can't get to the newsgroup, that probably means that your news server doesn't carry it. Contact your news server's administrator and ask if he/she can add that newsgroup to your server.

Abbreviations

Win
Microsoft® Windows®
Mac
Mac OS

Newsreaders

Netscape Communicator 4.5 (Win, Mac)

  1. In the Netscape Communicator browser window click on Communicator in the menu bar at the top of the window and then click on Newsgroups. If you do not want to open the browser window first, click your START button and look for Netscape Messenger, then click to open it.
  2. You will see three frames in the window that appears. In the left frame click on the name of the news server to select it.
  3. In the menu bar again, click on File and then click Subscribe....
  4. The Subscribe to Newsgroups window that appears will have three "tabs" at the top. Click All to view a list of all the newsgroups that are available to you, if you want to look through the list for a group. Click Search if you want to use the Search function, to find a group that you already know the name of or click New to look through the list of new newsgroups that have arrived since you last checked. - In the list of groups, you will see a box with a + in it to the left of a newsgroup name. Click the + to expand that section of the listings.
  5. To subscribe to a group you can either click the name of the group to select it and then click the Subscribe button to the right OR, in the Newsgroup: dialog box near the top of the All window you can type in the name of a group. When you begin to type, the list below will advance to match the letters as you type them in, in alphabetical order from left to right. You will probably find the name of the group before you finish typing it! Once found, again, click the Subscribe button (or click the dot in the Subscribe column to make a check mark appear).
  6. Once you have subscribed to all the newsgroups that you want, click the OK button to close the window.

Written by Dennis D. Calhoun (dcalhoun at blomand.net), 13 Feb 1999.

Netscape Communicator 4.0x (Win, Mac)

  1. In the Netscape Communicator browser window click on Communicator in the menu bar at the top of the window and then click on Collabra Discussion Groups. If you do not want to open the browser window first, click your START button and look for Netscape Collabra, then click to open it.
  2. You will see three frames in the window that appears. In the left frame click on the name of the news server to select it.
  3. In the menu bar again, click on File and then click Subscribe to Discussion Groups....
  4. The Subscribe to Newsgroups window that appears will have three "tabs" at the top. Click All to view a list of all the newsgroups that are available to you, if you want to look through the list for a group. Click Search if you want to use the Search function, to find a group that you already know the name of or click New to look through the list of new newsgroups that have arrived since you last checked. - In the list of groups, you will see a box with a + in it to the left of a newsgroup name. Click the + to expand that section of the listings.
  5. To subscribe to a group you can either click the name of the group to select it and then click the Subscribe button to the right, or you can type the name of a group into the Newsgroup: dialog box near the top of the All window. When you begin to type, the list below will advance to match the letters as you type them in, in alphabetical order from left to right. You will probably find the name of the group before you finish typing it! Once found, again, click the Subscribe button (or click the dot in the Subscribe column to make a check mark appear).
  6. Once you have subscribed to all the newsgroups that you want, click the OK button to close the window.

Written by Dennis D. Calhoun (dcalhoun at blomand.net), 13 Feb 1999.

Netscape 2.x or 3.x (Win, Mac)

  1. Go back to the Netscape News window.
  2. Go to the Options menu and click on Show Subscribed Groups.
  3. If soc.penpals is in your list of subscribed newsgroups, skip ahead to step 6.
  4. If soc.penpals is not in your list of subscribed newsgroups, go up to the File menu. Click Add Newsgroup.
  5. Type soc.penpals in that box, and press the RETURN or ENTER key. Netscape should update your list of subscribed newsgroups so that it now includes soc.penpals.
  6. Click on the name soc.penpals. This should take you to the article list for soc.penpals.
  7. Put a check mark in the box to the right of the name soc.penpals to keep the group on your list of subscribed groups. (If you can't see the box, drag the divider between the upper windows to the right.)

Additional help with Netscape 3.x versions is available.

Netscape 1.x (Win, Mac)

  1. Go back to the list of articles for this newsgroup.
  2. Click on the Subscribed Newsgroups button at the top of the page.
  3. If soc.penpals is in your list of subscribed newsgroups, skip ahead to step 6.
  4. If soc.penpals is not in your list of subscribed newsgroups, scroll down to the bottom of the list, where you should see a box labeled something like Subscribe to:.
  5. Type soc.penpals in that box, and press the RETURN or ENTER key. Netscape should update your list of subscribed newsgroups so that it now includes soc.penpals.
  6. Click on the name soc.penpals. This should take you to the article list for soc.penpals.

WinVN (Win, Mac)

  1. Go to Config/Communications; make sure the setting to download group list on connect is set to either Yes or Ask. (Setting it to Yes downloads the entire list each time you connect to the server; setting to Ask puts a Yes/No asking if you want the entire list.) Also, make sure that the Show Unsubscribed Groups box is checked.
  2. Single-click on each group you want to subscribe to; then Go to Group; select Subscribe Selected Groups.
  3. If you keep the entire list onscreen, subscribed groups will be in one color, and unsubscribed groups will be in another (the defaults are black (subscribed) and blue (unsubscribed)).
  4. You're done. If you don't want to see unsubscribed groups, go to Config/Communications and uncheck the Show Unsubscribed Groups box.

Thanks to Christopher L. Estep (christopher.estep at acenet.com), 5 Nov 1995.

Microsoft® Outlook Express 6 (Win)

Set up your news server account

This needs to be done only once.

  1. In Outlook Express, click Accounts on the Tools menu.
  2. In the Internet Accounts dialog box, click Add, and then click News.
  3. In the Display Name box, type the name you want other people to see when you post a message (for example Jane Doe), and then click Next.
  4. In the E-mail Address box, type the email address for the account you are using (for example, janedoe@example.com), and then click Next.
  5. In the News (NNTP) Server box, type the name of your Internet news server.
  6. If you are required to log on, tick the My news server requires me to log on check box. Click Next.
  7. If you are required to log on, type your account name and password for your news server in the News Account Name and Password boxes. Your Internet service provider (ISP) should provide this information for you. If you do not know this information, contact your ISP. If necessary, tick the Log on using Secure Password Authentication (SPA) box.
  8. Click Finish in the Congratulations screen.

Subscribe to the group

  1. In the Folders pane of Outlook Express, click the name of your news server.
  2. In the right-side pane, click on the Newsgroups button.
  3. In the Display newsgroups which contain area, type soc.penpals.
  4. You should now see soc.penpals in the Newsgroup list on the All tab. If not, check your spelling, and make sure you are viewing the All tab. If you still do not see soc.penpals, chances are your ISP's news server does not carry it. Ask your ISP to add the group.
  5. Click on soc.penpals, then on the Subscribe button, and then OK.
  6. You should now see soc.penpals in the Folders pane, under the name of your news server. If there is a + sign on the left side of the news server name, click on the + to expand the group list. Click on soc.penpals, and wait as the message headers load into the right-side pane.

Microsoft® Outlook Express 4.x (Win, Mac)

Detailed instructions are available at Microsoft Support Online.

Microsoft® Internet News 3.x (Win, Mac)

  1. In the Microsoft Internet Explorer browser window click on Go in the menu bar at the top of the window, and then click Read News. That will open your "default" newsreader which might or might not be Microsoft Internet News. If you want to open MS Internet News directly, click on your Start button and look for Internet News, then click to open it.
  2. In the Internet News window, click the Newsgroups button.
  3. The Newsgroups window that appears will have three "tabs" near the bottom of the window.
  4. To subscribe to a group you can either click the name of the group to select it and then click the Subscribe button to the right, or, in the Display newsgroups which contain: dialog box near the top of the All window you can type in the name of a group. (When you begin to type, the list below will narrow to match the letters as you type them in. The list will display all it's newsgroups that contain the entered letters anywhere within any newsgroup name, not orderly from left to right. With each additional letter that you enter, the list will narrow further.)
  5. Once you've found the name of a newsgroup that you want to subscribe to, click the name of it to select it and then click the Subscribe button to the right.
  6. Once you have subscribed to all the newsgroups that you want, click the OK button to close the window.
  7. Back in the Internet News window, in the Newsgroups box in the toolbar you will see one newsgroup name listed (usually it is the newsgroup that you last visited) and your list of subscribed newsgroups can be "pulled down" by clicking on the down arrow at the right end of that box. Click any one of the subscribed newsgroup names within that pull down menu to go to that newsgroup.

Written by Dennis D. Calhoun (dcalhoun at blomand.net), 13 Feb 1999.

Agent/Free Agent (Win, Mac)

The Help section of Agent and Free Agent includes easy to use instructions that we need not repeat here. To access those instructions, open the program and click on Help then Contents and then the link Getting Started".

Yet Another Newswatcher (YA Newswatcher) (Mac)

  1. From the Special menu, select Get Group List from Host.
  2. This takes quite a while, do nothing until you see a new, large window with an alphabetical list of all newsgroups your provider carries.
  3. Scroll down to soc.penpals
  4. Click the group name once to select it.
  5. From the Special menu, select Subscribe. This also takes a few moments, be patient. When finished you will see another tiny window labeled Untitled with soc.penpals listed in it.
  6. Click the close box at the far left of the Untitled title bar. You will be given an option of saving this. Name it and navigate to the place you wish to keep this. Clicking the Desktop button is a good idea, you can save it there for ease of use. Double clicking this icon will now open YA Newswatcher and show you a list of your subscribed groups.
  7. The next time you open YA Newswatcher, you can go to the Windows menu and select Show Full Group List.
  8. Any other groups you wish to subscribe to can be dragged from the full list and dropped into your subscribed list. Be sure to save when closing the newsreader.

Written by Cipher (cipher at mindspring.com), 14 Feb1999.

pine (DOS, UNIX)

  1. Press L to go to your "folder list".
  2. Use the arrow keys to select your "news collection" and press return or enter; you should now see your current list of newsgroups.
  3. Press A to subscribe to a new newsgroup; you should now see the prompt Enter group to subscribe to:.
  4. Type soc.penpals and press return or enter; soc.penpals should now be in your newsgroup list, and should be highlighted.
  5. Press return or enter to go to the list of articles.

slrn (UNIX, VMS)

  1. From the group selection level, press L (capital L)
  2. Enter soc.penpals at the prompt
  3. Press s to subscribe
  4. Press L again

This is all explained on the first screen of the slrn group help

Thanks to John E. Davis (davis at space.mit.edu), 20 Oct 1995.

tin (UNIX)

  1. q - quits out of current article
  2. q - quits out of current newsgroup back to newsgroup listing
  3. y - toggles back and forth between listing ALL available newsgroups and only subscribed newsgroups (toggle until it lists ALL available newsgroups)
  4. g - goto; type soc.penpals ENTER (if the group exists at that site and no typos are made, tin will jump to that group)
  5. s - subscribe
  6. y - toggle back to only subscribed newsgroups

Thanks to an anonymous contributor, 17 Oct 1995.

trn (UNIX)

  1. Type q to return to the thread selector (the list of article subjects).
  2. Type q again to return to the newsgroup selection prompt (nnnn unread articles in some.news.group--read now?).
  3. Type g soc.penpals to "go" to that newsgroup; trn should ask, Newsgroup soc.penpals not in .newsrc -- subscribe?
  4. Type y; trn should now ask, Put newsgroup where?
  5. Type $ to put soc.penpals at the end of your newsgroup list; you should now see the newsgroup selection prompt again (nnnn unread articles in soc.penpals--read now?).
  6. Type y. You should now see the thread selector for soc.penpals.
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