Graham Drabble's Web Site


I spend much of my time on Usenet reading groups ranging from configuring news servers and programming through to discussions about walking and Scouting. I use XNews as a newsreader. It's free but unfortunatly not being maintained any more however it does everything I want. I also run Hamster PG as a local mail/news server.

If you are new to Usenet and don't know where to start then your ISP probably has a server (often called If not then there is a free server available at You are advised to read the ReadFreeNews FAQ for a description of how the server runs. You are advised to read news.newusers.questions to begin with as this contains some good advice and is a good place to ask any questions about Usenet you may have.

The rest of this page is devoted to

Config Groups

News groups are split into hierarchies based on their name with the components getting more specific as you go to the right. Therefore uk.rec.scouting is in the uk.* hierarchy and is for the recreation of Scouting. Each news server is free to carry whatever groups it wants however many top level hierarchies (eg uk.*) have procedures designed to recommend groups. This should ensure that a newly created group is quickly picked up by many servers therefore allowing lots of people to see it. It also means that groups that are not needed any more (either because a new group(s) has taken its place (e.g comp.lang.perl being split into comp.lang.perl.misc and comp.lang.perl.moderated) they can be removed so that people aren't confused by nearly empty groups. Unfortunatly many servers either due to poor management or through a desire to have "uncensored" feeds to not remove groups.


uk.* became a managed hierarchy on 12th May 1995 following this announcement. Previously groups had been created without any formal structure which was causing a problem as the hierarchy expanded.

Groups are created by posting an RFD to, and other related groups. Then once the discussion has died down you can ask UKVoting to conduct a vote. The proposal will succeed if YES >= NO+12. Alternatively, if the proposal is straightforward and uncontroversial, you may ask Control to Fast Track it. A Fast Track will pass unless, within 10 days of the announcement being posted, the committee receives 6 objections or 1 that they consider well founded. There is an RFD Maker which helps with the formatting and a mentors organisation that can help you with the process. More information can be found from

All important announcements concerning uk.* are made in I have a webpage here that shows all posts from the previous week.


I have an autoposter that posts many FAQs and other periodic postings. If you currently post one and would like it added to the autoposter then please contact me. I am a believer in the *.answers groups so will probably try and encourage you to add news.answers to your post although I won't insist.

Many of the FAQs that I post are available online.

This is also crossposted to rec.arts.ascii. It is posted once a month and is available from here
The posting guidelines are posted to the group every 28 days and are available from here. I also post a list of hierarchy URLs available from here
The postings guidelines are posted every 14 days and are available from here
The posting guidelines are posted every 21 days and is available from here
This groups has two FAQs both posted monthly. The general one is available from here and the walking boot FAQ is available from here

Moderated Groups

Most groups are unmoderated. This means that noone can prevent you posting anything you like to them (although spamming will probably lead to complaints to your news admin and the loss of your account) and they rely on peer pressure to ensure people post responsibly. Some groups however are moderated. This means that posts are screened by a moderator (or a group of moderators) before being sent to the group. This is usually done for announce groups where only official announcements are wanted or for groups where an unmoderated group is (or would be likely to be) disrupted by a lot of off topic posts.

I help to moderate the following groups

This group is designed to receive Usenet related lists. These can include lists groups within a hierarchy, moderator contacts, the FAQ list of news.answers, a list of hierarchy URLs and much more. Not so much a group to read as a group to look things up in.
This is another group I picked up after it had been abandoned for a while. In the meantime alt.ascii-art had become popular and that is still get more traffic.
This is a group for discussing any aspect of the space programme and fits in with the rest of the* hierarchy.
This is a moderated companion for which had become too agressive for some. It is meant to discuss any issues relating to men and their status / rights in society
This was created in 1991 and moderated to keep things civil and brief (this was a time where bandwidth was expensive and long rants would have a real cost to propogate worldwide). It was resurected in 2003 having been abandoned since the late 1990s and is now moderated mainly by controlling crossposts.
This is a low traffic announce group for political announcements. Discussions occurs in other uk.politics.* groups.

If you are looking to set up a new moderated group and want some advice or someone to join the moderation team whilst you get started then feel free to email me.