Net Class Seven
Conversations on the Internet
Introduction Tools Vocabulary Types Examples Netiqeutte Links


The Internet can be used as a way to have conversations, in the same way that we speak with the people physically near us every day. We can discuss things such as life, work, school, and learning with other people online. There are a number of specific tools and some vocabulary that we will need to learn.

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While email is the most common way to communicate with others on the Internet, there are some other important tools that we can use.

A listserv is a group email list that you can subscribe to. Once you are subscribed to the listserv, you receive all postings to the list, and you can post your own comments. If you do not want to be part of the listserv anymore, you can unsubscribe.

A newsgroup is similar to a listserv but it is not necessarily sent out by email. Newsgroups can usually be read on a web page on the Internet. Usenet is a collection of newsgroups on thousands of different topics.

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Listservs and newsgroups come in many shapes and sizes. When someone sets up one, they have to decide two things:

Who: We can have a group that is open or a group that is restricted. In an open group, anyone in the world is allowed to join, as long as you have an email address. In a restricted group, the list administrator decides who is allowed to join.

What: Some groups or lists may be set up so that anyone cam make a post, and the post automatically goes to everyone in the group. This is an unmoderated group. In a moderated group, each posting goes to the group moderator, who then decides whether to pass on the post to the rest of the group or not. The third type of group may be a newsletter, where only one person posts information to the group.

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For our Internet class, I have created a group for us to use as an example. We will use this group to discuss the things that we are learning and to keep in touch about the class schedule.

I used Yahoo! to create a group for us called qpl-sig. This stands for Queens Public Library - Steinway Internet Group.

The email address to send messages to the group is :

If you want to send a message to everyone in the group you send an email to that address. If you receive an email from that address and you want to reply to the whole group, simply click on "Reply" in the email. If you want to reply directly to the person who made the post, make sure to put only their email address in the "To:" area.

Our group can be found on the Internet at:

When I created this group I automatically subscribed everyone who has been coming to the Internet class. If you do not want to be subscribed to this group, simply send an email to:

Our group is open and unmoderated. This means that anyone in the world can subscribe to it and that all of the postings automatically go to everyone in the group without being reveiwed by any moderator.

There are thousands of other groups and listservs that you may want to explore. Be careful though about how many listservs you subscribe to or you may have too many emails to read everyday.

Other types of newsgroups and listservs that you may want to join may include: job postings, cultural discussion groups, or groups for swapping recipes or other information.

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One last thing before you get started. Just as we have certain "polite" behavior in our spoken conversations with people, we can also have what is considered polite behavior in our Internet conversations. Netiquette is slang, and it comes from the English word etiquette, which is a certain code of agreed upon conduct.

Some guidelines for good etiquette on the Internet:

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More information about Usenet:

Groups and Listservs on the Internet:

Further information about Netiquette can be found here:

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Page Last Modified : July 14, 2001.

May be freely copied and used for all educational purposes.