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Re: from a novice



>
>on another note, I'm new to internetting, so I'm not real sure what you 
>all mean about usenet, gateways, and these other paleo-related lists. Can 
>anyone give me a layman's explanation. If this list joins a newsgroup, 
>does it mean it will not exist in this current format? (I've only joined 
>today-10/12). 

Welcome to a very rapidly evolving world.  The term "internet" can get
a little slippery when looking for a precise definition.  The Internet
(with capital I) is usually referred to as that set of machines that
can communicate directly using the TCP/IP protocol suite.  There is a
larger community that can exchanged email, frequently requiring the service
of email relaying systems.  The Internet tends to be the common part
that allows them to communicate.  Email discussion groups (like
dinosaur@lepomis.psych.upenn.edu) work by allowing a person to send
an email message to a central site which then remails copies of the
message to a list of interested subscribers.  Some of these subscribers
might be other "mail exploders".  Usenet is a large collection of
cooperating electronic-news/bulletin-board systems.  There is something
on the order of 2000 different topics on Usenet today.  Usenet is now
mostly on, but not limited to, the Internet.  These systems act as a
database that users access with "newreader" programs.  When a Usenet
(aka "netnews") user posts a message to a Usenet newsgroup, that message
is distributed to all other nodes that carry that newsgroup.  It is
up to the users to check that newsgroup to see such "postings".  This
is unlike email groups where the messages generally end up in your
personal mailbox.  Gateway is a highly overused term in this industry,
but in this context, a gateway can relay messages back and forth between
an email list and a newsgroup (hopefully without causing a loop ;>} ).
I do hope that if a Usenet dinosaur group is started (other than
alt.dinosaurs), that dinosaur@lepomis.psych.upenn.edu will remain, but
be gatewayed to the newsgroup, because not everyone can, or wants to,
access netnews.

Hope this helps,
Art