Re: Proposal: WIT over USENET or Mail

Ehud Shapiro (
Sun, 12 Jun 1994 17:52:40 +0300

I second the proposal to use Mailing Lists and Usenet as a foundation
for Web-based news groups, and would like to propose several simple
mechanisms that together can provide a smooth integration of the two:

- A general news URL which allows access to any news server on the
Internet, in the form of "news://nntpserver_address/article".
Owners of the news group may decide whether to flood it
through Usenet (i.e. make it global), and whether to allow
remote browser access and posting, through standard NNTP/INN

- A mechanism in Web browsers which allows posting articles in
any news group on any news server. Posting from an article is
a followup to a thread, and posting from the news group index
opens a new thread.

- A Newsgroup-Mailing list bidirectional reflector. The reflector will
automatically post new mailing list articles to a specified
news group, and will automatically mail a new news group
posting to a specified mailing list.

By combining these mechanisms, users can:

- access the newsgroup at the "host" NNTP server through the remote
"news:" URLs, if they have full Internet access.

- participate in the discussion through mailing lists,
if they don't have full Internet access.

- participate in the discussion through their local NNTP server,
if the newsgroup is global.

The ability to create local (i.e. non-flooded) newsgroups with global
reach will make the decision to start a new newsgroup much easier.

The Newsgroup-Mailing list reflector will allow individuals who don't
have full Internet access to participate in the discussion, in spite of
the fact that the newsgroup is local.

Once a newsgroup is primarily "Web-oriented", with most reading and
posting done from enhanced Web browsers, features of HTML can be
brought to bear, allowing better indexing, browsing, etc., in the spirit
of hypermail and WIT. Yet the basic structure should allow "ordinary"
newsreaders access as well.

I believe I remember someone from CERN saying that in these days of
world-wide access the NNTP flooding protocol seems a bit arcane;
perhaps this might offer a migration path towards a more appropriate,
Web-oriented, netnews architecture.

-- Udi

Ehud Shapiro
Ubique Ltd.

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