[ Contents | Chapter 6 ]


Chapter 5: Let's Post!

There has been some discussion about what constitutes a valid UseNet article. Most of the Internet's ways of doing things are discussed in documents called "Request for Comments" (RFC) wherein the final versions outline how the Internet is to perform. The document which discusses UseNet article format is found in RFC-1036. The bulk of the discussion centers around how to deal with "optional" header fields. One can assume that NX knows how to handle all the relevant fields and will not get confused regarding other fields that newsreaders may add. For example, a header field labeled "PGP-Key" isn't specified in RFC-1036. A newsreader might be written to automatically grab that key from a header and save it to a key-file or insert your own into a header template field. NX doesn't have this feature but will not behave badly if this data is present. However, if a header field is discussed in RFC-1036, but identified as "optional", then NX has no choice but to deal with the intended purpose of the field. Because NX is still considered "beta", it's still undecided how well NX conforms to RFC-1036.

There are four methods of distributing your articles: Post, Follow-up, Mail/Forward, and Reply. Posts are original articles sent to the specified newsgroup(s). Follow-up is for sending a response regarding an article back to the newsgroup currently being read. Mail sends an original message by e-mail while Forward sends a copy of the article currently being read to another by e-mail. Reply is for sending a response by e-mail to the author of the article currently being read.

News Xpress has a confusing method of sending articles and e-mails to more than one newsgroup and/or personal e-mail address. Specifying multiple destinations is not consistent and there are various ways of accomplishing the same task; some manually, some automatically.

Specifically, to post or follow-up to an article in multiple newsgroups, each newsgroup is separated by just a comma. Press {CC-by-Mail} to additionally send a copy of the follow-up to the poster of the current article. To send a reply to an article, by e-mail, to more than one destination, first add the CC: header in the [Mail headers template:], then in the CC: field of the reply, separate each address by a single space. NX does not have the capability to e-mail a message to multiple recipients by reading a file of e-mail addresses. To e-mail to more than one recipient, you must manually enter each and every address separated by a single space. It is not known how many addresses the To: field can hold, nor if all addresses will be processed. The proper way to send e-mails to multiple addresses is to include in the [Mail headers template:] the header field CC: and, if necessary, BCC:. After the single address in To:, enter as many addresses as desired in CC: and BCC: separated by a single space.


Regardless of whether or not you have subscribed to a particular newsgroup, even if it's not in your newsrc file, you may post an article to any newsgroup currently subscribed to by your provider. All you need to know is its name.

In the Post editing window, NX has fields for all header fields specified on the Headers page (found under Config, Preferences). Some headers in the template are already understood by NX and will be filled-in automatically when the Post and Follow-up editing windows are opened.

{Copy-self} and {CC-by-mail} let you override the setting for the current edit session. The buttons are active according to Config, Preferences, Compose, but can be toggled on a per post basis. Apparently, CC-by-mail is not available when posting an original article to a newsgroup.


Follow-up sends your response to those newsgroup(s) designated in the newsgroups: field. NX automatically enters into that field the newsgroup of the article you are currently reading. However, if the article has a Followup-To: line in the header, it is the newsgroup(s) found here and not the newsgroup(s) found in the newsgroup: line that will be automatically entered in the newsgroups: field of your follow-up.

When responding to an article, any number of lines from the original are carried over to your follow-up article. Good netiquette would have you include only the relevant parts of the original article and then only enough to establish the topic to which you are adding your own comments.

All of the fields that appear when you write an original article also appear in the follow-up window. There are a few additional considerations, however. If the original article has been crossposted to several other newsgroups, the newsgroups: field will include all such listed newsgroups. Unless you want your follow-up to be crossposted as well, you must manually remove the unwanted newsgroups from the list. If {CC-by-mail} is pressed, a copy of your follow-up will be sent to the author of the article to which you are responding.

If you were to put a To: field in the "Post Headers Template" it would be filled in automatically with the address of the original article's author. Even though you were to then clear this field, NX will still send a copy to that address. This is something to watch out for. A better method of choosing whether copies of your response will be automatically sent to the author of the original post is to use {CC-by-mail}.

Q. To follow-up and edit a long article, NX doesn't display the whole article body.
A. Check Config, Preferences, Compose, [Reply/Follow-up], "Max Include Lines" field. Only that number of lines will be carried over into the message editing window.

Q. With the default settings of word wrap at 72 char., the result is very erratic line lengths in the quoted text. Is there any way to automatically word wrap properly?
A. Alas, no. There's hope that future versions will have better "quoting." At present, NX will prepend each line of text with the character specified in Preferences, then wrap each line at the right margin. This results in long lines and very short lines. Actually, there exists a DOS program which has sophisticated "EZ-Quote" technology. Unfortunately, NX does not permit the use of an external editor for message editing.


Reply is essentially the same as Follow-up but instead sends your response by e-mail to those designated in the To: field. NX automatically enters into that field the address of the author of the article you are currently reading. However, if the article has a Reply-To: line in the header, it is the address found here and not the address found in the From: line that will be automatically entered in the To: field of your reply.


You must not have an article open in order to send an e-mail message. If one is open, NX assumes you wish to forward that article to someone.

Q. Does NX handle 'mail response' and 'mail forward' confirmations of delivery? Can you detect any bounced mail?
A. That's not the job of a newsreader. Provided your e-mail address in Setup is correct, when you next collect your e-mail you'll receive notification of any bounced messages from the mail handler; your mail handler if the domain is unknown or the receiver's mail handler if the recipient's name is unknown. Confirmations of delivery are issued by the receiver's e-mail application - sometimes automatically, most often not at all. According to RFC-822, the standard for e-mail message format, there is no header field which would automatically trigger the receiver's e-mail application to generate a confirmation of delivery. However, that doesn't prevent a header line from being created for this purpose. If, for example, you were to put X-Confirm: in your Mail Headers template (you will find that is automatically filled in) and sent a reply, then the recipient's e-mail application would automatically bouce back a canned message notifying you that the message was received provided that the e-mail application has that feature installed. However, most modern e-mail applications have filtering and auto-reply capabilities which operate independent of any line found in the header.

Holding vs. Sending

For most of your articles and e-mail composed while online, as soon as they are written they are sent on their way. On the other hand, you may have retrieved articles to a holding folder for later processing and so you need a folder to hold any responses as well. Perhaps some research is necessary for a complicated article or reply, your online time is metered, or while technical problems prevent posting (eg. your host's server got munged). For whatever reason, the Outbox is where deferred posts are stored. This is not the place to archive personal postings.

While offline, select Folder, Outbox. The Outbox window is split into two parts: the subject field, and the newsgroup(s) field (which was automatically filled in if a newsgroup was highlighted) or e-mail recipient(s). Now press {Post} or {Mail/Forward}. The appropriate editing window will allow you to create an article or e-mail. When finished, close the editing window and NX will ask, "Save Changes?" Click {Yes} to put this article or e-mail into the Outbox. When NX next connects to the server, the contents of the Outbox will be sent automatically and the file OUTBOX.MBX will be deleted. If the Outbox window is open when NX connects, the contents are not sent automatically. Highlight the article(s) you want uploaded then press {Send}. Only until all articles are sent will the file outbox.mbx be deleted.

Q. An article was sent out but a copy wasn't saved.
A. Select Group, Check New Articles (ALT+N). NX should add the recently sent article to the list in the Article Headers window. Highlight it, then transfer it to the Copy-Self folder (available only through the drag-n-drop method), any other folder via Transfer, or press {Save} to save it to disk under a unique filename. This will not work for e-mail. Select Config, Preferences, [Compose], and check "Copy-self".

Q. How does Article, Cancel Post work?
A. NX sends a request to the server to cancel the post. Hopefully, the server hasn't released it to the newsgroup. If it has, the message spreads faster than the Cancel message could ever hope to overtake it. Eventually though, the Cancel message will propogate and it is left up to the multitude of newsgroup servers to deal with it if they are set up to do so.


Because of the limit to the size of an article that can be edited, be careful to observe the likelihood that including long files may get truncated to about 700 lines. Use the "attach" command to send a big text file along with the lead article.

To attach files to your post or e-mail, you can click on the Attatchment field to bring up the Attachment dialog box. Selecting what kind of encoding is not automatic. For basic ASCII text, make sure not to encode the file (select "none" in the encoding field). Encoding actually makes the result larger than the original. So far, the only built-in encoding is UUEncoding, a technique to make binary files manageable that would otherwise get munged in the travels from machine to machine.

CC: by e-Mail

When {CC by e-Mail} is depressed, a copy of an article's follow-up is automatically sent to the author of that article. NX uses the address(es) found in the From: header line or, if present, the Reply-To: header line.

From an earlier discussion, it was mentioned that CC-by-mail is disabled for original newsgroup articles. One way around this is to add CC: to the Post Headers template. However, this causes more problems that it cures. If CC: or To: is in the template when making a follow-up, a copy is sent to the author of the original post regardless what other measures are taken to prevent it.

A better way to send a copy of an original newsgroup article to someone via e-mail, even though it takes a few more steps, is to close the editing window (which stores the article in the Outbox), then from the Outbox, {Forward} the article to anyone and everyone desired.

Copy to Self

When {Copy-Self} is depressed, a copy of all articles and e-mails are placed in the Copy-self folder. (You may wish to occasionally prune the contents of this folder as articles go out of date.)


Again, there seems to be an inconsistancy in the posting to multiple newsgroups. In the Newsgroup field, separate the newsgroup names with just a comma. Don't use a space or a comma-space pair.


news.software.readers, alt.usenet.offline-reader

news.software.readers alt.usenet.offline-reader



This also works; highlight the desired newsgroups and press {Post} or {Follow-up}. NX will fill in the newsgroups field automatically.


[ Contents | Chapter 6 ]

Most recent revision: March 31, 1997
Copyright © 1997 , Brian H. Smither.
All Rights Reserved.
E-MAIL: Brian Smither