This is a guide to setting up a Newsreader.
Newsgroups (Usenet) can also be accessed on a webpage via Google Groups. The advantage of Google Groups is that you can access it anywhere, at an Internet cafe for example. The disadvantage is that busy newsgroups such as ARS are difficult to follow, especially when they have lots of spam. We reccomend you switch to a newsreader if possible.
Outlook Express 6 comes free with Windows XP and has a built in newsreader. Thunderbird, the Mozilla Email program, can also read newsgroups. Seperate newsreaders include Agent, Xnews and Gravity. Mac and Linux users are all geeks, you guys don't need help, right? Since Outlook Express is the one most people already have we'll give details for it, but the principles are the same for all newsreaders.
A good resource page for newsreaders is (of course) www.newsreaders.com
Oh - programs not to get are the 'binary' newsreaders which are specifically designed for downloading music and porn from newsgroups.
You will need access to a newsserver. Most major ISPs have one, a few do not - check with your ISP. If they don't you can access the scientology related newsgroups via lightlink.com. In the instructions below I assume you are doing that, if not simply replace the lightlink address with the one supplied by your ISP.
Please use your ISP newsserver if it is reliable; lightlink access is provided as a free service to the community and should only be used if no alternative exists.
There is one default Option I strongly advise changing. Go to Tools/Options... and select the Read tab. Tick the second box down 'Automatically expand grouped messages'. This will enable you to see all the posts in a thread automatically, not just the first one.
Explore all the options available: Microsoft doesn't always pick the best ones for you :-)
This is the process of blocking posts you are certain you don't want to read. For example you could block all posts by George Bush or all posts with 'Iraq' in the Subject line. The Outlook Express killfile system can be found under Tools/Message Rules/News...
The dialog box is not difficult to understand, but let's do a trial run.
Now you have to decide what to do with the blocked posts, which is done in the middle box. You could Delete them from your computer or you could 'Mark as Read'. If you choose the latter, go to View/Current View and select 'Hide Read Messages'. Now all the posts you have already read or have marked as read will not be visible in the list of posts.