The newsgroup uk.rec.scouting is the most popular newsgroup and the main online discussion forum for UK based Scout Leaders. It is also used by older Scouts. If you want to get a quick look follow these instructions.
Before you find out more about newsgroups it is important to know that these are public parts of Internet. Think of the newsgroups as being locations in a big modern city. Some newsgroups are friendly places like your favourite city-centre cafe but other newsgroups can contain upsetting and disturbing material.
Even the friendly and pleasant newsgroups are open to anyone and occasionally get unwanted material added. It is recommended that reading newsgroups is done with the support of a responsible adult.
There are several Scouting newsgroups, many of them are country specific. The ones of most interest to UK Scouts are described here.
Mainly UK based Scout leaders talk about programme ideas, activities, equipment, camping, big Scouting events, moral issues relating to scouting, problems encountered. Generally anything that would be discussed by leaders after a Scout meeting in the local cafe over a cup of tea and a digestive biscuit.
A discussion group for the uk.rec.scouting discussion group is the UKRSA Archive at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/UKRSArchive/ (registration necessary).
Always read the FAQ for this group which is posted regularly on the uk.rec.scouting newsgroup. Look out also for the posting of the uk.rec.scouting Abbreviations and Acronyms Guide. These are currently (March 2006) not available on the world wide web.
These are the international (mainly USA?) English language discussion forums about Scouting.
The list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for these groups can be found at http://www.faqs.org/faqs/scouting/
The rec.scouting area is broken down into subgroups. These are as follows:
If you put your email address into a news posting then you will probably gets lots of unwanted (spam) emails from automatic computer systems. There are standard ways of writing your email address so a human can work out how to reply to you, but a computer couldn't guess your exact email address.
See Address Munging FAQ: "Spam-Blocking" Your Email Address
More information on spam and other email abuse can be found at The Email Abuse FAQ
There are conventions on how to be polite and how to post to newsgroups in a friendly and considerate way. Read the "Netiquette Guidelines"and read any newsgroup specific FAQs or guidelines. It is generally advised to spend some time (e.g a couple of months) just reading (or 'lurking') before posting so that you are familiar with what has recently been discussed.
Postings you make to any of the common newsgroups get saved by various computer systems around the world including Google. If you say something in a posting you later regret it will be preserved and be publicly available for the foreseeable future. (Postings to newsgroups made in 1993 by this author can still be found and read.)
Newsgroups are part of what is known as Usenet, a very old (on an Internet scale) system for holding discussions on line. This kind of system is also known as a bulletin board, but unlike other bulletin boards Usenet is globally distributed with no centralized control. Try the following link for a more detailed description from the UK Usenet Committee.
Useful Information about Usenet - especially within the UK
More information about Usenet can be found at Wikipedia.