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Registration for our news service is only possible through our website https://news.individual.net/ ("Registration"). Please read all given information thoroughly, since you will enter a legally binding contract by signing up for our service.
That depends on the payment option you have chosen:
1. Payment through PayPal
Your account will be activated as soon as we receive the acknowledgement of your payment from PayPal. Normally, this happens instantly (real-time).
2. Payment by bank transfer to bank account of Freie Universitaet Berlin
Your account will be activated as soon as your payment is booked to our bank account and recorded in our user administration system. You will receive an e-mail from us. Please note:
Of course, we try to activate your account as soon as possible, but we ask for your understanding that the time required may vary highly due to the afore mentioned reasons. If you need instant activation, please choose payment through PayPal as your payment option instead.
No. If you encounter such effects, it is usually due to bottlenecks between your provider and the German Research Network (Deutsches Forschungsnetz, DFN).
If you suspect your ISP of degrading your connections on purpose ("traffic shaping"), please try the configuration changes suggested in #1.13 of our FAQ.
And it would be helpful if you could e-mail us ("email@example.com") the output of the program "traceroute" (Microsoft: "tracert") as described in #2.3 of our FAQ (#2.3 is mainly intended to track down firewall problems, but the tests are also useful for identifying other network and connection problems).
Yes you may open several threads at the same time. We ask you to limit this to 4 simultaneous connections and set the connect interval to a value greater than 5 minutes so that there is no interference with other users.
Depending on the newsgroup in question, our supply is ensured by more than 200 peers so that it is extremely unlikely that an article does not arrive on the server. We use a program called "cleanfeed" however which functions as a filter against spam and binaries in discussion groups. Every article that arrives is examined by the program and removed from the server if necessary.
There can also be differences if the server compared with does not execute any Cancels or Supersedes at all. A Cancel messages demands the removal of an article from a server, a Supersedes message demands the overwriting of an article. If a server does not execute these messages, or has a diversified processing system, the article pools will differ. Details on how our server handles Cancels and Supersedes can be found in our FAQ at #1.12.
While storing your account details in your news reader configuration is convenient, it does present a certain risk of other people gaining access to these details and posting articles in your name via our server. This is why we suggest to only store your password on a computer if you are the only person using that machine. You should never leave your password on a public computer, e.g. at an Internet café.
Important note: If you suspect that your password is no longer secret and your account could be subject to misuse by other people, send us an e-mail at "firstname.lastname@example.org" and we will generate you a new one.
Alternatively, you can log in to the "My Account" area on our website and generate a new password there: https://news.individual.net/selfcare.php
That is a great offer! We might like to accept it if some conditions are met:
The software of the server News.Individual.NET is modified so that certain header lines are submitted to additional examination. This includes the "Path:" line.
Basically the header is always regenerated by the server - even if the article was already supplied with a "Path:" line (and independently of what was transmitted by the client for this entry). There are two exceptions:
These are the official path entries of our feeder and reader servers. If one of these entries is in the path, then the article is rejected by our server. This makes sense, since such an entry means that the article must already be present on our server. This is meant mainly as protection against reposting of articles.
It occurs again and again that people install scripts, which cut the Message-ID from articles and feed them to the news server again afterwards. This is very ugly, because it inevitably leads to "dupes" - i.e. the article exists twice.
In most cases however these scripts leave the path headers untouched, so that with an examination of our own path entries we can prevent at least that users download articles from us and post them again via our server afterwards.
As stated above, our server does not normally permit a path header to be supplied by the user, instead it generates a new one every time. In a few cases however, it would make sense to use the information supplied by the user - e.g. with cancels of accepted Despammers or when the articles are gated from another network.
We have therefore got the possibility to activate delivery of articles with a path entry per user - the default is "NO". If you can justify it well (!), we can activate this feature for you - send your e-mail to "email@example.com".
It is normally not possible for users of News.Individual.NET to send control messages concerning the group management (*) via this server.
(*) newgroup, rmgroup or checkgroups messages
Since we do get asked by entitled persons from time to time (e.g. hierarchy moderators), we have built it into our user management to activate the sending of control messages per user - the default is "NO".
If you can justify it well (!), we can activate this feature for you
Users of our server are normally not allowed to post directly to moderated groups because we reject postings which contain an "Approved" header. However, permission can be granted per user.
If you can justify it well, we can activate this feature for you - just send an e-mail to "firstname.lastname@example.org".
If possible, include an URL or Message-ID to prove that you are indeed the moderator of x.y. Mentioning your User-ID would help us too.
In general, our server does not execute Cancels and Supersedes. An article stored on our server can neither be deleted by a Cancel nor be overwritten by a Supersedes which means that an article deleted by a Cancel elsewhere is still available on our server (article is not deleted) and an article overwritten by a Supersedes elsewhere is available on our server in more than one instance (different versions of the article are not replaced).
But our server does honor the article headers "Cancel-Lock:" and "Cancel-Key:" that create a verifiable connection between an article and a corresponding Cancel/Supersedes. As an added bonus, this system does not allow profiling like e.g. PGP signatures do. Users that add Cancel-Lock to their articles and Cancel-Key to their Cancels/Supersedes can still delete and replace articles on our server. For our own users, our server automatically creates Cancel-Lock at posting time; a Cancel-Lock already present at posting time (added by the user himself) will be extended according to the technical specifications of the system. Analogously, Cancels and Supersedes through our server will automatically get the corresponding Cancel-Key after verification and will be executed.
Furthermore, we maintain a whitelist of senders that contains well-known Despammers ("professional" Spam Cancellers) so that we can honor their desirable Spam Cancels and NoCeM Notices as well as senders of periodic Usenet postings like FAQs so that they can overwrite older versions of their texts by Supersedes.
Yes. If your provider blocks the standard NNTP port (119), or if he
degrades connections on this port, please change the port setting in
your newsreading software to port "8119" (the server's name stays
"News.Individual.NET"). If you need port 80 (the standard HTTP port)
for reading news, please use "Port80.Individual.NET" as server name
and "80" as the port number.
There is also the option to access the server through NNTPS / NNTP over SSL. The server name is "News.Individual.NET" and the port number is "563" (the standard NNTPS port).
Yes, SSL encryption (NNTPS / NNTP over SSL) is available (optional) and covers the entire connection, not only the authentication phase.
Please change the port setting in your newsreading software to port "563" (the standard NNTPS port), the server name remains unchanged ("News.Individual.NET"). Please refer to your software's manual if there is anything else you need to change in order to use SSL encrypted connections.
Send your questions to "email@example.com".
Please describe your problem as exactly as possible, and include all relevant information that is at your disposal on your system.
You will make it easier for us, if you tell us your User ID. See section 4 (User Data) on where to find your User ID. If you are having trouble with the connection as such, try to follow the instructions in 2.3 and tell us the results (i.e. error messages, etc.).
That is possible in individual cases of course - almost always
however this is due to technical problems somewhere on the way
from you to us that are fixed after a short time. Please wait a
little before you write to us because of such an error and check
again later whether the problem still occurs. If so, please describe
it as detailed as possible in your e-mail.
Foreseeable and planned interruptions of the service are posted to the newsgroup alt.usenet.news-server-comparison. The subject of such postings starts with "[Individual]".
In almost all cases this is because your computer is protected from the internet by a so-called firewall. This can be a firewall run by your organization (university, company, ...) but also a program installed on your personal computer (sometimes called a "desktop" or "personal" firewall). Firewalls are often configured to let you use e-mail and WWW services transparently but to block NNTP (News). You can try to check this by yourself using the programs "traceroute" (Microsoft: "tracert") and "telnet":
a) Command "traceroute news.individual.net" Unix and Linux users can type this command directly in a shell. MS Windows users need to click on the start menu (on the bottom left hand of your screen) and select "Run". This opens a window in which you can type commands as above.
b) Command "telnet news.individual.net 119"
[Note: The "119" is important!]
This command can be executed as described above. If you are using Windows, please make sure that there is a check mark at "[x] Local Echo" in the telnet window in menu "Terminal" -> "Preferences".
The "traceroute" command runs without further user interaction; with
"telnet 119" you will need to supply some input.
After you connect to our system, type the following commands
'authinfo simple USERNAME PASSWORD'
(everything without the quotes)
Replace "USERNAME" with your username for our service and "PASSWORD" with your password for our service.
The output will look about like this (only the last lines are shown):
Tracing route to news.individual.net [184.108.40.206] over a maximum of 30 hops: ... ... 7 106 ms 105 ms 109 ms usa.zedat.fu-berlin.de [220.127.116.11] 8 111 ms 110 ms 111 ms news.individual.net [18.104.22.168] Trace complete.
200 The server welcomes test.fu-berlin.de (22.214.171.124). Authorization required for reading and posting. authinfo simple yourusername ######## 281 Authorization accepted. (UID=1234567) quit 205 .
a) and b) do not work
This looks like a problem with your internet connection - either directly on your computer, at the gateway between your company's local network (intranet) and the internet, or with your provider. Please contact your local network administrator.
a) works, but b) doesn't
This is a pretty sure sign that news data is filtered out on the way - which suggests that your company's firewall is in action. Please contact the firewall administrator and ask him/her to configure the firewall so that it lets you use external news servers.
a) and b) work
If b) works, this means that you can principally contact the news server. If your news client fails to do so, this suggests that there is an error in the configuration of that client. Please double-check your client's configuration using our support pages at: http://news.individual.net/config.php
Note: The NNTP command "authinfo simple" that is mentioned above is not a standard command and may not work with other news servers.
We set a daily posting limit in our version of the news reader daemon "nnrpd". This means that users can only post up to n articles per day ("n" is set to 100 at the moment). If you try to post more articles, you get the following error message:
"Daily posting limit (n articles) exceeded."
This measure is meant to prevent (or at least limit the effect of) spamming via our server. It is NOT meant to restrict the amount of regular articles you may post, so if you feel you are posting a lot, or you have come up against this error message in the past, just drop us a note (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we'll increase your daily posting limit.
There is a program called "cleanfeed" running on our server.
It checks postings for spam, binaries, etc. and rejects the posting if necessary. We have activated the option "block_html" which means that if you try to post an HTML article, it will block it and give out the error message "HTML post".
Please configure your news reader to post in text (ascii) mode and not in HTML mode. Then you will have no problems posting via our server.
The above-mentioned check applies only to articles posted via our server. Postings that we get through peerings with other news servers are not checked. The hierarchies alt.*, microsoft.* and netscape.* are not submitted to the HTML-check at the moment.
The exact wording of that message is:
'You are not allowed to use "Approved" header'
Users of our server are normally not allowed to post directly to moderated groups because we reject postings which contain an "Approved" header. However, permission can be granted per user.
If you can justify it well, we can activate this feature for you - just send a e-mail to "email@example.com".
Usually we'll activate that feature only for moderators, so be sure to tell us about being a moderator in your e-mail. If possible, include an URL or Message-ID to prove that you are indeed the moderator of x.y. Mentioning your User ID would help us too.
There is a program called "cleanfeed" running on our server.
It checks postings for spam, binaries, etc. and rejects the posting if necessary. A typical characteristic of spam is a large number of very similar articles. cleanfeed tries to identify and block such articles.
If your posting is rejected with the "EMP" (Excessive Multi-Posting) message, this happens because identical (or very similar) articles have been posted - by you or other users - within a certain time span.
This can happen if your internet provider uses dynamic IP numbers and has given you the same IP number that another customer has just used while posting via our server. It can also happen with postings that have the same content by coincidence (such as test postings). One or more of these reasons can be applicable in your specific case.
In most cases a small modification of your posting will solve the problem - you might need to change the subject.
The exact error message is "441 Line n too long" with "n" indicating the line number of your entire posting (including the header) that violates the Internet standard's length restriction. The problem will most likely be the "References" line which happens with some news readers when you reply to a posting that already refers back to numerous previous articles.
You will either have to switch to a news reader that observes the standards or edit the line that causes the problem manually.
This error message is supposed to be self-explanatory. The exact wording is "411 437 YOUR SYSTEM DATE IS WRONG! Too old -- DATE" with "DATE" being the date that your news reader specified as the creation date for the article. If this date lies further back than seven days, the article is rejected.
Please check the system time on your computer and adjust it.
Your account has been blocked. There can be several reasons for this, but it is probably due to a policy violation (see: http://news.individual.net/rules.php). Payment problems may also lead to account suspension. You can contact us via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) about this. It helps if you can give us your User ID for our service and/or the e-mail address you used to register with us.
You have probably posted to a so-called "moderated" group.
You can identify a moderated group by its group description ending in "(Moderated)". Please see the documentation of your news reader on how to view a newsgroup's description. You can also consult the list of newsgroups via ftp://ftp.fu-berlin.de/doc/news/fu-berlin/newsgroups
Postings to moderated groups are not published on the news server directly but sent to the newsgroup's moderator by e-mail. The moderator manually checks every article and decides whether to publish it or not. Depending on the moderator this may take from a couple of minutes up to several days.
If your posting does not show up at all, but postings that were obviously sent in later do show up, this may be the result of an invalid e-mail address in your From: header.
Many moderators use scripts and programs to make life easier for themselves. This includes checking with the mail server that the article originated from to see if the From: address is valid. If not, the posting is rejected and not even forwarded for the moderator to look at.
Please use a valid e-mail address as recommended in our policy.
You may only cancel articles written by you and posted through our server. If you receive the above message, you have tried to cancel an article not written by you or not posted through our server. In the latter case, please cancel the article in question using the server through which you have posted it.
You have tried to cancel an article posted under a different User ID than yours. You may only cancel articles posted under your own User ID.
Connecting to our news server in an undue high frequency (many connections in a short period of time) activates automatic blocking mechanisms for the corresponding IP address. Please configure your news software in accordance with the values we've laid down in #1.4 of our FAQ.
If your software is configured in accordance with our FAQ, but you're still getting this error message, please contact us by e-mail at "email@example.com". Please mention your account name, date and time of the error message, the IP address displayed in the error message, and your news software.
This message indicates that you (or your software) sent too many invalid NNTP commands to our server. This includes syntax and typing errors, non-NNTP commands and commands that require special authorization.
Please note: Until you are authenticated successfully, all NNTP commands (with the exception of "help" and "list") are considered invalid . This includes syntactically correct commands and commands for which you would be authorized after authenticating.
So if you receive the above message, make sure that you are authenticated successfully first. If the problem persists even after successful authentification, please contact us by e-mail at "firstname.lastname@example.org". Please mention your account name, date and time of the error message, and the news software you're using.
This error message is generated by the server News.CIS.DFN.DE if you are no member of the DFNNetNews project (DNN). Since February 16th, 2004, access to News.CIS.DFN.DE is for DNN members only.
Please check your configuration and enter "News.Individual.NET" (or "News.Individual.DE") as server name.
But please note that since April 1st, 2005, use of News.Individual.NET (and News.Individual.DE) is not free of charge anymore. You need a paid account to access the server. The fee is 10 EUR per year. Please visit our website http://news.individual.net/ for registration.
You may only supersede articles written by you and posted through our server. If you receive the above message, you have tried to supersede an article not written by you or not posted through our server. In the latter case, please supersede the article in question using the server through which you have posted it.
You have tried to supersede an article posted under a different User ID than yours. You may only supersede articles posted under your own User ID.
As announced via e-mail, news(*) and WWW(**) on February 15th, 2005,
use of News.Individual.NET is not free of charge anymore effective from
April 1st, 2005. The news service continues as a fee-based service. The
fee is 10 EUR per year.
(*) Message-ID: <2005-02-15.Commercial-EN@fu-berlin.de>
The error message "Subscription expired" means that your account is
not paid at present. This could be the case if you have never paid for
your account, but could also be the case if you paid for your account,
but the period you paid for is over. To pay for your existing account
for News.Individual.NET or to sign up for a new account, please go to:
If you receive the error message "Subscription expired" although your account should be paid at present, please contact us by e-mail at "email@example.com". But please make sure to check #1.2 of our FAQ before doing so.
The news server offers discussion groups that were created in accordance with the conventions in the corresponding hierarchy. The news server does not offer binary groups and some alt.* sub-hierarchies.
You can check http://news.individual.net/hierarchies.php to see which hierarchies we offer.
Advanced users interested in active or newsgroups files can download these from ftp://ftp.fu-berlin.de/doc/news/fu-berlin/active and ftp://ftp.fu-berlin.de/doc/news/fu-berlin/newsgroups - the ftp server is updated once a day.
Depending on the hierarchy, articles are available between 40 and 200 days. Check our list of available hierarchies at http://news.individual.net/hierarchies.php for detailed information.
We can configure this time span per hierarchy but not for individual groups.
Servers that reach 60,000 to 80,000 newsgroups are normally not very well maintained. These are servers that offer every newsgroup that has ever had an article posted to it - even if this "new" group was only the result of a typo. These servers usually do not delete defunct newsgroups so that you have old groups existing next to the new ones after renaming or splitting up of newsgroups.
We try to offer a well maintained server. We only add groups that were created according to the usual conventions in the hierarchy and properly announced. Obsolete groups are deleted when we get the according administrative notice. This means that the group lists within the hierarchies are consistent, and there are no no "illegal" or defunct groups.
This procedure gives us more work than just to offer "everything" and doesn't let us reach the above-mentioned numbers, but a well maintained server is of much greater value to our users.
Please contact "firstname.lastname@example.org" by e-mail.
The hierarchies offered (except for alt.* and free.*) are complete with the exception of binary groups. Please make sure that your news reader has the latest list of newsgroups before contacting us (i.e. synchronize your group list with our server first).
Since alt.* and free.* have a lot of groups that are not read anymore,
most alt.* and free.* groups are only added on user request. Among
others, we do not add groups from the following sub-hierarchies:
alt.binaries, alt.mag, alt.sex, free.*binar*, and any other groups with binary content.
That is possible but depends on the hierarchy in question. Since the addition of a new hierarchy gives us a lot more work than the addition of groups in an existing hierarchy, it can take some time until such a new hierarchy is steadily available. It speeds up the process if you can give us the following information together with your request:
No, it is not that easy. There are certain rules in de.* (as in many other hierarchies) that regulate the creation of new groups. Check the following newsgroups for regular posts on the subject:
These are examples for the rules in de.*. You should always make sure to follow the guidelines of the hierarchy in question. For general guidelines on newsgroup creation see:
The newsgroup de.alt.0d is offered with flag "n" (i.e. read-only) on our server. Since all postings to de.alt.0d are canceled automatically anyway, this does not really make a difference. We configured this group in such a way to dodge queries from inexperienced users asking why their posting has disappeared or why someone else has canceled it.
Since this group is marked as "read-only", our software doesn't allow you to set a Followup-To to it. In the case of de.alt.0d this is a positive side-effect since followups to this group can only be meant to play a joke on inexperienced users. According to our netiquette this is not necessarily decent behavior, especially since there are more suitable groups for actual or apparent nonsense (such as de.alt.dummschwatz oder de.alt.gruppenkasper).
The same goes for alt.dev.null. In this group, postings are not auto-canceled, but they are sent to the moderator address "/dev/null" - that's the trash can of Unix systems. Inexperienced users are usually not aware of the implications.
Distribution of news between major servers is done through the exchange of complete (sub-) hierarchies. The configuration possibilities in question do not reach down to single newsgroups. All our peers have the following entry in their subscription list for us: alt.*,!alt.binaries.* (meaning: send all articles that were posted in alt.* but none that were posted in alt.binaries.*). To offer a single group alt.binaries.something we would have to e-mail to all administrators of all our peers (we have between 200 and 300!) and ask them to change the subscription list.
That is an effort we cannot make, especially since the newsgroup in question is obviously classified at the wrong place - which undermines the idea of the alt.binaries.* sub-hierarchy.
Flame-groups are meant to direct flame wars away from other groups so that people can vent their anger at an appropriate place. One flame-group per hierarchy (normally "hierarchy.flame") is enough for that purpose, so we don't offer any sub-groups.
We put together a list of groups that really do still have a gateway between Usenet and FIDO Net in cooperation with the German FIDO Net. The groups you are missing are probably not on that list.
For more information see: ftp://ftp.fu-berlin.de/doc/news/fido.ger/
There are network administrators that do not care much about what the FIDO Net wants and that offer groups on their servers that don't even have a gateway anymore. Obviously you will only find articles from Usenet in these groups and none from FIDO Net.
clari.* is a commercial service of ClariNet that is to be distributed only to paying customers.
The newsgroup "control.cancel" is a pseudo-newsgroup in which the news system stores Cancel messages. The group is automatically removed from view when displaying the list of groups and group descriptions, but it can be entered and retrieved like any other group.
It is possible to change the server's behavior on a per-user basis and include "control.cancel" when listing groups and group descriptions. If you would like to have this feature enabled for your account, please send an e-mail to "email@example.com".
Our users' data is not passed on to anyone - neither as a whole
nor in individual cases. The only exception to this is if data should
need to be given to law enforcement authorities because of a court
We do not use user data for advertising purposes, surveys or the like. We do not compile any statistics at the moment. Should we ever do, we will use anonymized data.
Please do not re-register.
Go to https://news.individual.net/selfcare/remail.php (also reachable by choosing "My Account" from the menu on our website) where you will find an interface for automatic retrieval of your account details.
If you cannot retrieve your account details through this interface,
please write an e-mail to "firstname.lastname@example.org" instead, and ask us
to resend your account data. The information will be e-mailed to you
either at the address you registered with, or - where applicable -
at the latest address you told us as your current (see #4.7 of our
We ask for your understanding that we will - in your own interest - not send account data to differing e-mail addresses if we cannot verify that they are related to the account in question.
There are two options:
Type all commands without the quotes - the quotes are only used for clarification here.
Sure. The FQDN is a combination of the string "ID-", your User ID,
and the subdomain "user.individual.net":
"MYUSERID" is your personal User ID with us. For example: If your
User ID is "1234567", your FQDN is "ID-1234567.user.individual.net".
Please note: All subdomains stated in earlier versions of this FAQ (e.g. "user.uni-berlin.de") will stay valid and may still be used for FQDNs.
Yes, but only to generate the Message-ID.
If you want to change your password, please log in to the "My Account" area on our website:
Please note that you cannot choose the new password, it is generated automatically. Your username cannot be changed in that interface.
Please make sure that we always have an up-to-date and valid e-mail
address under which we can contact you.
You don't need to use that e-mail address for posting. The address is
primarily needed for sending account data (please see #4.2 of our
FAQ for more information) or payment information, and for contacting you
in case of requests or problems.
So if your e-mail address changes, please log in to the "My Account" area on our website and adjust the address: https://news.individual.net/selfcare.php
Please make a payment by logging in to the "My Account" area on our website and clicking on the respective payment button: https://news.individual.net/selfcare.php
You will receive e-mail reminders from us early enough before expiration of your account. This reminder is another reason why we should always have an up-to-date and valid e-mail under which we can contact you.
If you did not receive any reminders from us, please contact us by e-mail: email@example.com
Cancellation is not necessary: At the end of your current subscription period, simply do not pay for the subsequent period. It is also not necessary to notify us about it.
You can switch freely between all methods of payment we offer without needing to send us a notification. Simply make your next payment with the method of payment you like.
We would regret to see such behavior because it naturally endangers
If we notice policy violation or get complaints about it, we block the account concerned - in most cases without further inquiry or information of the user.
We recommend creating a special e-mail address for use with Usenet articles only and protecting it with suitable filtering rules. This way your regular mailbox will stay untroubled, but you can still receive e-mail responses to your Usenet articles.
Another option is using the Top Level Domain ".invalid" (see RFC 2606). The Top Level Domain ".invalid" is intended for construction of obviously invalid addresses like "firstname.lastname@example.org". Such addresses do not disturb and pollute regular name space and can easily be identified as invalid by both humans and machines.
That depends on the type of offense:
What should an abuse report look like so that it can be dealt with most efficiently?
Messages downloaded from this server may not be redistributed to
third parties (i.e. you may not set up things like a news server,
proxy or gateway using your account). Both the distribution to
family members and passing on single articles are excluded from
this restriction. Any other exceptions need explicit and prior
approval by us.
If the account is abused by anyone who uses it, we will shut down the account in question entirely because it is technically impossible for us to distinguish clearly between the different users.
Please make sure that your server is not open world-wide or for an indefinite number of people. There have been several cases already in which substantial abuse (rogue cancel, spam) was committed via the account of a notionless user despite dynamic IP-address and relatively short on-line times.
No. If you want to offer such a service and realize it using a local news server, you can contact us for a peering.
Our service is fee-based since April 1st, 2005. It is unfortunately
no longer possible to offer it for free.
Details - especially on reasons and background - can be found in our public announcements from early 2005: http://news.individual.net/commercial.php
The server is operated by the Computer Center (ZEDAT) of Freie
You can find details on our news server's hard- and software at http://news.individual.net/server.php.