Reading newsgroups used to be part of my life. Here're some tips you may find helpful.
Which group to post to? If you use Google Groups, you may be able to find a group which shows up frequently after a search for your keyword. If you use a news reader program, you may check your .newsrc file at $HOME on UNIX/Linux, and find an appropriate group by its name. But you also want to find a group with high traffic. How do you get the traffic data? Assuming you can access a news server (i.e. not through a Web gateway) and its name is news, type these commands on a UNIX/Linux terminal:
$ telnet news 119 > newsrc.txt list active quit
Here 119 is the NNTP port, list active is an NNTP command listing active newsgroups on the server (if it doesn't work, just try list). After you get the group list file named newsrc.txt here, you can sort the group names for easier lookup (in vi, type :6,$!sort assuming there're 5 lines header).
Although common groups are carried by most news servers, if you can't find a news server to create the newsgroup list, you can use my newsrc.txt created in April 2007 from news.rootshell.be, minus groups whose names begin with de, fr, fido7, pl,..., and groups considered indecent in any way, and groups whose last message number is less than 1000. A list is similarly prepared in June 2014 from news.sdf.org.
Suppose you want to post a message to a gardening group. On UNIX (or emulated UNIX on Windows), type this command to find a group
$ grep garden newsrc.txt | sort -nk 2,2 | tail alt.music.soundgarden 22677 22579 y triangle.gardens 23145 21551 y aus.gardens 27339 23984 y austin.gardening 27533 24292 y alt.binaries.pictures.gardens 79545 77408 y rec.gardens.orchids 85948 73565 y rec.gardens.edible 101493 89502 y rec.gardens.roses 164394 161182 y uk.rec.gardening 270260 214651 y rec.gardens 579437 538776 yYou see rec.gardens is by far the hottest group based on the number of articles in this group. To be technically correct, the first number 579437 is "the number of the last known article currently in that newsgroup", and the second number 538776 is "the number of the first article currently in the newsgroup" (while y means the group allows posting). For our purpose, we can simply refer to the number of articles created in the group thus far as an indicator of how active the group is. (If you need more information on NNTP to understand what those numbers mean, read RFC 977 and its extensions RFC 2980.)
On Windows, unfortunately there's no easy way to sort the result. You can type findstr garden newsrcSupernews.txt to visually check without sorting. Or copy and paste the lines in Excel and sort. Alternatively, unless you already have UNIX emulation software, I suggest you download UnxUtils. Suppose you install it at d:\systools, type
c:\>grep garden newsrcSupernews.txt | d:\systools\sort -nk 2,2 | tailThe fully qualified path to this sort is needed to avoid using c:\windows\system32\sort.exe, which doesn't sort on key positions.
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