15 April 2017

Advertising and selling on netnews

This article is based on material authored by members of the news.newusers.questions Moderation Board and nnq-workers mailing list.

Most newsgroups don’t allow any kind of buying and selling.

For general sales, you may want the newsgroup misc.forsale.non-computer or a group that ends in .forsale or .marketplace.

If you want to find a place to advertise or sell items that are more specific, you should not post them to any and every newsgroup available to you. Many newsgroup hierarchies have separate groups for buying, selling and advertising. Newsgroups may have special restrictions as to what types of ads can be posted to the group, and how often they can be posted there.

Your best bet is to ask, in a suitable newsgroup, whether advertisements are permitted in that group and where ads or sales posts could be posted instead. If you’re polite, the readers will be more than happy to help you!

14 April 2017

Finding an offline newsreader

This article is based on material authored by members of the news.newusers.questions Moderation Board and nnq-workers mailing list.

Mozilla Seamonkey can be used offline but lacks the more powerful features normally found in a stand-alone newsreader. If you do decide to use it, please configure it not to post HTML or attach Vcards to newsgroups postings. In case you’re interested in finding a better newsreader, here are some suggestions:

macOS: MacSOUP

A good offline newsreader for the Mac is MacSOUP. It’s shareware: you can try it for free, but if you decide to keep it, you should pay for it.

Windows: Forté Agent

Agent is one of the best offline newsreaders available for Windows. (Free Agent has been discontinued.)

For assistance in using Agent, subscribe to the newsgroup alt.usenet.offline-reader.forte-agent.

Where to find more alternatives

You can visit the newsgroup news.software.readers and ask which newsreaders are made for your system.

10 April 2017

Finding newsgroups

This article is based on material authored by members of the news.newusers.questions Moderation Board and nnq-workers mailing list.

While some newsreaders may come pre-subscribed to certain newsgroups, such as news.newusers.questions, there are many other newsgroups out there as well! Here’s how to find them:

  • First of all, you could post a question to news.groups.questions. They have people who look for both newsgroups and mailing lists about any topic you’re interested in.
  • Another thing to do would be to search for a newsgroup by the topic you’re interested in at Google Groups. In the search box, enter a word or two that describe your topic of choice. The service will return a list of newsgroups that are most likely to discuss the topic you are interested in, along with some sample postings containing your search terms.
  • Finally, you can begin a search for web sites by using a web search engine such as Google.

Before posting to a new group, it’s a good idea to read at least a week’s worth of postings and any FAQs for the group. This will familiarise you with the group as well as help you learn the culture of the group and whether your post is appropriate there. It’s much better to find that out first than to get flamed later for posting in the wrong place.

9 April 2017

Disappearing netnews articles

This article is based on material authored by members of the news.newusers.questions Moderation Board and nnq-workers mailing list.

News articles need to ‘disappear’ for a couple of reasons.

Articles marked read in your newsreader

Your newsreader might hide the articles you have read, so that you will not have to wade through e.g. 100 articles you have already seen just in order to find 20 new ones. This behaviour depends on how your newsreader is set up.

Expiring articles on your news server

News servers have a finite amount of hard disk space. This is why they must expire (i.e., remove) articles from time to time; they need to make room for new ones.

Example configurations

  • Some servers might cause every article to expire when that article is 14 days old.
  • Others could cause alt.* newsgroup articles to expire after 4 days, but might keep news.* articles around for 21 days.
  • A similar tactic would be to allocate 10% of the total storage space to alt.* and another 10% to news.*, and to expire articles as their volume reaches their predefined quota.
  • Still other servers may cause articles to expire once any newsgroup reaches 10 MB in size, regardless of the amount or age of the articles.

How to locate an expired article

If a given article has expired from your news server, and you really want to read it, you need to obtain it elsewhere.

  • You may find the article in Google Groups or in some other archive.
  • You might also be able to find a ‘public’ news server on which the article is still available.
  • If you post a request to the newsgroup, perhaps either the author or someone else could mail you a copy of the article you want.
  • Maybe one of your friends is lucky enough to have access to a news server with longer expiration times.

8 April 2017

Frequently asked questions related to the article ‘How to test an NNTP (news) server by using telnet’

‘What do the various headers mean?’

The Netnews message headers are defined in RFC 1036 (Standard for Interchange of USENET Messages).

Required headers

The address of the person who sent the message.
The date when the message was posted.
The newsgroup(s) in which the message belongs.
What the message is about.
A unique identifier.
The path the message took to reach the current system.

Optional headers

Mailed replies to the author should be sent to the name given here.
The entity responsible for submitting the message to the network.
Follow-up messages are to be posted to the newsgroup or newsgroups listed here.
A suggested expiration date for the message.
The Message-ID s of any messages prompting the submission of this message.
If a message contains a Control: line, the message is a control message.
Used to alter the distribution scope of the message.
The organisation to which the sender belongs, or to which the machine belongs.
A few well-selected keywords identifying the message.
A brief summary of the message.
Required for any message posted to a moderated newsgroup.
A count of the number of lines in the body of the message.
The name of the host and a list of pairs of newsgroup names and message numbers from the spool directory.

“How do I post the same message to more than one newsgroup?”

Posting the same article to separate groups is called crossposting. Enter on the Newsgroups: line the names of all the groups to which you want to post. Separate the names by commas:

Newsgroups: misc.test,alt.test

If your newsreader has a non-conforming user interface, you may need to refer to its documentation.

Before you crosspost, you must make sure that your article is appropriate for all the groups to which you plan to post it. Even if the article is on topic, some servers may drop it because they are configured to throw away crossposted articles. In addition, if one or more of the groups to which you are crossposting is a moderated group, your article will not appear in any group until a moderator has approved it.

Do not confuse crossposting with multiposting, which means posting separate copies of an article to different groups. Multiposting wastes resources and is almost never acceptable.

‘I try to read or post, but I receive the message Permission denied or You have no permission to talk. Goodbye.’

Most news servers are not open to the public, just to users from specific hosts (such as those on the local network or of the same ISP) and/or to users who have an account on the server. To prevent spam, the server may also allow certain classes of users to read news but not to post.

The organisation that provides you with Internet connectivity may also give you access to a news server. If it does, that may be the best means for you to access Netnews.

There are also public news servers that you can try. However, your access privileges on such servers may be highly restricted. If a server appears to have been left ‘open’ accidentally, I advise against using it.

‘I would like a complete list of newsgroups.’

There really is no such thing; every news server has its own file of ‘active’ groups.

  • Not all news administrators want to carry all groups, and of those who try, not all will receive all newgroup messages.
  • Different news administrators may also have different criteria for creating and deleting groups, even if they carry the same hierarchies.
  • Some hierarchies that are intended to remain private are nevertheless leaked.
  • There are other reasons as well.

Because of the above, the appropriate active file for you (as a client) to use is the one your newsreader downloads from your news server. However, you can also download reasonable starting-point active and newsgroup (description) files from the Internet Software Consortium.

7 April 2017

Finding a place to test your posting skills

This article is based on material authored by members of the news.newusers.questions Moderation Board and nnq-workers mailing list.

Test articles should not be posted to news.newusers.questions. There are better places for e.g. checking out a new newsreader or news server.

What to do before testing

  • Check your name and email address (From: and, optionally, Reply-To:) to make sure that you have no errors in them. Use your email address, not your street address.
  • Send an email message to yourself.
  • When you receive the message you sent, try to reply to it (by hitting the Reply button). Carefully check the From: and Reply-To: addresses.

Make sure that your From: address doesn’t look like "you@example.com"@example.com. If it does look like that, you will need to fix it. Try typing you instead of you@example.com in the address field in your newsreader’s settings.

How to find test groups

Two major newsgroups are available for testing whether your posts are getting through, whether your .sig file is attached, and so forth. They are misc.test and alt.test.

You may also have a version of local.test or YourISP.test (replace YourISP with the name of your ISP).

If your browser and newsreader allow it, you can go to the test groups by clicking on the links above.

Why are test groups the best places for test postings?

First, nobody really reads test newsgroups, so you do not have to worry about people all over the world chuckling at your blank messages, scrambled header lines and typos.

Automatic replies

Second, some sites might still run software that monitors misc.test or alt.test and sends automatic email responses directly to your mailbox, quoting the headers and a few lines of your post. This allows you to verify that your postings really do reach the outside world as well as to see what they look like when they get there.

If you don’t get any of these automated responses, then either your posts aren’t getting out, the email address in your From: line is invalid, or no auto-responders are up at the moment.

If you don’t want email replies, for example, if you only would like to test whether your posts are showing up on your own server, put IGNORE or NO REPLY in the Subject: line, along with the rest of your subject.

6 April 2017

Having your business cards printed? Forget about ‘GSM’

In the early years of public land mobile networks, it used to be important for the caller to know which mobile phone technology the person being called was using. Later, the acronym ‘GSM’ in front of a number revealed that the subscriber likely was able to receive SMS messages. In addition, call charges could vary depending on the technology used.

Now it is 2017, and you can still see phone numbers prefixed with ‘GSM’. The acronym also tags along in other contexts: as an example, at least one bank provides a ‘GSM service’ that allows customers to bank using their mobile phones. However, specifying the cellular standard used is no longer necessary, at least for the kind of general usage mentioned above. Worse, the ‘GSM’ label is often false, as it denotes a second-generation (2G) technology that is becoming obsolete. Present-day mobile phones typically implement 3G standards such as UMTS, and the even more advanced LTE service has been launched.

In short, when you publish your mobile number, abandon the ‘GSM’ prefix unless it really is necessary for some reason. You can use plain ‘mobile’, but even that may be unnecessary, as landline phones are becoming less common.

5 April 2017

Learning about other cultures

This article is based on material authored by members of the news.newusers.questions Moderation Board and nnq-workers mailing list.

There are many different newsgroups where you can learn about specific cultures and specific areas of the world. The best place to look is in the soc hierarchy, among all of the soc.culture.* newsgroups. In these newsgroups, you can ask about cities, languages, history, cultural traditions, and the like. In many cases, these newsgroups will have discussions in two or three different languages.

The following is a list of the soc.culture.* newsgroups, current as of April 2017. If you want to see if there is a newsgroup or a mailing list for a culture not listed here, please ask the people in news.groups.questions for pointers to newsgroups and mailing lists about a specific culture.

soc.culture.afghanistan Discussion of the Afghan society.
soc.culture.african Discussions about Africa & things African.
soc.culture.african.american Discussions about Afro-American issues.
soc.culture.african.american.moderated African-American perspectives. (Moderated)
soc.culture.albanian Albania and Albanians around the world.
soc.culture.algeria From A to Z about Algeria.
soc.culture.arabic Technological & cultural issues, *not* politics.
soc.culture.argentina All about life in Argentina.
soc.culture.asean Countries of the Assoc. of SE Asian Nations.
soc.culture.asian.american Issues & discussion about Asian-Americans.
soc.culture.assyrian Assyrian culture, history, language, current diaspora.
soc.culture.asturies Asturian culture.
soc.culture.australian Australian culture and society.
soc.culture.austria Austria and its people.
soc.culture.baltics People of the Baltic states.
soc.culture.bangladesh Issues & discussion about Bangladesh.
soc.culture.basque Basque culture and related issues. (Moderated)
soc.culture.belarus All things about Belarus. (Moderated)
soc.culture.belgium Belgian society, culture(s) and people.
soc.culture.bengali Sociocultural identity of worldwide Bengali population.
soc.culture.berber The berber language, history, and culture.
soc.culture.bolivia Bolivian people and culture.
soc.culture.bosna-herzgvna The independent state of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
soc.culture.brazil Talking about the people and country of Brazil.
soc.culture.breton All about Breton culture and Brittany.
soc.culture.british Issues about Britain & those of British descent.
soc.culture.bulgaria Discussing Bulgarian society.
soc.culture.burma Politics, culture, news, discussion about Burma.
soc.culture.cambodia Cambodia and its people.
soc.culture.canada Discussions of Canada and its people.
soc.culture.caribbean Life in the Caribbean.
soc.culture.catalan The Catalan language and the lands where it is spoken.
soc.culture.celtic Irish, Scottish, Breton, Cornish, Manx & Welsh.
soc.culture.chile All about Chile and its people.
soc.culture.china About China and Chinese culture.
soc.culture.colombia Colombian talk, social, politics, science.
soc.culture.cornish All things Cornish and Cornwall, worldwide.
soc.culture.costa-rica Topics about Costa Rica.
soc.culture.croatia The lives of people of Croatia.
soc.culture.cuba Cuban culture, society and politics.
soc.culture.czecho-slovak Bohemian, Slovak, Moravian and Silesian life.
soc.culture.dominican-rep The life and people of the Dominican Republic.
soc.culture.ecuador The culture and people of Ecuador.
soc.culture.egyptian Egypt, and its society, culture, heritage, etc.
soc.culture.el-salvador Topics about El Salvador, Central America.
soc.culture.esperanto The neutral international language Esperanto.
soc.culture.ethiopia.misc Unmoderated forum to discuss Ethiopian culture.
soc.culture.europe Discussing all aspects of all-European society.
soc.culture.filipino Group about the Filipino culture.
soc.culture.french French culture, history, and related discussions.
soc.culture.galiza Galicia, on the Iberian Peninsula.
soc.culture.german Discussions about German culture and history.
soc.culture.greek Group about Greeks.
soc.culture.guinea-conakry Guinea (ne French Guinea, in West Africa).
soc.culture.haiti Haiti specific development and cultural issues.
soc.culture.hawaii Aloha kakou, E KOMO MAI! Eh, no forget hemo da shoes. (Moderated)
soc.culture.hmong Discussion of Hmong people and its culture.
soc.culture.honduras General topics regarding Honduras and Central-America.
soc.culture.hongkong Discussions pertaining to Hong Kong.
soc.culture.hongkong.entertainment Entertainment in Hong Kong.
soc.culture.indian Group for discussion about India & things Indian.
soc.culture.indian.delhi Information related to Delhi, capital of India.
soc.culture.indian.goa About Goa, India's smallest state. (Moderated)
soc.culture.indian.gujarati Gujarati cultural group.
soc.culture.indian.jammu-kashmir The culture of Jammu & Kashmir.
soc.culture.indian.karnataka Karnataka's culture, history, and present.
soc.culture.indian.kerala Culture of the people of Keralite origin.
soc.culture.indian.marathi Discussion related to Marathi Culture.
soc.culture.indonesia All about the Indonesian nation.
soc.culture.intercultural People of mixed "culture", "ethnicity", "race".
soc.culture.iranian Discussions about Iran and things Iranian/Persian.
soc.culture.iraq Iraq, its society, culture and heritage.
soc.culture.irish Ireland and Irish culture.
soc.culture.israel Israel and Israelis.
soc.culture.italian The Italian people and their culture.
soc.culture.japan Everything Japanese, except the Japanese language.
soc.culture.japan.moderated Anything Japanese. (Moderated)
soc.culture.jewish Jewish culture & religion (cf. talk.politics.mideast).
soc.culture.jewish.moderated Discussion of Jewish culture and religion. (Moderated)
soc.culture.jewish.parenting Issues about raising Jewish children. (Moderated)
soc.culture.jordan All topics concerning The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
soc.culture.kenya Kenyan peoples, politics, culture, and affairs.
soc.culture.korean Discussions about Korea & things Korean.
soc.culture.kurdish People from Kurdistan and Kurds around the world.
soc.culture.kuwait Kuwaiti culture, society, and history.
soc.culture.kuwait.moderated Kuwaiti culture, society, and history. (Moderated)
soc.culture.laos Cultural and Social Aspects of Laos.
soc.culture.latin-america Topics about Latin-America.
soc.culture.lebanon Discussion about things Lebanese.
soc.culture.liberia The culture of Liberia.
soc.culture.maghreb North African society and culture.
soc.culture.magyar The Hungarian people & their culture.
soc.culture.malagasy Madagascar and the Malagasy culture.
soc.culture.malaysia All about Malaysian society.
soc.culture.mexican Discussion of Mexico's society.
soc.culture.mexican.american Mexican-American/Chicano culture and issues.
soc.culture.misc Group for discussion about other cultures.
soc.culture.mongolian Everything related to Mongols and Mongolia.
soc.culture.native Aboriginal people around the world.
soc.culture.nepal Discussion of people and things in & from Nepal.
soc.culture.netherlands People from the Netherlands and Belgium.
soc.culture.new-zealand Discussion of topics related to New Zealand.
soc.culture.nicaragua Topics related to the country of Nicaragua in general.
soc.culture.nigeria Nigerian affairs, society, cultures, and peoples.
soc.culture.nordic Discussion about culture up north.
soc.culture.occitan Speakers of Provencal/Occitan/Langue d'Oc.
soc.culture.pacific-island Culture of the pacific islands (except Hawaii).
soc.culture.pakistan Topics of discussion about Pakistan.
soc.culture.pakistan.politics Political discussions on Pakistan.
soc.culture.pakistan.religion Religious discussions related to Pakistan.
soc.culture.pakistan.sports Sports in Pakistan.
soc.culture.palestine Palestinian people, culture and politics.
soc.culture.peru All about the people of Peru.
soc.culture.polish Polish culture, Polish past, and Polish politics.
soc.culture.portuguese Discussion of the people of Portugal.
soc.culture.puerto-rico Puerto Rican culture, society and politics.
soc.culture.punjab Punjab and Punjabi culture.
soc.culture.quebec Quebec society and culture.
soc.culture.rep-of-georgia The Caucasian Republic of Georgia and Georgians.
soc.culture.romanian Discussion of Romanian and Moldavian people.
soc.culture.russian All things Russian in the broadest sense.
soc.culture.russian.moderated Moderated discussion of Russian culture. (Moderated)
soc.culture.scientists Cultural issues about scientists & scientific projects.
soc.culture.scottish Anything regarding Scotland or things Scots.
soc.culture.sierra-leone The culture of Sierra Leone.
soc.culture.singapore The past, present and future of Singapore.
soc.culture.slovenia Slovenia and Slovenian people.
soc.culture.somalia Somalian affairs, society, and culture.
soc.culture.south-africa South African society, culture, & politics.
soc.culture.south-africa.afrikaans The Afrikaans language and speakers.
soc.culture.soviet Topics relating to Russian or Soviet culture.
soc.culture.spain Spain and the Spanish.
soc.culture.sri-lanka Things & people from Sri Lanka.
soc.culture.swiss Swiss culture.
soc.culture.syria Syrian cultural matters and affairs.
soc.culture.taiwan Discussion about things Taiwanese.
soc.culture.tamil Tamil language, history and culture.
soc.culture.thai Thai people and their culture.
soc.culture.turkish Discussion about things Turkish.
soc.culture.turkish.moderated Issues related to Turks/Turkey. (Moderated)
soc.culture.ukrainian The lives and times of the Ukrainian people.
soc.culture.uruguay Discussions of Uruguay for those at home and abroad.
soc.culture.usa  The culture of the United States of America.
soc.culture.venezuela Discussion of topics related to Venezuela.
soc.culture.vietnamese Issues and discussions of Vietnamese culture.
soc.culture.welsh The people, language and history of Wales.
soc.culture.yugoslavia Discussions of Yugoslavia and its people.
soc.culture.zimbabwe Culture and other issues pertaining to Zimbabwe.

4 April 2017

Think before you share your personal information

Once you have permitted an application to access your personal information, that information may also be used elsewhere.

When you want to use a Facebook game or other application, you must often allow that application various privileges. For example, you may have to grant access to your personal information and you may have to ‘opt in’ to receiving promotional email messages. This is a kind of business transaction: you give up some of your privacy – and, potentially, some of the privacy of your contacts – for the right to use the application.

Once you have allowed an application to access your personal information, whoever is behind that application can also use that information outside Facebook, even when you no longer use the application. Do not rely on being able to remove information you have provided to a website or other Internet service.

Taking good care of your personal information helps protect you from identity theft, including so-called social engineering attacks (wherein someone poses as you in order to obtain information to which you are entitled as a private person, on the job or elsewhere).

3 April 2017

Finding information on the Internet

This article is based on material authored by members of the news.newusers.questions Moderation Board and nnq-workers mailing list.

FAQs – frequently asked questions

In newsgroups, you may see people directing each other to ‘read the FAQ first’. FAQs are usually lists of questions (with answers) that newcomers to a group, or people who are new to a certain item or piece of software, repeatedly ask. Some FAQs are troubleshooting guides or pointers to helpful information, even if it isn’t asked about on a regular basis. These are often called periodic postings. In any case, FAQs are collections of helpful information for readers of a newsgroup.

If you’re new to a newsgroup, you should read its FAQs. These posts often start with the keyword FAQ:, but some start with INFO:, GUIDE:, ANSWERS:, ABOUT:, ADMIN:, HELP: or something similar. FAQs are usually posted with a frequency from once a week to once every two months. When in doubt, post the question ‘Where can I find a copy of the FAQ for this newsgroup?’ and then go find it!

Many of the more traditional FAQs are available in the newsgroup news.answers. You can also find more specific subsets of FAQ posts if you look in the other *.answers groups, such as alt.answers or rec.answers. Additionally, you can easily find some of a group's FAQs in the Internet FAQ Archives, which are searchable by newsgroup or keywords.

How do I find newsgroup charters?

Charters for newsgroups in the ‘Big Eight’ hierarchies (comp, humanities, misc, news, rec, sci, soc and talk) since about 1989 are available at ftp://ftp.isc.org/pub/usenet/news.announce.newgroups/. As that archive contains all formal proposals (RFD postings) and vote results, it also contains proposed charters for groups that did not pass their vote for creation. For newsgroups that did pass, the CFV (call for votes) and the final RESULT posting contain the official charter as passed. When your retrieve one of the files, look to its bottom for the most recent portion of the documentation. The RESULT posting is usually the last one at the end of each file.

For alt groups, there is no official source for charters. However, at ftp://ftp.isc.org/pub/usenet/control/ you will find a large archive of newgroup control messages, including those for alt groups. Those control messages often contain charters where such exist.

Files with a .Z extension have been compressed with the Unix compress program. To read them, you’ll need a program that can uncompress .Z files. Winzip handles them easily; just provide the txt extension when asked. You can also check various shareware and freeware sites to see if you can find a different program to use.

How do I find out who initiated the group, and/or if it is moderated?

For ‘Big Eight’ groups, the Request for Discussion (RFD) will tell you who proposed the newsgroup; the CFVs and RESULT postings include the charter, which will tell if the group is moderated. For alt groups, the control message will usually tell you this. The old-fashioned (and probably the best) way to find out if a group is moderated is to read the groups you’re going to post to, to make sure that your posts are appropriate there. While you’re reading the group, check the full message headers; if the group is moderated, they will include an Approved: line.

Watch you don’t get dusty while digging through those wonderful archives! ☺

In case you’re just looking for the topic of the group and to find out if it is moderated, some newsreaders show the information from the For your newsgroups file line, along with the name of the group, in the list of all newsgroups on the server. That line should include a ‘moderation flag’ for moderated groups: the letter m indicates moderation, while o means the group is open (not moderated).

Another method is to look at the article Checkgroups message (with INET groups) posted monthly to news.announce.newgroups, news.groups and news.admin.misc. This is a complete list of all official ‘Big Eight’ newsgroups and their moderation status.

Even if the checkgroups message has expired from your server, you can obtain a listing of current newsgroups, including their For your newsgroups file lines, via FTP from ftp://ftp.isc.org/pub/usenet/CONFIG/newsgroups. This file is some 2.5 MB in size (as of March 2017).

Searching the Web

At least some information about almost anything can be located on the WWW, so a Web search engine is a good place to start. Just enter a word or phrase to search for, and that’ll help you find some of the FAQ resources for that topic or group. If you don’t find exactly what you want on the first attempt, try again using a different search engine. They don’t all work the same, so you probably won't get exactly the same list of matches on different engines.

If you get too many matches, and the first few aren’t what you really want, check the page for an ‘advanced search’ button; it should lead you to instructions on how you can restrict the search to get a more manageable list of matches. Enclose phrases in quotes if you want only matches where the words appear together and in the same order.

You can also use the Web to search for information from newsgroups postings. Google Groups has a large, searchable archive of newsgroup articles.

2 April 2017

Retrieving basic registration and taxation information about Finnish businesses

VIES: validates VAT numbers but may get addresses wrong

The European Commission operates the VAT Information Exchange System (VIES), a web-based service that appears to be quite good at its intended task, which is VAT number validation. However, attempts at using VIES as a directory of postal addresses may produce inaccurate results.

In a recent case, VIES reported the address of a Finnish business as OSOITE TUNTEMATON, which is Finnish for unknown address. This phenomenon convinced a British mail order company that a customer paying by credit card had provided an incorrect delivery address. Fortunately, the supplier contacted the customer instead of shipping the goods to the pseudo-address indicated by VIES.

BIS: provides authoritative information about Finnish businesses

The National Board of Patents and Registration and the tax administration are the authoritative sources for information about registration and taxation of Finnish businesses. These authorities make such information, including postal and/or street addresses, available through the web-based Business Information System (BIS), a service that is available in Finnish, Swedish and English. Second-hand versions of the same data may be provided by other entities, but errors can be avoided by going to the source instead of using third-party mashups.

The BIS includes instructions for its use, but the basics are simple: enter a search term, such as a name or a Business ID, and click the magnifying glass icon.


The Finnish tax administration does not explicitly issue VAT numbers. Instead, Finnish businesses form their own VAT numbers by appending the leading letters FI  to the Business ID and removing the hyphen. As an example, if the Business ID is 2175703-7, the VAT number becomes FI21757037.

VAT numbers are only needed in so-called intra-Community trade. Within Finland, Business IDs are used instead.

1 April 2017

Personals and requests for girlfriends, boyfriends or partners

This article is based on material authored by members of the news.newusers.questions< Moderation Board and nnq-workers mailing list.

Most newsgroups are not intended for ‘personals’ or requests or solicitations for boyfriends, girlfriends or partners. However, many newsgroups are devoted to such topics:

You might be able to subscribe to these groups by simply clicking on the group name in your web browser.

For more information on finding friends and partners through newsgroups, please read: