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.