The best way to access the newsgroups is through the news server at your host site. By connecting through the local NNTP server given by your access provider, you will relieve the strain on the archive site and also get the latest news. Please don't use the pinch archive as a newsreader for current news. It can't take the load, and it sometimes lags by a day or two. Searching for messages is not a problem. Reading all of the current messages is an unnecessary load.
One easy way of connecting to the newsgroup is with a web browser. The following links are the same as the ones listed at The Skin Page and should take you to the news group:
If these links don't work for you, then it is possible that the news server options in your web browser have not been configured properly. If you are browsing from an account on a managed system, then configuration should not be a problem. Most libraries and large corporate sites are well maintained. With unix shell account, it is generally just a matter of choosing a favorite newsreader.
If you are using a PPP connection to your personal computer you may need to configure your web browser or newsreader with information that is specific to your ISP (Independent Service Provider).
If you can read other major newsgroups, such as news:news.newusers.questions or news:news.answers then your browser is properly configured. If this is the case, then your ISP does not carry the newsgroup you want. This is common because there are so many alt newsgroups that a full newsfeed would overload most small service providers. Try giving them a call or sending an email to [email protected] and politely request that they add the alt.support hierarchy to their newsfeed. If they seem accomodating, you might also ask that they increase the expiration time for these and the critical sci.med groups. Mention that the storage needs are relatively small compared the the valuable information provided. A 30 day expiration will preserve the monthly FAQ file posted in several of these groups.
If your ISP is unable to provide reliable coverage or is unresponsive, it is possible to use another NNTP server for your news feed. Because of the great demand for a reliable news server, this is most easily provided by commercial NNTP services. The cost is relatively low and may be as little as a few cents per for a full news feed. If you don't have a permanent (static) IP address then you will need to be authorized for each access to the server.
If a subscription is not practical for you, then a short term solution is to post through one of the larger news archives via the web. This may become more restrictive as services such as DejaNews are now requiring a confirmation by email for posting. The zippo.com site allows free access to the psoriasis group with fairly good coverage. A drawback of using these commercial posting services is that you appear to be homed at their site and they generally add their own mini-advertisement signature to your post. Please use a valid email address when you post. If a message makes it to the group with a bad return address, folks who prefer to respond privately will be frustrated when their mail bounces.
If you need a server for a short period of time until your ISP starts carrying the group, it is possible to use one of the public access USENET sites that allow public access to their NNTP server. Be aware that some of these open servers are available through the unintentional oversight of their administrators. The ones that accidentally allow access to the alt.binaries hierarchy are usually swamped within hours and taken offline. At the few sites where permission was asked to allow publication of their NNTP server address for public access to the support groups, the general response was tolerance. Individual users would be tolerated if they did not abuse the priviledge of access by posting large documents, or doing anything that might be cause for complaint from anyone on the net. Please do not announce any open site that you find carrying the group.
With that caveat, several sites now exist which automatically collect the names of NNTP servers and check them for public access. The first list of this kind has been updated and is now called NewzBot. It offers an automated posting relay and searching for open hosts that carry alt.support.skin-diseases.psoriasis. Here is another dynamic listing of open NNTP servers that carry the skin-diseases newsgroups. Please keep in mind that these sites are transient at best and should be considered only as a last resort. Do consider the potential ramifications of unauthorized NNTP usage.
Yet another alternative is to request an account from one of the many Free-Nets available. Many offer free access to their Usenet feed but you will probably not be able to use your favorite newsreader and the resources (including volunteers) at the free-nets are usually overloaded.
Here are some other possible sites that offer free newsreading via the web. The drawbacks may be no flagging of articles that have already been seen, and possibly banner ads.
If all else fails and you break out in a rash whenever you hear the word "server" or "newsreader", you are welcome to email most any knowledgable in the group and ask for assistance in getting your urgent information posted. Mention that you have read this newsfeed mini-FAQ as a starting point.
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