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Dictionary Entry - Newsgroup
The Newsgroups are a special part of the internet that pre-dates the World Wide Web. Once upon a time when the internet was still young there were special interest groups that shared information and kept in touch by using a bulletin board type system. This system was designed to take advantage of the internet in a way an old BBS couldn't : each location had a machine (news server) that would store all the messages of the newsgroups that were desired by it's users. Periodically these servers connect to each other and exchange all messages that are missing on either server. In this manner, a message sent by any user would eventually get distributed to every server that carried that newsgroup
More info : Slyck's Guide to The Newsgroups
Dictionary Entry - Newsgroup

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