Probably because i sometimes carry the name of the group alt.lucky.w in my sig line, i have been fielding a lot of e-mail on the subject of "unavailable arcane newsgroups."
Here is the information i have been sending to folks; feel free to pass it around and copy it when someone asks you the same questions:
First -- yes, alt.occult.methods (practical occultism), alt.magick.marketplace (buy-sell-trade magical items), alt.religion.orisha (Yoruba-derived religions), alt.magick.tantra (sex magic, tantra yoga, karezza, etc.) and alt.lucky.w (amulets, talismans, etc.) are fully operational. So are alt.folklore.herbs, alt.folklore.gemstones, alt.magick.tyagi, and all the other gnostic, druid, and chaos-magick newsgroups that people have told me they cannot access.
Second -- If your service provider lists these as "invalid" or "unavailable" groups, it is not because the groups are not operational. It is because your service provider has not accepted feed from these groups. They are not "censoring" these groups; they probably just didn't know anyone wanted to receive them. There are, according to some estimates, over 30,000 different newsgroups, with new ones being created every day. No service provider carries them all, and even a service provider who carries 20,000 of them may not carry alt.fan.dr-bronner, alt.society.funerary, alt.thinking.hurts, and alt.sex.hello-kitty.
Third -- Of course, .edu, .gov, .mil, or other free service providers can legitimately limit the feed they give their subscribers, and so can systems run by large corporations for their employees. However if your service provider is a .com (commercial) or .net (network) service and you are paying for access to usenet, they will be happy to supply you with feed for these or any other newsgroups -- PROVIDED YOU ASK -- because they must function in the competitive capitalistic marketplace, and that means "money talks." As a .com or .net customer, your money will get you the newsgroups you want.
Fourth -- If your service provider does not carry all of the obscure newsgroups you want, the person to ask is the SYSTEM ADMINISTRATOR or NEWSGROUPS ADMINISTRATOR. You don't need to beg. You are not asking for a special favour. Simply tell the administrator that you want them to "make the usenet newsgroup [name of group] accessible." So far, no one i know of who has asked for any of the above-named occult groups from a .com or .net service provider has been turned down.
Send an email letter to your system administrator or newsgroup feed administrator requesting access or post your request to the ISP's internal "support" or "help" newsgroup.
Begin your letter with an admission that you do not know whom to address and request the recipient to forward your request to the proper person if it has been received in error. If your ISP is very large and you feel they are dilatory in answering customer requests, send copies (CCs) of the letter to ALL of the following potential titles of departments:
(Those are some of the common names such functionaries use. If you send CCs to all those above, some will come back as undeliverable, obviously, for they are essentially duplicates in function if not in name.)
Your message can be short and sweet: "Please add [name of newsgroup] to your usenet feed. Thanks."
If your service provider has a "local" newsgroup where customers post requests and report problems, post the same message there.
To speed the process, telephone your service provider and ask to speak to the human being in charge of newsgroup feed. Ask this person to add the group to the accesssible newsgroup database.
I personally got America Online, the largest internet service provider in the United States, to add alt.lucky.w to its feed in a mere 8 days -- with a mere 3 e-mail letters (two of them sent to the wrong functionary!). My own service provider, sonic.net, maintains a local newsgroup called sonic.help. They routinely add new newsgroups within two days of a request being made there or through email addressed to email@example.com -- in short, it can be done and YOU can do it!
Fifth -- Good luck, and remember -- under the capitalist system,
anarchists have the most fun!
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