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How do I read Usenet Newsgroup Article Headers?

 
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Every usenet newsgroup message has a header. Some news servers require information than others. All reputable news servers require the following lines: FROM, NEWSGROUPS, SUBJECT. Some other providers require additional lines. Below is a listing of the most common lines of a header / article header definitions in Usenet newsgroups:

Header-Line Meaning
 
Content-Transfer-Encoding Tells your news client what MIME-coding this posts uses. For text this might be 7bit, 8bit or quoted-printable, for binary data it's base64(only exists if it is a MIME post).
 
*Content-Type Tells your news client what MIME-content type this post has (only exists if it is a MIME post).
 
Date Contains the date when the post was sent to a news server for the first time.
 
Expires This line tells NNTP news servers when it may remove messages from usenet newsgroups. It may be removed earlier for space reasons, but it won't keep it longer than this date. If this line is not present, the message will stay as long as the retention of the server allows.
 
Followup-To Contains a list of Usenet newsgroups (separate by comma, without spaces after the comma) to that replies shall be sent. If this line doesn't exist, the newsgroups in the Newsgroups-line will be used. If this line contains the word 'poster' replies are sent via e-mail to the poster.
 
From The line with name/e-mail of the poster who wrote the message. May not be the one who also sent it to Usenet (see Sender line).
 
Lines Contains the number of text lines in the body
 
Message-ID Contains a worldwide unique ID to identify the post. Server use it when exchanging messages and news client use them to identify a copy of a message on several different newsgroups. It usually has a format similar to:
 
MIME-Version This means the post is a MIME post and the line tells you the version, so a MIME compatible client will handle it correctly.
 
Newsgroups Contains the list of usenet newsgroups the message was posted to with single groups separated by a comma (without a space after each comma).
 
NNTP-Posting-Client The IP address of the user that was used for posting this messages.
 
NNTP-Posting-Date A Date sometimes added by the NNTP server in case the current server date is different to the date provided by the news client.
 
NNTP-Posting-Host The IP address of the user who posted the message or the IP address of the server that was used for posting this message (actually it should be the first one, but often it's the last one).
 
Organization Either the organization of the sender of the organization that runs the Usenet server being used for posting.
 
Path The path lines shows the path the message took to reach your news server. Fewer stops is better.
 
Reply-To This line contains name/e-mail address that should be used for replying to the post by mail. If no such line exists, the data of the From-line is used.
 
Sender Contains name/e-mail of the person who sent this post to the Usenet newsgroup. That needn't be the author of the message (you may post a message for another person). In case poster and sender is the same person, there is only a From-line.
 
Subject Contains the subject of the post
 
X- X-lines are nonstandard lines that had been added by many clients and servers, but are not part of any official standard. They are never mandatory and you can add your own X-lines
 
X-Accept-Language Contains the language code of the language that the poster prefers to see in replies (e.g. 'en' means English), can also contain more than one language code.
 
X-Admin E-mail address of the administrator of the Usenet news server that was used for posting.
 
X-Comments Containing additional comments usually added by the Usenet server.
 
X-Complaints-To Contains an URL or e-mail address for people that want to complain about this post or customer who made that post, in case of netabuse or ToS violations.
 
X-Mailer Same as X-Newsreader, containing the client that was used for creating the post.
 
X-Newsreader Sometimes placed their by news clients, so people can see with what software this post was created.
 
X-Originating-Host In case it was 'resent' from the original host to another one, this line may have been added by the second host.
 
X-Priority A number that represents the priority of the post (it was adopted from X-Priority within e-mail headers, this line has no purpose in practice).
 
Xref A line that tells you the article number that this article has on your server or a list of article numbers if it is a xpost to multiple usenet newsgroups. This line is not really part of the header, you server adds it the moment you download the article, because it's different from server to server.
 
X-Trace Additional information about the post, once again containing the date of posting, the server it was originally posted to and other additional information, being mainly useful for the admins of a server to trace back abuse.
 

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