This article is from the Natl Writers Union FAQ, by Vicki Richman email@example.com with numerous contributions by others.
No, of course not. But a.u.n-w is a Usenet newsgroup, and
Usenet is not a BBS forum. Usenet is just another kind of
Internet connection, much like E-mail.
The difference is, instead of delivery to a private mailbox,
Usenet messages are stored in public directories, where any
user on any system may retrieve them. In practice, of
course, there is newsreading software that sorts the
messages according to group, subject, date and other
headers, before displaying them to the curious user. In look
and feel, the newsreader seems to be a proprietary BBS
forum. But the newsreader is not Usenet. Newsreaders vary
from user to user and from site to site.
The messages are passed from site to site. Some are posted
almost instantly. Others may take days to circle the
planet. Some sites save some messages and junk others, but
all messages manage to make their way around the planet.
Just as anyone can send a message, anyone can create a
newsgroup. Anyone can remove a newsgroup. Any site can
accept or reject a newsgroup. Any person who frivolously
creates a newsgroup incurs the wrath of serious Usenet
users, who will outnumber pranksters and remove the
So, for a newsgroup to survive, it has to be created
according to rules accepted by almost all serious users.