Welcome to alt.discuss!
alt.discuss is a world of newsgroups set behind the WebTV firewall. These are _our_ newsgroups, computer users cannot read them.
There are over 600 groups so far, so there should be something you will find interesting. The names of the groups are not always logical, so you might need to enter a group and read for a while (called "lurking") to see if it will interest you.
Most alt.discuss groups are HTML friendly, but some are not. For more info on HTML in alt.discuss (and in Usenet), see "HTML in alt.discuss" .
The majority of the alt.discuss groups have Charters. These are the guidelines for posting in the groups. You can find the Charters at http://members.tripod.com/~groups/ .
alt.discuss is an Adult Forum, children should not be allowed access to these groups. If you can get into one, you can get into all of them. Some of these groups allow language that may not be acceptable to you. Some of these groups allow pictures that may not be acceptable to you. In these cases, it is suggested that you simply do not frequent those groups.
WebTV has supplied us with two different filtering devices for children. SurfWatch and KidFriendly. To place one of these restrictions on your child's account, go to the sidebar on the Main User and click on "Using WebTV". Click on "Help Center" and then on "Surfing" for instructions on how to implement these restrictions.
Newsgroups are different from Chat. Posts are not "real time", it takes about 20 minutes for a post to appear on the board.
All posts are considered public, anyone can read them. If you have something private to say to someone, e-mail is the preferred way to go. Anyone can respond to anyone else's post.
It is recommended that you "lurk" in any newsgroup new to you for at least a few days. Read many posts (individual messages) and complete threads (the grouping of individual posts all using the same subject) to get a feel for the group.
Please don't hesitate to post any questions here regarding anything related to these newsgroups. There are people here devoted to helping you enjoy our wonderful world of alt.discuss.