ISP and Online Communities Tips

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What is Usenet news?


Usenet news is a lot like e-mail but messages are public, not private, and many people can participate in the same conversation. There is a lot of information available exclusively via Usenet. While most ISPs offer Usenet access, some (especially free ISPs) do not. When comparing ISPs do not forget to check whether or not they provide Usenet capabilities. Usenet archives can be searched via Google Groups.

What is iVillage?


Women have their own place for "girl talk" online. It's called iVillage. The site features articles on several topics of interest to women. Additional, iVillage has an online community of message boards, where women (and men) can post questions and answers on various topics for free. It's located at

What is TalkCity?

TalkCity, available at is a free, member owned online community geared toward topics of interest like games, teens, romance, etc. It is a free online community service run by the same company that operates Delphiforums. Like Delphiforums, TalkCity is free; however if you prefer IRC access, the service charges a nominal annual fee.

What is a blog?


Blog is short for web log, and is consequentially sometimes written 'blog. It is a special type of Web site that is usually syndicated and often similar in form to a personal journal, and a person who maintains a blog is called a blogger. Hosting blogs is a specialty of more than one free ISP and discount ISP; they typically rely on dynamic Web servers. The world of bloggers is a tightly knit ISP online community. Bloggers frequently reference each others' blogs via what are known as TrackBacks.

What is Delphiforums?


Delphiforums, available at is a free, self-managed online meeting place where groups, businesses, or family members can meet online in open or private chat room to discuss specific topics or just chat. Delphiforums are based on the former Delphi internet service provider, an early ISP service. While Delphi is no longer in business, its interesting online communities continue to the present day in

What is a MUD, MOO, or MUSH?

MUDs, MOOs, MUSHes, etc.

MUD stands for Multi-User Dimension, MOO stands for Multi-user Dimension Object-oriented, and MUSH stands for Multi-User Shell. They (and other less common variations besides) all mean basically the same thing. It's an ISP service that's a little like a chat room, but in addition to the other people present also provides an environment and atmosphere. This key difference tends to make it into a vibrant ISP online community. People usually connect to MUDs via either SSH or Telnet.

What is The Well?

The Well

The Well is the venerable online meeting place of well-known media pundits, such as Howard Rheingold. Today, the online community is run by Salon, but it still features interesting and heady topics as well as discussions on issues of the day, all for a fee. If you're looking for a serious, no frills online community with some real conversation, try The Well. It's well worth the monthly fee.

Does CompuServe have online communities?


CompuServe, once the premiere ISP provider of online communities, is still available as an ISP and as an online community. Owned by AOL, which also has its own number of online communities, CompuServe tends to attract more business-oriented customers than its sister company, AOL. CompuServe subscribers can post information about jobs, careers, and business to CompuServe's many online communities. They're available for a monthly fee at

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Jolyn Wells-Moran