Quick start guide

You can read the discussion forums rec.arts.books.tolkien and alt.fan.tolkien on Google Groups or a separate newsreader. You'll find...

Stop in and say hello! See below for more details.


How to participate in the groups
Tolkien newsgroup projects and websites
Examples of group discussions


Welcome to the Tolkien Usenet newsgroups! The groups rec.arts.books.tolkien and alt.fan.tolkien are the oldest public online forums discussing Tolkien and Middle-earth. Everyone is welcome, from new readers to Middle-earth experts, whether you're looking for social fun or scholarly debate.

Newcomers be warned: spoilers for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are everywhere, even in message subject lines. Try to skim the FAQs before posting. The sections about the newsgroups and proper "netiquette" are important, and the main Tolkien Meta-FAQ page lists higher priority topics in bold. In general, the FAQs aim to encourage discussion by giving everyone a common foundation for these topics.

Once again, welcome! We look forward to your participation.

How to participate in the groups

For those new to Usenet, the easiest entry point to the Tolkien newsgroups is probably Google Groups. Current discussions can be found on the pages for rec.arts.books.tolkien and alt.fan.tolkien. Google has a basic Usenet help page, which explains "What is a Usenet Newsgroup?"

Most regular participants prefer to use a separate Usenet newsreader program instead. Email programs like Outlook Express, Windows Mail, and Mozilla Thunderbird include basic Usenet interfaces, but dedicated newsreader programs can be better. Search online or ask on the groups for suggestions.

If you use any newsreader program, you will need a Usenet server to connect to. Some ISPs still provide one, but it's becoming less common. Many group participants recommend news.individual.net, which costs 10 euros per year and provides reliable service and spam filtering. That site gives instructions for various newsreaders; the general methods there should work for any Usenet server. There are also a small number of free newsservers, including eternal-september.org.

For more information on Usenet in general, you might start with Wikipedia. The archives of the news.newusers.questions newsgroup include a lot of practical advice.

Tolkien newsgroup projects and websites

The r.a.b.t charter formally defines that group. The groups have a website at silenceisdefeat.com, which has information on past group projects and participants. There is also a Facebook group to help current and former participants keep in touch.

On a lighter note, the Tolkien Newsgroups LotR E-text project was a collaborative parody of The Lord of the Rings. O. Sharp's Tolkien Sarcasm Page hosts the final result as The Lord Of The... whatever, along with other newsgroup humor such as the Tolkien Crackpot Theories.

Examples of group discussions

Thus far, I have only included a few examples of my own posts to the groups, but eventually I hope to link to some good complete threads.

A few of my newsgroup posts.

A few of my humorous posts.

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