Big Eight Hierarchy Maintenance


The Big Eight Usenet hierarchies (comp.*, humanities.*, misc.*, news.*, rec.*, sci.*, soc.*, and talk.*) are, alongside the unmanaged alt.* hierarchy, the primary world-wide English language newsgroups. I've been involved in Big Eight newsgroup organization and maintenance since the late 1990s and still issue control messages for those hierarchies.

This page contains the information needed for news server administrators to accept control messages for the Big Eight hierarchies and to verify messages posted to news.announce.newgroups, the announce newsgroup for these hierarchies.

It does not discuss how newsgroups are added, removed, renamed, moderated, or unmoderated. That is now handled by the Usenet Big-8 Management Board. For more information see their web site.

Control Messages

To accept control messages for the Big Eight hierarchies, use the following entry in control.ctl or the equivalent for your news server:

# Contact:
# URL:
# Admin group: news.announce.newgroups
# Key fingerprint: 8E18 1BEF 0BE6 3896 2C1A  5C98 FAFE 7B55 0C18 C8B7
# *PGP*   See comment at top of file.

The OpenPGP signing key for the control messages is 8E181BEF0BE638962C1A5C98FAFE7B550C18C8B7. It is signed by my personal OpenPGP key, which in turn is part of the strongly connected OpenPGP web of trust.

For many years, the Big Eight control messages were signed with an older key, C25D3AD3B88DA9C1. Duplicate control messages are still issued using this key and will be for the indefinite future, but this key is old, weak, could probably be broken with sufficient effort, and cannot be used with current versions of GnuPG. Please use the above key by preference and update your configuration if you have not already.

A checkgroups message for the hierarchy is published monthly and a current signed list of newsgroups is also posted to news.announce.newgroups.

news.announce.newgroups Messages

Postings to news.announce.newgroups are signed using the PGP Moose protocol so that they can be verified as authentic. The signing key for this purpose is 5CCA2D6518A73CA9.

This is another old and weak key, although not as old as the old control message signing key. There is not yet a new replacement key. When there is, it will be announced in news.announce.newgroups and updated here.

Last modified and spun 2021-06-27