There are many different ways people can interact with each other, using a variety of tools that the Internet offers. My particular area of interest is in using these tools to enhance the relationships between people living in and around the Ottawa-Carleton-Hull region.
A newsgroup is simply a descriptive title that gives an indication of the discussion topic of that group. It allows a user the choice to read and post messages in in a particular discussion group, while not requiring that they interact with a different discussion group. This allows for many different discussions to be happening, all at the same time, all organized into topic groups by their newsgroup name.
Current groups include a wide variety of topics, ranging from the various commerce related groups such as 'ott.forsale.computing' and 'ott.business.ads', to more social groups such as 'ott.singles' and 'ott.personals'. If you want to know what the weather is, 'ott.weather' has current weather information for the region. If you are hiring, or looking for a job, the 'ott.jobs' conference will come in very handy. If you are not sure where to start, 'ott.general' is set up to handle any Ottawa discussion that currently does not have a newsgroup for that special interest.
A method to organize all of these messages being shared between the providers is very quickly needed with the number of messages that are contributed. There also needs to be a way to decide what special topics should have their own special group created to make that discussion easier to get involved in. To help with these administrative tasks, a group of people came together to create a group called the Ottawa News Administrators Group (ONAG).
To quote from information provided by the group:
ONAG consists of experienced Usenet administrators and users in the Ottawa area that are interested in ensuring that ott.* is a consistent and useful Usenet hierarchy.
ONAG's primary role is to focus discussions on ott.* management, and provide a consistent and timely procedure for group creation and deletion. Just as importantly, ONAG ensures that groups that people think should be created are created, and carried in significant portions of the Ottawa region. Without a body like ONAG, group creation is an ad-hoc procedure that rarely achieves reasonable coverage.
This is where a services such as the FLORA Community WEB can help. The primary roll of this particular service is to provide Ottawa community organizations with a method of creating discussion groups for their members, using a variety of Internet technologies such as Newsgroups, E-Mail, and World Wide Web. This service also provides publishing capabilities to these community organizations so that they can easily reach their members.
Current community organizations providing information via FLORA Community WEB are predominantly from two different areas of our community: Education, and Environment/Green Transportation.
For more local Ottawa based information, the Home Based Learning Network maintains a discussion group as well as publishes a newsletter both electronically and in paper format.