Instructions for using HyperNews buttons/fpmain.buttons

This is the instructions page on the HyperNews home site, which probably has a different version from what you will find on other sites. The home page of HyperNews is, which lists many other sites. You may have come to this page from another site - check your URLs.

Please do not add messages on this page about Windows 95 or any other subject that is not related to the HyperNews instructions.

If you would like to just test some aspect of HyperNews, you are welcome to do that on the test page. There is more information about HyperNews and how to get the source (which includes instructions on creating new base articles). If you have a problem with any aspect of HyperNews, please add a message on the bugs page if you can, or email me about it (

Many features of HyperNews 1.8 and later are configurable, so these instructions are rather general in most cases. HyperNews may behave differently on the site you are using.

Table of Contents

Becoming a Member

When you become a "member" of a HyperNews site, you will be given certain rights; these rights vary depending on how the site was configured. You may be required to become a member in order to write messages, for example. To find out what rights you will be given, visit the membership page on the site.

To become a member of a HyperNews site, click on the "Membership" link on any page from that site. Fill out the form and submit it.

Your User ID is the identifier that is associated with all the personal information about you. This information includes the following:

Your userid can be the same as your email address, or you can use a shorter nickname, as long is it is not being used by someone else. Once you have a nickname, you can change your email address.

The Name and Personal URL will be used whenever you add a message and use the same user id. Your name will be a link to your personal URL. Your email address will be a "mailto" URL.

The New Password field may be left empty, but you are encouraged to create a good password. Never use the password of your login. There is no way for HyperNews to tell you your password since it is immediately encrypted, so please try to remember it. If you forget your password, you may be able to reset it to a new random password that will be emailed to you. (This is a configurable option.) Then you can change the password to one you can remember.

If membership is required for some operation, you will be requested by your browser to authenticate once and then you don't have to keep reentering your User ID and password. Membership applies to all pages on the site that have the same URL prefix, e.g., "" for the HyperNews home site. Use the same password each time. However, you may set up a different User ID and/or password on every HyperNews site.

If you already have a userid that is the same as your email address and you want to create a nickname for yourself, go to the membership page and enter your new nickname in the UserID field, and also enter your email address (which is your current userid) in the Email Address field. You must use the same password as for your email address userid to make this change.

Reading Messages

Reading is usually open to the public - that's what people like about the web. However, reading can be closed to members only for particular sites, in which case you will have to become a member first - talk with the administrator of the site for that.

A HyperNews "base article" looks like a normal web page except there may be "messages" appended to the end after a "Messages" header, and there are controls to traverse the messages, add new ones, etc. A message looks like a base article except it also displays some header lines at the top of the page identifying the context and author of the message. A "reply" is another name for a message that has been added in-reply-to another message, or to a base article.

Replies to messages should appear indented, but not all browsers indent properly. Let me know ( if it fails for you - and what your browser is.

New messages are always after old messages added to the same thing. The newest of the new messages have a new icon of some kind to draw your attention.

There are several ways you can control which messages you see. When you select a message, you will see only the replies to that message (and sub-replies). If the replies go deeper than the default maximum outline depth, you will see a "..." where there would be more. There is one abbreviation that is used for a chain of a single reply to a single reply, etc. Instead of indenting, subsequent replies are displayed at the same level prefixed by "->".

You can change how deeply nested the message outline is by selecting one of the numbers after "Outline Depth" on the "Messages" header. You can also embed the text of messages inline to some depth by selecting one of the numbers after "Inline Depth" (was "Embed").

You can use one of several navigation buttons to simplify reading of neighboring messages.

"Next Message"
goes to the next message at the same level, the next one that is replying to the same thing, skipping over any replies. If there is no next message, it goes up a level and then finds the next message.
"Previous Message"
does the same in the opposite direction, but if there is no previous message, it just goes up a level.
"Out (or "Next Thread")
always goes up one level and then to the next message.
"More (or "Next-in-Thread")
goes to the next line in the tree of messages, no matter whether that is the first reply, a message at the same level or some higher level.

Frames support has been added. If you are using a browser that can display frames, you can try using HyperNews with frames by clicking on the "Frames" link on the bottom of the page. If you don't like it, you can turn it off by clicking on "No Frames". With frames, three frames will be displayed: a "base frame" in the top left, an "outline frame" in the upper right, and a "message frame" in the bottom half. Clicking on a message in the outline will display it in the message frame. So far, this should be obvious. What is not so obvious is that you can display any message in the base frame by clicking on the "New Frameset" link on the bottom of the message frame. Most other links will display either in the same frame or in a new window, so that the frame history is not lost.

Adding a Message

You can submit messages that are automatically displayed in the message tree at the end of the article. First make sure the thing you want to add the message to is displayed, and then just click on the "Add Message" button (or "Add" or "Respond", depending on what version you have) at the bottom of the page.

Please do not add a message to this page unless you are writing about the HyperNews instructions. Otherwise, first return to the page that you want to add your message to.

On the message form, you should provide a title that says something distinctive about what your message is. Any HTML tags in the title will be converted to plain text. If you leave the title empty, the title will be "Untitled".

Your message can be just the title if that is all you want to say. If you want to say more, you have to choose one of several formats:

Fill in your email address, if there is a space for it. The server may not know your correct address ahead of time.

Uncheck the notify box if you don't want to be notified by email about new messages. See "Notification" below.

Select a "Relation" if one is appropriate. The relation might be displayed using an icon.

Submitting your Message

When you are done editing your message, push the Preview Message button. The next page will be your message formatted as it will appear to readers (using your browser at least), with a Submit button at the top. If it looks OK, go ahead and Submit it.

If you want to edit your message, use your browser to back up to the previous page with the message form. (If it is empty, maybe try a different browser. Alternatively, copy the text of your message *before* you preview it.) Reloading the form page will clear out all the entries. You can't reload the preview page, and don't submit it twice for the same message (neither will do the right thing).

If you decide to not submit your message, just don't push the Submit button.

After you submit the message, you should be returned to a new version of the page you replyed to with your message added to the end. You may need to reload the page anyway if your browser uses the cached copy of the page instead of reloading it for you.

Administration of Messages

(Used to be: Deleting your Message and Moving Messages)

You can reorganize messages that have been posted by using the copy, move, and delete commands. Starting with version HyperNews 1.9B5.6, the copy, move, and delete operations are combined into one interface, and there are two ways to use it. The first way allows you to perform the action on the currently displayed message and all submessages: click on the Copy/Move/Delete link on the bottom of the page. The second way allows you to select several messages at once and perform the same operation on all of them: click on "Admin Mode" on the bottom of the page to redisplay the outline with a check box next to each message title, select the messages you want, and then click on the Copy/Move/Delete button.

Both ways lead to a form that gives you several options. You can specify a destination if you want to copy or move. The destination is a HyperNews relative path, relative to the directory HyperNews discussions are stored. For example, the destination for this page is /hypernews/instructions.html. The destination must be an existing article or message to which you want the messages added, so you have to know the name of the destination before you can do a copy or move. You also have the option of whether to notify subscribers at the destination.

You can specify whether to delete if you want to move or only delete. If you are not an administrator, you can generally only delete messages you own. If there are any submessages left after the deletion, the body of your message will be deleted, but there will still be a placeholder in the tree of messages; this will be removed once the submessages are deleted. If you also copied, the placeholder will forever forward the reader to the new location.

Subscribe, Unsubscribe, and Notification

You can be notified by email when any new messages are added to an article or message (or any replies to those messages etc). This section describes how.

If you are the author of an article or message, and you provided a correct email address, then you are automatically subscribed; you need do nothing. You may explicitly unsubscribe either when you post the message or by using the Notification feature described here.

To subscribe, unsubscribe, or inquire about your subscription status for a particular article or message, first display that article or message. Then select the "Subscribe" or "Notification" link at the bottom of the page.

On this Notification form, first enter your userid or email address if it is not filled in or not correct. Then you can either change any of your subscription information or inquire about it; select "Change" or "Inquire About" to choose.

The form allows you to change the subscription info for the message you were displaying, or any of its ancestors all the way up to the base article. The title of each message or article is displayed in a list and for each message or article in the list, you can select either "Subscribe", "Unsubscribe" or "Inherit". If you select "Inherit", that means you have not selected either "Subscribe" or "Unsubscribe" and so you will inherit whatever is selected at the level above.

You could use the notification feature in several ways. You could subscribe at the base article level and unsubscribe to discussions that have diverged into areas you are not interested in. Or you could stay unsubscribed at the base article level and only subscribe to discussions that are of interest - you'll have to find out about them first, of course. You are automatically subscribed to any message you write, figuring that you are probably interested in finding out about any replies to it.

Other HyperNews pages

Here are some other HyperNews pages about HyperNews.

Other Instructions Pages

And now for your edification, a list of other HyperNews instructions pages.

Daniel LaLiberte (
Last modified: Fri Jun 7 11:59:53 CDT 1996
trailers/mainfp.trailer August 21, 1996