Google Groups FAQ



Introduction

This document contains answers to frequently asked questions made in
the official Google Groups Help Forum (which has been archive only
since August 2010). It is not intended to replace the official Google
Groups Help Center, tour and overview. Please read them if you haven't
already done so.

Update (June 2012): this FAQ contains answers mostly for the old Google
Groups until it has been entirely replaced by the new Google Groups.

Note: the November 8th, 2007 web version of this FAQ was used as a
base on the official Google Groups Help Forum for the collaborative FAQ.
 
 

Contents


1. My Account and Settings
2. Discussions
3. Managing My Group
4. Pages, Files, and Other Stuff
 
 
 

1. My Account and Settings


Q: Do I need a Gmail address to be able to use Google Groups?
Q: Do I need a Google account to be able to use Google Groups?
Q: How can I sign in to Google Groups?
Q: Why can't I sign in to Google Groups?
Q: How can I sign out from Google Groups?
Q: How can I see the Google Groups main page?
Q: How can I change my name?
Q: How can I change my email delivery settings?
Q: What kind of email delivery settings can I use?
Q: How do I prevent from being invited or added to a group?
Q: How can I see and edit my profile?
Q: Why can't I see some group sections or some parts of pages?
Q: How can I use a certain language setting with the Google Groups web interface?
 
 

2. Discussions


Q: How can I follow discussions?
Q: How can I find my messages?
Q: Why can't I receive messages?
Q: Why can't I send messages via email?
Q: Why can't I reply to messages?
Q: How can I delete a message?
Q: How can I delete a discussion topic?
Q: How can I delete all the messages in my group?
Q: How can I delete an attached file in a message?
Q: How can I attach files to my messages?
Q: How can I create links in my messages?
Q: How can I use a tree view to see a list of messages in a discussion?
Q: How can I get more information about a message?
Q: Why is the email address marked with dots?
Q: Why do I receive messages from a group when I shouldn't?
Q: Does Google Groups have a function to filter unwanted users?
Q: I don't want my messages archived. How can I get them removed automatically?
Q: Can I modify my messages?
Q: Can I use discussion board tags and codes in my messages?
Q: Can I use features such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript in my messages?
 
 

3. Managing My Group


Q: What kind of groups can I create?
Q: What is a public group?
Q: What is a private group?
Q: What is a moderated group?
Q: What is an announcement only group?
Q: What is an official Google help group?
Q: How can I find my groups?
Q: Why can't I see my groups?
Q: How can I change the settings of my group?
Q: How can I manage my group?
Q: How can I manage my group members?
Q: How can I change the names of my group members?
Q: How can I change the email delivery settings for my group members?
Q: How can I change the pictures of my group members?
Q: How can I change the ownership of my group?
Q: Why doesn't everyone in my group receive messages via email?
Q: How can I rename my group?
Q: How can I delete my group?
Q: How do I add members to my group?
Q: How do I invite members to my group?
Q: What is the difference between adding and inviting members?
Q: How can I re-invite members to my group?
Q: How can I copy the email addresses of the invited members so I can re-invite them?
Q: How can I remove the invited members so I can re-invite them?
Q: How do I export members list from my group?
Q: How do I import members to my group?
Q: Can I create sub groups for my group?
Q: How can I change the time zone of my group?
Q: I created a new group. How can I start a discussion?
Q: I was invited to Gmail. Where are all my groups?
 
 

4. Pages, Files, and Other Stuff


Q: Why can't I use a certain feature on my page?
Q: How can I delete a page?
Q: Why can't I upload my files?
Q: Can I use folders in the uploaded files section of my group?
Q: How can I delete an uploaded file?
Q: Why can't I see the main page and/or other parts of my group?
Q: How do I subscribe to a group?
Q: How do I unsubscribe from a group?
Q: How do I avoid spam?
Q: What is a Usenet newsgroup?
Q: Is the Usenet same as the Google Groups?
Q: Where can I ask about some other Google product?
Q: What is the version history of Google Groups?
Q: Do Google Groups employees answer in the Google Groups group?
Q: How can I contact the Google Groups team?
 

 

1. My Account and Settings

 
Q: Do I need a Gmail address to be able to use Google Groups?
No, you don't need a Gmail address (which can also be considered as
a Google account) to be able to use Google Groups. But if you want to
create, moderate or manage a group, you need to create a Google
account for your email address, see below.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: Do I need a Google account to be able to use Google Groups?
Yes and no, depending on how much you will be using Google Groups.

No, if you will not need to sign in to Google Groups for example to
create your own groups and if you don't need to change your Google
Groups settings (for example your name and email delivery settings).

Yes, if you want to sign in to Google Groups to be able to discuss by
also using the Google Groups web interface and if you want to create
and manage your own groups and if you want to change your Google
Groups settings.

You can create a Google account associated with your email address
here: https://www.google.com/accounts/NewAccount

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: How can I sign in to Google Groups?
1. Go to the Google Groups main page at http://groups.google.com/. To
go to that web address with your web browser, write that address to
the address bar of your web browser and press the Enter key (or
equivalent key) on your keyboard.

2. If you have followed step 1 and you are now on the Google Groups
main page and you see a "Sign out" link at the top of the page and you
also see an email address on the same line and if that email address
is not the email address you want to sign in to Google Groups, then
you need to sign out from Google Groups.

3. If you have followed step 2 and you now see a page where your email
address and password are asked, then you need to type your email
address to the "Email" text field and your password to the "Password"
text field and press the "Sign in" button. Instead of pressing the
"Sign in" button, you may also press the Enter key (or equivalent key)
on your keyboard.

4. You should now be signed in to Google Groups. If you are not signed
in to Google Groups, see question "Why can't I sign in to Google
Groups?" below for instructions.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: Why can't I sign in to Google Groups?
When you sign in to Google Groups, use the email address you have used
so far to sign in to Google Groups. Check the email address you are
giving to Google Groups when you sign in. Check the password you are
using. Use the Google Account password for signing in to Google
Groups. If you have no Google account associated with your current
email address, then you need to create one. If you have forgotten
your Google account username and/or password, see the Google Accounts
help pages for instructions:

http://www.google.com/support/accounts/bin/answer.py?answer=48598

If multiple people or multiple email addresses are used with the same
computer to access Google Groups, the previous user or email address
may still be signed in to Google Groups, so you need to sign out
first.

Many web services use cookies to know which user is signed in to that
service. Sometimes cookies get corrupted, so try to delete your
cookies for Google:

http://www.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=497&topic=8995
http://sites.google.com/site/tomihasa/google-general-faq#howtodeletecookies
http://groups.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=32050

You also need to allow cookies for Google:

http://sites.google.com/site/tomihasa/google-general-faq#howtoallowcookies
http://www.google.com/support/accounts/bin/answer.py?&answer=61416

If you have no Google account, but you have been invited to a group,
you need to accept the invitation by clicking the appropriate link
in the email message you have received. Then you need to create a
Google account to be able to sign in to Google Groups.

If you have no Google account, but you have been added to a group,
then you need to create a Google account to be able to sign in to
Google Groups.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: How can I sign out from Google Groups?
When you are signed in to Google Groups, on almost any Google Groups
page there should be a "Sign out" link at the top of the page. Click
that link to sign out. Make sure you are signed out from Google Groups
by looking at the top of the page. If you still see a "Sign out" link
at the top of the page then you might have accidentally clicked a
wrong link or maybe you had multiple web browser windows open in which
case try to close all the web browser windows.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: How can I see the Google Groups main page?
On almost any Google Groups page there should be a "My Groups" link at
the top of the page. Click that link and you should be redirected to
http://groups.google.com/. That page is also known as the "My Groups"
page, because you can access it with the "My Groups" link (when signed
in to Google Groups) and also because that page has the "My groups"
heading.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: How can I change my name?
To change your name in your email program/service, see the help pages
and documentation for your email program/service.

To change your Google account name, on almost any Google Groups page
you should see a "My Account" link at the top of the page. Click it
and then on the next page click the "Edit" link next to the "Personal
information" heading. Link for the Google Account page:

https://www.google.com/accounts/ManageAccount

To change your Google Groups profile name, click the "Profile" link at
the top of Google Groups main page. Then click the "edit" link next to
the "My profile" heading. Link for the Google Groups profile page:

http://groups.google.com/groups/profile?myprofile

To change your name for a group you have subscribed to, click the
"Edit my membership" link on the right hand side of the main page of
that group.

To change your name for all the groups you have subscribed to, go to
the Google Groups main page and click the "Manage my memberships"
link below the list of groups you own, manage or have subscribed to.
Link for the "Manage my memberships" page:

http://groups.google.com/groups/mysubs

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: How can I change my email delivery settings?
Sign in to Google Groups, go to the main page the group and click the
"Edit my membership" link (for a Google Groups discussion group) or
the "Edit my subscription" link (for a Usenet newsgroup) on the right
hand side of the page, and select one of the email delivery options.

You can also change all the delivery settings for all the groups you
have joined: go to the main page of Google Groups and click the
"Manage my memberships" link.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: What kind of email delivery settings can I use?
With a Google discussion group you can decide to get all the messages
sent to the group ("Email"), or no email at all ("No Email"), or one
email message containing a summary of new messages to the group
("Abridged Email") or email messages each containing 25 new messages
to the group ("Digest Email"). With a Usenet newsgroup you can't use
the "Email" delivery setting.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: How do I prevent from being invited or added to a group?
Sign in to Google Groups, go to the Google Groups main page and click
the "Manage my memberships" link and select the "Do not allow group
managers to invite me to their groups" and "Do not allow group
managers to directly add me to their groups" options and push the
"Save invitation preferences" button. You need to make those changes
for all the email addresses you use with Google Groups.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: How can I see and edit my profile?
On the Google Groups web interface click the "View profile" link next
to your name on one of the messages you have posted. Or click the
"Profile" link, which should be at the top of the page on almost any
Google Groups page (when you are signed in). Link for the profile
page:

http://groups.google.com/groups/profile?myprofile

If you also want to edit your profile, click the "edit" link next to
the "My profile" heading on your profile page. You should see seven
sections where you can change your information: "Name", "Location",
"Title", "Industry", "Website or Blog", "Quote", and "About me". If
you want to give for example more contact informations, such as your
AIM, ICQ, Jabber, MSN, Skype, Yahoo!, and other instant messenger and
chat names, you could list them on the "About me" section of your
profile. Or you could tell about them on one of your web pages (if you
have any) and then mention the URL (web address) of that web page on
the "Website or Blog" section of your profile.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: Why can't I see some group sections or some parts of pages?
1) If you can't see some of the group sections (discussions, pages,
files) at all, have the owner (which may be you), click on the "Group
settings" link on the right and then on "Access" to check to see if
these sections have been hidden.

2) If you can see the sections of your group but they're cut off or
falling off the page, then you may need to try the following settings
that should help you see them more easily:

Try changing the text size setting of your web browser. If you have
Internet Explorer 7 or 8 select the "Text Size" option from the "View"
menu. If you have Mozilla Firefox 3, select the "Zoom" option from the
"View" menu and. If you have Google Chrome 8, select the wrench tool
icon and look at the options next to the "Zoom" text. If you have
Safari 5, select "Zoom In" or "Zoom Out" from the "View" menu (if you
can't find the "View" menu, click the tool icon and select "Show Menu
Bar").

Try maximizing your web browser window. If you are using the
Windows operating system, left-click once the icon on the top left
hand corner of the browser and select the "Maximize" option (if you
don't see that option available, then your web browser window might
already be maximized).

Try increasing the screen resolution. If you are using the Windows
operating system, from the Control Panel, double-click the "Display"
icon, select the "Settings" tab, and adjust the screen resolution by
dragging the controller under text "Screen resolution". (You can find
the Control Panel by pressing the "Start" button and selecting
"Settings". Or you can find the "Display" window by right-clicking the
Windows Desktop and selecting "Properties" option from the pop-up menu
that appears.)

3) If none of the above helps, then try another web browser (Internet
Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera, Safari, etc.) as
Google Groups have been known having different layout problems with
various web browsers.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: How can I use a certain language setting with the Google Groups web interface?
To change the language settings for Google and your web browser, see
this page:

http://sites.google.com/site/tomihasa/google-general-faq#changelanguage

If you are encountering problems with your group, check the language
setting for your group from "Group settings", "Advanced", "Primary
language".

If changing the language settings for Google, your web browser and
operating system doesn't help, then it's probably a bug in Google
Groups, but you should be able to force Google Groups to use a certain
language by defining the web interface language by adding ?hl=xx
(where xx is the language code) to the current URL (web address) in
the address bar of your web browser. For example, if you are on the
below Google Groups page:

   http://groups.google.com/grphp?

and you want to use the English language, try adding hl=en to the end
of the URL (and press Enter or equivalent key):

   http://groups.google.com/grphp?hl=en

See the below page for a list of some of the language codes you can
use with Google:

http://sites.google.com/site/tomihasa/google-language-codes

----------------------------------------------------------------------

2. Discussions

Q: How can I follow discussions?
----------------------------------------------------------------------
You can bookmark discussions by clicking the star on the discussion
page below the topic of the discussion so that the star color changes
to yellow.

If you want to receive email notifications, on the discussion page,
click the "Options" link at the top of the page and then the "Email
updates to me" link. You can only get email notifications for Google
Groups discussions group, not for Usenet newsgroups.

To find the discussions you have bookmarked, go to the Google Groups
main page and click the "Favorites" link at the top of the page. The
maximum number of Google Groups bookmarks seems to be 200 (March
2007).

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: How can I find my messages?
You can go to your profile to see the discussions you have
participated in with your current email address.

You can search for previous messages posted by you by using the Google
Groups search function: go to the Google Groups main page, type
author:YOUR.EMAIL @ADDRESS.COM (remove the space before the @
character) and press the "Search Groups" button.

Or use the Advanced Groups Search page and type your email address to
the "Author" text field and press the "Advanced Search" button.

You can also use Google Alerts to get alerts for messages that contain
keywords you are interested in (for example your name or email
address).

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: Why can't I receive messages?
If you have been invited to a group, you need verify you want to be a
member of that group by clicking the appropriate link in the
invitation email message that has been sent to you.

Check your settings. If you already are a member of the group, check
the email delivery settings for your email address for that group.
Maybe you or a group manager has accidentally changed your email
delivery settings, unsubscribed you or even banned you.

Check the email address you are using. Maybe you have subscribed to
the group using a different email address.

If you are using Gmail, it can be a feature of Gmail:

http://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?&answer=6588
http://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?&answer=66346

See the unofficial troubleshooting guide for more possible reasons
and instructions:

http://sites.google.com/site/tomihasa/google-groups-sending-messages

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: Why can't I send messages via email?
If the group is moderated, you need to wait until your message is
accepted.

If the group uses the "People have to be invited" or "People can
request an invitation to join" setting, you need to be invited to that
group and you need to accept the invitation.

If the group is a Usenet newsgroup, your messages will not appear,
because Google Groups doesn't support sending messages via email to
Usenet newsgroups.

Check your membership. You need to be a member of the group with your
current email address (unless the group uses the "Anyone can post"
setting on the "Access" tab of the group settings).

Check the group settings. If you are the owner or manager of the
group, go to the "Access" tab of your group settings. If the setting
"Who can post messages?" is "Managers only" then only managers can
post to that group. If you are using the setting "All messages are
held for moderation" then all messages need to be approved first. Go
to the "Email delivery" tab. If the setting "Replies are sent to the
whole group" is not used, then your group might not show any messages.

Check the settings of the members of the group. If you are the owner
or manager of the group, click the "Management tasks" link and go to
the "Manage members" tab. Look at the "Delivery" column. If the
setting is "Bouncing" for someone, that person might be using a
vacation setting or has deleted his email account or may have some
other problems. If the setting is "Banned" for someone, that member
may not post messages. Now look at the "Posting" column. If the
setting is "Not allowed - override" maybe you or someone else has
disallowed that member from sending messages to the group
intentionally or accidentally.

Check the moderation queue. Sometimes the automatic spam filtering
system in Google Groups marks some messages as "Message may be spam"
so if you are the owner or manager of the group, click the "Management
tasks" link, go to the "Review pending messages" tab and see if your
message is in the moderation queue.

Check the email address of the group. You need to send your messages
to the correct group address.

Check the settings of your email program/service. If you are using a
forwarding or a vacation setting with your email program/service, that
can cause problems if you are sending automatic email messages to
Google Groups, which could think you are on a vacation (or even a
spammer).

Check the settings of your security software (virus scanner, firewall,
spyware remover, etc.) as it may be blocking your email traffic.

Check the size of your messages. Make sure that the size of the email
message including file attachments is no more than 2 MB, which seems
to be the current size limit at the moment (year 2008).

Check your location. If you are trying to send email from work or
other organization, maybe there is a computer or company firewall or
other settings that do not allow you to send email messages with every
email service to every internet domain, in which case you may need to
contact the system/network administrator of the company.

If the problem is not with any of the above, then it might be a
lagging problem and you may need to wait from a few minutes to a few
hours (sometimes maybe even a few days) before your message appears
and/or will be delivered. If your message doesn't appear in about a
week, then it's probably a problem with Google Groups.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: Why can't I reply to messages?
To reply with the Google Groups web interface, you need to be signed
in to Google Groups.

You can't reply in a group unless you are a member of the group
(unmoderated Usenet newsgroups seem to be an exception).

You can't reply to messages older than 60 days. Google Groups is not
the only discussion service to use a time limit for replying to
messages. The probable reason for a time limit is that the longer
the discussion gets the more probably no-one has time or interest
to read all the messages in the discussion and the longer the
discussion gets, the more useless it gets.

You can't reply to a discussion topic if the group owner or manager
uses the "Close this topic" setting for that discussion topic.

If you try to post a message and you see a server error or a message
that for example says "An error was encountered while trying to post,
please try again later." then you may need to post the same message
again as the server may have been too busy or it no longer works
correctly. To post the message again, you may need to copy the text
in your message that didn't get posted, go to the discussions section
of the group, go to the discussion topic and reply again. If you
copied your text, you can paste it to your answer (to save time from
typing the same text again).

If you are using your email program/service to discuss with group
members, your email service provider may have problems. Or maybe you
have accidentally changed the settings of your email program. Also,
incorrect settings in your security software (virus scanner, firewall,
spyware remover, etc.) may prevent you from sending messages. If you
are trying to send messages from a company, the computer's firewall
or company firewall may also prevent you from accessing your email
service provider or from sending some or all the messages to some or
all the email addresses.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: How can I delete a message?
You can remove a message from the Google Groups web interface by
clicking the "More options" link next to the point of time of the
message and then by clicking the "Remove" link.

To remove a message you have posted yourself, you need to be signed in
with the same email address you used to post the message.

To remove messages other people have posted from a group you own or
manage, you need to be signed in using the email address that is used
as to own or manage the group.

When you delete a message using the Google Groups web interface, the
email version (that is sent to people who use the "Email" delivery
setting for a group) of the message does not get removed. Also, keep
in mind, that Usenet newsgroups are different than Google Groups
discussion groups. When you post a message to a Usenet newsgroup and
then in Google Groups you use the "Remove" link for that message, the
message will only be removed from the Google Groups Usenet archive,
not from the Usenet news servers or from other Usenet archival
services or from web sites that copy messages from Usenet newsgroups
to their own web pages.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: How can I delete a discussion topic?
Google Groups has no bulk function to remove discussions with a single
mouse click (March 2007). Instead, you need to remove every message in
the discussion individually. To remove a message, see the question
"How can I delete a message?".

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: How can I delete all the messages in my group?
Google Groups has no function to remove all the messages in a group
with a single click (March 2007). Instead, you need to remove every
message in the group individually. To remove a message, see the
question "How can I delete a message?".

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: How can I delete an attached file in a message?
After the message has been posted to a discussion group, the attached
file can not be removed from the message. But, of course, you can
delete the whole message (see the three above questions for
instructions).

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: How can I attach files to my messages?
You can not use file attachments with your messages by posting a
message with the Google Groups web interface (March 2007), but you can
use file attachments by using an email program/service that supports
file attachments by sending the email message to the group email
address (this does not work with Usenet newsgroups). The size limit
for the message including file attachments seems to be 2 MB.

You probably can not copy and paste files to your messages, instead
you probably need to use the file attachment function of your email
program/service. See the help pages and manuals for your email
program/service on how to attach files. Keep in mind that Google
Groups or your web browser can not show every file format in the world
if you decide to click the link for the file in the Google Groups web
interface to view it.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: How can I create links in my messages?
Type, or copy and paste, the URL (web address) to your message and the
Google Groups web interface will automatically make it a link.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: How can I use a tree view to see a list of messages in a discussion?
Go to the discussion topic page you are interested in, at the top of
the discussion page click the "Options" link and then the "View as
tree" link.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: How can I get more information about a message?
Click the "More options" link on a message. Then click the "Show
original" link to see the headers of the message ("From:", "To:",
"Subject:", "Message-ID:", etc.). From the headers you might find out
for example the IP address, web browser's or email program's or Usenet
newsreader's name and version, operating system's name and version,
character set, content encoding, Usenet news server (for a Usenet
newsgroup article), and of course the original format of the message
contents. With official Google groups (excluding Google's Usenet
newsgroups) there is no "Show original" link.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: Why do I receive messages from a group when I shouldn't?
If you changed your delivery setting to "No Email" for a group, maybe
the change wasn't a success, so check your email delivery settings for
that group. It may take a few hours before the change will take
effect.

If you unsubscribed from a group and you still are receiving emails
from that group, maybe your unsubscription wasn't a success, so check
are you really unsubscribed from that group. It may take a few hours
before the change will take effect.

If you have subscribed to a group with another email address, you need
to unsubscribe with that email address also.

If you are using a forwarding or other redirecting or filtering
setting with your current or other email address, fix the settings for
that other email address or try to change the Google Groups email
delivery settings for that other email address or even unsubscribe
from the group with that other email address.

Maybe the group owner has added your email address back, so
unsubscribe from the group again. If a group owner or manager adds
your address yet another time, contact the group owner or even the
Google Groups team.

Maybe it only looks like the messages have been sent from a Google
Groups discussion group, but in fact it is a spammer that has forged
the email address to look like the message has been sent from a Google
Groups discussion group.

Maybe it's a bug in Google Groups, in which case contact the Google
Groups team.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: Does Google Groups have a function to filter unwanted users?
No, Google Groups has no killfile or other setting to filter messages
from users you don't want to see.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: I don't want my messages archived. How can I get them removed automatically?
Google Groups has no setting for a group owner to get messages removed
automatically after a certain time period (situation in March 2007).

Because many Usenet users don't want their newsgroup postings archived
by Usenet archival services (such as Google Groups), you can use the
following line (in the body of your message, not in a file attachment)
as the first line in your message not only in Usenet newsgroups but
also in Google Groups discussion groups:

X-No-Archive: Yes

That message will be removed from the Google Groups archive in seven
days. If you are using a Usenet newsreader with Usenet newsgroups, you
can also use this header: X-No-Archive: yes (if your Usenet newsreader
supports modifying headers).

If you use the aforementioned text line or header, the Google Groups
web interface will show this kind of text in red background for the
message: "Note: The author of this message requested that it not be
archived. This message will be removed from Groups in X days" (where X
is the amount of days left).

When you delete a message using the "X-No-Archive: Yes" text line or
header, the email version (that is sent to people who use the "Email"
delivery setting for a group) of the message does not get removed.
Also, keep in mind, that Usenet newsgroups are different than Google
Groups discussion groups. When you post a message to a Usenet
newsgroup and at the same time you use the "X-No-Archive: Yes" text
line or header in that message, the message will only be removed from
Usenet newsgroup archival services (such as Google Groups) that obey
the "X-No-Archive: Yes" text line or header, not from the Usenet news
servers themselves or from web sites that copy messages from Usenet
newsgroups to their own web pages.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: Can I modify my messages?
Yes, with new Google Groups (GG4) you can.

No, with old Google Groups (GG3) you can't.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: Can I use discussion board tags and codes in my messages?
No, Google Groups web interface doesn't support discussion board tags
such as [quote] [/quote] or <blockquote> </blockquote> used for
example in BBCode, Ikonboard, phpBB, vBulletin, WWWBoard, and YaBB.
Instead, discussion board codes are shown as they are without
any special effects.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: Can I use features such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript in my messages?
If you post your message using the Google Groups web interface you
can not use for example HTML, CSS and JavaScript in your message so
that they would work. Instead, they will be shown as text in your
message.

If you send your message via email, you can not use for example HTML,
CSS and JavaScript in the message body. But if you send an HTML file
as a file attachment, Google Groups web interface should support some
of the HTML features, but it will remove for example <bgsound>,
<embed>, <iframe>, <object>, and <script> tags, so you can't use for
example JavaScript or embedded videos with your messages, but you
should be able to use "inline style CSS" (CSS that is defined for
example in a paragraph tag). In addition to attaching an HTML file to
your email message, your email program/service might use HTML in the
messages, but in that case you may need to look for a "Send as HTML"
or "Rich Text Format" or a similar kind of setting. You may need to
experiment with your settings a little.

A possible reason why some tags in HTML are removed might be because
of security issues, because for example <embed>, <iframe>, and
<script> tags could be used to infect computers with viruses.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: Why is the email address marked with dots?
Because spammers use automatic bots to collect email addresses from
web pages, the Google Groups web interface munges (hides partly) email
addresses mentioned in messages so that the three characters to left
of the @ character in the email address are changed to a link with
three dots (...). Click the link and answer the question on the next
page (it is called a CAPTCHA page) to unlock the email addresses
mentioned on the message.

In official Google discussion groups email addresses mentioned in
messages are totally hidden so that they have been replaced with this
text: [email address]. In official Google discussion groups you can't
unlock email addresses mentioned in messages.

If you want to tell your email address in a message, you could try
adding a space on left or right of the @ character or you could
replace the @ character for example with (at), *, or some other way.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

3. Manage My Group

Q: What kind of groups can I create?
You can create for example a public group, private group, moderated
group or an announcement only group. You can also change other aspects
of your group like how it looks and what sections (discussions, pages,
files) you can see.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: What is a public group?
A public group can be accessed by anyone. You don't need to be a
member of the group to see at least the discussions of the group. A
public group uses for example the "Anybody can view group content"
setting (see the "Access" tab from the group settings).

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: What is a private group?
A private group can be accessed only by the members of the group. A
private group needs to have the "Only members can view group content"
setting used with the "People have to be invited" or "People can
request an invitation to join" setting (see the "Access" tab from the
group settings).

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: What is a moderated group?
A moderated group means that messages must be approved by group owners
or managers before they will appear on the discussions section of the
group. With a moderated group you can use the "All messages are held
for moderation" setting. Or you can also select the "No moderation
- messages are delivered directly" setting and then the "Messages from
new members are moderated" setting below it (see the "Access" tab from
the group settings). You can also go to the "Manage members" page and
change the moderation settings for the members individually.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: What is an announcement only group?
The idea of an announcement only group is that only the group managers
can post messages to the group and no-one else. To create an
announcement only group, change the "Who can post messages?" setting
to "Managers only" ("Access" tab in group settings) and the "Replies
to messages" setting to "Replies are sent to the author of the
message" or "Replies are sent to the owners of the group" ("Email
delivery" tab in group settings).

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: What is an official Google help group?
An official Google help group means a group that is created and
managed by a Google employee. Many Google services mention their own
group in their help pages.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: How can I find my groups?
Sign in to Google Groups with the email address you are using as the
owner or manager of your group. Then go to the Google Groups main page
to see the list of the group you own, manage or you have subscribed
to. If you have joined many groups, it can be difficult to find your
group, so try the search function of your web browser (try pressing
Ctrl+f) and search for the name of your group. If you are using many
email addresses to own and manage your groups, try signing in with all
of your email addresses until you find the email address that is set
as the owner or manager of the group.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: Why can't I see my groups?
Sometimes when you sign in to Google Groups, and you go to the Google
Groups main page, you may not see a list of any of the groups you own,
manage or you have subscribed to with your current email address.
Maybe the Google Groups servers were too busy, so try to reload the
page:

http://sites.google.com/site/tomihasa/google-general-faq#reloadwebpage

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: How can I change the settings of my group?
Sign in to Google Groups with the email address you are using as the
owner or manager of your group. Go to the main page of your group and
click the "Group settings" link on the right hand side of the page.
You should now see seven tabs (links): "General", "Access",
"Appearance", "Navigation", "Email delivery", "Categories", and
"Advanced". Keep in mind that the owner of the group is able to do
more with the settings (for example delete the group) than a manager.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: How can I manage my group?
Sign in to Google Groups with the email address you are using as the
owner or manager of your group. Go to the main page of your group and
click the "Management tasks" link on the right hand side of the page.
You should now see three tabs (links): "Review pending messages",
"Review pending members", and "Manage members". Keep in mind that the
owner of the group is able to manage the group more (for example
remove an owner) than a manager.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: How can I manage my group members?
Go to the main page of your group and click the "Management tasks"
link on the right hand side of the page. Then click the "Manage
members" link. From the "Manage members" page you can change the
delivery type and group membership for the group members. If you click
the "Edit" link for a member, you can also change the "Posting
permission" for that member.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: How can I change the names of my group members?
You can't change the names of your group members. But when you add or
invite a group member, you can define the name and email address of
the member like this: "first.last" <first.last @somewhere.com> (remove
the space before the @ character). Also, the members themselves can
change their name in their email program, Google Account page, Google
Groups profile page, and on the "Edit my membership" page of a group
they have joined.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: How can I change the email delivery settings for my group members?
Go to the management tasks section of your group and then click the
"Manage members" link. You can select the users you want to modify and
then select the appropriate delivery type from the "Set delivery type"
selection box. Remember to push the "OK" button next to the correct
selection box. You can also click on the "Edit" link next to a
member's name and then change their settings under "Subscription type"
and click on the "Save Changes" button.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: How can I change the pictures of my group members?
You can not change the pictures for your group members, but they can
change their own profile picture from their profile page.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: How can I change the ownership of my group?
Sign in as the owner of your group, go to the main page of your group,
click the "Management tasks" link on the right hand side of the page,
click the "Manage members" link, make another email address as the
owner of the group (you may need to add that email address as a member
of the group first) by clicking the "Edit" link next to the email
address you want to make a group owner, change the membership type to
"Owner" and press the "Save Changes" button. Now you can change the
membership type for your current email address to "Regular member" if
you don't want that email address to be the group owner anymore. Then,
if needed, you can even unsubscribe from the group with your current
email address.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: Why doesn't everyone in my group receive messages via email?
If the member is non-verified, that member will not receive messages
sent to the group. When you invite someone to your group, that person
needs to verify he wants to be a member of your group by clicking the
appropriate link in the invitation email message.

If the email delivery setting for a group member is "No Email" that
member will not receive messages sent to the group. You can change the
email delivery settings for your group members, but a group member can
change his email delivery back to the setting he likes (for example to
"No Email").

See the unofficial troubleshooting guide for more reasons:

http://sites.google.com/site/tomihasa/google-groups-sending-messages

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: How can I rename my group?
To change the name of your group, sign in as the owner of the group,
go to the main page of your group, click the "Group settings" link on
the right hand side of the page, and on the "General" tab press the
"Edit" button. Now you can only the change the name of your group that
appears on top of the group web pages, or you can also change the
email address of your group. If you change the email address of your
group, the URL (web address) of your group will change appropriately.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: How can I delete my group?
Go to the group settings section of your group and click the
"Advanced" link. Then push the "Delete Group" button. You need to be
signed in as the owner of the group to be able to remove your group.

Keep in mind, that if you delete a group, you will no longer be able
to create it again so that the group would have the same email address
and web address as before (March 2007).

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: How do I add members to my group?
Click the "Invite members" link on the right hand side of the main
page of your group and click the "Add members directly" link. Write
the email address to the text box. You may also add the name of the
person (if you know it) inside quotation marks before the email
address so that there is a space between the name and the address. You
can add more than one member at a time so that each one is on its own
line like this (email3 has no nickname defined in the example):

   "nick1" <email1>
   "nick2" <email2>
   email3

Then press the "Add members" button.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: How do I invite members to my group?
Click the "Invite members" link on the right hand side of the main
page of your group and you should see the "Invite members by email"
page. Write the email address to the text box. You may also add the
name of the person (if you know it) inside quotation marks before the
email address so that there is a space between the name and the
address. You can add more than one member at a time so that each one
is on its own line like this (email3 has no nickname defined in the
example):

   "nick1" <email1>
   "nick2" <email2>
   email3

Then press the "Invite members" button.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: What is the difference between adding and inviting members?
When you add someone to your group that person starts receiving via
email messages posted to the group (if he uses the "Email" delivery
setting for the group). That person also receives an email message,
which tells him that he has been added to your group.

When you invite someone to your group that person needs to accept the
invitation by clicking the appropriate link in the invitation message.
That person will not receive via email messages posted to the group
until he has accepted the invitation (and he uses the "Email" delivery
setting for the group).

Keep in mind that a person might possibly use the "Do not allow group
managers to invite me to their groups" and/or "Do not allow group
managers to directly add me to their groups" options in Google Groups,
because not everyone wants to be added or invited to groups.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: How can I re-invite members to my group?
First copy the email addresses of the invited people, then remove the
open invitations from the "Open Invitations" section (see the next two
questions on how to do that), and then re-invite the copied email
addresses using Google Groups. Or instead of using Google Groups to
re-invite people you could use your email program or service and send
email to all the people you want to invite and in the email message
mention the URL (web address) of the group so people can visit the
group and subscribe to it if they are interested in it.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: How can I copy the email addresses of the invited members so I can re-invite them?
Click the "Management tasks" link, click the "Manage members" link,
click the "Open Invitations" link, copy the email addresses to a text
file one by one. Or you could push the "Export member list" button to
download the members list in a CSV file, open the CSV file with a
spreadsheet program (e.g. with OpenOffice.org Calc or Microsoft Excel)
and only copy the email addresses marked as "invited".

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: How can I remove the invited members so I can re-invite them?
Click the "Management tasks" link, click the "Manage members" link,
click the "Open Invitations" link, and remove invited email addresses.
Before removing the email addresses you probably want to copy them
first to be able to re-invite them (see the above question on how to
do that).

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: How do I export members list from my group?
Click the "Management tasks" link on the right hand side of the main
page of your group, click the "Manage members" link, press the "Export
member list" button and you should be able to save the members list
as a CSV file, which you should be able to open with a spreadsheet
program (for example OpenOffice.org Calc or Microsoft Excel). If you
open the file and if your spreadsheet program asks the character set,
it should be "Unicode" (or "UTF-8").

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: How do I import members to my group?
Google Groups supports adding members for example so that the
nicknames are in quotation marks and separated with a space from the
email addresses inside less than and greater than symbols like this:

   "name" <email>

If your members list is in a spreadsheet file (for example .xls, .ods,
or .csv) and if the file contains at least nicknames and email
addresses, open the file with a spreadsheet program (for example
OpenOffice.org Calc or Microsoft Excel). Save the file with a new name
(so you won't accidentally save the changes to your current file).
Move the nicknames column to the left side of the email addresses
column (if it isn't there already). Add a new column to the left of
the nicknames column and add quotation mark to every cell on that
column to as many cells as there are nicknames on the nicknames
column. Add a new column to the right of the nicknames column and add
quotation mark followed by a space to every cell on that column. Add a
new column to the left of the email address column and add less than
symbol to every cell on that column to as many cells as there are
email addresses on the email addresses column. Add a new column to the
right of the email addresses column and add greater than symbol to
every cell on that column.

The contents of your columns should now look something like this:

   "   nick1   "    <   email1   >
   "   nick2   "    <   email2   >
   "   nick3   "    <   email3   >

Copy and paste only those six columns (without column headers) to a
text editor (e.g. Notepad), use the "search and replace" function of
your text editor to remove tabs from the list and the list should look
like this:

   "nick1" <email1>
   "nick2" <email2>
   "nick3" <email3>

Now you can copy and paste the list on the "Invite members" section of
your group to the "Invite members by email" or "Add members directly"
page.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: Can I create sub groups for my group?
No, you can't create sub groups (also known as categories) for your
group (March 2007).

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: How can I change the time zone of my group?
Google Groups has no function to change the time zone for a group
(March 2007). But you could check the time settings of your computer,
email service and Google account, which, of course, is not the same
thing.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: I created a new group. How can I start a discussion?
Go to the main page of your group, click the "Discussions" link on the
right hand side of the page and you should end up to this kind of
page:

http://groups.google.com/group/NAME/topics

(Replace NAME with the appropriate characters for your group.)

You should see a link and a button to start a new discussion and when
you click one of them you should end up to this kind of page:

http://groups.google.com/group/NAME/post

(Replace NAME with the appropriate characters for your group.)

If you still can't see the discussions section for your group, make
sure you have allowed the discussions section for your group on the
"Navigation" tab of the group settings.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: I was invited to Gmail. Where are all my groups?
When you are invited to Gmail (or Google Mail) and you accept the
invitation, the group membership does not automatically transfer to
the new Gmail account. You need to add your new Gmail address as a
member to the groups you want.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

4. Pages, Files, and Other Stuff

Q: Why can't I use a certain feature on my page?
You can't use for example embedded videos or JavaScript on Google
Groups pages, because Google Groups removes for example the following
HTML tags (in HTML source): <bgsound>, <embed>, <form>, <iframe>,
<object>, <script> (March 2007).

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: How can I delete a page?
To be able to delete a page from the Pages section of your group, you
need to be signed in as the creator of the page or as the owner or
manager of the group. Go to the Pages section of your group and select
the page you want to delete. Click the "Edit" link, which is on the
same line as the name of the page. Click the "Options" link, which is
on the same line as the name of the page. Click the "Delete page"
link and reply "OK" to the confirmation question.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: Why can't I upload my files?
The size limit for a single uploaded file seems to be 10 MB in the
uploaded files section of a group. You can not upload larger files
than that. File system and encoding issues lower the actual size
limit. The quota (total file usage for all the files in the uploaded
files section of a group) is 100 MB (March 2007). You can not upload
more than that.

If the file you are trying to upload is substantially less than the
size limit, then the problem might be with your connection to Google.
Your internet connection speed might be good enough, but there can
be problems in one of the cables or servers between your system and
Google.

If your group members need more quota for their files and photos, they
could use for example Google Page Creator and Picasa Web Albums:

http://pages.google.com/
http://picasaweb.google.com/

Also, Google Groups doesn't allow you to upload potentially dangerous
files, such as files with file extensions .bat, .com, .exe, .pif, or
.scr. Instead, you probably get a message with this kind of text:

"Unable to upload unsupported file type of file: [name].[extension]"

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: Can I use folders in the uploaded files section of my group?
No, you can not use folders in the uploaded files section of your
group (March 2007). But you could upload packed files, such as ZIP
files, which may contain files and directories inside them. If you
want to access the files and directories inside a packed file, you
need to download it to your computer and then open it.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: How can I delete an uploaded file?
To be able to delete an uploaded file from the Files section of your
group, you need to be signed in as the uploader of the file or as the
owner or manager of the group. Go to the Files section of your group
and select the "Rename & delete files" link above the list of file
names. Click the "Delete" link on the same line where you see the name
of the file you want to delete. You may select more than one file to
be deleted. Go to the bottom of the current page and push the "Save
changes" button. Reply "OK" to the confirmation question.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: Why can't I see the main page and/or other parts of my group?
If you can't see your group's main page and/or sections of your group
when you sign in to Google Groups as the owner of the group and if
you have tried different web browsers (Internet Explorer, Mozilla
Firefox, Opera, etc.), then it's probably a bug Google Groups:

http://groups.google.com/group/Is-Something-Broken/browse_thread/thread/d36ffd2de3b235df/a62f60b19d75b8e9#a62f60b19d75b8e9

In that case try to contact the Google Groups team and mention your
group address, the group owner's email address and other suitable
information:

http://groups.google.com/support/bin/request.py

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: How do I subscribe to a group?
Sign in to Google Groups, go to the main page of the group, and click
the "Join this group" link (public group) or the "Apply for group
membership" link (private group) or the "Subscribe to this group" link
(Usenet newsgroup).

If it is a public Google Groups discussion group or a Usenet
newsgroup, you should also be able to subscribe to the group by
sending an email message to NAME+subscribe @googlegroups.com (replace
NAME with the appropriate characters for the group and also remove the
space before the @ character). You should receive a confirmation email
message. Click the appropriate link in the confirmation message or
reply to the message.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: How do I unsubscribe from a group?
Sign in to Google Groups, go to the main page of the group, click the
"Edit my membership" link (for a Google Groups discussion group) or
the "Edit my subscription" link (for a Usenet newsgroup) on the right
side of the page and then press the "Unsubscribe" button.

You should also be able to unsubscribe from the group by sending an
email message to NAME+unsubscribe @googlegroups.com (replace NAME with
the appropriate characters for the group and also remove the space
before the @ character). Click the appropriate link in the
confirmation message or reply to the message.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: How do I avoid spam?
When you use your email address on web sites, automatic bots may
collect your email address from the web pages and start sending spam.
Also, when you sign in to a web service or a discussion group, the
owner or one of the employees of the service, or the owner or one of
the members of the forum might be a spammer and collect email
addresses. Some spammers sell databases of email addresses to other
spammers. Also, some spammers use electronic dictionaries to generate
email addresses and some of the email addresses might actually even
exist. The Google Groups web interface does munge (hide partly) the
email addresses, but you only need one spammer on a group to collect
the email addresses of the users. So one way to avoid spam is to
create a free email address for collecting spam messages. Another
option is to use a spam filtering program (or setting, if your email
service provider has that kind of setting).

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: What is a Usenet newsgroup?
A Usenet newsgroup is part of the Usenet news system. Usenet was
created in 1979 (over 20 years before Google Groups was born). Usenet
newsgroups were meant to be accessed with Usenet newsreader programs,
but later there appeared also web-based Usenet newsreaders that
allowed people to access newsgroups with web browsers. Many Usenet
newsgroups are not moderated, which means many of them may be full of
spam messages and off-topic discussions. On the other hand, they can
be accessed with old computers and with slow internet connections
(e.g. dial-up connections) using a simple Usenet newsreader
application, such as slrn and tin.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: Is the Usenet same as the Google Groups?
No. Google Groups started in 2001 as a Usenet newsgroup archive and a
web-based Usenet newsreader (over 20 years after Usenet was created).
In 2004 Google Groups added the ability to create your own Google
Groups discussion groups. Usenet newsgroups are not owned by Google,
they are propagated to different Usenet news servers, which are owned
by different organizations. Google Groups archives text-only Usenet
newsgroups (there are also binary Usenet newsgroups). With Google
Groups discussion groups you can use for example the files, pages,
members, and settings sections for a group, with Usenet newsgroups you
can't.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: Where can I ask about some other Google product?
With many Google services you should be able to find the appropriate
discussion group by going to the main page of that Google service,
clicking the link for the help pages and then the link for the help
group.

The below page lists links to many help pages for many Google
services:

http://www.google.com/support/

The following page includes some of the official and unofficial Google
forums and newsgroups:

http://sites.google.com/site/tomihasa/google-forums

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: What is the version history of Google Groups?
Google acquired DejaNews in February 2001, so the first version of
Google Groups (Google Groups 1, GG1) used DejaNews technology. Google
Groups 1 was a Usenet newsgroup archive service and a web-based Usenet
newsreader.

Google Groups 2 (GG2) was published as Beta in May 2004. With Google
Groups 2 you were able to create your own Google Groups discussion
groups. By the end of July 2005 all the Google Groups 1 sites were
replaced by GG2 sites.

Google Groups 3 (GG3) was introduced as Beta in October 2006. It
replaced most of the GG2 sites in January 2007. With Google Groups 3
you can create editable pages, upload files and change the outlook of
your group.

Google Groups 4 (GG4) should replace Google Groups 3 in 2011 or some
year after that:

http://groups-announcements.blogspot.com/2010/09/notice-about-pages-and-files.html

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: Do Google Groups employees answer in the Google Groups group?
Not anymore since August 2010 when the official group was archived. A
Google employee uses the name "Google Groups Guide" and messages
posted by Google employees were marked with a blue and white "G"
logo. Here is a post from the "Google Groups Guide":

http://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups#!topic/groupsknownissues/BHx5OgDdJ1M

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: How can I contact the Google Groups team?
With many Google services the contact link has been hidden to the sub
pages of the help pages. The link for the contact form is:

http://groups.google.com/support/bin/request.py

----------------------------------------------------------------------


Copyright (C) 2007—2012: Tomi Häsä (tomi.hasa@gmail.com).

Disclaimer: This article is provided as is without any express or
implied warranties. While every effort has been taken to ensure the
accuracy of the information contained in this article, the
contributor assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions, or for
damages resulting from the use of the information contained herein.


Last modified: June 14th, 2012

Author: Tomi Häsä (tomi.hasa@gmail.com)

URL: http://sites.google.com/site/tomihasa/google-groups-faq

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