cs - Conference System




The cs command invokes the conference system. It is called a “conference system” instead of a “bulletin board” or “message base” because active participation by system members is encouraged.

The conference system is where system members gather to discuss a variety of topics in open or closed forums. Networked conferences can include offsite participants, expanding the forums to users on computer systems around the world.

This tutorial will help you master the operation of CS in just a few minutes. First, all you really need to know to get around in the conference system is the RETURN (or ENTER) key. When you press RETURN, you are taken from one unread message to the next, from one topic to another, and so on.

Of course, if you find yourself wondering what to do next, you can type the question mark key (?) and a list of available commands or responses will be shown.

About Conferences and Topics

Each conference is dedicated to the discussion of one particular subject. For example, music. Within the “music” conference, there may be one or more subconferencing areas, called topics. Topics for the “music” conference might be “concerts”, “discs”, “reviews”, and so on.

Conferences come in two flavors: Open and Closed. An Open conference is one that anyone can join, while a Closed conference is by invitation only.

There are two kinds of topics, too: Local and Networked. Local topics are those in which only local system members participate. Networked topics let the whole world in on the act! People from remote sites, sometimes as far away as the other side of the world, exchange messages in networked topics.

Getting Started

Your first step in using the conference system will be to join conferences that interest you, then read some or all of the existing messages, respond to them, and add your own to the discussion.

There are three main areas in the conference system:


Select and work with conferences and topics.


Read messages and switch topics in a conference.


Enter text to create a new message.

You can get a detailed list of commands at each prompt by pressing “?”.

Joining A Conference

When you first enter CS, press RETURN to join the first conference with new messages since your last visit. If there are no new messages, you can choose to join a conference by using the (J)oin command.

Reading Messages

Once you’ve joined a conference and entered into a topic area, press RETURN to being reading new messages. Popular commands at the read> prompt are:


Display the next unread message.

Next takes you from one unread message to the Next. When you run out of unread messages in one conference/topic, Next takes you to the next conference you’re joined to with unread messages.


Change your unread message pointer.

If you’ve joined a new conference that has an over- whelming number of unread messages, you may choose not to read them all. Use Skip to skip over messages you don’t want to read.


Add a new message to the conference/topic.

Add allows you to add a brand new message. You’re asked to describe the subject of your message, and then you can begin writing it. This takes you to the add> prompt.


Reply to a message.

Like Add, Reply lets you contribute to the discussion. Use this command when you want to continue an ongoing discussion.

There are many more commands than those listed above. Type “?” at the read> prompt to see the complete listing of available commands.

Adding or Replying

When you Add or Reply to a message, you’re asked to enter the “Subject” of your contribution. Type in a brief description that summarizes what your message is about.

Next, type in your message. As with a pad of paper, you can write out your comment and edit it before you add it to the discussion. If you make a mistake in the line you are presently typing, you can backspace and correct it. If you want to make a change in an earlier line, finish the note and edit it later.

When done entering text, type a period on a new line and press RETURN. This takes you to the add> prompt where you can save or edit your message, as well as other options.

Now You’re Ready!

You now know enough about CS to use it effectively. Remember that you can always use “?” if you need to see a list of available commands no matter where you are. If you ever get into a situation that you wish you could get out of, use your Cancel Key (usually Control-C). Call upon the system administrator or one who is knowledgeable with the operation of the system if you find you need further assistance.

Quick Start Checklist

Upon entering CS, you may want to:


Use (L)ist to see a listing of available conferences.


Then use (J)oin to subscribe to a conference that interests you.


Finally, just keep pressing RETURN to read each unread message in succession until there are no more.

Happy Conferencing!


CS core program (loads faster from a RAM disk),
Initial greeting upon entering cs,
list of conferences with descriptions,
CS resources,
list of default conferences users join,
data files for each cs member,
help files for CS commands.

See Also

cs(F), cs.maint(C), csmod(C), postnews(C)