Cancelling Articles

Things Twice
Here are directions for cancelling a post to or HWY61-L
To receive a copy of these directions by e-mail, simply
send an e-mail to (no subject or message is needed)
and the EDLIS auto-responder will send you the directions.

Last revised: July 10, 1997

Okay, so you've sent a posting either to (usenet) or HWY61-L (the mailing list) and you immediately think, "Why on earth did I do that? Surely there must be some way to delete it?". Well, worry no more! This file sets out the procedure you must follow to cancel such articles.


1. Articles sent to (ie. via usenet news)
2. Articles sent to HWY61-L (the mailing list)
3. DejaNews (
4. Further advice

Articles sent to (ie. via usenet news)

You can either get your software to cancel the article for you or perform the cancellation manually. The former is clearly the best option if available.

  1. Automatic cancellation.
    The number of different newsreaders available is high enough to make providing software-specific instructions impractical. However, the following may be of use:

    Use your newsreader to locate the article you wish to cancel. Select the article as if you wanted to read it. Then follow your software-specific cancellation procedure. For example, for the ancient "tin" software simply press "D" then "Y". If you are lucky, cancellation information for your newsreaders might be found at

  2. Manual cancellation
    Please take care if you decide to perform the cancellation manually. If you are unsure about how it works then do not do it. For those willing to take the plunge, here are some instructions:
    1. Locate a copy of the original article you wish to cancel. Look at the article's headers for the line beginning "Article-ID". Make a note of this article ID number.
    2. Using your regular news reader software, initiate a new posting to the newsgroup. Make the subject header read:


      Be sure to include the surrounding brackets "<>"s.
    3. You may leave the body of the message blank. However, it is polite to write a very brief explanation of why you are cancelling the article. This will be read by all the news server admins who you are effectively asking to delete the article for you. The following will suffice:

      Article cancel issued by author because posted in error.

    4. Add a header to the article which reads:


      Note this is the same ID number as used in step (2) above.
      (This step is probably the most complicated and may not even be possible with your software. Consult your local computer guru or software manual for help).
    5. Send the article to the newsgroup as if it were a regular posting.

Assuming you have been successful, your cancellation will now be distributed around the world.


SUBJECT: cmsg cancel <>

Article cancel issued by author because he wishes to avoid litigation.

Please note that your cancellation

  1. Will not show up on peoples' news reader software (unless you have failed to follow the instructions correctly!)
  2. Will not delete any copies of your article which have already been downloaded onto peoples' hard drives. The longer you wait to cancel the article, the more people will have had chance to see it. HWY61-L will also automatically store your article permanently in its publicly searchable database. Once this has happened it will be there forever. See next section (2) for more details.
  3. Will show up on searches but this will be in place of your original article, which will no longer appear there.
  4. Will only be honoured by news server admins if it was sent from the same address as the original article. If a different address is used, the cancellation will be ignored because it appears to be a forgery.
  5. Will not work if you are trying to cancel someone else's article! This is a classed as a forgery, even if you are doing it for a friend with their permission. The same is true if you normally post from a deliberaly 'broken' email address (eg. ""). (See (d) above).

Articles sent to HWY61-L (the mailing list)

HWY61-L has been archiving all postings which appear on the mailing list since its inception in February 1995. These postings are retained for all eternity and are publicly searchable via email and the World Wide Web. Once your article has been archived it CANNOT be removed. In general, all postings originally sent directly to usenet will appear on HWY61-L and so will be archived too. If you are quick enough with your usenet cancel then you may be able to catch the article before it appears on HWY61-L and enters its archive.

If you send an article directly to HWY61-L via the Listserv email posting address, your article will be also be distributed via usenet. This is a feature of the mirror email-to-news-to-email gateway provided by HWY61-L. This means that you will be able to cancel the article for usenet readers. See part 1 above for the procedure to follow. You will need to locate the original article in order to identify the Article-ID. This can be done via a search, if required. Note that a usenet cancel will have no effect on the copy of the article which appears in the HWY61-L searchable archive.

DejaNews (

If all the above mentions of DejaNews have left you baffled, let me explain just what it is. DejaNews is a World Wide Web page which presents a huge archive of usenet news postings from March 1995 to the present day. They hope to add older postings on an irregular basis.

All these archived articles are searchable by anyone. This means all your postings are there, even if you've never heard of DejaNews before.

Why does this matter?

You may have a personal objection to one or more of your future postings apppearing in the DejaNews archive. To avoid this you need to add this extra header to your postings when you originally distribute them:

X-no-archive: yes

DejaNews promise to honour this header and will not archive your posting. To find out how to add this header please consult your software manuals, online help or a supervisor at your site. Alternatively, you can put the above text by itself on the first line of your posting and DejaNews will honour it.

Further advice

For software-specific advice please refer to your online help files, any printed manuals, your local internet help desk or a supervisor at your internet site.

For the Frequently Asked Questions document for, please send an email message to the following autoresponder address (both the subject header and the body of the message may be left blank):

For details about the HWY61-L mailing list, access the World Wide Web site at:

To contact the owner of the HWY61-L mailing list, please email:

For Dejanews searches (for most usenet articles from March 1995 to the present day), access the World Wide Web site at:

For more information on the implications of posting an article to Usenet visit:

For a general overview of newsreaders you could start with:

If you would like a human to talk to about any of the above, please send a message to:

Things Twice PageIndex of Compiled Threads