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2.18 Misc Group Stuff

v
The key v is reserved for users. You can bind it to some command or better use it as a prefix key. For example:
          (define-key gnus-group-mode-map (kbd "v j d")
            (lambda ()
              (interactive)
              (gnus-group-jump-to-group "nndraft:drafts")))

On keys reserved for users in Emacs and on keybindings in general See Keymaps.

^
Enter the server buffer (gnus-group-enter-server-mode). See Server Buffer.
a
Start composing a message (a news by default) (gnus-group-post-news). If given a prefix, post to the group under the point. If the prefix is 1, prompt for a group to post to. Contrary to what the name of this function suggests, the prepared article might be a mail instead of a news, if a mail group is specified with the prefix argument. See Composing Messages.
m
Mail a message somewhere (gnus-group-mail). If given a prefix, use the posting style of the group under the point. If the prefix is 1, prompt for a group name to find the posting style. See Composing Messages.
i
Start composing a news (gnus-group-news). If given a prefix, post to the group under the point. If the prefix is 1, prompt for group to post to. See Composing Messages.

This function actually prepares a news even when using mail groups. This is useful for “posting” messages to mail groups without actually sending them over the network: they're just saved directly to the group in question. The corresponding back end must have a request-post method for this to work though.

G z
Compact the group under point (gnus-group-compact-group). Currently implemented only in nnml (see Mail Spool). This removes gaps between article numbers, hence getting a correct total article count.

Variables for the group buffer:

gnus-group-mode-hook
is called after the group buffer has been created.
gnus-group-prepare-hook
is called after the group buffer is generated. It may be used to modify the buffer in some strange, unnatural way.
gnus-group-prepared-hook
is called as the very last thing after the group buffer has been generated. It may be used to move point around, for instance.
gnus-permanently-visible-groups
Groups matching this regexp will always be listed in the group buffer, whether they are empty or not.