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3.4 News Headers

message-required-news-headers a list of header symbols. These headers will either be automatically generated, or, if that’s impossible, they will be prompted for. The following symbols are valid:


This required header will be filled out with the result of the message-make-from function, which depends on the message-from-style, user-full-name, user-mail-address variables.


This required header will be prompted for if not present already.


This required header says which newsgroups the article is to be posted to. If it isn’t present already, it will be prompted for.


This optional header will be filled out depending on the message-user-organization variable. message-user-organization-file will be used if this variable is t. This variable can also be a string (in which case this string will be used), or it can be a function (which will be called with no parameters and should return a string to be used).


This optional header will be computed by Message.


This required header will be generated by Message. A unique ID will be created based on the date, time, user name (for the local part) and the domain part. For the domain part, message will look (in this order) at message-user-fqdn, system-name, mail-host-address and message-user-mail-address (i.e., user-mail-address) until a probably valid fully qualified domain name (FQDN) was found.


This optional header will be filled out according to the message-newsreader local variable.


This optional header is filled out using the Date and From header of the article being replied to.


This extremely optional header will be inserted according to the message-expires variable. It is highly deprecated and shouldn’t be used unless you know what you’re doing.


This optional header is filled out according to the message-distribution-function variable. It is a deprecated and much misunderstood header.


This extremely optional header should probably never be used. However, some very old servers require that this header is present. message-user-path further controls how this Path header is to look. If it is nil, use the server name as the leaf node. If it is a string, use the string. If it is neither a string nor nil, use the user name only. However, it is highly unlikely that you should need to fiddle with this variable at all.

In addition, you can enter conses into this list. The CAR of this cons should be a symbol. This symbol’s name is the name of the header, and the CDR can either be a string to be entered verbatim as the value of this header, or it can be a function to be called. This function should take no arguments, and return a string to be inserted. For instance, if you want to insert Mime-Version: 1.0, you should enter (Mime-Version . "1.0") into the list.

If the list contains a cons where the CAR of the cons is optional, the CDR of this cons will only be inserted if it is non-nil.

If you want to delete an entry from this list, the following Lisp snippet might be useful. Adjust accordingly if you want to remove another element.

(setq message-required-news-headers
      (delq 'Message-ID message-required-news-headers))

Other variables for customizing outgoing news articles:


Controls what syntax checks should not be performed on outgoing posts. To disable checking of long signatures, for instance, add

(signature . disabled)

to this list.

Valid checks are:


Check whether the article has an Approved header, which is something only moderators should include.


Check whether there are continuation header lines that don’t begin with whitespace.


Check for invalid characters.


Check whether the article is empty.


Check whether the newsgroups mentioned in the Newsgroups and Followup-To headers exist.


Check whether the From header seems nice.


Check whether there is any non-printable character in the body.


Check whether there is any invisible text in the buffer.


Check for too long header lines.


Check for too long lines in the body.


Check whether the Message-ID looks syntactically ok.


Check for the existence of multiple equal headers.


Check whether there is any new text in the messages.


Check whether the Newsgroups header exists and is not empty.


Check whether text follows last quoted portion.


Check whether the Newsgroups and Followup-to headers contains repeated group names.


Check whether the Reply-To header looks ok.


Insert a new Sender header if the From header looks odd.


Check for the existence of version and sendsys commands.


Check whether the domain part of the Message-ID header looks ok.


Check whether to add a Followup-to header to shorten the number of groups to post to.


Check the length of the signature.


Check for excessive size.


Check whether the Subject header exists and is not empty.


Check the subject for commands.


Check whether the Newsgroups and Followup-to headers are valid syntactically.

All these conditions are checked by default, except for sender for which the check is disabled by default if message-insert-canlock is non-nil (see Canceling News).


Regexp of headers to be removed before posting. The default is


This string is inserted at the end of the headers in all message buffers that are initialized as news.

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