A newsgroup is a network repository most commonly used as a discussion forum. As they predate the World Wide Web, special newsreader software is required to read and post to them. However, since Google purchased an archive made by DejaNews in the 1990s, they have been available via Google Groups.
Founded in 1990, alt.tv.muppets was the first online gathering place for Muppet fans, and therefore the first step in building a Muppet fan culture. The newsgroup gave Muppet fans a chance to utilize the still-young Internet and connect for the first time with other Muppet fans around the world. alt.tv.muppets paved the way for other newsgroups such as rec.arts.henson+muppets and the independent publication, MuppetZine, followed by Muppet Central, Tough Pigs and Muppet Wiki, which now serve as the majority of the online Muppet fan community.