Originally posted by killerbob
The last time I logged into abusenet, I used tin. It worked pretty well, but there's probably a few more recent inventions out there, since I haven't used abusenet since 1996.
Pan is pretty good, but I think the OP was really looking for newsgroups rather than newsreaders.
aols (alt.os.linux.slackware) is the main newsgroup I read for Slackware. You have to filter through a fair amount of flaming and petty cyberwars, but if you post a question you're likely to get a good answer. You'll probably want to have your newsreader block a few of the more obnoxious posters. I won't name them, but you'll find out soon enough.
Between this forum and aols, I've managed to get all the help I've ever needed. I haven't checked out IRC, however.