FOR MAILING LISTS
are some FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions - that may help you understand how
mailing lists work. If there are any other questions you may have that are not
on the list, MAIL US.
Go to MAILING LISTS
for information on some of those available.
WHAT IS A MAILING LIST? A
Mailing List (or ListServ® or e-mail List or simply "List") is e-mail
that is shared between subscribers to a List that is devoted to a particular topic
or interest. It might be a group of professionals talking about technical matters
or people talking about a hobby or a lifestyle or just people chatting about whatever
they want to talk about. For those diagnosed with prostate cancer, that's the
subject on their Lists.
HOW IS THIS DONE? When
you sign up or subscribe to a list, you are given an e-mail address where you
will post your mail. A message or posting to that address is distributed to all
the other subscribers or members on the List. They will all see your message and
you will get whatever anyone else sends to the List. Then if you want to reply
or respond to it, you do it just like regular e-mail. You hit REPLY, or, on some
lists REPLY TO ALL, and it will go back to everyone on the list. The software
at the other end does the distribution for you. It is all automatic and very simple.
If you wish to retain some privacy you can use a pseudonym. You may also wish
to set up a separate e-mail address to use for this kind of site.
I E-MAIL ONLY ONE PERSON ON THE LIST? Just about
every List will include the e-mail address of the sender. On some Lists you would
have to manually delete the to-the-List address and insert the person's e-mail
address if you want to send it just to them. Others give you the option. It depends
on the List and the program you are running. Sending something to the entire List
when you meant it as private is one of the harsh lessons of this technology. It
has probably happened to everyone, so just check on the address shown in your
mail before you hit "Send".
I KNOW WHO ELSE IS ON THE LIST? Sometimes. Some
Lists might give you access to the subscriber list but most don't. It is up to
the moderator or owner of the List. Otherwise, the only way to tell is to see
who sends messages to the List.
HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE ON A LIST? Some
have only a few people, such as a few close friends who like to chitchat, or the
List may have over a thousand subscribers. Some are "public," meaning
that the List can be found via Web sites and people can join merely by sending
a request that is handled by the computer. Other Lists are private and are known
only to the subscribers, for example, a family with relatives around the world
might all keep in touch through a Mailing List. Everyone gets the same news.
I LEARN HOW MANY ARE ON THE LIST? That is usually
pretty easy. Some Web sites that list Lists will give the number of current subscribers.
The ACOR LISTS
are a good example - going there shows (at the time of writing November 2012)
that there are 1,351 subscribers on the prostate cancer list but only 24 on the
palliative care list. If this information is not available, you can always ask
the owner of the List which will be shown on the site.
DOES ONE FIND A LIST TO JOIN? Some
of the better known prostate cancer Lists are shown on the page on this page -
MAILING LISTS There
are "lists of Lists" or Web sites where one can look up a topic of interest
and sign up right there -
is one well known one. Going to GOOGLE
or other Search Engines and entering the words MAILING LIST and the subject you
are interested is a simple way to go.
IT DIFFICULT TO JOIN A LIST? Usually not, although there are some where
members are vetted before joining. There are different methods of joining but
most are pretty simple. Some have very specific instructions that you must try
to follow very precisely as to where you send your message, what you put in the
SUBJECT line or maybe in the TEXT/BODY to get them to work.
WHAT IS A MODERATED LIST?
This means there is someone who approves each message before it is forwarded to
the list. This can sometimes slow down distribution because moderators don't always
work 24/7/365. Some moderated lists will give you an automated response to tell
you that your message has been received, which is a nice courtesy. In some cases
moderation is in arrears. Messages are posted initially but deleted if they do
not meet the rules of the List.
ISN'T A MODERATED LIST
CENSORSHIP? Some moderators merely watch that the post is relevant
("on topic") or not merely for advertising or if it is legally questionable,
e.g., potentially libelous. Some moderators may kick you off the List if they
don't like what you write. So, yes, there can be censorship. But some subscribers
like it because it keeps the List focused. Others hate it and leave. Such is life
with the Lists.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I JOIN
A LIST? Usually you will get a little
"welcome" note that is generated by the software. It will tell you how
to leave the List (unsubscribe) or maybe the List offers a digest where all of
the day's messages are in one long e-mail (some people prefer that) and other
features. From that point on, the List mail will start coming to your e-mail
In Box. This welcome note will also tell you what the basic rules of the List
are - if there are any restrictions, how the owner or moderator feels about off
topic posts and so on. It is worth reading these as some owners are fierce about
breaches. Keep this welcome note, because it will usually tell you how to leave
the List if you want to at any time, or how to suspend your membership - going
nomail - if you are away on vacation for example.
DO THE OTHERS KNOW
I'VE SUBSCRIBED? No, that is rare on Lists, although Forums
will often show new members' names or pseudonyms. Usually only the owner/moderator
knows, until you post. Until then, you are known as a "lurker," which
is Net-slang for someone who reads but does not post.
SO I'VE JOINED LIST. NOW WHAT?
It is suggested that you spend awhile reading the e-mails
to get an idea what is happening. You might also like to browse through the archive
which most sites have to get an idea of what has been discussed recently. It is
considered quite rude to join in an existing discussion or thread, as soon as
you join. But it is okay to post something (if you want) that introduces yourself
and why you've joined the List and to start posting questions, if you want some
help. You may find that, if you do ask a question, you get answers from list members
'Off List'. This sometimes happens if you have asked a question that has been
dealt with recently on the List. But don't let that put you off asking your question.
And remember that the only dumb questions on prostate cancer lists if you are
newly diagnosed are those not asked. Everyone had to go through a steep learning
curve. Meanwhile, spend time reading and learning how the List works. Each is
different and they go through phases. A List can go quiet for a week and then
flare into activity, for example.
IF I POST TO THE LIST,
IS IT PRIVATE? By subscribing, you agree that your post can go to all
the other members on the List, so it goes to all the members on the List and you
can't control who is getting it or what they do with it. Most Lists try to prohibit
the forwarding of posts from their Lists to other Lists, but it happens. Second,
some Lists archive their messages and these can be found on the Web. So if you
are concerned about privacy set up a separate mailing address with a different
name, as suggested above.
CAN I JOIN A LIST ANONYMOUSLY?
Some accounts let you use a pseudonym or what is termed an avatar in Cyberspeak.
If not, go get another account under another name with one of the free e-mail
services. This is not illegal. It is done all the time by people who want anonymity.
TIP: When you do it, send some e-mail to your regular account from the new account
to see what it looks like, so you didn't make a mistake. If you did, maybe you
can go back and change it. If not, go get another account and start over. The
down side is that your mail is now in two locations unless you redirect it to
your main mail server. It also helps with spam. List owners try to protect their
members e-mail addresses but they are sometimes raided. If you start getting a
deal of spam on your second address, you can simply register another and use that.
IS IT DIFFICULT TO LEAVE
A LIST? Not usually - and if you have
set up a special e-mail address you can simply abandon the address. The the instructions
that are sent you when you join will tell you what command to send to unsubscribe
or to suspend delivery for a short period. This
suspension is known as going NOMAIL
It is handy to just create a folder called LISTS and toss the joining instructions
as they come in. Even if you unsubscribe, they are handy to keep around in case
you want to return.
WHAT IS A MESSAGE BOARD OR FORUM?
Messages are posted on the Board or Forum at a Web site where they can be read.
They don't come to your mailbox, although in most cases you can mark a topic of
interest and be told if anything is added to it. Otherwise, the protocols for
joining, leaving and so on are similar.
SOCIAL NETWORKS LIKE
FACEBOOK AND TWITTER? There has been a phenomenal growth in these and
other social networks. Most of the users of social networks are younger folk and
there is a limit to the size of the message. In the case of Twitter there is a
limit of 140 characters per message. Although FaceBook allows longer posts, in
practical terms, most of the FaceBook sites are supportive rather than informative,
as are other social networks. Care needs to be taken when first using this type
of site to limit the amount of personal information shared.
WHAT IS A CHATTING?
This is when messages are keyed in and exchanged in real time. They can be one
on one or in the environment known as a chat room when any number of people can
join in. There will usually be many lurkers and these exchanges can
be archived by anyone who is there. Chatting
can take some experience and caution. Best to lurk for some time before getting
WHAT WHAT IF I HAVE ANOTHER
QUESTION?? You can post as many questions
as you like on Forums or Mailing Lists. If you have a question that is not answered
here, MAIL US.