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Mailing Lists


People that share common interests are inclined to discuss their hobby or interest at every available opportunity. One modern way to aid in this exchange of information is by using a mailing list---usually an email address that redistributes all mail sent to it back out to a list of addresses. For example, the Sun Managers mailing list (of interest to people that administer computers manufactured by Sun) has the address `sun-managers@eecs.nwu.edu'. Any mail sent to that address will "explode" out to each person named in a file maintained on a computer at Northwestern University.

invisible.xbm invisible.xbm Administrative tasks (sometimes referred to as administrivia) are often handled through other addresses, typically with the suffix `-request'. To continue the above, a request to be added to or deleted from the Sun Managers list should be sent to `sun-managers-request@eecs.nwu.edu'.

When in doubt, try to write to the `-request' version of a mailing list address first; the other people on the list aren't interested in your desire to be added or deleted, and can certainly do nothing to expedite your request. Often if the administrator of a list is busy (remember, this is all peripheral to real jobs and real work), many users find it necessary to ask again and again, often with harsher and harsher language, to be removed from a list. This does nothing more than waste traffic and bother everyone else receiving the messages. If, after a reasonable amount of time, you still haven't succeeded to be removed from a mailing list, write to the postmaster at that site and see if they can help. invisible.xbm

Exercise caution when replying to a message sent by a mailing list. If you wish to respond to the author only, make sure that the only address you're replying to is that person, and not the entire list. Often messages of the sort "Yes, I agree with you completely!" will appear on a list, boring the daylights out of the other readers. Likewise, if you explicitly do want to send the message to the whole list, you'll save yourself some time by checking to make sure it's indeed headed to the whole list and not a single person.

invisible.xbm A list of the currently available mailing lists is available in at least two places; the first is in a file on ftp.nisc.sri.com called `interest-groups' under the `netinfo/' directory. It's updated fairly regularly, but is large (presently around 700K), so only get it every once in a while. The other list is maintained by Gene Spafford (spaf@cs.purdue.edu), and is posted in parts to the newsgroup news.lists semi-regularly. (See section Usenet News, for info on how to read that and other newsgroups.)

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National Technical University of Athens