On BITNET there's an automated system for maintaining discussion lists called the listserv. Rather than have an already harried and overworked human take care of additions and removals from a list, a program performs these and other tasks by responding to a set of user-driven commands.
Areas of interest are wide and varied--ETHICS-L deals with ethics in computing, while ADND-L has to do with a role-playing game. A full list of the available BITNET lists can be obtained by writing to `LISTSERV@BITNIC.BITNET' with a body containing the command
However, be sparing in your use of this--see if it's already on your system somewhere. The reply is quite large.
The most fundamental command is `subscribe'. It will tell the listserv to add the sender to a specific list. The usage is
subscribe foo-l Your Real Name
It will respond with a message either saying that you've been added to the list, or that the request has been passed on to the system on which the list is actually maintained.
The mate to `subscribe' is, naturally, `unsubscribe'. It will remove a given address from a BITNET list. It, along with all other listserv commands, can be abbreviated---`subscribe' as `sub', `unsubscribe' as `unsub', etc. For a full list of the available listserv commands, write to `LISTSERV@BITNIC.BITNET', giving it the command `help'. invisible.xbm invisible.xbm
As an aside, there have been implementations of the listserv system
for non-BITNET hosts (more specifically, Unix systems). One of the
most complete is available on
"I made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter." Pascal, Provincial Letters XVI
Copyright © 1998, Software Engineering Laboratory
National Technical University of Athens