Great Circle Associates Majordomo-Users
(April 1998)

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Subject: Is there a mail list Q&A (NOT an FAQ!)
From: bill @ ecology . bio . dfo . ca (Bill Silvert)
Date: Wed, 15 Apr 1998 16:57:49 -0300 (ADT)
To: Majordomo-Users @ GreatCircle . COM (Majordomo Users)

I couldn't avoid a confusing subject line, but what I am looking for is
some sort of Q&A document for prospective mailing list owners and
participants. The context is that I am often at meetings and workshops
where people feel that they want to set up some means to communicate by
e-mail, but don't know what it involves, and feel intimidated by the
idea of relying on a mail server. The result is usually that everyone
ends up with a long alias file full of errors!

I would like to be able to show them a document which lays out what a
mailing list is, how it is used and maintained, and how it can help

I also need to tell the prospective owner (typically a committee
chairman) what I need from him in order to set up a list. This could
probably be part of the same document, but it doesn't have to be.
Typical items would be a list name and a one-line description, a longer
description file (, to which I would append boilerplate to
create LIST.intro), and answers to a series of questions, such as

Is the list open or closed?

Should the list be publicised?

Who can post to the list?

and this could be supplemented with some Question & Answer material like

Q. Will people who aren't on the committee be able to read our
discussion? A. Not if we make the list closed.

and so on. Keep in mind that many groups end up with several lists,
typically an open list for discussions, a list with restrict_post set to
allow only the chairman to send out official messages, and a closed list
for committee members only.

So my immediate question is, has anyone put together such a document or
documents that I could borrow from, or do I need to start from scratch?


Bill Silvert, Habitat Ecology Section, Bedford Institute of Oceanography,
P. O. Box 1006, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, CANADA B2Y 4A2, Tel. (902)426-1577

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