Our nice logo :-)

Bookmark
this Site
By Pressing
CTRL + D
SEARCH THE SITE
Loading
SHOPPING DIRECTORY
MAIN DIRECTORY
[#'s][A][B][C][D][E][F]
[G][H][I][J][K][L][M]
[N][O][P][Q][R][S][T]
[U][V][W][X][Y][Z]
CLEARANCE RACK
DEALS OF THE DAY
FREEBIE'S
NEW FREEBIES
FREEBIES ARCHIVE
CATEGORIES
ARTICLES
BEAUTY RECIPES
CHARITY CLICKS
CONTESTS
COUPONS & REBATES
CRAFTS
EARN MONEY
FAMILY FUNZONE
FREE FORMS
HOLIDAYS
IMPORTANT DATES
INTERNET SECURITY
RECIPE BOX
SAN DIEGO
SEARCH TOOLS
TRAVEL FARE FINDER
WEBRINGS
FREEBIES4YA SERVICES
ADD YOUR SITE TO OUR TOP 20 VOTING GUIDE
GRAB OUR BANNERS
JOIN OUR E-GROUPS
JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER
JOIN OUR WEBRINGS
MEMBER'S AREA
OUR LINK PARTNERS
PRINTABLE CARDS TO US
WIN A SITE AWARD
Print This Page PRINT THIS PAGE
SITE INFORMATION
AWARDS WON
CONTACT US
SITE INFORMATION
VOTE FOR OUR SITE
RECOMMEND US
Your Name:

Your E-mail:

Friend's E-mail:

Comments:

Receive copy:

FAQ About Email Lists!

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) about email lists, also known as mailing lists or groups or clubs, at Yahoogroups, Topica, Smartgroups or other list services, to help explain what they are and how they work to anyone new to them or the Internet in general.

You will find that list management plays a large part in the growth and quality of a list. It is more pleasant to be part of a list with rules and active management and support.

[1] What is an email list?
[2] How do a I join an email list?
[3] How do I post to an email list?
[4] Help, how do I get off this list? (aka How do I unsubscribe from an email list?)
[5] What's a discussion list?
[6] What's an announcement or update list?
[7] What's a listowner? What's a moderator? (aka Who are these tyrants and dictators and why can't I put Admin in the subject line, too?)
[8] Why am I getting ALL this mail? Why are all these people emailing ME?
[9] Help, I'm getting too much mail but I don't want to quit the list! (aka How do I change to digest?)
[10] Help, I'm leaving town on vacation and I have to stop getting the list mail temporarily! (aka How do I change to NoMail while I'm out of town or busy with work/finals/real life, etc.?)
[11] This all sounds like so much fun that I started my own group, I can post an announcement to every list I'm on, right?
[12] I changed ISPs or webmail providers, how do I change my email address on the list?
[13] What's crossposting? (aka I want to tell everyone I've ever known about this really wonderful thing!)
[14] Someone posted this really great message and I want to send it to all my friends and I know the author won't mind, right? (aka Is it okay to forward list messages to other people who aren't on the list or to other lists or newsgroups?)
[15] What's OT stand for? And why do people get so bent out of shape about it?
[16] WHAT'S THE CAPS LOCK BUTTON FOR? (aka Why does everyone say I'm shouting at them?)
[17] Should I use HTML or plain text email when posting to the list?
[18] I have this really cool picture, should I sent it to the list?
[19] Should I quote the entire email or digest I'm replying to? (aka Why it's okay to run with scissors on an email list)
[20] What's with all that weird spelling, bad grammar, strange abbreviations and other stuff?
[21] What's a sig line? How long should it be? (aka Can I include every great quote or website I've ever heard or visited? How about all this nifty ASCII artwork I made?)
[22] And last but not least, flames, trolls and other list monsters...



[1] What is an email list?

An email list is a way to have discussions or post announcements by email to a group of people without having to email them each individually. Mailing list software or services keep a list of the email addresses of all members and, depending on the purpose of the list, discussion or announcement, pass emails back and forth between list members (discussion list) or from the listowner to all list members (announcement list).

On a discussion list, members can post a message by sending to the single list email address (listname@domain.xxx) and all members on the list will receive the message and be able to reply. On an announcement list, the listowner will post a message about a website update or event, for example, and the message will be distributed to all list members. If you join a discussion list, be prepared to get mail, sometimes lots of it! Some discussion lists can be very busy, generating hundreds of emails per *day* while others can be sporadic or nearly dead, issuing perhaps a few emails per day or week.


[2] How do a I join an email list?

It varies, depending on where the list is hosted.

If it's at Yahoogroups, you can join either at the Yahoo website or by email. If you join at the Yahoogroups website, you have to have a Yahoo ID *and* link your email address to that ID (a separate step at the Yahoogroups website). If you don't want to mess with a Yahoo ID, you can join any Yahoo group by email, simply send an email (blank or not) to [listname]-subscribe@yahoogroups.com, changing [listname] to the actual name of the group. Yahoo will send back a confirmation email and you must reply to that to complete the subscription process. You can join by email even if you've already got a Yahoo ID.

If the list is at Topica or Smartgroups, it's a similar process but without the Yahoo ID. Instead, your email address is your ID. You can join lists at the Topica and Smartgroups websites and you can also join by email, by emailing [listname]-subscribe@topica.com or [listname]-subscribe@smartgroups.com and don't forget to reply to the confirmation email to complete the subscription process.

Then there's lists hosted on private servers, hosted on individual domains or other free services similar to Yahoogroups, Topica and Smartgroups. Those lists generally use some sort of packaged software, like Mailman, Majordomo, Lyris and others. Some allow subscription from a website, some by email and some use both website and email subscription. Since the subscription method varies according to each program, you would need specific instructions for the particular list you're joining.

After you join the list, you should get some sort of Welcome message, usually containing helpful info about how to unsubscribe (save this email!), list rules, website address if applicable, how to contact the listowner, etc.


[3] How do I post to an email list?

With a few exceptions, you send an email to listname@domain.xxx and you can expect to get your own message sent back to you, this lets you know that it's been distributed to the entire list. If it's an announcement list, you usually can't post to the list, only a listowner can do that. But some announcement lists solicit information and/or submissions and usually you can then email the listowner with your message. The list welcome message may contain info about how to post and acceptable content, be sure to read it carefully and follow any list rules included there.


[4] Help, how do I get off this list? (aka How do I unsubscribe from an email list?)

While, like joining, it does vary depending on where the list is hosted, it's usually similar to joining a list. Usually wherever you put "subscribe" to join the list, you'd put "unsubscribe" to leave the list.

If the list is at Yahoogroups, you can unsubscribe either at the Yahoo website (groups.Yahoo.com) or by email. To unsubscribe at the Yahoogroups website, simply log in with your Yahoo ID, go to your MyGroups page, find the list you want to quit, click on its name, then at the list's Home page, on the right side, you'll see a link to Edit My Membership, click on that. On the next page, scroll down to where you see a button that says "Leave Group", click on that and you're done! You can also unsubscribe by email, simply send an email (blank or not) to [listname]-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com, changing [listname] to the actual name of the group. Yahoo will send back a confirmation email and you must reply to that to complete the unsubscription process. You can unsubscribe by email even if you've already got a Yahoo ID.

If the list is at Topica or Smartgroups, it's a similar process:

For Topica, at the website, (www.Topica.com) log in with your email address, go to the My Topica, find the group you want to leave and on the right, there's a drop down menu, select Unsubscribe and then click Save Changes. You'll get a popup, asking you to confirm that you want to quit the group, click Yes and you're done!

Topica also provides another method to unsubscribe, at the bottom of every message or digest you get from the group, there's an Easy Unsubscribe link, simply click on it and you're off the list.

For Smartgroups, at the website, (www.SmartGroups.com) log in with your email address, go to Your Groups (on the menu on the left), find the group you want to leave and click on the group name. On the next page, on the left you'll see a link to Leave Group, click on that, then select Leave Group (again) and click the Leave Now! button.

You can also unsubscribe by email at Topica and Smartgroups, by emailing [listname]-unsubscribe@topica.com or [listname]-unsubscribe@smartgroups.com and don't forget to reply to the confirmation email to complete the unsubscription process.

For lists hosted on private servers, individual domains or other free services similar to Yahoogroups, Topica and Smartgroups, you'll need the specific instructions. The welcome message that you may have received when you joined may have this info. Or if the list has a website, check for info there, also check the bottom of list messages, often there will be a link there to unsubscribe, instructions on how to unsubscribe or a link to a website to unsubscribe.

If, after investigating all these possibilities, you still can't find any information on how to unsubscribe, email the listowner. If you don't know the listowner's address, as an absolute last resort, ask on list. But please don't just post "remove me" or "unsubscribe me" or something worse to the list, it'll just make others less likely to help you and/or get you flamed. Instead, please post a polite request, explaining that you've looked everywhere that you can think of for the info on how to unsubscribe and just can't find it and can someone please help you out with info on how to unsubscribe or how to contact the listowner. Usually someone will be kind enough to help you and then you can get off the list. Then, next time you join a list, be sure you keep the info on how to unsubscribe! :)


[5] What's a discussion list?

Discussion lists are for conversations, people email back and forth their ideas, thoughts, arguments. Most lists have a particular focus, a topic or interest, and people will discuss different things about that topic, like what happened on a TV show, with a character, a book or a movie. This can generate an enormous amount of mail, so be prepared! If a list has hundreds of members, you could be getting dozens of emails a day.

Before you start participating in a discussion list, it's recommended that you "lurk" for a bit, read the mail, check out the list archives if it has one, see what the list is like, what the other list members are like. Some lists also like new members to post an introduction, give some info about themselves. Since we can't actually see each other thru email, an introduction can be a sort of a verbal picture of yourself and it helps everyone feel more comfortable.


[6] What's an announcement or update list?

An announcement list is just that, announcements only, usually posted only by the listowner or moderators although some allow list members to post announcements as well. The announcements are usually things like news about a particular topic, show, movie, book, actor, etc. or updates to a website or about an event, like a fan convention or local get together. You'll usually get less mail from an announcement list than from a discussion list. Some announcement lists post as they have info or on a regular basis, like daily, weekly or monthly.


[7] What's a listowner? What's a moderator? (aka Who are these tyrants and dictators and why can't I put Admin in the subject line, too?)

Listowners are ultimately responsible for the list and it can be a lot of work to start and run a list. It can mean lots of work finding a suitable list service, setting it up, publicizing the list, approving members and/or posts to the list. On discussion lists, it can also mean starting conversations, hoping that someone, anyone will reply and keep it going. On announcement lists, it can mean scouring for news, both offline and on, scanning articles and pictures, doing screen captures, even setting up and running a website to support the list.

And it means dealing with problems on and off the list, handling problem list members, flamers and trolls, unsubscribing people who figured out how to join but now demand rudely to be removed, checking out bouncing members and dealing with any problems with the list service.

It also means being able to find people to share a common interest or obsession with, a place to chat endlessly about a new episode, book or movie, sharing pictures and making friends. It is the best thing to do and the worst thing to do! :)

The term "moderator" can mean different things. It can be a technical term, on lists that are moderated, (a list where every message has to be approved before it's sent out to all the list members), the moderator is the person who actually approves the messages. Or "moderator" can simply mean assistant listowner, someone who helps out the listowner with running the list. Some lists have several assistant listowners who each handle different functions on the list, one may handle checking out and approving new members, one may handle approving messages, one may help maintain a list website. And some lists have co-listowners, equal partners in running the list.

On most lists, listowners, assistant listowners and/or moderators set the tone, initiate conversations, handle trolls, flamers and spammers and generally help keep the list running smoothly by keeping it on topic and useful to the majority of the members. But this varies from list to list, some lists are more tightly controlled, all messages moderated, new members posting detailed introductions, etc. while others are more relaxed, little or no moderation, anyone can join, post an intro or not as they like, few rules, off-topic posts allowed or even encouraged. And both styles of list management can be equally effective, depending upon the purpose and topic of the list and the list members.


[8] Why am I getting ALL this mail? Why are all these people emailing ME?

See above. :) You joined a list, most likely a discussion list, and what that means is someone posts something, other people reply and every email, the original message and all replies, get sent to YOU! If you don't want all that mail, you have some options, one is to switch to digest, you'll get a batch of emails all in one message, usually at least once a day, but possibly more if the list is really busy. If the list has a website message archive, you can switch to no mail and then scan the website archives for any interesting topics. Or quit the list, perhaps it's not really what you're interested in or there may be another list that's less busy and suits you better.


[9] Help, I'm getting too much mail but I don't want to quit the list! (aka How do I change to digest?)

Most lists have one or two options for participating in the list but not getting so much mail. One option is digest, you'll get messages batched together in a single large email. Some lists send out digests when a certain number of messages have been posted and other lists only send out digests once a day. Digests can have some disadvantages, most don't include any attachments so if the list is mainly for posting attachments, pictures, music, etc., you won't get any of them, making the digest virtually useless. Also, html messages can sometimes be a mess in a digest, with all the html code mixed in with the text of the message, making it difficult to read. But digests are still a good option when you're feeling overwhelmed by list mail.

If the list has a website with an archive for the messages, another option is to go on No Mail and read the messages at the website. This means you won't get any mail at all and you'll need to be connected to the internet the whole time you're reading the messages on the website. If your mail provider doesn't allow much mail in your mailbox, this can be the best option for busy lists.

For details on how to switch to digest or no mail, check out any Welcome message you received when you joined the list (you did keep that welcome message like I recommended, right? :)) and if the list has a website, look there also, services like Yahoogroups, Topica and Smartgroups allow you to change to digest or no mail on their website. In addition, at those three services, Yahoogroups, Topica and Smartgroups, you can send an email command to change to digest, no mail or back to individual emails as well as subscribing and unsubscribing.

For the YahooGroups email commands, see the List homepage at YahooGroups.

For lists hosted on other services, look for that welcome message and if you can't find any information there, contact the listowner or (as a last resort) ask politely(!) on list.


[10] Help, I'm leaving town on vacation and I have to stop the list mail temporarily! (aka How do I change to NoMail while I'm out of town or busy with work/finals/real life, etc.?)

Similar to changing to digest, you can change to no mail at the list's website if it has one or by email command if the list is hosted at Yahoogroups or Smartgroups by sending a command by email.

For the YahooGroups email commands:

Send a blank email to:
  • Subscribe: listname-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
  • No Mail: listname-nomail@yahoogroups.com
  • Digest: listname-digest@yahoogroups.com
  • Individual Emails: listname-normal@yahoogroups.com
  • General Help listname-help@yahoogroups.com
  • Contact Owner listname-owner@yahoogroups.com
If the list is hosted at Topica, you'll need to visit their website (www.Topica.com) to change to NoMail. Or if the list is hosted on another service, you'll need the specific info for that list. Check the Welcome message, contact the listowner or ask, always politely, :) on list.


[11] This all sounds like so much fun that I started my own group, I can post an announcement to every list I'm on, right?

Slow down a minute! :) Pull out those ever helpful list rules for every list you're on and see what they say. Most listowners do NOT allow announcements of other groups and you can find yourself unsubbed and banned faster than you can spit! This family of lists does NOT allow other list announcements. However, on some lists, it may be acceptable to announce new groups, so check the list rules and contact the listowner if you can't find anything in the list rules. Then once you've got permission, compose a brief intro or use your list's description, don't use derogatory language, don't say things like "my group is so much better than all those other groups, they suck!", be polite and remember that it takes all different kinds of groups just like it takes all different kinds of people. Be sure to give the group's website address and the email address to join by email.

And there are groups specifically for announcing new lists, you can find them at Yahoogroups, Topica and Smartgroups, look for list announcement groups, join the group, READ the welcome message carefully as some have strict requirements about how often you can post an announcement and how the announcement should be worded, what info included, etc.


[12] I changed ISPs or webmail providers, how do I change my email address on the list?

If you're on a list hosted at Yahoogroups, Topica or Smartgroups, you can visit their websites and change your email address there. At Yahoogroups, it can be a bit complex, you might start by reading the Yahoogroups Help Page (or if that link is no longer correct, login at Yahoogroups and click on My Preferences, then click on the Help link in the upper right corner of the window). At Topica, click on the My Topica link, then on the menu on the left, there's a link to add email addresses, follow that procedure and after you've completed it, you can return to My Topica, click on the list name and select your new email address for that list. On SmartGroups, login and go to My Details and you can also check out the SmartGroups Help Page for additional info.

If the list is hosted on another service or a private server, then you'll most likely need to subscribe to the list with your new email address and then unsubscribe with your old email address. Check the list website if there is one, that ever helpful and important Welcome message, contact the listowner or as a last resort, ask politely! on list.


[13] What's crossposting? (aka I want to tell everyone I've ever known about this really wonderful thing!)

Crossposting is sending the exact same message to a whole bunch of lists, people and/or newsgroups, either all at once using CC or BCC or separately. Some list services have technical barriers to prevent this or to prevent it if you're not a member of all the groups you're crossposting to. And some listowners make it a list rule that you can't crosspost using CC or BCC, that you have to send your message to just that group. In this family of lists, we do NOT allow cross-posting. It can also be annoying to people who are members of a bunch of the lists you're crossposting to and some people can get real bent out of shape about it, especially if the message is off-topic, not about the particular topic of the list. So think carefully before crossposting, make sure it's technically allowed by the list services, if it's off-topic for any of the groups, check the list rules to see if that's okay and put OT: at the beginning of the subject line. And then don pit helmet and flame retardant suit because *someone* on some list will likely get upset about it.


[14] Someone posted this really great message and I want to send it to all my friends! (aka Is it okay to forward list messages to other people who aren't on the list or to other lists or newsgroups?)

Weeeeelllll....this can vary widely from list to list and person to person. Your best bet is to always ask the message author! Most times, if you ask nicely, people will say yes, perhaps ask you to remove their email address or perhaps ask that you give them credit. Some lists do have strict rules about not forwarding messages to anyone or any place outside the list, check that wonderful welcome message or ask the listowner. Some lists, like announcement or news lists, are more likely to allow forwarding, although some listowners prefer that you keep their list info intact so that other people can join their list and get the info straight from the horse's mouth, so to speak. Some people don't care, figure what they say is completely public while others guard their words and since the message author does automatically own copyright over their own words, it's wise to respect that and ask permission before forwarding anything.


[15] What's OT stand for? And why do people get so bent out of shape about it?

OT stands for Off Topic. Most lists have a specific interest or topic and most people join for info or discussion about that specific interest or topic and especially with busy discussion lists, some members simply don't have the time to deal with any messages that don't pertain to the list topic. By putting OT: at the beginning of the subject line of any message that is off-topic, people who aren't interested in off-topic messages can easily delete them or sort them to a different folder to read later. Some lists stringently enforce the rule of putting OT in the subject of off-topic messages and some don't, but even there, it's a courteous thing to do, it's kind to your fellow list members. And remember that some lists do not allow any off-topic posts at all, so check the list rules before posting anything off-topic, you'll save yourself trouble and grief that way.


[16] WHAT'S THE CAPS LOCK BUTTON FOR? (aka Why does everyone say I'm shouting at them?)

Because we can't actually see each other in email, loose standards aka "netiquette" have evolved to demonstrate emotion in words. One of those ways is type in all caps, that's considered shouting. So if someone wants to really make a point, raise their voice in email, they type a word or a sentence in all caps.

But it's also something that "newbies" do, people who are new to computers, the internet, email lists, etc. tend to hit that caps lock button and just keep typing. So turn off the caps lock and either properly capitalize your words or type all in lowercase, better to do that than go off yelling at everyone on the net! :)

For further info on netiquette, check out the ten courtesies at the Online Netiquette website.


[17] Should I use HTML or plain text email when posting to the list?

For every person who thinks plain text email is the only way to send email, there's another one who thinks HTML email is the best! For this particular family of lists, we do NOT allow posts in HTML format--posts must be in plain text format.

There are some practical concerns in sending HTML email, some list services and some lists technically prohibit HTML email; some lists have rules against sending HTML email; in some countries, people pay for local phone service by the minute and HTML email is about double the size of plain text email and therefore, takes longer to download; the sender may choose colors and/or text size that make it difficult for the recipients to read; list members on digest may see the HTML code scattered throughout the message content which makes it difficult to read the text; and some websites for message archives don't display HTML messages at all.

But there are lists where HTML is not only acceptable but the optimal method of sending messages, lists that regularly post attachments (although it is easy to send attachments with plain text messages), lists that share wallpaper or letterhead to use in HTML email and some lists simply prefer it, they like the colors and backgrounds, showing off each member's individual personality.

If you want to send your messages in plain text, the Configuring Mail Clients to Send Plain ASCII Text website is a great resource for learning how to send only plain text email with a large variety of email software and email/webmail providers.


[18] I have this really cool picture, should I sent it to the list?

While some lists happily send dozens or even hundreds of pictures back and forth each day, some lists vigorously prohibit attachments of any kind, pictures, documents, files or programs. So carefully read the list rules (look for that list welcome message!) or ask the listowner before sending any kind of attachment to the list. This family of email lists allows images (except for BillsBook) less than 40KB (please do not send photos to the list if you do not know their size in KB's!). If the list is hosted at Yahoogroups or Smartgroups, their website has an area designated for the list to store files or pictures and then you can post an announcement on the list about the file or picture, giving some info so that other members know what to expect before taking the time to connect to the net, log in and go to the files or photos area. For lists on other services that don't have a files or photo area, you can upload your file or photo to a free webhost like Geocities or Tripod and then post the website address (url) to the list and don't forget to give some info about the file or picture.


[19] Should I quote the entire email or digest I'm replying to? (aka Why it's okay to run with scissors on an email list)

Always remember that everyone else on the list has already gotten the original email that you're replying to, so it's never necessary to quote the entire email and absolutely unnecessary under any circumstances to quote an entire digest! Beyond simple common courtesy, some countries (like large parts of Europe) still charge for local phone service by the minute so every unneeded word in your email costs them money to download. Also, quoting extra unnecessary text can result in your words getting lost, losing their impact as people struggle to find what you're saying. If you quote the entire original email and put your reply at the bottom, people who are sight-impaired and using text readers to hear your email will have to listen to the original email all over again before getting to your comments and may simply give up and skip your email (and any future emails from you) entirely.

So, in order to communicate effectively, to entice people to read your gems of wisdom :), snip, snip, snip and snip some more! Delete any extraneous header info that your mail program may have quoted, leave the sender's name so people know who you're talking to, then delete unneeded text, whittle it down to the pertinent points you're responding to. Remember that people have already read the original email, so you only need enough text to jog their memory about what you're replying to. If you're responding to a single point in an email, it is acceptable to put your reply at the top of the email with the original email below BUT don't forget to snip anyway, leave just the original pertinent text and the sender's name or email address.

If your reply is complex, responding to three or four or more points or questions in the original email, then it's better if you intersperse your replies with the quoted text, like this:

Mary, Helen or Pat said:
> blah-dee blah-dee, blah-dee dee-dee and more
> blah-dee blah-dee, blah-dee dee-dee

I think blah blah blah and blah blah blah.

> oogly boogly blah dee blah dee blah blah
> and still more oogly boogly blah blah

And my response to this is blee blee blah blah

(signed) Any Tom, Dick or Harry

Using that method, it reads like a conversation, one person says something, then another replies, then the first person says something else and the second replies again. If you lurk for a bit after joining a list, you'll get a feel for how replies are handled and can then follow that example. But even if everyone else replies on top and quotes the entire original email below, PLEASE snip unnecessary text! It's a good habit to develop and will come in handy on other lists, plus it reduces bandwidth on the net, it's the virtual version of recycling newspapers and soda pop cans.

References: http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/usenet/brox.html; http://www.blakjak.demon.co.uk/gey_stv0.htm; http://www.planefacts.ndirect.co.uk/group/advice/


[20] What's with all that weird spelling, bad grammar, strange abbreviations and other stuff?

Like I talked about typing in all caps, there's lots of ways to demonstrate emotion in email, using *'s around words for emphasis, using smiley faces and other emoticons, using acronyms like LOL for Laughing Out Loud and more. People may also use slang, both real life slang and computer slang like using "4" instead of "for" or "u" instead of "you". On some lists, this type of thing is common, on others, it's not, just depends on the general list atmosphere and any rules the listowner makes about it. For a listing of the basic acronyms and emoticons, check out Dr. Internut's Internet Resource Clinic pages about acronyms and emoticons.

As for bad grammar and spelling errors, it's important to remember that every user on the internet isn't a secretary! :) Many people don't know how to type by touch and the keyboard layout isn't always easy for beginners. And remember that you're dealing with a wide spectrum of people on the net, with varying backgrounds and educations and in various countries where English may not be their first language and some people are not as comfortable with the written word as others. Enjoy the diversity and the chance to reach to across borders and around the world and experience different cultures, look for what people mean to say, rather than how they phrased it or spelled it. If you're still confused, ask politely, explain that you're just not clear on what they meant and that you want to understand, if they wouldn't mind giving more detail or talking more about their theory. Keep in mind that we all communicate in different ways and that is the beauty of life! :)


[21] What's a sig line? How long should it be? (aka Can I include every great quote or website I've ever heard or visited? How about all this nifty ASCII artwork I made?)

A sig line is what you put after your name, it can be any number of things, your email address, your personal or business website, personal or company information, a quote you really like, your philosophy of life, a website you really like, ASCII art (making images out of text, similar to emoticons, for more info, check out Google's ASCII Art category) or just about anything else you want to put there. With HTML email, you can also include images or insert things like the current weather report for your locale. Commonly used email programs (Outlook Express, Eudora, etc.) and other mail providers (Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL, etc.) usually give you some method of automatically inserting your sig line before sending out your email.

As you can imagine, people can get carried away sig lines, I've personally seen sig lines that are more than 40 lines long! That can be very frustrating when the actual content of the email is very small, a few lines or even just a "me too!" comment. So, as with snipping text when replying, be kind to your fellow list members and the internet, keep it succinct and to the point. The general recommendation is no more than four lines up to a total of 150 characters. A URL is allowed, but no advertising. Also check the list rules because many lists have rules about sig lines, either limiting them in length or restricting what type of content you can have or disallowing them altogether.


[22] Flames are derogatory or implied derogatory responses to any given post. Most listowners prefer that people post in a mature manner and may enforce strict rules about flaming. If you really can't restrain yourself from telling someone they're an idiot, it's best to do it off the list, in a private email, rather than on the list.

And bear in mind that the person you think is an idiot may actually be a troll. Trolls are people who spend their time trolling lists (like trolling for fish), ready to incite flames and stir up trouble just because they can. If you respond on list or even in private, you're simply satisfying the troll, giving him or her what they want. Some trolls even aim to destroy a list by causing so much trouble that the members who post regularly simply give up and leave and the group dies. There's a newsgroup for these people (and no doubt lists, too) where they plan these attacks and then boast gleefully when they successfully destroy a group. So don't feed the trolls!

Then there's spammers, people who join a list only to sell something or promote their website that sells something. Most lists have strict rules about spam and generally strive to keep spammers off their lists and remove and ban them if they do manage to join. Most of the schemes that spammers promote either in email or on a website are fraud, they work by getting you to buy some kit or package which promises to help you get rich but all it does is give the spammer your money instead. Robert Heinlein said it best, TANSTAAFL, There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch! So don't be taken by these con men and don't pass on their trash to anyone else.

And then there's the ordinary, garden variety psycho which can turn up on a list in many different guises and cause all sorts of ruckus. The seeming anonymity of the internet can bring out the best and the worst in people. So exercise caution and common sense, don't give out personal details, name, address, phone number, etc. even if you really think you know someone, it's very easy to be fooled on the net.


Originally created in October 2001 by texas critter, with thanks to Sky Dancer, Geneva and John T for their contributions, reproduced here with revisions and changes specific to this family of lists.
Copyright 1998-2011 Freebies4Ya. All rights reserved.