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dinosaur mailing list administrative message



This file was last edited on June 29th, 1997.

Preamble:

This message contains information about the dinosaur mailing list
including how to have yourself removed from the list if you'd like to
stop receiving it.  It would probably be a good idea for you to keep a
copy of this message so that you will have it for reference.  In any
case it will be sent out once a month.  Any time that the file has
been changed, the date at the top will serve as an indication.
Changes will be clearly marked the first time they are incorporated.
Search for strings beginning "//" to see only the modified parts.

The first time you receive this message I strongly recommend that you
at the very least read section (8) (no M*A*S*H or other military
reference intended) because if you do something that said section
indicates will lead to disciplinary action, you cannot plead ignorance
of the rules as a defense.  If you have any comments about how this
document or list management policy could be improved, please feel free
to write to me (Mickey Rowe) at: mrowe@indiana.edu

Contents:

1.  How to unsubscribe
2.  How to subscribe
3.  How to receive the list as a digest
4.  How to access the archives
5.  What to do when you're going on vacation
6.  How to change your address for the list
7.  How to send messages to the list
8.  Things not to do and what will happen if you do them
9.  Where to get more information

-----------------------

1.  How to unsubscribe

In order to permanently stop receiving mail from the dinosaur list,
you should send an e-mail message to:

listproc@usc.edu

with NO SUBJECT LINE and ONLY the following line in the body (i.e.
text) of the message:

unsubscribe dinosaur

You will know that you have been unsubscribed because listproc will
notify you when it removes your address from the list.  If you receive
mail from the list after that notification, please do not send in
another unsubscribe request.  You may ask for assistance to verify
that you are unsubscribed, but please wait at least 24 hours before
going that route.  Frequently some mail will be on its way to you when
you send listproc an unsubscribe message, and thus you may receive mail
from the list even though you are no longer subscribed.

Why "unsubscribe" sometimes fails (or things to look for if listproc
sends you an error message in response to an unsubscribe request):

        a) Misspellings

Please double check your spelling of all words.  Misspelled words are
the most common reason that "unsubscribe" requests fail.
Unfortunately computer programs aren't very good at determining your
actual intended message if it's different from what you've typed --
listproc does not contain a spell-checker.

        b) Alternate addresses

You must send the unsubscribe request from the same e-mail address
that you used to subscribe. If you submit an unsubscribe request and
listproc tells you that you are not subscribed, please try to verify
that you sent your request from the proper address.

If you only have one address and your first unsubscribe request
indicates that you are not subscribed, you will probably need the help
of the listowner in order to have your address removed.  This is
frequently a problem when helpful system administrators re-arrange
your system in such a way as that your outgoing mail carries an
address different from what it carried at the time you subscribed.
There is essentially nothing you can do for yourself in this situation
except to ask for help (although I usually notice the error messages
and will investigate even if you don't ask).  

If you can't get listproc to take you off the list and you're
convinced it's not your fault, the person to go to for help is the
primary list owner (tha-that would be me): Mickey Rowe
(mrowe@indiana.edu).  Feel free to misspell words when you write to
me.  I'm a little bit friendlier than listproc when it comes to
dealing with such things!

2.  How to subscribe

  Presumably you don't need this information because if you're
receiving this message then you're already subscribed.  However, if
you'd like to let your friends know how to get here, tell them to send
an e-mail message to:

listproc@usc.edu

with NO SUBJECT LINE and with ONLY the following line in the body of the
message:

subscribe dinosaur FIRSTNAME LASTNAME

where FIRSTNAME and LASTNAME is replaced by your actual first and last
name (which could be FIRSTNAME LASTNAME if that's what your mother
named you).

For example you could put:

subscribe dinosaur Tim "the tool man" Taylor

Basically it doesn't matter what you put after "subscribe dinosaur",
but you have to put something (see "b)" below for an exception).
Putting your name there will make it easier for me to help you if you
ever have problems with your subscription.
 
DO NOT put your e-mail address there because listproc will already know
your address; it takes that from the header of your message.

Why "subscribe" sometimes fails (or things to look for if listproc
sends you an error message in response to a subscribe request):
 
        a) Misspellings

As noted in the previous section, listproc will not perform
spell-checking for you.  You must correctly spell "subscribe" and
"dinosaur" for your request to work.

        b) An exception to "anything goes" in the name field

There is one exception (that I know of) to the claim that you can put
"anything" where your name should be.  Some mailing list managers will
allow you to subscribe an address alternate to the one from which you
are sending your message.  The syntax of such a command would be:
"subscribe LISTNAME for ALTERNATE-ADDRESS".  If listproc receives a
command such as "subscribe dinosaur for Tim Taylor" it will presume
you are trying to add the address "Tim Taylor" and tell you that it is
not configured to allow the subscription of alternate addresses.  Even
if your first name is "For", don't put that in the FIRSTNAME field.

3.  How to receive the list as a digest

 If your mail mode is set to digest, then instead of receiving mail as
it comes in, you will receive several messages bundled together.  I
haven't checked recently, but I think that digests are currently going
out at a rate of around two per day.  The number will vary from zero
(yeah right :-) to around three digests per day depending upon how
active the list is.  To change your mail mode you would use the "set"
request.

For example, to receive the list as a digest, you should (after you're
subscribed) send an e-mail message to:

listproc@usc.edu

with NO SUBJECT LINE and with ONLY the following line in the body of the
message:

set dinosaur mail digest

If after sending that command you decide you'd like to go back to
where you probably were before, send the message:

set dinosaur mail ack

The default setting for your mail mode is "ack" which is short for
acknowledge.  That means that you will receive a copy of every message
sent to the list including messages that you send yourself (hence
acknowledgement).

The other two possibilities for your mail mode are "noack" and
"postpone".  (See section 5 below for a discussion of "postpone".)

"Noack" is just like "ack" except that you will not receive copies of
your own messages if that is how your mail mode is set.

It is important that you send "set" (and any other) requests from the
address through which you are subscribed.  Otherwise listproc will not
know who you are.

4.  How to access the archives

There are two types of archive, one accessible via the web and the
other accessible via e-mail.  The web archive has messages dating from
September 1994 through the present. The e-mail accessible archives
have messages dating from February 1994 to the present, but are
distributed across two different sites.

        a) To access old messages via a web browser (e.g. Netscape)

Go to the web site that houses the lists' archives:

http://www.cmnh.org/fun/dinosaur-archive/index.html

Once there you should find things to be self-explanatory with one
exception (that I'm aware of).  If you want to search the archives,
you first click on the "excite Search" button.  The display will
provide you with a box into which you should type terms you are
interested in searching for.  When you have typed in all of those
terms, you must click on the "excite Search" button again (hitting
"Enter" will not begin the search).

        b) To access old messages via e-mail:

   i) The most recent logs:

Messages sent after June 27, 1996 are archived at the list's current
location.  The archives are stored in month-long chunks, though; make
sure you have plenty of disk space before you request one of these
chunks!  

To retrieve messages from this source, send an e-mail message to:

listproc@usc.edu

with NO SUBJECT LINE and ONLY a line of the following form in the body
of your message:

get dinosaur logYYMM

where "YY" should be replaced by the last two digits specifying the
year (yes, there's a potential millenium bug problem here :-) and "MM"
is two digits representing the month.  For example, if you wanted to
retrieve the messages from February of 1997, the body of your message
should contain only:

get dinosaur log9702

   ii) Older logs:

Messages distributed from the time I (Mickey Rowe) took over the list
(Febrary 1st 1994) to the time we moved the list to USC are stored at
the previous location.  In order to retreive these messages, you must
write to the older administrative address:

listproc@lepomis.psych.upenn.edu

The archives at this location are not all stored in the same format,
so the exact form of your request depends upon which messages you wish
to retrieve.  For messages sent between April 20, 1995 and June 26,
1997 requests should be of the form:

get dinosaur MMMDD-YY

where "MMM" represents the first three letters of the month, "DD"
represents two digits signifying the day, and "YY" represents the last
two digits of the year.  For example if you wanted to see what went
through the list on June 6, 1995 your command would be:

get dinosaur jun06-95

Messages from before April 1, 1995 are stored in monthly blocks.  The
filenames for that time period are of the form MMMYY, where "MMM"
again represents the first three letters of the month, and "YY"
represents the last two digits of the year.  For instance, if you
wanted to retrieve the messages from September 1994 your request
should be (again to listproc@lepomis.psych.upenn.edu):

get dinosaur sep94

April of '95 was strange because that's when I finally learned how to
set up the archives.  April 1 through 19th are in one file called
apr1to1995, so if you wish to see any messages sent during that time
period your request should be:

get dinosaur apr1to1995  

Listproc will allow you to search the archives at either site.  GIven
how long it took me to tell you how to get the files, though, I'm
hoping you'll decide that it would be easier for you to just get a web
browser :-) However, if you want to know how to use listproc's search
facility see section (9) below for a pointer to a web site with
instructions about how to search listproc archives (don't hassle me
over this; you still might want to search for things from prior to
September of '94 in which case having the web browser to see the
instructions wouldn't mean you could use the web browser to see the
relevant archives!).  If you do not have a web browser or if you have
difficulty with the search instructions, write to me --
mrowe@indiana.edu.

5.  What to do when you're going on vacation

  If you're going to be gone for a while you could unsubscribe from
the list and then re-subscribe later, but it will generally be better
if you instead just set your mail mode to postpone (see section (3) for
more discussion of mail modes).  

To reset your mail mode, send an e-mail message to:

listproc@usc.edu

with NO SUBJECT LINE and with ONLY the following line in the body of
your message:

set dinosaur mail postpone

"postpone" is sort of a misnomer -- mail isn't postponed to be sent to
you later; mail that comes to the list when your mail mode is set to
postpone will never come to you.  When you come back from vacation (or
field work or whatever) you can change your mail mode back by sending
a command such as:

set dinosaur mail ack

Alternatively you can put "digest" in place of "ack" to receive the
list as a digest as per section (3).  

There are a couple of advantages to using postpone rather than
unsubscribing; for one thing if you send a "farewell" message which is
delayed, it won't get rejected due to your non-subscription.  (As an
aside, I generally recommend that you don't send such a message unless
either a) you wish to tell people where you are going and whet their
appetites for the stories you'll tell upon your return or b) you are
involved in a drawn out discussion and you want to let people know why
you've suddenly dropped it).

6.  How to change your address for the list

  If at some point your address changes or you'd like to receive your
mail at a different address, send an e-mail message to:

listproc@usc.edu

from the address via which you are subscribed, with NO SUBJECT LINE,
and with ONLY the following line in the body of the message:

set dinosaur address PASSWORD NEW-ADDRESS

where "PASSWORD" should be replaced by your password for the list and
"NEW-ADDRESS" should be replaced by the address through which you want
to start recieving dinosaur list mail.  If you do not know your list
password (which should be different from your login password!!!) you
can find out by sending listproc@usc.edu the message:

set dinosaur

Listproc will in return tell you about your settings, one of which is
your password.  As stated above, you must send these "set" requests
from the address through which you are subscribed (or from an address
through which you were subscribed if you previously changed from that
address using the "set" command rather than unsubscribing and
resubscribing.)  If you know that your address is about to get changed
due to a reconfiguration of the way mail is handled at your site, it
might be a good idea for you to use the set command to change your
address just before the change to your system.  If your address
changes out from under you, listproc will not recognize you in
subsequent messages and you will require intercession from the list
owner (Mickey Rowe -- mrowe@indiana.edu).

It is better to use the set command to change your address than it is
to unsubscribe and then resubscribe because the former method keeps
the association between you and your old address.  That may come in
handy for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that it will
allow you to send mail to the list (or to listproc) from either your
old or new address.

7.  How to send messages to the list

Sending a message to the list (i.e. sending a message that will be
distributed to all list subscribers) is relatively simple.  Just
address your message to:

dinosaur@usc.edu

Reasons why some messages are not delivered:  

        a) Subscription checking. 

As has been hinted at a couple of times above, the list is configured
not to accept messages from addresses that are not subscribed.  If the
way that your outgoing mail changes between the time that you've
subscribed and the time that you send a message to the list, listproc
will not recognize you as a subscriber and your message will be
rejected.  If that happens I will receive a copy of the message, and I
will contact you to let you know of the problem and how it's being
fixed.

        b) Suspicious subjects.  

Listproc is (or at least as of last year it was) the most effective
mailing list manager around when it comes to preventing mail loops
(infinite chains where a copy of a message sent to one address causes
that message to be returned to the sender which then sends a copy back
to the first address...).  One of the reasons that listproc is so good
is that it "sniffs" certain parts of messages such as the subject
line.  If your subject line contains something such as "[Error"
listproc guesses that the message is a bounced copy of an error
message that it sent out, and it will not distribute the message.

        c) Request sensed.  

Listproc is also pretty good at preventing requests from going out to
the list when they should have been sent to the administrative address
rather than the list address.  Therefore if listproc "senses" a
request your message will get bounced to the list owner rather than
distributed.  You should try to keep out of the beginning of your
message anything that might look like a request (e.g. "subscribe",
"set", "hold" and a small variety of other words).  In the event that
one of your messages is rejected by listproc, you'll hear from me.
This section is included only in the hopes of helping to ensure that
your messages are never rejected.

8.  Things not to do and what will happen if you do them

  For nearly a year this list was moderated.  Currently it is not
moderated, but that does not mean that there is a free-for-all here.
I'm all for free speech, but this list was created for a purpose -- to
give people a forum for the scientific discussion of dinosaurs.  If
your messages are counterproductive to that purpose, your privileges
to submit messages can and will be revoked.  Some specifics:

We have generally been a congenial group, and nobody has ever been
forcefully removed for abuse of the list (although one person asked to
be removed after disciplinary action was taken against him).  However,
since the list is currently unmoderated, removing subscribers and
instructing listproc to ignore their mail are our only means for
dealing with problems.  Since we have been congenial I don't expect
this to become a concern.  Please work with me to ensure that my
expectations are met!

There are three infractions that may cost you to lose all dinosaur
list privileges.  

        a) Attempting to use the list for advertising fossils

The first such infraction is using the list as a means to aid in the
selling or buying of fossils.  All of us involved in list maintenance
feel quite strongly that the list's resources should not be used for
that purpose.  If you advertise a fossil for sale (even if you're not
the one who'll be collecting the money) you may be removed from the
list without warning.  If you pass along a message that is not
explicitly an advertisement but serves to alert others of a location
where an advertisement can be found -- even if you're mentioning the
advertisement only to lament its existence -- you will be warned not
to do so again.  If you repeat such an infraction and I have even the
slightest suspicion that you did so in willful disregard of the list's
policies you will be permanently removed from the list.

Please note that the above refers explicitly to the sale of fossils.
Other *dinosaur relevant* advertisements (as long as they're short and
preferably in the form of instructions for how to obtain more
information) have traditionally been accepted.  Advertisements for the
sale of *replicas* of fossils are also permissible without reservation.

        b) Spam

Off topic advertisements (e.g. spam) are also explicitly forbidden,
though I suspect that spam would get you thrown off of *any* list.

        c) Creationism. 

There appears to be a near unanimous sentiment on the list that
arguments about Creationism should not be entertained here.  If you
attempt to introduce a Creationist argument you will receive a
week-long time out.  That is, the list will not accept your messages
for one week after the time that I see such a message from you.  After
that week you will be allowed to submit messages again, but if you
repeat the infraction you will be removed from the list.  It is my
impression that the above is lenient in that many list members might
prefer to have people who submit Creationist arguments be removed
after the first violation.  I'm currently opting for a bit of
leniency but may become more strict if this becomes a problem.

        d) Flaming. 

I expect to have more difficulty enforcing the following (just within
the past week I've had a few occasions to consider implementing this
rule...), but I would also like to be able to keep a light handle on
the discussions by reserving the right to treat generally disruptive
behavior in the same manner that I will treat the particular
disruption of Creationist messages.  That is, if you send in a message
such as one which contains nothing but an attack against another
person on the list, you can expect to receive a time out.  A second
such offense may get you removed from the list permanently.  I have no
real desire to be a dictator here, so I welcome suggestions about
messages which you think warrant disciplinary action.  I may not
ultimately agree with you, but I do want your input.

9.  Where to get more information

If you would like to know more about how to interact with listproc,
you should look at the web pages which describe the software.  USC's
instantiation of that documentation can currently be found at:

http://www.usc.edu/ucs/cis/listproc/

The user reference card is probably what you will find most helpful:

http://www.usc.edu/ucs/cis/listproc/usercard.html

If you don't find what you want there, or if you wish additional
information specific to this list and not found in this document,
please write to me.

Your humble list administrator,

--
Mickey Rowe     (mrowe@indiana.edu)