Mailing List Use – Sending

Mailing List Use – Sending

New subscribers are encouraged to spend some time “lurking” on the list to get a sense of the conversations that are already going on…

– Common mailing list maxim.

Basic sending advice is to summarize personal replies for the whole list, and never send an adminstration command to the message address.

You send email to a mailing list by sending it to the mailing list address, following which the list server will copy your email and send it to each subscriber on the list. Since you are a member of the list, the email will usually be copied back to you as well (although that feature is sometimes configurable — see individual sections on Listserv, Majordomo, and Listproc).

If you send a posting to a list requesting information, and receive several useful replies to your personal email address, then it is considered polite to send a summary of the responses after a few days in a single email back to the list for the information of others.

Remember that every mailing list has both an address for administration commands and an address for sending to the list. It is a common mistake to mix these two up. It is important to keep these addresses separate, because if you send an administration message to the mailing list address by mistake it will annoy everyone trying to hold discussions on the list, and of course won’t cause the action you intended. Many people have made this mistake, so go easy on them when they do it.

On the other hand, if you send a discussion message intended for distribution to subscribers to the administration address by mistake, then there is no harm done, but the list server will probably send you back an error message saying that it can’t recognize any valid commands in your email.

The Internet Netiquette section also has information relevant to sending to mailing lists.