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It's been awhile since I've posted some hints
and guidelines for this mailing list.
This memo has been a joint effort with Sue Swiggum from
the The Ships List. She has a creative writing ability
and creates these really wonderful posts every 3 months
or so. . I've modified the memo to cover our particular
situation as compared to her list and added some other
tidbits that I've accumulated over the years.
I'd like to see her publish a book on the subject
of Internet Mailing Lists quirks.
Hope it's useful for you.
John A Hansen
I've set up gateways from most of the message boards. This
increases the amount of messages to this list. The usage pattern
on the message boards is much more informal than here.
However, I've seen many cases where people are tracking
the same brick walls for obvious reasons. An elusive ancestor
is the same on the mailing list and the message boards. But
while the post from the message boards comes this way.
the posts from the mailing list do NOT go back to the
board. You need to click on the URL in the message and
reply "over there" Then your reply will also come back
here to this mailing list.
++Subject Lines -- Subject Lines -- Subject Lines -- Subject
Lines -- plus ... a few tidbits and gentle reminders
which you might find useful.
Regarding "Subject Lines" .... you'll see my other comments for Digest
members below. Do include your surnames ( in Caps) in the
subject line > location > dates and then include them again
in the body of your message where you give the full details of
your ancestor. If your details are sketchy at
this point, then just put what ever you do have; sometimes
the most minor of details can often provide the breakthrough.
Subject lines such as "HELP" may not get you any HELP ...
"NEW SUBSCRIBER" may only get you a
HELLO if you are lucky. The reason is not because you are being
intentionally ignored, but rather because our wonderful members with the
resources to help you are VERY busy, so they scan the subject lines
looking for a subject about which they have knowledge. Sometimes
they have no time to open every message and peek to see if they
can help, so do yourselves a big favor by drawing the right
kind of attention to yourself and giving an
assist to those with the resources and knowledge who are able to help.
If you are making a general or other emigration/immigration inquiry,
take a moment to read your own subject line first, to check if it is
meaningful for your query. Put as much info in the subject line
as can be reasonably done. Try not to _begin_ your subject line with
numbers, as the robot handling the list mail sometimes rejects those.
ps. A list member (who is one of our big helpers) has also suggested that
when any of us respond to a message with an inappropriate subject line,
that we alter it slightly. I do this sometimes, but on a busy day I
sometimes overlook this step.
++ AOL and SPAM filters
There has been a new trend for subscribers to set up filters to
screen out unwanted emails. Unfortunately, it sometimes also
restricts the receipt of messages from Rootsweb. When the
message is rejected, it automatically triggers a auto bounce
counter here at Rootsweb. "After 4 there is no more" to
plagiarize an old advertising theme :-).
If you able to answer another member's query, then please share that
answer with other list members ... UNLESS, the reply is very
specifically directed to the poster [such as, "we have a
Bill Smith living next door ... could he be yours?"]
If your answer will be of interest to other
list members, such as immigration, marriages, dates, ports, microfilm
numbers, "how-to" research immigration/emigration related sources
etc., etc., then please share that with the list.
When responding to a query on the list, by all means quote the original
message so that we ALL know what you are talking about. BUT, edit <snip>
the original message to just illustrate the part which you have answered.
On the recent roll call for instance, the actual post for the roll call
should have been snipped.
As mentioned above, "snipping" [editing] is recommended, to save from
excessive "quoting" and wasting band-width by filling up the Digests.
List Mode members, also <snip> the 'tag-lines' from the original post,
and refrain from sending any "piggy-backed" messages with your post
unless they follow the thread.
++ Forwarding Mail:
When forwarding mail [Fwd:] because you may have mis-addressed the
original or you are sending a repeat of an earlier query, take a
moment to edit all the unnecessary 'headers' and taglines etc.
They take up too much room, and serve no purpose. Some may
just "delete" rather than paging down to find your message.
Consider copy/paste into a new message, rather than "Fwd:".
Do not write your message in "CAPS" [Capital letters]. Messages/Queries
written ALL in CAPS tend to be difficult to read, for most of us. In the
"world" of cyber-space, CAPS are considered the equivalent of SHOUTING!
Save CAPS for ship names, surnames, or anything else you wish to stress.
(CAPS are okay from vision-impaired members)
Do not "quote" an entire web page, rather, POST the URL and give a brief
description of the site, and an explanation of why you found it useful.
When quoting any information found elsewhere, eg. ... a web page, a
book, a document .. always cite (give credit) to the website, and/or the
author, the publication etc. Apart from being common courtesy, it can
also cover many possible copyright infringements when you quote an
excerptfrom an original document/publication. Content from a public
document is not copyright, but the compilation of those facts can be.
++ Subject Lines:
These are SO important as this is your "headline" to attract the
attention of those who may be able to help you. Digest members .....
remember to change the subject line to reflect the topic. If you send
a subject which says ... Re: Surname-D Digest V02 #xx ... then this
is meaningless, and may go unread. Also, include your year of interest.
++ Thank you:
Please NEVER forget to send a thank you to someone who has answered your
query. It is so nice to send some appreciation to those who have helped
you. These should be in the form of a PRIVATE message, but I won't mind
if you have been totally overwhelmed by the number of responses, and
you wish to thank everyone by means of the list. :-) It only takes a
moment, and shows that you don't take any contribution for granted.
Most often any info request etc should be posted to the list
Surname-L(a)rootsweb.com. Do not reply to me as list admin because
I then just forward to the list..later..maybe :-) Please reply to the
List even if you are on the Digest as in Surname-D(a)rootsweb.com.
++ Not A Subscriber.
You will sometimes get a "Not A Subscriber" notice. These are posts that
get bounced to me because the poster is sending from a different address
than they are subscribed with. I usually forward these to the list. The
that you are registered with can be just slightly different, sometimes
the ISP inserts a extra server or other identification in the email id.
To check your own address, send your self a email and look at the
headers to look at your "from" address. Make sure your email program
inserts this address in your post and then subscribe to the mailing
lists of your choice. Some ISP ( MSN especially) adds "hotmail"or
"email" on some kind of random basis to your "from" address. The
Rootsweb computer sees that as a totally different address and will
bounce that to me. I usually forward when I can , but there is a delay.
++ Virus alerts
Please just send these directly to me and keep the discussion off the
mailing list. There is a really good Virus mailing list here at Rootsweb
Join by sending an email to VIRUS-DISCUSSION-L-request(a)rootsweb.com
with subscribe in the body of message. I can also refer you to any number
of good Virus sites and sites for Free Anti-Virus software. For the
first time, if you do get infected, then I delete your account and send a
notice message to you. The second time results in a reject notice on your
account. I will send out Virus Alerts from time to time after verifying
several Virus web sites. I do subscribe to several newsletters and
"honey pots" to get early warnings about upcoming Viruses. There is
a wide difference of opinion about the question of even the List Admin
sending out Virus Alerts. I will be happy to debate the point off line
but I can declare now that in my opinion, the possibility of saving
one person the pain of losing their work is worth one delete message.
The virus industry has changed dramatically over the last two years
and that changed my opinion.
++ Virus Updates to the software
There is a separate and important fact that everyone needs to know.
The AntiVirus software program is out of date when you purchase
and install it. The Software Programs work on checking a
pattern of words against a known database of viruses. There are
new viruses introduced each day of each week. So your AV
program needs to be updated very often ( at least once a week)
I update mine every night. Most programs have an auto update
feature. I've set mine to update at 2 AM. Now it also goes that
don't lean back and sigh if you have you've got AV software. The
AV software is your last line of defense ; not your first. Don't
open attachments etc etc. Some of the new viruses are really
tricky in their descriptions ( warning from Microsoft come to mind)
and double extensions etc etc. There are viruses now being seen
at some of the test sites, that are sent in the pure text messages.
Currently you can not get a virus from the message from Rootsweb.
It's your friends, family and people that you correspond with that
do you in :-).
++ Signature Blocks
Signature Blocks and Lines are your address at the bottom of
your message. No signatures lines over 4 lines. The VLF will
automatically put anybody on moderate that can't seem to get their
sig line down. Large sig lines clog up the search engine
and the archives.
"VLF is a patented system from Piglet (the Listowners admin)
and she rents it out for a royalty fee per use.
VLF = Very Large Flyswatter to keep posters in line :-)
We all get bounced from time to time. It's not a signal
that we don't love you. The Rootsweb email server keeps
track of how many times a message to you has bounced back.
Most times it'd due to you exceeding a limit at your email
service. Most of the free Email servers ( Yahoo, Hotmail
Netzero ) have very low limits , usually 2 meg of mail.
In today's world of big messages that happens very fast.
A weekend away can fill your email box pretty fast. So the
post from these lists then gets returned. "After 4 there is no
more" and the "bouncer" steps in and removes your address.
Don't get upset, merely resubscribe and go on. You might want
to check the archives to see if there is any missed messages
Every message ever posted is archived here at Rootsweb.
So if you're joining because you now found that
this surname or topic is hot on your priority list, then
check the archives to see what has already been posted.
You can go to the home page at www.rootsweb.com and pick up
the archives from there. The archives are located at
www.archiver.rootsweb.com if you want to bypass home
and go direct :-)
++ Contact the List Admin
You can always contact any list admin by sending an email
to XXXX-admin(a)rootsweb.com. XXXX = name of the list.
My email is below for direct reference.
Please send an email directly to the request server at
XXXXX-L-request(a)rootsweb.com and merely put
unsubscribe in the body of the message. To get on this list
you had sent a message with subscribe. So to get off,
you merely just tell the computer unsubscribe. Remember
this is HAL. Remember this is HAL, Remember this is
HAL etc etc.
++ Address Changes
We all have address changes in our life. It's a fact of
life in this Internet world we live in. So to update your
A: Send an email to unsubscribe. Please note that you need
to use the original email address to do so. On almost every
email software program, you can install or keep the
original email address. It's there in the from box of the
message. You might have to call up the "options" tab to
B: Then send an email to subscribe the new address. Please use
the new address as it looks in your email server when you
created your new account.
++ Posting to the Mail List.
All Inquires and mail should only go directly to the mail list.
The address to post to is XXXX-L(a)rootsweb.com. Messages sent to
to the XXXXX-L-request(a)rootsweb.com will bounce back
to me. Since most of those bounces are misc. they wind up
getting deleted. So your pleas to get help to find that
one elusive ancestor is gone into the ether someplace. Any
other address will bounce to me and then be deleted.
There are many ways that various spam artists are trying to
post to the list and wind up bouncing to the admin.
They are all deleted. So your important message regarding
an ancestor line or a response to someone will probably be
++ USE your one and only Official Subscribed Address
Most of the problems regarding posting, unsubscribing
etc are due to a difference in the "from" address in your
email program and the "reply to". You were subscribed to
the "reply to" address automatically. The computer ( HAL)
looks only at your "from" address. That "from" address
must match the subscribed address. So if you changed the
"from" address for some reason then no message.
The computer will only accept mail from registered
subscribed users. When the address doesn't match exactly,
it bounces. I sometimes get a copy but not always.
Take a look at the welcome message that you received
for this list. Please keep that message. It tells you
exactly what address was subscribed and will be accepted
for posting. Make sure all email you send is "from" that
address. The Rootsweb computer "Hal" just never sleeps
and never lets a message get by with an "almost correct"
address. Remember this is HAL, Remember this is HAL
++ Be Nice
No Flames, No Selling, No Religion, No Politics
These are all interesting and emotional items.
Trying to admin a list under those circumstance just
takes too much time from my own Genealogy and my
Hope all this helps.
John A Hansen
BTW: From time to time I get some questions about my own
background etc. There is a summary at: