Note: This document is always under construction; proposed questions and
comments welcome.  Many answers are incomplete or absent so far. If you
are anxious for an answer...  Email Fred: fholson at cohousing.org

FAQ for Using Justcomm mailing lists including Cohousing-L

A few specifically Cohousing-L FAQs

Introductory questions


Q0:What does FAQ mean?
Q.5: What's a listserv?  See About mailing lists (listserv's)

Posting policies and advice

Q8:How much should I quote when replying?
Q8.3:Why is excessive quoting a problem?.
Q8.5:How do I delete excessive quotes?
Q8.6:How can digest subscribers skip excessive quotes?
Q9:What's the policy on off-topic posts?
Q10:What's the policy on attachments? What are the alternatives?
Q10.5:What should subscribers do when a post had an attachment and no alternate access?
Q7:What special steps must digest subscribers take when replying to posts?
Q15: I would like to post on a topic but not be identified as the author; is
     this possible?  Yes if circumstances warrant, email Fred with details.

Posting problems

Q1:What's a "rejected" posting ?
Q2:What is good advice for a person whose legitimate posting
   was rejected due to coming "From:" an unsubscribed address?

Subscription related questions

Q3:How can I unsubscribe or make changes to my subscription?
Q17:What about problems with subscribing with Gmail (2013)?
Q4:How do I get assistance with my subscription?
TOO MUCH MAIL
Q14: I can't keep up with all the cohousing-L messages in my inbox, what can
     I do except unsubscribe?
Q6:What is digest mode? (one message per day)
Q6.5:Are 'auto folders' a better alternative to digest mode? (esp. in Gmail, Outlook) Yes!

Miscellaneous

Q11:Why doesn't this discussion use web based discussion software?
Q12: How can one have a permanent email address? (ISP independent address)?
   See E-mail Forwarding Aliases
Q5:Why are email addresses on web pages written like: fholson at cohousing.org
   and why does the "@" not get pasted when I copy it from an archived message?
Q16: What is "tofu"?

List manager and list sponsor resources and references

(mostly not constructed yet...)
Documentation of format of archived subscriber lists for list sponsors
Problem with Mailman and posts with Content-Type: multipart/related

Questions with answers

0:What does FAQ mean? 

 Frequently Asked Questions  FAQ's include answers...

1:What's a "rejected" posting ? 

 When messages are sent to a Justcomm mailing list, they are
 examined by software for a number of features to avoid several problems.
 The primary problem of these is SPAM.

 A "rejected" message is one that has a feature that may indicate it has
 a problem which should prevent it from being distributed.  Rejected
 messages are not automatically distributed.  Instead they are held to be
 reviewed by the list manager.  If a review indicates they do have a
 problem, appropriate action is taken (SPAM is discarded). If they are
 appropriate for posting despite the feature that caused them to be
 rejected, they will be manually approved for posting.  In this case some
 additional steps may be taken to avoid the problem in the future such as
 a note to the poster advising them of the situation and steps that can
 be taken to avoid it. My most active list - cohousing-L (about 600 active
 subscribers and about 150 messages per month) typically gets 2-6 messages
 rejected per day, most are spam.

 The primary way SPAM is prevented is by requiring that posted messages
 be sent "From:" subscribed addresses. Seldom do spammers subscribe in
 order to send spam to the list (so far).

 This is quite effective in stopping Spam that gets thru general SPAM
 filters (which are quite effective at Tigertech.net where Justcomm lists
 are hosted).  Unfortunately  some postings that are appropriate to be
 posted get rejected because the were not posted "From:" a subscribed address:
 o If a non subscriber posts an appropriate message.
 o A subscriber's address has changed and their subscription has not been
   updated (often they are still getting the postings forwarded to them).
 o The subscriber posted from a second address which is not subscribed.

Additional reasons messages are "rejected":

Post to moderated list
 Only selected addresses can post messages to announcement lists.  On other lists selected
 addresses may be set to moderated mode individually due to problems, such as a defective
 vacation program.

Too many recipients to the message
 Considered a characteristic of Spam.  Also results in addresses of additional
 recipients being distributed to other subscribers. Too many = 10.  **

Message has implicit destination
 Considered a characteristic of Spam. Mailing list address is in bcc
 field.  ** I encourage people to send messages to lists with the list's
 address as the only recipient (in the To: field)

Message body is too big:
 Default limit is 40 KB (including attachments that will be stripped)
 Can be changed but I generally don't in order to discourage sending (and archiving) large
 posts.  Some of my lists have much smaller limit.  Cohousing-L's is set to 8 Kb to
 catch most quoted digests.  Setting depends on the list and it's guidelines.

All Content (attachments) filtered / no content left
 I think this mostly catches messages that are sent with html only
 which is still uncommon. Hotmail may default to this.
 I discourage sending html.

2:What is good advice for a person whose legitimate posting
   was rejected due to coming "From:" an unsubscribed address? 

 Only subscribed addresses can post without approval to prevent SPAM
 getting distributed over the list.  Your message to the list was
 probably approved so it was distributed.

 If this was a one time posting and you do not wish to subscribe (and get
 list messages sent to you by email), no further action is needed.

 Are you subscribed at an old address?  If so, please update your address.
 The address of your subscription is encoded in the "Sender: " and
 "Errors-To:  " headers of messages from the list.

 Do you want to be able to post from a second address?
 Do you want to be able to post (without your message being rejected so
 the list manager has to review it)?
 If so please subscribe the address you want to be able to post from
 and put it in "no mail" mode.

3:How can I unsubscribe or make changes to my subscription? 

 To change your subscription or unsubscribe, visit the list's Info Page -
 the URL is listed at the bottom of each message.  Info pages of public
 lists are also listed at Public lists
 organized by Justcomm.org On the Info page by the 'Unsubscribe or
 edit option' button, enter the address at which you are subscribed in
 the form. Clicking that button takes you to your "Options" page.

 The Options page has a special form for Unsubscribing that does not require
 your password. It sends a special email with confirmation instructions.
 Note that sometimes you may come across links directly to the options page
 for your address.

 For other changes you'll need your password; it was emailed to you when
 you subscribed. If that copy is not available, request a copy of your
 password be emailed to you using the "Remind" button at the bottom of
 the page of the options page. When the password arrives return to the
 Options page and enter it in the form and log in.  This will take you to
 your configuration page which allows you to change settings that include:
 regular (individual message) mode, digest mode, no mail mode, change address.

 If your have difficulty email the list manager listed on the info page.

4:How do I get assistance with my subscription? 

 If you need assistance with this please write to the list manager. As
 of Nov 2005, that is usually but not always Fred ( fholson at cohousing.org ).

 In general, you can write to an address like the list's address with
 "-owner" added before the "@" . For example:
 cohousing-L-owner@cohousing.org .  The list address is listed at the
 bottom of the Info page for each list, write to the first address if
 there is more than one.

5:Why are email addresses on web pages written like: fholson at cohousing.org
and why does the "@" not get pasted when I copy it from an archived message? 

 They are "obscured" so spammers cannot automatically retrieve them from
 the web.

6:What is digest mode? 

Note, if you can 'auto folders' may be a better alternative, see next FAQ.

 In Digest Mode all postings for a given day are sent in one big message.
 This reduces the number of messages considerably and some people find it
 makes it easier to deal with ones inbox.  Sometimes when there are many
 postings there will be more than one digest per day so they don't get too
 big.  Over half of the cohousing-L subscribers use digest mode.
 Replying to a posting in a digest is more complicated, see the question #8
 below.  See also How can I unsubscribe or make changes to my subscription?

6.5:What about 'auto folders' (esp. in Gmail) as an alterntive to digest mode? 

Digest mode is not the only way to deal with too many mailing list
messages. What I call (generically) 'auto folders' segregates list
messages and keeps them out of your regular inbox messages. Replying
to messages in auto folders is simpler than replying to messages in
digests.

Auto folders are more complicated to explain than digest mode.
They are a function of your email software and many different
systems of email software are in use and therefore how to set up auto
folders depends on how one gets their email. Below are specific
instructions for setting up auto folders for Gmail users for the
cohousing-L subscribers. Setting them up for other lists are similar.
Setting them up for other mail systems is not specifically covered here.
For similar facility with Microsoft Outlook see Manage messages by using rules

Gmail autofolders

Gmail subscribers can easily set up a filter that puts a cohousing-L
"label" on messages automatically and that puts messages in the
cohousing-L folder and takes them out of the inbox.

They were written for those who access Gmail from a desktop web
browser.  Steps are different with a phone app and I have
not figured out steps there...  Suggestions welcome.

Cohousing-L/Gmail subscribers can get messages individually in a
"label" folder (not really folders but function similarly. A message
can have multiple labels and thus appear in several folders -- those
things listed on the left side of the Gmail user interface.

This assumes you do not already have a "Cohousing-L" label.

While logged into your gmail account that gets cohousing-L digests,
click on the gear shaped icon in the upper right corner (settings) then
 pick "settings".
Click on the "Filters" tab
Click on "Create a new filter"
In the 3rd box down -- "Subject:" box, enter "[C-L]" (without quotes)
Click on "Create filter with this search"
In the next window,
 click on "Skip the inbox (Archive it)" which keeps it out of your other
  email in your inbox.
 check box for "Apply the label:"
 click on "Choose label..."
 pick (click on) "New label"
 enter "Cohousing-L" (without quotes) in the box
 click on "Create"  (New Label window closes)
 on previous window, click on "Create filter"

Your Gmail account should now be set to put Cohousing-L messages in
the Cohousing-L folder as they arrive (old ones in your inbox will stay
there)

If you are in digest mode, send Fred 
a message with subject line:

Gmail cohousing-L label set up; reg mode please

and I'll change your subscription from digest to regular mode.

Note that there are other steps you can follow to get similar results,
particularly if you already get individual messages, but the
instructions above work.  You can also change your mail mode yourself
from the Info Page but it is very easy for Fred to do it for you.

Again, comments welcome.

7:What special steps must digest subscribers take when replying to posts? 

Note that a regular subscription with autofolders has the advantages of
digests without this inconvenience. For setting this up with Gmail and Outlook see FAQ 6.5

 o Replace the "Digest" subject line with the original message's subject
   line preceded by "Re: "
 o Delete most of the quoted digest

8:How much should I quote when replying? 

 Only as much as is needed to supply context for your reply.
 This makes reading digests much easier, reduces the volume of mail
 (bytes) and size of archives and is much appreciated.  The preferred
 format is "top quoting" with quoted lines prefixed by "> " like

> This would be a quoted line

 "Bottom quoting" (where the message to which you are replying is at the
 end of your reply - see Wikipedia on "Top posting" )  is discouraged.
 It prone to quoting complete previous message with little awareness that
 this is being done.

 Most email programs can be configured (see preferences) to use the
 preferred quoting system which is suitable for all email not just posting
 to mailing lists.

8.3:Why is excessive quoting a problem?. 

 Digest subscribers have to scroll thru all the quoted material looking for
 the next new message which is a nuisance.  The quoted material is seldom read.

 And for those who value conserving resources, reducing unneeded quotes
 conserves bandwidth in transmission to numerous subscribes, conserves inbox
 space, conserves archive space, and speeds archive searches.  Tho these
 seem "free" and intangible, they do require real, limited resources to
 provide.

8.5:How do I delete excessive quotes? 

From: Michael Whitman

Posters to the cohousing-L discussion list consistently send in positive,
on-topic, non-rambling messages, but may I make a plea that everyone also pay
attention to how many lines they use up in (1) the "quoted" material that they
are responding to, and (2) their sign-off? Frequently a short, interesting post
is followed by screens and screens of other stuff that's been posted before.

    Posters can "snip" a few lines that tells readers what you are
replying to. CAUTION:  With many email programs, if you simply hit "Reply"
when you respond to someone else's post, their ENTIRE post, plus all the
from-to-date-subject-routing info is also quoted. I know of two ways to
snip, and there are likely more:

1. Some email software allows you to highlight something in a message you are
reading, and when you hit "Reply", your outgoing message will start with
something like "You wrote--- ...[what you highlighted]... ---End of quote",
after which you can put your new message. This feature may also be in
Microsoft's new "Entourage" email software.

2. With other email programs, like older Outlooks, even if you highlight
something brief to reply to, it will quote the entire incoming message
when you hit "Reply". If your email works this way, take a minute and
delete everything except what you are replying to, before you contribute.

    Example: I recently read a great two-line reply to a three-line quote, but
this admirable brevity was followed by a 12-line "signature" and 98 lines of
re-quoted material from the previous message. In the same digest, a
15-line message was followed by 99 lines of quote and requote.

3. Some folks always end with a signature block with their name, job title,
company or community, website, phone number, and perhaps even a pithy quote, or
symbols that make a picture with accents and punctuation characters, which
readers really don't need. Once, OK, but not every time, please!
[ I suggest and encourage informative "signatures" up to 3-5 lines.
  Fred, list manager ]

Thank you --

   Michael Whitman

8.6:How can digest subscribers skip excessive quotes? 
By using a simple search ( for "Message:" or even "age:" without quotes )
to find the beginning of the next message. Most excessive quotes are at the
end of messages, when you've read as much as you desire of a message,
search for the next message.

Digests have a consistant format:

Today's Topics:

   1. Message 1 subject line (poster name)
   2. Message 2 subject line (poster name)
   3. Message 3 subject line (poster name)
   4. Message 4 subject line (poster name)
   ...
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Message: 1
...
Message: 2
...
Message: 3
...
Message: 4
...

Most email programs have a search function to find a string in the
message currently being read (often in the "Edit" menu, often can be
started with 'control F" short cut, often you can search for the same
string again even easier - maybe with control G).  By searching for
"age:" (without quotes usually), one can usually skip directly to the
next message (You could search for "Message:" but "age:" is less to type
and usually sufficient.)

A variation on this allows you to selectively read messages (based on
subject lines or poster's name from "Today's Topics" section).  Note the
message number in the "Today's Topics" section of messages of interest.
To go directly to a message (say #7), search for "age: 7"

9:What's policy on off-topic posts? 

Messages should be about the list's topic.  Brief off-topic comments (1-3 lines)
at the end of an on-topic message are acceptable as part of the "signature".
These can include a link to more information.  (Be sure to include the
http:// part of URL's to make them 'clickable' in all email programs and in the
archives.

10:What's the policy on attachments? What are the alternatives? 

Justcomm listservs are configured to strip attachments.  The reasons
for this are:
o Attachments sometimes contain destructive executable software.
o Attachments tend to be large and cause problems for some subscribers
     by filling their inboxes.
o Large attachments require much space in archives.
o Generally attachments are not searchable in archives.
o Often attachments require software that not all subscribers have available
  which limits access to the information. Three main examples:
   Microsoft Word files (.doc)
   Adobe .pdf files (intended for printing or highly formatted info)
   Rich text (.rtf which Macintosh often uses)
  Often all of these contain just text which can be copied to the message body.
  Sometimes special formats ARE needed - spreadsheets, images and tables but
  some software often makes it easy to use these file types when not needed.
o Files in formats that allow color can be printed in black and white and lose key
  information. We recently had an event announcement printed, email deleted and some
  time passed before we realized that the date of the event was missing tho there was
  space where we suspect it was printed in a color that did not print. Note that color
  printing is still relatively expensive.

See also Wikipedia comments on html in email

Alternatives to attachments on Justcomm listserv (roughly in order of desirability):

1) If attachment contents is mostly text and not too large,
   convert the info to text and include it in the body of a message.
   This can often be done by viewing the attachment text and
   copying and pasting to email.

2) If the attachment is on the web somewhere, post a note to the mailing list
   with a small text excerpt or description of topic covered and include the URL
   (web address - be sure to include the "http://" part) where the complete
   document can be found.  If you did not get the article off the web yourself,
   (maybe someone emailed it to you!), you may need to use a search engine such
   as google.com to look for it on the web to get a URL where it can be found.

   If the URL is too long to fit on one line of an email message,
   you can easily make a short URL that goes to the document by copying the
   long url from your browser when you are viewing the document online
   and pasting it into the form at:
   tinyurl.com
   Then put the short URL that is provided into your email message.

3) If the attachment is NOT on the web somewhere and you have the ability,
   put the file on the web first.
   If you don't have the ability to put files on the web, email Fred, the
   list manager: fholson at cohousing.org who can in the case of Cohousing-L
   put a copy at l.cohousing.org
   tho it is preferable if you can do it since this a manual process.  I've
   started a document to try and explain a bit about what is involved to
   put a file on the web . 

4) Offer to send the attachment to individuals by email:

In your post to the listserv, describe the document briefly and include something like:
    " If you would like a copy of the document, please email me directly
     (not over the list) and I will reply with the document attached."

This alternative is particularly suitable if few people are likely to
actually want to read the document.  Examples:
1) Specific, detailed information that most subscribers don't need.
2) A megabyte plus (huge) file with a flyer (for which .pdf
   IS appropriate) but only a few people will print and distribute.

10.5:What should subscribers do when a post had an attachment and no alternate access? 
If a subscriber gets a list message that refers to an attachment that was stripped by the listserv
and no alternate access is provided, I suggest writing to the poster directly (off list)
something like the following (which you can copy and paste into an email message to
them - edit the list name into the blank) :

Your recent post to the ________ mailing list referred to an
attachment that was stripped by the listserv.  Please provide an
alternative - see
Q10:What's the policy on attachments? What are the alternatives?
( http://justcomm.org/jc-faq.htm#Q10 )

You may also want to ask that they send you a copy directly as an attachment (the last alternative).

11:Why don't Justcomm discussions use web based discussion software? 

(UNDER CONSTRUCTION)
Web based discussion software has a number of advantages but lacks the MAIN advantage
of email based discussions - email comes to participants rather than depending on them to
come to the discussion.  This greatly helps the discussion to keep up participation or
revive when activity does happen.  It would be desirable to give
participants the choice of how to participate.

Attempts to integrate web based and listserv based systems that do not
significantly compromise the email discussion have been slow to be
developed.  A new generation of email software that is more aware of listservs
would be very helpful ...

I will be monitoring the development of the open source email/web discussion software
called Groupserver for possible use as it's capabilities evolve.
See Groupserver

Note that the Mhonarc based archives of Mailman lists at Justcomm do
allow messages to be read over the web - the main function of web based
discussions.

14: I can't keep up with all the cohousing-L messages in my inbox, what can 
 I do except unsubscribe?

 0) A regular subscription with autofolders has the advantages of digests without
    the inconvenience when posting. For setting this up with Gmail and Outlook see FAQ 6.5
 1) Consider Digest mode which sends one email per day with that day's posts. See
    Q6:What is digest mode?
 2) set "no mail" mode and browse the messages via the web (archives) periodically.
 3) The Cohousing-L weekly summary list is defunct.

16:What is "tofu"?  
 "Tofu" is spam for good causes.  This often takes the form of forwarding mailings and
 documents that the Tofu sender has received and wants to share widely and promote.
 But it is still unsolicited mass email.  It is poor etiquette to repeatedly send such
 email to people without their consent. Even if you think they will or should like to
 read it.  Even if you send it to them and they don't complain.  Many people are
 reluctant to point out to friends or acquaintances that they are practicing poor
 etiquette so they don't ask to stop getting email.  They just delete it unread and
 get frustrated. If they consent to receive email, they may change their mind.  The
 bottom of every mass mailing should mention how they can stop getting mailings.

List manager and list sponsor resources and references:
Yet to be constructed.
Documentation on Justcomm subscriber archives
for list sponsors.

Mailman and posts with Content-Type: multipart/related
For a while now (9/06) one mailing list that I manage has had one
frequent poster whose juno.com posts are often forwarded to me as a
"Content filtered message notification" message by Mailman rather
than posting the text portion. Now I've gotten this from a few other
users on this and another list including one using
X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook, Build 10.0.2616
X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V6.00.2900.2962
(i.e. it is not just a juno problem). So I decided to make an
faq entry to track/explain the problem.

These messages are of type multipart/related  -- i.e. header:

Content-Type: multipart/alternative;

which is similar to more common type multipart/alternative messages that
contain the message in text and html. With the "alt" type, the Mailman
software (used by my mailing lists the way I have it configured) simply
distributes just the text copy of the message and discards the html
part. However "multipart/related" is meant to mean that the text part
alone does not convey the full message and therefore it would be
inappropriate to use just the text portion.  At present Mailman (as
configured) distributes nothing and sends the "Content filtered message
notification". So far in the "related" messages I've looked at the html
version is little more than a copy of the text version so the usual
procedure of posting the text would be appropriate.

For now (9/13/06) I repost the text portion of "related" posts manually
with a preamble refering to "a problem".  But if the problem occurs more
frequently I may reconfigure Mailman so it simply posts the text portion
of "related" messages automatically on the assumption that little will
be lost.  If the html portion does ever truely become indispensable,
I'd have to rethink the configuration again.

Note that another approach to the problem would be to have posters
configure their mail programs to not use this format but with such an
approach it is difficult to get universal compliance.


11:What about problems with subscribing with Gmail (2013)? 

Gmail problems for subscribers Dec 2013

I suspect the "new" Gmail (2013) inbox can be the source of problems
for people trying to subscribe to mailing lists.  The problem primarily
relates to finding messages from the listserv (the software that runs
the list) to which one needs to respond to complete the subscription.
The usual response the new subscriber needs to make is to go to a
special web page whose address is in the message.

Recent changes with Gmail's user interface may result in email from
the listserv to not be easily found in the inbox.  Instead it gets put
in a "tab" or "folder" by Gmail. The tabs are listed to the right of
"COMPOSE" in red when "Inbox" on the left is selected (default?).
Tabs may include  "Primary", "Social" "Promotions" etc.

To find "missing" messages...
Sometimes in the new Gmail user interface there is a link on the left
to "All Mail" (below "Drafts" for me) which when clicked may cause a
bunch of additional messages to be displayed in the index. The additional
messages were "in" other "tabs"

A test subscription of my Gmail account to Cohousing-L resulted in the
confirmation message to be only visible in the index [ Primary tab ]
if I've clicked "All Mail". Otherwise confirmation message was "in"
the "Promotions" tab.

If "All Mail" is not found on the left, you may have to put the
mouse over the folders on the left and the click on "More" to find
"All Mail".

Apparently "All Mail" is not always or has not always been an option
on the left according the a page from Oct 2013 that tells how to get it
if you dont have it:

Gmail: View All Mail as a Side Column in the Default View
http://www.groovypost.com/howto/gmail-all-mail-default-inbox-view/

Another way to find a message from any tab is to search for it.
Try searching your inbox (not the web) for cohousing-L

Note the above was written by Fred H Olson 
who does not usually use Gmail.  If you have insights to improve it,
please send Fred a note.

-- End of Justcomm FAQ --

Who's Fred H Olson?  See "About Fred" at Fred's Link page
Justcomm.org