The only certainty is that nothing is certain. - Pliny the Elder
"What can I do with the FRIENDS listserver?"
Many have had questions about the FRIENDS listserver and would like to
know more about the purpose and capabilities of this information tool. We
will try to answer some questions and provide you with some background
information . . .
First, the FRIENDS listserver was created as a mechanism to facilitate
communication among people interesting in helping (or just watching) the
"Friends and Partners" effort. To minimize 'noise' and to reduce traffic
on the list, this is a moderated list -- which means that all messages are
sent first to the 'moderators' (Natasha and Greg) and they are then edited
each day into a 'digest' which is then sent via the listserver software to
At the end of its first week of existence, it had around 360 subscribers
(a big surprise to us!). Now we have well over more than 5 times that!
(end of background information . . .)
Now, for some questions and answers . . .
- QUESTION: There appear to be two email addresses involved with the use of
What's the difference?
- First, the 'friends' address is used *only* for posting
messages which are to be transmitted to all other subscribers on the list.
To be able to successfully send messages to 'friends', you must first
'subscribe' to the list (only subscribers are permitted to post messages).
- The 'listproc' address is the address to which all
'administrative' requests are to be sent. These include requests to
subscribe (and to unsubscribe); requests for help; requests for
information; requests to obtain information via email, etc. These various
requests will be discussed in the material which follows.
- QUESTION: Besides posting information to the 'friends' list,
what can I do with the listserver?
ANSWER: There are many things you can do with a listserver. We will
try to outline some of these below. All of the following commands should
be emailed (on a line by themselves) to the address:
THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!!
- SUBSCRIBE FRIENDS
This, of course, gets you started. Note: all subsequent interaction with
the list MUST be from the same email address from which you posted your
initial subscribe request.
- UNSUBSCRIBE FRIENDS
As expected, this removes you from the friends list.
This will result in a listserver HELP file being mailed to you.
- INFORMATION FRIENDS
This will result in an information file on the 'friends' listserver being
emailed to you.
- REVIEW FRIENDS
Gets a listing of all non-concealed people who are subscribers to the
- INDEX FRIENDS
This will return a listing of all the archive material that you can
retrieve using the GET command.
- GET FRIENDS YYMMDD
where you substitute a date for YYMMDD -- this will retrieve an archive
file for the specified date. For example, if you want to retrieve the
"Daily Digest" for February 7, 1994, just issue the command:
GET FRIENDS 940207
and the digest for that day will be emailed to you. This may be handy for
folks who subscribed late to the list and who wish to review material from
the 'early days' of this effort.
- SEARCH FRIENDS "X"
(where X is a term you wish to search for)
This allows you to search all archive files ("Daily Digests") for a word
or phrase. It will then return to you a listing of all lines from the
various archives that matched your search criteria.
An example: If you send the message,
SEARCH FRIENDS "embassy"
you will receive an email message which lists all of the lines in all of
the archives that contain the word embassy.
You can then use the GET command to retrieve any of the archives that met
your search criteria.
This is a very handy feature of the listserver software.
- RUN FRIENDS NONE HTTP X
(where X is a document on a World wide web server *somewhere*
which you wish to retrieve)
This feature was described in some detail in the 'tech talk' section for
94-02-08. It permits you to retrieve documents from our WWW server (or
from other WWW servers) via the friends listserver.
- HELP LIVE
For the very 'advanced' user who is on the Internet and who wishes to work
interactively with the listserver, there is a mechanism for doing so.
Issuing the above command will give you the instructions.
- QUESTION: After interacting with the listserver, I get the
information I requested, but I also always get an additional note listing
some error messages. WHY?
ANSWER: The most common reason for this is that users oftentimes
have 'signature' entries at the bottom of their email notes (listing their
name, institution, phone number, etc.). This basically confuses the
listserver software and it complains. Solution?
- just ignore the error messages
- turn off (temporarily) the feature of your mailer which
places your signature information at the bottom of your email message.
There's lots more information we could provide on the use of the
listserver, but we will hold that for another day. The instructions above
should help you get started with some advanced 'listserving'.
As always, we are happy to receive any questions, comments or suggestions.
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©1996 Friends and Partners
Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
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