Science and art belong to the whole world, and before them vanish the barriers of nationality. - Goethe

You can observe a lot just by watching. - Yogi Berra

"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 all subscribers.

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 . . .

  1. QUESTION: There appear to be two email addresses involved with the use of this listserver:
    What's the difference?


    1. 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).

    2. 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.

  2. 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, 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.


      As expected, this removes you from the friends list.

    3. HELP

      This will result in a listserver HELP file being mailed to you.


      This will result in an information file on the 'friends' listserver being emailed to you.


      Gets a listing of all non-concealed people who are subscribers to the friends list.


      This will return a listing of all the archive material that you can retrieve using the GET command.


      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.


      (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.


      (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.

    10. 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.

  3. 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?

    1. just ignore the error messages

    2. 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.

[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

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1996 Friends and Partners
Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
Please visit the Russian and American mirror sites of Friends and Partners.
Updated: 2000-02-

Please write to us with your comments and suggestions.

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©1996 Friends and Partners
Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole


Seven years of news. . . . .



Through an agreement with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Friends and Partners maintains a seven year archive, updated daily, of their popular daily news service concerning the NIS and countries of Central and Eastern Europe. You can browse the complete news summaries of each day for the last seven years and you can search the entire archive by key word. A wonderful reference tool!