This file contains information on using the IBMWR mailing list, specifically:
- What do you want to subscribe to?
- Subscribing and unsubscribing
- Switching from list to digest
- Problems and troubleshooting
- Using the list
- What to post and what not to post
- Special digest stuff
- Ohmigod, I'm not getting any mail!
What do you want to subscribe to?
The regular IBMWR mailing list distributes anywhere from 10 to 200 messages per day to each subscriber. This is a lot of email. Most people don't attempt to read everything because it can be a full-time job. It can also place quite a load on your computer and software.
If that sounds like too much of a good thing for you, think about subscribing to the digest instead of the regular list.
What's the "digest?"
A digest of a mailing list is one large message that contains several "regular" mail messages. When you subscribe to the digest mode of the list, instead of getting each individual message one by one, you'll get one large message every now and then, typically a few each day. The list server stores up the individual messages until they reach a certain file size and then sends the bundle out to you. This, naturally, delays some email.
You can also choose from two types of digests -- all the messages strung together in a long text file, or with the individual messages included as attachments (MIME).
Some people prefer digests, some don't. If you like to post to the list, it may be easier to get individual mail messages; if you mostly just like to read what others say, then the digest may be more convenient for you. If you use the digest, there's some special writing stuff you need to know.
Because we're gluttons for punishment, the IBMWR admin team maintains several related lists, in addition to The Big List: bmw-tech, limited to technical info exchanges; and the MOA list, limited to the political intrigues and activities of the BMW Motorcycle Owners Association. There's also an email "receive only" list of ads that have been posted recently on the Marketplace (www.ibmwr.org/marketplace/)
Subscribing and Unsubscribing
To subscribe to any BMW mailing list or digest (and become a President of the IBMWR), go to http://lists.ibmwr.org and from there, open the information page of the list you're interested in joining.
You can also subscribe with an email message to the mailing list management "subscribe" address (or click these links):
- BMWMC (the Big List) email@example.com
- BMW-Tech (Only technical information) firstname.lastname@example.org
- IBMWR-Ads (New advertisements in the Marketplace) email@example.com
After it receives your subscription request, the server responds with a confirmation email. SAVE THE EMAIL and BOOKMARK THE URL it points you to. The email contains your password and the URL is your personal account management page.
To unsubscribe to any BMW mailing list, visit your account management page and unsubscribe. If you've lost your password or the URL of your page, go to http://lists.ibmwr.org and from there, open the information page of the list by logging in with your email address. All the way at the bottom, near the button that's labeled "Unsubscribe and change options", type your email address and click the button.
Details on Subscribing
The main page at http://lists.ibmwr.org looks like this:
Click on the list you want to subscribe to. The next page you'll see lets you select one of three actions:
- The top field takes you to a page where you set options about how you receive list email. You need to know your password for this. Select this option to do anything EXCEPT to Unsubscribe.
- The middle button is "Unsubscribe." Again, you need to know your password.
- The bottom button emails you a password reminder, so that you can use the other two buttons.
To Set Digest Mode, NoMail, or Other Options
Turning digest mode on and off, setting NoMail, and a number of other options are available to you on your account management page. If you've lost your password or the URL of your page, go to http://lists.ibmwr.org and from there, open the information page of the list. All the way at the bottom, near the button that's labeled "Unsubscribe and change options", type your email address and click the button.
On the next page, type your password in the top field and click "Login." Your options page is displayed.
Just go down the list of options, checking or unchecking the ones you want. NoMail is what you'd use if you're going on vacation. Any option that says "global" allows you to set that option for all IBMWR mailing lists to which you subscribe. Be sure to click "Submit My Changes" when you're done -- you must do this to complete the edits you make.
We've set up a "Help!" email account if you have a problem that can't be resolved. Messages sent to firstname.lastname@example.org will reach a mailing list administrator.
If you'd like more information on Mailman, the package that's used to manage the list, the URL for the user's manual is: http://www.list.org/mailman-member/mailman-member.html
Problems and troubleshooting
If you're having trouble subscribing or unsubscribing, the cause is likely to be an incorrect address being generated somewhere in the chain of computers between you and the list server. There are two things you should do yourself to fix the problem before you contact the list administrator for a manual fix: find out who your computer thinks you are and find out who the mailing list server thinks you are.
Make sure you're using the correct address! Due to the vagaries of computer communication and weird software, not all mailing addresses are used correctly by the software people use to send and receive email. In particular, some members' mail software doesn't treat the list's mailing address correctly. The correct address for the mailing list is always "lists.ibmwr.org." If you see that you're sending mail to some other location than lists.ibmwr.org, find the part of your software that's generating the bogus address.
When you need a person instead of a computer . . .
On occasion, like if you suddenly stop receiving mail and you cannot resubscribe, you may need to contact the list administrator, instead of the mail server.
Messages sent to email@example.com will reach a mailing list administrator. And if you need something other than help, the email address for the list administrator(s) is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note that this is the address of a real person, not a computer managing the list. Normal list admin questions should be sent here, but may take a day or so to be handled. Please do not send requests to subscribe or unsubscribe unless you've tried the standard method and tried to fix the problem yourself, and nothing has worked.
Using the list
To send a message to all subscribers of the mailing list and the digest, send a regular mail message to email@example.com. Please do not send the list a "test" message "Just to see if it works." If you've been able to subscribe and you're getting mail, it works. Trust us. Also, the software is set to automatically unsubscribe people who post test messages. :-) It works most of the time
Anything sent to the list address goes to everyone on the list, so please read this next section carefully:
Special digest stuff
The digest is a feature of the mailing list that many people use, but you do have to remember that you're in digest mode when replying to messages. When you reply to a message within a digest:
- First, edit your reply's Subject field so that it contains the subject of the single message you are replying to. For example, do not send a reply that says Subject: RE Digest XXXX. Instead, cut-and-paste the subject of the message you're replying to into your reply.
- Second, many mail tools include the entire original message in a reply. Do not do this. Edit your reply so that only the specific message you're replying to is included. In addition to making your reply more readable, many mailers will not pass messages larger than the size of the digest. (But don't delete the names of previous writers; people following the thread like to know who said what.)
TIP: Many people who receive the digest swear by "digest reader" software, which breaks a digest into its component messages. Go here for more info.
The BMW mailing list is moderated, which means that people's messages that drift too far off topic (BMW motorcycles) will be gently reminded what the purpose of the list is and to please take the topic to private email, and then vaporized.
Ohmigod, I'm not getting any mail!
Every once in a while, you'll wake up and log on or go into work, get a cup of coffee and settle down for your daily fix of BMW trivia. Only your mailbox will be empty.
Try not to take this personally. Everyone else isn't really off somewhere talking about you.
What probably happened is that one of the many computers and network links between your computer and the IBMWR server went down. When this happens, mail addressed to you is returned (bounces back) to the server. After the server receives several bounces from your address, it reaches the conlusion that something is wrong with the route to your address. So you're unsubscribed. This prevents stacks of messages from being sent back and forth over the net until the problem resolves itself.
To fix the problem, you need to subscribe again. You cannot subscribe to the list twice, so don't worry about it. The worst thing that will happen is that you'll receive an error message from the IBMWR server, telling you that you're already a member of the list. If this happens, it means your mail is disappearing into the great bit bucket in the sky. Which means that it's a problem for you and your system administrator to resolve.
If this trouble shooting technique doesn't work, send an email message with your tale of woe to: firstname.lastname@example.org.