Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(January 1994)

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Subject: Can you recommended mailing list software for my list?
From: Kimball Collins <kpc @ ptolemy . arc . nasa . gov>
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 94 15:52:11 PST
To: list-managers @ greatcircle . com
Cc: kpc @ ptolemy . arc . nasa . gov


i just joined the digest.  please forgive my lack of capitalization!

i administrate the cognitive neuroscience mailing list
(cogneuro-request @
 ptolemy .
 arc .
 nasa .
 gov), which uses my own software.
my software is written in emacs lisp, vm, and bbdb to partially
automate the administration of this plain sendmail alias list.  it's
getting to be a pain as the list gets bigger (bbdb slows down, and
handling bounces is not automated), so i'm looking for much better

i'm so exasperated by bounces, dealing with subscriptions, etc. now
that i will chuck (for now) my notions of fancy, interesting
applications of computer-assisted communications to scientific
collaboration -- and go with something that is relatively easy and
reliable to use and administrate.

the software i seek ideally has neat features for later, but if it's
easy to use and easy to administrate, and if it's reliable and easy
for my sysadmins to set up (or possible for me to set up), then i'm
interested in hearing about it.  (i'm about as computer literate as
you can ask for, but i don't want to take too many risks with my
readership with new software, and i'm really tired of fixing bugs!)

what packages do the esteemed list managers here recommend for me?
majordomo?  listserv?  the extropians software?  i run in a networked
sunos 4.1.3 environment.

features: i don't absolutely need archiving capability, since one of
my list members is archiving the list for me.  ideally, however, a
little automated db of list members who decide to make information
about themselves public would be included.  (i.e.  those who don't set
conceal would be able to submit their c.v.'s or .plan files for the
database so others can search them.)  but that's wishing!  :-) also
ideally the software would post only members' posts, without bothering
me, but would bother me for non-members.  finally, if it looks like
listserv to newcomers who are used only to listserv, that's an
advantage.  but if somebody who thinks it's listserv when it's not
won't get in a spot, and if it's easy to explain the instructions to
people in my announcement, that won't matter.

for reference, my current policies are as follows: only members who
have read the instructions may post (honor system now, since i just
use a plain sendmail alias for the list), anybody who is interested
and intellectually honest may join, i try to protect privacy, i allow
unique pseudonyms, and posts are not censored.  there's also a notion
of self- and cooperative-editing that the list employs, but it's not
worth discussing here.

some users are new to computer-assisted communication.  some users are
familiar only with listserv and my list.  some users are
america-online users (whose software has some bugs).  oh, yes, ideally
it won't be a hard jump for a user to use the new software to
unsubscribe or subscribe if he's used to the cogneuro address for
posting and the cogneuro-request address for subscriptions.

comments are appreciated!


kpc @
 ptolemy .
 arc .
 nasa .
 gov .
   Interests: multidisciplinary neuroethology, AI, HCI.
Free & private speech are vital to democracy on mankind's very future, the net.
Obedience to authority ONLY for its own sake is a problem; it's not a solution.
The prescription monopoly raises costs and lowers quality.  Legalize medicines!

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