A Brief History
Regist-L's progenitor, Registrar-L, was started in November
of 1991 as a small homemade mailing list on a machine at Cornell University
by Paul Aucoin with technical assistance from
Mike Shappe. It was the first such list
attempted by Cornell, and its creation was made possible by many folks and
much cooperation. The original membership was about 17 members and the idea
was to create a virtual community of registrars (of all levels) who shared
their common experiences through the Internet. It was intended to promote
sharing of information, experiences, concerns, and advice about issues
affecting records and registration professionals. Humanistic, technical,
legal, financial, and administrative viewpoints were (and still are)
The list quickly grew from 17 charter members to over a 100
members in the first year and caused us to move it to a real (almost)
listserv on another (bigger, more powerful) machine at Cornell. After
another year (and over 300 members!) it was moved to a real listserv at
Georgia State University where it still lives.
Evelyn Buffington and Registrar Emeritus Jim Greene of GSU
worked with Paul and Mike to coordinate the transfer,
and we all owe Jim a real debt of gratitude for his shepherding of the
project at GSU. Jim, Bonnie Scranton of Antioch College in Ohio, and Janet
Busekist in Hammond,
Louisiana, share management of the list with Charles Gilbreath of GSU.
Steve Nicholas at GSU is the system manager. Paul is now
Listguy Emeritus. Charles manages the
behind-the-scenes aspects of the list.
In May of 1995, the list was moved to CREN
Listprocessor software at GSU, and entailed
another address change for the list. This latter move was ably coordinated
by Keith Campbell of GSU. In September of 2004, the venerable
Lisproc software was retired and replace with a
web-based list management system called MailMan. Charles and Steve oversaw
this process. In January of 2009, MailMan was, in turn, replaced with a
new system called Listserv, and the subscriber list was cleaned up to remove
inactive or duplicate subscriptions.
Regist-L now has a current membership of over 1000 folks,
some more actively posting messages than others. Typical traffic on a
weekday is from 30 to 40 messages, many of which are responses to pleas for
help with a particular problem one of us is encountering. Included in the
1000 or so members are several international subscribers.
A message posted to this address will be seen by over 1000
registrar-types worldwide. Hence, this is not the appropriate address to
request changes in mail options or for help in setting your user options.
Nor should personal messages be posted here.
To subscribe to REGIST-L, go to
http://listserv.gsu.edu and you will
see a catalog of lists. REGIST-L is towards the bottom; click the link for
our list and a new page opens that features several “options,” including one
to “Join or Leave REGIST-L.” Click this link and a new page opens that asks
you to provide your name and email address. You can also choose how you
wish to receive your messages. Note that there are several different
formats for both digest and index. You may wish to experiment with
different formats to find one that works best with your particular email
software, since they all seem to handle the messages in slightly different
(and sometimes, really annoying) ways. As the page informs you, the system
will send you a confirmation message to which you must respond in order to
activate your account. These messages are time sensitive, and they will
expire in 48 hours, so don’t set up your subscription on your way out the
door on a Friday. When you respond, you are generally taken to the web page
for the list, where you can click the “log in” link. From the text in the
“Login Required” box, there is a link to “get a new LISTSERV password.”
Click this link and provide the information requested to set up a password –
but don’t select an important one that you use for some other secure system.
This password is really just to make sure that you are the person setting
your personal list options. Once you set your password, the system will
send you a confirmation message, and you must respond to that in order to
activate the password.
Since the subscriber list has been moved from one list
software package to another, our current subscribers will be recognized by
the system, but they do not automatically have passwords (those didn’t get
moved from the old system). Not to worry, there are a couple of ways to get
a password. If you go to
http://listserv.gsu.edu, you will see one of the links under the
“Options” section is “Get Password.” Alternately, the system will ask you
to provide a password before letting you go on when you first try to log on
(there is a link in the “Login required” box for those who need to get a new
To unsubscribe from REGIST-L, go to the
http://listserv.gsu.edu web address
and scroll down the catalog of lists to the “Regist-L”
entry. Click the link to Regist-L and the page will change to the Regist-L
list page, where there are several options, including one that allows you to
“Join or Leave REGIST-L.” Click this link and a new page opens that will
allow you to enter your name and email address. At the bottom of the page
is a button called “Leave REGIST-L.” Click this link and a new page opens
to inform you that a confirmation request email message is on its way. You
must reply to that message in order to confirm your cancellation. Once you
do, you are removed from the list.
If you are changing jobs, it would be best to signoff from
the list and subscribe again when you are in your new situation.
If your email address has changed, you can update it by
going to the http://listserv.gsu.edu
page, and clicking the log in link. Enter the email address you used to
initially establish your subscription and your password. Once you have
logged in, click the “Subscriber’s Corner” link in the menu bar at the top
of the page. The page will refresh to show the list(s) to which you are
subscribed. Click on the “[Settings]” link next to the list name and you
will next see the current settings for your subscription, including the
First you should determine whether or not you are still
subscribed. Go to the
http://listserv.gsu.edu page and click the “log in” link (upper right
corner of the screen). Enter your email address and your password (see the
“get a new LISTSERV password” link in the “login required” if you need a
password). If you can’t get in, that means you don’t have a subscription
and you should follow the subscription information listed above.
If you do get in, that means you do have a subscription, and
there are several things you can check. Go to the “Subscriber’s Corner”
(the link is at the top of the page) and then click the “[Settings]” link
for REGIST-L. Take a look at the “Miscellaneous” settings to see if the
“Mail delivery disabled temporarily” option is checked.
If you are subscribed and you do have your email delivery
enabled, then it may be a setting that the list manager will have to
investigate. If you have had problems with your email system on your
campus, the software may have received a number of “fatal bounces,” or
messages from the email system that messages were returned as “unable to
deliver.” After a series of these, the system will keep your subscription,
but it will flag it as inactive. A manager will have to go into the
subscription list and reactivate you.
If you none of these is the problem, then it may a problem
with regist-l, or with something at your site or
on the way to it that you or your guru there must solve. The list managers
will take care of the problem if something is wrong with the
Paul Aucoin is the founder of
the list and Listguy Emeritus. Charles Gilbreath
succeeded Paul as active listowner in November
2001, on the occasion of Regist-L's 10th anniversary.
Charles runs the list in consultation with Janet
Davis, Steve Nicholas and
the other GSU technical members (Larry Johnson and Chad Tatum).
Janet and Charles manage the REGIST-L List and are mainly responsible
for adding or deleting members and changing settings for members who don't
know how to set their user options and use other commands they could learn
for themselves by reading this documentation. ; - )
Steve Nicholas, Larry Johnson and Chad Tatum are the
Listserv technical advisors and software experts who spend their free time
helping people with more complicated mail problems and chasing mailing list
and network problems. We give them the hard stuff. Steve and his colleagues
make sure the software is operating properly, and help the rest of us when
we can't solve one of your problems.
Contacting the Staff
We all try to read as much of the mail as we can, but we
can't catch everything. If you have a problem please don't post to the list
for help! Use one of the addresses below. Please be patient, as we are all
volunteers, and have other jobs that have higher priorities.
Once you have a subscription (see above for instructions
regarding subscriptions) the Listserv software gives you several
mail options, which are set by going to the web page
http://listserv.gsu.edu and logging
in. From there, go to the “Subscriber’s Corner” and select the “[Settings]”
link next to the name of the list (Regist-L). The most important settings
are discussed below.
Subscription Type -
There are several options here that allow
you to receive just plain, unadorned mail as it is generated, or several
varieties of digest or index messages. Individual email
packages handle these differently, so your results may differ from someone
using another software system. However, there are some
generalities that hold true.
Regular – plain old messages, delivered as soon as the system generates
– several flavors are available, but a digest setting causes the list to
save up messages and distribute them as a single message that contains all
of the day’s traffic. The digest message is generated
either once a day or whenever the digest buffer is filled.
On a particularly busy day, this may cause multiple digests to be
distributed (special editions!). The “traditional (nomime)”
digest seems to be set up for the most basic of email systems, and the
results tend to be less than popular. This is because a
sender who uses an html-enabled email system will generate a ton of extra
text that has nothing to do with the subject of the message and only clogs
up the receiver’s screen. HTML enabled users may find
that the HTML digest gives better results, but the results may still not
work exactly as expected due to the variety of email systems out there.
Digests send along the contents of all the messages, either contained
within the message or as attachments.
– similar to a digest, these also save up messages and send them out at the
end of the day (or more frequently if there is a lot of traffic and the
buffer is filled). However, instead of sending along the
contents of the messages (as a digest does), it sends a link to the
messages, which are stored back in the list. An HTML
index shows the message subject and sender, along with a link (assuming you
have selected the HTML index) to the message.
Mail Header Style –
This determined how the messages appear
to the recipients. By setting messages to display the
list name as a part of the subject, subscribers can set up rules for
handling the mail, since every message will be identified as coming from the
list. These rules can also be set up based on other
fields as well. How this is done depends on the user’s
This determines whether you want to get a message back from the list when
you post or a copy of your message as a regular posting.
Includes the “mail delivery disabled temporarily” setting, which is what you
use to turn off delivery for a while; good for
vacations, meetings, and stuff—just
remember to enable your mail when you get back.
Digest Mode – Set this to enabled, and
you will get one email message that contains all of the previous day’s
traffic. If it has been a particularly busy day, the digest may fill and be
sent out before the normal digest delivery time of midnight.
Get MIME or Plain Text Digests – If you have an
email system that can handle MIME format files, you have the option of getting
plain text digests (one big message with all of the traffic enclosed, which
requires you to scroll through the message) or the MIME format. MIME digests
come as a single message with each of the submissions to the list enclosed as
an attachment. You can take a look at the subjects of the attachments and
open only the ones that interest you.
Receive your own posts
to the list? Ordinarily, you will
get a copy of every message you post to the list. If you don't want to receive
this copy, set this option to No.
Receive acknowledgement mail when you send
mail to the list?
What more explanation
does this one need?
Get password reminder
email for this list? Once a month,
you will get an email containing a password reminder. You can turn this off by
selecting No for this option. If you turn off password reminder, no
reminder email will be sent to you.
Conceal yourself from
subscriber list? When someone views
the list membership, your email address is normally shown (in an obscured
fashion to thwart spam harvesters). If you do not want your email address to
show up on this membership roster at all, select Yes
for this option.
What language do you
prefer? We (the administrators)
set this one for the list.
Which topic categories
would you like to subscribe to? We
haven’t set any topic categories, so the options that are concerned with
categories are moot.
Avoid duplicate copies of messages?
When you are listed explicitly in the
Cc: headers of a list message, you
can opt to not receive another copy from the mailing list. Select
Yes to avoid receiving copies from the
mailing list; select No to receive copies. If the list has member
personalized messages enabled, and you elect to receive copies, every copy
will have a
X-Mailman-Copy: yes header added to
One of the improvements made by the switch
to the new software is the increased ease by which the mail archive may be
reviewed. If you are a subscriber, you can go to the main page
where you will see that the first link is to the archive section. Each month,
all messages are bundled and neatly tucked into an archive file. You can
select sort the messages by date, by subject, by sender, or by thread (an
original message and all subsequent responses).
REGIST-L is a high-volume list. We routinely exceed 30 messages on busy
days. The mail options listed above help you deal with this volume. Here are
some tips on dealing with the mail in each of the message modes. Selecting the
DIGEST option is a popular method of handling mail volume. The advantage of
this mode is that the mail gets compiled into digests and sent to you just
once daily, normally around 12:00 midnight. If you have not selected digest
mode, you have no control over when the messages are sent to your account.
However, from there on, you can choose appropriate ways to deal with your
If you are on your computer all day and often receive work or other mail
that has to be checked more frequently than you want to check Regist-L mail,
it can get cumbersome separating the list mail from your other mail. If this
is the case with you, you may wish to look at ways in which you can filter out
the Regist-L mail into a separate folder. Ask someone at your node about Elm
filters or procmail (usually available on
Other ways to handle this include simple self-discipline or a reordering
of priorities to make REGIST-L reading an important part of your work, which
is a common solution. : - )
It might be tempting for vendors to want to post registrar-related
products and services they want to sell. This is not allowed. Georgia State
University does not allow commercial solicitations on the free lists that they
support for the higher education community. Advertising is not allowed and
will typically result in immediate removal from the list.
Vendors may listen on the list but
may not post directly to the list. Also,
anyone that posts a chain letter or get-rich-quick scheme to the list will be
IMMEDIATELY removed from the list. For more information,
see the posting by Jim Greene.
There are some things you should (and shouldn't) do in order to be a good
Regist-L citizen. A few suggestions follow:
Confirmation messages - Some mail
systems have a setting whereby you can get an automatic confirmation that your
message has been received if the recipient has appropriate software. DO NOT
use this option when posting messages to Regist-l. If you do not disable this
option, all 1400 of us will see each of the confirmations, because they will
go to the list. Habitual offenders will be dealt with in a manner that may
restrict their participation in our club.
Surveys - Please address
replys to surveys ONLY to the surveyor, who will
summarize the responses to the list. Asking a survey question implicitly binds
you to post the results of the survey.
Quotes - Quote
only significant parts of other messages when responding to them. You
should *never* post the other person's signature file in your response cause
it wastes bandwidth and all 1400 subscribers' time. Also, you can usually
delete large portions of the referenced message and still get your idea
across. But don't be too brief. Messages that say only
"#1. Yes" and "#2. No" will typically not be useful unless a part of
the referenced question is included before the answer.
Signatures - Left to their own
whims, mail systems will not always tell us who or where you are, so please be
sure and include a few lines at the bottom of your messages that tell us: Your
Name and Title Your e-mail address Your institution You can create a
.signature file to do this for you automatically. Remember to delete your
signature file from command messages you send to the
Personal Mail - Keep it off the
list. Be sure to look at the "To:" line in your mail header before
transmitting a message. You really don't want all of us to know who you are
asking to lunch, etc.
Disclaimer - This
is an unmoderated list. The
listowners and Georgia State University do not accept liability for
anything you say that may later become part of a lawsuit.
Well, we hope this will give you a little head start at making sense of
the Regist-L Universe. There are a lot of great people out there, a lot of
mail to read, a lot to learn (and teach), and good times to be had. If you
need any help with the list or have any questions about
listproc, or mail, or life in general; please contact us at one of the
aforementioned human addresses and we'll be glad to help (or try
point you to someone who can). Don't
forget to save this FAQ in a handy spot so you can refer to it easily when you
need to send a command to the listproc. "Bookmarking"
this URL or adding it to your "Favorites" list is a good way to save it.
Charles, Steve, Bonnie, Janet, Jim, and
Copyright © 1995-2004: Paul
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