FAQ – discussion group

The email discussion group uses a system called Mailman. When members send an email to the group address, or reply to an email from the group, it is automatically forwarded to all  members. Members can read old messges in an on-line archive. The group is private so only members can send and receive messages or read the archive. (However, please note that when you post a message to the group, your email address and name are shown in the header, where all group members can see it. See below for one way to remain anonymous if you prefer.)

You can join the group, change your membership options and unsubscribe by email or by logging in from the group information page.

If you have further questions about using the discussion group, use  the comments box below or the contact form.

How do I join the group? (Web page method)

Go to the group information page.

  • Look for the section marked “Subscribing to group” and fill in the boxes. You can fill in the following:
    • You must enter your email address.
    • You may choose to supply your real name or a nickname.
    • You may choose a password. If you do not choose one, Mailman will generate one for you.
  • Warning: Do NOT use a valuable password, since this password will be mailed to you in plain text.
  • Press the subscribe button. A new page should appear telling you that your request has been sent.
  • You will receive an email message asking for confirmation that you really want to be subscribed to the list. This is to prevent anyone from subscribing you to lists without your permission. Follow the instructions given in the message to confirm your wish to be subscribed.

Once this is done, you will receive another message welcoming you to the list. This message contains some useful information including your list password and some quick links for changing your options, so you may want to save it for later reference.

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How do I join the group? (Email method)

Send an email to group-join@hphl.org.uk. The subject and body of the message will be ignored, so it doesn’t matter what you put there. Mailman will create a password for you which you can change later.

  • You will receive an email message asking for confirmation that you really want to be subscribed to the group. This is to prevent anyone from subscribing you to lists without your permission. Follow the instructions given in the message to confirm your wish to be subscribed.
  • Once this is done, you will receive another message welcoming you to the group. This message contains some useful information including your group password and some quick links for changing your options, so you may want to save it for later reference.

If you would like to choose your password from the outset, send your email to group-request@hphl.org.uk instead. In the body of the message, write subscribe passwordexcept don’t type password but your chosen one instead.

Warning: Do NOT use a valuable password, since this password will be mailed to you in plain text.

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How do I leave the group? (Web page method)

If you’re just going on holiday or are too busy to read mails and want to turn them off temporarily, you can suspend mail delivery rather than unsubscribing. This means you keep your password and other settings so you can, for example, still have access to the private list archives. If this is what you’d prefer, see “how do I temporarily stop receiving messages” for instructions on disabling mail delivery.

If you actually want to leave the group:

  • Go to the membership options page.
  • Enter your email address in the box at the top.
  • Click on the “Unsubscribe” button. Click this button and a confirmation message will be emailed to you.
  • You will be sent a confirmation mail and must follow the instructions given in that mail to complete the unsubscription. This is to stop people from unsubscribing you without your permission.

If you do not receive this confirmation mail with instructions, make sure that you typed your email address correctly  and that the address you tried to unsubscribe is, indeed, actually subscribed to that list. For security reasons, Mailman generates the same member options page regardless of whether the address entered is subscribed or not. This means that people cannot use this part of the web interface to find out if someone is subscribed to the list, but it also means that it’s hard to tell if you just made a typo.

Once your unsubscription has been processed, you will receive another message confirming your unsubscription from the list, and at that point you should stop receiving messages.

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How do I leave the group? (Email method)

If you’re just going on holiday or are too busy to read mails and want to turn them off temporarily, you can suspend mail delivery rather than unsubscribing. This means you keep your password and other settings so you can, for example, still have access to the private list archives. If this is what you’d prefer, see “I want to stop receiving messages temporarily” for instructions on disabling mail delivery.

If you want to leave the group:

  • Send an email to group-leave@hphl.org.uk. You must send it from the address you want to unsubscribe, not from a different email address. The subject and body of this message will be ignored, so it doesn’t matter what you put there.
  • You will be sent a confirmation mail and must follow the instructions given in that mail to complete the unsubscription. This is to stop people from unsubscribing you without your permission. If you do not receive this confirmation mail with instructions, make sure that you sent your email from the same address you have subscribed to the group.

Once your unsubscription has been processed, you will receive another message confirming your unsubscription from the list, and at that point you should stop receiving messages.

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I’m having problems unsubscribing from the group

There are several possible reasons for this.

If you have more than one email address, you might have sent your “unsubscribe” email from the wrong account. Try sending a blank email to group-leave@hphl.org.uk from the same email account that is subscribed to the group.

When you send a request to leave the group, you will be sent a confirmation mail and must follow the instructions given in that mail to complete the unsubscription. This is to stop people from unsubscribing you without your permission. If you haven’t received the confirmation email, please check your spam folder. Make sure you have whitelisted the group-bounces email address.

If the email address you were using no longer works, you can skip the confirmation process by using your password instead.

Either log in to the membership options page using your password and unsubscribe using the web interface

or send an email from any account to group-request@hphl.org.uk. In the body of the message, write unsubscribe password email address, substituting your actual password and the email address you are unsubscribing from the list.

If you are still having difficulty and need to contact a human, you can email the list manager at listmanager@hphl.org.uk or use the contact form on this website.

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I want to stop receiving messages temporarily

If you’re just going on holiday or are too busy to read mails and want to turn them off temporarily, you can suspend mail delivery rather than unsubscribing. This means you keep your password and other settings so you can, for example, still have access to the private list archives.

  • Log in to the membership options page.
  • Scroll down to “mail delivery” at the top of the table and set this to disabled.

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How do I send a message to the group?

Send it to group@hphl.org.uk

You will be sent a copy of the message (unless you have disabled this option) so you will know the message has been posted successfully.

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How do I reply to a message?

Use your usual “reply” button. This will usually address your reply to the group.

A few ISPs and email clients handle list email differently. In this case, they will fill in the address the individual who sent the original message instead of the group address. If you find this is happening, correct the email address before you send.

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I want to reply privately to one person, not to the whole group

In most discussions, it’s helpful to reply to the group. That way we all learn from each other. Many of us have learned a lot from the group discussion for example when others discuss things we hadn’t even thought of asking.

However occasionally it’s preferable to reply privately. When someone posts a message to the group, their email address is shown in the header. To reply privately, copy and paste that into your “reply” box, deleting the group email address.

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I prefer to receive a daily digest of messages

You can choose to receive posts bundled together (usually one per day but possibly more on a busy day), instead of singly when they’re sent.

If digest mode is changed from on to off, you may receive one last digest

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How do I read the archive of old messages?

There is a private online archive that can only be read by members. You will need to log in with your email address and password.

The archive does not contain messages from before 5th April 2011 when the website moved to a new server.

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What are membership options and how do I change them?

To view and change your membership options, go to the membership options page and log in with your email address and password.

Note the “set globally” tick box is not relevant for the UKHPHL group.

In the upper section you can change

  • your password
  • your email address that you have subscribed to the group
  • your “real name” that is displayed when you post a message to the group
  • unsubscribe from the list. However, see below if you want to stay subscribed, but don’t want mail delivered to you for a while (e.g. you’re going on holiday)
  • and request a password reminder.

In the lower section you can change more options:

Mail delivery: Set this option to Enabled to receive messages posted to the group. Set it to Disabled if you want to stay subscribed, but don’t want mail delivered to you for a while (e.g. you’re going on holiday). If you disable mail delivery, don’t forget to re-enable it when you come back; it will not be re-enabled automatically.

Set Digest Mode: If you turn digest mode on, you’ll get posts bundled together (usually one per day but possibly more on a very busy day), instead of singly when they’re sent. If digest mode is changed from on to off, you may receive one last digest.

Get MIME or Plain Text Digests?: Your mail reader may or may not support MIME digests. In general MIME digests are preferred, but if you have a problem reading them, select plain text digests.

Receive your own posts to the list?: Ordinarily, you will get a copy of every message you post to the group. If you don’t want to receive this copy, set this option to No.

Receive acknowledgement mail when you send mail to the list?: It can be helpful to have this or the previous option set as “Yes” so you know your message has been received successfully by Mailman.

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.

Conceal yourself from subscriber list?: At present, this doesn’t apply. The list of subscribers is kept private and only available to the list owner, Clare Redstone. (Note that, independent of this setting, when you post a message to the group, the name and email address you have set in membership options will be visible in that email header.)

Avoid duplicate copies of messages?: This can happen when a someone sends a message to the list and has also written your address in the To: or Cc: fields.

Options about language and topics do not apply to this list.

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I’ve forgotten my password

Unless you have turned the option off, you are sent a monthly password reminder email. Check whether you have kept one since you last set your password. Otherwise go to the membership options page. Enter your email address in the box near the top and scroll down to “password reminder.”Click “remind.” Your password will be emailed to you.

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How do I change my password?

To change your password, log in to the membership options page. Scroll down to “Change password” (on the right.)

Warning: Do NOT use a valuable password, since this password will be mailed to you in plain text.

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Some days there are a lot of messages in my inbox

There are two solutions to this which can you use individually or combined.

You can opt to get posts bundled together (usually one per day but possibly more on a very busy day) instead of singly when they’re sent. Log in to the membership options page. Scroll down to “Set digest mode” in the table and turn this option on.

You can create a new folder in your email client (eg Outlook, Outlook Express, Hotmail, gmail) and set up a “rule” so the ukhphl messages are automatically diverted to that folder. This keeps them out of your inbox and you can browse the folder at your convenience. If you don’t know how to do this, I’m happy to help. Contact me telling me what email client you use and I will see if I know how to do it.

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I want to stop the monthly reminder email

Log into the membership options page.

  • Scroll down to “get password reminder email for this list” in the table and turn this option off.

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Can I change the email address I use in the group?

It can’t be changed directly. You will have to leave (unsubscribe) with your old address and join (subscribe) the group with your new email address. Or contact the list manager and I will do it for you.

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Who knows I’m a member of the group?

The list manager, Clare Redstone, is the only person with access to the membership list. However, when you post a message to the group, your email address and name are shown in the header, where all group members can see it.

If you prefer your identity to remain private from group members even when you post messages, you can create an email address with a nickname and use this one to subscribe to the group. Most of us do use our real names and I think this contributes to the community we have built and level of trust within the group. The only group “rule” we have is that what is said in the group stays in the group and we have not had problems with privacy within the group.

Although the membership options page automatically includes a selection “Conceal yourself from subscriber list?” option “No” is in effect this is disabled: the subscriber list isn’t visible to other members

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Does it cost anything?

No. Membership is free.

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Where can I find a help manual?

Links to Mailman user guides can be found at the GNU Mailman User Documentation page. I have copied some sections from the GNU Mailman List Member Manual by Terri Oda for this FAQ, adapting them to how our group is configured.

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How to I contact the person who manages the group?

Email the List  Manager at listmanager@hphl.org.uk or use the contact form on this website.

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Acknowledgements

Most of this FAQ has been adapted from the GNU Mailman List Member Manual by Terri Oda. Sections of that document were borrowed from the List Administrator Manual found in Mailman CVS, which was written by Barry A. Warsaw, and from the in-line help for Mailman 2.1.

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