World Wide Words logo

Mailing list FAQ

Q Why do you insist that I confirm my request to join the list? It seems an unnecessary complication.

A It’s arranged that way to confirm that your e-mail address is valid and also that nobody is playing silly games like subscribing you without your knowledge or permission. Most mailing lists are set up this way as a security measure.

Q I try to join the list, get an online confirmation, but then never hear from anyone again. What’s the problem?

A The list server will send you an e-mail message asking you to confirm that you really do want to join the list. This message should arrive within a few minutes, or within a few hours at most even at busy times.

If you don’t hear from the list server the most likely reason is that you’ve mistyped your e-mail address. The easiest solution is to try again. But if problems persist, try joining by e-mail instead. If even that doesn’t work, e-mail me and I’ll try to sort matters out for you.

If your e-mail address is inside a large organisation, it may be that the message requiring confirmation has been blocked by your mail system, perhaps as a security measure. This is useful to know, as the newsletter issues will also be blocked. We can’t help you in this case: to sort matters out, you need to talk to your system administrator.

Your system may need to allow one or more of these addresses through:

listserv@listserv.linguistlist.org
worldwidewords@listserv.linguistlist.org
wordseditor@worldwidewords.org

If you can’t have the block on the list server address removed, the only solution is to subscribe from another e-mail address.

Q I reply to the confirmation message, but the list server reports the address doesn’t match the one on its system. How do I get around this?

A If your e-mail address is inside a large organisation, it may be that the e-mail address on the confirmation message you sent back is not exactly the same as the “official” one you gave on the Web page form. It’s common in systems with lots of e-mail addresses for them to be organised in blocks, which may result in extra elements turning up in the address. The list server system will reject confirmation messages if the originating e-mail address is not exactly the same as the original subscription request. The solution here is to join by e-mail instead, when the two addresses should match.

Q I’ve tried to remove myself from the list, but the list server tells me it can’t find a matching address on its system. How do I get off the list?

A The most common reason is that the list server’s subscription list holds one form of your e-mail address, but the message you are sending seems to be from a slightly different one (perhaps because you have subscribed from within a large organisation whose e-mail system is arranged in blocks that cause extra elements to appear in your e-mail address). The only solution here is e-mail me explaining the problem and asking to be taken off by hand.

The other main reason for this problem to arise is that newsletter issues are being forwarded from another e-mail address. If that’s so, you must remove yourself using the other address, as that’s the one the list server holds in its database. If you cannot do that, e-mail me to explain the problem and I will take you off the list by hand; make sure you give the address from which messages are being forwarded.

Q What’s all this about spam filters?

A Some systems allow you to set filters that either delete unwanted mail or redirect it into a trash folder. If you have your filters set to allow messages only from certain addresses to reach you, you will not see the confirmation message from the list server system and your attempt to join the list will fail. Even if this works, the newsletter issues themselves may be blocked, as your spam filtering system may see them as coming from a different address.

Your system may need to allow one or more of these addresses through:

listserv@listserv.linguistlist.org
worldwidewords@listserv.linguistlist.org
wordseditor@worldwidewords.org

Q How do I cope if my mail system requires everybody who sends an e-mail message to confirm their identity?

A Some spam filters intercept incoming messages and send back a request that the sender should confirm the message is valid (the formal name for these is challenge-response systems).

If your system has one of these (Earthlink is the best known example in the US), please be aware that the list server software cannot respond to such messages, so that you will not see the confirmation request or receive newsletter issues.

You should be able to get around the problem. Before you complete the form to join the list, yconfigure your system to let the following addresses through (whitelist them in the jargon):

listserv@listserv.linguistlist.org
worldwidewords@listserv.linguistlist.org
wordseditor@worldwidewords.org

As these addresses are used only to send out newsletter issues, subscription commands and confirmations, there is very little risk of spam slipping through. The list server has an extremely effective spam filter of its own — since 2003, no attempt to send spam through the server has succeeded, despite thousands of attempts.

Q How do I join the list by e-mail?

A To subscribe to the list, send an e-mail message to the list server address listserv@listserv.linguistlist.org from the e-mail address which is to receive mailings. The message should read:

SUBSCRIBE WORLDWIDEWORDS First_name Last_name

replacing First_name and Last_name by your own first and last names, of course. These lines should go in the body of your message (the message text). The subject line will be ignored.

Q How do I leave the list by e-mail?

A To leave the list, send an e-mail message to the list server at the address listserv@listserv.linguistlist.org from the e-mail address at which you are subscribed. The message should read:

SIGNOFF WORLDWIDEWORDS

These lines must be put in the body of your message (the message text). The subject line will be ignored.

Q I want to change the e-mail address at which I receive the newsletter mailings. How do I do this?

A You can either use our Web page form, or make the change by e-mail.

To change address by e-mail, you should send a message to the list server at listserv@listserv.linguistlist.org from the e-mail address at which you are currently subscribed, in this form:

CHANGE WORLDWIDEWORDS newaddr

replacing newaddr with your new e-mail address. These lines must be put in the body of your message (the message text). The subject line will be ignored.

The list server will send a message to your current address confirming that the change has been requested. It will also send one to your new address, asking you to confirm the change. The change will be made when you reply to this message from your new address.

If you can no longer send messages from the address at which you are currently subscribed, you will be unable to make the change by e-mail. However, you can still use the Web page form. If problems persist, e-mail me with all the details, and I’ll sort matters out for you.

Last updated 2 Mar. 2013

Support World Wide Words.

Donate by selecting your currency and clicking the button.


Buy anything from Amazon and get me a small commission at no cost to you.

Buy from Amazon UK Buy from Amazon USA

World Wide Words is copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–2014. All rights reserved. See the copyright page for notes about linking to and reusing this page. For help in viewing the site, see the technical FAQ. Your comments, corrections and suggestions are always welcome.

World Wide Words is copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–2014. All rights reserved.
This page URL: http://www.worldwidewords.org/maillist/faq.htm
Last modified: 2 March 2013.