General Information About Discussion Lists
A discussion list (also known variously as a distribution
list or mailing list) is a group of people sharing a common
interest who communicate by email with the other members of the group as a
An individual may establish a mailing list through creative use of the
aliases mechanism of typical email software. However, some special
software packages exist to allow more control and better management of
mailing lists. The IUCr has installed one such package, known as
mailman, which allows the creation and management of a number of
discussion lists relevant to crystallographers.
Individuals may subscribe to those lists in which they have an interest,
and receive the regular mailings from other members of the list.
In many cases, the discussions are archived, and made available for the
public to read. However, individuals may only contribute
to the discussions if they subscribe to the list.
There exist other ways for groups sharing a common interest to communicate
online: dial-up bulletin boards, Usenet newsgroups, Web conferencing
software. In many cases, and for many individuals, these are ideal media.
However, in many other cases communication by email is preferable.
- New contributions are received as they are posted; it is not necessary
to make regular visits to a web site or bulletin board.
- Messages may be sorted, stored or discarded at will and according to the
facilities of one's favourite email software.
- With some list software (including the one used by the IUCr) subscribers
may choose to receive, instead of the regular postings, regular
digests of the correspondence.
- Subscribers may archive their own records of the discussion, or use
central archiving features provided by the list server.
- Subscribers may respond to communications as and when they choose.
- Subscribers may leave and rejoin lists (subject in some cases to the
agreement of the list owner).
- List owners may control the subscription lists and moderate the
correspondence for the benefit of subscribers.
Updated 30 March 2004
Copyright © International Union of Crystallography