FAQ

Here are some frequently asked questions about the LincolnTalk list. Click on a question in the list immediately below to go directly to the question. Note: much of this information is also contained in the LincolnTalk Rules and Policies.

Introduction

What is this list useful for?

Here are just a few of the many things this list can be used for:
  • Asking for recommendations for plumbers, electricians, masons, and the like.
  • Discussing town politics, current news and events, schools, and other Lincoln-related issues.
  • Finding and providing housing in Lincoln.
  • Selling or giving away used stuff.
  • Advertising concerts, plays, dances, etc., which either take place in Lincoln, or involve Lincoln residents.
  • Announcing breaking town news.
  • Finding other people in town who are interested in the same things you are.
The Lincoln list covers a wide range of topics. You will almost certainly find that some topics interest you more than others. You should skip over or delete messages or topics that don't interest you. Doing so will probably make the list much more interesting and useful to you. Don't be surprised if some days nothing seems of interest—topics you find more relevant will probably crop up again in a day or two!

What are the basic rules of the list?

The list is a community of people gathering to interact with each other and help each other. We ask that people treat each other with respect and civility. As owners of the list, we develop, maintain and enforce these rules, which are spelled out in the rest of this FAQ. Use of this list is subject to some conditions:
  • You agree to follow the list rules as spelled out here.
  • You agree that the moderator is the final arbiter of the interpretation of these rules and that will accept our rulings on list matters.
  • You realize that we do not have detailed control over what’s posted on the list, as we do not review every message before it reaches the list.
  • Therefore, you will hold us, and those that help us, harmless for the material here, but will deal with the original poster.
If you cannot agree to these rules, we ask that you leave the list.

Starting, pausing and stopping your subscription

How do I subscribe to the list?

Go to www.lincolntalk.org and choose “QUICK START.” Click the address http://nine.pairlist.net/mailman/listinfo/lincoln. Under the heading “Subscribing to Lincoln,” enter your e-mail address; your real, full name; and a password of your own choosing in both password fields. Then select digest mode if you like, and press the "Subscribe" button.

Your privacy is under your control. Note that you do not have to provide your real name to subscribe to the list, nor are you required to sign your postings with your real name (though it's strongly recommended). Also, no one else on the list can see your e-mail address or discover that you are a member of the list until you post a message to the list.

How do I send ("post") a message to the list?

Using your favorite e-mail program, compose your message and then send it to the address Lincoln@lincolntalk.orgMany people find it helpful to create an entry in their address book for this address.

How do I get my list password?

  1. Go to http://nine.pairlist.net/mailman/listinfo/lincoln and scroll down to the bottom of the page.
  2. In the text box at the bottom, enter the e-mail address under which you are subscribed and press the "Unsubscribe or edit options" button.
  3. On the page that appears next, find the section called "Forgot my password " and press "e-mail my password to me.” Your password will be e-mailed to you.

How do I cancel my subscription to the list?

To cancel your delivery options:
  1. Go to http://nine.pairlist.net/mailman/listinfo/lincoln and find the section called “Lincoln Subscribers.”
  2. In the heading that says “To unsubscribe from Lincoln, get a password reminder, or change your subscription options, enter your subscription e-mail address,” enter your e-mail address and click the “unsubscribe or edit” button.
  3. On the next page, you may click the unsubscribe button and then also the “Yes, I really want to unsubscribe” button.

Can I disable mail delivery for a little while without unsubscribing?

Yes! You’ll need your list password to do this. If you don’t have it, please see "How do I get my list password?" for instructions on how to get it.
  1. Go to http://nine.pairlist.net/mailman/listinfo/lincoln and scroll down to the bottom of the page.
  2. In the text box at the bottom, enter the e-mail address under which you are subscribed, and press the "Unsubscribe or edit options" button.
  3. On the next page, find the section called "Mail delivery," and click "Disabled." At the bottom of the page, press the "Submit My Changes" button.
  4. When you want to turn delivery back on, follow the above instructions, except choose "Enabled" instead of "Disabled."

Changing how you get e-mails from the list

What can I change about my list subscription?

You can:
  • Change your password or e-mail address
  • Disable mail delivery
  • Switch between regular mode and digest mode
  • Switch your digests between plain text and MIME
  • Control whether you receive the messages you send to the list
  • Control whether you whether you receive acknowledgements when you send messages to the list.
(Also, there’s an option to conceal yourself from the subscriber list, but it doesn't actually do anything, because it’s already set up so that no one can ever see the subscriber list.)

You’ll need your list password  to proceed. If you don’t have it, please see "How do I get my list password?" for instructions on how to get it. To change your e-mail or password, shift between digest mode and non-digest mode, or alter other mail delivery options:
  1. Go to http://nine.pairlist.net/mailman/listinfo/lincoln and find the section called “Lincoln Subscribers.”
  2. In the heading which reads “To unsubscribe from Lincoln, get a password reminder, or change your subscription options, enter your subscription e-mail address,” enter your e-mail address and click the “unsubscribe or edit” button.
  3. On the next page you may make any of these changes.

I have a new e-mail address and I'd like to switch my subscription. How do I do it?

You’ll need your list password in order to proceed. If you don’t have it, please see "How do I get my list password?" for instructions on how to get it.

To switch your subscription, do the following:
  1. Visit http://nine.pairlist.net/mailman/listinfo/lincoln and scroll down to the bottom of the page.
  2. In the text box at the bottom, enter your e-mail address under which you are currently subscribed, and press the "Unsubscribe or edit options" button.
  3. On the page that appears next, choose the section that reads “Changing your Lincoln Membership Information.”
  4. Enter your new e-mail address in both fields, enter your full real name if it isn’t already present, and press the "Change My Address and Name" button.
In a minute or two, you’ll receive a confirmation e-mail at your new e-mail address. In the e-mail there will be a link. Click on the link, then on the page that appears, click the "Change Address" button.

I’m getting too many messages from this list! What can I do?

There are two solutions:
  1. Digests
  2. Filtering messages into folders
With digests, you get one e-mail each day that includes all the messages posted to the list for that day, instead of getting them as individual messages throughout the day. You enable digests by changing an option on your list subscription.

With filtering into folders, you direct all List messages automatically into a specific mail folder on your computer, instead of having them interspersed throughout your general mail Inbox. You must set this up in a way that’s specific to your e-mail client or service (AOL, Eudora, Outlook Express, Yahoo Mail, HotMail, etc).

There are advantages to each method, but filtering into folders is best, if you're willing to take a bit more trouble to set it up.

When you receive the list as digests, you can no longer treat each message as an individual e-mail for surgical deletion and other operations. Replying to a digest message works if you want to post a reply to the list, but the subject of the reply becomes something like "[Lincoln] RE: Lincoln digest, Vol 1 #318 - 28 msgs." It's easy enough to change that manually to the true subject, but if you forget or type it wrong, your readers may not realize which message you’re replying to. Also, with digests, there's no convenient way to reply to the sender rather than the whole List. You'll have to copy and paste the recipient's e-mail address, or use another method.

Filtering into folders automatically places all your LincolnTalk messages in a specific, segregated place (folder) on your own system or account, as soon as each message arrives. There are just as many messages and they arrive all day long, but they aren't cluttering up any other folder, and there aren't any other messages cluttering them up. You can go look at them in their special folder—or not—when you choose.

In your special LincolnTalk folder, you can still work with each message as an individual e-mail and do things like sort and mark the headers, delete individual messages, and whatever other features your e-mail system provides. Perhaps most important, you can reply or reply-all to an individual post in the usual way.

Another advantage of not using digests is that you can filter out messages from particular individuals, should you wish to. Again, the method for doing that varies with the mail system you are using.

There's essentially no discernible difference in efficiency between digests and filtering into folders; both take about the same time to download and both occupy about the same amount of disk space.

What is digest mode? Why can’t I reply to one question from the digest?

Digests deliver all the listserv messages from the day in one e-mail.

When you receive the list as digests, you can no longer treat each message as an individual e-mail for surgical deletion and or responses. Replying to a digest message works if you want to post a reply to the list, but the subject of the reply becomes something like "[Lincoln] RE: Lincoln digest, Vol 1 #318 - 28 msgs". It's easy enough to change that manually to the true subject, but if you forget, or type it wrong, your readers may not realize which message you are replying to. Also, with digests, there's no convenient way to reply to the sender rather than the whole List. You'll have to copy and paste the recipient's e-mail address, or use another method.

Policies and guidelines

Is this list moderated?

The list is not moderated in the sense that someone reads and approves every post before it appears on the list for other members to see. We manage the list, which means we deal with subscriptions and answer questions, but we normally do not exercise any control over the content of the list beyond enforcing the policies of the list contained herein.

If any of your posts violate LincolnTalk guidelines, the moderators may contact you to discuss it. If, in their judgment, your posts continue to violate the guidelines repeatedly and with a lack of good-faith effort to improve, they may choose to make your subscription moderated, in which case you’ll be notified directly. If you have been put on moderation and you want to be allowed to post freely again, write to the list manager.

What is the list policy on anonymous posting?

Anonymous posting is not permitted. You must sign your messages with your real name (meaning your full name, as it would typically appear on your driver's license, passport, credit card, or personalized checks).

Signing your posts with your real name means you stand behind your words. It means others on the list are more likely to take you seriously, and it means you are willing to be held accountable for what you say.

By the way, if you sign your message with a false name, there is probably no way for the list owners to know. However, your friends and neighbors probably will know unless you take care to use a different e-mail address, never give away any identifying details about yourself, and so on. In our experience, this degree of deceit is unusual, and not worth worrying about for the purposes of the Lincoln list. Grownups with integrity don't do it.

What is the privacy policy of the list?

Here is the current privacy policy of the list. It describes your rights to your postings and the way the list software handles your private information such as your e-mail address.

Definitions:
  • List owner: the person who runs the list, plus anyone who is designed to run the list while the list owner is on vacation or otherwise unavailable.
  • Lurker: one who subscribes to the list but has never posted a message.
  • Post: to send a message to the whole list by e-mailing the message to lincoln@lincolntalk.org
  • Subscription: your voluntary agreement to receive Lincoln list messages
  • Subscription information: your e-mail address and certain preferences such as whether you receive individual messages or digest messages
You have the right to remain a lurker. Until you post a message to the list, your identity as a member of the list is secret. The list software prevents other list members from knowing who is a member of the list. Only the list owner has access to the list membership records. The list owner will make best reasonable efforts never to reveal the existence of your subscription as long as you are a lurker.

You have the right to subscribe anonymously. The only personally identifying information the list software stores about you as part of your subscription is your e-mail address, optionally your name, and some preference settings such as whether you prefer individual messages or digest messages. Other than your name, the list software does not store personal information about you other than that which is part of your e-mail address. There is no policy that requires you to provide your real name as part of your list subscription, and as long as you never post a message, you will never be asked for your name.

Personal information retained by the list software: The list software retains your e-mail address, your name if you provide it, a number of non-identifying personal preferences such as whether you prefer individual messages or digest messages, and the contents of all messages you post to the list. No other information is retained. All messages you post to the list are archived and available to anyone who subscribes to the list. Your archive queries are stored and displayed only to you. The archives are protected from access by the Internet at large, but anyone may subscribe to the list and then access the archives. Information in the archives may not be modified.

Access to your subscription information: Access to your e-mail address and your preferences is password protected, so others are prevented from accessing it. Only you and the list owner are allowed to access this information. This information will never be shared with anyone without your prior permission.

Risks of spam: If you never post a message to the list, there is no way for anyone, whether a member of the list or not, to obtain your e-mail address, so there’s no risk of getting spam as a result of your list membership. If you post a message to the list, it is possible, though unlikely, that another member of the list will use your e-mail address to send you spam, or will forward your message to someone else who use your e-mail address to send you spam. You should be aware that when you join the cast of characters on a public website, you expose your e-mail address to the public, and your e-mail address may be obtained for the purpose of sending you spam.

Ownership of your postings: By posting a message to the list, you retain your copyright but grant (1) a non-exclusive license to all list members to forward that message by e-mail to anyone, and (2) a non-exclusive license to the list owner to maintain an archive. These two rights you grant by posting to the list constitute the only exceptions to the normal protection afforded by the copyright you retain to your words, so any other use of an e-mail you send to this list requires your prior permission. Any use of your posting without your permission, beyond the two licenses granted here, is a matter between you and the person who uses your posting improperly, and you agree to hold the list owner harmless.

After you leave the list: Your subscription information is destroyed when you leave the list. Archived messages previously posted by you are retained indefinitely and continue to be subject to the above "ownership of your postings" policy.

Best efforts of the list owner: The list owner makes best reasonable efforts to enforce the above policies. However, the list software may contain defects which compromise your privacy, and the password protection of secret information may be compromised by a determined attacker. You agree to hold the list owner harmless in the event that your privacy is compromised.

Are commercial postings allowed?

You are allowed to make commercial postings to the LincolnTalk list only if they are relevant to Lincoln and relatively infrequent.

"Commercial" here means that the primary purpose of your posting is to advertise something about your business or service. Advertising to sell your car, for example, doesn't fall under this guideline unless that’s your primary business, so this is always allowed. For the sake of this guideline, advertising specials or coupons in a way that might get you a referral bonus is considered commercial.

"Relevant to Lincoln" means that your business is located in Lincoln, you live in Lincoln, or your posting is very likely to be of wide interest to Lincoln residents.

"Relatively infrequent" means that your postings for your business or service should occur no more than every three months or so. A simple reply of "we can do that" to a request to the list for a recommendation for a good or service that you provide will generally not be counted against your posting frequency.

Since one of the primary uses of LincolnTalk is for residents to exchange information about businesses and services, you should expect that advertising your business may spark discussion, both pro and con, about your business. Posts that involve civil criticism or concerns raised about your business will not be considered a personal attack.

These are guidelines, and as always, the final judgement as to the appropriateness of a commercial post rests with the moderators.

I had a bad experience with a local business. Is it okay for me to post about it?

Yes, but take great care. Lincoln list subscribers are, by and large, just as interested in knowing about negative experiences with local businesses as they are about positive ones. However, a local business thrives on its good reputation, and it's all too easy for it to become tarnished. So please take great care in writing about a bad experience.

Here are some guidelines:
  • Stick to the facts.
  • Try to imagine what happened from the business' perspective and take that into account in your story.
  • Be sure of your motives. If you think others will truly be helped by your story, that's fine, but if you're just blowing off steam, maybe writing the message was sufficient and actually sending it isn't necessary.
  • Many local business owners are on the list, and it's of great value to the list that so many local business owners care enough about what we think to take the time and effort to read and participate.

What are some tips for writing better e-mails?

The principles that guide these tips are simple: we want our e-mail list to be interesting, civil, and manageable. “Interesting” means posts that are on-topic and make for good reading. “Civil” means posts that treat list members with respect, though it doesn't rule out a good argument once in awhile. “Manageable” means that fewer e-mails are better than more if they say the same thing. We all have enough noise in our lives.

PLEASE EDIT YOUR POST. When you reply to a message, please don't quote the entire previous message. Take an extra few seconds to edit the amount of quoted material down to the bare minimum so your reply will make sense. This especially helps the digest version of the list, where one long reply thread might fill a whole digest message.

CONSIDER ASKING FOR REPLIES TO GO DIRECTLY TO YOU. If you're asking for a contractor reference, for example, you might consider asking people to e-mail you directly and then offer to summarize the results on the list. When you do this, you provide a very helpful service to the entire list, because you consolidate all the useful information into one message which can be saved if it's of interest or skipped if it's not.

ASK YOURSELF: WHO IS YOUR AUDIENCE? Think about whether your message is of interest to the whole list, or just the person you're replying to. If it's just the person you're replying to, consider sending it just to that person rather than the whole list.

TAKE A DEEP BREATH. Did someone just say something that annoyed the $#@! out of you? Don't you just want to write back to the whole list and tell them what you really think of them? Well, go ahead and write it! Just don't send it for a few hours or a day. Re-read it before you send it. Rewrite it so it's civil. We'll all appreciate your efforts.

WHEN IN DOUBT, ASK.

What is “on topic” for the list?

People join the LincolnTalk list because they’re interested in the topic of Lincoln. This policy provides guidance about how to stay on topic, and explains how the list manager handles threads that veer off topic.

Staying on topic is often difficult, and it’s understood that there are no hard and fast rules. It requires good judgment, which comes only with practice. Here are some questions to ask yourself when you’re writing a message. When you can answer "yes" to these questions, you’re probably headed in the right direction.

Is my message about Lincoln? If your message is very clearly and totally focused on Lincoln politics, Lincoln schools, Lincoln businesses—meaning Lincoln people, places, or things—it's on topic.

Is my message likely to be of wide interest to a large group of people who are here because they want to learn about and discuss Lincoln? If you feel confident that the answer to this question is yes, then your message is very likely to be on topic, even if it’s is not about Lincoln. For example, messages about a neighboring town, or about a state-wide map database that includes maps of Lincoln, or about a chain of stores that's coming to Lincoln, are probably all on topic.

Is my message an attempt to draw on the resources of my community? In other words, if you live in Lincoln and you’re asking for help from or providing information to your community, then your message is probably on topic even if the focus isn't on Lincoln itself. For example, if you’re inviting people to a national political event, asking your neighbors how they’re handling some aspect of the state tax form, or looking for the best route to Logan Airport, it's probably on topic even if the focus is not Lincoln.

Does my message avoid changing the subject?
When you reply to a message and you change the focus substantially, you may be going off topic. For example, if a list member posts a message inviting neighbors to a national political event, and you reply with a message that focuses on national politics instead of neighbors, you may not be staying on topic.

Does my message avoid violating any of the other list policies? If your message contains a personal attack or the text of a private e-mail, it’s not on topic even if it otherwise would have been. If your message is of a commercial nature, please see “Are commercial postings allowed?

It’s not unusual for a discussion thread to drift from its original focus on Lincoln into other territory—philosophy, political parties, technical matters of law, definitions of words, and so on. This sort of drift is only natural, and it takes a conscious effort to bring the focus back to Lincoln. If you make that effort, your fellow list members will appreciate it.

If a thread that was originally on topic goes off topic, the list manager may choose to end the thread. Ending the thread means that the list manager posts a message to the list with the subject "Thread is off topic and has been ended" followed by the subject of the thread being ended. The list manager may also adjust the list software so that messages on that thread will be held for approval instead going through immediately without approval as they normally do. Not all off-topic threads are created equal: an off-topic thread about boating is not likely to be as disruptive to the list as an off-topic thread about a controversial and provocative topic. So the list manager will exercise judgment as to which threads need to be ended. Please trust that the list manager is choosing which threads to end in a fair and objective manner, based on the potential level of disruptiveness, and not on any personal preferences or viewpoints the list manager may hold.

Other information

How can I read archived list messages?

If you’re interested in reading back issues of the list:
  1. Go to http://nine.pairlist.net/mailman/private/lincoln/ or www.lincolntalk.org
  2. Click on the http://nine.pairlist.net/mailman/listinfo/lincoln address
  3. Under “About Lincoln,” select “Lincoln Archives.”
NOTE: You cannot reply to messages in the archives directly.

If you want to search the archives, visit http://www.lincolntalk.org. In the upper right-hand corner, there’s a box to type in your search and then click “search this site.”

How many subscribers are there?

We’re new—tell your friends!

If I have a concern about the way the list is run or an idea for how to make it better, what should I do?

You can e-mail the moderator at moderator@lincolntalk.org.
Comments