A listserv is a wonderful communication tool that offers its members the opportunity to post suggestions or questions to a large number of people at the same time. When you submit a question or something that you want to share to the listserv, your submission is distributed to all of the other people on that list. Each listserv targets predetermined topics and discussions. Before submitting a query or a comment to the entire listserv group, monitor the discussions. After a few days, you'll be able to tell what are acceptable submissions. Please use this online form to request a GVSU listserv.

Each listserv has two different addresses:

  1. list address: This is the address you use to submit a query or share knowledge with the entire group. This message will be distributed to all people on the listserv. This is knows as "sending mail to the list."
  2. LISTSERV address: This is the address that you send commands to such as subscribing and unsubscribing.

Tips for Managing a ListServ

  1. Keep a Copy of the Welcome Letter When you successfully sign-up with a listserv, they'll send you a welcome message. This letter will contain tips for sending your mail as well as how to unsubscribe from that mailing list. You should store this message either on your computer or print a hard copy and make a folder of listservs that you belong to.
  2. Check Your E-mail Daily Some listservs will send several messages daily. Others will send one message in the form of a digest . This is one long message containing several responses to the listserv. Other listservs send messages weekly, and others are very sporadic. Regardless of how this listserv shares information with the group, you need to make a commitment to check your e-mail daily. Remember that the webserver that stores your incoming e-mail messages only has so much disk space.
  3. Following Threads of Discussions By signing up with a listserv, you are not obligated to respond to all messages, or to any message. Pick and choose the topics that interest you. Look at the subject line of the incoming messages to see which thread of discussion is being addressed in that message. In large listservs, several different threads of discussions will be ongoing at one time.
  4. Help When You Can The purpose of listservs is to share information. Help individuals in a query whenever you can, because someday you may want help locating information. Sometimes it is better to respond to just an individual rather than sending your message to the entire listserv group.
  5. Unsubscribe If You'll Be Gone If you plan on being gone for more than a week and will be unable to check your e-mail, you should unsubscribe from the list then you can resubscribe when you return.
  6. Use a Meaningful Subject Line When people receive mail from a listserv, one of the first pieces of information they look at is the subject line. Most people will keep the same subject line when they respond to a particular thread of discussion. Some people will delete unread messages simply because the subject line announces a topic that they are not interested in. This saves time for many people. If you subscribe to a high volume listserv, you'll appreciate those messages that have clear, meaningful subject lines.
  7. Sending Attachments Never send attachments with e-mail messages to individuals or to the listserv without prior permission from the recipient.
  8. Cross Posting If you are posting the same message to several listservs, at the beginning of your messages state, "This message has been cross posted to (names of other listservs)."

Tips for Sending Messages on a Listserv

  1. When responding to a listserv, keep your messages brief.
  2. Include a portion or a summary of the message you are responding to, but don't forward the entire message.
  3. Stick to the topics intended for discussion on the listserv. If you deviate from the intended discussion topics, someone may recommend a listserv more suited for your thread of discussion.
  4. Don't use all upper cases when writing. This is thought of as shouting.
  5. Have an opening and closing in your message such as dear& and bye&
  6. Be careful when using humor in your messages. Use emoticons to get across your emotions.
  7. Don't send meaningless messages with no content, such as "I agree!"
  8. Identify yourself. This could be your first and last name and possibly your school or place of business.
  9. Avoid flaming individuals on the listserv. If you have a conflict with an individual, settle it by private e-mail messages.
  10. Don't be critical of people's queries posted to the listserv. Many people are newbies to the listserv. Send them a private message and "gently" make suggestions if you think it is warranted. We're here to learn, share, and grow from each other.

Listserv Definitions and Terminology

Attachment: A file or group of files which is attached to an e-mail message and sent to a recipient.

Flaming: This is when people send insulting, abrasive, or threatening remarks.

Moderated List: A mailing list or newsgroup in which submissions are edited before being posted to the group.

Spamming: This is the practice of sending unsolicited commercial e-mail messages in bulk or purposely overloading someone's mailbox with messages.

Threads: A group of e-mail messages that are all responding to one original e-mail message.

Emoticon: A text-based icon created from the keyboard to give your e-mail message some emotional flavor.

:-) Smiley
;-) Winkey smiley
:-> Devilish grin
:-( Frowny face
8-) User wears glasses
(-: Left handed smiley
:-{) User has a mustache
[:-) User is wearing a Walkman
%-) User's been staring at the screen too long

Frequently Used Acronyms: Often seen in e-mail messages, this is another way for expressing emotional flavor to messages.

AFAIK As far as I know
BTW By the way
FYI For your information
HTH Hope this helps
IMHO In my humble opinion
IMNSHO In my not so humble opinion
IMO In my opinion
IOW In other words
LOL Laughing out loud
ROTFL Rolling on the floor laughing
YMMV Your mileage may vary
{g} Grin
{BG} Big grin

This information adapted from original pages by Loogootee Community Schools.

Page last modified July 31, 2013