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This file was last edited on April 16, 2001.


This page contains information about the dinosaur mailing list including how to have yourself removed from the list if you'd like to stop receiving it. It would probably be a good idea for you to keep a copy of this message so that you will have it for reference. In any case an abridged version will be sent out once a month to current subscribers. Any time that the file has been changed, the date at the top will serve as an indication. Changes will be in italics when they are newly incorporated. Click here to see a summary of changes made the last time the file was edited.

The first time you see this page we strongly recommend that you at the very least read section (8) (no M*A*S*H or other military reference intended) because if you do something that said section indicates will lead to disciplinary action, you cannot plead ignorance of the rules as a defense. We also recommend that you at least look over some of the general netiquette sites mentioned in section 10. If you have any comments about how this document or list management policy could be improved, please feel free to write to me (Mickey Rowe) at:, or Mary (Kirkaldy)


0. Summary of changes from previous version
1. How to unsubscribe
2. How to subscribe
3. How to receive the list as a digest
4. How to access the archives
5. What to do when you're going on vacation
6. How to change your address for the list
7. How to send messages to the list
8. Things not to do and what will happen if you do them
9. What to do if you're not receiving mail from the list
10. Where to get more information

0. Summary of changes from previous version

We've added links to the developing FAQs pages and to Syracuse University's list of geology field camps (section 10).

We've added a harsh policy on the violation of embargoes (section 8).

  -- MPR

1. How to unsubscribe

In order to permanently stop receiving mail from the dinosaur list, you should send an e-mail message to:

with a BLANK SUBJECT LINE (if your mail reader will not allow you to send an empty subject line, just put "Hi" in your subject) and ONLY the following line in the body (i.e. text) of the message:

unsubscribe dinosaur

You will know that you have been unsubscribed because listproc will notify you when it removes your address from the list. If you receive mail from the list after that notification, please do not send in another unsubscribe request. You may ask for assistance to verify that you are unsubscribed, but please wait at least 24 hours before going that route. Frequently some mail will be on its way to you when you send listproc an unsubscribe message, and thus you may receive mail from the list even though you are no longer subscribed.

Why "unsubscribe" sometimes fails (or things to look for if listproc sends you an error message in response to an unsubscribe request):

          a) Misspellings

Please double check your spelling of all words. Misspelled words are the most common reason that "unsubscribe" requests fail. Unfortunately computer programs aren't very good at determining your actual intended message if it's different from what you've typed -- listproc does not contain a spell-checker.

          b) Alternate addresses

You must send the unsubscribe request from the same e-mail address that you used to subscribe. If you submit an unsubscribe request and listproc tells you that you are not subscribed, please try to verify that you sent your request from the proper address.

If you only have one address and your first unsubscribe request indicates that you are not subscribed, you will probably need the help of the listowner in order to have your address removed. This is frequently a problem when helpful system administrators re-arrange your system in such a way as that your outgoing mail carries an address different from what it carried at the time you subscribed. There is essentially nothing you can do for yourself in this situation except to ask for help (although I usually notice the error messages and will investigate even if you don't ask).

If you can't get listproc to take you off the list and you're convinced it's not your fault, the person to go to for help is one of the list owners, (tha-that would be me): Mickey Rowe ( or Mary Kirkaldy ( Feel free to misspell words when you write to me. I'm a little bit friendlier than listproc when it comes to dealing with such things! I don't recommend that you misspell words when you write to Mary. She might make fun of you.

2. How to subscribe

In order to subscribe to the list, you need to send an e-mail message to:

with a BLANK SUBJECT LINE (if your mail reader will not allow you to send an empty subject line then just put "Hi" in the subject) and with ONLY the following line in the body of the message:

subscribe dinosaur FIRSTNAME LASTNAME

where FIRSTNAME and LASTNAME is replaced by your actual first and last name (which could be FIRSTNAME LASTNAME if that's what your mother named you).

For example you could put:

subscribe dinosaur Tim "the tool man" Taylor

Basically it doesn't matter what you put after "subscribe dinosaur", but you have to put something (see "b") below for an exception). Putting your name there will make it easier for us to help you if you ever have problems with your subscription. DO NOT put your e-mail address there because listproc will already know your address; it takes that from the header of your message.

In response to your subscription request you will receive e-mail from the listprocessor informing you of what you must do to complete the subscription process. You'll need to follow those instructions as well in order to subscribe. We know this is a pain, but in the past, several people were added to the list without their permission in order to fill up their mailboxes with unwanted mail. The current setup should prevent the dinosaur list from being abused in that fashion again...

Why "subscribe" sometimes fails (or things to look for if listproc sends you an error message in response to a subscribe request):

          a) Misspellings

As noted in the previous section, listproc will not perform spell-checking for you. You must correctly spell "subscribe" and "dinosaur" for your request to work.

          b) An exception to "anything goes" in the name field

There is one exception (that we know of) to the claim that you can put "anything" where your name should be. Some mailing list managers will allow you to subscribe an address alternate to the one from which you are sending your message. The syntax of such a command would be: "subscribe LISTNAME for ALTERNATE-ADDRESS". If listproc receives a command such as "subscribe dinosaur for Tim Taylor" it will presume you are trying to add the address "Tim Taylor" and tell you that it is not configured to allow the subscription of alternate addresses. Even if your first name is "For", don't put that in the FIRSTNAME field.

3. How to receive the list as a digest

If your mail mode is set to digest, then instead of receiving mail as it comes in, you will receive several messages bundled together. I haven't checked recently, but I think that digests are currently going out at a rate of around two per day. The number will vary from zero (yeah right :-) to around three digests per day depending upon how active the list is. To change your mail mode you would use the "set" request.

For example, to receive the list as a digest, you should (after you're subscribed) send an e-mail message to:

with a BLANK SUBJECT LINE (if your mail reader will not allow you to send a message with an empty subject line just put "Hi" as your subject) and with ONLY the following line in the body of the message:

set dinosaur mail digest


set dinosaur mail digest-nomime

Version 8 of listproc is much more MIME compliant than previous versions, and its default digest is sent out in MIME format. Some users do not like the MIME versions, so a recently added patch allows you to receive digests in the same format used for version 7 of listproc. The latter command uses the older format.

If after sending one of those two commands you decide you'd like to go back to where you probably were before, send the message:

set dinosaur mail ack

The default setting for your mail mode is "ack" which is short for acknowledge. That means that you will receive a copy of every message sent to the list including messages that you send yourself (hence acknowledgement).

The other two possibilities for your mail mode are "noack" and "postpone". (See section 5 below for a discussion of "postpone".)

"Noack" is just like "ack" except that you will not receive copies of your own messages if that is how your mail mode is set.

It is important that you send "set" (and any other) requests from the address through which you are subscribed. Otherwise listproc will not know who you are.

4. How to access the archives

There are two types of archive, one accessible via the web and the other accessible via e-mail. The web archive has messages dating from February 1, 1994 through the present. The e-mail accessible archives no longer cover the same time frame; via e-mail you can now only get messages distributed on June 27, 1996 or later.

          a) To access old messages via a web browser (e.g. Netscape)

Go to the web site that houses the lists' archives:

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History had a catastrophic hard drive failure in September 1998, so the archives from around that time are not complete. Currently September 1998 only goes up to September 12, although some of the later messages from September are included in October. All other messages should be there, however, and we have a new (May 1999) search engine that will help you find threads and messages in these archives. This is our first experience with ht://Dig, but so far it seems fairly robust in dealing with an archive the size of the dinosaur list's. It is a brand new installation and will be tweaked a bit for a while, but it is fully functional.

Once you're at the archive site you should find things to be self-explanatory.

          b) To access old messages via e-mail:

              i) The most recent logs:

Messages sent after June 27, 1996 are archived at the list's current location. The archives are stored in month-long chunks, though; make sure you have plenty of disk space before you request one of these chunks!

To retrieve messages from this source, send an e-mail message to:

with a BLANK SUBJECT LINE (if your mail reader will not allow you to send mail with an empty subject line, just type "Hi" as your subject) and ONLY a line of the following form in the body of your message:

get dinosaur logYYMM

where "YY" should be replaced by the last two digits specifying the year (yes, there's a potential millenium bug problem here :-) and "MM" is two digits representing the month. For example, if you wanted to retrieve the messages from February of 1997, the body of your message should contain only:

get dinosaur log9702

              ii) Older logs:

Messages distributed from the time I (Mickey Rowe) took over the list (Febrary 1st 1994) to the time we moved the list to USC were stored at the previous location. However, due to the untimely death of that machine, those messages are no longer accessible via e-mail. Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you...

5. What to do when you're going on vacation

If you're going to be gone for a while you could unsubscribe from the list and then re-subscribe later, but it will generally be better if you instead just set your mail mode to postpone (see section 3 for more discussion of mail modes).

To reset your mail mode, send an e-mail message to:

with a BLANK SUBJECT LINE (if your mail reader will not allow you to send a message with an empty subject line, type "Hi" as your subject) and with ONLY the following line in the body of your message:

set dinosaur mail postpone

"postpone" is sort of a misnomer -- mail isn't postponed to be sent to you later; mail that comes to the list when your mail mode is set to postpone will never come to you. When you come back from vacation (or field work or whatever) you can change your mail mode back by sending a command such as:

set dinosaur mail ack

Alternatively you can put "digest" in place of "ack" to receive the list as a digest as per section 3.

There are a couple of advantages to using postpone rather than unsubscribing; for one thing if you send a "farewell" message which is delayed, it won't get rejected due to your non-subscription. (As an aside, we generally recommend that you don't send such a message unless either a) you wish to tell people where you are going and whet their appetites for the stories you'll tell upon your return or b) you are involved in a drawn out discussion and you want to let people know why you've suddenly dropped it).

6. How to change your address for the list

If at some point your address changes or you'd like to receive your mail at a different address, send an e-mail message to:

from the address via which you are subscribed, with a BLANK SUBJECT LINE (if your mail reader will not allow you to send a message with an empty subject line, just type "Hi" as your subject) and with ONLY the following line in the body of the message:

set dinosaur address PASSWORD NEW-ADDRESS

where "PASSWORD" should be replaced by your password for the list and "NEW-ADDRESS" should be replaced by the address through which you want to start recieving dinosaur list mail. If you do not know your list password (which should be different from your login password!!!) you can find out by sending the message:

set dinosaur

Listproc will in return tell you about your settings, one of which is your password. As stated above, you must send these "set" requests from the address through which you are subscribed (or from an address through which you were subscribed if you previously changed from that address using the "set" command rather than unsubscribing and resubscribing.) Please note that your password is case-sensitive. One way to ensure that you get it right is to just cut and paste your password from the message listproc sends you in response to the set request. If you can't do that, then at least make sure that you type your password in exactly as it appears when listproc tells you what it is.

If you know that your address is about to get changed due to a reconfiguration of the way mail is handled at your site, it might be a good idea for you to use the set command to change your address just before the change to your system. If your address changes out from under you, listproc will not recognize you in subsequent messages and you will require intercession from one of the list owners (Mickey Rowe -- or Mary Kirkaldy --

It is better to use the set command to change your address than it is to unsubscribe and then resubscribe because the former method keeps the association between you and your old address. That may come in handy for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that it will allow you to send mail to the list (or to listproc) from either your old or new address.

7. How to send messages to the list

Sending a message to the list (i.e. sending a message that will be distributed to all list subscribers) is relatively simple. Just address your message to:

Reasons why some messages are not delivered:

          a) Subscription checking.

As has been hinted at a couple of times above, the list is configured not to accept messages from addresses that are not subscribed. If the way that your outgoing mail changes between the time that you've subscribed and the time that you send a message to the list, listproc will not recognize you as a subscriber and your message will be rejected. If that happens I will receive a copy of the message, and I will contact you to let you know of the problem and how it's being fixed.

          b) Suspicious subjects.

Listproc is (or at least as of last year it was) the most effective mailing list manager around when it comes to preventing mail loops (infinite chains where a copy of a message sent to one address causes that message to be returned to the sender which then sends a copy back to the first address...). One of the reasons that listproc is so good is that it "sniffs" certain parts of messages such as the subject line. If your subject line contains something such as "[Error" listproc guesses that the message is a bounced copy of an error message that it sent out, and it will not distribute the message.

          c) Request sensed.

Listproc is also pretty good at preventing requests from going out to the list when they should have been sent to the administrative address rather than the list address. Therefore if listproc "senses" a request your message will get bounced to the list owner rather than distributed. You should try to keep out of the beginning of your message anything that might look like a request (e.g. "subscribe", "set", "hold" and a small variety of other words). In the event that one of your messages is rejected by listproc, you'll hear from us. This section is included only in the hopes of helping to ensure that your messages are never rejected.

8. Things not to do and what will happen if you do them

For nearly a year this list was moderated. Currently it is not moderated, but that does not mean that there is a free-for-all here. We're all for free speech, but this list was created for a purpose -- to give people a forum for the scientific discussion of dinosaurs. If your messages are counterproductive to that purpose, your privileges to submit messages can and will be revoked. Some specifics:

We have generally been a congenial group, and nobody has ever been forcefully removed for abuse of the list (although two people were removed by request after disciplinary action was taken against them, and another person has had his ability to submit messages to the list permanently revoked after repeated violations of the rules). However, since the list is currently unmoderated, removing subscribers and instructing listproc to ignore their mail are our only means for dealing with problems. Since we have been congenial we don't expect this to become a concern. Please work with us to ensure that my expectations are met!

There are several infractions that may cause you to lose all dinosaur list privileges.

          a) Attempting to use the list for advertising fossils

The first such infraction is using the list as a means to aid in the selling or buying of fossils. All of us involved in list maintenance feel quite strongly that the list's resources should not be used for that purpose. We will not tolerate messages that directly help buyers and sellers of real fossil material find each other. If you advertise a fossil for sale (even if you're not the one who'll be collecting the money) you may be removed from the list without warning. If you pass along a message that is not explicitly an advertisement but serves to alert others of a location where an advertisement can be found (for example, giving a url to the site) -- even if you're mentioning the advertisement only to lament its existence -- you will be warned not to do so again. The warning you are sent will include a one week suspension of your privilege to submit messages to the list because we want to underscore the seriousness with which we view offenses to this policy. If you repeat such an infraction and we have even the slightest suspicion that you did so in willful disregard of the list's policies you will be permanently removed from the list. In administering this rule we broadly interpret "advertisement" to mean anything that reports a fossil which is or will be up for sale. This includes but is not limited to announcements of fossils that will be made available for auction, and we do not draw a strong distinction between "journalism" and "advertising" in this context. Commercial fossil dealers can be quite good at generating publicity, so the fact that a news organization such as CNN writes a story will not prevent us from judging the story to be an advertisement sensu lato. In short, if you are considering sending a message that a) has anything to do with a real or potential exchange of a fossil for money or b) contains a URL to a story with content such as described in a) you should send it to the list administrators first and ask whether or not it would be appropriate. If you send such a message to the list without our pre-screening we're not going to be very receptive to arguments about why you thought it was acceptable. We would prefer to have that argument ahead of time so that there's no need for us to consider disciplinary action.

Please note that the above refers explicitly to the sale of fossils. Other dinosaur relevant advertisements (as long as they're short and preferably in the form of instructions for how to obtain more information) have traditionally been accepted. Advertisements for the sale of replicas of fossils are also permissible without reservation.

          b) Spam

Off topic advertisements (e.g. spam) are also explicitly forbidden, though we suspect that spam would get you thrown off of any list.

          c) Creationism

There appears to be a near unanimous sentiment on the list that arguments about Creationism should not be entertained here. If you attempt to introduce a Creationist argument you will receive a week-long time out. That is, the list will not accept your messages for one week after the time that we see such a message from you. After that week you will be allowed to submit messages again, but if you repeat the infraction you will be removed from the list. It is my impression that the above is lenient in that many list members might prefer to have people who submit Creationist arguments be removed after the first violation. We're currently opting for a bit of leniency but may become more strict if this becomes a problem.

During a flareup surrounding the Kansas Board of Education's decision in August of 1999 to change the guidelines for K-12 education in that state, it became clear that there was a good deal of confusion surrounding this topic on the dinosaur list. From the begining:

this policy was intended to squelch any discussions of Creationism. Many appear to have erroneously presumed that they can write what they want as long as they do not support Creationist positions. However, that too is wrong as I tried to make clear early on:

Specifically, in that message I wrote:

My goal is to keep the peace while allowing a healthy discussion of the science involved in the study of dinosaur remains. In my view Creationism doesn't fit under that scope. That doesn't mean we should be openly hostile about it even if the hostility is expressed as humor.

Since that bit of advice has gone unheeded, we have decided to close up a loophole -- responding to messages about Creationism will be treated exactly the same as Creationist messages themselves. If somebody brings up the topic and you respond, you will lose your privilege to submit messages for one week. A second infraction may get you removed from the list.

Some have indicated that by banning the topic we are somehow sending the message that there is some scientific validity to Creationism. We don't think that position is logically defensible, but to try to cover that base here we will state again that Creationism does not belong on the dinosaur list because it is not science. We sympathise with those trying to teach science in a culture which does not always recognize what is and isn't good science, though, and for the benefit of such people we here provide some links which we think are useful in this context:

The National Center for Science Education,

the National Academy of Sciences's official position on the subject,

and the home page and its FAQ archive.

Please feel free to write to me in order let us know if any of these links break or if you have additional sites you'd like to add to this section.

          d) Flaming

We expect to have more difficulty enforcing the following (just within the past week I've had a few occasions to consider implementing this rule...), but we would also like to be able to keep a light handle on the discussions by reserving the right to treat generally disruptive behavior in the same manner that we will treat the particular disruption of Creationist messages. That is, if you send in a message such as one which contains an attack against another person on the list, you can expect to receive a time out. A second such offense may get you removed from the list permanently. We have no real desire to be dictators here, so we welcome suggestions about messages which you think warrant disciplinary action. We may not ultimately agree with you, but we do want your input.

          e) irritating other members of the list

As we wrote above, we're not comfortable as dictators, so we're formally asking for the lists' help in the execution of a modified version of section 8d above. In addition to being silenced for abject flaming, you may be sent to a virtual corner to cool off if others on the list think that your behavior warrants such treatment. In particular, if I receive three complaints about an individual within a span of three days, then that individual will be timed out for one week. If this ever happens to you, please take it gracefully because if you come back flaming then you will still be subject to the disciplinary actions described in section 8d. (Let's all hope that the threat of this is all we need... If it isn't, then we must rely upon all of you to be conscientious and complain when you think a situation warrants it.)

          f) Ad Hominem

The phrase "Ad Hominem" is frequently used incorrectly in terms of its historical definition. Technically an Ad Hominem argument is one that addresses characteristics (or supposed characteristics) of a person presenting an argument rather than the presented argument itself. People making such attacks on the personalities of others are subject to a one week timeout whether the attacked person is on the list or not. Check the archives for just about any discussion of Robert Bakker or Alan Feduccia and you'll find offenses of this policy. Any such offenses occuring after June 30, 1998 are subject to punitive action. As with flaming, second such offense may get you removed from the list permanently. When I suggested this rule, one alert subscriber pointed out that the list historically recognized one reason for discussing personalities. If you are considering a collaboration with another paleontologist and would like to solicit opinions about the wisdom of your choice, you may ask the list. Responses should go directly to the person making the request, however, especially if they are of a sensitive nature.

          g) treating the list as your own personal forum

When discussions get hot people have a tendency to write many messages in a short span of time. Because the list can only process a finite number of messages per day, and because most people will only tolerate so much traffic before they start deciding the list isn't worth the effort of trying to keep up, this is a bad thing. During moderation everyone was held to a limit of only five messages per day. Any messages after the fifth were held in queue until the next day. Since the list is no longer moderated, that's not an option. I suggested reinstating a quota of five messages per day with a sixth message earning an offender a one-day timeout. Subsequent infractions of this quota rule would earn you longer timeouts. Although five per day seemed to work well during moderation, a few people thought this number was too low. I'm thus changing it to seven on a trial basis. Infractions will earn you only a one-day time out even if it's not the first time you've gone over your quota. Let's see how this works. If it doesn't then the policy could be amended or abandoned.

          h) Moratoria on tired threads

The proper procedure for terminating a thread that you think has worn out its welcome on the list is to write to me ( or Mary ( with a specific complaint about the thread and why you think it's gone on long enough (I suspect that typically naming the thread you object to will be sufficient since in most cases the reason for its objectionability will be readily apparent). If we agree with you, we will write to the list and ask that the thread be shut down. At that time one of us will specify a period (generally not less than 24 nor more than 48 hours; exact length dependent upon factors such as the relevance of the thread, the time it has existed, and the amount of repetition that's already been seen) during which final statements on the thread may be submitted. Anyone who attempts to continue or resurrect the thread within a week of the thread's official demise will be subject to a week-long timeout. At present we are not considering disciplinary action against people who write to the list requesting that a thread be ended, but we might change our minds in the future. The purpose of this rule is to end meta-discussions about what should or shouldn't be discussed on the list.

Additionally, list owners may order an immediate shutdown of discussions which arise on subjects which are not germane to the purpose of the list -- dinosaur science. Notable examples of subjects which have no place on the list are cryptozoology, time travel, Planet of the Apes, and random computer virus alerts, among others. List members will be expected to recognize these calls for cessation of discussion (i.e. Mickey Rowe or Mary Kirkaldy will unambiguously post that this thread is not to be pursued). Disciplinary action may be taken against list members who continue to post on these subjects, whether or not 24 hours has passed. Similarly, discussion on whether the subject should be allowed is to be sent to the list owners and not to the list.

          i) Attachments

We don't expect to discipline anyone for this, but we do ask that you not include attachments (such as files containing images) to messages. A large number of people will not be able to read the files, many will not even be able to receive them (believe it or not some people have limits on the sizes of messages they can receive!), and attachments are a dandy way to transmit computer viruses. If you wish to transmit an image or other form of encoded message please find another place to make it available and send to the dinosaur list only an announcement of the file's availability. If you have no other space to put up the file, you can write to me ( I don't want to get in the business of making temporary web pages, but I do have such resources available to me. If I don't get too many requests I can offer limited use of those resources to others.

          j) Violating embargoes

Scientific journals generally have a policy to reject material for publication when that material has already been published some place else. Consequently scientists need to keep some things to themselves until papers describing those things are published. During the final stages of the publication process, journals will frequently release information to members of the press with the understanding that the individuals receiving that information will not distribute it before some pre-specified time. The time during which the press has the information and is ethically obliged not to share it is referred to as an embargo period. Journals may decide not to publish an article they'd already decided to publish if its content is disseminated during that period. Consequently the authors will pay a price if someone else distributes that information.

We at dinosaur list management do not take a position on whether or not embargoes are a good thing. If you'd like to know more about the background of embargoes, you should look at the news focus in the October 30th issue of Science. There are five articles in that news focus, and they give a pretty good overview of what others think of embargoes and why. Our goal is only to protect researchers whose publications could be compromised by the premature release of information about their research. Whether or not you (or we) think embargoes should be done away with is irrelevant to official policy. As long as authors can be hurt by people talking about their research we will do what we can to protect them. If you think there is any chance something you want to submit to the list is privileged information you should seek the advice of the researchers who performed the work. If you violate an embargo or otherwise release information that jeopardizes a publication there is a good chance we will permanently remove you from the dinosaur list. As always we will try to use some discretion in implementing the policy, but do not submit something if you are uncertain as to whether or not it will be in violation of this policy. That is not the way to find out where our boundaries lie unless you want to be banned from the list.

9. What to do if you're not receiving mail from the list

If you haven't received any mail for a while, there are ways for you to find out if there is something wrong without leaving your seat or taking anybody else's time. If you suspect that there is a problem, the first thing that you should do is ask the listprocessor. You should send a message to:

with a BLANK SUBJECT LINE (if your mail reader will not allow you to send an empty subject line, just put "Hi" in your subject) and ONLY the following line in the body (i.e. text) of the message:

set dinosaur

There are four types of response you might receive from such a request. First, if everything is normal, listproc will respond (in my experience this usually only takes seconds) with a message that contains something like:

        Current settings are:

        ADDRESS =
        MAIL = ACK
        CONCEAL = NO

You don't need to understand all of that, but you should see that the line which says "MAIL =" should tell you your mail mode is set to ACK, NOACK, DIGEST or DIGEST-NOMIME (see section 3 for more on mail modes). If that is the case, then the list has probably just received a temporary slowdown and you need do nothing. There's no problem (at least not one specific to you).

If your mail mode is instead set to POSTPONE then it means that mail to you bounced at least once and either the listprocessor or I changed your mail mode to prevent further bouncing. If you are receiving mail from others, chances are that the problem was temporary (I wait about a week before informing people of such problems), so you can re-set your mail mode and restore your subscription on your own. To do that, send a message to:

with a BLANK SUBJECT LINE (if your mail reader will not allow you to send an empty subject line, just put "Hi" in your subject) and ONLY the following line in the body (i.e. text) of the message:

set dinosaur mail ack

In place of "ack" you can also put "digest" or "digest-nomime" if you prefer (see section 3 on digest or section 5 on going on vacation for more on mail modes).

A second form of response you might get would be the listprocessor telling you that you are not subscribed to the list. In that case, what most probably happened was that your site bounced mail with an error message that looked like it was permanent (e.g. "user unknown"). In that case, you will have to subscribe again. See section 2 if you need assistance there.

A third form of response is that you may not get any response at all. In that case, there is either a serious problem routing mail to you, or the listprocessor is down. In either case, we recommend patience. You can try writing to us to see if you can get mail to us and if so what explanation we might be able to provide. Or you can just wait a day or so to see if things will get cleared up without your intercession.

Finally, you might receive a bounce report. Depending upon the specifics of the report, this could mean any of the things that no response might mean. So my advice there is the same.

One last thing that you can do after trying to find out from the listprocessor what (if anything) is wrong is to check the archives. Things don't get added to the archive until the end of the day, but you can at least look to see if there were messages yesterday that you didn't get.

Please note that under NO circumstances should you write to the list address as a test. There is no need for that -- the listprocessor tries to filter out test messages, and even if your mail makes it past that filter, your mail mode may be set to postpone in which case you won't receive a copy of your message anyways. Therefore sending a test message to the list will be generally uninformative. But it will irritate other subscribers if your test is "successful".

10. Where to get more information

If you would like to know more about how to interact with listproc, you should look at the web pages which describe the software. USC's instantiation of that documentation can currently be found at:

The user reference card is probably what you will find most helpful:

If you don't find what you want there, or if you wish additional information specific to this list and not found in the document you're reading, please write to me.

You can also find a copy of the old moderation rules (from when the list was moderated) at:

in case you'd like additional guidance on the behavior we'd like to see in list participants. For more general guidelines on what constitutes "netiquette", you might want to see Yahoo's page for links to other web locations which discuss the subject. Two clicks away from that site (via the netiquette home page) is a fairly short and decent description of what it means to be a good netizen.

You also might want to click here to find general information about e-mail and electronic mailing lists (including another take on what constitutes good netiquette in fora such as the dinosaur mailing list).

We are just starting (May 1999) to develop FAQs for the list. If you would like information about the steps that should be taken to become an academic paleontologist, please see:

We have been fortunate to find a subscriber, Mike Taylor, who has
taken it upon himself to generate much more complete FAQs on dinosaur
science.  Please go to his site to see if you have questions he's
already gotten people to address:

If you'd like to find a field camp where you can participate in a dig, you should consider checking out the list at Syracuse University:

We would also like to point readers to enlightening messages in the archives, which have set list policy on proper content and behavior:

a) Why you shouldn't post on things you don't know much about

b) Reasons why you shouldn't send attachments to the list

c) Policy on topics that don't belong on the list again , and again, and again.

d) List administration as a topic for discussion

e) If someone disagrees with your opinion

Your humble list administrators,

Mickey Rowe (
Mary Kirkaldy (MKirkaldy@AOL.COM)

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