Funknet list admin and netiquette

Robert Englebretson reng at
Mon Feb 28 15:27:32 UTC 2011

Dear List Members,

Given some questions I have received recently in my role as Funknet's list 
admin, I thought it was time to send out a reminder about the administration 
of this list, as well as a few points of netiquette common to e-mail lists 
more generally.

First, here are the e-mail addresses and web URL you need to interact with 

To post a message to Funknet, i.e. to send an e-mail to all 1,070+ people 
subscribed to the list: funknet at
The address to contact me, the list admin: funknet-owner at
The address to use for Mailman commands (e.g. 'subscribe', 'unsubscribe', 
etc.): funknet-request at
To access Funknet's web administrative interface, visit:
Among other things, this page allows you to subscribe or unsubscribe from 
the list, to update your e-mail address, to change your subscription options 
(such as 'vacation mode' or 'digest mode'), to reset or retrieve your 
Mailman password, to view list archives, and to find the addresses for 
posting to the list or for contacting the admin.

IF you ever need the above information in the future, remember that it also 
can be found in the message header of each e-mail you receive from 
Funknet--but you will have to view 'full headers' or the 'message source' to 
see it.

Please remember that Funknet is an unmoderated list.  This means that no one 
reads or filters or approves your posts before the Mailman software 
processes them and sends them along to all 1070+ list members.  Mailman does 
catch spam and junkmail from non-subscribers, as well as the occasional 
admin request that a subscriber may accidentally send to the list.  Funknet 
list admin is strictly a volunteer position in the midst of the usual busy 
academic work schedule, and I simply don't have time to run Funknet as a 
moderated list.  We trust Funknet members to 'moderate' their own posts, and 
to observe basic netiquette.
- Do not 'flame' other list members
- Refrain from posting off-topic messages.  The purpose of this  list is to 
discuss issues in functional linguistics (broadly construed)
- do not reply to off-topic messages on the list (what you write to someone 
off-list is your own business of course!)
- Don't send 'test' messages or other 'administrivia' to the list
- Keep the subject line relevant to the message topic (especially important 
if you're replying to a message in 'digest mode')
While this is not a moderated list, I do have the ability to put individual 
members on moderated status (meaning I have to manually approve anything 
they send to Funknet)--and I have done so for people who repeatedly violate 
any of the above basic netiquette.  Fortunately in the last decade of 
running the list, I've only had to resort to this on two occasions.

If you ever do have any questions, or run into problems with the list or 
your subscription, please don't hesitate to e-mail me!  I make a point of 
responding to e-mails within 24 hours (although if I'm traveling, it may be 
slightly longer).  Just FYI, here are the two most common scenarios that 
people tend to e-mail me about:

(1) "I just got this automated e-mail from funknet-bounces saying my posting 
has been rejected, and that I'm not allowed to post to the list.  But I'm 
receiving messages just fine, and I've been subscribed for 20 years, so I 
don't understand why I can't post!"  I typically get several such messages 
each month--unfortunately sometimes not nearly as polite as the above 
scenario.  Invariably, if you receive an automated message saying that 
you're not allowed to post, the reason is that you are trying to send from 
an address that is different from your subscription address.  Usually this 
happens because (1) you're sending from an alias rather than your actual 
e-mail address, or (2) your university changed the format of your e-mail 
address (e.g. no longer includes the hostname in the address), but you did 
not update this for the address on file with the Mailman server.  If this 
ever happens to you, either visit the Funknet web interface and fix it 
yourself, or e-mail me to do it for you.

(2) "I'm sending a bunch of pictures and PDF files to Funknet, but my 
message keeps being rejected with an error saying something about an 
'invalid part'."  Funknet is set so as to disallow messages with 
attachments.  There are at least two good reasons for this:  (1) this is to 
prevent subscribers whose e-mail account has been hacked from inadvertently 
e-mailing a virus to everyone on the list; the 'no attachments' policy has 
prevented this from happening at least three times during the past decade. 
(2) A number of Funknet subscribers are on slower connections, or in places 
where they have to pay for their e-mail by the kilobyte; disallowing 
attachments is a basic courtesy for such subscribers.  If you feel you need 
to share a PDF or other large file with the list, it's best to put it on a 
web site and send the URL to the list instead of sending the attachment.

In general, the Funknet admin policy is to be as hands-off as possible!  But 
the list does in fact have an admin, and you're welcome to contact me at 
funknet-owner at if you ever have any questions or need 
assistance with the list.

--Robert Englebretson

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