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July 1, 2004
NCEAThe Source of Information and Assistance on Elder Abuse
Elder Abuse Listserve FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)|
Version #4, April 2003
Table of Contents
The listserve is a project of the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), which is funded by the Administration on Aging at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The American Bar Association (ABA) Commission on Law and Aging, one of the six partner organizations in the NCEA, sponsors and manages the listserve. Lori Stiegel, JD, Associate Staff Director of the ABA Commission on Law and Aging, is the listserve manager. For more information about these entities, visit their web sites: NCEA; the Administration on Aging; the ABA Commission.
The following professionals working in elder abuse or allied fields are eligible to subscribe to the listserve: adult protective services practitioners and administrators, aging services providers and administrators, educators, health professionals, judges, lawyers, law enforcement officers, prosecutors, policymakers, and researchers.
No. Only under extraordinary circumstances will the listserve manager allow an individual to subscribe at more than one address.
If you only want to leave the listserve temporarily, such as for a vacation or other extended absence from your office, you should temporarily stop receipt of listserve mail via NOMail, rather than unsubscribe. See questions #31 and #32 for rationale and instructions.
There are three ways to unsubscribe from the listserve. NONE OF THEM INVOLVES SENDING A MESSAGE TO THE LISTSERVE ADDRESS.
Every message posted to the listserve contains instructions on how to unsubscribe. Between that fact and this FAQ, the only reason why you should ask the listserve manager for help in unsubscribing is if your attempts to unsubscribe fail.
The listserve is not moderated. This means that every message that is posted to the listserve by a subscriber appears there without being screened or censored by the listserve manager. However, the listserve manager does have and will use the authority to unsubscribe without notice or right of appeal any subscriber who is not using the listserve in an appropriate manner for its stated purpose, following the listserve rules of conduct (see question #44), or exhibiting appropriate netiquette (Internet etiquette).
Elderabuse is configured as a private listserve, which means that only subscribers can send messages to it (and receive messages from it and access its archives). As a result, subscribers can only send messages to the listserve or commands to the server from the e-mail address at which they are subscribed. If a subscriber attempts to send a message from a different address, the server will not recognize that address and it will forward the message to the listserve manager for approval, thus delaying distribution of the message. If a subscriber sends a command from another address, he or she will receive an error message from the server. This is why it is critical to notify the listserve manager immediately when your address changes (see questions #18 and #19).
There are three ways to send a message to the listserve.
The listserve manager will not post a message on your behalf unless (1) you are having a problem sending a message and have followed the steps set forth in question #11 or (2) you wish to post anonymously for some reason.
You should receive your own message, because you are a member of the listserve and the list is configured so that posts are distributed to all members of the listserve unless they have temporarily stopped mail delivery or changed their settings. Sometimes, however, strange things happen and subscribers don't receive their own messages. You can also look in the archives (see question #23) and see if your message appears there, which indicates that it was delivered to the list but not to you.
If you don't receive your own message, then there may be a problem (see question #11).
Sometimes a message will appear in a few minutes, other times it takes a few hours. If your message hasn't been posted within a few hours, there may be a problem.
Yes. Although the list is configured to automatically add the word "Elderabuse" to the subject header so subscribers can readily see that a message is from the listserve, you still need to use a subject header and be as descriptive as possible. Everyone on the listserve is busy and descriptive subject headers help subscribers determine if they want to read, save, or print messages. Subject headers also help subscribers follow discussion threads. They make the archives easier to search and use. See question #14 about eliminating the message to which you are responding for a better understanding of how to use subject headers appropriately and why it is important to do so.
The answer depends on two things: (a) whether you want to send your reply to the listserve or just to the individual who sent the message to which you are responding, and (b) your own e-mail program. The elder abuse listserve is configured so that if you want to send your reply to everyone on the listserve, then you respond by using your "reply all" button (or comparable feature on your program). If you just want to respond to the person who sent the message, then you use your "reply" button (or comparable feature on your program).
Your e-mail program may function in a different manner, however, and if that is the case you need to do what works for your program. Please remember that if your e-mail program defaults to "reply all" (i.e., if a reply on your program goes to the listserve rather than just the individual who sent the message), then your automated out-of-office replies may be sent to the listserve and cause problems. As a result, it is particularly important that you change your listserve settings to NoMail or unsubscribe temporarily if you are out of your office for an extended time (see questions #31 and #33 for explanations and directions).
The listserve is configured this way to help protect the listserve from inadvertent exchanges of messages intended to be private. It also helps to prevent automated out-of-office replies from getting to the listserve.
No. Including the text of the message to which you are replying makes the listserve archives MUCH more difficult to use and lengthy. It also wastes paper, printer toner, and the time of people who delete the old messages before printing the new ones. Please delete the text of the message to which you are replying and the instructional ("bottom banner") messages that appear with it.
Subscribers can help other readers follow a listserve discussion (called a "thread") through thoughtful and responsible use of the subject header in one or more of the following ways.
Yes. It is proper netiquette to include your identifying information when you post or reply to a message. Even more importantly, it will enable other subscribers to know who sent the message and to contact you for further information or discussion off-list. Moreover, while your e-mail system may indicate the name and e-mail address of the person who sent out a message, not all e-mail systems do that. Therefore, all subscribers are expected to include their name and e-mail address - and preferably also the name of their organization and their snail mail address and telephone number - whenever they post or reply to a message.
No. The listserve is configured to reject any messages containing attachments. There are three reasons for this:
This means that you need to copy and paste the text of an attachment into the body of your e-mail message in order to send it to the listserve. However, some e-mail systems automatically convert long messages into attachments. Therefore, if the text is very long, you may need to paste it into multiple e-mail messages. If you send something in multiple parts, you can help other subscribers determine whether they have received all parts of your message by indicating the parts in the subject header (e.g., NCEA newsletter 1 of 2, NCEA newsletter 2 of 2).
There are also systems that convert AutoSignatures into attachments. These may or may not cause problems.
If you are having trouble sending a message without an attachment because of either of those reasons, forward your message and any responses rejecting your message(s) to the listserve manager ([email protected]) and ask for her help.
It is good to keep messages short, but you should avoid the use of acronyms and abbreviations, or at least define them the first time you use them in a message. We have subscribers from all over the U.S. and several other countries. Many acronyms and abbreviations are particular to your state or community or country. You're using the listserve to raise questions or share information, so make the effort to clearly explain what you are asking about or sharing so that everyone can understand it. Then other subscribers will be better able to help you and derive greater benefit from the information you've sent. (And you and/or the listserve will not get messages asking what your acronyms or abbreviations mean.)
Yes. Even if your listserve mail is being forwarded from your old address, you will not be able to send messages to the listserve because the server will not recognize your new address and it will treat you as a non-subscriber who can't post messages.
It is possible that your address changed and you aren't even aware of it. This problem often arises when a particular site changes its domain configuration, forwards mail from the old addressing scheme to the new addressing scheme, and doesn't inform its users of the change. In these cases, users often don't realize that there is a problem until they try to send a message, unsubscribe, or change personal options, because the change has been transparent to them.
In order to change your address, the listserve manager will unsubscribe you at your old address and then resubscribe you at your new address. The server will send a message to the old address telling you that you have been unsubscribed. Then the server will send a message to your new address telling you that you have been subscribed. It is your responsibility to ensure that you receive at least the second message (your address should have already changed, so you may never receive the first message). The failure to receive the message indicating that you have been subscribed means that a problem has occurred and you should notify the listserve manager ([email protected]). That said, be aware that the listserve manager is not always able to make these changes on the same day (sometimes even the same week) that she receives them.
Yes. All listserve messages are automatically archived by the server. Subscribers can access the archives in two different ways: (1) e-mail, by the month in which messages were posted, which is not searchable; and (2) Internet, by the month in which messages were posted or for any time frame you choose, which is searchable.
If you are a new subscriber it may be useful for you to skim through some of the archives; it makes sense to look at least at the current month (unless you subscribed right at the beginning of the month) and the previous month or two. It also is advisable to "lurk" for a while before posting messages ("lurk" means to just read messages and learn about the behavior and culture of the group).
You may also want to retrieve the archives if you have missed messages due to a delayed address change, if you have been out of your office for an extended period of time (see question #31), or if you need a message for any other reason. The listserve manager cannot send you messages that have been sent previously, as she does not keep them on her computer.
Another reason to retrieve old messages is to avoid redundancy on the list. It has been in existence since October 1998 and many subjects have been discussed previously. Now that list archives are searchable, it is highly recommended that subscribers who wish to post a message first search the archives to determine if a topic has been discussed already. The answer you are looking for may be in the archives. Or you may be able to benefit from and build on the earlier discussion with a more focused question or observation.
To retrieve the archived posts by e-mail, do the following:
If you have followed the instructions and there are no other problems, you will receive a message containing all the listserve posts for the month(s) you requested. It may take a few hours for the archive files to arrive. If it takes more than a day, there may be a problem. If you need to ask the listserve manager ([email protected]) for help, forward to her the command you sent to the server and any error messages that you received in response to that command.
To retrieve the archives by the Internet, do the following:
Clicking on the words "Online Mailing List Archives" takes you to a page titled "List Archives at MAIL.ABANET.ORG." This page provides a list of all the ABA listserves. There are two reasons for selecting this choice.
Clicking on the link to "Archives Search" takes you to a page titled "Search the Archives of Multiple Lists on mail.abanet.org." A list of all the ABA listserves to which you subscribe will appear at the bottom of that page. Selecting this choice makes sense if you subscribe to multiple ABA listserves and you want to search more than one of them. For example, you may be on multiple lists and be unable to remember on which list a certain message was posted. Or you may want to see if a subject was discussed on multiple lists. You can always narrow your search to a specific list or lists if you are on more than one and don't need to search all or some of them. But it won't be as easy to retrieve list posts by month (you'll have to narrow your search by time frame). And you won't be able to post a message to the list or check or change your listserve settings.
You can search, sort, and organize the list archives in many different ways. For example, you can sort the monthly archives by author, date (forward or backward), and topic. You can show the author or hide the author. You can show the table of contents or hide it. You can narrow archive searches by time frame, subject, or author. You can sort search results in numerous ways. The functions are generally self-explanatory but you can also click on the underlined words for a description of their function. Instructions are provided and virtually every page in the archives also contains at least one "Help" button.
You may be required, at some point, to log in with your e-mail address and a password. If this happens, there are a few steps to follow:
Subscribers can choose to receive messages in a digest version. This means that messages sent to the listserve will be delivered to the subscriber in a cluster periodically, rather than as each message is posted to the listserve.
The digest version might be useful to individuals who get a lot of e-mail, subscribe to multiple listserves, or have a Pavlovian response to an indication that e-mail has arrived. The disadvantages of using the digest are that all the messages will be clustered as one long message and it will be more challenging to read and print or save specific messages. Additionally, the digest version may delay your ability to participate in a listserve discussion. Replying to a message will also be more difficult as you will not be able to use your reply or reply all features and will instead have to create a new message to the listserve or the individual who sent the message to which you are responding (see questions #9, #14, and #15).
To set up the digest version via e-mail, follow these steps:
To set up the digest version via the Internet, do the following:
The process of eliminating the digest setting via e-mail is almost the same as the process of creating it. The only difference is in the command that you send.
The process of eliminating the digest setting via the Internet is almost the same as the process of creating it. Just follow the steps in the previous question to undo what you did.
Subscribers can choose to receive messages in an index version. With an "index" subscription, subscribers receive short "index" messages at regular intervals, usually once per day or once per week. These "indexes" show what is being discussed on the list, without including the text of the individual postings. For each posting, the date, the author's name and address, the subject of the message and the number of lines is listed. Subscribers can then download messages of interest from the server (the index contains instructions on how to do that).
An index subscription is useful for subscribers who have a slow e-mail connection and only read a few hand-picked messages. The indexes are very short and so there is no need to worry about long download times. The drawback is that subscribers need to reconnect to order messages of interest from the server.
To set up the index version via e-mail, follow these steps:
To set up the digest version via the Internet, do the following:
The process of eliminating the index setting via e-mail is almost the same as the process of creating it. The only difference is in the command that you send.
The process of eliminating the digest setting via the Internet is almost the same as the process of creating it. Just follow the steps in the previous question to undo what you did.
No. While an automated out-of-office reply message (a/k/a "autoresponder") may be useful and even required by your employer, it is problematic to set an autoresponder when you subscribe to a listserve. Such messages are the greatest source of complaints to the listserve manager. Depending on your system and the list configuration, your autoresponder message will either go to every member of the list (which has the potential to set up a chain reaction of out-of-office messages and shut down a list) or go to each person who posts a message to the list (not as serious, yet still annoying).
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent these problems. If you need to set up an autoresponder, then you should either set your list subscription to NOMail or unsubscribe temporarily out of consideration for everyone else on the list. The NOMail option is preferable because you can do and un-do it by yourself. If you unsubscribe temporarily, when you return you will have to resubscribe using the same process as when you first subscribed (see Question #4). Setting your subscription to NOMail means that you temporarily suspend delivery of listserve mail to your address. You will not receive listserve messages and subscribers who send messages to the listserve will not receive autoresponder messages from you. When you are ready to receive mail again, you just change the setting without involving the listserve manager. Everybody will be happy!
To set your subscription to NOMail via e-mail, do the following:
To set your subscription to NOMail via the Internet, do the following:
To restart mail delivery via e-mail, do the following:
To restart mail delivery via the Internet, just follow the steps in the previous question to undo what you did.
If you were receiving listserve messages via the digest or index versions prior to stopping and restarting your listserve mail, that setting should not be affected. But if you find that you no longer are receiving the digest or index version, just follow the process for the appropriate version again (see questions #26 or #29).
If you want the messages that you missed while you were away, you'll need to retrieve the archive for the month(s) in which you were gone (see questions #23 and #24).
No. We all know that computer viruses are a real problem. But warnings about computer viruses (whether they are legitimate or hoaxes) can be a problem too.
Therefore, the listserve has the following protocol for dealing with viruses. Anyone who is concerned about a virus should forward the warning in question to the listserve manager at [email protected]. The listserve manager will ask the ABA tech staff to check on its legitimacy, and then she will forward a warning to the listserve if appropriate. Also, she will forward to the listserve any virus warning that the ABA tech staff sends out to the ABA staff.
Remember, to help protect all of us from the spread of computer viruses through attachments, the listserve configuration prevents anyone from sending a message containing an attachment to the list (see question #16).
You should unsubscribe yourself from the listserve (see question #6) until the virus has been effectively cleaned from your computer system, and then you should notify the listserve manager ([email protected]), explain what happened, and ask to be resubscribed. The reason for this drastic step is that some viruses send themselves out to everyone on your address book, which probably includes the listserve address.
If the listserve manager discovers from the ABA virus detection software or through other ways (see the next question) that you have a computer virus, she will immediately unsubscribe you and notify you of the problem. She will resubscribe you when you notify her that the virus has been eradicated. Also, she will advise the listserve that the message you sent contained a virus and should be deleted immediately.
First, don't open the message if you haven't yet. Delete the infected message and then immediately delete your deleted mail. And see question #35 for further steps.
Second, send a message to the listserve manager ([email protected]) advising her of the problem (don't send her the message containing the virus - just say "the message from this person contained the following virus…"). She will unsubscribe the subscriber who sent the virus and advise that person of the problem. She will resubscribe that person only after receiving notification that the virus has been eradicated. And she will advise the listserve to delete the infected message.
Third, if you don't see a message about the problem from the listserve manager pretty quickly, then please act on it yourself (sometimes the listserve manager is at meetings or out-of-town, sometimes the ABA e-mail system has problems). GENTLY advise the listserve of the problem (other subscribers' virus detection software may not have caught the problem like yours did). GENTLY advise the person who sent the message that it contained a virus and that he or she should unsubscribe from the listserve immediately until the virus is eradicated. And if you use your "reply all" feature to contact the listserve, be careful not to send the infected message out to the listserve again.
No, access to the list of subscribers has been limited in order to protect your privacy. Only the listserve manager can obtain that list. You cannot conceal yourself from that list that only she can access (in case you were wondering about the Conceal setting that you can change via the Internet). If you need to check on the address at which you were subscribed or you need another subscriber's address, contact the listserve manager ([email protected]).
It is considered bad netiquette to cross-post another person's message to another listserve without that person's permission.
No. Despite the answer to question #38, it is unreasonable to expect that your information will be treated confidentially. This listserve is very large, and many subscribers forward listserve messages to colleagues and others. Once you post a message, there is no way of controlling or knowing where it might end up. If you wouldn't want someone else to overhear a conversation in which you shared that information with a colleague or friend, don't send it to the listserve.
Additionally, listserve threads are summarized in "content analyses." The summaries list the names of people who contributed to the thread, but they do not indicate what person made what comment. These analyses are intended to help subscribers keep records of discussions and use the listserve archives if they want additional information. The content analyses are distributed to subscribers via the listserve. They also are available to subscribers in a password-protected section of the (National Center on Elder Abuse web site). The password is distributed to subscribers and changed periodically. Nonetheless, there is no way to keep this information confidential.
As indicated in question #1, the federal government funds the listserve. Therefore, the listserve cannot be used to lobby for or against legislation. If you have questions about whether something you wish to post would be considered lobbying for or against legislation, feel free to forward your draft message to the listserve manager ([email protected]) and ask for her help.
Generally, anything pertaining to elder abuse or adult protective services is appropriate for discussion ON the list (see question #40 about lobbying, however). Its purpose, after all, is to promote information sharing. Every type of professional who is eligible to subscribe is represented, and the subscribers represent every state, the District of Columbia, and several other countries. Given that, it is much more likely than not that other subscribers are also interested in and have something to say about an issue. Those who aren't interested can easily ignore or delete a message (especially if it has a descriptive subject header, see questions #12 and #13).
There will be times, of course, when things should be discussed off the list. For example, responses to a request for a point of contact in a certain place generally do not belong on the list. Many of the subscribers make a living at training and consulting about these issues, and they aren't expected to share proprietary information with the list. But responses to a request for a speaker on a certain topic probably will be of interest to other subscribers. Requests for materials such as assessment tools are guaranteed to be of interest to many others. If you're not sure whether to raise or respond to something on the list, ask yourself "would I be interested in this or want to know the answer to this if someone else raised this point or asked this question?" If your answer is yes, then it is safe to assume that others would be interested too, so go ahead and post your message to the list.
Asking yourself that question will help avoid the "me too" problem. That is what happens when one person sends a message asking for materials or information and then one or more others also send messages saying send it to/tell "me too." Ask yourself if the other subscribers want to know that you want the information too. The answer should be "no" unless you are adding some substance to the request in addition to saying "me too". Then you need to contact the person who made the request (see question #13) and ask that person to share the results of the request with you or, preferably, with the listserve.
Here is an illustration of the problem and solution. A subscriber asks if something is available. Dozens of people send the listserve "me too" messages because they don't know who out there in cyberspace might be able to respond to the original request. The "me too" messages could be avoided if the subscriber making the original request would say to the listserve "please send me any of these that you have developed and then I will disseminate to the listserve a list of what I obtained and contact information so others can obtain them also" (but see question #44, point 4 for a caution about this type of message). While this places a little burden on the original requester, it saves ALL the subscribers from unnecessary messages, allows everyone to access the useful information, and allows the information to be archived. Think of it as a quid pro quo for using the listserve to request the information.
Although the patterns of listserve posting can and do change, it is generally unusual for more than two or three weekdays to pass without a listserve message. So if you have not received a message in a few days, it is a good idea to directly e-mail the listserve manager ([email protected]abanet.org) and ask if there is a problem. You may have fallen off the list. The server automatically unsubscribes people for various reasons if it has trouble sending messages to them, and the listserve manager does NOT have the time to follow up on those situations. Or there may be some other problem, such as that experienced periodically by AOL-users who don't receive some or all listserve messages due to an over-zealous "spam" filter applied by AOL.
If you have questions about computer hardware and software, you should contact your organization's tech staff or your Internet service provider or a find a tech support consultant in the phone book. It is not the listserve manager's job to provide you with technical assistance related to computer hardware or software, which is fortunate for you because she has no computer expertise!
In order to make the listserve as professional and useful as possible, subscribers are expected to follow the following rules of conduct [text in quotations is copied from the listserve owner's manual produced by L-Soft, the company that makes the listserve software used by the ABA, and most of the rest is summarized from the L-Soft manual]. Not every situation is or can be addressed here. The listserve manager does have and will use the authority to unsubscribe without notice or right of appeal any subscriber who is not using the listserve in an appropriate manner for its stated purpose, following the listserve rules of conduct, or exhibiting app
National Center on Elder Abuse
1201 15th Street, N.W., Suite 350 · Washington, DC 20005-2842
(202) 898-2586 · Fax: (202) 898-2583 · Email: [email protected]