This section covers topics where individuals use e-mail for group communications. Another section, Newsletters is devoted to projects that use e-mail to distribute information from one entity to a group, with no subsequent communication.

Mailing lists work as follows. Software on a computer run by the organizer (or moderator) of the list sends mail to all members of the list when it receives mail. For obvious reasons, the term mail exploder is sometimes used for such software. On some lists, the moderator will approve mail to be sent to all list members. Whether it is moderated or not, to send mail to all members, you need only write to one address: the list address. However, to subscribe or unsubscribe from the list, commands are not sent to the list address (and thus all the people on the list), but to the software running the list. Such software appears to be a user on the machine housing the list, but it has a name such as Listserv, Majordomo, Listproc, JISCmail, Mailman, etc.

When using a mailing list, please follow "netiquette:"

  • Use a meaningful subject line. A subject of "help", particularly
  • when received by those on more than one list, is not likely to elicit much of a response.

  • If responding to a previous post, quote accordingly, but
  • judiciously. This helps put your comments in context, yet avoids messages that are too long.

  • Enclose a short note (or "signature") at the bottom with at least
  • your e-mail address. Some mailing systems mangle the information in the header with your address.

  • If you have a response, consider responding directly via e-mail if
  • you think no one on the list will be interested.

  • Watch your temper. E-mail sometimes makes tempers flare. If you think
  • you should wait or tone down your note, you most likely should.

  • Don't type in all capital letters (IT IS CALLED SHOUTING).
  • Don't ask the list to be un-subscribed from a list. Rather, this job
  • is handled by the software that runs the list and not the hundreds or thousands who subscribe to the list.

  • Finally, employ common courtesy. If someone helps you out, a thank
  • you will be appreciated.

    While not part of netiquette, the value of mailing lists should be approached like other many other sources of information, such as a newspaper or a journal. Much of the material may not be of interest, but occasionally something very useful may be included. Note that digests (described below) help you manage lists more effectively.

    Note that in ALL cases, one subscribe and unsubscribe from a list NOT by sending e-mail to the list itself (which means it goes to ALL the members of the list), but to some special address that deals with subscriptions. Sending mail to the list itself marks you as a novice who hasn't taken time to carefully read directions. It also irritates list members (numbering into the hundreds) who receive useless mail. One hint: when subscribing to a list, you will receive information on how to unsubscribe. Keep it and use it.

    Each list has its own directions and information. These include the name of the list, the commands to subscribe and unsubscribe via e-mail (note that (i) commands go in the body of the e-mail unless otherwise noted, and (ii) when it says , type your name without the angle bars). The directions also include the address of the list itself: e-mail sent there will be forwarded to other list members. There are also directions on how to receive the list in digest form (i.e. rather than receiving each piece of e-mail individually, they come grouped together as one piece of e-mail.) and the location of past messages (i.e archives).

    The next sections contain the list of mailing lists. They are organized them around JEL classifications (some of the classifications may be a bit arbitrary, so be sure to look around some).