GSA supports many communities of practice (CoP) by hosting Listservs which provide our Digital.gov community with an easy way to collaborate, ask questions, and share information.
The handy tips that follow will help you manage your GSA Listserv subscription. Confirm that your community’s list is hosted by GSA by checking that the email address ends in “@listserv.gsa.gov”. If you still have questions after reading this page, contact your community or listserv manager.
Note that these instructions reference a sample Listserv called TESTLIST@listserv.gsa.gov. Just substitute the name of YOUR Listserv (e.g., CONTENT-MANAGERS-L@listserv.gsa.gov) whenever you see TESTLIST, to apply these instructions to your Listserv.
How to Join a Listserv
Government employees (with a .gov or .mil email address) are encouraged to join any communities of practice that relate to your work. Visit our Communities page to see all the communities and learn how to join.
When sending a message to the entire Listserv, consider that your message is going to hundreds or even thousands of people. Below, please find some general rules and guidelines when participating in a Digital.gov CoP LISTSERV discussion.
Rules and Guidelines for Online Discussions
- Respect your peers: Any derogatory comments on race, disability, sexuality, and more will not be tolerated. No inappropriate language or personal attacks.
- Use plain language: If you are unfamiliar with plain language, think about joining the community, attending one of our Plain Language CoP meetings, or check out our resources. You can also visit PlainLanguage.gov where you can learn about the Plain Writing Act of 2010 requirements. Please use correct spelling and grammar so that all can participate.
- Grammar and fonts: Please spell-check your messages. Use correct spelling (use the word you, not the letter u, and the word are, not the letter r). Please use 12-point, black text in an easy to read font—such as Times New Roman or Helvetica.
- Please be patient: Digital.gov CoP members have different experience levels. You may consider some of the conversation threads on a particular topic simple, but they are fundamental for people to learn.
- Practice constructive criticism: Please review your language when participating in conversation. Engage in conversation by articulating your thoughts. Abide by, “if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say it at all!” Read your comments over before pressing send.
- Stay organized: Please keep the conversation threads focused. Start a new thread if it does not pertain to the latest conversation.
- Be brief: Try to be direct and stay on point as much as possible.
How to Send a Message
Any Listserv member can send a message to the group by using this email address:
[Name of YOUR Listserv]@listserv.gsa.gov, (e.g., CONTENT-MANAGERS-L@listserv.gsa.gov).
Some lists distribute your message immediately, while others are configured to ask you to verify your message before it’s distributed to the list. This is to reduce viruses and spam on the Listserv.
To verify a message for distribution:
- Click the link in the confirmation email you receive from the Listserv. The link will look similar to this: “To APPROVE the message: https://listserv.gsa.gov/cgi-bin/wa.exe?OK=A307E2C&L=_TESTLIST_“
- REPLY to the confirmation email message
- Type the word “OK”—without the quotes—in the body of the message
- Erase all other text in the body of the message, including signature blocks, then send
Note, some email systems have trouble processing the link, so try the “OK” method described above if the “click” option doesn’t work for you.
Common Listserv Commands
Following are some of the common commands available to you as a Listserv subscriber. Common commands include subscribing to a daily digest (instead of receiving each message individually), unsubscribing, or resetting your subscription to the default settings.
When using these commands, always:
- Send the command in an email message addressed to: email@example.com
- Type the command in the body of the message, on one line (not in the subject line—the subject line should be left blank)
- Remove any other text from the body of your message, including signature blocks
|Remove yourself from the list||signoff TESTLIST|
|Receive a daily digest of plain text posts; recommended for users with plain text email systems||set TESTLIST digest|
|Receive digest in MIME format; recommended for Lotus Notes users||set TESTLIST digest mime nohtml|
|Receive digest in HTML format; recommended for MS Outlook users||set TESTLIST digest html|
|Receive messages one-by-one as they are posted; recommended for all users||set TESTLIST nodigest|
“Out of Office” Messages
Think of the Listserv when setting “out of office” messages. Create a rule to either avoid sending “out of office” message to Listserv groups, or only send an “out of office” to people who’ve directly sent you a personal email. Ask your IT staff if you need help with this.
If you do get “Out of Office” messages from fellow Listserv members who forget, you can set up your email software to filter out messages that have “Out of Office” in the subject line. Consult with your IT support staff to see how to filter these messages, since the steps may vary, depending on your email program.
Access the Listserv Archive
Listserv members can access a searchable, browsable online archive of previous messages. To access the Listserv archives, first register a password. After you register, you will receive an auto-confirm email. Follow the instructions in that email to complete your registration and receive a password.
Once you have your password, you can login to the archive to search the Listserv archives by keyword, browse the Listserv archives by month, or modify your Listserv subscription settings.
Please email your Listserv or community manager with general questions, or Mark Kaprow with technical questions.
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