GSA supports many communities of practice (CoP) by hosting Listservs which provide our 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 “”. If you still have questions after reading this page, contact your community or listserv manager.

Note that these instructions reference a sample Listserv called Just substitute the name of YOUR Listserv (e.g., whenever you see TESTLIST, to apply these instructions to your Listserv.

Rules and Guidelines for Online Discussions

  • Members of a Community must use official .gov or .mil email addresses, and understand that they are acting in their official capacities represented through their U.S. government agencies.
  • Understand your agency’s policy about using all government equipment.
  • Behave online in such a way that you do not bring your agency into disrepute, even if you are not officially representing your agency.
  • Keep the conversation relevant and abide by the TTS Code of Conduct. Respect your peers. Any derogatory comments on race, disability, sexuality, and more will not be tolerated. No inappropriate language or personal attacks.
  • Do not participate in commercial communications or endorsements. No commercial communications or endorsements are permitted.
  • Check your current agency policies on managing records. Find more information on the National Archives Records Management Information Page.
  • Abide by U.S. copyright laws when referencing or using others’ content in any materials.
  • Follow the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) Guide before sending out a survey or other requests for feedback, especially if your community includes members of the public (non-government).
  • 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 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: 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.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

The Communities of Practice are hosted by, a service of the Technology Transformation Services (TTS) within the General Services Administration (GSA). GSA is a federal agency subject to the Freedom of Information Act and must comply with requests for records made under FOIA. As a result, all communications made on this Communities of Practice LISTSERV are subject to release under FOIA.

Listserv Information

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 CoP LISTSERV discussion.

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.

How to Send a Message

Any Listserv member can send a message to the group by using this email address:

[Name of YOUR Listserv], (e.g.,

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:


  • 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:
  • 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
Action Command Line
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

Note that these instructions reference a sample Listserv called Just substitute the name of YOUR Listserv (e.g., whenever you see TESTLIST, to apply these instructions to your Listserv.

“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 Listserv Support with technical questions.