Anything having to do with the natural history of Nova Scotia

Welcome to NatureNS

Welcome to the NatureNS mailing list. We hope you'll enjoy being a member and contributing to the enjoyment of us all.

This note will explain some things about NatureNS and how it works. We recommend that you SAVE THIS MESSAGE somewhere safe because it contains important information you might need later.

So, dive in, take part, get to know your fellow members, and help us all to enjoy the natural history of Nova Scotia.

         NatureNS Frequently Asked Questions

This note will introduce you to the mechanics and etiquette of the NatureNS mailing list. If you have previous experience with mailing lists, the mechanics part will be easy, though some details might be new to you. The etiquette of mailing lists, though often overlooked, is just as important, and your fellow members will appreciate your attention to this aspect.

We've organized this guide to NatureNS as a FAQ, or set of "frequently asked questions."

                 Section A - Etiquette
  1. Who operates the list?

  2. What topics are permitted on NatureNS?

  3. What's this about "etiquette"?

  4. What should I do if I go away for a few days? (looping)

  5. What happens if I'm bad?

                Section B - Mechanics
  6. How does the mailing list work?

  7. How do I post a message to the list?

  8. How do I unsubscribe and subscribe?

  9. Under what conditions are postings rejected?

  10. What is the spam filter

  11. How can I tell if my posting was rejected?

  12. How can I get help on using NatureNS?

  13. What are the important mailing addresses for using NatureNS?

                  Section A - Etiquette
(1) Who operates the list?

NatureNS is hosted by the Chebucto Community Network, or CCN ( NatureNS was originally begun by a small group of people interested in the natural history of Nova Scotia. It is supported and encouraged by Nature Nova Scotia, an umbrella group for natural history organizations in Nova Scotia.

The current administrator for the list is Doug Linzey, but this is subject to change. You can always reach the current administrator by e-mail at this address:

(2) What topics are permitted on NatureNS?

Generally, anything having to do with the natural history of Nova Scotia is considered appropriate. Typical topics include sightings of various mammals, birds, insects and plants; interesting events in the skies; and announcements of meetings and field trips sponsored by local organizations. Since this list often includes experts in various aspects of natural history, it can be a useful venue for asking questions.

Inappropriate subjects include anything not related to the natural history of Nova Scotia, commercial notices, and of course anything that is offensive or abusive. In all cases, the list administrator has the responsibility of determining whether a posting is acceptable or not, so if you have any doubt, please ask first.

(3) What's this about "etiquette"?

Mailing lists like NatureNS rely greatly on the courtesy and thoughtfulness of their subscribers. For some reason, mailing lists are fragile things, and a careless word or phrase has in the past caused some lists to self-destruct in flames. So, a little consideration for your fellow members will go a long way.

Here are a few common oversights that can be avoided with a little care:

a. Personal messages. Keep in mind that more than 200 people will receive your posting. If you are just sending a personal message to someone else on the list, take the trouble to address it to him or her directly rather than to all of NatureNS.

b. Too much quoting. If you are replying to a previous message, don't include the whole thing in your reply — weed out all but the important points. In particular, quoting all of a previous message and then tacking on "I agree" is especially inconsiderate.

c. Use of HTML (hypertext markup language) in your posting. Most mail programs have an option that allows you to send your posting as straight text or as HTML, or as both. Be aware that some people still can't read HTML e-mail, and your carefully worded contribution will be pitched into the delete bin by these folks if you send it as strictly HTML.

d. Attachments. Don't attach photos or executable programs to your e-mail. They make your postings big, and people who pay by the minute for connect time won't thank you. Instead, post your photos on a website or offer to send them privately to anyone interested.

(4) What should I do if I go away for a few days? (looping)

If you won't be able to attend to your e-mail for a period of several days, you should unsubscribe from NatureNS. You can re-subscribe when you return. If you forget to do this and your inbox becomes full, the NatureNS administrator will probably unsubscribe you anyway.

Some office e-mail programs have a feature that allows you to reply to every incoming message with something like "I'm out of the office at present - I will return on ..." and so on. If you enable this feature while you are subscribed to NatureNS, your computer will respond to every incoming NatureNS message with the automatic reply, which will be sent to NatureNS. This in turn can come back to your computer and will generate another automatic response, and so on. This can be a Bad Thing, and people will hate you for it (it HAS happened in the past). PLEASE don't do it.

(5) What happens if I'm bad?

If there is some difficulty with the tone or content of your postings, the NatureNS administrator will contact you directly and ask you to mend your ways. If all else fails, you will be unsubscribed. This almost never happens, by the way.

                 Section B - Mechanics

(6) How does the mailing list work?

Simply put, members of the mailing list send e-mail to a central address, which automatically sends it to all members of the list. This is called "posting" a message.

You can join the list and resign from it (called "subscribing" and "unsubscribing") at any time. See the bottom of this letter.

(7) How do I post a message to the list?

To post a message, send an e-mail to the following address:

(8) How do I unsubscribe and subscribe?

To subscribe and unsubscribe from NatureNS, you have to send a command to the software program that manages the list. The program that Chebucto Community Net uses is called Mailman.

To subscribe or unsubscribe visit:

(9) Under what conditions are postings rejected?

Mailman will automatically reject ("bounce") postings under certain conditions. A bounced posting is not forwarded to the members of the list; instead it goes to the list administrator for manual processing. The person who posted the bounced message is not informed that anything unusual took place.

Messages are bounced for four reasons:

a. Non-subscriber posting: Messages to NatureNS from non-subscribers are automatically bounced. E-mail to NatureNS is accepted only if the address of the sender is that of a subscribed member.

b. Message too long: Messages longer than a certain maximum (about 60,000 characters) are automatically bounced. For this reason, it's a good idea not to try to send photos as attachments.

c. Messages containing doubtful text: See item 10 below, "spam filter."

d. Particular things that the server is programmed to reject (may include the word "test" or "help" in the subject line and ".php" in the body).

(10) What is the spam filter?

The spam filter attempts to protect members of NatureNS from undesirable e-mail. It watches for telltale words and phrases in the body of the message as well as in the subject line and bounces the message if one of those phrases or words is detected.

To keep the spam filter effective, the list of undesirable words and phrases is not published, and it varies from time to time.

(11) How can I tell if my posting was rejected?

If your posting is bounced because the spam filter caught it, the list administrator may silently approve your message and pass it on to the list, or you may be contacted and asked to edit the message and re-post it. Or, more commonly, all you will notice is that your message did not come back to you from NatureNS. You can always contact the administrator for help.

(12) How can I get help on using NatureNS?

Your best source of help in using NatureNS is the list administrator, who can be reached at the following address:

This will work regardless of who the current administrator is.

(13) What are the important mailing addresses for using NatureNS?

You need to know three addresses: (to subscribe or unsubscribe) (to post messages) (to ask for help)

To contact the list owners, use the following email address:

To see the prior postings to this list, visit the archives.

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