The Listserv Issue

January 29, 2006 - 2:00am ||| 0 Comments | Add new

Confession: The three main articles in this issue of DesignGeek are all reprints of stuff I've recently published elsewhere. I'm giving them another airing because a) I think they're good and useful, and fit the mission of DesignGeek; b) You probably haven't read them yet, so what do you care; and c) I've got a project deadline today and can't spend my usual 8+ hours writing this baby up.

If you're a member of the QuarkXPress, InDesign, or GoLive listservs (e-mail based discussion groups), you may recognize the content, because that's where these "articles" first appeared … they are recent posts of mine, replies to questions posted by other listserv members, lightly edited for clarity.

I strongly encourage anyone who's taken the trouble of subscribing to DesignGeek to also subscribe to one or more of these groups; if you like DesignGeek, you'll love listservs. They're a primo source of information and a great resource for getting quick answers to your questions.

I subscribe to about 20 listservs, ranging from the application-centric ones above to more general ones like Color Theory (Photoshop color correction) and Evolt (CSS/Standards-based web development). Of course I don't read every message posted to the listservs (some get over 100 messages a day), but I do save them all in their own mailboxes, letting my e-mail program filter them there as they come in. Hey, hard drive space is cheap these days and e-mails take up little room.

When I have a few moments I might sort a listserv's mailbox by subject and read up on the interesting posts and replies (called "message threads"). When I have a question or need a referral, I almost always first turn to the collective mind of the listserv membership by sending an e-mail to the main listserv address. All subscribers get my e-mail in seconds, so I just watch for answers to come in, which normally arrive in a matter of minutes.

Being a good listserv citizen means occasionally checking new posts to see if someone's asking a question to which you've got a good answer, and taking the time to write it up and send it. It doesn't have to be as detailed as the following posts I wrote, a quick note or useful URL is often all that's called for.

There are literally tens of thousands of listservs available of varying quality. The best make it easy to subscribe to and unsubscribe from, maintain searchable archives, keep spammers off the list, and don't share your e-mail address with third parties.

Links to the subscription pages for my favorite listservs (all meeting these standards, and including the ones mentioned here) are on my web site in the Online Training and Support page — scroll to the bottom of the page when you get there:

Look forward to seeing you on the lists!

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