Re: How to set up a listserve?

Subject: Re: How to set up a listserve?
From: Chuck Martin <cm -at- writeforyou -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 2004 10:07:49 -0700

Steven Oppenheimer wrote:

I am about to self-publish a book (details to follow soon, once it's available on the Web). In conjunction with the book, I'm setting up a Web site, and connection with both the book and the Web site, I am planning to set up a listserve. The idea is to create a forum where people can come to discuss topics related to the subject of the book. A few questions:

1. First, I'm trying to decide whether to set up the discussion as a Yahoo group, or instead as a completely separate listserve. It seems to me that that the advantage of Yahoo is, that Yahoo groups are typically the first place that *I* go when I'm seeking a discussion on some topic. I'm assuming other people around the planet might think the same way. Also, I know with Yahoo groups I can control membership, and moderate the group, and I don't know if that's possible with other listserves.

An advantage of Yahoo groups is that they do all the hosting work. They also munge email addresses so they can't be harvested by spammers.

Disadvantages include that you have to abide by their terms of service, that some people occasionally report delays in posting, and that it's required that you have a Yahoo account (although it's free, it also requires that you give some small amount of personal information).

Can anyone suggest the benefits and/or disadvantages of setting up a Yahoo group, as opposed to a separate list like Techwr-L? (By the way, and FYI, my new list is not related to the topics of TECHWR-L, and will not compete with TECHWR-L.)

2. Assuming I want to set up a list like TECHWR-L, I have no idea how to get started. I tried searching the Web info, and ran into the usual problem -- overload. Way too many links, but none of them related to my question at hand. If I wanted to set up a list like TECHWR-L, can someone steer me to a specific Web page or other resource with information?

I would not set up a mailing list.

If you're up to the maintenance work, I'd set up a web-based discussion group on your own web site. There are several out there, and some are even free.

(I mentioned these on my talk on online communities for user assistance professionals at the WritersUA conference a few months ago; several companies host them for technical support, and some sites are nothing but these, including two of my favorie useful ones: and

And, you might let me know ahead of time, answers to a few questions:
(a) Is a listserve something I have to pay someone to help me set up, or to host, similar to the way in which I pay my ISP to host my domain?
(b) Is it something that, in fact, I set up through my ISP?
(c) How does one advertise the existence of a Listserve? Is there some central Internet directory of Listserves?
(d) What other questions should I be asking, that I don't even know to ask, because I am such a newbie at this?

To set up a mailing list, you must have a mail server available. If you're looking at any sort of volume, you must communcate with your ISP or web/server host that yours is a legitimate list, and not spam. (It's one big reason thy I'd recommend a discussion group over a mailing list).

If you have a web-based sicussion group on your own site, they you'd have several links to the discussion/fourm page. I assume you'd have your web URL in your email sigs and on the book jacket and frontmatter.

Chuck Martin
User Assistance & Experience Engineer
twriter "at" sonic "dot" net

"I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me.
The day may come when the courage of Men fail, when we forsake our
friends and break all bonds of fellowship. But it is not this day!
This day, we fight!"
- Aragorn

"All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given you."
- Gandalf


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