Please - Help us Reduce List Volume!

With well over 1400 members, the volume of messages can be simply overwhelming. In fact, excessive list volume is probably the #1 reason people leave us. Remember that every message you send to the list goes to every other member: that's over 1400 people! Please... help us make kidney-onc better by taking a few minutes to study and act on these suggestions. ;-)

Consider Replying to the Individual Rather than the Whole List

When you reply to a message, you can reply to the whole list, or you can reply to the individual who wrote the message only. Remember that listmail is meant to be read by every member. That's well over 1400 people and growing!

When and Why to Do It

When you want to reply, please think about whether this is a message that would be better sent to just the person you are replying to, or whether the whole group needs to see it. If in doubt, send it to the individual rather than the group! Obvious examples of what to send to the group would be news of a new treatment, or an update on your condition. An obvious example of what to send to an individual would be a letter about a personal meeting you have planned with that person. Brief congratulations and consolations are an example of something which is in between - it forms a lot of the support of our group, but also a lot of our high list volume, and does mainly concern that one person. In these in between cases, we strongly recommend, but do not insist, that you send to the individual. There is no hard and fast rule, we only ask that you think about it each time you reply to a list message.

How to Do It

On most systems, the Reply command defaults to sending your e-mail to everyone on the list, rather than the individual who sent it. The individual sender's e-mail address does appear in the message headers. Exactly how to find it depends on which e-mail program you are using. To mail to an individual's address, you may have a button or command in your email program which does just this. Unfortunately, many email programs don't have this feature. In that case, you can find the individual's address in the message headers (you may need to do something to see the "From:" header which contains the sender's address) and then copy-and-paste it into the "To:" field of your reply, replacing the list address. If you need help learning how to copy and paste, see our page on Basic Email Tips

When You Reply, Don't Quote More than You Need To

Don't automatically quote the entire message you're responding to. A two-line reply doesn't need a 70-line quote to put it into context. Sometimes it's hard even to figure out where the reply is! Excessive amounts of quoted text also clutter the archives, and clutter the digest, for people on digest mode (who get one big message each day containing all of the messages for the day).

On the other hand, it's frustrating to get listmail and not know what the sender is referring to. Make it clear to whom and about what you are responding. Either write an introductory sentence, or trim the quote to the relevant material.

Many e-mail programs automatically quote the whole original message when you hit the "reply" button. If yours does this, please take the time to edit or delete it as appropriate.

If you need help with how to change edit or delete the quoted text, please see our page on editing e-mail messages

Check To See if Anyone Has Already Answered

Before reflexively responding when you know the answers, check the rest of your e-mail to see if anyone else has already said what you were going to say! Of course, if there are several answers and you have something else to add, or a different point of view, please chime in!

E-mail takes time to travel, and several people may be composing answers at the same time, and some may still be getting the initial e-mail while others already have many responses, so this isn't guaranteed to prevent all redundant answers, but it will help

Don't Ask For Information to be Re-Posted

This generates at least two postings, first your request, and then one or more replies!

Things to try first:

If all else fails and you really need to know, then of course the most important thing is that you get the information you need. So if for some reason these suggestions don't work, please do go ahead and post your request.

Bundle Short Personal Messages Together

If you want to send several short personal messages to the list, please combine them into one longer e-mail. This helps readers who feel swamped by listmail by reducing the number of messages.


This Kidney-Onc FAQ Page By Steve Dunn. Copyright 2001 Steve Dunn
Last Updated August 28, 2001