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PC: Digest list version now available

Hi all,

After much research, screwing around with config files, and lots of
testing, I am making available the digest version of the Penn Central
Mailing List. Of course, I finally get around to getting a digest
working, and the list has been pretty quiet for the past four days. Go
figure... :-)

For those of you who don't know, a digest version of the list is a way
to minimize on the amount of e-mail you get while subscribed to this
list. Instead of receiving a new e-mail each time someone sends a
message to the list, the list server collects the messages until a
certain size or time threshold has been met, and then it sends out all
of the messages together in one e-mail. During the more chatty times
we've had lately, such as the lightning stripes discussion a couple
weeks back, there were 30 or more e-mails going out to the list in a
single day. In the future, subscribers to the digest will get one or
two large e-mails a day instead.

A couple of things I want to mention about the digest: First, because of
the proliferation of e-mail programs out there today that send HTML or
MIME-encoded mail, the list server will strip off all HTML or MIME
attachments for the digest only. HTML or MIME emails, when viewed in a
digest (which is raw text) usually look like garbage, so they will be
stripped to bare text in order to make them easier to read in a digest.
This shouldn't change the content of the message, just the presentation.

Also, the threshold for when a new digest gets generate is 30000
characters or two days without any new messages being sent. When
replying to a message, many e-mail programs quote the entire original
message, but many people never trim down or delete the original. This
must be done if you are a digest subscriber. Otherwise, if you quote a
30000 character message in a reply and send it out, boom--the list
server will generate another digest message, and everyone on both lists
will end up having to wade through all the quoted material that they've
already seen. This will put an undue burden on my already-overworked web
and list server too. So if going forward there are subscribers who
don't grasp this concept and consistently quote an entire digest, I'll
just move them back to the regular version of the list for the sanity
of the listmaster and the list community at large.

Sorry all of that was a little long winded, but I wanted to explain this
for people who may not be familiar with how a digest works. Having said
that, if you want to change your list subscription to the digest version,
follow these instructions. They're very similar to how you subscribed

Send a message to majordomo -AT- smellycat.com with the following two lines
as the only text in the message:

unsubscribe penn-central
subscribe penn-central-digest

What you're doing is unsubscribing from the regular list and subscribing
to the digest. (You can be on both versions if you want, but there's
really no point to it...)

While I have tested the digest as best as I can, there still may be
bugs or problems with it, so if you have a problem, please contact me
and let me know, and I'll get it fixed. This is new territory for me
as a listmaster, so I'm hoping everything works OK.

For my next project, I'll be working on creating a web-based searchable
archive of the mailing list, going back to the very beginning on November
30, 1996. That will probably take me longer to complete than the digest,
but I'll work on it as I can... Also, I have plenty of new photos and
other documents to add to the web site as time permits. I should have
some time to work on it tomorrow night....after all, I'm single and
have no life... :-)

Thank you all for your support of the PC Mailing List.


Jerry W. Jordak                   It's not the trains that amaze me--
mailto:jer@smellycat.com          it's the fish heads.
http://www.smellycat.com/jer/                   -- Mark Bailey
Acts 16:31   <><

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