Solutions to common issues

You Are Not Getting Mail from the List

Assuming you were subscribed before and were getting mail there are several possiblities including:

  • The listserv could be down or there could be other delivery problems - most outages are short, so if this is the case you will likely start getting messages again soon. Actually, it could also be that your ISP is having a problem delivering the mail (Ask yourself if you're getting other email!), or there could be problems anywhere in between. Our advice is don't panic, but give it a day or two to sort itself out. Meanwhile as long as you are still subscribed, you can keep up with the list by signing in. You will probably even still be able to post.
  • You might have set your subscription to nomail if you were away from your email. If so you can set mail by sending the message:
    set name-of-the-list mail

    The name-of-the-list can be obtained from the email address of the community preceding the part of the email address. For example, the email address of the prostate ACOR community is The message of the unsubscribe email would be:

    set PROSTATE mail

  • In rare cases your subscription may have been deleted. If the listserv has been unable to deliver messages to you for a considerable length of time, your subscription will be automatically deleted. This is most likely to happen if you have been away from your e-mail for some time and your mailbox filled up. If this is the case you will have to resubscribe to the community.

How to Test Your Subscription

Send the message:

query name-of-the-list
To the listserv at . As with all listserv commands, the command should be in the body of the message, not the subject line and should be on a line by itself. Any other text such as signature lines should be removed.

You should recieve a response within a few minutes which will help you sort out the problem:

If you don't get a response then either the listserv is down or there is some problem delivering the mail. As above - try waiting it out for a few days and if you still can't get a response from the listserv please send an email to If you are using msn as your Internet Service Provider (ISP) that may explain it. We don't know why, but a few of our msn subscribers are simply unable to get mail from the list. It may be that it is being filtered as spam, but we can't be sure, and neither msn nor ACOR has been able to explain it. Similarly, our AOL subscribers have experienced intermittant outages. If this is happening to you, we suggest switching ISPs, or getting a free email account from a service like Yahoo or Hotmail.

If you do get a response then if you are still subscribed to the list, the response will show your subscription options. See that mail is set (rather than nomail). If you are not subscribed to the list the response will tell you that too. You may need to resubscribe in this case.

How not to test!

Please do not sent a message to the list asking whether the list is up! This simply spams 600+ people and increases list volume! If you have tried querying the listserv as just described and not gotten a response, or otherwise need help, please send an email to rather than sending to the list!

If You Can't Post To the List

There are several common causes:

  • You are not subscribed to the list - you must be a member of the list to post. If you are subscribed, you will be getting messages from the list. If you haven't subscribed yet, see our instructions on subscribing to the list. If you think you are subscribed, but aren't getting messages from the list, see our section on what to do if you aren't getting mail from the list.
  • You are trying to post from an address you aren't subscribed from. Even if you are subscribed, your posts must originate from the exact address you are subscribed from. There are several causes of this and they can cause problems with almost anything you try from the list so please see our section on the "exact address problem"
  • Of course, you have to send your message to the correct email address for it to be posted. That address is

You Can't Unsubscribe From a List

First try our basic instructions on how to unsubscribe from a list. If you've tried to sign off following these instructions carefully, and still haven't suceeded, it's possible that you are trying to sign-off from an address which is different (even slightly) from the address you subscribed under. Please read our section on the the exact address problem, for suggestions on how to deal with this.

You Can't Subscribe to a List

First please try our instructions for how to join a community following the directions carefully. If this doesn't work, it could be that you haven't replied to the confirmation message which the listserver sends when you send subscription request. If you haven't gotten the confirmation message to reply to, it's possible that the listserver is temporarily out of service. When this happens it isn't for very long, so if you havn't gotten a confirmation message within a day or two, try subscribing again. If you still haven't gotten a confirmation, please send an email to for help.

It's also possible you are subscribed and don't realize it. When you sign on, you should recieve the welcome message, and start getting messages from the list. If you've gotten the welcome message, you are subscribed. If there are no messages from the list even though you've gotten the welcome message, there may be a temporary problem with mail delivery or a listserver crash. We recommend waiting a day or two to see if it resolves before sending an email to for help

The Exact Address Problem

In order to confirm your subscription, post to the list, issue commands to the listserv to change your subscription, or sign-off, your message must come from the exact address you subscribed under, or are trying to subscribe from. This is the only way the listserver can know which subscriber you are. In many cases, the problem is obvious, but there are also some subtle causes:

  • If you try to use a completely different email account - say you subscribed from home but are trying to post from work - it obviously won't work - but you could open a new subscription from work.
  • If your Internet Service Provider (ISP) changes your e-mail address, even slightly, the listserver will reject your requests. In some cases, your ISP may be changing its name. For instance, when US West was acquired by QWest, email addresses became email addresses. Some ISPs do not provide a stable return address. As an example, we have in the past seen mail from people who subscribed from whose return address was sometimes from, but sometimes from, or If you have this kind of problem, you may not even be able to sign-off the list! But you may still be getting message from the list because your ISP is probably forwarding the messages to to (for example). You can test if you are subscribed from your current return address as we describe above. If you are unable to interact with the listserv because of an unstable return address, we suggest contacting your ISPs technical support to see if they can guarantee a stable address. If they can't, or if the address they guarantee is different from the one you subscribed from, you may need to send an email to for help signing off your old address. Then you need to get a stable e-mail address. If your current ISP can't provide that, you need to change ISPs or get a free web account
  • If you haven't confirmed your subscription then you are not really subscribed and won't be able to do anything other than reply to the confirmation letter. You will be able to tell this if you've never gotten mail from the list. If it's been more than 48 hours since you tried to subscribe, you may have to start again. See our information on how to subscribe

If You are Changing E-Mail Addresses...

...all you need to do is unsubscribe from your current address, and then subscribe from your new address!

If your company or Internet Provider is changing your e-email address (what a pain!), they typically have a transition period where e-mail sent to the old address will be forwarded to the new address. Once you change over to the new address, you will keep getting email from the list, but you won't be able to post because your return address is different from the address you subscribed from. In this case, wait for the transition period to start, then configure your e-email program to use the old return address (if you've already changed it to the new address), then unsubscribe. Then configure it to the new return address. Then subscribe again.

Using the DIGEST and NOMAIL modes

If you want to suspend list mail temporarily you can set your subscription no mail, and then set it back to mail when you are ready to get messages again. You can still access the archives when you are no mail, so you could keep up with the list using the web even if you were away from your mail. For detailed instructions on how to set nomail or resume mail, click here.

With digest mode, you get only one message from the list each day - this "digest" contains all of the list's mail for the day. So the total volume of information isn't reduced but the number of messages is. For detailed instructions on how to set digest mode or go back to individual messages, click here.

If You Still Having Issues...

.. please send an email to we'll do our best to help sort it out! (Please do not post to the list as it would add to our already too high volume)