Music mailing lists
A recent Site Seeing article described music
newsgroups and touched on some of the problems inherent in the newsgroup
philosophy, where ever increasing amounts of material must be duplicated
in special newsgroup areas on thousands of computers worldwide, and where
a seemingly increasing number of unscrupulous persons post messages unrelated
to the subject of the newsgroup.
These trends, and the growing need for specialization, are largely responsible
for driving many of the real usenet communities 'underground', to private
mailing lists, where much of the real community spirit now thrives. Mailing
lists are simply e-mail messages sent to more than one person at once. Some
- usually the smaller lists - are operated informally, with messages sent
out by a real person, but most larger lists are run automatically by computer
Whereas the operation of newsgroups is quite formal, so that, for example,
it can be very difficult to create a new newsgroup, new mailing lists can
be (and are) created very easily and frequently, and they reflect the expanding
diversity of the internet community far more than newsgroups can. Mailing
lists have been in use since the 1970s and they pre-date the use of newsgroups.
Using music mailing lists
- Jason Greshes maintains a Classical Music Email List Directory
which lists many of the larger and better known classical lists, complete
with information about subscribing and a helpful section about how to behave
once you've joined a list!
- Some mailing lists publish their archives on-line. Jason's directory gives
details. Read these archives before joining to check that the content is
to your liking.
- www.liszt.com is a searchable and
browsable directory of mailing lists. In spite of the name, this is a general
purpose list directory in which some music lists appear. Note
that no mailing list directory can be complete, because some mailing lists
have only a few members and are not publicised.
- No special software is needed to join a mailing list - you only need
to be able to send and receive e-mails.
- Be prepared to receive many tens and sometimes hundreds of messages
each day from each of your chosen lists. Not all lists will be as busy
as this - some receive postings only very occasionally.
- Use an advanced mail reader (such as Pegasus
or Eudora) which allows automatic
sorting of your e-mail into different mailboxes. Set the software to receive
mailing list messages in a separate mailbox. The arrival of large quantities
of list mail will then disrupt you less! Some mail readers will even display
mailing list postings in a 'threaded' form similar to that used by many
Moderated lists protect members from the irrelevant and/or low quality
content appearing in newsgroups and some unmoderated lists. They operate
in exactly the same way as normal (unmoderated) lists, except that a real
person (the moderator or list owner) looks at each and every message and
decides whether or not that message should be sent to all the list members.
This job will sometimes be shared amongst two or more people, especially
when a list receives hundreds of postings each day.
The extent of the moderation varies from list to list, and from moderator
to moderator. Belonging to a well-moderated list is a real pleasure, because
no junk or low quality material is allowed through.
Copyright © Keith Bramich, February 16th
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