An Electronic Discussion List for College and University Registrars


A Brief History

Addresses You Need to Know

Subscribing and Unsubscribing

What to do if you are not getting Regist-L mail

The Regist-L Staff

Mail Options (like postponing your mail)

Mail Archive

Handling Mail Volume

Contacting the Staff

Regist-L and Advertising    


A Brief History

Regist-L's progenitor, Registrar-L, was started in November of 1991 as a small homemade mailing list on a machine at Cornell University by Paul Aucoin with technical assistance from Mike Shappe. It was the first such list attempted by Cornell, and its creation was made possible by many folks and much cooperation. The original membership was about 17 members and the idea was to create a virtual community of registrars (of all levels) who shared their common experiences through the Internet. It was intended to promote sharing of information, experiences, concerns, and advice about issues affecting records and registration professionals. Humanistic, technical, legal, financial, and administrative viewpoints were (and still are) encouraged.

The list quickly grew from 17 charter members to over a 100 members in the first year and caused us to move it to a real (almost) listserv on another (bigger, more powerful) machine at Cornell. After another year (and over 300 members!) it was moved to a real listserv at Georgia State University where it still lives.

Evelyn Buffington and Registrar Emeritus Jim Greene of GSU worked with Paul and Mike to coordinate the transfer, and we all owe Jim a real debt of gratitude for his shepherding of the project at GSU.  Jim, Bonnie Scranton of Antioch College in Ohio, and Janet Busekist  in Hammond, Louisiana, share management of the list with Charles Gilbreath of GSU.  Steve Nicholas at GSU is the system manager.  Paul is now Listguy Emeritus.  Charles manages the behind-the-scenes aspects of the list.

In May of 1995, the list was moved to CREN Listprocessor software at GSU, and entailed another address change for the list. This latter move was ably coordinated by Keith Campbell of GSU.   In September of 2004, the venerable Lisproc software was retired and replace with a web-based list management system called MailMan.  Charles and Steve oversaw this process.  In January  of 2009, MailMan was, in turn, replaced with a new system called Listserv, and the subscriber list was cleaned up to remove inactive or duplicate subscriptions.

Regist-L now has a current membership of over 1000 folks, some more actively posting messages than others. Typical traffic on a weekday is from 30 to 40 messages, many of which are responses to pleas for help with a particular problem one of us is encountering.  Included in the 1000 or so members are several international subscribers.

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Addresses You Need to Know

Posting address for the Regist-L list: 

A message posted to this address will be seen by over 1000 registrar-types worldwide. Hence, this is not the appropriate address to request changes in mail options or for help in setting your user options.  Nor should personal messages be posted here.

The address below is the one to use to subscribe or unsubscribe or to view the archives of past messages.

List web address:

To subscribe to REGIST-L, go to and you will see a catalog of lists.  REGIST-L is towards the bottom; click the link for our list and a new page opens that features several “options,” including one to “Join or Leave REGIST-L.”  Click this link and a new page opens that asks you to provide your name and email address.  You can also choose how you wish to receive your messages.  Note that there are several different formats for both digest and index.  You may wish to experiment with different formats to find one that works best with your particular email software, since they all seem to handle the messages in slightly different (and sometimes, really annoying) ways.  As the page informs you, the system will send you a confirmation message to which you must respond in order to activate your account.  These messages are time sensitive, and they will expire in 48 hours, so don’t set up your subscription on your way out the door on a Friday.  When you respond, you are generally taken to the web page for the list, where you can click the “log in” link.  From the text in the “Login Required” box, there is a link to “get a new LISTSERV password.”  Click this link and provide the information requested to set up a password – but don’t select an important one that you use for some other secure system.  This password is really just to make sure that you are the person setting your personal list options.  Once you set your password, the system will send you a confirmation message, and you must respond to that in order to activate the password.

Since the subscriber list has been moved from one list software package to another, our current subscribers will be recognized by the system, but they do not automatically have passwords (those didn’t get moved from the old system).  Not to worry, there are a couple of ways to get a password.  If you go to, you will see one of the links under the “Options” section is “Get Password.”  Alternately, the system will ask you to provide a password before letting you go on when you first try to log on (there is a link in the “Login required” box for those who need to get a new LISTSERV password). 

To unsubscribe from REGIST-L, go to the web address and scroll down the catalog of lists to the “Regist-L” entry.  Click the link to Regist-L and the page will change to the Regist-L list page, where there are several options, including one that allows you to “Join or Leave REGIST-L.”  Click this link and a new page opens that will allow you to enter your name and email address.  At the bottom of the page is a button called “Leave REGIST-L.”  Click this link and a new page opens to inform you that a confirmation request email message is on its way.  You must reply to that message in order to confirm your cancellation.  Once you do, you are removed from the list.

If you are changing jobs, it would be best to signoff from the list and subscribe again when you are in your new situation. 

If your email address has changed, you can update it by going to the page, and clicking the log in link.  Enter the email address you used to initially establish your subscription and your password.  Once you have logged in, click the “Subscriber’s Corner” link in the menu bar at the top of the page.  The page will refresh to show the list(s) to which you are subscribed.  Click on the “[Settings]” link next to the list name and you will next see the current settings for your subscription, including the email address.

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What to do if you are not getting mail from Regist-L

First you should determine whether or not you are still subscribed.  Go to the page and click the “log in” link (upper right corner of the screen).  Enter your email address and your password (see the “get a new LISTSERV password” link in the “login required” if you need a password).  If you can’t get in, that means you don’t have a subscription and you should follow the subscription information listed above.

If you do get in, that means you do have a subscription, and there are several things you can check.  Go to the “Subscriber’s Corner” (the link is at the top of the page) and then click the “[Settings]” link for REGIST-L.  Take a look at the “Miscellaneous” settings to see if the “Mail delivery disabled temporarily” option is checked.   

If you are subscribed and you do have your email delivery enabled, then it may be a setting that the list manager will have to investigate.  If you have had problems with your email system on your campus, the software may have received a number of “fatal bounces,” or messages from the email system that messages were returned as “unable to deliver.”  After a series of these, the system will keep your subscription, but it will flag it as inactive.  A manager will have to go into the subscription list and reactivate you.

If you none of these is the problem, then it may a problem with regist-l, or with something at your site or on the way to it that you or your guru there must solve.   The list managers will take care of the problem if something is wrong with the regist-l list. 

The Regist-L Staff

Paul Aucoin is the founder of the list and Listguy Emeritus. Charles Gilbreath succeeded Paul as active listowner in November 2001, on the occasion of Regist-L's 10th anniversary.   Charles runs the list in consultation with Janet Davis, Steve Nicholas and the other GSU technical members (Larry Johnson and Chad Tatum).  Janet and Charles manage the REGIST-L List and are mainly responsible for adding or deleting members and changing settings for members who don't know how to set their user options and use other commands they could learn for themselves by reading this documentation. ; - )

Steve Nicholas, Larry Johnson and Chad Tatum are the Listserv technical advisors and software experts who spend their free time helping people with more complicated mail problems and chasing mailing list and network problems. We give them the hard stuff.  Steve and his colleagues make sure the software is operating properly, and help the rest of us when we can't solve one of your problems.

Contacting the Staff

We all try to read as much of the mail as we can, but we can't catch everything. If you have a problem please don't post to the list for help! Use one of the addresses below. Please be patient, as we are all volunteers, and have other jobs that have higher priorities. - Charles - Janet


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Mail Options

Once you have a subscription (see above for instructions regarding subscriptions) the Listserv software gives you several mail options, which are set by going to the web page and logging in.  From there, go to the “Subscriber’s Corner” and select the “[Settings]” link next to the name of the list (Regist-L).  The most important settings are discussed below.

Subscription Type -  There are several options here that allow you to receive just plain, unadorned mail as it is generated, or several varieties of digest or index messages.  Individual email packages handle these differently, so your results may differ from someone using another software system.  However, there are some generalities that hold true. 

            Regular – plain old messages, delivered as soon as the system generates them.

            Digest – several flavors are available, but a digest setting causes the list to save up messages and distribute them as a single message that contains all of the day’s traffic.  The digest message is generated either once a day or whenever the digest buffer is filled.  On a particularly busy day, this may cause multiple digests to be distributed (special editions!).  The “traditional (nomime)” digest seems to be set up for the most basic of email systems, and the results tend to be less than popular.  This is because a sender who uses an html-enabled email system will generate a ton of extra text that has nothing to do with the subject of the message and only clogs up the receiver’s screen.  HTML enabled users may find that the HTML digest gives better results, but the results may still not work exactly as expected due to the variety of email systems out there.  Digests send along the contents of all the messages, either contained within the message or as attachments.

            Index – similar to a digest, these also save up messages and send them out at the end of the day (or more frequently if there is a lot of traffic and the buffer is filled).  However, instead of sending along the contents of the messages (as a digest does), it sends a link to the messages, which are stored back in the list.  An HTML index shows the message subject and sender, along with a link (assuming you have selected the HTML index) to the message.

Mail Header Style – This determined how the messages appear to the recipients.  By setting messages to display the list name as a part of the subject, subscribers can set up rules for handling the mail, since every message will be identified as coming from the list.  These rules can also be set up based on other fields as well.  How this is done depends on the user’s email software.

Acknowledgements -- This determines whether you want to get a message back from the list when you post or a copy of your message as a regular posting.

Miscellaneous – Includes the “mail delivery disabled temporarily” setting, which is what you use to turn off delivery for a while; good for

vacations, meetings, and stuff—just remember to enable your mail when you get back.

Digest Mode – Set this to enabled, and you will get one email message that contains all of the previous day’s traffic.  If it has been a particularly busy day, the digest may fill and be sent out before the normal digest delivery time of midnight.

Get MIME or Plain Text Digests – If you have an email system that can handle MIME format files, you have the option of getting plain text digests (one big message with all of the traffic enclosed, which requires you to scroll through the message) or the MIME format.  MIME digests come as a single message with each of the submissions to the list enclosed as an attachment.  You can take a look at the subjects of the attachments and open only the ones that interest you.

Receive your own posts to the list? Ordinarily, you will get a copy of every message you post to the list. If you don't want to receive this copy, set this option to No.

Receive acknowledgement mail when you send mail to the list?  What more explanation does this one need?

Get password reminder email for this list?  Once a month, you will get an email containing a password reminder. You can turn this off by selecting No for this option. If you turn off password reminder, no reminder email will be sent to you.

Conceal yourself from subscriber list? When someone views the list membership, your email address is normally shown (in an obscured fashion to thwart spam harvesters). If you do not want your email address to show up on this membership roster at all, select Yes for this option.

What language do you prefer?  We (the administrators) set this one for the list.

Which topic categories would you like to subscribe to?  We haven’t set any topic categories, so the options that are concerned with categories are moot.

Avoid duplicate copies of messages?  When you are listed explicitly in the To: or Cc: headers of a list message, you can opt to not receive another copy from the mailing list. Select Yes to avoid receiving copies from the mailing list; select No to receive copies. If the list has member personalized messages enabled, and you elect to receive copies, every copy will have a X-Mailman-Copy: yes header added to it.

Mail Archive

One of the improvements made by the switch to the new software is the increased ease by which the mail archive may be reviewed.  If you are a subscriber, you can go to the main page where you will see that the first link is to the archive section.  Each month, all messages are bundled and neatly tucked into an archive file.  You can select sort the messages by date, by subject, by sender, or by thread (an original message and all subsequent responses). 

Handling Mail Volume

REGIST-L is a high-volume list. We routinely exceed 30 messages on busy days. The mail options listed above help you deal with this volume. Here are some tips on dealing with the mail in each of the message modes. Selecting the DIGEST option is a popular method of handling mail volume. The advantage of this mode is that the mail gets compiled into digests and sent to you just once daily, normally around 12:00 midnight.  If you have not selected digest mode, you have no control over when the messages are sent to your account. However, from there on, you can choose appropriate ways to deal with your mail.

If you are on your computer all day and often receive work or other mail that has to be checked more frequently than you want to check Regist-L mail, it can get cumbersome separating the list mail from your other mail. If this is the case with you, you may wish to look at ways in which you can filter out the Regist-L mail into a separate folder. Ask someone at your node about Elm filters or procmail (usually available on Unix systems).

Other ways to handle this include simple self-discipline or a reordering of priorities to make REGIST-L reading an important part of your work, which is a common solution.  : - )

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Regist-L and Advertising

It might be tempting for vendors to want to post registrar-related products and services they want to sell.  This is not allowed.  Georgia State University does not allow commercial solicitations on the free lists that they support for the higher education community.  Advertising is not allowed and will typically result in immediate removal from the list.   Vendors may listen on the list but may not post directly to the list.  Also, anyone that posts a chain letter or get-rich-quick scheme to the list will be IMMEDIATELY removed from the list.  For more information, see the posting by Jim Greene.


There are some things you should (and shouldn't) do in order to be a good Regist-L citizen. A few suggestions follow:

Confirmation messages -   Some mail systems have a setting whereby you can get an automatic confirmation that your message has been received if the recipient has appropriate software. DO NOT use this option when posting messages to Regist-l. If you do not disable this option, all 1400 of us will see each of the confirmations, because they will go to the list. Habitual offenders will be dealt with in a manner that may restrict their participation in our club. 

Surveys -   Please address replys to surveys ONLY to the surveyor, who will summarize the responses to the list. Asking a survey question implicitly binds you to post the results of the survey.

Quotes -   Quote only significant parts of other messages when responding to them. You should *never* post the other person's signature file in your response cause it wastes bandwidth and all 1400 subscribers' time. Also, you can usually delete large portions of the referenced message and still get your idea across. But don't be too brief. Messages that say only "#1. Yes" and "#2. No" will typically not be useful unless a part of the referenced question is included before the answer.

Signatures -   Left to their own whims, mail systems will not always tell us who or where you are, so please be sure and include a few lines at the bottom of your messages that tell us: Your Name and Title Your e-mail address Your institution You can create a .signature file to do this for you automatically. Remember to delete your signature file from command messages you send to the listproc.

Personal Mail -   Keep it off the list. Be sure to look at the "To:" line in your mail header before transmitting a message. You really don't want all of us to know who you are asking to lunch, etc.

Disclaimer -  This is an unmoderated list.  The listowners and Georgia State University do not accept liability for anything you say that may later become part of a lawsuit.

Closing Comments

Well, we hope this will give you a little head start at making sense of the Regist-L Universe. There are a lot of great people out there, a lot of mail to read, a lot to learn (and teach), and good times to be had.  If you need any help with the list or have any questions about listproc, or mail, or life in general; please contact us at one of the aforementioned human addresses and we'll be glad to help (or try point you to someone who can).   Don't forget to save this FAQ in a handy spot so you can refer to it easily when you need to send a command to the listproc. "Bookmarking" this URL or adding it to your "Favorites" list is a good way to save it.


Charles, Steve, Bonnie, Janet, Jim, and Paul 

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Copyright © 1995-2004:  Paul Aucoin.

This file may be copied on the condition that the entire contents, including the header and this copyright notice, remain intact.