An Internet "discussion group" (sometimes called a "mailing list") allows people to share information with others who have a common interest. The Birches group is handled by Yahoo Groups. Messages sent to the group are automatically sent to all subscribers who request e-mail distribution. It is also possible to read the messages via Yahoo Group's web interface. There is no cost to subscribe.
The home page for the Birches group at Yahoo Groups is:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Birches.This is a good page to bookmark!
Since the Birches group is "public," anyone may read the messages without registering or subscribing to the group.
If you subscribe by e-mail, you will receive a message back asking you to confirm your request. All you have to do is "reply" and "send" using your mail program.
You will need to register with Yahoo at the web site if you want to post from the web interface or use the extra features of Yahoo Groups.
It is fine to write to the group to let people know about the availability of commercial products related to Bill (CDs, T-shirts, etc.).
Please do not write or forward to the group any petitions, virus or other warnings, political statements, charitable requests, etc. Do not send "test messages" to the group.
Considerate debate and critical analysis are OK; name-calling or otherwise attacking other group members is not.
Send messages in plain, simple text. Do not send binary attachments, nor messages in HTML or "rich text" format. Be kind to your fellow list members, some of whom have relatively slow dial-up connections!
You may also use the web interface to post messages.
If you are replying to a message, please use judicious quoting of a few lines from the original message rather than quoting the entire message.
Please use a meaningful subject in messages to the group (not blank or "Re: Digest Number...").
Yahoo Groups does not charge group owners or users. They make their money by putting an advertisement at the bottom of each message (at the top of digests). Usually they consist of 3 or 4 lines of text. (If you specify a Message Format of "Convert to HTML" in your group membership, you may receive graphic ads in e-mail messages.) I generally find the ads unobtrusive, but of course "your mileage may vary."
In the web interface, e-mail addresses are partially hidden to protect the e-mail senders' identities from spammers. It is still possible, however, to reply an individual who posted a message; you just won't know what the poster's e-mail address is (unless he or she e-mails you back).
The group is set up to discard any attachments; however, the plain-text part of the messages should go through. If a message doesn't go through, the sender will be notified.
Postings by new members are moderated. This is done to prevent spammers from joining the list and sending out undesired messages.
Using the web interface, you must be signed-in to Yahoo and you must be subscribed to Birches in order to use features other than reading messages. And your browser must have cookies enabled in order for Yahoo Groups to recognize that you are signed-in as you move between pages.
You can avoid this problem by switching your Message Delivery option to "No email" for each Yahoo Group to which you are subscribed while you have an auto-responder enabled.
If you want to change the e-mail address under which you are subscribed to group(s), the easiest way is to unsubscribe your old address and subscribe your new one (as described above).
Alternatively, via the web interface you can add a new e-mail address to your Yahoo Groups account. Then, after changing your group membership to use the new address, you can remove the old address (or simply leave it unused).
It is also possible to change change your e-mail address under the Account Info link on the Yahoo Groups page, but this is more complicated and I have not attempted to do it.
If you have questions about the operation of Yahoo Groups, please refer to their web site.
If you have questions about the set-up of the Birches group, please e-mail me. If you have questions or problems regarding your Yahoo account, you will need to contact Yahoo support, as I do not have access to the account information of others.
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