This page contains "Everything you wanted to know about Texbirds but were afraid to ask," or "Questions you might ask the entire list, but really shouldn't."
See Texas Birding Links for web sites devoted to Texas birds and birding.
- What is Texbirds?
- What is a list owner and who are the Texbirds list owners?
- How can I subscribe to Texbirds?
- How do I post to Texbirds?
- What standard information should I include in my posts?
- What can I post on Texbirds?
- What can't I post on Texbirds?
- How do I change my address?
- How do I unsubscribe from Texbirds?
- What if I can't unsubscribe successfully?
- Can I ask basic questions on Texbirds?
- Can I participate even if I am a novice birder?
- What about when I go on vacation?
- Are there other subscription options?
- Where can I find old Texbirds posts?
- How can I be sure that my messages are distributed?
- How do I request a list of Texbirds Listserv flags?
- 1. What is Texbirds?
- Texbirds is an email discussion list (listserve) for Texas birders and those
interested in Texas birds and their ecology. Subscribers to TEXBIRDS are able to:
- share information about bird sightings in Texas
- review the most recent bird sighting reports and rare bird alerts from across the state
- learn (and ask) about places to look for birds in Texas
- discuss and debate the occurrence, distribution, identification, and ecology of Texas birds
TEXBIRDS encourages the open discussion of Texas birds and birding. In
general, we ask that participants limit their messages to matters related
to birds and birding within our state, although information about
bird-related issues in other states that may interest Texas
birders and has a Texas tie-in are welcomed.
The list is automated, and individuals sign themselves up and manage how they receive the posts. This very active list now has around 1,200 subscribers and is one of the largest birding listserves in the world. Texbirds is sponsored by our friends at the Texas Audubon Society, so please thank them by supporting their efforts whenever you can.
It costs you nothing to join Texbirds. So if you are interested in birds and birding in Texas, please sign up.
- 2. What is a list owner and who are the Texbirds list owners?
- A list owner is a volunteer who makes sure that a list runs smoothly and has final say on issues that arise. This discussion list is not moderated and no prior review of postings takes place. Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns.
The Texbirds list owners' main responsibilities involve making sure that discussion threads don't get out of hand, that inappropriate posts are not constantly sent to the list, etc. This sometimes requires a bit of nagging or some assertiveness, so give them a break and understand that they are just doing their duty.
The Texbirds listowners are:
Active: David Sarkosi (email@example.com)
- 3. How can I subscribe to Texbirds?
- You may either:
- visit the Subscription Manager for the TEXBIRDS List, or
- send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org with the message "subscribe texbirds" in the Subject field of the email.
- You will get a confirmation to which you will need to reply.
Be sure to save the Welcome to Texbirds general information email that you receive.
Remember that Texbirds will recognize only your address exactly as it was on your subscription message header. You cannot post messages or change the settings from a different address. This is to protect you from impostors.
All participants are required to use their real names when subscribing to
TEXBIRDS. One may use a nickname if they are widely known by that nickname.
If the list owner becomes suspicious that a participant is using a false name
to subscribe the participant may be asked to provide proof of their identity.
Subscriptions found to be under false names will be removed.
- 4. How do I post to Texbirds?
- Address your email message to email@example.com.
Be sure to include your name and location as part of your signature at the end of the post. When you report a bird sighting, be sure to include enough geographic information so that subscribers from other areas will know where you mean.
Messages sent to Texbirds are distributed to all Texbirds subscribers. Replies to messages also are sent all subscribers. If you wish to respond in private, be sure to address your message to the author of the message, not to Texbirds.
Never send commands to this address, because they will be distributed to every Texbirds subscriber, and never reach the Listserv software. All commands (e.g., "subscribe," "unsubscribe," etc.) must be sent to the firstname.lastname@example.org address, not to email@example.com.
- 5. What standard information should I include in my posts?
- Please adhere to the following guidelines when posting your messages:
- All participants are requested to sign messages to the list using their name
and location. The use of standardized signatures is encouraged. Participants
may have other information in a signature such as telephone numbers, titles,
organization affiliation, etc. as long as that information does not constitute
advertising. Long quotes in the signature are discouraged.
- Be accurate in your selection of a subject heading. For example, when discussing early migrants, enter "early migrants" as your subject. As long as the discussion remains on that topic, everyone should continue to use the same subject heading. If the subject changes, select a new heading. This practice will improve the accuracy searches of the Texbirds archives.
- Add (LONG) to the end of your subject heading when you send a lengthy message. Split your message into several parts if it is rejected because it is too large for the list. Another convenient (and polite) subject modifier is RFI (Request For Information).
- When replying to a message, please do not quote the entire message, only
those parts that are important to your reply. Leaving the whole message in your reply greatly lengthens the digest and individual messages that users
must download and makes searching the archive much less effective. Leaving
whole message intact can cause a researcher using the archives to have to
chase a lot of dead ends to find what they are looking for.
- 6. What can I post on Texbirds?
- Anything about wild birds or birding in Texas, or anything legitimately related to these topics. For example, reports of invading species in New Mexico are obviously of interest to West Texas birders, and are appropriate to post.
Discussions of birds seen at feeders or observations of behavior at feeders
is allowed. However, discussion of bird feeding is not allowed (see below).
Participants can post notice of events sponsored by non-profits, academic
institutions, and local clubs. Participants may not post events that meet
these criteria if they stand to profit from the event (i.e. they will be paid
a fee for the event). Employees of these organizations may post notice of
these events as long as they will not be compensated extra for the event
(i.e. the event falls with in their normal duties).
Posts if of informational nature on topics of bird conservation are allowed. Topics may include pending legislation at all levels of government and include specific action requests, contacts, etc.
Discussion of the status and effects of hunting on a species or group of species is allowed. Pro-Hunting vs. anti-hunting discussions are not allowed (see below).
- 7. What can't I post on Texbirds?
- The following should never be posted on Texbirds:
- ATTACHMENTS!! Never send a post to Texbirds with an attachment. Attachments are how viruses are spread through email. If you have a great picture of a Black Noddy you took at Padre Island that you want to share, send a post saying you have the photo and ask who would like it to respond to you privately. Then send it just to those who respond. Even better, place it on a web page, and include the URL in your posting.
- Advertisements (direct or indirect). Participants on the list are not to advertise their services directly or
indirectly. Indirect advertising examples are referring to services they
provide that they would expect to be paid for. Participants may not use
references to their commercial ventures in their signatures.
This does not prohibit the use of positions and titles from non-profit
organizations, academic affiliations, and government positions.
- Commercial posts. If you have information that you think might be appropriate to send out to the list, please check with the list owners first.
- Birding notes not related to Texas birds or birding. Don't post a query on where to go birding in Tanzania to this list. That is more appropriate to send to BIRDCHAT.
- Abbreviations or banding codes are not allowed unless the bird's full
common English name is used first. For example "I counted ten Fulvous
Whistling-Ducks (FUWD). FUWD are not...".
- Certain discussion threads.
- Discussions about feral cats and outdoor cats are prohibited.
- Discussions about bird feeding technique is not allowed (i.e. what to feed,
how to place, which work best. etc.).
- Pro-hunting vs. anti-hunting discussions are not allowed. This does not
prohibit discussions on the status and effects of hunting on a species or
group of species.
- Virus warnings. Most virus warnings are bogus. If there really is a new virus that will destroy everything you know and love, the list owners will alert everyone. If something bad really is brewing, everyone will hear about it quickly through the media.
- Participants are asked not to post off topic subjects. The use of OT or OFF TOPIC headers is not allowed. If the participant has off topic information that he or she feels is of value to TEXBIRDS subscribers and that TEXBIRDS subscribers are not likely to get from other sources then they may forward that information to the listowners at firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
- Miscellaneous non-birding humor.
- 8. How do I change my address?
There is no automatic way to change your subscription email address but you can accomplish the task as follows.
- Send email from your new address to email@example.com with the command "subscribe texbirds" in the Subject line.
- Send email from your old address to firstname.lastname@example.org with the command: "unsubscribe texbirds" in the Subject line.
- 9. How do I unsubscribe from Texbirds?
- You may either:
Make sure that you send the command to email@example.com, not to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please contact the listowners of you need assistance.
- visit the Subscription Manager for the TEXBIRDS List, or
- Send a message to email@example.com with the command: "unsubscribe texbirds" in the Subject line.
- 10. What if I can't unsubscribe successfully?
- If you have terminated the email account that you wish to unsubscribe from, you will have a problem unsubscribing. The listserve program only accepts commands from the email address that the subscription is sent to. If you try to modify your account or unsubscribe from another email address, it will be rejected. If you try to use the web page to unsubscribe, a automatic confirming email will be sent to the obsolete address, so you will not receive it and be able to confirm it.
This most often is a problem when you change Internet service providers. You should be able to "trick" the listserve program into accepting your commands by changing the return address in your email software program to the one you are trying to modify, and then send out the command. Be sure to change your email back to the correct address.
If this does not work, then email one of the list owners (not the list itself). Please state your problem, what you have done, and specifically what you want done. The list owners will be more than happy to take care of it for you.
- 11. Can I ask basic questions on Texbirds?
- Yes, you can ask anything about Texas birds and birding. However, another resource exists for really basic questions, such as "I saw a sparrow at my feeder with a spot on it's chest. What was it?" It is called the Texas Birding Question Help Desk, and is "staffed" by 20-30 knowledgeable birders who will answer questions posed to the help desk.
- 12. Can I participate even if I am a novice birder?
- Absolutely. However, please do think twice about asking every question that comes to mind. Texbirds is not intended to be a resource for people to ask basic questions in lieu of spending a few minutes with a field guide.
- 13. What about when I go on vacation?
- Well, have a wonderful time and see some great birds. If you want to avoid a pile of Texbirds email in your mailbox when you return, you do not have to unsubscribe from Texbirds. There are two options:
- Turn your mail off using the Subscription Manager for the TEXBIRDS List, or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the "set Texbirds vacation" in the Subject line. When you return, turn your mail on using the web page or send a message with "unset texbirds vacation" in the subject line. You will have to go to the archives to view messages you missed.
- The second option is to set your subscription to DIGEST mode, which you should do if you want to see what went on while you were gone, but don't want dozens of emails. Digest mode puts all Texbirds email from a day into a single email and sends this to you. Convenient, eh? You can do this using the Subscription Manager for the TEXBIRDS List, or by sending an email to email@example.com with the message "set texbirds digest" in the Subject line.
- 14. Are there other subscription options?
- Yes, there are a number of additional options that can be controlled on the Subscription Manager for the TEXBIRDS List, or by email.
For example, there are two ways to have Texbirds deliver mail to you:
- The default setting sends messages one by one, as they are received and processed by Texbirds.
- A second option, called "digest," is a compilation of all postings for a day in one large message. To enable the digest mode, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the message "set texbirds digest" in the Subject line.
If you wish to disable the digest mode, send an email to email@example.com with "unset Texbirds digest"in the Subject line.
- 15. Where can I find old Texbirds posts?
- Texbirds posts since March 1997 have been saved, and can be accessed at the recent Texbirds Archives and older Texbirds Archives.
- 16. How can I be sure that my messages are distributed?
If you would like to insure that all of your messages have been received and distributed by Texbirds, send a "set Texbirds echopost" in the subject line and Texbirds will send you a copy of your own messages. You can turn the messages off by sending with "unset Texbirds echopost" in the Subject line. If you send a "set texbirds ackpost" in the Subject line, Texbirds will email you a short acknowledgment instead of your complete message. You can turn off acknowledgments with "unset Texbirds ackpost" in the Subject line.
To check on your subscription settings, send an email with "stats texbirds" in the subject line to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 17. How do I request a list of Texbirds flags?
Send an email to email@example.com with "flags" in the subject line.
If you want to find out more about how Listserv mailing lists work, visit http://www.lsoft.com/manuals/userindex.html.