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List Server FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions About the NTDEV, NTFSD and WINDBG Lists

Every once in a while, we get questions about the lists. We answer some of the most frequently asked here.

1) What's the Process For Joining A List? HOW Do I Join?
If you are not already a member of OSR Online, it's easier if you join OSR Online first and login to your OSR Online account before attempting to join a list. Whether you're an OSR Online member or not, you may join one or more lists from this page. The List Server will send you a "confirmation email" -- You must reply to this email to complete the joining process.

2) I Didn't Get The Confirmation Email
How long did you wait? Please wait at least 30 minutes to receive the email. In rare you might see longer delays.

If you've waited 30 minutes and still don't get the confirmation mail, check any spam filters you or your company might have (see next question). Make sure that you do not block email coming from lists.osr.com.

3) How Should I Configure My Spam or White List Filters To Get Email From The Lists?
Mail from the lists is sent TO the alias listname@lists.osr.com (i.e. ntdev@lists.osr.com or ntfsd@lists.osr.com), and comes FROM the original poster's email address, with a "replyto" that looks like bounce-nnnnn-n@lists.osr.com (where "n" are random digits). We also place the list name in brackets in the subject (i.e. [NTDEV]).

4) What Are My Options For Participating In The List?
When you join the list, you select a subscription type. The choices are: "mail" (you get emails as postings and answers are submitted to the list), "digest" (you get the day's postings all sent to you in one big file, once a day), and "nomail" (which is useful if you plan to read and post to the list via the Forum interface or a newsreader).

5) How Do I Send Questions To The List?  How Do I Answer A Question?
Once you've joined and confirmed your membership, you can post questions (and answers) to the list via the "Forum" page on OSR Online, via email, or via a news reader.  Specifically:

  • To post from the Forum interface you must login to OSR Online, AND you must be a member of the list.  Note that membership in OSR Online and in a list are entirely separate things.  You must be an OSR Online member AND a list member to post from the forum interface.
  • To use the email interface: Email questions/answers can be sent to listname@lists.osr.com (where listname is ntdev, ntfsd, or windbg). Note that your email must be sent from the email address with which you joined the list.
  • To use the news reader interface: You can post to a list by having your news reader login to our the news server (the server is named lists.osr.com) with the email address and password with which you joined the list.  If you're not sure how to setup your newsread for access to a private news server, read our instructions for using the Outlook news reader.  Even if you're not using Outlook/Outlook Express, the instructions should have enough info to explain what you need to do in your news reader of choice.  If you're still confused, we suggest you use a different method to access the lists.

6) How Many Emails Per Day Will I Get If I Join With The "EMAIL" Subscription Type?
It's extremely variable, depending on the topic. But most days you should expect between 10 and 50 emails per list (this counts both questions and answers). Then again, if another debate about whether C or C++ is better for writing drivers starts, you could wind up with 100 emails a day. Some days, there are only 1 or 2 postings.

7) Do The Lists Get Spammed??
Very, very, rarely. Like, perhaps once a year. Only members may post to the lists, and everyone must post from the email address they used to join the lists, so this keeps the spam rates down. We also run every single email sent to the list through a spam filtering service.

8) Can I Get a Virus From The List?
Well, face it, you can get a virus from lots of places. However, the list admins try hard to prevent viruses from entering the lists. Attachments may not be posted to the list at any time. Every posting to the list is run through a state of the art virus and porn filter before it is accepted for posting.

9) How Will OSR Use The Email Address I Join The Lists With?
OSR never uses the list membership addresses for any purpose other than to send list-related email. OSR does not sell, rent, distribute or otherwise provide or make available addresses from the lists. We never have, we never will. We take our role in the community seriously.

10) Will My Email Address Be Exposed To Spam??
We TRY not to let this happen. For example, we remove all email addresses from the lists in the archives. We used to simply "opaque" the addresses, but that wasn't good enough... Now we replace the part before the "@" since with "xxxx". We do the same thing whenever postings can be viewed interactively (like, from the home page at OSR Online). Despite this, you should expect that any email address you use on the list will get spammed. After all, every time you post to the list you're distributing your email address to every member of the list. All it takes for your email address to be harvested is for one member to slip up.

11) Are The Lists Moderated?
No. The List Slaves (the people here at OSR who administer the lists) don't even necessarily read the lists every day, believe it or not.

12) Are There Rules For How The Lists May Be Used?
There are rules for EVERYthing in life, so yes, there are rules for using the lists. The rules are fully listed in the joining notes -- Everyone who joins the list receives a copy when they join.

In short, the rules are:

  • These are technical lists, keep your questions and answers technical and on-topic.
  • No commercial solicitations of any kind. Do not use the lists to advertise your product or service.
  • No discussions of salaries or consulting rates are allowed on the lists.
  • No abusive or intolerant behavior will be tolerated on the list -- This includes statements of racial or ethnic prejudice or hatred.

Screw-up and you'll be warned. Get warned multiple times and you and all members of your company can be permanently banned from the lists.

13) What Are The Guidelines For Proper "Netiquette" on The Lists?
Follow the rules as descirbe in the joining notes. And of course, the normal rules of netiquette generally apply. If you're new to email lists, google for "listserv netiquette". One particular netiquette list that Hector found this way and seems to like is here: http://www.webreference.com/roadmap/map07.html

There's an art to asking effective technical questions.  Before you post, we strongly urge you to read How To Ask Questions The Smart Way from here: http://catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html -- This document is more oriented towards Linux than towards Windows system software, but it has so much useful guidance it's definitely worth reading.

In terms of group specific ettiquette, before you ask a question please seach the list archives before posting a question. There are lots of people on the list who are sick of seeing the same question asked again and again. You can search the archives very quickly and easily using Google.

Don't cross-post your question. That is, don't submit the same question to NTDEV and NTFSD. That's annoying. If the question is file-system related, ask NTFSD. If it's more driver related, ask NTDEV. If it's a general kernel-mode question, pick one list and ask there.

If you need help analyzing a crash dump, please be sure to follow the guidance given here: http://www.osronline.com/showThread.cfm?link=33184 when posting your "Why Is My Driver Crashing" question.

We don't allow the following in postings: Most forgein character sets, attachments, Base64 encodings, etc.

14) Are the Archives Available for Downloading?
Not really.  We do not provide the ability to download classic listserv style archives. 
Members may download the entire list history via newsreader. We strongly discourage this practice, however, because the original poster's email addresses appear in the posts. Frankly, we only allow wholesale downloading of the message base because we haven't yet figured out how to prevent it. As soon as we do figure it out, we'll disable this "feature".

15) I Think There's a Problem With One Of The Lists! What Should I Do?
Check the NEWS section, on the OSR Online home page, for any relevant postings. If you don't see anything relevant, by all means send an email to onlineAdmin@osr.com -- Never hesitate to do this! It's (almost) always appreciated!!

16) How Do I Access The List Via Newsreader?
Simple! You follow the detailed instructions at: http://www.osronline.com/page.cfm?name=NewsReaderInfo

17) I'm Trying to Access The Lists Via Newsreader, But My Username/Password Doesn't Work! What Can I Do?
Wait a minute: Do you know that:

a) Your OSR Online email address and password can be DIFFERENT from the email address and password you used to join the lists...

b) It is possible to join each list with different email addresses and passwords.

Go to the join/manage pages at OSR Online, and try a few email/password combinations.

18) To Whom Do I Send Email If I Have a Problem Or Don't Know What To Do?
Assuming this problem relates to the lists or to OSR Online, you can send email to OnlineAdmin@osr.com. If the problem relates to some other area of your life (relationships, a football team that never wins, etc) we have some other suggestions, but you probably don't want to hear them.

19) Do List Members See My Email Address?  I See Email Addresses Are Opaqued On The Forum Web Page, But I Get Out Of Office Replies When I Post.  What's Up?  I'm Not Sure I Want People To See My Email Address.
As described in question 10, above, we opaque the email address of posters on the forum pages as an anti-spam measure.  But, remember, the OSR Lists have THREE interfaces: Forum, List Server, and News Reader.  Users may use any of these interfaces (or multiple interfaces if they wish).  Users who participate in the forums via email (List Server) and via News Reader (NNTP) see the email addresses of every person who posts.  The community likes it that way, and specifically requested that we NOT opaque email addresses.  If you don't like your email address being displayed for all to see (for example, if you don't want your rude remarks or dumb questions associated with your employer) do what everyone else does and post from a gmail or hotmail account.

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