The unofficial
IBM-MAIN Mailing-List/Newsgroup
(Frequently Asked Questions)

Posting question section

Fastpath to the other FAQ pages: [ General // Posting // Technical // Humor // Vendor ]

This page was created to answer commonly asked questions on the IBM-MAIN mailing-list/newsgroup. It is not sanctioned or endorsed by the IBM-MAIN list owner or list provider.
When was the first post to IBM-MAIN?

The first post to IBM-MAIN was on 1986-06-06 at 16:19.

How do I post to the IBM-MAIN mailing list?

Send email to Some DON'Ts:
  • Don't send LISTSERV commands (like HELP, DIGEST, UNSUBSCRIBE) to
  • Don't send mail formatted in HTML format
  • Don't send mail in Microsoft Rich Text Format

Can I post in HTML format?

Please don't!     Not all mail readers can read HTML formated eMail.

Why did I get a rejected post to the IBM-MAIN newsgroup?

To cut down on SPAM, you must subscribe to the IBM-MAIN mailing list before you can post to the IBM-MAIN newsgroup. If you don't want to receive the mailing-list, simply send an email to with this in the body of the note:
Here's an example of a rejected post. To be able to post to the newsgroup, I then subscribed to the mailing list on my home email account.

Any recommendations on quoting?

Here are a few posts on the subject of quoting from the IBM-MAIN List owner (so pay close attention):

Subject: IBM-MAIN: Quoting
   Date: 1999-01-29 12:19:26 -0600
   From: darren@BAMA.UA.EDU (Darren Evans-Young)

>Date:    Thu, 1999-01-28 17:27:14 -0600
>From:    "William M. Klein" 
>Subject: FW: IBM-MAIN
>I know that there has been a discussion on this, furthermore, I
>understand that particularly for those outside the US who often have to
>pay for connect time, this may be a problem.

It also has to do with how much text one has to page through, especially
digest readers. Quoting part of the original text is one thing, but quoting
a reply to a reply to a reply is ridiculous. Selecting a good subject line
is also important.

>As has been pointed out by others in IBM-MAIN, there is a repeated
>problem with the IBM-MAIN listserver and Usenet Newsgroup not getting
>all the posts put out to the other.  It is my (personal) opinion, that
>often quoting the entire message to which one is replying is the ONLY
>way to see to what the reply relates.

Those that read the newsgroup should be subscribed to IBM-MAIN and their
list option set to NOMAIL. Personally, I could care less about Usenet. I
did that as a courtesy several years ago. IBM-MAIN is a discussion list.
Also, note that IBM-MAIN has been virtually spam free.  99 44/100% of
spam comes from Usenet. Requiring folks to subscribe and confirm those
subscriptions has kept spam to a minimum. You should see some of the
crap on other discussion lists that dont require subscriptions.

>This is just one vote for being able to keep much (if not all) of the
>replied to message - in order to understand the reply - at least until
>someone fixes the problem with getting all posts reflected in both

Now that the gateway is setup two-way, the only postings that the entire
group wont see are from those that post to the newsgroup and are NOT
subscribed to IBM-MAIN.

Now, I have quoted your entire post and responded to each individual
part.  That is the way it should be done. A reader can see quoted
material and my response to that part. Note that I did NOT include my
original text that you responded to.  It's ok to quote, but to always
quote the entire post that may include several quoted replies is


   Date: Wed, 1999-01-27
   From: darren@BAMA.UA.EDU (Darren Evans-Young)


Could we PLEASE start limiting the amount of quoted material?!?!! It is
absolutely ridiculous to make a two line reply and then quote 200 lines
of a previous post.  I'm going to start issuing warnings to subscribers
quoting entire posts when they reply. Too many warnings you get booted.
I hate to sound like a hard***, but with this many subscribers and daily
postings, we need to cut down on the size of postings.

If you can turn off sending attachments, HTML formatted email, and
return receipts, please do that too.

I was recently swamped with email because someone subscribed from a
USA.NET address and then had their mail forwarded from USA.NET to an
AOL.COM address. I was getting a rejection from AOL.COM for each posting
to IBM-MAIN. Of course, that AOL address was not subscribed.  I had to
individually send email to each USA.NET subscriber to see which one
bounced. I was not happy.  If you do this kind of forwarding, please
unsubscribe if your target email address is going away.

Also, if you feel there are problems with the list, please send them to
ME and not the list. Thanks to those that do this already.

Darren Evans-Young,
IBM-MAIN List Owner

   Date: 1999-09-13
   From: darren@BAMA.UA.EDU (Darren Evans-Young)

Mon, 1999-09-13, Bruce Black wrote:

>Personally I quote the entire message in my reply, but then I edit it
>down so that just the relevant points I am answering are included.

And this is what should be done. But *MANY* of you are including the
entire post and not doing ANY editing at all!  There is no excuse for
quoting a previous post, even a short one, and not editing out 12 line
signatures and 30 line legal disclaimers.  What perturbs me the most are
the one to two lines replies that have 100 lines of quoted material.
Please be respectful of other subscribers when replying and edit out
unnecessary material.

Also, please send personal replies to the original sender and not the
list. A post that just says "Thanks Joe!" and includes 80 lines of
quoted material is not good.

I want to thank those that have started to  their replies! Keep up
the good work.

Darren Evans-Young,
IBM-MAIN List Owner

Someone just sent me the funniest joke, should I post it to IBM-MAIN?

There are many other places on the Internet for jokes, please use them.

Any guidelines on posts to IBM-MAIN?

Here are a few places to read on the subject of netiquette: Basically:
  • Generally, avoid posts that have nothing to do with IBM mainframe computers.
  • Ask yourself the question: "Does this post enhance the discussion of IBM mainframe computers?"
  • If someone says they wrote the greatest program (or whatever) and offer it via email, send them PRIVATE email. See the next item...
  • Don't post a message to IBM-Main that is meant for only one person.
  • Don't flame people (ridicule others) even if they deserve it!
  • Don't use profanity.
FAQ Editor Editorial
Sorry but we really don't care about your positions on:
  • Bill Clinton
  • Gun Control
  • Liberals
  • Conservatives
  • etc.
There are other places and forums for those things on the internet. The IBM-Main newsgroup and mailing list is for discussion of IBM mainframes.

Is being a member of the IBM-Main mailing-list/newsgroup a privilege or a right? New [1999-10-07]

The IBM-Main list owner answered this question with this post:

   Date: 1999-08-11
   From: darren@BAMA.UA.EDU (Darren Evans-Young)

OK Folks. Things have gotten out of hand and its time for me to correct
some things. IBM-MAIN recently has exceeded the 175 postings per day
several times. I do not want to keep increasing this limit. If the 175
postings were about IBM mainframes, that would be ok. However, this list
has become FULL of off topic posts that have nothing to do with
mainframes. Not only that, the subscribers that are posting off-topic
items are excessively quoting previous posts. I can no longer tolerate

From this point on, if you post an off topic item to the list, you will
be set to NOPOST. If you excessively quote, you will be set to NOPOST.
If you send a personal reply to the list that does not benefit the rest
of the readership, such as "Meet me at Burger King", you will be set to

If you are set to NOPOST, do not take it personal. It is only for you to
contact me so we can discuss what rule you may have violated. After we
come to an understanding about the rule(s), you will be set back to

Remember, being a member of IBM-MAIN is a privilege, not a right.

There is now a limit to the number of times a subscriber may post to the
list per day. Please consider combining your responses into a single
message or reply directly to the original sender.

Please think before posting! Will your post help other subscribers or
enhance the list?  If not, DO NOT send it to IBM-MAIN!!!!

If you have constructive comments about these rules, you may email me.

Comments are to be sent to me.

I want to thank those that have made this list the best resource for
information on mainframes. I plan on keeping it this way.

Darren Evans-Young,
IBM-MAIN List Owner

Is there an alternate IBM-Main list?

Jim Harrison set up for Off Topic IBM-Main chatting. Although initially set up for the Y2K rollover, it is still active and mostly technical (go figure).

Is it okay to post vendor advertising on IBM-Main?

The IBM-Main list owner said:

Date:         Mon, 1997-11-10 12:19:23 CST
From:         darren@BAMA.UA.EDU (Darren Evans-Young)
Subject:      ADMINISTRIVIA: Vendor Advertising on IBM-MAIN

First of  all, thanks  to all who  sent me mail  on your  thoughts about
vendor advertising. The  vote is roughly 70% for, 30%  against. So, here
is  what I  have decided  to do.  I'll allow  vendors to  post pertinent
advertisements  to   IBM-MAIN  no   more  than   once  per   month.  All
advertisement will  be sent to me  and I will  then post it to  the list
with the  subject line  beginning with ADVERTISEMENT:.  I have  only had
two such requests, so we're not  talking about being bombarded with ads.
Ads will be brief and will  (should) contain pointers to web pages, etc.
Nothing here is  set in stone. If I start  getting overwhelmed with ads,
then they will cease.

IBM-MAIN List Owner

Are all rules thrown out on Friday? New :: [2003-02-21]

No. Friday is just like any other day of the week and all list rules apply.

Can I make Off Topic posts on IBM-Main if I put "OT" in the subject? New :: [2003-02-21]

The IBM-Main list owner said:

Date:    Fri, 2003-02-21 14:53:40 -0600
From:    Darren Evans-Young (darren@BAMA.UA.EDU)
Subject: ADMINSTRIVIA: Off Topic posts

I'm getting a little irritated about all of these off-topic
posts going on. I've killed more threads in the last couple
weeks than in the history of IBM-MAIN. And once I kill one,
someone starts another one. Please keep your posts to mainframe
topics! Putting OT: in the subject line does NOT make it
ok to post something off-topic.  If the noise continues, I will
start setting the violators to REVIEW. If you are set to REVIEW,
your posts will be approved or not approved when I get around to it.

Darren Evans-Young,
IBM-MAIN List Owner

This web page was created from posts to the IBM-MAIN mailing-list/NewsGroup (unless noted differently). All dates have been changed to the ISO format: "CCYY-MM-DD". This FAQ is in the Public Domain. It is currently edited by David Alcock. Please feel free to send me any suggestions, spelling corrections, etc.

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IBM-MAIN FAQ Version 1.4
This page was last updated on 2003-02-21