TxArch-L - TAS Discussion E-List

To subscribe to the list, e-mail the Listowner at b.skiles@ix.netcom.com.


By Bob Skiles

The idea for an electronic discussion list for the Texas Archeological Society was first broached by Bob Skiles in a Board meeting/retreat near the end of 1997.  Then TAS President, Dr. Tom Middlebrook, and several other Board members were supportive (Drs. Steve Black and Tim Perttula are remembered as being especially enthusiastic).  The Board approved of the idea and Dr. Middlebrook appointed the chair of the Website Committee (and newly-minted webmaster), Bob Skiles, as Listowner, with approval/instruction to work with Dr. David Carlson, to try and get a new discussion list hosted on Texas A&M University's listserver.  Dr. Carlson, Professor of Anthropology at TAMU and long-time TAS member, had already originated and operated a successful international discussion list (ARCH-L with over 1,000 subscribers in over 100 countries) for archeologists and anthropologists for several years.  In fact, the idea for TxArch-L (and even the name) was "lifted" from ARCH-L as several TAS members had enjoyed participation as subscribers to ARCH-L and wanted the same experience/benefit for our Society members.

Dr. Carlson agreed to serve as our sponsor, and ["silent"] co-Listowner, and he immediately secured hosting for our list on the listserver at TAMU.  Dr. Carlson also trained and assisted this neophyte Listowner throughout the initial months of operation (and has always been ready at hand with answers to questions and solutions for problems whenever needed).  As a result, we were able to kick off operation of the list with the first subscribers in January 1998.  Over the past decade-plus years of successful operation (successful being defined as having a damned good time talking about anything and everything related, however remotely, to Texas archeology, with very few flames and harsh words) we have grown from that initial handful of subscribers to a total of 288 today.

I think TxArch-L is truly a unique forum in many ways (in many of the same ways that TAS is unique among archeological societies), most outstanding, perhaps, being the laid-back and easy-going manner in which folks at all levels of involvement in Texas archeology (from the venerated gods of Texas archeology all the way down to the rankest dilettante) can meet and talk, ask questions and get answers, hear fabulous stories of the early days and important historical waypoints in Texas archeology from those who were there, and generally educate and inform one another ... all without rancor and condescension ... and with not a little humor (even from the self-styled list curmudgeons who occasionally affect a lack of humor).  Yes, TxArch-L is an interesting forum, and one I have been proud to ride herd on for the past 18 years.

List Operation

Any TAS member with an e-mail address is invited to subscribe to the list (come on in, we won't bite you ... at least not fatally !).  It's easy to subscribe ... just contact the Listowner via e-mail b.skiles@ix.netcom.com with a simple request to be subscribed to the list.  Once you have been subscribed to the list, the listserver will send you an automatic greeting message that contains information about how the list operates (along Lith some common Listserv commands that you can send to the machine to change the parameters of your subscription). The Listowner certainly appreciates those who save this message, and eventually learn how to take care of changing their own subscription parameters ... however, he is always there to assist with any needed changes, so a subscriber should never hesitate to contact the Listowner ( b.skiles@ix.netcom.com ) for assistance or advice (and, yeah, he even listens to the occasional complaint, too).  Here are a few of the basics about list operation:

  1. There are two different addresses you should remember ... the address of the listserver machine, i.e., listserv@listserv.tamu.edu (you only use this address to send commands to the machine ... like whenever you want to put your mail from the listserver on hold for a while while you're at field school or on vacation and don't want your inbox getting overstuffed ...do not try using this address for posting messages to the list ... it won't work ... and it causes the machine to send ME a message complaining about what you're trying to do to it!) AND the address of the list, i.e., TxArch-L@listserv.tamu.edu ... this list address is the one you use to post messages to the discussion list.
  2. You can unsubscribe from the list at anytime, but only the Listowner can subscribe (add) you to the list; to unsubscribe, send the following one-line command (in the text portion of an e-mail message) to the machine address, listserv@listserv.tamu.edu unsubscribe TxArch-L
  3. As a default, the listserver is set up to send each message that is posted to the list as a separate e-mail message to subscribers. If you want the machine to hold all the messages and compile them into one (long) single daily e-mail message (a digest), rather than a bunch of individual messages, then you need to set your list parameter to "digest." You do that by sending the following command to the machine address listserv@listserv.tamu.edu set TxArch-L digest
  4. The machine will ignore postings and commands from anyone who is NOT subscribed to the list (although it will report such to me and complain bitterly and often about it!).
  5. Every post to the list is archived in our electronic archives; the archives can be accessed by any subscriber at the this link. You must first setup a password to access the archives (if you have "cookies" turned "on" in your browser, then the machine will remember you and let you in automatically after the first time you login ... otherwise you have to remember your password and enter it each time you want to browse the archive), you can setup your password at this link.
  6. The listserver machine recognizes subscribers by the e-mail address you are sending from. If you try to post to the list (or send the machine a command) from your mother's e-mail address, you will be ignored (unless, of course, there is the fortunate happenstance that your mother is also both a TAS member and already subscribed to the list). Some subscribers want to get and send postings at two (or more) different e-mail addresses (like at work & home). The Listowner will be happy to set that up for you, along with handling any other special subscription requests.

Well, that's the short version of our list history and the essentials of operation.  If you have any questions or want to subscribe to the list, then don't hesitate to e-mail the Listowner at b.skiles@ix.netcom.com.