WELSH-L Frequently Asked Questions with answers
(The Welsh Language Discussion List FAQ)

Version: 1.0
Date:Tuesday 16th March 1999
Author:Original CELTIC-L FAQ by Seamus Mac Conaonaigh
Adapted for WELSH-L by Briony Wiliams (briony@cstr.ed.ac.uk)
Maintained by:Briony Wiliams (briony@cstr.ed.ac.uk)

Index of questions

1 WELSH-L - the Welsh Language Discussion List

1.1 What is WELSH-L?

It is a mailing list for discussion in and of the Welsh Language. A mailing list is an open forum for debate on a particular topic. People "subscribe" to the list (see next Section) and then receive (as e-mail) all the messages posted to the list by other members. They may also post to the list themselves and their postings will be seen by all the other members. A central computer program handles all the routine re-mailing/administration (in this case the computer is the Listserv in University College, Dublin, Ireland), so that little effort is required by the members themselves.

1.2 How did WELSH-L start?

WELSH-L was started in November 1992 by Briony Williams and Michael Everson. Briony originally came up with the concept for the list, and Michael obtained permission from UCD to use their Listserv as the WELSH-L site.

1.3 Who runs WELSH-L?

There are two active WELSH-L owners at the moment. Either one can be contacted for help on technical issues (problems with subscriptions, unsubscriptions etc.). The address to use for such queries is: welsh-l-request@listserv.hea.ie (this gets forwarded to both owners). The owners are: Briony Williams (briony@cstr.ed.ac.uk) and Illtud Daniel (idaniel@jesus.ox.ac.uk). They can also help with queries about the subject matter of the list, or individual messages.

University College, Dublin, Ireland, own the server which WELSH-L uses (listserv@listserv.hea.ie).

1.4 What material is appropriate?

Anything (non-offensive) in the Welsh language (or in the related languages Breton or Cornish). English is acceptable for messages that concern the details of the Welsh language (eg. learners' questions) as is French for postings about the Breton language. It is important to remember that WELSH-L is intended for postings that are actually in these languages, as against general discussions in English about the languages. English discussions regularly take place on the CELTIC-L list (at the same address) and in the newsgroup soc.culture.welsh.

1.5 What material is not appropriate?

Everything posted to WELSH-L (or any other list) uses a lot of network resources. Since each post is being sent to several hundred people, it's equivalent to sending several hundred separate mail messages. For this reason everyone should be careful what they post - use of network resources cost time and money. Be very careful in posting anything which falls outside the above guidelines. In particular, advertising of products or services on WELSH-L is prohibited (this doesn't include passing on relevant information about a product/service which you, personally, have found useful). You should also keep personal messages off the list, where possible. Some lists have had problems with so-called "flame wars" (abusive personal messages) which reduce the enjoyment for (most of) those not involved. In summary, WELSH-L is a free service, paid for only by the time and energy of its coordinators and the good will of the educational institutions involved. Please do not abuse it.

2 Subscribing and unsubscribing

2.1 How do mailing lists work?

A mailing list uses a computer program (called Listserv) to maintain a list of people interested in a particular topic.

Any message that is sent to the List Address (WELSH-L@listserv.hea.ie) gets distributed to everybody who is a member of the list. If members are interested in the topic of the message, they can reply to it, and these replies are also sent to everybody on the list (unless a member replies specifically to the sender of the message, privately. How you do this will depend on what mailing system you use). This enables a mailing list to act as an open forum for discussions.

A second e-mail address is used for administrative commands such as subscriptions/cancellations/option-setting. This should not be confused with the List Address; they are _not_ interchangable. This second address (we'll call it the Subscription Address) is listserv@listserv.hea.ie and it is here you should send all Listserv commands.

2.2 How do I subscribe to WELSH-L?

To subscribe to (i.e. to join) the list, send a one-line mail message with no subject header to the Subscription Address (that's listserv@listserv.hea.ie - NOT the List Address!) with the following text in the body of the message:

SUBSCRIBE WELSH-L your real name

For example:


You don't need to specify your e-mail address; the machine will work it out automatically. WELSH-L doesn't cost any money to receive unless you are ordinarily charged for receiving e-mail anyway. If the list happens to be running in "approval" mode at the time, your request for subscription will be forwarded to the list owners for approval. If it is not in this mode, your request for subscription will be processed immediately. You will then be sent a message with the news that you are subscribed. It is a very good idea to keep this message for future reference.

2.3 How can I see the membership of the list?

You do this using the REVIEW command. Send the following in the body of a mail message to the Subscription Address (listserv@listserv.hea.ie):


You will receive a mail message containing information about the list together with names and e-mail addresses of all the members (except those who have deliberately concealed themselves using the SET command - see below). The REVIEW command will only work if you are yourself a subscriber (this is a partial protection against the harvesting of addresses by spammers).

2.4 How do I leave WELSH-L?

Send a one-line mail message with no subject header to the Subscription Address (listserv@listserv.hea.ie) with the following text in the body of the message:


That's all. No e-mail addresses or personal names need to be specified.

2.5 Why do I continue to receive mail after unsubscribing?

There could be one of three reasons for this:

  1. The first is that your unsubscription request was unsuccessful. This is rarer than people think. If you receive a message from the Listserv telling you that you're unsubscribed, then you are unsubscribed (unless you were subscribed twice, or something). If you don't receive this message, or receive one which tells you that your "unsubscribe" request has failed (e.g. "You are not on the list" or "I've never heard of WELSH-L") then check that you are following the unsubscribe procedure exactly: the right address (listserv@listserv.hea.ie) and the right command (UNSUBSCRIBE WELSH-L). If it still doesn't work, check whether your e-mail address has changed since you originally subscribed (this can happen without your knowing it - your company/institution may have implemented a change). If it has, you need to contact the list owner to remove the old address (the Listserv won't be able to see that mail coming from your new address corresponds to the old address).
  2. The second possibility is that you are unsubscribed but are still receiving a backlog of messages. Sometimes messages can take a couple of days to reach their destination. Messages that are sent from the Listserv before you unsubscribe may not reach your address until some time after you receive the message telling you that you are now "unsubscribed". These messages are in transit, and nothing can be done about them. The only solution is to outwait them - they should stop after a few days at most.
  3. A third possibility is that you might be in a local redistribution list at your site which is itself subscribed to WELSH-L, and then redistributes the postings to local users who have indicated they wish to receive them. In this case, you will need to contact your local system administrator to be removed from the local list.

2.6 I still can't get off the list! What do I do?

If nothing above works, then contact the listowners at welsh-l-request@listserv.hea.ie, and they'll try to unsubscribe you manually.

2.7 Why have I been kicked off the list?

There are usually a couple of reasons why you may stop receiving mail from the list. In the following cases, action may be taken (either automatically by the Listserv, or manually by the list owner) to remove a subscriber:

  1. If the subscriber's account no longer exists (i.e. if the computer at the subscriber's organisation returns a message saying that the user's account or mailbox doesn't exist) then the subscriber will be removed.
  2. If the subscriber's mailbox is continually over quota (i.e. the subscriber can't receive mail because there is no room in his/her mailbox) then the subscriber will be removed.

Note that the above actions will only be taken after many errors from the subscriber's mailing address (i.e. one message saying your mailbox is overflowing won't get you removed; 30 will).

If you find that you've stopped receiving mail from the list, you should first check to see whether you're still subscribed (use the REVIEW command as described above). If you're not, then you have probably been unsubscribed. The easiest thing to do in this case is simply resubscribe (see above under the SUBSCRIBE command). If you're still subscribed, but not receiving mail, this may be because mail has been delayed at a gateway (very likely), or that the list has become quiet (not as likely), or that the Listserv is down (infrequent but not unknown). If the problem persists, contact the Listowners.

3 Archives and resources

3.1 Can I get hold of archives (i.e. all the old postings)?

Every message sent to WELSH-L is automatically archived by the Listserv. There are two ways to access these archives.

  1. Anybody who has a WWW browser can access a searchable version of the archives of WELSH-L at http://listserv.hea.ie/lists/welsh-l.html (and archives for other Listserv lists at http://listserv.hea.ie/lists/index.html).
  2. The archives can also be retrieved directly from Listserv in monthly format. To see an index of the available archives, send a one-line mail message with no subject header to the Subscription Address (listserv@listserv.hea.ie) with the following text in the body of the message:


    To get an inidividual archive, send a one-line mail message with no subject header to the Subscription Address (listserv@listserv.hea.ie) with the following text in the body of the message:


    where yymm is the year and the month of the archive you want. For example, if you want to get the archive for August 1993, you send


There are also facilities available for searching the archives for certain keywords/topics (this saves you receiving huge mail messages which may not contain anything of interest to you). To find out more about this service, send one or both of the following lines to the Subscription Address (listserv@listserv.hea.ie) in a mail message:


4 List options

4.1 What are "list options"?

Your list options control things such as the way the Listserv sends you your mail and how it handles postings from you. To find out what your current options are, send the following line to the Subscription Address (listserv@listserv.hea.ie) in a mail message:


You change your mailing options using the SET command. The options include the following categories: Acknowledgment, Reproduction, Concealment, Digests/Indices and Mail. These are covered in the next several questions, together with the use of the SET command.

4.2 How do I know whether my message has been distributed to WELSH-L?

Usually, the Listserv will send you a copy of your own message, so it's easy to know whether your message was successfully distributed or not. It will also send you a short message of acknowledgement. This is a "belt and braces" setup.

If you find these messages irritating, however, it is possible to change your Acknowledgment or your Reproduction options. Your Acknowledgment option controls whether or not you receive the short message from Listserv telling you that your message has been distributed. To turn off this option, send the following line in a mail message to the Subscription Address (listserv@listserv.hea.ie):


To turn it on again, so that you do receive the short acknowledgment, send the following line instead:


Your Reproduction option controls whether or not you receive copies of your own messages from Listserv. This is normally turned on, but if you want to turn it off send the following line in a mail message to the Subscription Address (listserv@listserv.hea.ie):


If you want to turn this option on again, so that you again receive copies of your own postings, send the following line instead:


4.3 How do I stop my name appearing on the membership list?

The REVIEW command allows subscribers (only) to view the membership of WELSH-L. If you don't want your name to appear when this command is used, you should change your Concealment option. To do this, send the following command in a mail message to the Subscription Address (listserv@listserv.hea.ie):


To change this back, so that your name once again appears on the membership list, send the following line instead:


Note that the list owner will always be able to see the entire membership of the list, regardless of members' concealment options. This is necessary for the administration of the list.

4.4 What are Digests and Indices?

Sometimes the traffic (i.e. amount of messages) can be very heavy on some lists, with members receiving a large amount of mail per day. Digests and Indices provide a way around this. They are also useful when you are away for a short while. A Digest is a single large mail message containing all of a single day's postings. If you choose to receive your mail in Digest form, you will just get a single message every day from WELSH-L (albeit a large one), which you can then read at your convenience.

To receive your mail in Digest form, send the following line in a mail message to the Subscription Address (listserv@listserv.hea.ie):


To stop receiving Digests, send the following line instead:


An Index is a mail message containing a list of the day's postings to WELSH-L. It shows the sender and subject of each posting. You can then decide which messages you want to retrieve from the archives (if any). To receive Indices from WELSH-L, send the following line in a mail message to the Subscription Address (listserv@listserv.hea.ie):


To stop receiving Indices, send the following line instead:


Note that after setting a NOINDEX or a NODIGEST option, the Listserv will revert back to sending you mail in whatever form was used before you set your option to INDEX or DIGEST.

4.5 Can I stop receiving messages for a short time (e.g. vacation)?

Sometimes it's useful to be able to stop the Listserv sending you WELSH-L postings for a short time (e.g. if you're going away for a week or so). Obviously, you can do this by simply unsubscribing and then resubscribing when you return. However, you can also just set your Mailing option instead. To stop receiving postings from the list, send the following line in a mail message to the Subscription Address (listserv@listserv.hea.ie):


To start receiving mail again, send the following line instead:


Note that you may still receive some messages after setting your NOMAIL option - these have been sent before the Listserv received your command but haven't been received by you before you sent the command.

5 Sending messages to the list for discussion

5.1 Posting to WELSH-L

To send a message to WELSH-L for everyone else to read, send it to the List Address: WELSH-L@listserv.hea.ie (only subscribers are able to send messages to the list). This is called "posting" to the list.

If the list happens to be running in "moderated" mode at the time, your message will first go to the owners, who will decide whether or not to approve it for sending on to the whole list. If the list is not in this mode, then your message will immediately be distributed to all the subscribers.

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