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VBC Buddies List Info

NOTE:  The Buddies List is alive and well and we welcome you to join it.  However---we are currently having difficulty with our sign-up page.  If you would like to sign up to receive or post emails to the Buddies List, please send an email to Jan at janowa85@gmail.com.  I will add you to the list. 8/2/2017


So you've heard about the Buddies List but weren't quite sure what you heard (or should have heard)? You should be able to find answers to your questions here, or at least get a sense of what the Buddies List is about. If you still have questions, e-mail the Buddies List owner at  bl_owner@mindspring.com and we'll get you some answers.  



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What's the Buddies List?
What's the Buddies List?

The Buddies List is a bicycling-related e-mail group, also known as a list server in Vancouver, Washington, USA. E-mails related to upcoming rides (generally local, occasionally regional) and related activities, advocacy opportunities, volunteer opportunities and related topics are common. We don't typically get into other sports or fitness in general, or political activities that are unrelated to bicycling advocacy. Our subscription list includes anyone who have decided they’d like to be on the Buddies List and receive e-mails about recently scheduled rides and other bicycling issues from the rest of us. Membership in the VBC is NOT required to join the Buddies List. Last time we checked there were around 450 people on the Buddies List.

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What is a list server?
What is a list server?

It’s a fancy name for a way of e-mailing a whole list of people at once. Instead of you selecting each of the people in your address book that you want to send your message to, you send it to one specific address. The software at that address that receives your message then turns around and sends (“serves”) it to everyone who has registered for that list.

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Do I need to sign up to be on the Buddies List?
Do I need to sign up to be on the Buddies List?

Yes, you do. We don’t want to be sending messages to people who don’t want them, so by subscribing, you indicate that you do indeed want to receive our e-mails. If at any time it gets to be a problem, you have a number of options for modifying how or whether you receive additional e-mail, including removing yourself from the list.

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How do I sign up?
How do I sign up?

It takes much longer to describe than it does to actually subscribe yourself, but here goes:

  1. Go to the Buddies List page and scroll down to the “Subscribing to Buddies” section. In the “Your email address” box, enter the email address at which you’d like to receive bike-related email. If you give us your name as well (in the next box) we can find your information a little easier if you should need help at some point, but it’s not required.
  2. The system will assign you a password if you’d like, or you can select one of your own. As it says, your password will be emailed to you monthly, so please do not use a password that would cause you grief if a co-worker or family member walks by when you open an email containing this password. If you let the system choose your password for you, it will be emailed to you with your welcome email. You may want to save this email, as it contains various addresses that may come in handy during your time on our list. You can always ask the system to email you your password, assuming you have the Buddies List address handy.
  3. If you’d like to receive your emails in a single email once per day, as opposed to emails showing up in your Inbox shortly after they’ve been sent, answer Yes to the “batched in a daily digest” question. The downside of getting your messages once a day is that if a ride is cancelled due to weather at almost the last minute, and you’d been planning to ride that ride, you likely won’t get the message until a few hours after you drove out to the starting location. Or, you might miss the invitation to a ride you’d have loved to do, if only you’d gotten the message in time. That being said, generally there’s enough time between the time an impromptu ride is announced and the time it starts that you’d get your daily digest of Buddies List messages in time.
  4. At this time, we only have our messages available in English. We do have other languages available, so if you’d like to receive messages in another language, please e-mail the Buddies List owner at  bl_owner@mindspring.com and we'll get you some answers.  
  5. When you have finished, click Subscribe. Even though it looks like you're subscribed, you aren't. There's one more step below. You won't receive any Buddies List e-mails if you don't complete the final step below.
  6. You will receive a confirmation e-mail at the address you gave us shortly. Follow the instructions to reply to that message, or click the link to confirm your registration online. Once you’ve done either one, you will receive your Welcome to the “Buddies” mailing list e-mail, which will list your password and a number of addresses that may be useful over time. (Hint: You may want to save it.)
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Okay, I'm signed up, now what?
Okay, I'm signed up, now what?

Start watching your Inbox for messages that have [Buddies] in the subject! They're messages from other Buddies on the list. That's really all you have to do other than show up with your bike and your helmet at the starting location a few minutes before the start time and ride. To announce your impromptu ride, volunteer opportunity, or other news, write up your e-mail and send it to buddies@vbcbikebuddies.com. The list server will add the [Buddies] for you so you don't need to remember to do that.

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May I send pictures or attachments?
May I send pictures or attachments?

Our understanding is that pictures and many kinds of attachments are stripped from messages before being sent, so you'll want to send a link to them instead. There are also size limits to each message, so you may hit one of those if you try to include a chapter from a book or a complete magazine article. The point of this is to significantly lessen the possibility of getting a virus or other bad guy from a Buddies List message. (For techno-inclined folks, multipart/mixed and multipart/alternative attachments are okay, as are text/plain attachments. Anything else will be filtered out.)

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May I send links to other websites?
May I send links to other websites?

Yes. If you know of a web page that you believe would be of interest to the majority of our Buddies List subscribers, go ahead and include the URL in your e-mail. If you really want people to visit the site, you might want to include some information about the site along with the link; as in, something more than "Go to http://www.mygreatbikesite.com/".

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How do I change my e-mail address or Buddies List options?
How do I change my e-mail address or Buddies List options?

Go to the Member Options login page. Enter your Buddies List e-mail address and password, and click the Log in button. Scroll down until you see the option(s) you want to change. One note: each section on the options page contains a button at the bottom that must be clicked in order to actually make the change you indicated. The one to change your address is called Change My Address and Name. The one that's hardest to see is for the Subscription Options because it's way down at the end of the page. It's called Submit my Changes, and if you don't click it, those options you changed won't get updated.

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I forgot my password. What do I do?
I forgot my password. What do I do?

If you saved your initial Welcome to the “Buddies” mailing list e-mail when you signed up for the Buddies List, you can find it there. If not, go to the Member Options login page. Click the Remind button in the Password reminder section and it will be e-mailed to you within a very few minutes.

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Will I get more spam if I sign up for the Buddies List? Will I be more likely to get a virus?
Will I get more spam if I sign up for the Buddies List? Will I be more likely to get a virus?

The list server program that the Buddies List uses, Mailman, is one of the major players in this particular industry. It has been around for many years and has been kept up to date with the latest technology over the years. The short answer is that we don't think you'll get any more spam or be any more likely to get a virus or other malware as a result of subscribing to the Buddies List. A number of industry-wide techniques have been employed in an attempt to foil the folks who like to spoil a good time for the rest of us. Every message that is sent to the Buddies List is checked against a set of criteria to determine how likely it is to be spam. Attachments in formats that are those that can be used to send trojan horses and other malware are removed from the messages or converted to plain text so there is no chance of them harming your computer. Occasionally the list server may decide that your message might possibly be spam, or might really be a question regarding how to use the list itself rather than a message to the group. In cases like these your message will be routed to the list moderator rather than sent to the whole group. The moderator will examine your message and determine what to do next. If you were in fact asking a question about subscribing to the list you’ll get an answer directly from the moderator without bothering the whole group. If your e-mail was intended for the whole group the moderator will approve it and it will be sent to the group.

That said, we have found that there are a few situations that will, without a doubt, cause your message to be held up for approval by the moderator:

  • Sending to ten people (or more) in addition to the Buddies List address
  • Putting the list’s address in your BCC (blind copy) line
  • Your message is too long (the max is 40 KB, enough to write a very long description of the ride you're leading or the bike you're selling, but not enough to include an image, or, if you compose in MS Word, background stationery)
  • You use the word "subscribe" in your subject

Please note:

While we hope never to have to use it, the Buddies List Moderator reserves the right to reject messages held for moderation that do not meet our criteria. Buddies will be notified individually if a message is inappropriate or rejected. If the occasion should arise in which a Buddy continues to attempt to send messages that are inappropriate for a family-oriented bicycling group like the Buddies List, that individual will be removed from the Buddies List. These warnings and deletions, should they occur, will not be broadcast to Buddies List members.

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Thanks for subscribing!
Thanks for subscribing!

It is you, our list subscribers, who make the Buddies List worth subscribing to. You’re the ones providing the camaraderie, information, invitations, and, did we mention camaraderie that make the Buddies List special. Thanks for being a part of it!


All that's left is to sign up and start receiving messages from Buddies!