Mailbase responds to commands sent as electronic mail messages to the address ''

It is *important* that commands be sent *only* to this address! Do not send commands to any of the mail distribution lists (for example, the lis-it list mentioned above) which are managed by Mailbase.

Commands sent to Mailbase are executed in sequence until a terminator, or an error, is found. A mail message reporting success or failure is then returned to you. More than one command may appear in any one mail message to Mailbase, but each command must be on a separate line. Except when stated otherwise, commands may appear in any order, and they may be in UPPER, lower, or MiXeD case.

Problems or queries relating to Mailbase commands should be sent as an electronic mail message to '' (see "Addresses").

The Mailbase commands are:

help review <listname> describe <commandname> send <listname> <filename> index [<listname>] statistics [command | list] line-limit <number> stop listme subscribe <listname> <firstname> <lastname> lists [full] unsubscribe <listname> These are described in full below, and also in the Mailbase Reference


2.1 Getting Help from Mailbase

If you already use Mailbase (by being a member of a list), sending an electronic mail message containing the command help to Mailbase will result in a brief summary of Mailbase commands being sent to you by return. If you do not already use Mailbase, the help command will send you a copy of this, the User Guide. If you already use Mailbase and you wish to obtain a copy of this User Guide by electronic mail, send this command to Mailbase send mailbase userhelp Information about a specific command may be retrieved by sending a 'describe' command.

For example, sending the command 'describe describe' to Mailbase will result in the following message being sent to you

Name: describe Example: describe subscribe Syntax: describe command Description: This command gives a description of individual Mailbase commands. The word "describe" may be abbreviated to "des". See also: "help" Problems or queries that require human intervention should be addressed to

2.2 Information on Current Discussions

To find out the names of the discussion lists currently managed by Mailbase, send the command 'lists' or 'lists full'. The command alone will return a list of all the current Mailbase discussion lists; the option 'full' adds a short description of each one.

More detailed information about an individual list may be obtained by sending a 'review' command. For example,

review lis-it returns the names of owners and members of the list, a brief description of the list's purpose and details about its access facilities, which are marked 'yes' if they are available to non-members and 'no' if not. These are:
Subscribe direct:
If 'no', non-members must send an e-mail message to the list owner, asking to be added to the list.
Contribute mail:
If 'no', you must join the list before sending mail to it.
Request review:
If 'no', you must join the list in order to request review information.
Request files:
If 'no', you must join the list in order to retrieve any files which are associated with it.
If 'no', list contributions are not stored in an archive file.

2.3 Subscribing to Discussions

Note: 'subscribe' is the name chosen for the command: it does not mean that you have to pay a subscription fee!

If the list you wish to join is open for direct subscription, send the following command to Mailbase

subscribe <listname> <firstname> <surname> For example, subscribe lis-it Fred Smith would add your name (Fred Smith) and mail address (taken from your message header) to the lis-it discussion list.

If the list you wish to use is closed for direct subscription, you will be asked to send a message to

<listname> (where listname is the chosen list). For example:

2.4 Checking your Membership of Discussion Lists

To obtain a list of the discussion lists of which you are a member, send the following command to Mailbase listme

2.5 Leaving Discussions

To leave a discussion list, send an 'unsubscribe' command to Mailbase. For example, unsubscribe lis-it would remove your name from the lis-it list.

2.6 Retrieving Files via Electronic Mail

Many discussion lists have files associated with them. To find out which lists these are, send the following command to Mailbase index To find out what files are associated with a particular list, attach the list name to the command. For example, index lis-it will tell you which files are associated with the lis-it list. The index contains information about the size of files. The files themselves may be retrieved with the command send <listname> <filename> For example, send lis-it 12-1990 will retrieve the file called 12-1990 (the archive file containing all contributions sent to this list during December 1990) which belongs to the lis-it list. We recommend that you retrieve and read some archive files before you start contributing to discussions.

If a file is larger than 100,000 characters (approximately 5000 lines), it may be necessary to retrieve it in several pieces. Do this by preceding the send command with a 'line-limit' command. For example,

line-limit 2000 send nisp assess.txt would retrieve the file 'assess.txt', associated with the nisp list, in the form of several pieces, each containing a maximum of 2000 lines.

2.7 Information on Use of Mailbase

To obtain some statistical information about the use which has been made of Mailbase, use the statistics command, which has the form statistics [ command | list ] The 'command' option gives statistics about commands and 'list' about lists. If no options are given you will receive both command and list information.

2.8 Mail with Signatures

If your electronic mail messages end with a signature, terminate your Mailbase commands with the command stop This prevents Mailbase from attempting to interpret your signature as a series of commands.