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Mailing lists for people in Informatics

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This is a quick guide which suggests how to negotiate the twisty maze of Informatics mailing lists, minimizing the number of uninterested readers and maximizing the number of interested readers. Thanks to Julian Bradfield for providing it.

Key points:

  • Seminar announcements go to seminars@inf and no other general list.
  • inf-general is not for official or academic announcements.
  • if-people is for messages to occupants of the Forum (only).
  • Conference etc. announcements should go to relevant institute lists, or to research-staff and research-students if they're general informatics conferences.

General rules: do not spam lists. If your message is spam, do not send it. If it is not spam, there is no need to apologize for it being spam (because it isn't). Spam is unsolicited commercial (or pseudo-commercial fraudulent) email.

Which list to use? See
for a categorized list of lists. The names are often confusing, and the use of hyphens is arbitrary (but becoming less so), so there's a crib sheet for the most useful lists at the end of this page.

If you know precisely whom you need to reach, all is well. Otherwise, follow this guide:

Is your message work-related (including official social events)?

NO: send it to inf-general@inf, unless it's clearly only of interest to a smaller group (e.g. members of one institute, or inf-bikes@inf) and that group allows non-work-related messages. STOP.
YES: Continue the flow chart.

Does your message announce a talk or event that is open to and genuinely of interest to the general public, not just academics?

YES: Send it to seminars@inf, and inf-general@inf if you wish. STOP.
NO: continue...

Does your message announce an academic seminar, lecture, talk or other such event, in or near Edinburgh?

YES: Send it to seminars@inf, and optionally to a subject-related specialist list, or perhaps to an institute list. STOP
NO: continue...

Is your message relevant only to one or more easily identifiable subgroup, such as all members of an institute, all teaching staff within an institute, all teaching staff, all researchers, all admin staff, PhD students, all staff?

YES: Is your message relevant to most of those in the groups?
YES: Send it to those groups. STOP.
NO: Think about whether you should be targetting people personally. If not, send it to those groups. STOP.
NO: continue...

Your message appears to require broadcasting to many hundreds of people.

Does your message affect only people who work in a particular building or location?

YES: Send it to the building-specific list (see below). STOP.
NO: 'Fraid you actually have to think. If your message is unimportant, in the sense that nobody will be disadvantaged by not reading it, perhaps inf-general.
If it's desirable that everybody reads it, then staff@inf and/or students@inf (or sublists thereof). STOP.

Quick guide to useful lists:

Unofficial list for general posts to people with offices in Informatics buildings, but not non-resident members. Intended mostly for non-work postings. No topic restrictions, but please don't send seminar announcements here unless they're genuinely lectures for the general (university) public. This list is optional - people are not required or even expected to read it - so no official notices should go here.
Building lists:
These are official lists for people who have an office in one of our buildings, where <list> consists of a two-letter building abbreviation plus "-people":
at-people People in Appleton Tower (not in use for duration of decant)
fh-people People in Forrest Hill (during AT decant only)
wb-people People in Wilkie Building (during AT decant only)
if-people People in the Forum: subdivided into level1people and so on for 2 3 4 5 for people on level N.

These lists are for matters related to the buildings and residence therein (food availability, bits falling off the roof, toilets, lifts, etc.). They are not suitable for academic announcements.

All-informatics staff lists:
staff all staff and visitors
teaching-staff lecturers
research-staff postdocs, lecturers and visitors
pdra-staff just postdocs, research fellows, etc.
admin-staff what it says
cos computing staff
technical-staff what it says
Institute lists, using lfcs as an example:
lfcs-members all members
lfcs-staff supposedly teaching and research staff, but actually all staff
lfcs-teaching faculty in LFCS (including associate members)
lfcs-research postdocs BUT NOT faculty
lfcs-admin admin staff assigned to LFCS
lfcs-visitors visitors hosted by LFCS
lfcs-students research students in LFCS
Research student lists:
research-students Ph.D., M.Res., M.Sc. by Research etc.
phd-degree-students Ph.D. only

plus the institute lists already mentioned.

Taught student lists: the most useful are
students ALL students, taught and research (a LOT of people...)
msc-students taught M.Sc. students
ug-students undergraduates
ug4-students undergraduates in 4th year (etc.)

Each taught course (taking cp as an example) has
cp-students (students, and also staff)

Apparently you're not supposed to want to mail just the course lecturers any more, as there are no lists provided.

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