CLIMLIST Policies And Procedures


Plain text is how your messages should be formatted when sending Email to mailing lists and Usenet newsgroups, or to any other recipient. Though this rule is not yet cast in "Netiquette" stone, it is a good policy to follow if you want quick and informative responses to your questions and wish to avoid being "flamed" as a clueless newbie. HTML is meant for the WWW; not for mailing lists, Usenet newsgroups postings, proper business Email correspondence and preferably not for personal Email unless the recipient is expecting it. MIME encoded mail is used to send attachments that consist of pictures, sound files, spreadsheets, word-processing documents, zip files, or other binary files to recipients that have use the same operating system, the same word processing program and a common Email program such as Thunderbird, Eudora, Pegasus, Netscape, or Outlook. These types of files are not wanted on mailing lists, Usenet newsgroups postings, business Email correspondence, and preferably not for personal Email unless the recipient is expecting it.

Many popular email programs send files of this type by default, however. If you want your messages to be understood by recipients, if you want to get responses, and if you do not want to irritate those to whom you write, you should set your email program to send plain text only.



CLIMLIST is a moderated electronic mail distribution list for climatologists and those working in closely-related fields. It is used to disseminate notices regarding conferences and workshops, data availability, calls for papers, positions available etc, as well as requests for information. In addition, an updated Directory of email addresses for the subscribers to the list is distributed every month (usually near the 15th). CLIMLIST is not an appropriate forum for general meteorological topics, discussions of severe weather, forecasting etc. There are alternative network resources devoted to these subjects. Neither is CLIMLIST a suitable medium for 'chatting' about climatological subjects. This is why it is a moderated list. CLIMLIST may not be used for distribution of material of a commercial nature. Information on the availability of books, software etc for which payment is required but which has a not-for-profit objective will be distributed at the discretion of the CLIMLIST Administrator.

General information about the nature of the list is maintained at :



Opinions expressed in material distributed to CLIMLIST are not necessarily shared by the CLIMLIST Administrator, by the Western Kentucky University Department of Geography and Geology, or Western Kentucky University (which provides the CLIMLIST Administrator with the network access to run CLIMLIST). In addition, CLIMLIST itself is not to be construed as subscribing to any particular viewpoint regarding controversial issues of a scientific, political, or similar nature. CLIMLIST is merely a communications medium that delivers the distributed items to your electronic mailbox. Opinions expressed in those items are those of the person or persons who wrote the original text.

Because some topics in climatology interface with important policy issues, CLIMLIST may sometimes carry items with a distinct political agenda. This will be done only when at least some of the item is of scientific interest. When this is the case, I will include a disclaimer statement before the body of the message. Persons of a politically-sensitive nature may choose to delete such items unread! However, the absence of such a disclaimer should not be construed as invalidating the blanket disclaimer included above.


The purpose of CLIMLIST is to act as an information channel for climate scientists and others with closely-related scientific or policy orientations. While CLIMLIST members allow their names and email addresses to be published in the monthly Directory, this is solely for the purpose of facilitating communications of mutual benefit. Commercial and non-commercial subscribers are warned that use of the CLIMLIST Directory to identify potential targets for unwanted mailings with a commercial purpose and limited inherent scientific content (i.e. 'junk mail') will lead to summary deletion from list and the reporting of the incident to the perpetrator's system administrator or similar authority. In the event of a dispute as to whether this principle has been violated, the CLIMLIST Administrator will investigate and make a judgment on the matter. The CLIMLIST Administrator's decision will be final.


Use the preferred email address for the lead CLIMLIST Administrator (Josh Durkee) at

Please do not send personal (i.e., non-CLIMLIST related) correspondence to


To change your email address or other subscription information, please visit here:

Only if you have trouble changing your email address or other subscription information, please contact me by email ( If any other information in your Directory entry should be changed (e.g., your affiliation) provide that information too.

Failing to inform the CLIMLIST management of email address changes is discourteous, selfish and inconsiderate. Remember that any mail 'bounced' from an invalid address returns to my mailbox and I then have to rectify the situation. Most List Administrators simply delete subscribers whose addresses fail more than a couple of times. My policy for this situation is described in the next section.


Mail returned from subscriber's mailers as undeliverable is a major bane of my life! About 30 returned mail notices typically are generated by every CLIMLIST mailing and I am usually tracking about 25 subscriptions that are causing difficulties at a given time. This is a time- and disk space-consuming business. Many List Administrators simply delete subscribers on the first bounce; indeed, the LISTSERV software can be configured to do this automatically. Recognizing that some non-delivery problems are not the fault of the subscriber, the CLIMLIST policy will be more lenient than this. Moreover, it will attempt to avoid deletions on the basis of ephemeral delivery problems.

Only if a non-delivery notice or delayed mail warning persists for at least three CLIMLIST mailings over at least three days will the subscriber be deleted. The three day delay should be sufficient to allow for delivery problems at sites at which problems developing over the weekend are not fixed until the work week begins.

If you are deleted and wish to rejoin, you will have to provide me with full subscription and affiliation information, just like a new subscriber, as your data may be lost at that point. If you notice that CLIMLIST mailings have ceased inexplicably, you should contact me by email ( to find out whether you have been deleted due to a bad email address.

Note that deletion will be triggered by notices of mail delays as well 'fatal' delivery problems. Hence, if your mail host is a machine that is turned off at weekends and holidays, that it is inaccessible to the machine upstream, and you can expect to be deleted as a result of the policy described above.


How often you check your mailbox for CLIMLIST mailings is mostly your business. However, there are two aspects to this question which you should consider. First, if you are going to advertise that you have an email address (which you are doing by having it appear in the CLIMLIST Directory), it is your responsibility to read it as often as is appropriate for a near-real-time communication medium. Not to do so is like buying a fax machine and then only looking at its output once a week or so. Email has an immediacy almost equal to that of fax and should ideally be checked about as often. Second, some installations limit the amount of unread email which a user is permitted to accumulate on the system. When the user's unread mail area is full, subsequently received mail is bounced back to the sender. This is another common cause of my mailbox being swamped with bounced mail. So, failing to read your email frequently is not only inconsistent with the immediacy of the medium, it can also be inconsiderate to senders and list administrators.


To subscribe to CLIMLIST, please visit here first:

If your interests are consistent with those of the list, please visit here:

Only if you have trouble subscribing to CLIMLIST, please contact me by email ( In that email, please also indicate (i) your full name, with the family name or surname in upper case letters, (ii) your email address (one only) for CLIMLIST mailings, (iii) your affiliation (department or similar unit and institution), including your country, (iv) whether your address is one shared among several users or is personal, and (v) your interests and/or responsibilities within climatology.

You will receive a "confirmation request" email of a new subscription when it is entered. Simply follow the link provided in the email to cancel or subscribe to CLIMLIST.


'Digest' subscription option is available for CLIMLIST subscribers. By default, all subscribers receive mailings one-by-one, as they are posted to CLIMLIST. With a Digest, you will no longer receive these mailings as they are posted. Instead, they will be accumulated and distributed as a single mailing each day, preceded by an index of subject lines. The maximum size of a Digest is nominally 2500 lines. If the Digest being created for a given week reaches 2500 lines, it will be mailed to Digest subscribers immediately, whatever the day of the week, and a new Digest will be started.

The Digest option is available for anyone who wishes to avail themselves of this feature. It is entirely your decision whether you choose this form of subscription. If you switch to a Digest subscription, individual mailings will cease immediately. The first Digest you receive may contain some items which duplicate postings from before you altered your options.

If you decide later to alter your subscription back to its current format, LISTSERV will immediately mail you the current Digest and individual mailings will begin after the last one in that Digest. In making your decision to switch to a Digest-type subscription, please note that, while you will receive fewer mailings from CLIMLIST, these will be larger (they can exceed 2500 lines since no posted item is ever truncated or split between 2 Digests) and items could be up to 7 days old when you receive them (which might be important for certain types of time-sensitive mailings, such a job openings with imminent closing dates).

The provision of the Digest option is entirely unrelated to the availability of archives, which will continue to be accessible using the procedures outlined in Section XIX.

You may choose your "Digest" option preference when you initially join CLIMLIST (

If you wish to change your "Digest" option, please visit here:


To unsubscribe from CLIMLIST, please visit here:

Only if you have trouble unsubscribing from CLIMLIST, please contact me by email (

You will receive confirmation of the deletion when it is made.

PLEASE do not just go away and wait for your account to expire. My mailbox will then be flooded with your bounced mail - this is also discourteous, selfish, and inconsiderate!


If you are going to be away from your host machine for more than a month, you may wish to stop CLIMLIST mailings temporarily by visiting here:

Simply enable or disable your "Mail Deliver" options accordingly.

Do not stop mailings temporarily by asking to be deleted or deleting yourself from the CLIMLIST list. You will be unable to subscribe again on your return and will probably have been removed from the Directory. I do not need the extra work involved in adding you again to the list and Directory.

If you want to scan the mailings you missed during the period you were away, you may view the archive file here:


Be very careful if you elect to use a 'vacation' program. Typically, such programs are invoked when you intend to be away for some time. They automatically mail a notice to the sender of mail received during this period saying that you are away and on what date you will return. Some 'intelligent' vacation programs will attempt to check for list mail and will refrain from sending the notice when the sending address indicates a list. Also, some programs will keep a log of the addresses of all senders to whom a notice has already been sent and will send only one such message or one only each week, month or similar.

'Stupid' vacation programs may not be this considerate and will mail notices to the sending address of every message received, even if the sender is a list. If this happens, the list administrator gets these notices and they can become very annoying! I will tolerate one per week. More frequent vacation notices will be treated like mail non-delivery notices, leading to your deletion after 3 days. A better way of dealing with a temporary absence is to follow the procedure described in the previous section for having your subscription set to NOMAIL.


Some institutions will permit you to forward your received mail, either within the institution or, if you are temporarily located elsewhere or have recently changed affiliations, to another site. These arrangements can be very useful. However, you should be aware of the problems such systems may cause.

Firstly, some forwarding programs send a notice to the sender of a forwarded message telling him/her that the message has been forwarded. For CLIMLIST mail, this comes to the list administrator. A constant stream of such notices can be very annoying and will be treated like mail non-delivery notices, leading to your deletion after 3 days. Secondly, when mail cannot be delivered at the site to which mail is being forwarded, it is returned to the list administrator. The explanation attached to the notice will usually mention either the host machine or the user's id or both, but these may well not correspond to any subscription address I have for CLIMLIST. In such circumstances, I can sometimes make an informed guess about the subscriber and follow the normal procedures when mail bounces. If I can only identify the site (and there are several subscribers at that site), I may have to set all those subscribers to a disabled mail setting, even though the problem is being caused by only one of them. So, be careful about using these forwarding mechanisms. Problems relating to errors in forwarding are very common and are most often a result of schemes for forwarding mail from an institution's mail hub machine to a workstation, and the error is often associated with a badly-configured mail system on the workstation.


IMPORTANT: DO NOT send mail for distribution to the address That procedure is appropriate for most lists but not for a moderated one like CLIMLIST.

Instead, just send the item you want distributed to me by email ( Please do not ask for distribution to be restricted to some subset of the membership - this cannot be done! Also, do not send printed material for distribution. I do not have time to type it up; if you want to have it distributed, you type the electronic version! Please note that 'reminder' messages, such as for a job vacancy, call for papers, etc. may be posted only after six months have elapsed since the last posting of that announcement.

When referring to a URL (web address) in an e-mail for CLIMLIST, and it is more than a few characters long (or it is "inline" text), please enclose it in angle brackets (<.../>).


Why? Email programs will break long lines, including URLs, often at 70 characters or at a length set by the user. If this happens within a URL, only that section on the first line will be "active", i.e. capable of being clicked to link to the page. Enclosing a URL in angle brackets causes a mail program to treat it as as a single "token" and the link will be preserved even if the email formatting software forces the text to wrap.

Finally, please don't send me a note of the type 'Do you know the answer to [some query] and, if not, please send this question to CLIMLIST' If I do not know, I'll tell you and YOU can compose the question for the list. I don't have time to edit your letter and will probably no longer have it!

The address listed in Section IV ( to be used exclusively for CLIMLIST purposes. Nevertheless, I would appreciate it if you would clearly identify an item you are sending me as being for CLIMLIST. You should also provide a suitable "Subject:" header for the item. The best way of satisfying both of these requirements is to send the email to me at with a 'Subject:' header including the words 'FOR CLIMLIST', e.g.

Subject: FOR CLIMLIST: Data needed on urban heat island magnitudes

Alternatively (but less satisfactorily) you can insert a few words at the top of the message indicating it is for the list or even send a separate accompanying explanatory message.

IMPORTANT: Items sent to me for distribution should be plain ASCII text. I cannot accept encoded text (e.g. MIME, HTML). Nor can I accept attached files. This has become such a common problem that some further discussion of this is necessary.

One problem is that users of many email systems send out mail in these formats without even realizing they are doing so. For example, the default_ setting of MS Outlook Express is to use such formats and mail I get from users of this software is doubly uninterruptable, generally consisting of a Mime-encoded version followed by an HTML version, with no plain text in sight! Of course, such messages are longer than plain text messages and hence impose a larger burden on the network and a larger disk storage demand.

When you send out mail in these forms, people using the same system as you will have no problems but those using systems with different operating systems and different mail software are not necessary going to see what you saw before you sent the mail - indeed, all they may see is an annoying mish-mash of garbled symbols.

In short, by sending email is a form other than plain text you are sending non-standard email and there is no reason to believe that any recipient can read it. Even if they can, with effort, read between the formatting symbols, they may be irritated by it, justifiably so in my opinion. Why should a person be expected to decode a file intended for a machine?



Remember that CLIMLIST is international in scope and includes subscribers from diverse racial, political and cultural backgrounds. It also includes both women and men. Please be careful not to cause offense in any statements you make in your mailings. While other lists have encountered such difficulties, CLIMLIST has not, to my knowledge, suffered from problems of this nature. Let's keep it that way!

On a more practical level, remember the following.

Summary: The following are NOT acceptable for posting:


Every CLIMLIST mailing starts with a 'label' which looks something like the following hypothetical example, although all the fields may not be present.

CLIMLIST Mailing Number 00-03-21
Forwarded From: USENET newsgroup sci.apocryphal.weird
Origin: (Archie Choke-Splutter)
>>>>> REPEAT - DO NOT USE REPLY! <<<<<

This label is intended to clarify the origin of the material included in the mailing. The CLIMLIST Mailing Number consists of the last two digits of the year, followed by the month number, followed by a sequence number for mailings that month. The first mailing of each month also carries the parenthetic statement 'Previous was YY-MM-NN', where YY-MM-NN is the mailing number of the last mailing of the previous month. It should be possible for you to spot if you have missed any distributions from this field of the label.

The 'Forwarded From:' field identifies items which have come from a USENET newsgroup or some other mailing list.

The 'Origin:' field indicates who sent the item to me or to the newsgroup or mailing list.


If a CLIMLIST mailing asks a question or asks for information which you can supply, or if you feel motivated to respond for other reasons, DO NOT USE YOUR MAILER'S AUTO-REPLY FACILITY.

Instead, you must type or cut-and-paste the address provided for responses in the body of the message or in the author's 'signature'. If you use 'reply', your response will go to me either directly or via LISTSERV. I will NOT forward your mail to its intended destination! I just do not have time.

CLIMLIST is moderated and is not used for 'chatty' discussions of issues. If you have asked something of the CLIMLIST subscribers and have received a number of useful replies, however, I do encourage you to summarize the responses in a single mailing (also restating the original inquiry or comment, or referring to the mailing number) and to send it to me for distribution (see section XV).


If you have missed some CLIMLIST mailings because of network problems, purged mailboxes, being set to NOMAIL etc, or you later realize you need an item which you have deleted from disk storage, you can get such 'back issues' from the CLIMLIST archive by visiting here:

All mailings sent out via the CLIMLIST distribution list are automatically archived and are available from the list server at Western Kentucky University. If the disk space reserved for CLIMLIST becomes full, older archives may be deleted. Currently, the CLIMLIST archives are available back to August 2002. The mailings are logged by the month in which they were sent out.  You may view the monthly archive sets by "Thread", "Subject", "Author", or "Date".  If you wish to download an archive set, simply use the right-click mouse option and choose, "save link as".


Most likely, one of the following applies:

Please note that I always intend to reply to email which requires a reply. If you have sent me an electronic message but have not received an expected response, the chances are I did not receive it.

Please refer questions and comments to:

Josh Durkee, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Meteorology Program
Department of Geography and Geology
Western Kentucky University                
Bowling Green, KY. 42101

tel:  270-745-8777 
fax: 270-745-6410 

CLIMLIST - Western Kentucky University - 1906 College Heights Blvd #31066 - Bowling Green, KY 42101


Last modified 2009-03-26