User Tools

Site Tools


wiki:systers:faq

Our Systers community





The information in this FAQ (Conversation Model) is in three sections:

  • Information about Systers culture, privacy on Systers and the rules for communicating with Systers both on and off the list. This is the section you MUST read and agree to before joining the list.
  • Information about how the Systers ”conversation model” is unique and how we use this to our advantage. Please read this when you join Systers, so that you can use the list effectively and collaboratively.
  • Practical information for managing your account on Systers. You need to know this information is here and that you can find it when you need it

[1] Systers culture and etiquette

[2] The Systers conversation model and how to use it.

[3] Practical Information

[1] Systers Culture and Etiquette:

Systers etiquette has evolved over the 24 years the list has been in existence, and is loosely enforced by the list maintainer when necessary. A general guideline to follow is to remember, when reading and posting, that the list consists of over 3100 professional women in computer science, who are here for an informative and supportive community.

[1.1] What is appropriate content for mail sent to the list?

Mail sent to the entire list should relate to women AND computing. Women on the list have access to other resources for technical information and for information about women in general. Systers is for women in computing to discuss topics that relate to being a woman and being a computing professional. We allow people to ask for help on purely technical topics — so long as the requester reminds respondents to send mail directly to her, not the list — because many women feel uncomfortable asking certain types of questions on lists dominated by men. Commercial messages are never appropriate. This includes offers to sell or give away items that belong to an individual Syster or to provide commercial services.

There will be announcement posts related to Anita Borg Institute programs, community events and updates to keep the community up-to-date with how to engage or support ABI and Systers mission.

Post about surveys or jobs, read sections [1.7] Job postings [1.11] Surveys

[1.2] I want to ask a question of the list. What should I do before I post?

If your question is a fact-based question — e.g., you want technical information (where do I find courses on Y, or how do I set up an SQL server) or you want other kinds of data (e.g., what’s the cost of living in location A or what does the law say about maternity benefits), please make an effort to look this up on the web before asking the Systers list.

Reserve Systers for situations where we can add value to the answers — to help you choose between two types of courses, or to tell you how to negotiate with your company for more maternity leave.

To help systers find things on the web (which is an art in itself), Lori Park (loripark at eecs dot harvard dot edu), has agreed to help posters who are having trouble finding information on the web. Lori is an expert on the Google search engine. Please send her mail if you are having trouble finding the information you think might be available on the web.

If you end up posting your question, please give us a summary of your search — either the most useful URLs you found, or the fact that there doesn’t seem to be anything available on this topic would be useful for systers who are also interested in the same issues. Then ask a question that goes beyond the facts you garnered from the web.

If your question is one of advice or support — should you finish grad school, how to deal with a difficult colleague — the above does not apply.

[1.3] Can I share what I read on Systers with others who are not on Systers?

ALL information shared on Systers is to stay within the membership. Unless posters specifically say that you can distribute the information outside the list, you should not share what you learn through Systers with men or women outside the list. If you wish to share some information, email the Syster who sent it to ask her permission. Once you receive permission from the Syster who started initial discussion, if you want to use any of the responses, you should also gain permission from all those who posted responses to that particular discussion. Additionally, if you know the discussion describes a particular person, you should also be mindful that discussing publicly may have indications where a situation can easily be determined. Please be mindful to always gain permission from Syster(s) who posted initial and responses of discussion to protect their privacy. When compiling summaries of responses sent to you privately, remove identifying information unless the syster specifically told you that you may use her name. Similarly, if you are replying publicly to a message sent to you privately, first get permission from the Syster who sent the message. Systers who post shareable information will save themselves some hassle if they mention in the post that the information can be circulated outside of Systers.

The one exception to the rule about reposting is if the information is a publicly available link that you could have found on your own. In that case, you can repost the link, but not the message itself, as it may contain original poster’s email address or Systers email headers. Do not refer to this as “something you learned on Systers”.

[1.4] What are appropriate ways to respond to emails on the list?

You may reply to the sender directly if you have advice or comments that are of interest to her personally but not the entire list. You may reply to the list if your remarks are likely to be of interest to a significant subset of the readership of 3100 women at different stages of life and in different sub-fields in computing.

Always keep both personal and public replies polite and respectful. Flames are not tolerated on this list. Please count to fifty before you hit the send key if you are angry at someone’s post. Voice inflection and body language do not exist in e-mail. What you took for a serious comment may have been a joke. Please give the sender the benefit of the doubt. If you are offended, please send an individual note asking the sender what she really meant instead of sending a flame.

If you are sent a flame, please forward the note to Her Systers’ Keeper (systers-keeper at systers dot org) and she will take care of the matter with the offender. If you have a problem with a Syster, please do not send your comments to the entire list, so that she is not embarrassed in front of the list. We are a supportive organization and we are not here to tear each other down.

We want to create an atmosphere where women feel free to post their opinions, concerns, problems, and joys to other women in the same situation. Using words like “please” and “thank you” go a long way towards making people feel more comfortable. If you are polite, responders to your posts will more likely be as polite. Also note that some systers are not as fluent in the English language as others, and this may come across as being impolite, or they may misunderstand your posting as impolite. Please, cut your systers some slack.

In general, treat the women on this list as you would want to be treated.

[1.5] When I post, how do I take into account that this is an international list?

If you are a US Syster, please remember that there are also Systers from over 50 other countries. They may not know the acronyms or laws that you are quoting, so please spell them out or explain them the first time you use them. When your topic will be of interest only to US systers, please indicate this in the subject line (U.S. ONLY).

Postings that are disrespectful to non-US citizens who are currently or have in the past been working in the US are inappropriate. Discussions of H1-B visas (US visas for foreign nationals with technical skills) are simply forbidden; we have proven that someone will say something offensive every time.

This also applies to Systers from other countries (substituting terminology specific to your language or issues specific to your country), but in practice, that hasn’t been a problem.

[1.6] I have a difficult situation that I don’t want linked to my name. Can I post it anonymously?

Yes, here is how you do it.

Sign up for a throw away email address at hotmail, gmail, yahoo or anywhere else. DO NOT put your real name or other identifying information in that account. Add the address you selected in 1 as an “additional incoming email address“. Don’t forget to click the Submit Your Changes button. Send your request from this new email — it will be accepted by Systers as a member posting. (That’s what “incoming” signifies) You will need to check your new account regularly, or if you forward mail you receive there to another account, be sure to reply from the new account to protect your anonymity. You will be able to correspond directly with people who reply to your posting, without giving away your identity.

It is possible for Her Systers’ Keeper to associate this new address with your systers account, though it would take a lot of work. So it is not perfectly anonymous. But other Systers will not be able to identify you (assuming you don’t put identifying details in your posting)

[1.7] Where can I send job ads or my resume?

Many systers would like to see more technical women working at their company or would like to help other systers find jobs. Send job ads for your company to systers+jobs at systers dot org. It is always nice to add a personal note if you know the hiring manager or anything about the group that is hiring. Additionally, if you don’t mind if Systers share this information, please indicate that in the job posting. This is only available to Systers members. We do not run a general job listing service, so recruiters who are interested in posting job notices should find a person within their company who is a Systers member to do the posting.

You may also send your resume to the same address, asking other systers to circulate it with groups that might need your skills.

Systers who are not interested in seeing job postings should unsubscribe to the jobs conversation. The instructions are at the bottom of any jobs message. If you later want to re-subscribe, see I unsubscribed to a conversation, but I’ve changed my mind. How do I start getting those messages sent to me again? The name of the jobs conversation is systers+jobs.

Additional area to post jobs is in our » Systers LinkedIn group.

[1.8] Can I post Volunteer positions?

Yes, you can post volunteer positions to the list and follow the same rule as 1.7. However, you must post volunteer positions to systers+volunteers at systers dot org.

[1.9] Can I post events to Systers?

Yes, if the event is no cost or is put on by a non-profit organization (and of course, is relevant to women AND technology).

If the event is for profit, you must submit the event details to Her Systers’ Keeper for approval. (Note: Events are not all rejected, but commercial spam is in the eye of the beholder, of course).

When you post an event, please include the location in the subject line (e.g. “New York City”, “UK”, etc.) and include any other relevant information in the subject line so those who are not going to find this posting relevant can skip over it.

[1.10] What other parts of the Systers’ community exist?

In addition to our Systers email community, there are several other systers lists for everything from entrepreneurs to academics. See the right hand column at www.systers.org for the current list. Women can join these lists without being Systers’ members.

There are systers groups on Facebook and LinkedIn; they are not particularly active, but it’s a nice way of finding other systers. Memberships are approved by volunteers using the Systers’ subscription list, so if you are joining under a different name or email address than you use for Systers, send mail to the group admin to let them know how to find you in the Systers membership list.

Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/groups/abi.systers/) LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=3593&trk=my_groups-b-grp-v)

[1.11] I’m doing a research project and I’d like to recruit participants from Systers. Is this allowed?

It depends. We consider all Systers to be busy women, and don’t want the list to be inundated by lots of research projects (it makes people less likely to respond to the studies we do allow to recruit). All research projects that recruit on systers must meet the following criteria:

The research must require a population of technical women. If you are doing research where you just need more people to fill out your survey, or you don’t have enough women participants, this is not a valid reason for disturbing 3000 women. There are many other venues where you can recruit participants (and if you are worried about male/female balance, you shouldn’t be using convenience sampling).

The researcher needs to have done her/his homework about what has already been learned in the area that they are investigating. Many of the research requests we get could be more easily resolved with a good Google search. Please do your homework and find out what is out there.

Before approving a request to Systers for participants, Her Systers’ Keeper must review your instrument (the survey, the interview script – some detailed information about what you plan to ask your participants to do) AND some information about your research hypotheses, how you will protect the data you gather, how you intend to analyze the data (at a high level). If you are with a university, the document you wrote up for your Human Subjects committee (IRB in the US) is probably the right level of detail. If it’s not a university, you will be held to a higher standard, so writing up an equivalent document would be a good start.

Please send your request, with accompanying materials, to systers-keeper at systers dot org. Her Systers’ Keeper will work with you to make sure this is the best possible experience for Systers’ members and for you.

We do allow non-members to use Systers as a recruitment population if they meet the criteria listed above. Again, send the information to Her Systers’ Keeper, and if it is approved, she will post a request for participation to the list.

[2] The Systers conversational model and how to use it.

[2.1] What are Systers conversations, and how can I use them to see only messages that are of interest to me?

You start a conversation in Systers by sending mail to systers+new at systers dot org. This tells the system that your message is the beginning of a new conversation. In the Systers system, you can be set up to see all messages in a conversation until you unsubscribe (the default) or to only see the first message in each new conversation until you subscribe to that conversation.

If you are set up to see all messages, when you encounter a conversation that no longer interests you, follow the link at the bottom of the message to be sent to an unsubscribe page. (You may have to enter your password, to ensure that it is you who is unsubscribing; this is saved in a cookie, so you should only have to do this once, assuming you don’t clear your cookies in between). This will unsubscribe you to this conversation only. If additional messages in this conversation were sent before you unsubscribed, you will find them in your inbox, but you will stop receiving future messages from this conversation. You can also unsubscribe to a conversation by sending email to systers+topic+unsubscribe at systers dot org , but this is not as reliable. If you use this method, please leave the subject line of your email empty. If you put “unsubscribe” in the subject line it will take longer, and may get you unsubscribed from the entire list.

If you are set up to see only the first message of any conversation, when you see a posting that interests you, follow the link at the bottom of the message to subscribe to the conversation. You may miss a few messages if they arrive before you subscribe, but you will see all future messages from this conversation.

[2.2] How do I change whether I am automatically subscribed to new conversations?

To change your settings for new conversations:

Log on at http://www.systers.org/mailman/listinfo/systers#subscribers Enter the email address you receive your Systers mail in the text box at the very bottom of the page. Click on the “Unsubscribe or edit options” button to the right of the text box. On the next page, enter your password and click Login. If you have forgotten your password, click Remind to have a password reminder sent to you.

On the next page, scroll down to the section called Your Subscription Options; the second item is “Subscribed to new conversations?”. Click Yes to see all messages; click No to only see the first message in each new conversation. Scroll down to the very bottom of the page, and click on the “Submit My Changes” button.

[2.3] I unsubscribed to a conversation, but I’ve changed my mind. How do I start getting those messages sent to me again?

You will need to find a message sent to that conversation (How do I access Systers archives?). Determine what the email address for the conversation is. It will look something like systers+topic3 at systers dot org. (the topic3 part will be unique to that conversation). Send mail to systers+topic3+subscribe at systers dot org to resubscribe. Do not put anything in the subject line or the message body.

Messages that were sent between the time that you unsubscribed and resubscribed will not be sent to you. You can read them in the archives (How do I access Systers archives?)

[3] Practical information

[3.1] How do I post a message to Systers?

To post to Systers, send mail to systers+new at systers dot org. If you get a reply saying Systers does not recognize you as a syster, see When I try to post to Systers, it says I’m not a member. How do I fix that?

[3.2] How do I reply to a message sent to Systers?

You need to decide whether to reply to only the sender or to the sender and the list. If you use your mailer’s Reply command, your message will go only to the sender. If you use Reply-all, it will go to the list.

You will notice that the reply to the list goes to something like systers+topic at systers dot org. Each conversation in Systers is assigned a topic word, and individual systers can opt in and out of particular conversations. (See What are Systers conversations? for more information.) For that reason, please do NOT use Reply to start a new conversation. Systers who opted out of the previous conversation will not receive your message, and those who are not interested in your conversation will have to put up with the responses sent to your conversation if they want to continue to see messages about the previous conversation. Please use the conversation system as it was intended.

If you receive the Systers digest, see Does Systers have a digest option? for how to reply from the digest.

[3.3] How do I unsubscribe from Systers?

To stop getting messages from Systers, you can either remove yourself entirely or stay part of Systers and turn off message delivery. The details are described below.

Option 1: Use the web to remove yourself from Systers.

Log on to Systers at http://www.systers.org/mailman/listinfo/systers#subscribers Enter the email address where you receive your Systers mail in the text box at the very bottom of the page. Click on the “Unsubscribe or edit options” button to the right of the text box. On the next page, click the Unsubscribe button. You will be sent a confirmation email to the address where you receive your Systers mail (to prevent someone from unsubscribing you without your knowledge). You are not unsubscribed until you respond to that email. Usually, just replying to the message is enough. Do it quickly — the confirmation code expires in a few days, and you will have to start over again. If you can no longer access the mail sent to the address where you receive Systers mail, enter your password and click Login on this page. On the next page, you will see a section called “Unsubscribing from Systers”. Check the box marked “Yes, I really want to unsubscribe” and then click on the Unsubscribe button. No confirmation will be required.

If you can’t remember your password, and you can’t have it sent to you at the address where you receive your Systers mail, send mail to systers-owner at systers dot org, explaining the situation and telling them your name and the email address where you believe you receive Systers mail. We will manually unsubscribe you.

Option 2: Change your profile via the web so that mail delivery is disabled. This is a good way to stop mail temporarily, e.g., when you go on vacation.

Log on at http://www.systers.org/mailman/listinfo/systers#subscribers Enter the email address where you receive your Systers mail in the text box at the very bottom of the page. Click on the “Unsubscribe or edit options” button to the right of the text box. On the next page, enter your password and click Login. If you have forgotten your password, click Remind to have a password reminder sent to you. On the next page, scroll down to the section called Your Subscription Options; the first one should be Mail Delivery. Check the Disabled radio button. Scroll down to the very bottom of the page, and click on the “Submit My Changes” button. Don’t forget to reverse this process when you want to start getting Systers mail again.

[3.4] How do I temporarily turn Systers mail off (“nomail”) or on?

Change your profile via the web so that mail delivery is disabled. This is a good way to stop mail temporarily, e.g., when you go on vacation.

Log on at http://www.systers.org/mailman/listinfo/systers#subscribers Enter the email address where you receive your Systers mail in the text box at the very bottom of the page. Click on the “Unsubscribe or edit options” button to the right of the text box. On the next page, enter your password and click Login. If you have forgotten your password, click Remind to have a password reminder sent to you. On the next page, scroll down to the section called Your Subscription Options; the first one should be Mail Delivery. Check the Disabled radio button. Scroll down to the very bottom of the page, and click on the “Submit My Changes” button. Don’t forget to reverse this process when you want to start getting Systers mail again.

[3.5] How do I continue getting Systers mail when my email address changes?

Log on at http://www.systers.org/mailman/listinfo/systers#subscribers Enter the email address where you receive your Systers mail in the text box at the very bottom of the page. Click on the “Unsubscribe or edit options” button to the right of the text box. On the next page, enter your password and click Login. If you have forgotten your password, click Remind to have a password reminder sent to the email address where you receive your Systers mail. Scroll down to the very bottom of the page to the “Changing your Systers membership information” section. Enter your new email address in the text box next to “New address” and in the text box next to “Again to confirm”. Then click on the “Change My Address and Name” button. You will be sent a confirmation message to your NEW address. You must click on the link in that email in order to activate the change of address. Sometimes these confirmation messages end up in spam folders, so be sure to check there if you don’t get the email in about an hour. It will be sent from systers-owner.

[3.6] When I try to post to Systers, it says I’m not a member. How do I fix that?

Systers uses your email address to determine whether you are a Systers member. If for some reason does not recognize your email address, it is most likely because you are posting from a different address than the email address where you receive your Systers mail.

Option 1: Change your email address to the email address you are sending from

First, make sure that the return address in your email is exactly the same as the email address listed as your primary address in Systers. Sometimes your mail client provides a slightly different outgoing address — e.g. name@cs.uni.edu and name@uni.edu may go to the same place, but Mailman won’t recognize them as the same. You may have to send yourself a message and check the From: line to find out exactly what return address you are sending out. If they disagree, you may want to change your primary address to be your outgoing address (see How do I continue getting Systers mail when my email address changes? for how to do this).

Option 2: Add additional email addresses that Systers will recognize as you.

Log on at http://www.systers.org/mailman/listinfo/systers#subscribers Enter the email address where you receive your Systers mail in the text box at the very bottom of the page. Click on the “Unsubscribe or edit options” button to the right of the text box. On the next page, enter your password and click Login. If you have forgotten your password, click Remind to have a password reminder sent to the email address where you receive your Systers mail. On the next page, scroll down to the section called Your Subscription Options; the third item is “Other incoming email addresses”. Enter the new email addresses (beyond the current address you receive your Systers mail) that Systers should recognize as you. Be careful to make sure you have typed correctly – there is no test here to make sure you have a correct address.. Scroll down to the very bottom of the page, and click on the “Submit My Changes” button.

[3.7] How do I access the Systers archives?

The archives only cover postings since 2003, and are organized by month. They aren’t really searchable; they must be browsed. This makes them of limited value (but we are looking for volunteers to help implement a better archive; send mail to systers-keeper at systers dot org to volunteer). That said, they are useful for browsing, and for catching up on recent postings you missed.

Log on at http://www.systers.org/mailman/listinfo/systers#subscribers Enter the email address you receive your Systers mail in the text box at the very bottom of the page. Click on the “Unsubscribe or edit options” button to the right of the text box. On the next page, enter your password and click Login. If you have forgotten your password, click Remind to have a password reminder sent to you. On the next page, click on the link to Systers Archives (the 4th link from the top). On the resulting page, you will see a table of months. The Thread view is the most useful, as it will show all messages (for that month) in a single conversation together (a conversation may cross month boundaries, so you will need to view both months to see all the messages.), but other views can be useful for special purposes. Click on the View you want, and on the next page, click on the subject line for any message you want to see.

[3.8] Does Systers have a digest option?

Yes, you can subscribe to systers via a daily digest. To do so

Log on at http://www.systers.org/mailman/listinfo/systers#subscribers Enter the email address you receive your Systers mail in the text box at the very bottom of the page. Click on the “Unsubscribe or edit options” button to the right of the text box. On the next page, enter your password and click Login. If you have forgotten your password, click Remind to have a password reminder sent to you. On the next page, scroll down to the section called Your Subscription Options; the fifth item is “Set Digest Mode”. Click On to get a daily digest. Scroll down to the very bottom of the page, and click on the “Submit My Changes” button. Please note that there are several disadvantages to getting Systers’ mail in the form of a digest. They include:

You will not be able to make use of the conversation feature to control which messages you see. You get them all. It’s challenging to reply to a digest message. You cannot use reply from the digest. You must find the name of the conversation you are replying to and send your reply to that conversation (the email address will look something like systers+topic3 at systers dot org). Also, for gmail readers, if you don’t use the exact same subject line, the message will be detached from its related messages. Most systers receive individual messages, so they aren’t aware of all that extra junk that digest users must scroll past. We used to try to remind people to clip off the extra text, but it’s a hopeless cause. Digest readers complain of losing important messages (such as those from Her Systers’ Keeper) in the digest. We suggest that instead of the digest, you filter the messages into a folder (most mail clients will make it clear when you have unread messages in one of your folders) and read the messages from there if you find that Systers mail overwhelms your inbox. See the next item for some filtering hints. Send mail to systers-owner at systers dot org if you need assistance on how to create a filter on your mail client.

[3.9] How can I filter Systers mail in my email system?

The system prepends [Systers] to the beginning of the subject line of any Systers message. You can use that to filter Systers mail.

[3.10] Systers has been quiet lately. Is it me, or is the system down?

Sometimes the system goes down and those of us who are supposedly in charge don’t notice it. We appreciate it when other systers inform us of the problem. There are several things you can do to check whether Systers is up.

See if you can get to www.systers.org If not, the system is definitely down. Send mail to robin at jeffries dot org, because, most likely systers.org email addresses are also down (you will have to remember this address, since you won’t be able to see this FAQ if the web site is down.)

If you can get to the site, but email to systers dot org does not work, there should be something posted on the homepage about the outage and when we expect to be back up. If there is nothing there, most likely we don’t know the system is down. Send mail to robin at jeffries dot org to let us know.

Check the most recent archives (see How do I access the Systers archives?). If there are messages that you haven’t seen, something is wrong with your subscription. Log in to Systers and see if any of your settings seem wrong. Check especially your email address and Mail Delivery options (see How do I temporarily turn Systers mail off (“nomail”) or on? and How do I continue getting Systers mail when my email address changes? for fixes.) If you can’t find anything wrong, send email to systers-owner at systers dot org. We will research the problem.

[3.11] Why doesn’t Mailman like attachments?

In systers, we reject most attachments from postings. This allows us to keep viruses out, and also makes it easier for those who get their systers mail via the digest, since it’s hard for them to connect an attachment to a specific message. So if you sent a file, a picture, etc. as part of your post, the message was probably rejected by the system. You will need to resend. Please either include the file as text in your message or include a link to the file or image.

wiki/systers/faq.txt · Last modified: 2017/02/14 20:56 by systerskeeper