The VETPROF FAQ (Frequently asked questions)
Last updated April 24, 2014.

Thank you for referencing this document before asking the listowners.

This FAQ page is divided into two parts: Guidelines and Technical Procedures.


Table of Contents

Guidelines section

  • What is the history of VETPROF, and why do I occasionally see the terms VETPLUS and VETPLUS-L?
  • How much does it cost? How long is the free trial, and what if I simply cannot afford the annual fee?
  • Are there commercial sponsors or advertisements?
  • How does billing work?
  • Security questions, including "how do I get a list of subscribers"?
  • List etiquette

  • I still don't get it. How do I contact the list administrators?

    Technical procedures section

  • What is a list? How do I send messages to it?
  • What is the status of my subscription? How do I check my settings?
  • I stopped getting VETPROF mail. How do I find out if the list is working, or if I got unsubscribed, or what?
  • I don't want to read VETPROF e-mail for a while. How can I turn it off and on again? How do I receive the list mail as a single daily digest?
  • My messages keep getting returned because the list says I'm sending from an unsubscribed a-mail address. How do I fix this?
  • How do I change the address that is subscribed to the list?
  • I remember a really neat message regarding portosystemic shunts. How do search the VETPROF archives for this? Also, I my server went down and I missed a day. How do I read the mail I missed?
  • How do I post images to the list?
  • I still don't get it. How do I contact the list administrators?


    Guidelines

    History of VETPROF

    In 1995 Jeff Parke and Allan Berger co-founded the VETPLUS-L e-mail list. The first of its kind, VETPLUS-L allowed professional communication between veterinarians, vet students, clinical staff, and veterinary researchers. VETPLUS-L was a fantastic success. Its rapid growth required nearly continuous evolution.

    By 1997, the task of keeping VETPLUS-L operating smoothly became a significant effort and began to accumulate direct costs for software, equipment, and dedicated internet access. Corporate sponsorship and voluntary contributions by list subscribers met operating needs until April of 2000.

    VETPLUS-L outgrew its resources in April 2000, necessitating a wholescale move to new software. This split the list into a premium VETPROF service (with much better software and support) and a free VETPLUS version. Parallel services were maintained for almost two years.

    By late 2002, most of the list activity was occurring on the supported VETPROF list. While there were a large number of VETPLUS members, the activity on that list was low, and the efforts of maintaining both services was judged to be too burdensome by the list owners. After 6 months of discussion on the lists, VETPLUS was discontinued on January 1, 2003 leaving only the VETPROF version.


    How much does it cost?
    We have to pay for a LISTSERV license, maintain a computer and Internet connectivity, and more importantly, spend many hours annually keeping the infrastructure and membershipd continuity going. For years, we have asked for a donation of $25 US per year. Students and people who honestly cannot afford that are welcome to free membership. Detailed payment options can be found here.

    New subscribers get an automatic free trial for 6 months before being asked to pay an annual contribution. Veterinary students and people for which US $25 per year creates a bona fide financial hardship can apply for a fee waiver by filling out the form here.


    Are there commercial sponsors?
    We used to solicit help from veterinary commercial interests, and in the 90's and early 2000's we had a handful of vendors supporting us financially. The list is now supported solely by its members, through small annual contributions. Those who cannot afford this, or are veterinary students, are on the list for free.


    How does billing work?
    Around the time your sponsorship or free subscription expires, we'll send a reminder by personal e-mail which contains instructions for payment. We will send a late reminder (or sometimes two) before we remove people who do not respond with support or ask for free membership.

    No participant will ever be billed for past services. We have no mechanism to collect fees without your explicit consent. We keep no credit card information or other ways to automatically collect payments. Should you choose not to rejoin the VETPROF list, we will not knowingly continue to send bills, spam, or otherwise pester you. See also security below.

    If you're unsure when your membership expires, please email VETPROF managers. Or you can just wait to receive a bill in the month before your current subscription or free trial expires.


    Security of list information

    "How do I get a list of subscribers to VETPROF?"

    Due to attempts by commercial/spamming interests to "invade" the list, we have disabled commands that allow users to retrieve the list of recipients. In general we will not give out a subscriber's e-mail addresses or any other personal information, although we may try to contact that person on your behalf to allow them respond to you.

    Allan Berger or Jeff Parke can be reached by email VETPROF managers

    Spam

    If you think list security has been breached, we take this stuff seriously. Email VETPROF managers (Jeff or Allan) and we'll look into it.


    List Etiquette

    Is there a policy on Abbreviation Use (AU)?

    Yes, Abbreviation Use (AU) is a necessary evil in all technical fields. The international character of VETPROF results in even more AU variants than most other places. We ask that all postings give full wording for abbreviations the first time they are invoked, as in this paragraph's use of "AU."

    Found an abbreviation you can't figure out? The Society of Practising Veterinary Surgeons maintains an excellent web page at http://www.spvs.org.uk/new_site/v2/clinical_acronyms.php

    What is all the fuss about personal postings to the list?Why don't people just use their delete keys to ignore such postings? Why the focus on staying on topic?

    Lots of chatty personal notes sent to everyone on the list waste resources. We believe most of you are busy professionals. We do not want to have a list composed only of proficient e-mail addicts who can race through 50+ e-mail messages in a couple of minutes, using their delete keys like machine guns.

    It is important to think twice before sending a posting to the whole list. Ask yourself: "Is this something I might better send via personal e-mail?" If it's a message that is only likely to interest one or two people, send by private mail directly to those one or two people.

    Some suggestions to keep content quality high:

    *Ask* people who post interesting cases to summarize the responses they get when you send them a personal e-mail response. More people doing this will decrease the amount of repetition seen when everyone sends the similar comments to an individual using the entire list as the vehicle for the comment.

    Please consider that the cost of e-mail is paid by the recipient, not the sender. Many of us are now adept at deleting email, and we often have high speed Internet. Be aware that the list goes to members who are still on dial up, and some are using older equipment with less capable email programs.

    Staying "on topic"

    This list is for discussions of topics of interest in veterinary medicine. That can cover a lot of territory.

    Is it okay for students to use the list for classwork? In the spring of 1996, we decided to discourage the use of these lists by veterinary students for assigned classwork. This was because the list was inundated with students seeking information for assignments. Should I adjust my e-mail software for the lists? List messages should be plain text. The list software usually converts messages to plain text, so it is good to start with that. File attachments are not accepted. If you want to post something special, put the information on a web page and send the address of the page to the list. We have an automated web site for image submission, see also "How do I post images to the list?". The list owners can help you with this and provide other types of web space if necessary.

    email VETPROF managers

    Can I reach a subset of list members?

    If you want to reach a subset of list subscribers, requests to the list owners (email VETPROF managers). Provided we can easily sort our database to identify the likely targets, we will usually send these messages for you by private mail.

    See also security.

    Can I post advertisements for used equipment or job offers?

    We discourage this type of posting because these messages usually appeal to an extremely small group of list members and aren't usually of general interest. Please contact the list owners before sending such a message to the entire list. See also How do I reach a subset of list members.


    I still don't get it. How do I contact the list administrators?

    Questions, comments, and/or suggestions? E-mail us!

    Jeff Parke, DVM, MS
    Allan Berger, DVM, PhD

    VETPROF co-managers email VETPROF managers


    Technical procedures

    What is a list? How do I send messages to it?

    The VETPROF list is a way to send e-mail messages to hundreds of veterinary professionals. "Sending a message to the list" means sending a message to the e-mail address:

    vetprof@vetprof.info

    This message will go to all of the active members of VETPROF.

    When sending a message to the list, you must use the same e-mail address that receives VETPROF messages. If you send from an address that is not subscribed to the list, your message will be returned with an explanation of the mistake. Simply re-send the message from your correct (subscribed) e-mail address.

    You can also use the WWW interface to post to the list. There is a link for posting found at the archives/settings link, which is:

    http://vetprof.info/cgi-bin/wa?P1&L=VETPROF

    See the next item for assigning yourself a password if you haven't already done so and have a cookie stored in your web browser.


    What is the status of my subscription? How do I check my settings?

    The easiest way to check your settings is to go to the web page:

    http://vetprof.info/cgi-bin/wa?SUBED1=VETPROF

    Click on the choice "Join or leave the list (or change setting)"

    Click on "login with your LISTSERV password and update your subscription interactively"

    Follow the instructions to get a password if you don't already have one (this can be done very quickly, and you can easily reset your password if you have forgotten an old one). You will get a confirmation e-mail back from the LISTSERV before your password is changed -- follow the instruction in the e-mail message and your password will be set.

    Once you have a password, enter you e-mail address and the password. Your settings will magically appear. Explanations of the settings are available on that page as well.

    The LISTSERV also supports an e-mail interface for checking and making changes. If you want to use it, you're welcome to. Don't feel badly about being old-fashioned; you're in good company. Send the command "HELP" in the body of an e-mail message to LISTSERV@VETPROF.info and you will get instructions by e-mail.


    I stopped getting VETPROF mail. How do I find out if the list is working, or if I got unsubscribed, or what?

    Check your settings by following the instructions above using the "http://vetprof.info/cgi-bin/wa?SUBED1=VETPROF web page. It is very possible that your account was reset to "Mail delivery disabled temporarily, NOMAIL". You can easily change it back using this web page.

    If the web site says that your e-mail address is "not currently subscribed," then it is likely that your address had errors and was deleted, you unsubscribed accidentally, or we missed an annual sponsorship payment. Please email VETPROF managers and we can trace the problem.


    I don't want to read VETPROF e-mail for a while. How can I turn it off and on again? How do I receive the list mail as a single daily digest?

    Check your settings by following the instructions above using the http://vetprof.info/cgi-bin/wa?SUBED1=VETPROF web page.

    To stop your mail, click the box "Mail delivery disabled temporarily, NOMAIL" and Update options.

    This web page also lists e-mail options.
    Regular: The list will send a separate message for each VETPROF posting. Most subscribers use this.
    Digest (traditional): The list will send one message a day. That one message will contain all of the messages from the last 24 hours. This is a good setting for people who want all of the messages, but prefer them to be organized in a single message.

    Other options: there are several subtle variations on digests, mail headers, and other stuff. These are explained where these other options are listed.


    My messages keep getting returned because the list says I'm sending from an unsubscribed a-mail address. How do I fix this?

    You need to make sure you are sending messages from the same e-mail address that the list sends messages to. If your e-mail address has changed, or if you gave us the incorrect e-mail address when you joined the list, ask the list owners to change your address for you.

    email VETPROF managers


    How do I change the address that is subscribed to the list?

    E-mail the list owners with your request. Be sure to tell us both the old address and the new address (and be sure you tell us which is which).

    email VETPROF managers


    I remember a really neat message regarding portosystemic shunts. How do search the VETPROF archives for this? Also, I my server went down and I missed a day. How do I read the mail I missed?

    The last 19 years of VETPROF, VETPLUS, and VETPLUS-L messages are on-line and searchable.

    Go to http://vetprof.info/cgi-bin/wa?A0=VETPROF. You will have to get a password and log in (explained above for checking settings). You'll find a full set of search options

    If you missed mail, you will also see that you can read messages on line. Click on the month you want to read. There are a variety of options for how to order and format the messages in an icon bar at the top of the page. Experiment!


    How do I post images to the list?

    Image attachments can be posted if they are well under 1 megabyte in size. All medical images and radiographs can be digitally reduced to under a megabyte and still show more than enough information, but you need to know how to use Photoshop, GraphicConverter or other post-processing software to do this.


    I still don't get it. How do I contact the list administrators?

    VETPROF is actively supported by Drs. Jeff Parke and Allan Berger. If you have a question, e-mail us!

    email VETPROF managers


    Suggestions/questions? Email us!

    Jeff Parke DVM, MS
    Allan Berger, DVM, PhD

    VETPROF co-managers