Euro-Sappho Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Last updated November 29, 2003

Basic List Info

Euro-Sappho is a list for sapphic discussion on topics that are mainly of interest to European dykes. While any woman can join, we expect subscribers to keep the international/European nature of the list in mind. The postings can be in any of the major European languages.

List membership is open to women only, but any woman can send mail to the list address, as long as the posting is related to the general purpose of the list.

1. How to subscribe?

If you wish to subscribe, send mail to majordomo@sappho.net with the following command line:

subscribe euro-sappho your@address

and to unsubscribe:

unsubscribe euro-sappho your@address

If you encounter any problems with subscribing, write to us using the contact form at http://www.sappho.net/euro-sappho/contact.html.

2. The digest version

The digest version of Euro-Sappho is an alternative to receiving all postings separately. There will be packages containing several postings collected into larger pieces of mail. Their subject line will look like this:

Subject: Euro-Sappho Digest V1 #1

so you will have an easy time finding them in your mail.

Which to choose, digest or separate postings?

If you only read your mail very seldom, and if there are restrictions on your system that are based on the numbers of incoming pieces of mail (rather than their total bytes), or if you feel you prefer to read your mail in digest form in general, the digest is a good alternative.

But if you want to get your euro-sappho messages as soon as they are distributed, and like to see them separately, you should get the regular, undigested list mail.

How to subscribe to the digest version?

Send a request to majordomo@sappho.net with this command:

subscribe euro-sappho-digest your@address

How to switch to the digest if you are already subscribed? First, subscribe to the euro-sappho-digest, as described above, and once you receive a notification that your request has been approved, send majordomo@sappho.net another command:

unsubscribe euro-sappho your@address

(replace your@address with your e-mail address)

3. Euro-Sappho homepage and picture archives

Euro-Sappho has a www homepage: http://www.sappho.net/euro-sappho/

There used to be an Euro-Sappho picture archive, maintained by Indina Beuche, but since DykesWorld.de was discontinued, it is no longer online.

4. Euro-Sappho helpdesk

Euro-Sappho-help-desk was a group of euro-sapphites who used to answer your questions. This service has been discontinued.

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List history and facts

1. When and why was the list started?

Euro-Sappho was started in beginning of July, 1994. The lesbian oriented lists in existence were rather predominantly U.S. American, due to the fact that U.S. is where the Internet started its existence as the web weaving the rest of the globe together. This has meant in practice that there have been many more U.S. Internet users for a longer time than there have been Europeans (or others). Many non-U.S. dykes were subscribed to the existing lists, but often felt they were a little marginal and missing their own space. Also, many U.S. American dykes felt a need for a more international electronic forum.

2. Why an European list, why not an international list?

Euro-Sappho was started as an European list because of many reasons. The system on which the list exists in a physical sense, is in Europe. It started on seta.fi, owned and run by SETA, the Finnish national organization for GLBT rights, but has since been transferred elsewhere and now runs on sappho.net.

Another reason for the European emphasis is to encourage participation by lesbians from Europe, and making them feel that they are on their home turf, thus empowering them in their identity, particularly as fairly new Internet users. We have many subscribers from "down under" (Australia, NZ) and from Canada, etc. and they are welcome here. However, we don't presume to be international enough to claim this list can take care of their particular needs.

There now exists many spaces for European lesbians, so that the list has been growing smaller and more quiet since late 1990's.

3. Who can join Euro-Sappho?

Any woman can join the list, no matter what is her geographical orientation. Because of lack of resources, not all non-European requests can usually be approved promptly. If you are asked to wait for some time before joining, be patient, and write back after the given time.

Also, "women only" doesn't exclude women who don't identify as lesbians, but the list focus remains rather lesbian. Because of the wide variation in lifestyles and cultural backgrounds of the euro-sappho subscribers, we are open to many differences and varying opinions and viewpoints.

4. Who runs the list?

The listowner is Eva Isaksson. The list administration consists of stuff like this:

"One has to make the decisions to add new subscribers, on basis of subscription requests forwarded to the majordomo list software. One has to check that a subscriber is female (or aware that the list is for women only). In uncertain, hard to check cases, one just has to trust a subscriber to be female if she is aware of the women-only requirement and still wants to join.

Also, because the number of subscribers from outside Europe needs to be kept reasonable, North American requests, which are often quite numerous, end up on a waiting list (although all who write back after a set time will be accepted).

My "job" as a listowner is volunteer work that I like to do, and it includes trouble-shooting and answering various queries. In practice, I share much of the work with other volunteers and the euro-sappho helpdesk."

Read more views and advice from the listowner in her essay
"Living with Lesbian Lists"

5. Who makes the rules?

We try to have as few rules as possible. However, if an explicit policy or decision on some list matter really will be needed, the listowner has the final word, as on any list by established Internet usage. Usually, the emphasis is on being flexible and open minded, and keeping the purpose of the list in mind when in doubt.

6. Story telling tradition: Amazonia & other stories

From the early days of Eurosappho stems the tradition of writing fantasy stories on the list. Most of them are located in the virtual land of Amazonia. Others, however, are located in virtual Finland, Sweden, Netherlands etc.

The stories are no longer written, but most them are archived at http://www.sappho.net/amazonia.

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Euro-sappho Posting guidelines

1. Are there some restrictions as to what can be posted?

Not really. We used to have a technical problem with mail volumes, but that was resolved. However, there are some subscribers who have much more clumsy technology than others. There still are lousy connections, slow modems, and limited access to accounts. Because of this, please try to edit quoted text so that there is as little of it as possible. Screenfuls of quoted text can feel very frustrating when someone is dependent on a slow connection or is on digest.

The list does not allow file attachments. They are automatically removed from all postings that contain them.

(Un-)subscriptions are handled by a machine that reacts to the word `(un)subscribe', so, if you use the word (un)subscribe in posting to the list, be sure to make it unrecognisable for the machine by adding another ascii token. For instance: _subscribe.

Never post chain letters, and it is strongly advisable not to post virus warnings, as most are hoaxes. Check the computer virus myths homepage if in doubt, or consult the list administration.

2. What about warnings?

If you are going to post something with an explicit erotic content, please include a warning in beginning of your posting. These warnings have really been necessary a few times. Also, if you're going to include other list members in your fantasy, it's better to check with them first if your posting is going to be personal or explicit.

There are, of course, more topics that might upset other listmembers if they are confronted with them without a warning (e.g. abuse and such). It is up to your own judgement if you should announce the contents of your posting in the subject header or in the first line so that women who want to can skip that topic.

3. What languages can I use?

Postings can be in any major European language. But really, they can be in any language, as long as there are enough of you to read them. Don't feel shy to write in German, for example, if you want to.

4. Flamewars? Have we had any yet?

There has been a rather flame free atmosphere so far. We have had some disagreements, though. In general, the attitude is that, with so many different cultures and languages on this list, one has to be lenient to postings that seem offensive at first sight. Ask for an explanation before chastising anyone, it might just be a misunderstanding caused by language or cultural differences. And, please, don't begin a posting with sentences like "I probably shall be flamed for this", because that is mostly felt as an insult by all the women that try hard to understand you are saying.

5. What about controversial topics?

On every mailing list topics occur that can evoke intense emotions and give rise to the expression of strong personal views. On Euro-sappho there certainly is room for such discussions, provided that the participants respect the other persons' personal choices, preferences and opinions, *even if they don't understand them*. Respect is the key word here, and it also (or more so) applies in the heat of an ongoing argument.

On the 'net there seems to be an irregular cycle of topics raised. So, controversial issues already discussed several times, will certainly pop up again in the future. For some listmembers these topics will be new, and others will see them pass by for the umptieth time. Threads on, for instance, (BD)SM- related topics or (lesbian) separatism have repeatedly occured on Euro-sappho, raising its temperature by a few degrees but until now without actually going up in flames. So, experience has learned that these type of topics can be discussed quite openly and honestly on Euro-sappho if one expresses one's opinions according to an important guideline.

The listowner phrased it like this:

[One should not] ... "presume to know whether the behaviours and choices that others have made are wise, or good, or to "know better" why they have made their choices, or to question them directly. You can write personally, or generally, giving your humble or less humble opinion, as long as it is - _your_ opinion, based on _your_ experience and _your_ feelings. No one can take those from you (except for yourself). And respectively, if another woman tells you what makes her passionate, loving, or vulnerable, and what she feels is in the deep core of her erotic being, you should not treat that lightly.
My advice is: "don't assume. Instead, listen." "

6. What about copyright?

If you want to use stories, other texts (or even ascii drawings, such as parrots), posted by others to Euro-Sappho, on or outside the mailing list (e.g., in print), it is important to note the following:

Every text (let's just talk text, because it's about e-mail) is copyrighted, unless explicitely is stated that it's not. Internationally the rules about copyright don't differ that much, most countries follow the rules as set at the 1989 Berne Copyright Convention. Asking for permission isn't just a matter of being polite, it's something you *have* to do.

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