HSP List Serv FAQ

Note: The commands and e-mail addresses in this FAQ are shown in uppercase. This is for emphasis and clarity only, commands may be entered in either uppercase or lowercase.

  • What is the purpose of HSP-L?

    HSP-L is an online community support/information service for individuals concerned with Hereditary (and Sporadic) Spastic Paraplegia (HSP) and Primary Lateral Sclerosis PLS). The HSP-L list was started by Cheryl Schumer on August 12, 1997 for the HSP community. It was donated to the SPF after its incorporation in 2002 and now serves both the HSP and PLS communities. The name "HSP-L" was retained to maintain valuable archives.

  • What is LISTSERV?

    LISTSERV is the software program that handles the distribution list for the mailings, and can perform tasks based on commands that are sent to it. The LISTSERV program for the HSP-L list is hosted by the University of Georgia.

  • What is the difference between sending mail to HSP-L vs. LISTSERV?

    When you want to send a MESSAGE to the list to be distributed to the other subscribers, it must be sent to: If you want to send a command to the listserv program – for example, to subscribe or unsubscribe, the command should be sent to:

    Commands should be sent in the body (not the subject line) of the message. The subject line may be left blank.

  • How do I subscribe to HSP-L?

    To subscribe by e-mail, send the following command by e-mail to the LISTSERV at the address


    For example: SUBSCRIBE HSP-L John Doe

    Note: the LISTSERV program identifies the e-mail address to be subscribed by reading it from the header of your message, so you must send the e-mail from the address you want to subscribe. You may also subscribe from UGA’s LISTSERV website (see How Do I Access HSP-L from the Internet?).

  • How do I unsubscribe from HSP-L?

    You may unsubscribe via the Internet from UGA’s HSP-L Listserv site (see How Do I Access HSP-L from the Internet?) or you may unsubscribe by e-mail – send the following command to the address


    Note: the LISTSERV program identifies the e-mail address to be unsubscribed by reading it from the header of your message. If you subscribe under one e-mail address, then attempt to unsubscribe through a different (new) e-mail address, the LISTSERV will probably not honor your unsubscribe command. In this situation, send an e-mail to the list owner (see below) and request that your subscription be cancelled (be sure to indicate the old e-mail address!), or use the HSP-L Listserv web site to sign off.

  • What are the rules about what I can post?

    The HSP-L list is graciously hosted at no cost to the subscribers by the University of Georgia, under the conditions that it not to be used for private correspondence or commercial gain. Some off-topic posting is permitted and should be expected.

    The HSP-L list is a support group, and is not limited to just medical information about HSP and PLS. Out of courtesy to others, it is suggested that off-topic postings be flagged by putting (OT) in the subject line of the message.

    Attachments may not be sent to the list. Please post messages in plain text, not HTML or Rich Text. Some mail programs do not handle HTML well, so subscribers using those programs may have difficulty with messages sent in HTML. If you do not know if you are sending messages in HTML, or do not know how to change your mail settings, the list owner or one of the subscribers will be able to help you.

    In order to reduce the size of the postings, digests, and archives, please try to quote only the relevant portion of messages that you are replying to, rather than quoting the entire message. To keep the number of postings down, please refrain from sending replies with no message other than something like "I agree", or "Thank You" to the list. It is more appropriate to send that message directly to the person you are replying to.

    Please honor copyrights. Anything written elsewhere (even in electronic form), is technically copyrighted by its author unless specifically entered into the public domain. Do not copy postings, emails, articles, etc., from other sources (or from the HSP-L list to other sources) without the permission of the author.

    Postings which are obscene, abusive, or derogatory of others are not permitted. While you are free to disagree with what others have written, please be respectful in your responses. Please refrain from discussions about religion and politics – we are a very diverse group and these topics are bound to cause anger or hurt feelings.

    Be aware that although the HSP-L list is by subscription only, anything you post is distributed to many people, and will be archived. If you post a message, your e-mail address will be revealed to other subscribers. All e-mail, by its nature (whether sent to an individual or a mailing list), is inherently insecure and may be intercepted or forwarded, and therefore viewed by others outside the list, so privacy cannot be guaranteed. The posting of any sensitive or private data is strongly discouraged.

  • How do I turn off mail while I am on vacation?

    You may temporarily turn your mailings off via the Internet from the HSP-L Listserv site (see How Do I Access HSP-L from the Internet?) or you may change your subscription options via e-mail: Send the following command to


    Send this command to turn mail back on:


  • How can I receive a single posting of all messages?

    If you would prefer to receive only one e-mail per day containing all of the day’s messages, you can switch to the "digest" version. You may change your subscription options via the Internet at the HSP-L Listserv site (see How Do I Access HSP-L from the Internet?) or you may change your subscription via e-mail: To change to the digest version of the list, send the following command to


    To change back to the individual mailing format, send this command:


    On days with many postings, you may receive more than one digest.

  • How can I read previous postings?

    Archives are kept of postings to HSP-L by year and month. The easiest way to access the archive files is online at UGA’s LISTSERV site (see How Do I Access HSP-L from the Internet?). You can also retrieve the archives by e-mail. Warning: some of the archive files are very large. Some of the older (monthly) files are over 1MB each, which can cause problems if you have a slow connection or a limit on the size of e-mail. The newer archives are created weekly, so are much smaller. To find out what files are available, send the following command to


    You will receive a listing of the files that will look something like the following. Current archive logs are named "LOG" plus the 2-digit year and 2-digit month. Older archive logs were numbered sequentially:

    * filename filetype GET PUT size (bytes) date time
    * ——– ——– — — ———— ———- ——–
    HSP-L LOG9911 LOG OWN 524,000 1999-11-30 23:21:35
    HSP-L LOG9912 LOG OWN 1,688,561 1999-12-31 22:20:59
    HSP-L LOG0001 LOG OWN 1,291,045 2000-01-31 22:33:29
    HSP-L LOG0002 LOG OWN 834,975 2000-02-29 12:44:12

    To retrieve an archive file, send the following command to

    GET HSP-L filetype

    Substitute the filetype name for "filetype". You can put several "get" commands in the same message, but each one must be on a separate line. Example:

    GET HSP-L LOG9911
    GET HSP-L LOG9912

  • How Do I Access HSP-L From the Internet?

    The HSP-L List is web-enabled. You can subscribe, unsubscribe, post, read and search archives, and manage your subscription options from The University of Georgia’s Listserv website.

  • Registering a Password

    In order to access archives or modify your subscription at the website, you must first set up a LISTSERV password. Go to the LISTSERV Home Page at and click on the link near the bottom of the page that says "Register Your LISTSERV Password". Enter your e-mail address and select a password. A confirmation notice will be sent to your e-mail address. You must to respond to the e-mail before your password will be registered. (The e-mail should be sent out immediately, so you can probably check your mail, confirm the password, and continue on at the website.)

    Once you have set up a password, you can access the features at the HSP-L Main Page: From the home page, select the link at the top of page that says "Browse, Subscribe, Post, Search…". On the next page there is a box where you can enter a list name to access private lists. Enter "hsp-l" (without the quotes) and click "Go!". Please note that the last character is the letter "L", not a number "1". You must enter hsp-l in lower case, not upper case! This will take you to the HSP-L Main Page. You can also go directly to this page using the address:

    On this page, you will see the options "Search the archives", "Post to the list", "Join or leave the list (or change settings)", and "Manage the list (list owners only)". Below that is a list of the available archive files (by month and year), including the current month’s file.

    The first time you attempt to read an archive file or perform any function that requires security, you will be prompted to login. From the login form, you can change your password or save your login information in a "cookie" so that it will be remembered.Unless you share your computer with others, it is much easier if you save your login information in a cookie. If you don’t, and you press the "back" button on your browser after logging in, you will be logged out. To avoid that, instead of using the "back" feature, use the links on the page to return to the HSP-L main page.

  • Reading Archives

    To view the posts in an archive file, just click on the desired file. Once you are in an archive page, there will be a toolbar at the top. The toolbar buttons will let you sort the messages in different order, show or hide the Table of Contents, maintain your settings, etc. If you hold your cursor over the buttons in the toolbar, you will see a popup message that tells you what the buttons do.

    You will see a Table of Contents that lists all of the messages by subject. Following the Table of Contents are the messages sorted ("threaded") by subject. You can click on a subject in the Table of Contents to jump to that section. Click on the subject of the desired message to read the message.

    When viewing a message, there will be a new toolbar at the top of the page, giving you options on navigating the messages (next message, next in topic, next from same author, etc.), replying to the current message, posting a new message, modifying your subscription options, and more. Hold your cursor over the buttons and a pop-up will appear to indicate what the buttons do.

  • Searching the Archives

    If you select "Search the archives" from the HSP-L main page, or click on the search button on one of the toolbars, you will get a form that will allow you to enter text to search for in the archives.

  • Posting to the List

    This selection from the HSP-L Main Page will bring up a form that you can use to post a message to the list. You will also have the option of mailing a copy to yourself. This option is also available from the toolbar when viewing individual messages.

  • Changing Your Settings

    To change your settings, or to join or leave the list, click on the selection on the HSP-L Main Page that says "Join or leave the list (or change settings)", or click on the appropriate toolbar button from the archive or message pages. The following is an explanation of the different subscription options that you can modify:

    Subscription Type:

    -Regular – Sends individual mailings
    -Digest (traditional) – sends a text-based digest (all messages combined into one text message)
    -Digest (MIME format) – sends a digest with each individual message as an attachment
    -Digest (HTML format) – sends a digest with each individual message as an attachment, but with "hot links" to select the desired message to read
    -Index (traditional) – sends a list of the message subjects only. You can then "retrieve" the individual posts if desired.
    -Index (HTML format) – same as above, HTML enabled.

    Which one should you use? If you want to receive individual messages as they are posted, choose "Regular". If you don’t want to receive that many individual mailings, you can choose either a digest version or index version. The index versions will only send you a list of subjects for that day. If you want to see any of the actual messages, you must either reply to the index message to "order" the desired messages, or you could view them on the website. The digest versions send all of the posted messages, but in (generally) one mailing per day. The "traditional" digest is recommended if you do not wish to receive attachments – it will be sent as a single text e-mail. The MIME digest and the HTML digest will both send a table of contents, with all of the postings as separate attachments. If you don’t mind receiving attachments, and your e-mail program supports HTML, you may want to try the HTML format of the digest, as the table of contents will allow you to click on a subject title and bring up the attachment.

    NOTE: If you don’t want to receive mailings at all, but just plan to view the postings at the website, it doesn’t matter which option you choose.

    Mail Header Style:

    Allows you to select from several different mail headers. The default for the list is "SUBJECTHDR’, which prefixes all subject lines posted to the list with [HSP], so that they are easily identified.

    -Normal LISTSERV-style header [FULLhdr]
    Normal full mail headers
    -LISTSERV-style, with list name in subject [SUBJECTHDR]
    Normal full mail headers, subject lines will start with "[HSP]"
    -LISTSERV-style, short [SHORTHDR]
    Short mail headers
    -"Dual" (second header in mail body) [DUALHDR]
    Shows the name and address of the poster plus the subject line at the beginning of each mail message. This is helpful for people
    with mail programs that do not easily identify the original poster.
    -Sendmail-style [IETFHDR]
    Full headers, similar to FULLHDR.


    These settings refer to whether or not you receive an acknowledgement when you post a message to the list. The options are self-explanatory:

    -No acknowledgement
    -Short message confirming receipt
    -Receive copy of your own postings


    -Mail delivery disabled temporarily This setting will turn off your e-mail delivery of messages. You will still be able to access the postings online. "Check" the box to stop receiving mail, "uncheck" it to start receiving messages. You may choose to use this option if you only want to access the HSP-L messages from the website instead of by e-mail.

    -Address concealed from REVIEW listing Subscribers can retrieve a list of people who are subscribed to HSP-L by submitting a "review" command. If you check this box, your membership will be concealed from that command.

  • Why is there off-topic posting?

    Although most of the postings deal in some way with HSP and/or PLS, there will also be a number of off-topic postings, general conversation and discussion on computer-related issues.

    If you find that there are still too many postings, you may wish to change your subscription to an index or digest version, or turn off mail delivery and read messages at the website periodically. Or, you can choose to subscribe to the monthly N-News instead. Contact the list owner at for other available options.

  • I don’t like getting so much mail, what can I do?

    The HSP-L list goes through periods of heavy and light traffic. If you are receiving too much mail, consider changing your subscription to the digest or index versions, or accessing the messages from the Internet. Or consider just subscribing to the SPF E-News instead, for a monthly email news update.

  • If I have any questions, to whom should they go?

    If you have questions regarding the HSP-L list, please send them to the list owner at