USAFA2012parents Mailing List FAQ

USAFA2012parents Mailing List FAQ

(Last modified: $Date: 2008-08-10 13:17:22-05 $)         Unique visitors since 7/09/2008: Visitor
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This is the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) for the USAFA2012parents mailing list (abbreviated [a12p]), a yahoogroups mailing list for parents of cadets who are in the class of 2012 at the U.S. Air Force Academy. This document is online at "".

Table of contents

To learn more about these email lists, click on a question below (if you're reading this in a web browser), and it will take you to the corresponding answer further down in this document:

Q1: What is this?!

Q1A: Email List

What is "USAFA2012parents" ("[a12p]")? Basically, this is an email list (also known as a group). This simply means that if you send an email message to the list, it automatically gets distributed to everyone on the list (depending on each person's account settings). As of August 10, 2008, there are 543 people on the list. The list/group is a free service of Yahoo.

Q1B: Web Group

In addition to the email distribution function of the list, there are several other features of the group, such as allowing members to upload photos, calendars, database, text files, etc. You can access these other features of the group if you create a Yahoo account and then go to the group web page:

Q1C: Three lists for three purposes

There are two "sister" lists to this main list:
The "lite" version is for only occasional updates; the goal is roughly one to three emails per week. On the other end of the spectrum, the "chat" version is totally unmoderated, so you can post about whatever you want. Also, on that list, all replies go back to everyone, to keep everyone in the loop. With three different versions of lists, everyone can choose the style that best suits them.

Here is a little summary table for you:

List name Moderated? # Msgs. Replies go to: Theme
usafa2012parents-lite strictly 1-3/week author announcements
usafa2012parents (main) lightly 5-10/day author info sharing
usafa2012parents-chat no ??? (lots) everyone chit-chat

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Q2: Who can join the usafa2012parents lists?

These lists are open to any parent of a cadet who is in the Class of 2012 at the U.S. Air Force Academy. We sometimes allow other parental-type figures in, such as a grandparent or guardian who has done a lot to raise the cadet. However, we do NOT allow siblings, girlfriend/boyfriends, or cadets into this list. We want a list where parents can discuss things openly and honestly.

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Q3: How do I sign up for the usafa2012parents email list?

There are two ways to subscribe to the list and manage your account: email commands or the web interface.

Q3A: subscribe via email commands

The simplest way to subscribe is to send a blank email to one or more of these addresses:
To:       -or-
(if you want the "Lite" version)       -or-
(if you want the "chat" version)

Q3B: Subscribe via the web interface

You can also sign up with the web interface:       -or-       -or-
With either method of requesting a subscription, you will receive a confirmation email asking for information for our database. Your subscription request will not be approved until we receive that subsequent database information.

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Q4: What kind of messages can I send to the list?

[a12p] encourages every member to ask or answer questions or share concerns. To better support the needs of our members, please adhere to a few rules and guidelines. Members who don't abide by these may get set to "moderated" status, which entails a delay in the posting and/or possible editing of their messages by a moderator.

Q4A: General Rules

  • No attachments -- don't try to include an attachment in an email you send to the [a12p] list. It will get automatically stripped off. If you are trying to forward a related email, you can simply copy and paste the text into your email program.

  • Use only plain text -- messages sent to [a12p] should only be in plain text format. If an email is formatted with html or rtf or some other fancy formatting, it gets garbled up in the digest. Even if you send most of your email in html format, you can usually set your email program to also send it in plain text.

    If you use Outlook Express, click here for a little tutorial about how to set up your outgoing email.

  • Chain letters/urban legends -- please do NOT forward any email chain letters or urban legends to this list.

Q4B: General Guidelines

  • Don't post too much -- be careful not to send too many emails to the list, especially in one day. People might get tired of hearing from the same person over and over. If you really want to post that much, you may prefer the "chat" version of this list.

  • Keep on topic -- be polite and keep somewhat on topic. I know your younger son's soccer match or daughter's dance recital is important to you, but with hundreds of people on this list, I think it's best that we limit the topics here to our kids at the Air Force Academy.

  • Don't argue -- this is not a list for debating or arguing. If you find that necessary, take it to private email.

  • Include a "sig" -- at the end of each message, please include a "signature" containing at least your name, hometown, and name/squadron of your cadet. You can also include your email address, work or hobbies, other children, etc. This helps us to get to know each other. Here's an example:
         Tom Arneberg - 
         Son: BC Ben Arneberg - Barbarians/Flt-A
         Chippewa Falls, Wisc.

  • When replying, delete (most of) the original -- when replying to someone else's message, it's usually a good idea to include a little snippet of that message to put your reply in context. But it's usually not necessary to include the entire previous message in your email. People who receive the digest will see the repeated message over and over in one file.

  • Try not to repeat a question or answer -- We as parents are all excited about our cadets' experiences and eager to help each other. But do we really want to wade through several identical questions or answers? Before posting a question or clicking REPLY, please search the [a12p] message archives to check if the concern has already been addressed.

Q4C: Can I advertise another email list?

We believe that information yearns to be free. If you know of another email list that is related to cadets at the Air Force Academy, please feel free to advertise that list here! There are already dozens of such lists, and I'm sure there will be more. Whether it's a group for your cadet's squadron, or for families from your state, or for cadets looking to share rides, or for players on the ping pong team, other lists are welcome to solicit members here.

Q4D: Can I mention politics or religion here?

We need to strike a balance in these areas. We don't want to stifle anyone's speech, especially if they say something like "please pray for my cadet" or if they are asking about a church or a Bible study. Likewise, you could certainly discuss what a candidate is proposing regarding the Air Force.

On the other hand, we don't want this list to degenerate into political arguments or lengthy religious debates. We'll play it by ear for now and hope that common sense and good manners prevail.

Q5D: Can I sell a product or service here?

This issue is delicate. Imagine if every member started hawking his life insurance, used cars, or multi-level marketing schemes! This is a list to discuss our cadets at the Academy.

However, if you have a product that is directly related, then it might be okay. For example, one mom sent email to the list advertising her services in making and delivering "care packages" to cadets. This is a perfectly fine topic for this list! It really shouldn't matter if someone is making a profit or not, as long as the announcement of the product or service is beneficial to parents. (BTW, you should be up front about whether you're making a profit, so people can better decide.)

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Q5: HELP! How do I handle all this email?

There are guidelines we use to try to keep this email list useful. Still, some people just cannot handle the traffic, especially if they only check their email once or twice a week. Here are several different suggestions for how to handle this much email:

Q5A: Digest mode

You can change your subscription to "digest" mode via the web interface or by sending a blank email to this address:
Digest mode subscribers do not get inundated with individual messages. Rather, they get up to 25 messages all put together into one file, sent in one email. This allows you to skim through all that day's messages without clogging up your inbox with all those messages individually.

Q5B: NoMail mode

You can set your account to "nomail" mode via the web interface or by sending a blank email to this address:
Nomail mode subscribers do not get ANY messages from the list. This might be useful if you're going on vacation. It is MUCH better to go "nomail" then to unsubscribe, to avoid having to go through the subscription approval process again later.

When you get back, to restore your subscription to digest or normal mode, just send a blank email to one of these addresses:


Q5C: View messages on the web

Regardless of your account settings (normal, digest, nomail), you can always view messages on the group web page:
You might need to create a Yahoo account before you can get to the group's web page, but you'll want to do that to access its many features. Viewing messages on the web is particularly useful if you are set to NoMail, or if you want to search through old messages to avoid repeating a question.

Q5D: Get another email account

Some people solve the dilemma of too much email by simply getting another email account dedicated to Air Force Academy email. Anyone can get a free email account in a couple minutes at Yahoo, Google (gmail), or other providers. Then subscribe to the USAFA2012parents list from your new account.

Q5E: "Lite" version

If you really don't want to mess with the digest version, or viewing messages on the web, or getting another email account, then you should join the "lite" version of this list. The lite version is designed to carry much less traffic -- maybe a few messages per week. It's mostly important messages that get forwarded from the main group.

NOTE: If you sign up for the lite version, you should ALSO sign up for the main list (set to nomail), so that you will have access to the other features such as the database and other files, and so that you can send email to the main list if you need to. To sign up for the lite and to go nomail on the main list, use the web interface for the main group and the "lite" version , or send blank emails to these addresses:


Q5F: "Chat" version

The "chat" version of this list (a sister list) is specifically for those people who don't like the restrictions of the main list. These guidelines and rules are set up to make the main list higher quality, so that more parents will join and want to stay in the loop.

But if you want a wild and free version, sign up for "chat"! Unlike the main list, the "chat" version is totally unmoderated, so there is no waiting for any posts to get through. Also, all replies go back to everyone, to keep each other in the loop at all times.

Note that if you sign up for "chat", you must also sign up for the main list, to make sure you don't miss anything there (and so that you can get entered in the database). Here's how to do both these with email commands:

(You must reply to the message asking for more info before your subscription request is approved.)

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Q6: How do I know if my message made it out to the list?

Email distribution of a large mailing list can be unpredictable. If you sent a message but have not received it yet, please do NOT send another copy. (Especially if you use gmail -- gmail is a great email program, except that it does not give you copies of mail you send to Yahoogroups.)

If you are not sure whether your message went to the list, the best way to check is to look at the online message archives:

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Q7: How can I look up other parents? (database)

We value our members' privacy highly. To protect out members' privacy, we do not share information with third parties in any way.

We make available a valuable resource, the [a12p] database. With it, members can find information about other parents and their cadets. You can search for someone's name or state or their cadet's squadron, or you can click on any column header to sort by that column. If you're not in the database yet, please click "Add Record" in the upper right part of the page. Note that this info is available ONLY to subscribers of this list (i.e., other parents), not to the general public.

To access the database, just see the group's home page and click "Database" in the left column and then click on "Contact List", or go directly to:
Here are a few guidelines when entering your info, to allow users to sort the database correctly:

  • Parents' Name(s) -- enter last name, comma, first name(s). Use "&" for a couple (e.g., "Arneberg, Tom & Beth")
  • BCT Squadron -- enter squadron (space) dash (space) letter (e.g., "Barbarians - A")
  • Birthday -- do NOT include the year, and pad them with leading zeros (e.g., "06/25") (birthday is OPTIONAL)
  • State -- use two-letter abbreviation (e.g., "WI", not "Wisc")
  • C4C Squadron -- enter squadron number (space) dash (space) letter (e.g., "6 - Raging Bull Six")

For a more detailed explanation of how to work with the database (add, edit, delete, sort records), please see the database help file:

NOTE: If you don't want to create a Yahoo ID, you can email the above info to and a group moderator will add it for you. Please use the following format, all on one line with a semicolon between each field:

Parents' name(s); Parents' email; Cadet's name; BCT Squadron; Permanent squadron (unknown yet; leave blank); C4C Squadron; Hometown City; Hometown State; Cadet PO Box; Cadet birthday (MM/DD)
Arneberg, Tom & Beth;; Benjamin Arneberg; Barbarians - A; ; 05; Chippewa Falls; WI; 2684; 03/18
NOTE: Starting July 24, 2008, info has been added to the list every time a new parent joins the list. If you would rather NOT have your data available to other parents, you can go in and delete what you want. But we encourage you to leave it there if possible, to allow others to look you up. (The database is NEVER available to the general public, only to other Academy parents.)

Also, many thoughtful parents send birthday cards to other cadets. If you'd rather NOT have your cadet receive any such cards, you can delete his or her birthday from the database.

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Q8: Who is in charge of this list?

This list is not managed or endorsed by the Air Force Academy. It is run by 100% volunteers -- namely, fellow parents. Tom Arneberg started the list in March 2008, and several other parents volunteered to help moderate when it started getting busy in late June.

We are an independent, informal online community to support the parents of the cadets of the class of 2012. Feel free to offer advice or constructive criticism, but keep in mind that we are just doing this in our spare time as a public service. (I.e., "Satisfaction guaranteed or double your money back!") ;-)

Here are the moderators of this list:

Name Email Specialty Hometown Cadet
Tom Arneberg tom@ar... Owner/FAQ Chippewa Falls, WI Benjamin Arneberg
Walter Howard walter... Experienced Phoenix, AZ Samantha Howard (2011)
Sonia Ottusch sonia... Membership Malibu, CA John Ottusch
Marsha Casey marsha...   Phoenix, AZ Shauna Casey
Michelle Oravec a2012us@...   Brunswick Hills, OH Kyle Nunez
Greg Ernandes vikings@... Database Efland, NC Nickolas Ernandes

You can reach all of the moderators at once by sending email to this address:

Whoever is available first will reply to you and deal with your question or suggestion.

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If you have any questions not covered here, please send me email.

  - Tom A.
;-) I'd rather be ____  Thomas R. Arneberg | Favorite CAD tools:
:-) singing in a |____|   |  vi, perl, sed, tcl,
:-) Barbershop  _|   _| Cray Supercomputers|  mutt, grep, undoc
:-) Quartet!   (_)  (_) Chippewa Falls, WI | 

Related links: USAFA | WebGuy | AOG |

This page is maintained by Tom Arneberg (
(Last modified: $Date: 2008-08-10 13:17:22-05 $)

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