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STERC List Serve

Easy Sign-Up Form for the STERC-L

An easy way to join the list serve is to simply complete the form below.


Your Name:
Your E-mail Address:
You will receive confirmation of your subscription to the list within a few minutes of your completion of this form. If you do not receive confirmation, check the e-mail address entered on the form.

Un-Subscribe Form for the STERC-L

No longer wish to be subscribed to STERC-L? Use this form to sign off.


Your Name:
Your E-mail Address:
The National Metal Finishing Resource Center is resuming operation of the list serve (STERC-L) after technical issues caused a temporary suspension. STERC-L is free and open for use by anyone interested in metal finishing. Many individuals currently subscribed to the STERC-L are experts in metal finishing and environmental issues.

Note: If you were previously a member of STERC-L, you have to sign up again.

What is a List Serve?

A list serve (Figure 1) is basically an e-mail message management system. It functions by receiving and distributing e-mail messages to a list of user names. A list serve is managed by a list owner, who is the person or organization with formal responsibility for the operation of the list -- a kind of referee, if you want. The list owner defines the list's charter and policy, i.e. what the list is about and what are the general rules all subscribers must accept in order to be allowed to join the list. The list owner is also responsible for all administrative matters and for answering questions from the list subscribers.

People join a list serve by sending an e-mail message to the list owner. Once they are a part of the list, they receive e-mail messages that are sent to the list serve by other users. Users can respond to each other's messages, and the messages are "threaded" to organize interactive discussions. A user can start a new thread at any time by sending a message to the list serve. Depending on the speed of the processor and number of subscribers, messages are usually delivered to the entire mailing list within 1 to 20 minutes. The types of messages that are commonly posted include questions or requests for assistance, breaking news, comments, announcements of upcoming events, etc.


There exist more than 40,000 list serves on the Internet. Most list serves are made up of 10 to 2,000 people. The number of messages exchanged in a list serve depends entirely on its users. Some are very active and a user may receive 20 or more messages per day. Others may be limited to only a few messages a day. There are subtle differences between how list serves are operated. Some, like the STERC list serve, are open so that anyone is free to join and leave at anytime. Other list serves are operated by a closed subscription and users are selectively added by the list serve administrator. Also, list serves may be operated on a moderated or unmoderated basis. With a moderated list serve, messages submitted to the list serve are filtered by the administrator who decides to broadcast the message to the list or reject it. With unmoderated lists, like the STERC's, all messages are unfiltered and automatically broadcast.

Why are List Serves Popular?

List serves are a very time efficient means of monitoring and engaging in discussions with a group of people that have shared interests. Unlike conventional on-line conferencing and chatting, list serves make use of e-mail, which is automatically distributed to each user. Participants do not have to log onto a web site to partake in the action -- they simply have to check their e-mail. Then they can examine their mail by subject and sender and decide exactly which messages to read. To reply to a message, the user simply clicks on the "reply" button of their browser, types in a message and sends it to the list serve. That message is distributed to everyone on the mailing list.

List serves are especially helpful for exchanging information among users that have varied types of expertise and interests in a similar subject area. For example, a large number of people are interested in metal finishing, although their specific field of expertise may be electroplating, painting, waste treatment, laboratory analytical techniques, or regulations. By working together through list serve discussion threads, a diverse group can tackle most questions that users may submit.

Most list serves have the capability of saving posted messages into archives that can be searched by the users. Over time, the archives become a valuable resource.


STERC-List is an unmoderated list serve that is open to anyone interested in participating in metal finishing discussions. There is no long-term commitment; you are free to subscribe or unsubscribe at any time. Postings in this list serve shall be limited to metal finishing topics. Postings of a pure commercial advertising nature (referred to as SPAM on the Internet) are not permitted. However, companies are welcome to offer names of commercial products and services when they are relevant to the discussions. The STERC reserves the right to remove any names from STERC-List that do not follow the "No SPAM" rule.

Subscribing to STERC-LIST

To subscribe to the list, send an e-mail message to with one line in the body of the letter:

subscribe STERC-L

Unsubscribing to STERC-LIST

To unsubscribe to the list, send an e-mail message to with one line in the body of the letter:

unsubscribe STERC-L

When unsubscribing, be certain to enter your name exactly as you entered it when you subscribed, otherwise, you remain on the mailing list. For example, if you use Jim when unsubscribing after subscribing with James, it doesn't work.

Posting to STERC-LIST

If you have a message (comments, questions, etc.) that you wish to distribute to all members of the list, send it as e-mail to (see example, Figure 3).

When you do post a message, keep several principles in mind if you want the best return on your effort.

Final Caveat

List serves can be a valuable information resource. However, as with any information you receive from various sources, you need to be wary of any advice or facts you locate on a list serve. Just because someone subscribes to a list about metal finishing doesn't mean they're an expert in the subject.


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The information contained in this site is provided for your review and convenience. It is not intended to provide legal advice with respect to any federal, state, or local regulation.
You should consult with legal counsel and appropriate authorities before interpreting any regulations or undertaking any specific course of action.

Please note that many of the regulatory discussions on STERC refer to federal regulations. In many cases, states or local governments have promulgated relevant rules and standards
that are different and/or more stringent than the federal regulations. Therefore, to assure full compliance, you should investigate and comply with all applicable federal, state and local regulations.