Guild communication services
Members ~ FAQs
Guild & branch officer
These pages currently only contain information about the new,
and evolving electronic facilities to support Guild communication,
that are being hosted on odg.org.uk.
Guild communication services ~
Why is the Guild doing
The Guild has well over 2000 members in 15 branches.
Communicating effectively in such a large organisation is quite
hard, so the Guild is introducing a range of comprehensive
electronic services to make communication within the Guild easier,
quicker and more reliable.
What is this page for?
It's to answer your questions about the Guild's electronic
What if I can't find an
Please contact the Guild
What is being
The Guild owns its own Internet domain
odg.org.uk (odg = Oxford Diocesan
Guild, org = 'organisation', ie not company, academic, etc). This
domain covers both web addresses and e-mail.
Each branch has the use of a subdomain within the
Guild domain, eg ebsb.odg.org.uk for
EBSB branch. If a branch already has a domain (as EBSB does) then
the address provided by the Guild will link directly to it, so
either address will work.
All officers have a generic e-mail address, like
firstname.lastname@example.org that will
re-route mail to the officer concerned. (See list of officer names.) So people can
contact an officer without knowing his personal e-mail address (or
All branches can have a member distribution list
to send short notices and reminders, etc direct to its members, and
a tower distribution list to send more substantial
information to tower correspondents. These are set up by the Guild,
and managed by the branch.
The Guild and branches can also have
discussion/circulation lists to enable groups of officers to
discuss things as a group, to exchange information and to pass
Individual towers can have internal tower lists for their
The Guild will have a membership database to help manage
membership information (including contact data. Branches will have
secure access to their part of it on-line.
All these services are hosted on the Guild server ~
professionally provided, managed by the Guild and free of any
What is currently
|Guild Internet domain (odg.org.uk)
|Branch subdomains (eg ebsb.odg.org.uk)
|Generic e-mail addresses for Guild officers
||Live (see list here.
|Generic e-mail addresses for branch officers
||Available for branch request. (Some branches already have
|Guild e-mail lists
||Guild secretaries list ~ Live
Others ~ Not yet.
|Branch e-mail lists
||Available for branch request. (Some branches already have
|Tower e-mail lists (for communication within an individual
||Available on request. (A few towers already have them)
||Available from odg.org.uk.
|Branch website hosting
||Available for branch request. (Some branch sites already on
Members ~ FAQs
- How do I access the Guild website? ~ The Guild website
address is http://odg.org.uk/ Most
browsers will also recognise several variants, including
- How do I access my branch website? ~ You can click on
the map of the Guild. To go direct,
insert your branch's 'name' in place of 'xyz' in http://xyz.odg.org.uk/ There is a list of branch 'names'.
- What can I find on the Guild website? ~ See the site map for a list of contents. There
might be more than you thought.
- Why are branch websites different? ~ They have evolved
separately, so different styles are not surprising. Most include a
lot of common information (contacts, events, towers contacts). Have
a look. There might be more there than when you last looked.
- Why doesn't the website include ... ? ~ If there is
something you think ought to be on the Guild website, please
contact the Guild Webmaster.
- What do I do if I see something wrong with the
website? ~ Let us know! Contact the Guild Webmaster.
Sending to generic
- How can I find out a Guild officer's generic address? ~
They are in the Guild report and there is a list here . You can probably
see the pattern in the choice of names/abbreviations.
- How can I find a branch officer's generic address? ~
Look at the relevant branch website. There is some variation
between branches, reflecting the different officers, and also the
way individual branch e-mail names evolved.
- Can I still use an officer's private e-mail address? ~
Yes, if you know it, and it is up to date. The generic address is
an extra, standardised and more convenient way to send
- Will my message be delayed if I use a generic address? ~
The guild server normally forwards your message in a few seconds,
so it shouldn't affect when your message arrives. Some officers
prefer to keep Guild-related mail separate, especially if they
receive a lot of mail. If your message uses an odg.org.uk address, it would go into a Guild box.
Whether that gets looked at sooner or later will depend on the
- What is an email distribution list? ~ Messages sent to
it are automatically sent to everyone on the list. Only certain
people are allowed to send messages to the list.
- What is a branch member distribution list? ~ It's an
email distribution list that helps your branch officers keep you up
to date with what's going on in your branch.
- Do I have to be on the list ? ~ You don't have to be,
but it is helpful if you are, since it makes it easier to let you
know about things. You can ask to be unsubscribed.
- Is it just a chat list? ~ No. Only selected branch
officers (usually the secretary) can send to it, and any replies go
back to the sender, not the list. It is only intended for
occasional, short messages. [The Guild could provide a separate
chat list if there was a demand, but many ringing discussion lists
on a range of topics already exist, see lists with a wider audience.
- Will I get lots of e-mail? ~ You shouldn't. Your branch
secretary will decide what ought to be sent direct to members and
what goes only to tower correspondents. Typically, you might
receive notices, reminders or requests for help. If you think too
much (or too little) is being sent to members, then discuss it with
your branch officers.
- Will I receive huge downloads? ~ No, you shouldn't. Most
of the information that needs to be sent to you will be quite
short. If there is something bigger that you might like to see
(perhaps a coloured copy of an outing poster, or a personal copy of
the branch newsletter) then you will normally be sent a message
telling you that it is available, with a link to the website for
you to download it if you want to.
- Will I get spam because I am on a list? ~ No. The list
will only allow the authorised officer to send messages to the
list. Messages from any other source will require (human) approval
before being allowed.
- Can I get a virus from the member distribution list? ~
No. Even if someone authorised to post to the list was using an
infected Windows computer, the virus could not be transmitted via
the list, because it is set to transmit plain text messages only,
with no attachments. Even if the message is sent in html format
(which can look prettier than plain text) the html attachment will
be stripped off, and only the plain text content transmitted.
- Can I send a message to all other members? ~ Only
selected branch officers can post to a member distribution list. If
you try to send a message to it, it will be held for approval by
the branch officer who controls the list (probably your branch
secretary). He or she will decide whether it is appropriate to send
it to all branch members.
- How do I know if I am on the branch members e-mail list?
~ When you gave your contact details, you would normally have
agreed that the Guild/branch may use them for legitimate purposes.
If you asked not to be contacted with routine notices, then you
won't be on the list. If you are unsure, then contact your branch
- I don't get any messages, what has gone wrong? ~ If you
have never received any, then contact your branch secretary to
check that you are on the list, and check that the e-mail address
the branch has for you is correct. If you used to get messages but
they have stopped, check to see if any have been sent recently ~
maybe it was just a quiet time of year. If you know you have missed
messages, then check that the list is using the correct e-mail
address. If you still have a problem, then maybe the messages are
- I have changed my e-mail address, who should I tell? ~
Your branch secretary is probably the best person to tell (unless
you know who manages the e-mail lists for your branch). It's also a
good idea to tell your tower correspondent, who may also need to
- I think messages to
me are getting blocked - why? ~ When you have checked other
possible causes, the remaining possibility is that there is an
over-zealous spam filter somewhere. Most messages now passed over
the Internet are spam, but you see very few of them because the
ISPs (Internet Service Providers) intercept most of them.
Unfortunately, in the 'arms race' between spammers and ISPs,
legitimate messages can get caught in the cross fire. So a message
might be delayed (while the ISP asks the Guild server trying to
send you the message to confirm that it is genuine). It might be
blocked, or marked as 'possible spam', in which case your mail
software may put it in the spam box (if you have one). Try looking
in your spam box. (The help files for your e-mail software should
- Will I still receive information for the tower? ~ Yes.
Some information is best sent to the tower, and in any case if any
of your members do not have e-mail, you will need to pass on
information to them.
- How do I know what other members have and haven't
received? ~ As a member, you will receive all messages sent via
the members distribution list. Things that you receive as a tower
correspondent, will come via the tower distribution list.
- How do I know which list a message is from? ~ Look
at who the message was sent to (eg email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org). The content may make it
clear as well, eg messages beginning 'Dear member' rather than
'Dear tower correspondent'.
- Do I need to tell anyone if someone's contact details
change? ~ Yes please! Mail lists only works when the address
are correct. People often change their e-mail addresses but don't
necessarily remember to tell everyone. (The same applies to phone
numbers, but not quite so often.) A few people make sure that their
details are updated, but many don't. As correspondent you are best
placed to ensure that the branch has up to date contact details for
its members in your tower.
- Who keeps members' contact details up to date? ~ Branch
arrangements may differ. (They will also change when the Guild
membership database is in place in due course). If you don't know
who keeps addresses up to date in your branch, then consult your
- If we have a tower list, who manages it? ~ You do, once
it is set up. We will provide information on what to do, including
password protected access, so you can update your tower's list of
names and contact details. If you have any problems, contact the
- Can I add other people to a tower list, who aren't Guild
members? ~ Yes. It is up to you. Obvious people might be
regular visitors (who need to know about any changes in practice
times), learners (who are not yet Guild members), and parents of
young people (where they have separate e-mail addresses, and want
to know what their children are receiving).
- Should I forward everything I receive as tower
correspondent to my tower list? ~ You must judge what you
forward to your tower members and what you take to the tower. Try
to keep your members informed, but don't overload them.
Guild & branch
My generic address
- How do I get my generic e-mail address? ~ The address
should already exist. All you have to do is to start using it is to
let the Guild Server
Administrator know what post you hold, and what e-mail
address (or addresses) you want mail directed to.
- Can I send mail 'from' my generic e-mail address? ~ You
may be able to, but it depends on the mail software (or web mail)
that you use. Many but not all let you do it.
- How do I set up to send 'from' my generic e-mail
address? ~ You may need to consult your help files, and look at any
buttons and menus. If you get really stuck, we may be able to help,
but we can't know about every mail client and every ISP's
- Does it matter if I don't send 'from' my generic
address? ~ Yes and no. There are benefits (to you and to the
recipient of your message). Sending from the generic address means
that the replies will be addressed to your generic address, rather
than to your personal one. So if you receive a lot of e-mail, you
can filter different mail into different mail boxes if you find
that easier. There will also be fewer copies of your personal
address sitting on other people's computers (where a virus might
harvest addresses). For the recipient of your message, it will be
clearer that you are communicating as a Guild officer, not just an
- A message sent to my generic address didn't arrive; where is
it? ~ Individual e-mail messages can go astray anyway (and
people sometimes think they sent one but forgot to do so), but if
more than one message doesn't appear, then it may be being blocked .
- I've changed my e-mail address. Do I need to do
anything? ~ Yes, tell the Guild
Server Administrator. your post(s) and new e-mail address.
- I am a Guild CC representative. Why do I have two generic
e-mail addresses? ~ One address goes only to you but the other
goes to all six CC reps. Which one someone uses to contact you will
depend on whether the message is specifically for you as an
individual, or is a general message for all CC reps. When replying,
it is advisable to reply from your individual one, since it is your
reply (but you may wish to CC the other reps).
- Can I choose my individual CC representative e-mail
addresses? ~ Yes, partly. You can choose the letters that
replace 'xyz' in email@example.com
. Most people use some or all of their initials for 'xyz', but you
can use any letters ( and any number of them), providing no one has
used that combination of letters before.
- I am a Guild steward. Why do I have several generic
addresses? ~ You have one for each branch of which you are a
steward. That makes it simpler for anyone wanting to send a message
to their own branch's steward, without having to know how the
branches are shared out between individual stewards.
- I am a Guild steward. Does it matter which of my
generic addresses I send from? ~ If your message is about one
of your branches, it makes sense to use the corresponding address.
Otherwise use your judgement. The main benefit of having an address
for each of your branches is to make it easier for people to send
messages to you.
- I am getting spam to my Guild e-mail address, what can I
do? ~ The Guild does all it can to protect your Guild e-mail
address. On Guild websites, it is in a form that spam harvesters
don't find, so it has probably been harvested from someone else's
computer. Please let the Guild
Server Administrator know if you receive significant
amounts of spam to any Guild address (ie one ending in odg.org.uk ).
- Can the Guild prevent spam to my Guild address? ~ We can
help. If you wish, your mail can be filtered by SpamAssassin, which inspects
messages for symptoms of spam, and inserts ' ***SPAM*** ' in the
subject line of those it suspects.
- Can I trust SpamAssassin? ~ SpamAssassin doesn't remove
mail, it just marks it so it is easier to deal with, for example,
your mail software should be able to sort suspect messages into a
separate box (perhaps labelled 'junk mail' or similar) and might
already be set to do so.
- I have a genuine message marked as spam; what went
wrong? ~ Nothing went wrong. Spam filters look for symptoms
associated with spam; the more there are the more likely it is.
With a low threshold some genuine messages will be marked, and with
a high threshold some spam will be missed. It's a matter of
balance. Contact the Guild Server
Administrator if you think the threshold is too high or
low for your messages.
- If I get a problem with particular messages, can you find
out why? ~ Sometimes, providing you can send the evidence. Most
of it is in a hidden part of the message that you don't normally
see, the Internet Header. You will need to forward a copy of the
entire message (including the Internet Header) to the Guild Server Administrator. If you don't
know how to do this, you may need to consult your help files, and
look at any buttons and menus to find an option for something like
'full headers included'. If you get really stuck, we may be able to
help, but we can't know about every mail client and every ISP's
- As an officer, can I send messages to any list? ~ That
depends which list it is, and which officers are permitted to send
to it. The Guild's recommended policy for who can post to different
types of list is here ,
though your branch may operate a different policy.
- Can I use the lists for messages about things other
than ringing? ~ When people give their contact details to the
Guild for use by Guild (and branch) officers and mailing lists,
they were told that it was for use in connection with Guild
business. Use your judgement about anything borderline.
- Can I send attachments to an e-mail list? ~ That also
depends which list it is. The Guild's recommended policy for what
can be sent to different types of list is here . The most restrictive policy
is for the members' distribution lists, which have large numbers of
recipients, most of whom are not officers. Less restrictive
policies apply where a list is used by a small number of officers.
Your branch may have decided on a different policy.
- Should I forward messages I receive to the members
and/or tower correspondents list? ~ A good question, but
without a black and white answer. Do the people on the other list
need to know? Is speed critical? Will it add to their awareness or
add to their clutter? Use your judgement to strike the right
balance. Set a higher threshold for the members list than for the
tower correspondents list.
- Can I get a virus via one of the officer e-mail lists? ~
To be useful, most lists for officer use need to allow attachments,
so the Guild can't provide the absolute protection it does with the
member distribution lists.Guild lists don't allow open posting from
outside, so the only source of a virus would be from an authorised
officer using an infected Windows computer. So the risk via the
list is the same as if you sent messages to each other without the
list. Apply the same caution that you would for any other message;
be careful with attachments, especially programs or word documents.
(And of course use up-to-date anti-virus software and keep your
computer operating system up-to-date.)
- What should I do if I think a virus was sent via an
officer e-mail list? Send an e-mail message to the Guild Server Administrator.
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