ODG Guild Header
Established January 17 1881
Frequently Asked Questions Frequently Asked Questions

Guild communication services 

Members ~ FAQs 

Tower correspondents -FAQs 

Guild & branch officer FAQs 

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 ~ FAQ

Why is the Guild doing anything?

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 Internet services.

What if I can't find an answer?

Please contact the Guild Secretary 

What is being provided?

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 officername@odg.org.uk 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 even name).

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 documents around.

Individual towers can have internal tower lists for their own use.

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 advertising.

What is currently available

Service Status
Guild Internet domain (odg.org.uk) Live
Branch subdomains (eg ebsb.odg.org.uk) Live
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 them)
Guild e-mail lists Guild secretaries list ~ Live
Others ~ Not yet.
Branch e-mail lists Available for branch request. (Some branches already have them)
Tower e-mail lists (for communication within an individual tower) Available on request. (A few towers already have them)
Guild website Available from odg.org.uk.
Branch website hosting Available for branch request. (Some branch sites already on odg.org.uk.)
Membership database Not available.

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Members ~ FAQs

Accessing the websites

  • How do I access the Guild website? ~ The Guild website address is http://odg.org.uk/ Most browsers will also recognise several variants, including www.odg.org.uk.
  • 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'.
  • How can I access another branch's website? ~ Use the map of the Guild. It also has links to to neighbouring ringing societies. Or use the 'name' of the branch you want, as above.
  • 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.

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Sending to generic e-mail addresses

  • 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 messages.
  • 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 individual.

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E-mail distribution lists

  • 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 secretary.
  • 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 being blocked 
  • 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 know.
  • 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 help).

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Tower correspondents FAQs 

  • 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 members@xyz.odg.org.uk or towers@xyz.odg.org.uk). 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 branch secretary.
  • 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 Guild Server Administrator . 
  • 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.

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 Guild & branch officers FAQs

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 webmail.
  • 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 individual.
  • 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 ccrep_xyz@odg.org.uk . 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 webmail.

 Using e-mail lists

  • 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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