PPML Usage Guide

Information for PPML Subscribers











WELCOME to the Prostate Problems Mailing List!

Since 1995, the mission of the PPML has been to provide a forum for prostate cancer survivors, their families, and their supportive friends to exchange information about prostate cancer. Medical professionals sometimes also contribute to the discussions. We encourage you to draw on the knowledge, experience, and empathetic support of our more than 1300 participants by presenting to the discussion list any questions you may have. Questions and responses to questions are what has made the PPML the valuable resource that many of us have found it to be for many years.

Responses are almost guaranteed to all questions presented. However, the functioning of this list is spontaneous and unsystematic, and questions may sometimes be overlooked. If there are insufficient responses within a couple of days, try posting your question again. When presenting questions, it is helpful if you will provide as much relevant medical information as you have available.

Messages to the list should be addressed to:


You should be aware that all messages to the list are archived on the ACOR web site and available for retrieval by anyone who subscribes to the PPML. However, archived messages will not be found by internet search engines, as is the case with some internet forums. If concealing your identity is important to you, you should avoid posting messages to the list from an identifiable email address, or signed with your full name.

Volume of messages posted to the PPML may occasionally be very heavy, sometimes more that 50 messages in a day, and this can overwhelm your Inbox. There are convenient ways for managing this: see the section Coping with message volume below.

If you have questions or problems with the PPML, send an email to:


Such emails will be received only by the facilitators. You can also reach us at our personal addresses.

The Prostate Problems Mailing List (PPML) is one of a great many cancer-related email discussion lists hosted by the servers of ACOR, the Association of Cancer On-Line Resources, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The ACOR discussion lists are maintained entirely by volunteers. To learn about ACOR visit:




We request that you read and observe the rules posted at this ACOR web page:


These rules are discussed in detail on the web page, but in summary they are:

1. Commercial postings are strictly prohibited.

2. The ACOR lists are for patients, their supporters, and allied professionals. If you have joined for any other purpose, please contact the PPML facilitators. Do not post surveys or questionnaires, attempt to recruit subscribers for research projects, or post announcements for charities without approval of the facilitators.

3. Respect copyright - do not post copyrighted materials. Also, messages posted to the PPML should not be posted to other internet forums without the permission of the author.

4. Don't post off-topic material. No virus warnings or chain letters, please. If you wish to discuss off-topic matters with other subscribers, do it by private email.

5. Be civil. We usually get along very well, but email discussion lists are sometimes vulnerable to misunderstandings. Consider carefully how you phrase your posts, as online disputes can be extremely disruptive to the flow of useful communication. If you find yourself in a dispute with someone, try to settle the matter by personal email.

6. Respect political and religious diversity. Politics are generally off-topic except in matters relating to legislation affecting cancer patients - but avoid partisan rhetoric. Avoid sectarian religious discussions, preaching, proselytizing.

The PPML is an unmoderated forum, meaning that messages sent to the mailing list are posted without prior review. Subscribers who have failed to observe the ACOR rules or engage in other disruptive behavior may be placed in "review" status - their messages will be forwarded to the facillitators for approval before they are sent on to the list.

Usually, the PPML facilitators will attempt to resolve disputes between subscribers by means of private email.



By default, PPML messages will arrive in your Inbox singly, immediately after they are posted to the list. If you prefer to receive them in bundled groups (digests), you can revise your subscription settings using the means described later in this message. Depending on how many messages are posted each day, you will usually receive one to not more than about three digests daily.

Be sure that the "Subject" of your message is appropriate to the matters you are discussing. If you are replying to a message in a thread, use the same exact format for the subject, unless you are shifting the discussion to another topic.

If you are receiving PPML messages individually rather than in the digest mode, you can reply to messages by clicking on "reply" in your mail management program tool bar. Usually this will address the reply to the discussion list, but a small minority of subscribers use mail management software settings that will force a reply to their private email addresses. In these uncommon cases, you will need to change the "To" field in your message to:


If you are receiving PPML messages in the digest mode, most mail management programs will allow you to reply to messages by selecting the text of the message to which you want to reply, and then clicking on "reply" in the toolbar. However, you will need to delete the "PROSTATE Digest...etc." text from the "Subject" field and replace it with the the "Subject" of the original message.

When you are replying to messages with inclusion of quoted text from the message to which you are replying, please delete all quoted text and footers that are irrelevant to what you are discussing. This is particularly helpful for subscribers who receive PPML messages in digest format.

It is best to send email to the PPML in plain text format without attachments, as the server software does not always do a good job of translating HTML, RTF, and other "exotic" formats to plain text.



You can change your subscription settings either on the ACOR web pages, or by email commands addressed to the ACOR server.

The web page for modifying your settings is here:

     Subscription Management Webpage

Unless you are unsubscribing, your first attempt to alter your subscription settings will result in a prompt from a password page asking you for a password. If you have not yet established one, you can do so by following the instructions provided. Your password can be saved as a cookie, and this will permit you to use both the subscription and PPML archives pages on your next visit without having to enter a password. If you forget your password, the password page will permit you to register a new one. When you register a password, you will be asked to reply to an email confirmation message, and you must be able to do this from the email address at which you are subscribed.

The most useful settings are:

those that change between digest or individual message modes

those that suspend delivery of email while you are away on vacation, or if you intend to view messages on the archives web pages

It may be best to leave the other options at their default settings, as some of them don't work with some operating systems or mail management programs.

If you need to change your subscription address to a new email address, the method for doing this on the web interface is too complicated to explain here. If you cannot do this by email commands to the ACOR server (as described below), please contact the PPML facilitators at:




To modify your settings by email, address a message to:


You can leave the subject blank. In the body of the message, type any of the following commands:

  UNSUB PROSTATE (to terminate your subscription)

  SUB PROSTATE [Your Name] ( to start a new subscription - substitute your actual first and last names - don't use brackets)

  SET PROSTATE DIGEST (to change to digest mode)

  SET PROSTATE NOMAIL (to temporarily suspend delivery)

  SET PROSTATE MAIL (to resume delivery or to set delivery of individual messages)

  QUERY PROSTATE (to receive an email review of your subscription options settings)

  CH PROSTATE [new email address] (to change your subscription address - don't use brackets - this must be sent from your old address)



Volume of messages posted to the PPML may occasionally be very heavy, sometimes more that 50 messages in a day, and if you are receiving messages singly, this can swamp your Inbox. There are several ways of avoiding this:

1. Most email management programs provide means to divert incoming mail of specific kinds from your Inbox to specially created folders as soon as they are downloaded. A convenient criteria for diverting PPML messsages is "all messages with [PPML] in the subject". You can then browse PPML messages separately within this folder, at your convenience.

2. Set your subscription options to not receive email messages, and browse them in the PPML archives at:


You will need to establish a password in order to be able to do this. If you do not have one yet, you will find links and prompts to get you through this process.

3. Subscribe to the PPML through a web-based email service and receive all PPML email at this address.

4. Change your subscription settings to digest format. However, this option has some disadvantages. There may be a considerable delay before you see recent messages, and if you respond to messages, you may not be able to take recent messages into consideration when you compose your replies. In plain text digests, the messages are presented in one email, and viewing them requires a great deal of scrolling.

Some subscribers may find it convenient to set their subscription options (as described on the ACOR subscription management pages on the web) to receive digests in alternative formats: HTML, mime, and/or Indexed. The indexed option presents hyperlinked topics only, and when you are online you can click on the links to download the text of the messages. Not all email management programs support these formats.



You can obtain an email copy of this usage guide by sending an email to:


In the body of the message, type:


Archives of past discussions going back to July 1995 are available at this link:

     PPML Archives

You will need a password to access the archives - see the paragraph about passwords under Managing Your Subscripton on the Web above. From the archives page, you can access the archives by browsing them by date, or you can go to the search page to search for messages according to the criteria you provide. On the main archives page, messages are organized for browsing in weekly blocks, except for the first year of the PPML's existence, which is organized by month. If you click on the link to the search page, you are presented with a form that will allow you to enter search criteria for keywords, subject, and/or author's email address. You can narrow the search by providing a starting and ending date. The underlined, blue-highlighted text provides links to paragraphs of an ACOR help page which inform you how to perform more complex searches, and provide other useful tips and information.

You can download collections of archived messages by email commands to the ACOR server:


You can leave the subject blank. In the body of the message type:

  (For monthly archives prior to June 1996)
  Example: GET PROSTATE LOG9605


  GET PROSTATE LOG [YearMonthWeek]
  (For weekly archives after June 1996)
  Example: GET PROSTATE LOG9703B
  (Weeks are represented by letters A through E.)



Look over the somewhat lengthy "Terms and Conditions" at:


In the first paragraph it is stated that in using the ACOR mailing lists, web sites, etc. "you are acknowledging that you have read, understand, and agree, without limitation or qualification, to be bound by these Terms and Conditions."


We wish you success in finding help with your questions!

The PPML Facilitators
(Revised April 23, 2013)