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"This is a high-volume list, and there are usually several discussions going on at once. For the benefit those who don't want to read every message, it's a good idea to update your message's subject heading to reflect your post. So we don't get a gazillion messages all called 'onion skins'..."

Q. How do I subscribe to the Culture Mailing List?

A. Send a blank message to with the subject "subscribe" then reply to the confirmation mail you receive without modifying it.

Q. How do I unsubscribe from the Culture Mailing List?

A. Send a blank message to with the subject "unsubscribe".

Q. What are those strange sigs lots of people use?

A. These are ship names. In the Culture novels of IMB the spaceships have names such as "Just Another Victim Of The Ambient Morality" and "Fate Anemable To Change". These names are prefixed by a three letter acronym to indicate type of ship.

GSV = General Systems Vehicle (the most common type of ship)
GCU = General Contact Unit (basically a spy ship)
ROU = Rapid Offensive Unit (a warship)
VFP = Very Fast Picket (a demilitarised ROU sometimes written (d)ROU )

More information on ship names can be found at Rob's ship page
This acronym is preceeded in turn by the letter "x" indicating that the ship is sending the message. Therefore a sig might be: xROU Evangelical Immolator

Q. What is a Crowcon?

A. A Crowcon or Croakon is a meeting of Culture list members. The first Crowcon (CC1) was held in London in Nov 97 (as was CC3 in Sep 98), CC2 was in Edinburgh in April 98, OzCons have happened in Sydney, and have their own nomenclature in which the second one became OzCon 1/2, the third OzCon 1/3 etc. and there have been several mini-Crowcons in Ireland. There is a Crowcon planned for Islay, in April '99

Q. Why are Crowcons called Crowcons?

A. On the list a thread emerged about the prevalence of crows in IMB's work. Chief among these are the Red Crow in Walking On Glass and the crow in The Crow Road. There is also a quasi-crow in the form of Gravious in Excession. The name Crowcon was therefore adopted as a name that was reflective of IMB and also pleasant on the tongue.

Q: Why aren't you talking about I(M)B ?

A: We don't always feel like it; it would seem that most of us like a bit of noise with our signal. And after all, this is the Culture: a benign anarchy where just about anything goes. You're just as liable to find people wrestling in baby oil as you are to find an earnest discussion about ethics. But you could try starting an IMB thread if you're feeling brave. You never know....;)

Q. Are there always so many posts?

A. The Culture List is a *very* high volume list. Do not be suprised to receive a hundred messages a day, although this number can fluctuate between 50 and 200. A lot of these messages will involve IMB only tangentially or not at all. At the weekend posts drop of rapidly due to the large number of Cultureniks subscribing from work computers. On Sunday there will probably be no more than half a dozen posts, it will be a welcome respite.

Q. What is the normal life cycle of a mailing list?


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