Principia Cybernetica Mailing Lists
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Principia Cybernetica Mailing Lists

The Principia Cybernetica Project uses two lists for quickly distributing information by electronic mail: PCP-news for announcements, PCP-discuss for discussions.

PCP-news: announcements

PCP-news is a mailing list, maintained at the Free University of Brussels, which automatically distributes announcements to all subscribers. This list is low-volume. Its main function is to distribute a 2-monthly Newsletter (see the PCP-news digest for a summary of the news distributed in the past few years).

Exceptionally, it also carries messages with information for all people interested in PCP, e.g. conference announcements, Calls for Papers, new publications, new services, etc. This makes it easier for subscribers who don't like to get a lot of email, but still want to be kept informed about important events connected to the Principia Cybernetica Project. The list is moderated: only messages explicitly approved by the listowner (Francis Heylighen) are broadcasted. Replies by default go to the individual who sent the message, and not to the list.

If you prefer a more frequent and interactive mailing list, you may apply to join our non-moderated list PCP-discuss (membership conditions are minimal). All messages to PCP-news are simultaneously transmitted to PCP-discuss (but not the other way around), so in any case you need only one subscription. PCP-news carries maximally 2 or 3 messages a month, while, like most discussion lists, the activity on PCP-discuss can fluctuate widely, from about 10 to about 100 messages a month.

Unlike PCP-discuss, you can automatically subscribe yourself to PCP-news. You will then get an introductory message about the mailing list, and start receiving all broadcasts on the list. You can unsubscribe in the same simple way.

PCP-discuss: discussion

PCP-discuss is a majordomo discussion list run from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico, and administered by Cliff Joslyn. It replaces the list
previously administered by Cliff from Binghamton University until 1999.

PCP-discuss provides an open forum for all participants in the project, allowing direct discussions about all issues related to PCP. Subscribers are encouraged to send replies to the whole list (this is the default), and not to individuals, so that everybody can participate in the discussions. Participants who wish to contribute to PCP can post their ideas to PCP-discuss. Proposals for new nodes or comments on existing nodes are best discussed there.

At present, over 100 people, representing the five continents, subscribe to PCP-discuss. The mailing list is of moderate volume (a few messages per week on average), but like all discussion lists this can fluctuate very widely. Messages can be long and informative. Some topics that have been discussed include: entropy increase and self-organization, causality as covariation, thermodynamics and evolution of mortality, memetics and the evolution of cooperation, formal expression, criteria for reality, values and religion, definitions of "control", complexity and the edge of chaos, Robert Rosen's theory of anticipatory systems, etc. A selection of relevant information (e.g. congress announcements, publications; on hypertext, electronic publishing, evolution of the brain, ...) from other electronic forums is regularly cross-posted on PCP-discuss.

Bruce Edmonds maintains an archive of PRNCYB-L/PCP-discuss messages, sorted according to topic, date and author, and going back to the beginning of 1995. This includes a searchable index.

PCP-discuss is not meant for casual chats, "flame wars", or uninformative technicalities. Nor is it meant as a general forum for discussion about cybernetics and systems science: other mailing lists, e.g. CYBCOM, already exist elsewhere. Whereas these lists are open to anyone with an interest in cybernetics and systems, PCP-discuss is restricted to active participants and those who wish to be informed about the specifics of PCP.

How does it work?

The functioning of the lists are very simple. If you are subscribed toPCP-discuss, you will automatically and immediately receive at your email address all messages sent to either PCP-discuss orPCP-news. Once subscribed, if you wish to contribute yourself, you just send an e-mail message to the list address pcp-discuss[ at ], (or reply to a message that you received from pcp-discuss) and it will be automatically broadcasted to all others who have subscribed. In that way you can mail out e.g. questions, proposals, or reactions.

If you wish to join PCP-discuss, please send in the subscription form. You will then be added to the mailing list, and receive initial instructions on how to operate the majordomo software (as subscription is done manually, this may take several days).

For more detailed procedures on how to operate the PCP-discuss server, check the common majordomo commands (note that most of these commands can only be used by people who have been manually subscribed to the list).

Copyright© 2000 Principia Cybernetica - Referencing this page

F. Heylighen, C. Joslyn,

May 15, 2000 (modified)
Oct 14, 1993 (created)


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PCP-discuss usage instructions


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