SAS-L

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The intent of this article is to provide some insights on how to post to SAS-L and how to leverage sasCommunity.org in a way that benefits both forms of communication/collaboration.


Overview of SAS-L

SAS-L is an e-mail list that discusses SAS. As Howard Schreier (User:Howles) once put it, "SAS-L is a worldwide online community of SAS software users; see Ask This Old Newsgroup: Using SAS-L Effectively (PDF). Participants discuss various aspects of SAS and help one another solve SAS-related problems." SAS-L is a LISTSERV® e-mail list. It can be accessed a couple of ways: electronic mail (via LISTSERV) and/or a web interface to the LISTSERV. SAS-L and Usenet's comp.soft-sys.sas used to mirror each other, but have not been linked since 2009.

Subscribing to SAS-L

If you don't already have a listserv password for the email address that you will be using, then the place to start is to register the email address and password.

go to: https://listserv.uga.edu/cgi-bin/wa?GETPW1

In the three boxes enter your email address, a password and, finally, re-enter the same password

Note: Listserv passwords can use characters from the set: A-Z a-z 0-9 $#@_-?!|%. Passwords are not case sensitive, nor are Listserv commands.

Then click on Register password

You will "shortly" receive an email that will provide the link you will need to click-on in order to complete the password registration. I say "shortly" because the message says that an email HAS been sent but, each time I've done it, the email has taken almost an hour to arrive.

Once you have a listserv password registered for a particular email address, then you can subscribe to SAS-L and choose how you want to access the list.

goto: https://listserv.uga.edu/cgi-bin/wa?SUBED1=sas-l

Enter the email address and password that you registered, then click on either "Login" or "Login and save my password in a cookie"

That will bring you to the "Join or leave the SAS-L List" screen.

In the box labeled "Your Name" type the name you want to appear whenever you post to the list.

Then ensure that all of the settings are what you want them to be. Some people have told me that they don't join the list because they don't want to be bombarded with all of the posts in their email box.

If you ensure that you check the following, you won't get ANY posts in your email unless someone either sends something to you directly on purpose or by accident (e.g., if they haven't turned off their own mail and have their out-of-office message turned on.)

Subscription type: Regular Mail head style: Nornal LISTSERV-style header Acknowledgements: No acknowledgements Miscellaneous: Mail delivery disabled temporarily

The first four are the default settings, thus the only one you have to check is the last one: "Mail delivery disabled temporarily"

Then click on "Join SAS-L" at either the top or bottom of the page.

You will "shortly" receive an email that will provide the link you will need to click-on in order to complete the process. I say "shortly" because each time I've done it, the email has taken almost an hour to arrive.

Reading SAS-L messages

Once you've registered your email and password, and joined the list, you can access and post to the list by going to: https://listserv.uga.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A0=sas-l

You can access the list that way, even if you haven't registered or joined the list, but you wouldn't be able to post to the list.

Alternatively, you can keep mail turned on, but route the posts to a special Gmail account that you plan to only use for SAS-L. That way, you get the benefit of accessing SAS-L in much the same way as if it were on Usenet and can view threads throughout their history rather than just weekly.

Occasionally, via the web interface, a post may appear to be a garbled collection of characters. The following website provides a free decoder that can be used to discover what such posts had to say: http://www.opinionatedgeek.com/dotnet/tools/Base64Decode/

Posting a Question/Problem to SAS-L

Search first

Before posting a question to the SAS-L list you should first consider searching:

  • The SAS Documentation for an answer to your question. Many times that will be faster and less work than posting a question to the list. You might also want to search older version documentation:
  • SAS-L archives to see if the question has already been answered. You will likely find one similar enough to yours that provides the information or insights you need.
  • sasCommunity.org may contain the answer to your question.

Didn't find your answer?

  • Post your question to SAS-L from your browser or by email. You do need to be subscribed and have a listserv account (see above). A good post will:
    • Use a meaningful subject line. Subjects such as Help or Question or SAS don't help other SAS-L participants understand what you are asking.
    • If your question is about code then include a simplified version illustrating the problem.
    • Include sample or test data when asking about data processing, transformations or reporting.
    • Specify the platform (for example: Windows, Unix, or Mainframe) as well as the release of SAS you are using.

Answering Questions Posted on SAS-L

When answering a question there are a number of factors to consider.

  • If the question is clear and could have been answered by doing one of the searches above. instead of writing the answer in your reponse, point the user to the URL where you found the response based on the search you did on any/all of:
    • the Online Doc
    • the SAS-L Archives
    • sasCommunity.org
  • If the question is something new and is not addressed in any of the above places, create an article on sasCommunity.org with and including the link in your response to SAS-L. The benefits are multi-fold:
    • The answer to the question is now available for others to find via Search.
    • The rest of the SAS-L and sasCommunity.org communities can update and improve upon the answer.
    • Multiple threads with different responses are avoided.
  • Use the conversational mode of SAS-L to ask questions regarding the question.
  • Use sasCommunity.org as the summary/respository for the response.

SAS-L Awards

Being a group of SAS users, in a venue maintained by SAS users, we obviously can't give monetary awards to those who have probably helped numerous companies and organizations save untold gazillions of dollars.

However, we definitely can give some of those contributors recognition. We've done that by honoring them, each year, at the SGF Meetup. http://www.sascommunity.org/wiki/SAS-L_BOF

FAQ

The following is the official FAQ. Please feel free to keep it current:

SAS-L and comp.soft-sys.sas FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) One hopes the answers are the significant part, but tradition demands...

  • Revised 01/17/15 to update the listserv links
  • Revised 06/26/14 to update the cool links' section
  • Revised 12/10/10 to update the cool links' section
  • Revised 12/9/10 Added where to start, How to Join or leave SAS-L,
  • How can I access the LISTSERV via the web and Is there an easy way to
  • get list members annoyed with me, as well as updated How can I stop getting all of this mail, How can I do an easier search and How do I read the messages
  • Revised 10/20/99 Removed discussion of NCSU gopher (Y2K problem?)
  • Revised 6/9/99 Change in Virginia Poly address
  • Revised 8/18/98 Better archive search instructions, thanks to Kevin Brunson for the suggestion
  • Revised 3/6/98 Changed addresses in preparation for UGA change
  • Revised 12/23/97 added pointer to SAS info in German: http://web.urz.uniheidelberg.de/Unterstuetzung/Hinweise/Einzel/SAS/
  • Also 12/23/97, changed pointer to Faith Sloan's site: http://faith.hypno.net/sasmass
  • Revised 9/16/97; changed Arnold Schick's pages
  • Revised 9/15/97; added http://www.stattransfer.com/lists.html
  • Revised 8/15/97; added ftp.uga.edu/pub/sas/contrib
  • Revised 7/18/97; added http://www-unix.oit.umass.edu/~statdata/
  • Q) Where to start?

If you don't already have a listserv password for the email address that you will be using, then the place to start is to register the email address and password.

go to: **https://listserv.uga.edu/cgi-bin/wa?GETPW1

In the three boxes enter your email address, a password and, finally, re-enter the same password

Note: Listserv passwords can use characters from the set: A-Z a-z 0-9 $#@_-?!|%. Passwords are not case sensitive, nor are Listserv commands.

Then click on Register password

You will "shortly" receive an email that will provide the link you will need to click-on in order to complete the password registration. I say "shortly" because the message says that an email HAS been sent but, each time I've done it, the email has taken almost an hour to arrive.

  • Q) How to join or leave SAS-L?

Once you have a listserv password registered for a particular email address, then you can subscribe to SAS-L and choose how you want to access the list.

goto: **https://listserv.uga.edu/cgi-bin/wa?SUBED1=sas-l

Enter the email address and password that you registered, then click on either "Login" or "Login and save my password in a cookie"

That will bring you to the "Join or leave the SAS-L List" screen.

In the box labeled "Your Name" type the name you want to appear whenever you post to the list.

Then ensure that all of the settings are what you want them to be. Some people have told me that they don't join the list because they don't want to be bombarded with all of the posts in their email box.

If you ensure that you check the following, you won't get ANY posts in your email unless someone either sends something to you directly on purpose or by accident (e.g., if they haven't turned off their own mail and have their out-of-office message turned on.)

Subscription type: Regular Mail head style: Nornal LISTSERV-style header Acknowledgements: No acknowledgements Miscellaneous: Mail delivery disabled temporarily

The first four are the default settings, thus the only one you have to check is the last one: "Mail delivery disabled temporarily"

Then click on "Join SAS-L" at either the top or bottom of the page.

You will "shortly" receive an email that will provide the link you will need to click-on in order to complete the process. I say "shortly" because each time I've done it, the email has taken almost an hour to arrive.


  • Q) How can I access the LISTSERV via the web?

Once you've registered your email and password, and joined the list, you can access and post to the list by going to: https://listserv.uga.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A0=sas-l&D=1&H=0&O=D&T=1

You can access the list that way, even if you haven't registered or joined the list, but you wouldn't be able to post to the list.

The posts prior to 1996 are still accessible via Marist University's Listserv: http://vm.marist.edu/htbin/wlvgl?L=sas-l&LOG=LOG8611


  • Q) How can I stop getting all of this mail?

There are actually at least three different ways. send an e-mail to:

     listserv@listserv.uga.edu

The subject line is ignored and the body should contain the command: unsubscribe sas-l

A little less drastic would be to send an e-mail to the server to which you subscribed. Again, The subject line is ignored and the body should contain the command: set sas-l nomail

One can also change their settings, on-line, by following the instructions, above, under the heading "Subscribing to SAS-L"

  • Q) How can I start getting mail, again, if I've temporarily stopped it?

There are at least two different ways. send an e-mail to:

     listserv@listserv.uga.edu

The subject line is ignored and the body should contain the command: set sas-l mail

One can also change their settings, on-line, by following the instructions, above, under the heading "Subscribing to SAS-L"

  • Q) What if I try to unsubscribe and the server says I am not subscribed,

but it still sends me all the mail? Send E-mail to a human-being:

     SAS-L-REQUEST@UGA.CC.UGA.EDU

and ask that your ID be removed from the list.

  • Q) How do I read the messages?

The easiest way used to be reading the newsgroup comp.soft-sys.sas. Unfortunately, the newsgroup and LISTSERV no longer mirror each other. As such, my personal preference is the method described, above, under the How can I access the LISTSERV via the web question.

To have the messages mailed to you as they are available, send e-mail to: listserv@listserv.uga.edu

The subject line is ignored and the body should contain the command: subscribe sas-l your name here e.g. subscribe sas-l Tom Smith is how Tom Smith would subscribe.

You are not the first to think of subscribing as "your name here." Whatever makes you grin...

  • Q) What about "Good Times" and other viruses?

The main thing I will tell you about viruses is, do not post anything about them (not even a question--not to this list!) unless at least 20 people rely on you for virus answers. 90% of everything you have heard about viruses is wrong, and I am not going to straighten you out here. There are several web sites which describe viruses and treatments.

  • Q) Are SAS-L and comp.soft-sys.sas the same?

No! They work differently and independently and don't share content with each other.

  • Q) How can I contribute?

Post or respond to a message at: https://listserv.uga.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A0=sas-l&D=1&H=0&O=D&T=1, or send e-mail to the list at:

     sas-l@listserv.uga.edu

Use a subject line. If your subject line is "No Subject" many people will ignore your message. If your subject line is "FREE SEX" many people will read your message, but you (probably) will not like the responses.

Include your SAS version and platform. Try to quote the error message correctly. Consider cutting and pasting the log or output. You may want to read a few posts before you compose your first one.

  • Q) Did anyone get my message? I got an error report, and I do not see

my message. This is tricky. It depends on how you post and how you view. You can post to the newsgroup or to the e-mail list, and you can read the newsgroup or read e-mail.

If you post to the newsgroup and get an error message, the problem is probably at your site and involves local magic words which we do not know and cannot tell you. If you both post to and read the newsgroup then you should be able to read your message soon after you post it.

If you post to the e-mail list you will almost always get error messages. This is because the server will give you copies of error messages it gets when it forwards your message to thousands of people around the world. Normally you will not get copies of your own e-mail.

  • Q) Did anyone get my message? No one replied.

Perhaps no one had anything to say. Perhaps your message was very general (like "my program failed") or specific to your site (like "what is the name of my network printer"). Perhaps no one else on the list uses the exact hardware and software you are trying to use. Perhaps your mail gateway is down, and your message has not left your site. If you want to verify that your e-mail is working, send e-mail to the server (not to the list) with the body: help The server will send you a quick reference card in a few minutes. If you really just want to verify the server is reachable, send the server (not the list) the message: thanks You will get a brief response.

  • Q) Can I get a little less mail?

send e-mail to the server (not to the list) to which you subscribed. The subject line is ignored and the body should contain the command: set sas-l digest NOTE: set sas-l mail will reverse this

  • Q) Can I stop the traffic until I get back from vacation?

send e-mail to the server (not to the list) to which you subscribed. The subject line is ignored and the body should contain the command: set sas-l nomail NOTE: This does not save mail for you. It is a lot like unsubscribing NOTE: set sas-l mail will reverse this

  • Q) Is there an easy way to get list members annoyed with me?

While there are numerous ways one can accomplish that feat, a typical accidental way if your settings are to get mail or archives, is to turn on your Out-of-office assistant without having temporarilly changed your list setting to nomail.

Thus, an easy way to get list members annoyed with you is NOT to send an e-mail to the server (not to the list) to which you subscribed when you turn on your Out-of-office assistant. Conversely, to avoid that situation, follow the above instructions concerning vacations.

  • Q) How can I get help from SAS Institute?

In North America call 919-677-8008 and have your SAS site number ready. You can get your SAS license number from the top of any .log file. You can find the international numbers at: http://www.sas.com/offices/intro.html

  • Q) What if someone gives me a bad answer?

If you are really unhappy with the answer and you provide your fax number, some people will fax back your dollar.

  • Q) Who is in charge of SAS-L?

The people who manage the list rarely comment publicly about management decisions. The list is un-moderated, which means any carbon-based entity with a mailer can dump garbage into it. Many people at SAS Institute read the list, but they rarely post to it and they definitely do not control it.

  • Q) I don't remember my password? Is there a way to reset it?

see https://listserv.uga.edu/cgi-bin/wa?P1&L=sas-l note the link on the page for a pw reset.

  • Q) How do I fix this FAQ?

If you want this FAQ changed, change it. This being an anarchy, you are free to change or update the FAQ as needed.

Q) Where are the cool web pages?

Searching Google for SAS there are about 70,100,000 hits. Here are a few:

SAS Institute maintains a number of pages including:

Numerous users and SAS employees provide helpful pages including:

There are two SAS blogs aggregators in English and one in Chinese:

Searching the Archives

  • Q) How do I search the archive?

The full instructions are at: **http://www.lsoft.com/resources/manuals.asp Be careful. Many people who try this send their request to the list rather than to the list server, and they get derisive notes. The list server names begin with listserv, while the list name begins with sas-l. Send e-mail to any of the list servers: SEARCH DDE IN SAS-L SINCE 98/05/26

RJF2 2011-Nov-15:

Be aware that listserv commands have a limit of either 72 or 80 characters and you do not receive a warning about truncation. That is why I recommend abbreviating SEARCH to SEA in these examples of searching for posts by Ian Whitlock. RTFM!: LISTDB MEMO

SEA DDE IN SAS-L from 98/05/26 to from 98/06/01

SEA * IN SAS-L where sender contains WHITLOCK from 98/05/26 to 98/06/01

The reply will include something like:

    Item #   Date   Time  Recs             Subject
    ------ -------- ----- ----   -----------------------------
    006546 96/07/22 23:25   94   Lines written
    006569 96/07/22 15:47 1184   Re: SAS Data Set Format (long)

Send another message using the item numbers in the first column: GETPOST SAS-L 6546 6569

  • Q) How can I do a better search?

Be careful. Most people who try this send their request to the list rather than to the list server, and we all send them derisive notes. The list server names begin with listserv, while the list name begins with sas-l. Start by sending a message to the list server with the body: help The server will send you a quick reference card. The author knows more about searching than I do, so read it.

  • Q) How can I do an easier search?

If you have a web browser, you can try www.dejanews.com. Forms-aware browsers will do better than Mosaic 2.1 there.

My personal preference is to use Lex Jansen's search screen: **http://www.lexjansen.com/sugi/search_sas-l.php


If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton Thanks to Joe Kelley, Sally Muller, Greg Nelson, Melvin Klassen.

Below are various historical versions:

Ideas from the Original Note

More info to come (proposed subtopics):

  • Posting messages to SAS-L
  • Using SAS-L effectively
  • SAS-L presentations
  • SAS-L BOF (including statistics, awards, Hall of Fame, photos) FYI, 'BOF' term is replaced now with "Meet up".

See also