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Ratlist FAQ

The Ratlist website is:

To access many of the Ratlist website features you will need to register and sign in with Yahoo.
This is free, simple and only takes a minute or so.  Just click the above Ratlist webpage link and you will be prompted to register with Yahoo and led through the simple registration process.

***Now available:  Ratlist T-shirts and other items!  Order yours here:

Subscriptions  *  Reading Messages
Posting Messages  * Ratlist Features


How do I subscribe / unsubscribe to the Ratlist?

Go to the Ratlist website and choose "Join this group" or "Leave group" as necessary in the Membership area (on the right).  Alternatively, you can send a blank email to: or

What are my message delivery options?

Your message delivery settings can be changed at the Ratlist website by clicking on "Edit My Membership".
You have 4 options to choose from:
1.  Individual emails - all messages are emailed to you separately.  This is good if you like to respond privately to message authors, or filter messages by subject.  The Ratlist message volume is quite high, so it's a good idea to re-direct ratlist messages into a separate folder in your mail program.
2.  Daily digest - each 20 or so messages are compiled and sent as one large email.  This is a good option if y
ou're getting too many emails to cope with, or wish to archive the list messages.
3.  Special notices - the only messages sent to you are important updates from the list moderator.  You read the messages on the ratlist website
4.  No email - no messages are sent to you.  You read the messages on the ratlist website.  This is a good option if you
only have time to read the list occasionally, or if you're absent from the list for a period of time.

I'm getting too many emails to cope with... what can I do?

You can either change to the digest form of the list or choose to read the ratlist messages online rather than receiving email (see above).

How can I change my email address for Ratlist subscription?

This can be done most easily on the Yahoo! Groups website.  Sign in and select "My Preferences", then choose to edit the "Email addresses" section.  Alternatively, you can un-subscribe and then re-subscribe using your new address via email. (see above)

Reading messages

What is that line of letters and numbers after some member's names?

This is called the Rat Code.  It indicates all sorts of information about you and your rats.
To decipher someone's code, or determine your own Rat Code go to:

What does LOL, <g>, IMO and other such things mean?

These are common internet acronyms:
LOL = Laughing Out Loud
<g>  = Grin
IMO = In My Opinion
A good list of these and other acronym definitions can be found at the following website:

What if I come across a word I don't know?

Being a tight-knit group, we do tend to use some rat-specific acronyms and words on occasion.  If you encounter any ratlist terms or acronyms that are new to you, first check the Ratlist Glossary for a definition.  Other rat-specific words we often use can be found in The Ratty Dictionary.

Posting messages

What address do I post Ratlist messages to?

What if I have an urgent medical question?

Post your urgent message to the Rat Help Address:
This is a group of informed volunteers who will try to help you as soon as possible.  You can post urgent messages to the Ratlist, however remember people are not always online.

Why do my replies go only to one person, and not to the whole list?

The ratlist is set up so that replies go directly to the original poster, not to the ratlist.  With our large membership, we need to keep our list volume in check, so we encourage people to reply privately where appropriate.  e.g. welcomes, condolences, personal comments (like "Cute photo!" or "LOL") and off-topic replies should be sent privately, not to the ratlist.  (see posting etiquette, below)

Choosing Reply will send your reply only to the original poster. If you wish your reply to go to the ratlist, choose Reply All (in your email program) or choose the ratlist address from the drop down box (on the website).

What is on-topic?

The Ratlist is primarily for the discussion of PET rats... their care, health, rat-related fun, sharing our experiences living with them, etc.  However, there are a few rat-related subjects that often crop up on the list that inevitably cause problems and we request that these topics are not discussed on the ratlist.  Not because they're not important, not because they arent rat-related, not because we want to shut our eyes to these problems, not because we don't care... but because no matter how innocently they start, they ALWAYS end up causing problems. A few specific subjects are:

If you wish to discuss these topics, please do so elsewhere...e.g. the ratrights list.

Being a friendly group of people, we do tend to wander off-topic at times.  This is not generally a problem as long as (1) you add (OT) to the subject line, and (2) the topic does not get out-of-hand.   If an off-topic thread becomes excessive the moderator will request it be taken off-list.

Are there any posting guidelines?

1.  Respect others.
Always keep in mind that our list members are from different countries worldwide, are of various age, sex and race, and have varied beliefs and different opinions on many topics.  Please respect this when posting.  i.e. no adult material, no racist comments, no swearing, etc.  

2.  Personal attacks.
Personal attacks are not permitted on the ratlist and anyone involved will be removed from the list promptly.   Likewise, any issues a member has outside the list (e.g. on another forum) should not be brought to the ratlist.

3.  Text only.
The Ratlist does not permit attached photos, files or HTML code... these will be stripped before posting.  You can easily set-up your email program to send only Plain Text format to the Ratlist.  Any pictures, programs, sounds, etc. you want people to have access to, you can add to the Ratlist Files or Photos pages. (see Ratlist Features)

4. Quoting
If you are replying to a list message, please include only the relevant parts of the previous message (i.e. delete any unnecessary text).

5.  Subject headings
Often long threads change topic as they progress.  To help people keep track of useful information, if your post digresses, change your message subject line to something more appropriate.

6. Private replies
When you reply to a message, consider whether your reply is relevant to the whole Ratlist or just the initial poster (eg. congratulations, condolences, welcome messages, one-liners like "Cute rat!" or "Me too!" or off-topic comments are better sent privately).  To reply privately, choose "Reply" rather than "Reply All" in your mail program, or if reading from the webpage it is the default option.  If you subscribe to the digest version, copy the address of the person you want to respond to before hitting "Reply".  Then, paste this address into the "To:" field in place of the Ratlist address. With such a large number of members, this is to help with list volume.
Also, if you receive a private email from someone, it is poor netiquette to forward (or quote from) that message to the list without approval from that person.  Please reply privately instead.

7.  Signature files
To help reduce volume on the ratlist, it is recommended that you keep your signature file to a minimum.  About 5 or 6 lines should be the maximum required to state who you and your rats are... there is no need for multi-line quotes or ascii graphics.

8. Chain letters and bulk emails
Do not post any spam, virus warnings, urban myths, jokes, or other mass forwarded messages to the
ratlist. i.e. if it says in the message to "forward to everyone you know" then don't post it on the ratlist.
No matter how important you think it is, most of them are hoaxes, and besides they're off-topic

9.  Trolls
Every now and then we unfortunately get a troll on the ratlist.  This is a person who attempts to incite a flame war by posting obviously inflammatory material.  The best way to deal with these people is to IGNORE them...
i.e. "Do not feed the troll".

10.  Netiquette
If you are new to this type of Internet forum, you are encouraged to learn a bit about basic "netiquette" before posting.  A good resource is here:

11.  Yahoo! Groups Guidelines
Read and keep in mind the
Yahoo! Groups Guidelines for use of the ratlist, and any list hosted by Yahoo!.  Anyone in breach of these guidelines can and will be removed from all Yahoo! Groups lists.

Anyone causing problems on the ratlist will be dealt with by the list-owner/moderator, and reported to Yahoo! Groups if deemed necessary.

Ratlist features

The Ratlist website has many great features apart from just messages.  You can view pictures of everyone's rats in "Files" or "Photos", join in the "Polls", "Chat" with others online, add information to our "Database", etc.  To access these features you must be registered with Yahoo! Groups and be signed in... you can then click on the various features on the left-hand side of the ratlist webpage.

What is the Files / Photos page?  How do I upload a picture of my rat?

The Files and Photos pages are the place to view pictures of members'
rats and share your own pictures, sound files, programs, text
documents, etc.

*  Rules for uploading files to the Photos and Files pages

1.  Keep files small, preferably under 50k.  If you do not know how
to shrink an image to an appropriate size, ask someone to help
you.  Excessively large files (i.e. >100k) will be removed by the list

2.  Keep the number of files you upload within reasonable limits.
No member should need to upload more than about 10 photos.
If you wish to share lots of photos, do so in batches, removing the
old ones as you replace with the new.
NOTE: No member is permitted to use more than 500k total.

3.  Place all your images in a folder/album with your name.
Routinely maintain your folder/album.  i.e. remove photos that are
no longer needed.

*  To upload a photo to the Ratlist Photos Page:

1. Make sure your picture is appropriately sized.
Crop and/or re-size the image to fit on the screen (something like
300x400 pixels is fine), then save it in .jpg or .gif format.  A suitably
sized photo file should be around 20-50k.
2. Go to the Photos page:
3. Select "Create album", type an album name (like "<your name>'s Rats") and
click "Create album".    If you want everyone to be able to see your
pictures, select "Group" under the "Share Album" step.  Then click "Create
4. Find your new album in the list and click on it to open it.
5. Select "Upload a file" and then either type the full file name or click
"Browse" and find the file on your hard drive. Then click "Upload file" and
that file will now appear in your album.
6.  Post to the ratlist that your file/s have been uploaded.  Preferably
also include a direct link to your file, to make it easier for members to
view it.

You can also upload files to the Ratlist Files Page in a similar way:

How do I join in the Polls?

Every now and then someone will poll the group with a question.  Do not reply directly to the Ratlist with your answer, instead vote online at the Ratlist Polls page.  You can get there by clicking on the link in the Poll message, or by Choosing "Polls" on the Ratlist website.

Where is the Ratlist Chat room?

You can access the Ratlist Chat room by going to the Ratlist website and clicking on "Chat".

Where are the Ratlist archives?

The Yahoo! Groups website archives all the messages that have been sent to the Ratlist since we moved there in September, 1999.  They can be searched on the Messages page.
Earlier archives (as far back as April, 1995) can be found at:

Where do I direct any ratlist problems?

If you have questions regarding this Ratlist FAQ or require any further general information on the use of the ratlist or its features you can contact Robyn Arthur (ratlist owner) for assistance at: 

Note:  If you have general rat care questions, please direct them to the Rat Info address

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