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Caucus Command Syntax


To use Caucus you type a series of directions or commands. This chapter describes the form (or "syntax") of Caucus commands and how they are used. It also provides a reference list of most Caucus commands. (The following chapters explain these commands in greater detail.)

Do not be concerned if you do not understand all of the commands described in the following sections. Think of this chapter as a road map and summary of the Caucus commands. Then, read the chapters related to the commands which interest you.

"AND NOW?" Prompt

Once you register with Caucus and join a conference (as shown in Chapter 2), you will see the Caucus prompt "AND NOW?". (If you see a menu prompt, such as "Enter your choice", your Caucus manager has enabled Caucus menus. In most cases, you may select menu choices or type Caucus commands as described in this chapter. If you prefer to use just Caucus commands, you may turn off the menus entirely. See the Caucus Menu User's Guide for more information.)

At "AND NOW?" you tell Caucus what you want to do.

When you type a command at "AND NOW?", Caucus interprets and performs your command. When it is finished, it prompts you again with "AND NOW?". While performing your command, Caucus may display text, prompt you to enter text, or ask you other questions. When the process is complete, however, Caucus always comes back to "AND NOW?".

The only exception to the "AND NOW?" cycle is STOP. When you type STOP, the Caucus program exits and returns you to the operating system prompt.

You can cancel or interrupt what Caucus is doing at any time by pressing <CANCEL>. If you press <CANCEL> several times, you always end up back at the "AND NOW?" prompt.

On most computers, the <CANCEL> key is Control-C. Caucus always tells you what the <CANCEL> key is when you join a conference. (See the novice user example in Chapter 2.)

Command Syntax

A Caucus command looks like a short English sentence. It has the form:

verb object instance modifier

The verb must always come first and tells Caucus what action to take. The rest of the sentence may follow in any order, with the modifier being optional.

The object indicates what is being acted upon. The instance further identifies which object. For example, consider the command "SHOW ITEM 1" used in Chapter 2. SHOW is the verb. ITEM is the object. "1" is the instance. The command means "display the text of Item 1".

The modifier is like an adverb. It focuses the action of the verb. Modifiers are always optional. Examples are shown in the following chapters.


If you have ever learned a foreign language, you probably started by memorizing the names of some basic objects or nouns. In Caucus there are seven key objects:

ITEMS are the discussions in a conference. An item consists of introductory text, entered by the person starting the discussion, and comments added by members. Each item is about a specific topic, and is identified by a title and a number. A conference may have up to one thousand items simultaneously under discussion.

RESPONSES are the comments that participants make about each item. Responses to an item follow in a linear chain, one after another, as they are entered. Participants respond to an item's discussion as often as they choose. Responses are like question and answer or discussion periods.

ATTACHMENTS are files which are "attached" to some Caucus items or responses. These files may be of any type. When you are viewing an item or response that has an attachment, Caucus will ask if you wish to see the attachment.

PERSONS are participants in the Caucus conferences. Each participant enters a name, telephone number, and a brief introduction when joining Caucus (shown in Chapter 2).

MESSAGES are person-to-person electronic mail. Unlike items and responses, messages are private communications. Only you can read messages sent to you.

SUBJECTS are lists of items with common themes indexed by the conference organizer. If you compare a conference to a library, items are like books and SUBJECTS are like the subject part of the card catalog (OSUBJECTS is another name for SUBJECTS). Caucus also has author and title catalogs.

PSUBJECTS are personalized lists of items. PSUBJECTS are just like SUBJECTS, but you do the indexing.


Now that you know the basic Caucus objects, you are ready to learn what you can do with them. The five most important Caucus verbs are: SHOW, LIST, ADD, DELETE, and CHANGE. These verbs generally can be used with all Caucus objects.

SHOW displays everything that is known about the specified object. For example, SHOW ITEM 1 tells Caucus to display the text of Item 1 with all of its responses.

LIST displays a summary of the specified objects. For example, LIST ITEMS 1-5 tells Caucus to display the number, author, and title of Items 1 through 5.

ADD creates a new object. ADD ITEM tells Caucus to create a new item for discussion.

DELETE is just the reverse of ADD. DELETE ITEM 2 tells Caucus to completely remove Item 2 and all of its responses. (An object can be deleted only by its author or the conference organizer.)

CHANGE modifies objects created by the user. Use CHANGE RESPONSE to edit the text of a response you added to an item. Use CHANGE PSUBJECT to change the list of items in a personal subject category. (Only the author of an object or the organizer can change it.)

Sample Commands

Here are examples of Caucus commands using all of the verbs and objects introduced above. Do not be concerned with learning all of these. They are here for reference and as examples.

Sample ITEM Commands

SHOW 1 display text of Item 1 with all responses

LIST 1-5 display title and author of Items 1 through 5

ADD create a new item for discussion

DELETE 2 erases Item 2 with all of its responses

CHANGE 5 edit the text of Item 5

Sample RESPONSE Commands

SHOW 1 display responses to Item 1

LIST NEW display title and author of items with new responses

ADD 2 add a response to Item 2

DELETE 5 erase a response from Item 5

CHANGE 1 change a response to Item 1

Sample ATTACHMENT Commands

SHOW ATTACH 1 display attachment to Item 1

SHOW ATTACH 3:5 display attachment to response 5 of item 3

ADD ATTACH 2 <file add an attachment file to Item 2

DELETE ATTACH 5 remove an attachment from Item 5

Sample PERSON Commands

SHOW SMITH display full descriptions of all users named SMITH

LIST JONES display full names of all users named JONES

DELETE lets you resign from this conference

Sample MESSAGE Commands

SHOW 1 display your private message number 1

LIST ALL display sender and subject of all your messages

ADD send a private message to someone (same as SEND)

DELETE 1-3 erase your messages numbers 1 through 3

Sample OSUBJECT Commands

SHOW CAUCUS display item numbers under subject CAUCUS

LIST BUGS display titles of subjects containing the word BUGS

ADD create a new subject category

DELETE erase a subject category

CHANGE change items listed under a subject

Sample PSUBJECT Commands

SHOW NEAT display item numbers for personal subject NEAT

LIST MINE display titles of personal subjects MINE

ADD Screate a new personal subject

DELETE erase a personal subject

CHANGE change items listed under a personal subject

Other Commands

Besides the basic verbs described above, Caucus also understands several other verbs. Details about using these commands are in later chapters of this guide:

CHECK briefly describe new information in all conferences

CUSTOMIZE change conference characteristics (organizer only)

EDIT filename Invoke your editor defined by SET EDITOR

FORGET forget about (ignore) an item

FREEZE stop discussion on an item

HELP ask Caucus for assistance

JOIN switch to another conference

SEARCH search items or responses for a specified word or words

SET adapt Caucus to your terminal and tastes

STATUS display your status in the conference

STOP exit the Caucus program

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Last modified: March 1997