Email List Rules and Etiquette
- Participation in GA’s lists is a privilege and not a right. The GA reserves the right to suspend participants from lists who violate standards and rules put forward by the Executive Committee.
- GA mailing lists may not be used for commercial announcements.
- GA mailing lists may not be used for creating offensive or disruptive messages, including those containing sexual implications, racial slurs, or any comment that offensively addresses someone's age, sexual orientation, religious or political beliefs, national origin, or disability.
- List subscribers participate in GA lists at their own risk.
- List Managers are to be treated with respect as they carry out their work. Inappropriate language directed at List Managers, or engaging in protracted arguments about a decision, may result in a subscriber being blocked from participation on a given list or all GA-run lists.
Email List Etiquette
Following are some etiquette guidelines
- Don't "flame:" "Flaming" means sending messages that are far more belligerent, sarcastic, accusatory, or just plain mean than you would be in person. Something about email communication can prompt otherwise polite, kind people into acting like TOTAL JERKS on mailing lists (see—that was a flame right there!). If you are tempted to send an angry message, take a break first, then reconsider your message. Remember that a lot of tone and expression are lost in communications that aren't face-to-face.
- Don't talk if you don't have anything to say: Put that way, this rule seems pretty obvious. But lots of people post messages that simply say "Me too!" or "I agree!" This can add significantly to the number of messages each subscriber receives, without necessarily adding meaning.
- Use descriptive subject lines: When writing a new message or replying to a message, make sure that the subject line describes your message as specifically as possible. Never send a message with the subject "Help!" when it could say "Need youth curriculum about Islam."
- Identify yourself: Most email programs let you define a signature which appears at the end of each message you send. Your signature should be no more than four lines long and should include your name and email address; you might also include your website (if any), and a pithy quote or tag line. Don't include your mailing address, phone number, or "ASCII art" (pictures made out of punctuation).
- When replying, include only the relevant part of the original message: Most email programs provide a way to "quote" the text of the message you are replying to. When people read your reply, they may not remember exactly which message you are replying to, so including the quote puts your message in context. On the other hand, delete the parts of the quote that aren't relevant, so each reader doesn't have to wade through headers, signatures, and other stuff that doesn't pertain to your message.
- Reply privately when your message isn't of interest to the group: When you reply to a message, consider whether to send your reply to the mailing list or to the person who wrote the message. If you want to make a point that contributes to the group discussion, post your reply to the mailing list. If you want to criticize, ask a personal question, or ask something off the topic of the list, send your reply directly to the person who wrote the message.
- Don't post chain letters and virus messages: It doesn't matter how worthy the chain letter sounds! Don't post messages to a list unless you personally know the information in it to be true. Most messages about computer viruses have proven to be bogus, so don't waste everyone's time with them. Ditto for sending postcards to dying children or news flashes about proposed modem taxes. And messages that purport to help you "make money fast" are, like all pyramid schemes, illegal. Just say no—delete chain letters and don't pass them along.