ICWP-L e-mail discussion List Etiquette - Full Version
It is very important that you try to remember these before you press the 'send ' button. With practice, they become second nature.
A few reasons why we need a List Etiquette. Not all List subscribers receive their List mail as individual messages, posted as they processed by the Listserv computer. Some subscribers receive their List messages in a daily Digest or an Index.
The Digest is one long message containing all the messages posted to the List in the previous 24 hours. Digest users can't delete a single message. They have to scroll through all of the messages, looking for subject lines that interest them.
The Index, two types, HTML Index and plain index.
HTML Index consists of a daily message listing only the subject lines of messages. Next to each message there is a code number and the subject line is a hyperlink to the actual message stored in the online List Archives.
The plain index has no hyperlinks: the user has to e-mail the Listerv computer, quoting a message code-number and tell it which message to send back to the user.
If users ignore the rules below, it will cause Digest and Index subscribers to have a less-than-pleasant experience when they open their List mail each day.
Please read this message carefully. You can print it or save it to another folder in your computer for future reference. * Delete Headers from messages when replying to the List
When you hit 'reply' some e-mail programmes (e.g. Outlook Express) quote the entire message being replied to, including the headers (To: From: Reply-to:) The Listserv will reject such posts and won't distribute them to the List. * Change the subject line
When you reply to a previous message, but begin a new topic, change the subject line.
Digest Users: change the subject line when you hit "Reply". The archives can be searched by subject. Remembering to change the subject line will provide more relevant results when subscriber search the archives. Subject lines like this :
Re: ICWP-L Digest - 18 Apr 2003 to 19 Apr 2003 (#2003-110)
Are not helpful to anyone searching for messages on a particular topic. * If your message is very clearly not about a Playwriting, Writing or a Theatre-related subject, put OT: or OFF TOPIC: at the beginning of the subject line. * Put OPP: in the subject line if your message contains an announcement of a contest or production opportunity or funding information put OPP: at the beginning of the subject line, followed by "contest" or "production" or "funding".
* Delete most of the text of quoted messages when you REPLY.
When you hit "Reply", the text of the message you are replying to is quoted in your outgoing message. Delete as much of it as possible and leave just enough to make it clear whose message you are replying to. * Send plain text messages, not HTML, if possible.
The Digest is one way to receive List mail. Messages which are sent to the List in in HTML format cause the Digest to be much longer than necessary, as a duplicate of each HTML message including all the the HTML coding is added to the message along with the text of the message. There is a version of the Digest which doesn't include the HTML coding but it doesn't suit all e-mail programmes, especially AOL. * The List does not accept attachments
Your message will be returned with an error message if you send an attachment with it.
If there is something special you would like other subscribers to see, put it on a webpage and send a message to the List quoting the webpage address (URL). or you can offer to backchannel the file to people who express an interest in seeing it, or you can contact the list administrator for assistance. * Ask permission of the sender:
1) before forwarding a message from ICWP-L to any other person or another List
2) before forwarding a message from anyone else to the ICWP-L List. * Privacy, Defamation, Libel
The ICWP-L List is a private list, which means the archives are not accessible to the general public. However, some caution is necessary and consideration needs to be given to the content of messages. The Listserv Users Manual covers this very well: below is a quoted section from the Manual.
" Most lists are organized as "forums" where public discussion is actively encouraged, and many of them are set so that hitting the "Reply" key or button will automatically direct replies back to the list. Unfortunately, this can sometimes be embarrassing if you end up inadvertently sending a private comment to the whole list. Fortunately, there is a very easy way to avoid this, and the good thing is that it works even for non-LISTSERV mail. It is a simple rule that is easy to remember once you understand its purpose: Always think before sending any message! Ask yourself a few simple questions * Who is getting the message?
Carefully check who your mail program intends to send the message to, and make sure this is where you wanted it to go. It is easy to click on the wrong icon, press the wrong key, misunderstand the meaning of a help file, or otherwise do something that will make your computer send the message to the wrong people. * How well do you know these people?
Can you trust people you have never met in person not to forward your comments to someone else, or to a list? And if they did, whose reputation would suffer the most - yours for saying these things, or theirs for forwarding without your permission?
* What is the worst thing that can happen to you if this message is used against you?
Computers are not perfect and they sometimes do unpredictable things to perfectly valid messages. It may be a rare occurrence, but it happens; any system manager will have a lot of juicy stories to tell you about messages that were forwarded to him because they caused some system problem or other, and whose contents could have made a couple people lose their job if it had been shown to the right person. System managers normally are ethical people, but do you really want to rely on that?
* Have you removed extraneous information not germane to the discussion, such as copies of previous postings included by my mail program or long signature files?
You want to ask yourself these questions anyway, even if the message has nothing to do with LISTSERV, even if the list is set up to reply privately by default. In a non-computer situation, you would probably look around to see if someone can overhear you. Just use that same reflex to look around the list of recipients and decide if you can trust these people with what you said. If you develop this habit, you will never send to a list by mistake."
To read the List Users Guide (also called the Manual) go to: http://www.lsoft.com/manuals/1.8d/user/user.html
Thank-you for your cooperation.
Contributed by Margaret McSeveney