Guide to Mailing Lists Etiquette
1. Remember, it’s a different email address you send subscription, unsubscription, and other “list processor” commands to than the one you POST messages to. It’s a program that handles subscriptions, not a person. Posting a message which says “Please unsubscribe me” to the list itself will only annoy the other subscribers and NOT get you unsubscribed. The administrative address for the korg01w-list is firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Lurk before you post. Observe what’s going on, what is and isn’t appropriate material for a particular list. Lurk for 1-2 weeks before “announcing” your arrival with a posting introducing yourself.
3. While lurking, observe and try to learn all the special Netiquette that applies to Mailists. Every list is handled a little differently. I operate the korg01w-list using a hands off approach whenever possible.
4. Be sure and respond privately, and not to the entire list, when your answer or comment isn’t going to benefit others on the list. Be careful using the “REPLY” features of mail browsers unless you’re sure of who it REPLIES to – the original poster, or the entire list.
5. Stay on Topic.
6. Take disagreements and flame wars off-line, that is, into private email rather than broadcasting your arguments with someone to the entire group. After all, they feel the same way about you!
7. Absolutely, positively SAVE the “welcome” directions that you received when you first subscribed to a maillist. For starters, they tell you how and where to unsubscribe. Otherwise in the future you won’t be able to figure out how to send an unsubscribe message and more importantly where to send it to!
8. Be careful about using sarcasm, and satire. Often it’s misinterpreted. Make sure that you know the members of the group before employing any forms of sarcasm. And then proceed with caution.
9. Don’t copy an entire email when replying to it. Highlight only selected portions. Use … or *snip* to indicate removal of body text. Include the original poster’s email address when possible.
10. Don’t post ASCII ART or “signatures” longer than 5-6 lines. If posting more than one item per day to a list, turn your signature “OFF” on subsequent posts. Some people have slow modems, not network connections to the internet.
11. Don’t post a file to a maillist. Do not ever use, launch, or read a file from an unknown poster to the list. Only use files from trusted sources. If you want to share a file with korg01w-list members, send the file to email@example.com and the file will be made available on the list home page at http://www.vienxu.com/korg0.
12. A signature file announcing what products and services you or your firm offers is OK provided it’s not too long. Posting something that is clearly advertising is a waste of space. Occasionally put something interesting in your sig like the address of the joke-of-the day maillist, or an interesting URL. Just use good judgement and see what other people in the list do.
13. Do not post chain letters, chain mail, or the like, including email “petitions.”
14. Remember to add a short, but descriptive SUBJECT line before posting your opinion. Don’t change SUBJECT lines in mid-thread as some folks set up filters to filter in or out threads they’re interested/bored with.
15. Don’t point out all the minor netiquette violations to people unless they are blatant, intentional, or repeated. Always cut newbies some slack and if necessary, send them a more understanding reply explaining why what they did was bad instead of flaming them.
2 replies on “Guide to Mailing Lists Etiquette”
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