mailing list guidelines

Sample Mailing List Guidelines for Your Group

Here are some mailing list guidelines that should be useful for starting a new group or neatening up an old one. These sample mailing list rules are based on typical rules that have worked for other groups. Most email discussion groups have found it useful to have some rules which all members abide by. Usually each rule is formulated to resolve a particular problem that came up. So you might want to borrow some of the wisdom of those that have come before you, and adopt some of these guidelines for your list.

Mailing List Guidelines

General Mailing List Guidelines

  1. Have respect for others.
  2. Be polite.
  3. Debate the issue, do not engage in personal attacks.
  4. Before posting a question, first research your problem by reading past messages on this list and other sources on the internet.
  5. Send really descriptive questions or informational postings.
  6. Write a good subject line.
  7. Keep your messages closely related to the topic of the list.
  8. If in doubt, send a message to the list moderator and ask.
  9. Keep your email short and to the point.
  10. Write in clear, grammatical, correctly-spelled language.
  11. Don’t send meaningless messages, like “me too” or “thank you” posts that do not contribute to the conversation.
  12. Provide URLs to articles wherever possible.
  13. Include your real name and email address in posts.
  14. Don’t be critical of people’s questions posted to the email discussion group.
  15. Don’t send copyrighted material.
  16. Don’t send somebody else’s private email, without the permission of the person.
  17. Follow up with a brief note on the solution.
  18. Encourage newcomers to lurk for a while and absorb the “style” of your group, before posting any messages.
  19. No chain letters.
  20. No self-promotion, job listings, or advertising.
  21. Commercial posts are not acceptable, although you may provide your commercial contact information in your signature.
  22. No discussions about politics or religion.
  23. Avoid sarcasm and humor to keep from being misunderstood.

Email Mechanics and Formatting Mailing List Guidelines (More on Formatting Plain Text Email)

  1. Don’t copy the entire previous message when replying.
  2. Quote only the relevant portion of messages you respond to.
  4. Don’t send styled text or HTML message, only send plain text email.
  5. Don’t send attachments.
  6. Change the subject line when the subject of the thread changes.
  7. When responding to a digest post, be sure to change the subject to match that of the original message.
  8. Keep your signature concise.
  9. Do not send subscribe, unsubscribe, or other administrative messages to the list.
  10. Start a new thread for a new topic.

And if there is another guideline that has been useful for your group, please let us know, in a comment below. Also, guidelines are a great way to foster a positive community culture.

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