All Things Bannockburnian: Electronic Forum Usage Guidelines
Questions and comments can be sent to Michael Feldman, bburn list manager. Click HERE to send him a message.
This brief note will summarize the usage guidelines for the Bannockburn online forum (sometimes called "listserv"). Please read them carefully and do your best to follow them. Save this file for future reference. Your friends and neighbors (over 500 bburn subscribers!) will appreciate your attention to this.
How do I send a message to the list?
Just address an e-mail note (plain text, no HTML, no attachments), to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do I respond to a message:
Just use the "reply" function of your e-mail program. Keep in mind that your reply will go just to the original sender.
How do I respond to the whole group?
To some extent this depends on your e-mail program. One method that often works is to use the "reply to all" function. This may show you both the sender's address and the list's address. If not, add the list address. But be careful when you respond to the full list: all e-mail devotees have had moments of embarrassment when they accidentally sent a private message to a big list. That's life on the Internet; be careful and try not to lose your sense of humor!
Any other words of wisdom?
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Sign your message, as though it was an old-fashioned letter.
- Keep it clean. Kids are allowed to join!
- Keep it civil and polite, even if the subject is controversial. It's VERY hard to convey emotions accurately in writing, because there is no accompanying "body language" to send emotional cues. E-mail fans have all had their "oops" moments when a note they meant to be very mild was taken the wrong way by a reader.
- Don't carry on private disputes in public. Sometimes it's unclear whether a matter is of interest to the community or just to a few individuals, but once it becomes clear that a matter is really a private one, please move the discussion to individual e-mail.
- We MUST protect everyone's privacy. It is UNACCEPTABLE to include a neighbor's personal information -- name, address, phone number, e-mail address -- in a list message without the express permission of that individual. Please be very careful about this.
- It goes without saying, but we'll say it anyway: any kind of personal attack or accusation is absolutely off-limits. That's a sure way to get you removed from the list.
- Keep the subject matter to Bannockburn. There are so many lists, chatrooms, forums, blogs, websites, etc., where you can get your fill of political debate and the like. There's only one bburn, so let's use it to discuss matters that directly relate to Bannockburn.
- This community is very "tuned in" politically. There are a lot of political events in the area. It's OK to announce such events (candidate forums, coffees, rallies, and the like), with a *brief* announcement (one paragraph or so), and include a link which readers can use to get more information. Do NOT get into advocacy in this announcement - just give enough information to let members know of the event, and leave it to them to decide whether to follow up.
- Please do not forward messages, or quote heavily, from other Internet sources. If you think it's important enough to pass on to more than 600 Bannockburnians, it's important enough for you to take a few minutes to compose a brief note with an included link.
- AOL users: remember that when you forward an AOL message, the software "wraps it up" in an attachment. This is another reason to avoid forwarding. If you want to pass some brief text passages on to the list, copy the text and paste it into an ordinary message.
- Use UPPER CASE LETTERS very sparingly! In "netiquette", writing a word in CAPS is taken to mean you are SHOUTING IT. If you just want to emphasize a word, try using *asterisks* instead of caps.
- Don't send attachments! Attachments (photos, Word documents, etc.) fill up recipients' inboxes, and sometimes carry viruses! Remember, everything you send goes to everybody!
Also, we are guests of the George Washington University. Our hosts are very civic-minded, so let's be nice to them by keeping the traffic down and not clogging up their system.
- Don't send HTML messages. Set your e-mail program to send "text only" messages. This will make it much easier on the recipients!
- As with most Internet lists and groups, the manager of this list is authorized to reject or block distribution of off-topic messages, and in case of serious or repeated violations of these usage guidelines, to remove a member from the list.
- It's your community, and your forum. Enjoy it, and please give your friends and neighbors a chance to enjoy it.