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Majordomo Mailing List User Etiquette Guidelines

Being A Good List Citizen

We request that everyone who uses ITS mailing lists help us in making this a fun, interesting and educational tool to use. There are certain guidelines that we ask everyone to follow so that everyone understands what is expected of them as a user of these lists, and to make administration and management of these lists as consistent and fair as we can.

Your feedback on improving the documentation and services on this system is always solicited. If you have questions you can't find an answer to, or if you have an idea for how to make something better, please send it to the Majordomo Owner . Most of the changes we make to improve things come from our users. If we'd thought of it ourselves, it would have been done by now!

The Necessary Disclaimers

If the Majordomo-Owner or list-owner decides a user is a destructive influence or is found to be abusive to the list, its users, the hardware or the list administrators, we may revoke your privileges to use the mailing lists. Using these lists is a privilege, not a right.

If the Majordomo-Owner or list-owner writes you and asks you to do something, please cooperate with us. Please, though, don't act like we're staring over your shoulders: if you're doing something we'd rather you not do, we'll let you know. If you don't get email from the Majordomo-Owner, then everything is fine. It is our policy to try to work with people to get their message across in the best way possible.

We expect everyone to act like mature, intelligent adults, and to treat each other courteously. Pretend you're all in a room together, and that your Mother is watching. If you wouldn't do something while you were in the same room as a person, don't do it here. That's all we really ask.

Guidelines for Using ITS Mailing Lists

Do not send list administration commands to the mailing list. All subscribe or unsubscribe commands should be sent to majordomo@ats.rochester.edu or majordomo@mail.rochester.edu , depending on whether your list address is "@mail.rochester.edu" or "@ats.rochester.edu". As a policy, we do not respond to mail sent to the wrong address except to remind people how to do it properly -- this is to not encourage people to develop lazy habits by being able to "get away" with the wrong behavior. Our interest is in teaching you how to do it right, even if it takes us more time as admins -- because it helps people learn how to work properly with all mailing lists.

Stay on topic. Each list has a charter of acceptable content and topics. Do not post things to the list that are not part of that charter, for any reason. It doesn't matter how important you think it is -- if it's offtopic, it's not appropriate for the list. This rule specifically includes postings on chain letters, new viruses, rumors, warnings, and get well cards (Craig Shergold does not need any more postcards. Really.)

Each list has its own charter and set of rules that are used in addition to the rules in this document. You should read the list charter document that was sent to you when you subscribed, or read the monthly list posting.

Our mailing lists are rated PG- 13. Strong emotions and heated discussion happen and are part of discussing things people care strongly about -- but that is no excuse for abusive language, using obscene language just for shock value, or attacking other users.

VERY IMPORTANT: Do not play Topic Cop. PLEASE leave that to the list owner. A lot of work is done behind the scenes via private e-mail. Most of the time, people who try to do the list-owners' job for them only make the situation worse. If you have a problem with something that's been posted to a list, e-mail your comments to the list-owner and let the list-owner deal with it.

Do not post to multiple mailing lists, or post the same request multiple times. Find the most appropriate list and post it there. If you don't get an answer the first time, asking again won't help (if we knew the answer, we would have said so...)

Most lists have Frequently Asked Questions documents, World Wide Web pages, and other documents that answer many user questions. We ask that users please check the documentation before posting a question to see if it's already been answered. This really helps us keep down the noise level on the list, and focus on answering NEW questions instead of rehashing old ones. Don't assume that because it's a new question to you it hasn't already been answered.

If you can't find the answer in the documentation, then help us write new material for the FAQ or Web Pages to answer the question for the next person who needs it. Don't assume the list-owner will be able to pull the answers off the list and add them to the FAQ -- we need sleep like everyone else, and can't do everything, so please work with us by writing up summaries of the answers and submitting them to the list-owner for inclusion in the list's documentation.

Do not post copyrighted material. It's illegal to type in an article verbatim, or re-post one from an on-line service like Clarinet. (Yes, we know it happens all over the net. That doesn't make it right or legal.) If you do it, you put yourself and the list-owners at risk if the copyright holder decides to sue. You CAN post a pointer, summarize what the work is saying, post quotes from the work within the boundaries of fair use. If you aren't sure that what you want to do is legal, ask the list-owners for advice.

ITS does not allow any kind of buy/sell messages in the mailing lists. Commercial postings are not allowed on mailing lists. We do not want blatant sales hype and pitches.

You may not use addresses obtained from mailing lists to harass others or send them offensive, abusive or commercial e-mail. If we find out that people are sending commercial solicitations or abusive e-mail to users of our lists, the offender will be removed from the lists and possibly reported to his site administrators.

Anonymous remailers may not be used to subscribe or post to mailing lists. Any user found subscribed from an anonymous account will be removed from the system. We believe everyone should be responsible for what they say, and sending mail anonymously defeats that. If you aren't willing to sign your name to your posting, we aren't interested in reading it.

If you use a "vacation" program while away from your e-mail, make sure that it is smart enough to not send messages to the mailing lists or to users who post to the mailing list. If your "vacation" program starts pattering at the list or list members, we will unsubscribe you until you return.

Please don't send "me too" messages to the list. All they add is noise. If someone else has answered the question before you, don't answer it again. If someone offers to send something to people, then e-mail them privately. Don't send the "send it to me" message to the list.

Do not post files that use MIME or include enclosures. Not everyone can read MIME files, and large, attached files are not appreciated by many. If you have something you want to make available, put it on an FTP site and send a pointer to the list.

Suggestions for Improving Your Messages

Keep postings as short as possible. The longer your message, the more it rambles, the harder you make it for someone to figure out what you need or what you're saying -- the fewer people will read or respond to your message.

If you include quoted material, edit it ruthlessly. Edit, edit, edit! Delete ALL text in the reply except the exact phrase you're responding to.

Please keep the length of lines in messages posted to the list to no more than 72 characters.

Keep signatures as short as possible.

Keep Subject lines relevant. If the topic changes, change the Subject.

If you read the DIGEST and respond to a message in it, CHANGE THE SUBJECT. If you don't, it'll read "Re: Digest #...", which many users won't read and which doesn't tell people what the message is about.

Ask yourself if it's necessary to post to the entire list. If you aren't sure, e-mail it privately to the person you're responding to.

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