The Mac Guild Mailing List Guidelines

Mailing lists are a great way to get information and communicate with others who have similar interests to you. There are a few guidelines that we ask you to understand before posting to the list. Proper posting etiquette is important to the operation and management of mailing lists. Bad etiquette tends to drive members away, frustrate digest members, and overburden list moderators.

To help you adhere to these guidelines, we encourage you to configure your email client to assist (if not automate) the proper formatting when posting to the mailing list (see the "
Email Client Setup" page).

The guidelines below exist to provide a means of efficiently managing the Mac Guild mailing list. At the
bottom of these guidelines is a link to a single-question quiz that is required of all Mac Guild members who wish to retain their posting privileges. Consider it your "driving test" to earn your "license to post".

Posting Guidelines

  1. Macintosh Topics Only
  2. Do not send attachments to list
  3. Always Sign Your Posts
  4. Use Plain Text Only
  5. Include an Appropriate Subject
  6. When Replying, Quote Properly
  7. Edit Your Replies
  8. Be Professional and Courteous
  9. Take Discussions Offline When Appropriate
  10. Do Not Send List Commands
  11. Understand the Moderator's Role
  12. Remove or Limit Unnecessary Signature Lines

(1) Macintosh Topics Only

The Mac Guild mailing list is dedicated to the topic of Apple and Macintosh computers. Posts should relate to Mac technical problems, technology advances at Apple, or Mac related issues which may be of interest to the Mac community. It is not a Windows-bashing outlet, nor is it an "eBay" for Mac items. Also, if the topic starts to wander off towards a subject which is more related to something else, such as Internet services, or Lockheed Martin services, etc., then take the conversation off-line (or post on the MacPeople mailing list). NOTE: Offering free Mac items or promoting Mac discounts available to all members is acceptable.

We all must contend with unwanted email on a daily basis. Most who sign up for this list do so for Mac discussions, so straying from Mac-related topics increases the amount of unwanted email.

(2) Do Not Send Attachments to List

Quite simply, do not send attachments to the list. Never. If you have graphics you would like to bring to our attention, post the graphics on your own web site and put links to those graphics into your post. No attachments includes inadvertant attachments as well, such as VCF cards, GIFs in your signature, etc.. When posting to the mailing list, be sure to use signatures and personalities that do not contain any graphical elements.

Attachments are simply inappropriate for mailing lists. They tend to bog down the list server, and are often unwanted by most recipients of the list.

(3) Always Sign Your Posts

All posts must be signed. Use your full name, your first name, or a nickname, but always sign your posts. If you are forwarding information, indicate the originator of the forwarded text, but still sign your name at the bottom to indicate who is posting the information.

NOTE: Do not use digital signature certificates in your signature, as these will appear as attachments to the mailing list, and will cause your post to bounce.

While it's true that your email address may show in the "From" header of the post, not everyone looks at the headers. When reading posts, the end of the post should always end with the person who is responsible for posting the information. It's the polite thing to do, and shows that you're willing to take responsibility for your post.

(4) Use Plain Text Only

This list is a "plain text" mailing list. When posting to the mailing list, set your email client to send plain text only. Do not use HTML, Rich Text (RTF), or stylized text attributes. That means no HTML code (except for standard web links), no colored text, no font substitutions, or any other text or paragraph attributes. Use blank lines to separate paragraphs, and use the ">" quoting character to quote a paragraph (rather than indentations).

Using stylized text, HTML, or Rich Text (RTF) causes problems for the list server. They tend to corrupt the list digests as well as the list archives.

(5) Include an Appropriate Subject

Always include an appropriate subject in your posts. Do not use blank subjects or digest subjects. When replying to a single post, the automatic "RE:" subject is fine. When replying to a digest, however, you must change the subject to indicate the specific post in the digest you are reply to. If you are changing the focus of the post, it is good etiquette to change the subject accordingly. For example, if the original post subject is "New iMac speed", and your reply discusses a promotional discount on the iMac, then change the subject to something like "iMac discounts (was: New iMac speed)".

Subjects are key to members for organizing and managing their incoming email. Inappropriate subjects can be misleading and frustrating, while applicable
subject lines allow readers to search their subject lists to find articles interesting to them without having to read all messages.

(6) When Replying, Quote Properly

On replies, only include quoted material that is relevant to your reply. In other words, do not include the entire history of the thread. Always use the ">" quote delimiter for quoting text (some email clients automatically convert ">" to a vertical bar). Do not use indentations to quote. When forwarding information from another source (not from this mailing list), you do not have to delimit the text, but be sure to indicate the source of the forwarded information.

Keep a balance between quoted material and your added response. Try to ensure that the amount of quoted text is less than the amount of text in your response.

NOTE: This is one of the rules violated the most, so please make yourself aware of how to quote properly. If your email client is "quoting-challenged", then simply type your reply without including the text to which you are replying.

Without proper quoting, people may not know what you are responding to and your post may be ignored. When duplicate unquoted text shows up in the digest, it makes reading the digest extremely difficult.

Outlook users have a habit of keeping the entire history of a thread in email replies. This is okay for person-to-person email, but is completely inappropriate for mailing lists. The history of mailing list threads can be obtained from the list archives.

(7) Edit Your Replies

On replies, edit out unnecessary noise. This includes extraneous blank lines, email headers, and excessive amounts of quoted text. Try to limit the amount of quoted text to be less than your reply. When replying to a lengthy post, only quote the portions of the post that you are directly replying to. Activate your email clients spell checker. Always proof and edit your replies before clicking "Send".

Unnecessary "noise" makes the messages unwieldy, distracts from the key points, and makes the digest format difficult to read.

(8) Be Professional and Courteous

This mailing list is made up of members from the professional community, so keep a professional tone. Email which may be deemed as offensive, or include too much negativity, will not be posted. Gripes and conflicts are welcome, as long as they are delivered in a professional tone, and argued constructively. Do not type in upper case as that is construed as SHOUTING!

Remember also that contributions on this list are strictly voluntary.
Members post at their own convenience and help out of generosity. No one is expected to help anyone else beyond reason. Please be respectful of your fellow members' time. Before asking for help, try to find the answers yourself. When you do ask, include what you've already tried so people don't waste time repeating what you've already thought of.

The tone of posts affect the attitudes of all members. Constructive and courteous posts encourage more participation, while excessive negativity, offensive language, and unreasonable demands tend to drag down the list and send members away.

(9) Take Discussions Offline When Appropriate

Sometimes it is appropriate to take discussions off-line (i.e., to email individuals directly rather than on the mailing list). For example, if the topic strays from the original Mac topic to something beyond Mac, or if the original post asks for "direct" replies, or if the discussion starts to become more personal where a national audience is no longer appropriate, do not reply to the list. Grab the email address of the one who made the post and email them directly.

EXCEPTION: Sometimes the moderator will post announcements that ask for direct replies (such as review requests). Feel free to reply to the mailing list on all such requests, as the moderator will catch these posts and process them individually (rather than pass them through to the mailing list).

If you are posting an email to which you prefer direct replies, be sure to include your email address in the text of your reply to make it easier for those responding. If the topic leans towards being a Lockheed Martin issue, then move your post to the
MacPeople mailing list.

Taking discussions offline when it is no longer appropriate to the list is the courteous thing to do.
When replying to a post, replies are automatically directed back to the mailing list. If you want to email someone directly, copy their email address from their post and paste it over the mailing list address when addressing your reply.

(10) Do Not Send List Commands

List commands are keywords that the list server recognizes for changing your list preferences. Do not send list commands to the mailing list. Instead, use the Mac Guild Preferences web page to change your list preferences or to unsubscribe.

The list server will automatically bounce list commands that are posted to the mailing list.

(11) Understand the Moderator's Role

The Mac Guild mailing list is moderated, so posts that do not adhere to posting guidelines will be bounced back to the poster (usually with a reason for the bounce). In those cases, you are invited to correct the problem and try again. By understanding the guidelines, and with just a little work on your part, you can avoid bounced posts as well as ease the burden on the moderator.

The moderator is strictly a volunteer position, so understanding and respecting the moderator's role is essential for the longetivity of this mailing list.

(12) Remove or Limit Unnecessary Signature Lines

Remove unnecessary signature lines, and limit your own signatures. The Mac Guild mailing list automatically adds a signature to each post, so remember to delete those lines when replying; otherwise, the signature propogates. Also try to limit how many lines are in your signature block. If you have a lengthy signature, trim it down when posting to the list. A few lines is okay (the only thing required is your name).

Unnecessary signature lines distract from the post and make the digests difficult to read. Further, posts that have only a couple of lines of text accompanied with a 12-line signature can be quite annoying.

Email Clients:

The easiest way to ensure that you follow most of the guidelines listed above is to configure your email client to automate as much of the required formatting as possible. Email features such as reply quoting, automatic signatures, and plain text attributes can be set by most email clients. You can find some helpful hints from the Email Client Setup page.

Other Resources:

Thanks to Deborah Shadovitz for these links.

To take a short one-question quiz, go to the Mac Guild Members page, and then click on "Etiquette Quiz".

Copyright ©2006 by The Mac Guild