Groups and Lists, Dos and Don'ts

If you are considering joining a group/list (and I encourage you to do so), please read the Do's and Don'ts listed on this page. It will make your participation a lot better! And try to maintain a sense of humor too!

Most of the hints/tips/suggestions about groups/lists here are related to computer oriented groups, but generally the same thing applies to any group or list.

Just about every Yahoo Group or other list has a certain set of rules members need to follow.

Most responsible groups have moderators to enforce the rules although some leniency is generally followed. There are some rules, though that a group or list must adhere to, or the group/list is doomed to failure.

The two important rules every group/list should have are these:

1. No SPAM! Many spammers will join groups/lists in order to spam the members. Not nice!

2. No flaming or harassment of other members. Questions asked by members are because they want information and don't know where else to turn to get answers. Everyone at one time or another probably has a question about something. In the case for most of the groups I join, it is for computer help. Most of the time I can provide the help, but there have been times I needed help. I certainly would be very upset if someone started making fun of me because I didn't know the answer!

While the next items may not be in the rules, they certainly should be!

Please be polite and think about those folks on dial-up that have to pay for every minute of bandwidth they use. This means trim your posts! If you don't know how to trim, just look at Trimming Your Posts

If you use Out-of Office responders, go no mail a few days before you plan on being Out-of-Office. This is VERY important, especially for really busy lists! (Failure to do this may get you removed from the list!)

If you have a group of your own and you want to tell another group/list about it, it is only polite to ask the group's owner/moderators if it is ok to post. I think a tag line in a signature is ok, but some groups/lists don't allow that either.

Unless the group/list is specifically religious or political, those subjects should not be allowed.  This includes lines appended to signatures. Too many folks could be offended by a casual religious or political remark.

Keep to the subject! If you join a group about MS Office, posting an off-color joke is way inappropriate! By the same token, if you join a humor group, post your computer questions in another group especially for computer problems.

Please, if you join a group/list, keep the information that tells you how to unsubscribe! You joined or you wouldn't be getting the group/list messages. Most of the time the unsubscribe information is listed somewhere in each message (usually at the bottom). If you no longer want to receive these messages, it is YOUR responsibility to unsubscribe. Insulting or threatening the group/list because you want out is not the way to play! One thing to remember about unsubscribing, be sure if you are unsubscribing by email that you use the same email address that you use to receive posts, otherwise your unsubscribe will fail.

Good suggestions for posting include providing as much information about your problem as possible. This include the information on the Subject line. If I see a post with 'Help' as the subject, I am not as inclined to respond as I am if the Subject line says, I need help with Outlook Express. (This is just an example.)

Information that could be helpful to solve your problem would be things like what version of Windows are you using, what you were doing when the problem occurred, etc.

Please don't cross post! This means if you belong to more than one group, don't post a question and address the post to every group you belong. If you post a question and don't receive an answer or response, then post in another group, but do give folks time to respond first!

I do usually advocate using the BCC field on messages to prevent showing email addresses to everyone, but this is NOT appropriate for posting to groups. (It really messes up filters) Use the Reply function, not Reply to All. This can also mess up filters in some email programs.

Some groups/lists will allow attachments, although personally I feel this is unsafe. Due to the nature of the group/list, however, some attachments may be necessary. For instance a graphics group wants to share or learn how to make a graphic. It would be impossible without being able to view the graphics. Just remember to be careful opening all attachments!

Don't tell the group owner how to run the group.  If you don't like the way the group is being run, then leave.  You have the option to make your own group and manage it according to your own rules. But make sure your rules don't keep members from leaving!

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