The following material was submitted to FUNDLIST by Frank F. Kroger <fkroger@HALCYON.COM> on September 28, 1994.
A mailing list's usefulness is directly tied to the quality of its members' participation. The following guidelines, which were taken from the second chapter of INTERNET: Mailing Lists (SRI International, 1993), should help you make your participation on FUNDLIST (or any other list) meaningful and embarrassment-free.
Before sending a message to the list, make sure that the content is appropriate. FUNDLIST is intended for discussions, announcements and queries regarding fundraising and related matters. Politics, history, music, etc. have mailing lists devoted to them -- please use them. Please try not to carry on discussions about whether a given discussion is appropriate. This only mushrooms until nobody can find the messages that belong.
When replying to a message that has been sent to the list, consider whether your reply should be sent to the person who sent the original message, or to the entire list. This is especially true if you are unhappy with what some user said. In most cases it is much better to send her/him mail directly; not to the entire list. For example, if someone sends a message like "please remove me from the list," there is no point in bogging down the list with even more mail just to let the person know that administrative requests shouldn't go to the whole list. If you feel compelled to reply to this type of message, only mail it to the sender, not to the whole list.
The "Subject" field of your mail message should give a reasonable summary of the contents of the message. This helps list members to sort and file mail messages. Do not send messages without a subject line. If, during the course of a discussion, you change the original focus of the discussion, change the "Subject" line as well.
When you reply to a mail message summarize it if appropriate, and attribute it to its author. If your mail program allows you to include the old message in your reply, try to remove parts of the old message that are irrelevant. When asking a question, gather the replies and post a summary to the list (especially of messages not sent via the list).
Always attach your signature (name and e-mail address) to the end of your posts. There are a whole host of mail clients and no two display the headers in the same way.
In preparing a message, be aware that people will be reading your post on many different e-mail programs. Cute pictures, and long lines which look fine on your system may be unrecognizable on someone else's system.
If anything goes wrong with the list please remember that this list is run and maintained by volunteers. Avoid sending messages to the list pointing out errors that are obvious to everyone. We're doing the best we can.