List: CHAT Guidelines

Note:  All links going to other websites will open in the same window. Use the Back button to return to our site.

CHAT Posting Guidelines STC Members Only

To protect our mailboxes from overflowing, there are posting guidelines for our moderated discussion list to which we ask our membership to adhere.

If you have questions or concerns about the list, please send them to the list owner / moderator, Jenny Staley at WDCB chat list manager.

What You CAN Discuss or Post

This service is a discussion forum for members to ask about topics related to technical communication such as

  • how to do something
  • grammar
  • members looking for a ride to an event
  • members interested in getting together for lunch
  • questions about technical communication (this includes all topics related to working as a technical communicator)

What You CANNOT Discuss or Post

CHAT List Rules and Guidelines

  1. Any STC member who agrees to abide by the guidelines may join the list.
  2. Membership is only for STC members.
  3. Posts to the list should be text-only, no .html mail please. Check your settings and choose "plain text". Every e-mail application has a way to do this and most methods are described in this handy dandy URL: Sending Messages in Plain Text
  4. Postings to the lists should be related to technical communication or monthly events. (If you cannot find an answer on this list, post questions about technical communication to TECHWR-L or an equivalent general list.
  5. No advertisements—no sales pitches or product marketing.
    • Job announcements will not be seen by many because this is a small list of about 49 people. Please post job announcements on the STC Job Bank page.
    • People looking for work may post their availability BUT MAY NOT SUBMIT TEXT OF THEIR RESUMES TO THIS LIST. Such messages should be minimal in length, no more than four or five lines, AND limited to a few basic qualifications and contact information such as an email address, phone number, or website. Mailman cannot accept attachments (they get converted to unreadable code).
    • To provide more details and make your resume available, use the STC Resumes Bank at You may include links to your resume or website, or include a PDF of your resume with your listing.
  6. Keep Your Posting Short. When replying to a posting, only quote the portions that are absolutely necessary to help the reader and delete the rest. If quoting an article, include only a brief excerpt and then provide a URL for people to read the rest if they are interested.
  7. Lengthy discussions should occur off the list. Post an EDITED summary if the finished discussion would be interesting to list members.
  8. "Subjects that generate more heat than light." Occasionally, a subject will come up that generates lots of posts because of its controversial nature. If the discussion threatens to overwhelm our mailboxes, or becomes nasty, we will ask that those interested in discussing it further take the discussion off the list.
  9. No personal attacks: do not ridicule, personally attack, or flame other members or nonmembers. Anyone violating this rule will be unsubscribed from the list. You may or may not be given a warning by the list moderator before being unsubscribed.
  10. No jokes, chain letters, junk mail, or off-topic discussions. No spam of any kind. Only subscribers to the list may post to the list.
  11. No virus warnings. Send suspected "scare mail" to the list owner / moderator, Jenny Staley at WDCB chat list manager.. The list owner will verify and forward legitimate threats.
  12. Subscribers who repeatedly misuse the list will be removed, with or without warning. The list owner (and assistant list owner, if applicable) shall have the final say in the matter.
  13. Watch the Reply line:

    Before you hit that Send button, be sure to take a look at what is written in the TO: and CC: areas of the header. If your message shouldn't go to the list, it should not have wdcb_chat at stcwdc dot org in either field.

    If you automatically select Reply to a posted message, you will always send your message to the entire list.

    To respond to an individual, you need to retype their Reply-To: address in the TO: line. Only replies that you feel a good majority of the list would enjoy should go to the entire list.

    On that note, if you send a message to the list, please include your e-mail address in the body of your message. Some e-mail applications do not include your address so if you leave it out, members have no way to send you a reply.

  14. It is very important to understand the difference between the list address and the Mailman address, but fortunately it is not complicated. The Mailman address is similar to a FAX number that connects you to a machine. The list address is similar to a normal voice line connecting you to a person. If you make a mistake and dial the FAX number when you wanted to talk to someone on the phone, you will quickly realize that you used the wrong number and call again. No harm will have been done. If, on the other hand, you accidentally make your FAX call someone's voice line, the person receiving the call will be inconvenienced, especially if your FAX then re-dials every 5 minutes. The fact that most people will eventually connect the FAX machine to the voice line to allow the FAX to go through and make the calls stop does not mean that you should continue to send FAXes to the voice number. People would just get mad at you. It works pretty much the same way with discussion lists, with the difference that you are calling hundreds or thousands of people at the same time, and consequently you can expect a lot of people to get upset if you consistently send commands to the list address.
  15. On vacation or out of the office: Don't spam the list with "Out of the Office" replies. If you're going to be away for an extended period of time, unsubscribe from the list while you're away and resubscribe when you return.
  16. If You Have Problems: If you get an error message back from Mailman, take a look and see if the problem is obvious. Often the problem is a typo in the name of the list or your e-mail address, or too many recipients. The error messages usually tell you what is wrong and you may be able to fix it yourself. If you can't figure out what the problem is, ask your system administrator for help. If you're still having problems, forward the error message to the the list owner / moderator, Jenny Staley at WDCB chat list manager..
  17. Please avoid sending e-mail attachments!

    Don't include e-mail attachments to list posts. This includes .doc, .rtf, .pdf, .gif, .jpg, .tif, and other binary types of attachments—binary items get converted to unreadable code. Instead, provide the data as a text file appended to your post, or offer to provide the data to those who request it, or put it up on the Web for voluntary download. Not everyone has the ability to read attachments, nor do we all wish to grab the typically high-byte files over our skinny home modem lines.

Why You May be Unsubscribed

We may unsubscribe you if your mailbox fills up or your e-mail server is down and returns error messages. If you are unsubscribed without meaning to be, just send a note to Jenny Staley at WDCB chat list manager. with an explanation and together we will try to solve the problem.

If You Need More Information

For documentation about using Mailman lists, see

Last modified: April 29, 2018
Print Friendly, PDF & Email