List Etiquette

The following are the etiquette rules for our service. They have been furnished by sources who have learned (the hard way!) the pitfalls of mailing lists. Please follow them and send us comments if you think of changes or additions.

  1. There is a learning curve for people who have not used a mailing list before. Have patience with those who mistakenly post personal replies to the list. If you want to let them know that their message went to the entire list, send them a personal message. Do not post your response to their error to the entire list.
  2. 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.
  3. Use your real name.
  4. Use descriptive titles in the subject line so everyone can follow the threads and easily access the messages.
  5. Limit line length to 80 characters.
  6. Make sure the topic you are discussing is appropriate for the audience.
  7. Be brief.
  8. Be careful what you say about others. You never know who is listening, so be very cautious what you say about a particular company, manager, co-worker, or friend.
  9. Never forget that you are communicating with human beings, not computers. Do not attack people if you cannot persuade them with your presentation of the facts (cite appropriate references to back your argument). Remember that there are other people reading your messages. Screaming (ALL CAPS), cursing, or abusing someone only diminishes you in the minds of others and they will be less willing to help you when you need it. The STC Washington, DC – Baltimore (WDCB) Chapter reserves the right to unsubscribe anyone who posts abusive or annoying material.
  10. Remember there are no stupid questions. At one time, you didn't know the answer to the question, either.
  11. Don't post messages correcting someone else's spelling or grammar. This causes people to pick apart each other's messages and defeats the purpose of the service. Remember we all make mistakes and e-mail spelling mistakes are forgivable.
  12. Never assume the person is speaking for his/her organization. Many people post messages from their school or office, but the opinions are purely personal. If you have a problem with a message, please take it up with the individual, not the entire company.
  13. Be careful with humor and sarcasm. E-mail is easily misinterpreted; a remark that was meant to be funny can come across as rude. Often, adding a smiley face helps show you are joking :-).
  14. When you are responding to someone's message, please summarize the subject so others can follow the thread.
  15. Be careful to send personal follow-ups directly to the individual via e-mail, not broadcast to the entire group.
  16. Do not post information that may be an infringement on copyright laws.
  17. Do not use the mailing list as an advertising medium for your company, product, or service.
  18. Avoid posting to multiple mailing lists.
  19. Do not use the mailing list as a resource for homework assignments or research.
Last modified: September 1, 2017
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