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General tips for being a good list member.

The PIE mailing list is for anyone interested in topics related to Italian genealogy. This is provided as a service to you. We encourage people to ask questions and share their information. While we want open communication, at the same time we want to avoid flames or posts that contain unacceptable materials (for example, copyrighted articles). Below are some general tips and links for making it easier to be a good list member and to contribute to the overall positive atmosphere we are trying to promote here at pie. If you have any questions or concerns in this area, please contact us.


Wisdom from a long time member of one of our mailing lists.
This is YOUR list & this list becomes what YOU make of it.  The experienced list members 
will be glad to help & share wisdom, but "we" have to know what  "you" need help with. 
We can just "yap" or deeply discuss any other related topics, but we can't read your mind
if you just lurk. If you want to know about ideas for research in a particular area, then you 
have to write in so that we can discuss that!!!

Use plain text whenever possible when posting to the list. Not everyone can read HTML, MIME or other formats. Save the fancy fonts and wallpaper for your private mail.

Do not send attachments to the list. If you receive unexpected attachments from a list member, do not open them. Viruses are often spread in this manner.

If your message will be of general interest to other list members, then reply to the whole list. But if it's just a matter than concerns one person, such a thank you, then contact the person privately.

Do not post private email to the list without prior permission. It's extremely bad manners and a serious breach of trust.

Give credit where credit is due. If you are forwarding a post from another source such as another mailing list, then do give credit to the author who took the time to research the links or other material you found worthwhile to send to others.

Use your delete key. Not every topic will be of interest to everyone. Use mail filters, sort by subject and delete those topics that don't interest you.  Just as you would not read every single book in the library, you should not expect all the posts on the list to apply to you. Nor should you run others off from discussing a topic if it's not your pet topic. A discussion list is just that, a forum for discussion.

Be kind and TRIM Your POSTS.  It is not necessary to include the entire message you are responding to, users can follow the thread by looking at the subject line. It wastes bandwidth and makes for a huge digest if users have to scroll through lots of repeated text.  Never include an entire digest in your response.

Use clear subject lines, if the topic changes, then change the subject line before hitting your send key. If it's off-topic, place OT in the subject line. Try to keep topics closely related to the general purpose of the mailing list. If you are on digest, change the subject line to the thread you are responding to, don't leave it as "digest number ##".

If you do get flamed by another list member, keep in mind that sometimes the best response is no response. Correct any glaring errors to the list, but sometimes it's best to say nothing and move on. Two thoughts to consider when dealing with difficult people:
"Don't teach a pig it sing, it annoys the pig and wastes your time"
"Don't wrestle with a pig, it gets you muddy and the pig enjoys it"
It's one thing to disagree with another person's opinion but quite another to launch personal attacks, name calling, and other unacceptable behavior.Don't beat a topic to death.

Read the other tips below.

Do NOT put 
copyrighted material on the list without prior permission. Example: links to newspaper articles are ok, but do not post entire articles.

Mailing list etiquette FAQ 
 This link has good tips for any list.

Emily PostNews 
 Netiquette with humor.

Logical Fallacies Index 
- includes false analogies, hasty generalizations and other flaws in logic.

The Fallacy Files 
- index of most common flaws in logic includes history and definition.

A Netizen's Guide to Flame Warriors 
Humor- wonderful guide to the personalities you will encounter on the net.

Please don't post urban legends, chain letters and other junk to the list. If you are unsure of your facts, check out these sites first:

Follow these guidelines when participating in the list:
1) Thou shalt include a clear and specific subject line.
2) Thou shalt edit any quoted text down to the minimum thou needest.
3) Thou shalt read thine own message thrice before thou sendest it.
4) Thou shalt ponder how thy recipient might react to thy message.
5) Thou shalt check thy spelling and thy grammar.
6) Thou shalt not curse, flame, spam or USE ALL CAPS.
7) Thou shalt not forward any chain letter.
8) Thou shalt not use e-mail for any illegal or unethical purpose.
9) Thou shalt not rely on the privacy of e-mail, especially from work.
10) When in doubt, save thy message overnight and reread it in the light
of the dawn.

And, here's the "Golden Rule" of E-Mail:
That which thou findest hateful to receive, sendest thou not unto
 - Original author unknown.

All lists go through cycles, ours in no different:


Every list seems to go through the same cycle:

  1. Initial enthusiasm (people introduce themselves, and gush a lot about
         how wonderful it is to find kindred souls).
  2. Evangelism (people moan about how few folks are posting to the list,
         and brainstorm recruitment strategies).
  3. Growth (more and more people join, more and more lengthy threads
         develop, occasional off-topic threads pop up).
  4. Community (lots of threads, some more relevant than others; lots of
         information and advice is exchanged; experts help other experts as
        well as less experienced colleagues; friendships develop; people
        tease each other; newcomers are welcomed with generosity and patience;
        everyone -- newbie and expert alike -- feels comfortable asking
        questions, suggesting answers, and sharing opinions).
  5. Discomfort with diversity (the number of messages increases
    dramatically; not every thread is fascinating to every reader;
    people start complaining about the signal-to-noise ratio; person 1
    threatens to quit if *other* people don't limit discussion to person 1's pet
    topic; person 2 agrees with person 1; person 3 tells 1 & 2 to
    lighten up; more bandwidth is wasted complaining about off-topic threads
    than is used for the threads themselves; everyone gets annoyed).
  7. Smug complacency and stagnation (the purists flame everyone who asks
    an 'old' question or responds with humor to a serious post; newbies
    are rebuffed; traffic drops to a doze-producing level of a few minor
    issues; all interesting discussions happen by private email and are
    limited to a few participants; the purists spend lots of time
    self-righteously congratulating each other on keeping off-topic
    threads off the list).
  8. Maturity (a few people quit in a huff; the rest of the participants stay near stage 4, with stage 5 popping up briefly every few weeks; many people wear out their second or third 'delete' key, but the list lives contentedly ever after).

- Original author unknown.


Last updated January 5, 2008   Copyright 1993-2008 Susan Frederick