Cleveland Park Listserv Rules

The Cleveland Park Email List is a neighborhood discussion list. This is a place where you can exchange news about the neighborhood, including new stores, street construction, development, city services, robberies and break-ins, traffic, parking, stuff for sale, places for rent, where to eat, where to get a great plumber, schools, and more. Think of the list as a your neighborhood post office, playground or supermarket, where you'd meet and chat with your neighbors.

The Cleveland Park email list is the most vibrant, energetic --and largest-- neighborhood email list in the Washington, DC area, and in the United States. As the list becomes larger, the list moderators have found it necessary to develop a set of rules that contribute to making the list a fun and useful place in cyberspace.

How does this list work? The Cleveland Park Listserv functions much like a "letters to the editor" column, in that the moderators must read and permit the posting of each message. On any given day we typically publish about half of the submissions received. If you write your message in accordance with the list rules, it stands a good chance of being published on the listserv, but please understand that there is no "right" to have a message posted here. The moderators are free to make judgments about which messages to publish and are under no obligation to discuss the reasons for turning down a message with the list member who sent it in or with other list members. In other words, this listserv is not a public forum but a privately run, members-only service. It's a resource intensive service, too, and it depends on the support of its donors, friends, and sponsors to keep going. We have a Friends of the Listserv program you can join by clicking here. To support the listserv and at the same time reach our readers with an advertisement in support of your business, cause, or event, click here. With your support, the Cleveland Park Listserv is able to bring you regular columns, as well as thoughtful, well-edited discussion of important topics. This is one online forum where you'll never find an anonymous rant. And that surely is worth something.

We treat bandwidth as a limited resource. We don't want our list members to be overwhelmed with messages, and have their inboxes cluttered. All messages that are posted on the Cleveland Park listserv need to be written in accordance with the rules below. Do not write to us to point out any messages that have appeared that you believe to be inconsistent with the posting rules. There are no bonus points for finding an occasional mistake!

New list members should wait at least a day or two before posting their first message in order to get a sense of what the listserv is like, unless the message is urgent.

The Cleveland Park email list is a G-rated list: Messages should be appropriate for all ages.

1. Sign your messages, preferably with your full name, but at a minimum, with your first name. Anonymous posts are never permitted. You do not need to post your exact address, phone number or other personal information. While the moderators may add a list member's name to an unsigned message (if we know who you are), most of the time unsigned messages will simply be deleted. Screen names are not acceptable. Initials (either as a substitute for your first or last name) are not accepted on the Cleveland Park Listserv, since they create a sense of anonymity that we want to avoid. For example, messages may not be signed "T. Smith" or "Jane R." Your name needs to appear at the end of your message.

2. No crossposts. Do not send anything to this list that you are sending out to other lists or other recipients. That means: No press releases, no mass-circulated announcements, and no messages that say, "Please distribute this to everyone you know." Exceptions are made for messages of an urgent nature, which affect the health or safety of neighbors, or which the list moderators consider to be important or useful to the neighborhood at large. Neighborhood civic groups such as the ANC are generally exempt from the no-crosspost rule (but still shouldn't have more than one email address in the TO or CC line of their message.)

Do not add any other email addresses to the CC or TO line of your message.

3. Messages must be your own original writing, written just for your neighbors on this email list. That means: no articles copied from newspapers, no text from websites, brochures or campaign flyers, no forwards, and no copies of messages you have received privately or have seen on other email lists.

4. Posts should relate to Cleveland Park or the vicinity*. While Cleveland Park is part of the solar system, it's a good idea to keep your messages about somewhat more local topics. The Cleveland Park Email List is not the place for announcements about any of the following: national or international cause organizations; out-of-neighborhood charities or non-profit institutions; other email lists; demonstrations, protests, rallies, lectures, or fundraisers, except for those held in the neighborhood or directly related to a neighborhood issue. That is to say, any announcement of a lecture at the Cleveland Park Library is fine, while any announcement about a lecture at the M.L. King Library is not (unless it's a lecture about Cleveland Park's history at the M.L. King Library.) The sample posts provide more examples of messages that are suitable and unsuitable for this neighborhood discussion group.

If posting an event announcement, please check the map of the listserv coverage area. Out-of-boundary events generally cannot be announced on this neighborhood-focused list. However, in some cases it may be possible for the poster to create a physical connection to the neighborhood. If, for example, you are soliciting donations for an out-of-neighborhood clothing drive, and you are willing to go to list members' homes to pick up the donated items, then the collection would be considered in-boundary. Another example: If posting about a rally downtown, you could organize transportation for neighborhood residents to arrive at the event as a contingent, or you could host a post-event get-together in your own home in the neighborhood. Announcements that have no such neighborhood connection will be deleted. There's more about the requirements for posting a fundraising message on our fundraising policy page . Keep in mind, however, that your announcement can always be posted as a sponsored message if it doesn't meet the requirements for free publicity on the listserv.

Generally speaking, the Cleveland Park email list is not a bulletin board. This is a neighborhood discussion list.

5. Your message must be readable. Spelling and punctuation count. The same goes for using paragraphs, correct capitalization, and other grammatical niceties. Properly spelled and formatted emails help list members figure out what you're trying to say. Spelling mistakes may make it impossible to find your message through an archive search. ALL CAPS can be used for occasional emphasis only. Don't overuse ellipsis. Messages may not start in the subject line and continue the sentence in the text box. Keep in mind that there are list members who are sight-impaired or for whom English is a second language. Messages that contain forwarding marks (>>>) in every line will be deleted because these messages are especially difficult to read.

If you are posting a long hyperlink, please convert it to something short using one of the various free Internet services such as TinyURL, or, . Long URLs may not be clickable through YahooGroups; it's also a good idea to put a space between the end of the URL and any punctuation. Test all links; to help keep the list message traffic at a reasonable level, the list moderators may not approve messages that are simply corrections of wrong or broken URLs.

Compose your message in plain text.

6. Respect the privacy of others. Posting someone's home address or phone number or posting private or personal correspondence without their permission is not allowed. Forwarding or reposting somebody's off-list correspondence on the Cleveland Park Listserv or elsewhere is not allowed. The only exceptions to this are compilations of off-list replies about service professionals, and posts from government officials. List members may --and are encouraged to-- report back to the Listserv with replies about plumbers, painters, auto body shops, taxi services, etc. If you create a compilation, it's helpful to add "Compilation" to the subject line of your message. Leave out your correspondents' names, unless the message specifically authorizes you to use the person's name in a compilation. Before sending in a compilation of recommendations or a single recommendation, you may find it helpful to read the list's recommendations policy page.

7. Post reasonably and responsibly. That means don't feel obligated to reply to every message that moves you. Too many messages from the same person over a short period of time or on the same subject is considered "overposting" -- a form of clutter.

Single-issue posting --posting only on one subject over and over again-- isn't permitted because this list should not be used as anyone's personal soapbox. Attempting to flood the list with messages on a particular issue is not allowed, and anyone who does this may be banned from the list.

Do not add a high priority flag or mark your message as urgent. If you do so, the moderators may put you on can't-post status.

Before posting an information query please check the list archives. If you don't know how to check the archives, please read the Cleveland Park List FAQ , which provides instructions for accessing and searching through old messages.

Please consider whether your message is of interest to the general list reader or is better suited to a limited distribution list. (Example: Meeting minutes should go only to those present at the meeting and do not belong on the Cleveland Park Email List.)

No posting "for a friend." Please don't offer the use of this listserv to anyone but a member of your immediate household. This rule helps to keep our list message volume down and preserves the neighbor-to-neighbor focus of the listserv.

Messages may not include a challenge or request to another list member to respond to your own message, (e.g., "Debbie, before you sell your car on the listserv, have you considered giving it to a charity?" or "After my bad experience at that dry cleaning place, I'm never going back, unless the owner can explain here what happened to my clothes.") If you are responding to someone else's argument in a discussion of an issue, be sure to frame your reply so that anyone else can respond. We do our best to keep discussion from turning into a repeated exchange between just two posters.

When answering somebody's question, it's a good idea to actually provide an answer: Don't say, "There's a computer repair shop on Connecticut Avenue near the coffee shop, but I don't remember the shop's name." All such "I don't know" posts will be deleted. Please refrain from "me, too" or "I agree" posts that don't add new information. There's more about the requirements for recommendations and responses to queries on our recommendations policy page.

The list moderators may end a thread or discussion if the message volume becomes excessive or the posts seem repetitive.

8. Personal attacks, ridicule, harsh or uncivil language or profanity are not allowed on the Cleveland Park email list. No questioning somebody's motives for making a post. The list is not the place to air a personal grievance against your neighbors. Any post that is intended to inflame (also called "trolling") is not permitted. In other words, keep a neighborly tone.

Posting, republishing or quoting a list member's off list correspondence or emails in any public forum without that list member's permission is not allowed, unless that list member is a government official.

The list moderators may ban a list member, who, in their sole discretion, they consider to be disruptive to the list as a whole, or to individual members, or to the list moderators.

9. Rules for posting by non-residents: While people who live outside of the listserv's defined boundaries are welcome to join and post, there are three important restrictions on their use of the listserv. First, non-residents can't use the listserv to sell things. (There's more about this in Rule #10 on advertising policies.) Second, if it seems to the moderators that someone has joined just to harp on a single issue or push their own pet cause (rather than be part of a neighborhood conversation), then we may suspend posting privileges for that list member. Third, non-residents can't use the list to raise money or solicit donations for any causes (no matter how worthy), in keeping with this list's restrictive rules on fundraising. Click here to find out more.

District of Columbia government officials should review the guidelines for DC government messages.

Political candidates, staff, and supporters need to read our posting guidelines for candidates.

10. Listserv advertising policy: In order to keep the Cleveland Park Listserv primarily a discussion list, posting of ads is extremely restricted. In a nutshell, the only people who are allowed to post free ads are those who live within the listserv's defined boundaries, and the free ads must be non-commercial in nature and not too frequent. (You can now purchase a paid advertisement on the Cleveland Park Listserv.) "Non-commercial" means that you cannot advertise something that you are in the business of selling. For example, you can offer your home for a writer's group meeting, but if you are a full-time editor, you can't advertise your professional writing classes. It's usually okay for neighborhood teenagers, college students, care givers, and others who are not full-time professionals to offer their babysitting or housecleaning services; however, these messages can be posted for free only once a year; any additional ads must be purchased. Please note: ALL ads selling or renting homes, whether in the neighborhood or elsewhere, are now published only as paid ads. High-end items (anything with an asking price over $1000) also fall under our paid advertising program.

Business owners and professionals may post on neighborhood matters but should not put anything in their messages that promote or advertise their business -- and that includes tag lines or slogans after their signature. Recommendations can't be posted for any business in which you have a financial or personal interest. (That means you can't recommend your spouse's business.) Shilling, like all fraudulent posts, is prohibited.

Free advertising is very limited on the Cleveland Park Listserv, and so the moderators may, at their discretion, turn down an ad that otherwise meets the listserv's qualifications for free advertising, if deemed needed to hold down the number of ads on a given day.

Please note: The Cleveland Park Listserv has a commercial advertising program for business professionals, retail stores, neighbors and others. Please click here to find out more about it.

Items that have been offered for sale elsewhere (such as on Craig's List) do not qualify for a free ad on the Cleveland Park Listserv. Click here to find out how to purchase an ad for your previously advertised items.

To read about the difference between an ad for a business (which must be purchased) and a recommendation for a business (usually okay), click here. We also have a helpful checklist that posters should use before sending an ad to the CP Listserv.

To be posted, an ad must contain some indication of your location, so that it's clear you live within the list's boundaries. You do not need to give your full address, but a street name or intersection is sufficient. If there's nothing in your ad to indicate that you're a neighbor, your ad will not be posted. If you live outside the listserv boundaries, you are welcome to participate in discussion but cannot use the listserv as a free ad board. To pay for your ad, click here.

Advertising privileges are reserved for list members and those who live with them in the same household. The CP List does not allow the posting of ads on behalf of friends, colleagues, acquaintances, or on behalf of institutional programs. That last restriction means that you can't use the CP Listserv to seek housing for all the exchange students coming in for a summer school program or all the interns that your office is bringing in from around the country. If your company or organization would like to purchase an advertisement to seek housing for your interns, click here.

You can post a for-sale item once; no reminders or repeated advertisements for the same items. If you have multiple items to sell, be sure to list them all in the same ad. List members can use the list to sell things only a few times per year, and you must wait at least two months between for-sale ads.

All ads for property, whether for sale or for rent, in the neighborhood or out, are published only as paid ads. We hope you are willing to purchase an inexpensive advertisement, which not only is an effective way to find buyers or renters, but which provides the listserv with the financial support it needs to continue its existence.

Babysiters and housecleaners are allowed to advertise their services for free on the listserv (or have an ad submitted for them by a reference) just one every 12 months.

To prevent the Cleveland Park Listserv from being overrun with sports tickets for sale during those seasons, no more than one set of tickets can be sold on the list per day. If you want to sell your Nationals or Redskins tickets and somebody else has already offered tickets for sale that day, just be the first list member on the following day to offer tickets for sale. To cut down on the overall ratio of ads to discussion, list members should not offer tickets for sale more than three times a season.

You can use a service such as TinyPic, to link to a photo of the item you're selling, if you want. Attachments are never allowed on the CP Listserv (needed to protect list members from the spread of computer viruses).

Put "needed" or "wanted" or "for sale" or "FS:" or "for free" in the subject line of your message, as appropriate. It makes it lot easier for list members if you specify in the subject line of the message whether your item is something that's for sale or that you're seeking.

Please use the advertising checklist when posting a for-sale item.

11. Spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, and spam. (This section concerns spammers, spam challenge systems, and spam/scam warnings.)

Spam of any kind is prohibited on the Cleveland Park email list. This includes long signature lines that double as advertising or sloganeering, and advertising disguised as "informational messages." Anyone who sends spam to the listserv or to any other listserv or individuals or who is disruptive to the list may have their posts deleted or may be banned from the list.

Ticket scalpers will have their posts deleted and may be banned from the list. The only tickets that may be sold on the listserv are those you bought for your personal use but are unable to use. Tickets may not be sold for over face value. List members who buy and sell tickets on multiple lists may be banned.

Don't send virus, spam, or scam warnings to the list. The Internet is full of fraudulent email, but it's not a neighborhood-related issue -- it's global. List members need to be responsible for their own virus protection and spam filtering. You need not worry about receiving a virus from any email that comes from the Cleveland Park Email List because viruses come in the form of an attachment or forwarded message, neither of which can be posted on this list. The moderators have always diligently screened out all spam, as well, and we ban anyone who attempts to spam the list.

Don't use a spam challenge system on any email account that you use to post to the CP Listserv. The moderators will not jump through hoops to communicate with posters about problems with their posts, and we don't want list members who reply to queries to have to do so, either. If we can't get through to you by replying to your subscribed email address, we may have to cut off your posting privileges. It's frustrating to the moderators and other list members to be unable to communicate with a poster.

12. Snip, snip, snip: Before replying to a post, cut out any parts of the original message that aren't relevant to your reply. In other words, you shouldn't include the entire original message in your reply. Cut out the "tag lines," "message footers," and Yahoo information at the end of each message. This is particularly helpful to people who subscribe to the list digest, who read messages on their cell phones, and who are visually impaired. The moderators cannot do this sort of basic editing for list members and will delete messages that contain the entire digest, have "Digest" in the subject line, have repeated message footers and tag lines, or need similar repairs.

Please keep in mind that the digest cannot accommodate lengthy messages. Strive to be brief. If you can't condense the information you want to convey into a message of just a few paragraphs, then invite those interested in the subject in greater depth to email you off-line for an expanded version of your message. The normal length limit is about 500 words. If you plan to send a longer message, it's a good idea to email the moderators off-list about your intended long message and ask whether it can be put through. Remember: The CP Listserv does not accept attachments.

13. The Cleveland Park Listserv archives are for list members only. Anyone who is not a list member is prohibited from accessing the list's archives. To find out how to use the list's archives, please read the instructions on our FAQ page, .

14. Anyone who collects or harvests list members' email addresses for spamming, sending advertisements or any other purpose, or who is a spammer, or who joins the list under false pretenses will be banned from the list. Harvesting email addresses will be considered computer trespass. We share our banned member list with other listserv moderators.

These rules are aimed at promoting a list that is friendly but focused, flexible but not a free-for-all. The moderators will make whatever exceptions they find necessary or helpful to meet the needs of individual neighbors, in emergencies, or to serve the overall needs of the group. If you don't find your message on the list, you may assume it has been deleted. Typically about half of the submitted messages are deleted. The moderators sometimes delete messages that meet all the list's rules, in some cases because they have decided not to start a thread on a particular topic, in other cases because that topic was recently discussed at length, or for any of a dozen other reasons. The moderators sometimes write a note of explanation when a message is not published, but with message traffic so high, it's more likely that they will delete without a note to the poster.

You need to have a working email address to post on the Cleveland Park Listserv. If the list moderators have to write to you about your message and you can't read your email, then we may have to put you on can't-post status. Please note that the moderators will not fill out spam challenge forms or make phone calls to contact list members about their messages. If you don't provide us with a working email address where we can reach you if we need to, you may not be able to post on the CP Email List.

(Click here for some examples of what's acceptable and what isn't okay on the Cleveland Park email list.)

By default, replies go to the sender. To post a message to the list, put in the TO line of your message. If you receive individual messages, please use the "reply" button to reply to a message. However, it's okay to use "reply to all" to reply to both the list and the sender on some occasions, and to have both the list and sender's email address in the TO line of your message. It is not acceptable to have other recipients in the TO or CC line of your message to the Cleveland Park email list. List members who receive the digest should NOT use the "reply" or "reply to all" button but must start a new message to the posting address; using the "reply" button will send the whole digest back to the group!

The list moderators may ban or put on "can't post status" any list member who violates the list's rules.

The list moderators may edit an excessively long message for length, to remove advertising, or to make the message conform in some other way to the list's rules.

All messages express the views of the person making the post. List members are responsible for the content of their messages.

If your post does not immediately appear on the list, please do not send it again. It can take up to 24 hours for a message to appear on the list.

Please DO NOT put a message to the moderators in your post to the list. If you can't figure out the answer to your question from reading this page or from reviewing the Cleveland Park List FAQ, you can email the moderators at cleveland-park-owner [at] yahoogroups (dot) com -- but please keep in mind that the moderators are all volunteers, and that we do not have unlimited time to deal with list members' questions.

As the Cleveland Park email list grows larger, it's important to have a set of rules that make cyberspace a more pleasant and workable space. We hope that these rules make for a civil but fun neighborhood email list.

Bill Adler & Peggy Robin

List Moderators/Owners

Wow! As you can see, the Cleveland Park Listserv is a very busy place in cyberspace, and takes a lot of time on the part of the volunteer moderators. You are welcome to show your support by making a donation. The moderators appreciate the good karma that comes from knowing that Listserv members appreciate all the hard work that goes into running the Cleveland Park Listserv:

You can reach the list owners at cleveland-park-owner [at] yahoogroups (dot) com. If it's an emergency, call 202-986-9275. (What's a list emergency? A lost pet; a crime suspect at large; a hacker attack on the listserv ... and not much else. List management or receiving problems do not constitute an emergency.)

Appropriate versus not-appropriate advertising-type messages

Read about the Cleveland Park email list in The Washington Post

A webpage devoted to stopping illegal, noisy activities in Washington, DC.

For a useful guide to email etiquette, visit or or

A (very) short primer on how to reply to messages

You should also be familiar with Yahoo's rules.

Is My Post OK Or Not OK for the Cleveland Park Email List?

Still not sure whether your post fits within the rules? Here are some examples of posts that are okay ... and some similar posts that are not.

Cleveland Park Email List main page (and how to contact the list moderators - scroll down to the end of that page for the list owner address)

Read a Washington Post article about the early days of the Cleveland Park email list

The Cleveland Park Flickr Group: View and share photos of Washington, DC

We're on Twitter @clevelandpark.

Cleveland Park and Vicinity

Click here for map of the Cleveland Park listserv coverage area

What is Cleveland Park and vicinity? The Cleveland Park Email List coverage area includes not only Cleveland Park but also the nearby neighborhoods of Woodley Park, Forest Hills, North Cleveland Park, Tenleytown, Cathedral Heights, McLean Gardens, Mass. Avenue Heights, and Glover Park. Parts of Chevy Chase, Friendship Heights, and Georgetown are also included. Here are the boundary lines:

Starting on the southeast corner of the National Zoo, the boundary line goes north and east around the Zoo, continuing along the eastern line of Rock Creek Park, taking in all of the park up to Military Road, which forms the boundary line on the north. Continue straight west along Military Road until Western Avenue. Follow Western Avenue southeast until 46th St. Follow 46th St. due south until Massachusetts Avenue and American University. The boundary line goes to the west to take in the whole American University Campus and then continues south along Foxhall Road at Whitehaven Parkway. The southern boundary of the listserv runs east along Whitehaven Parkway, ending at Wisconsin Avenue, and then continues a few blocks south on Wisconsin until R St. The southern boundary line goes east along R St., taking in all of Montrose Park, which connects at its eastern end with Rock Creek Park, which forms the southeastern boundary of the listserv. If you follow the boundary line of Rock Creek Park northeast you will arrive at the southeast corner of the National Zoo, where we began.

A final note about the rules. When we created the Cleveland Park Listserv in 1999, we had no rules. It was like the free-spirited 60's again. But as this online community grew, we found that list members' views of what should be permitted were, well, their views. And these perspectives sometimes ran counter to good common sense. For instance, the first time that somebody posted THEIR WHOLE MESSAGE ENTIRELY IN UPPER CASE we realized that we needed a rule about this. When somebody who lives in Florida posted a diatribe about Elian Gonzalez, who was staying in Cleveland Park at the time (remember that?), we realized that we need to limit discussion to people who live in the neighborhood and vicinity, lest anyone anywhere in the world be able to comment on any famous or controversial person in Cleveland Park. When somebody first posted a reply to every single message posted that day, we realized.... You get the idea. Most of the rules on the Cleveland Park Listserv are a product of our learning experience and growth.

If you're looking for one "meta-rule" that you can use a guidance when posting to the Cleveland Park Listserv it's this: think of your message as a letter-to-the editor.

Please read our advertising disclosure page here.

--Bill Adler & Peggy Robin

List Founders and Owners

"Always online, always caffeinated, always willing to put the listserv ahead of family, friends and the real world."

--The List Moderator's Credo, created by Bill Adler

The TinyURL for this page is