FT100 Mailing List Etiquette

In the first few years the FT100 Group was in existence, I received complaints that it was at times a frustrating experience for people trying to get help or learn something about the FT100.  It often seemed that a small contingent of members had co-opted the list for their own amusement.  These members assumed that because only a small percentage of people were posting, the list belonged to the most vocal members, and not to the majority of those who were reading the postings.

Internet groups or communities are generally made up of a small minority willing to write with a vast majority who read their postings.  Most publications work that way too.  The main difference is that the publishers are acutely aware that if the publication did not meet the needs of their readers, it would quickly go out of business.  The Internet has changed that relationship so that anyone is free to write anything they like without concern for whether it is of any benefit to the reader.  Although this approach may be fine for a personal web page or private email, it doesn't work in a public newsgroup.  There needs to be some discipline and a few guidelines to prevent an Internet community from degenerating into an unfocused and hostile place.

With that in mind, I put together a few simple guidelines that can make the FT100 list more helpful to our members:

0.) Never, never, post a virus alert message to this FT100 list.  Most of these alerts are hoaxes and are very much off-topic.

1.) If someone posts an offensive message, please, send him a PRIVATE message to let him know you disapprove of it. It's not necessary to escalate it by copying the whole list and further increasing the noise level in the group. If the posting is highly offensive or the behavior persistent, the offender will be moderated or banned from the list.

2.) When you see a posting by someone who is obviously 'trolling', that is, trying to get attention with an inflammatory posting, ignore it or you will be giving him exactly what he wants.

3.) Keep postings on the topic of the FT100. It isn't a place to debate general ham topics so don't start topics that are not in some way related to the FT100.  If you see a topic straying away from the FT100, please don't respond to it.  

4.) Please don't treat the list like it's an 80 meter round table with 6 of your good friends. It has nearly 2300 members, so refrain from engaging in nonsense topics such as how many coconuts it takes to power a ham rig.  [Note: that topic was actually discussed in the FT100 newsgroup in August 2001].

5.) While it's fine to include humor in your postings, if the only purpose of your posting is to showcase your comic genius, it's likely to attract responses by others lacking your comic talent who will try to outperform you.  Each of these postings is likely to be less funny than the first and just end up torturing readers in the end.

6.) Don't send private messages to the whole list. If the message is likely to be of interest only to one individual, edit the 'TO: ' field so that only that person gets the message.  For example, a message like, 'Right on, Steve' or 'You make me laugh, Steve!' is best sent to Steve directly, not to the whole group.

7.) Edit out as much of the original message as practical when you're posting a follow-up to as a courtesy to other readers.  If you subscribe to the digest, edit the 'Subject' field and remove the unrelated topics in your email when replying so we don't get long postings with meaningless subject lines such as: [FT100] Re: Digest Number 819 along with every posting in the digest attached to your message. 

8.) When you need help on a topic, first try the FAQ and then do a search on the Yahoo FT100 group web site to see if it has been discussed before. Often times, you'll find your answer there.

9.)  Before you post, please remember that you're asking nearly 2300 other human beings to read what you have written. Please be considerate of their time.

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