Mailing List Netiquette

How to turn off HTML or RTF in various E-mail programs

HWG Mailing LIst Netiquette Guidlines

Mailnig List Etiquette FAQ


Official Roots web Policies regarding Mailing Lists
Topics: copyright, spamming, crossposting: reposting messages from other mailing groups, and commercial posts.

General Guidelines:
  • Use a message SUBJECT line which reflects the content of the message.
    Subjects like "My Surnames","Re: Digest #xxxx" and so on could mean your message will be overlooked or deleted.
    When posting your surname interests make sure that the surnames are in the SUBJECT line. Keep in mind - Many of the folks doing lookups, subscribe to many mailing lists. They do not have the time to read every single message - so they scan the subject lines, try to write one to get their attention.

  • Save the welcome or subscription messages for any mailing groups that you join. These will tell you how to unsubscribe as well, which is handy for times when you are off on holidays, or changing e-mail addresses because of a new ISP (Internet Service Providers).

  • Type in Mixed Case letters. Typing in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS is interpreted online as anger or aggression. Typing in red letters also indicates that you are very upset.

  • If you wish to forward or re-post a message you've received, then please don't change the wording. Please ask permission first if the message was a personal message to you and you are re-posting to a group. You may quote only relevant parts by using bibliographic style and cite the source afterwards.

  • Bear in mind that a very large audience will see your posts to the mailing group. This group may include your boss, co-worker, family member or friend. Mailing lists are archived, and that your posting may be stored for a very long time in a place to which the public has access.

  • When posting to the list, you may opt to sign off with your postal address location and e-mail address and, as well as your name! Because messages are archived people can reply to you directly if a reply to the list isn't appropriate, or if you change e-mail a few years from now.

  • It is not possible to retrieve messages once you have sent them. In this respect electronic mail is just like postal mail, once the letter is off in the mail box, it has been sent. Even your system administrator will not be able to get a message back once you have sent it. This means you must make sure you really want the message to go as you have written it.

  • Wait overnight to send strong emotional responses to messages. Please do not send a strong criticism or "flame" -- a derogatory or insulting comment that has been sent to everyone subscribed to the list.

  • A standard genealogical convention is to print their SURNAME in capital letters when referring to a person or a family.

  • Please do not send any attachments to the group. If you wish to reply with an attachment contact the person individually offlist, and ask permission to send the attachment to the person directly. If you have a file you would like to share with the members, announce what you have to offer, then send the file only to those who request it, via private e-mail. Another method to make a graphic or large file available would be to set up the file on a web page, and refer to the URL on the mailing list.

  • When you initially subscribe to the list there are various suggestions depending on the mailing groups, please feel comfortable either to:
    1)Post a message introducing yourself to the group and let the rest of the group know where your interests lie and which families you are researching.
    2)Or, to lurk, which means you don't post to the list straightaway, to get an idea of what goes on.

  • Acknowledge replies to your queries. A simple thank you sent out online to the folks who replied to your message is much appreciated for any information they may have sent your way.

  • Post your surname interests regularly to the mail group. There are new members subscribing regularly and although the archive searches are available not everyone likes to use them.

  • If you decide to subscribe in digest mode to reduce the amount of e-mail you receive, then please don't reply to a whole digest. In digest mode using the REPLY button pastes the entire digest of many e-mail messages into the reply message.

  • Don't send unsubscribe commands to the list address. The address to talk to everyone and send messages to the list is: (mailing list name) and the address to be used for talking to the computer for unsubscribe/subscribe commands is (mailing list name) for mail mode or (mailing list name) for digest mode Notice the word "request" in the subscribe and unsubscribe addresses.

  • Written permission should be obtained for use of copyrighted materials,with the clear understanding on the part of the copyright holder that these materials will be used on the WWW rather than in a printed publication. The purpose of a bibliography is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited. Abstracts are the purely descriptive summaries. Bibliographic annotations expose the author's point of view, clarity and appropriateness of expression, and credit where credit is due.
    Quoting Electronic Sources:
    • Discussion List Messages

      Author (actual name or the part of the email address before the @ sign). (Year, Month day). Subject of message. Mailing List Name. Available E-mail: MAILING LIST@e-mail address [Access date].
      Author. "Subject of Message." Date. Online posting. Discussion List. Available E-mail: MAILING LIST@e-mail address. Access date.
      * This bibliography is automatically obtained by searching the list's archive.

    • Personal Electronic Communications (E-mail)
      Sender (Sender's E-mail address). (Year, Month day). Subject of Message. E-mail to recipient (Recipient's E-mail address)
      Sender (Sender's E-mail address). "Subject of Message." E-mail to recipient (Recipient's E-mail address). Date of message.

    • URL or HTTP Internet protocol:

      Author/editor. Title of Print Version of Work. Title (in top title bar of browser). Publication information of printed material (Place of publication: publisher, date) Title of Electronic Work. Medium. Information supplier. Site/Path/File. Access date.
      Author/editor. Title of Print Version of Work. Edition statement (if given). Publication information of printed material (Place of publication: publisher, date), if given. Title of Electronic Work. [Medium ie. CD rom or Online]. Information supplier. Available: Protocol (if applicable): Site/Path/File. Access date.

      Oxford English Dictionary Computer File: On Compact Disc. 2nd ed. CD-ROM. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1992.
      *Access date is not needed when the medium is a CD-ROM.

      Adamson, J. A. (1997). Saskatchewan Gen Web Project. [Online] Available: (16 April 2000).
      * The above example is used if the print version is not included in the bibliographic reference.

    The Net: User Guidelines and Netiquette, by Arlene Rinaldi LISTSERVS/MAILING LISTS/ DISCUSSION GROUPS

    Bibliographic Formats for Citing Electronic Information

    MLA Citation Examples to Internet Resources

Saskatchewan Mailing Lists

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