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E-Mail List Usage Policies

ABCD is a curious Harvard institution. It crosses all the traditional boundaries, and it is also a completely voluntary group. There are very few rules, and as such it is doubly important that ABCD members be aware of how their usage of the e-mail lists affects other members.

Our hope is that the ABCD e-mail lists will prove to be an extremely valuable resource for members. A place to ask questions, get important announcements, learn more about your computing environment, and exchange humorous anecdotes. At the same time, we hope that the e-mails that people receive don't start to intrude on their other activities in an undesirable way.

To that end, we have devised a set of policies that we hope will meet these goals. First of all, all members should be aware that all messages are archived; each group, if you visit its webpage, has a link to its archives, which can be browsed at your leisure. Secondly, be aware that although membership in the main ABCD e-mail list is mandatory, membership in subgroups is completely voluntary and you can change which lists you subscribe to at any time. We hope of course that you will participate and contribute your knowledge to as many lists as possible, but we also realize the time constraints placed on our members that may make this difficult.

When posting to any of the ABCD e-mail lists, we ask that you observe the following guidelines:

  1. When posting a request, comment, or information, PLEASE take a moment to consider where you are sending it. The main ABCD list has over 1600 subscribers, and many of them may not be interested in your issue, be using the same OS as you, be IT people, or even be of the same species as you. So please consider first posting to a smaller forum such as one (or more) of the committees. You can always check the group pages to see what topics groups are interested in. If you are announcing a sub-group meeting, please also post to the abcd-announce list.
  2. If you feel that your audience is widespread and can't be targeted by subgroups, or if you didn't get a response to your first query, then by all means post to the main list. If you do so, and if you feel that people might respond (especially if you ask them to) PLEASE make the following statement: "Please send all replies to me directly, but please also CC abcd-misc@abcd" (or another appropriate subgroup)
  3. All those who don't mind getting some extra mail, or are interested in the discussion at hand, can subscribe to abcd-misc (or the other group) to get the rest of the dialogue. Additionally, all the mail to abcd-misc is archived on the website, so if you want, you can go look up the results of the discussion.
  4. If the original question poster feels that the results of the discussion are of general interest, they may, at their option, summarize all the responses and post to the main list. Otherwise, folks are expected to look at the abcd-misc archives.

We hope that this solution will satisfy both those who thirst for information in a free exchange, and those who want their inboxes to remain quiescent except for the occasional ABCD meeting announcement. Unless things get really bad, of course, we will not enforce any restrictions on the main ABCD list, but we ask that you respect the desire of some of our members to be left alone. Thank you, and please, continue to send your ideas, comments, and suggestions, directly to us and to abcd-misc@abcd.



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