[Zmagnette] Magnette Listserv proposal (Long message but hopefully worth reading)

James Rogers chewbaca111 at gmail.com
Fri Nov 1 16:46:12 MDT 2013

Greetings fellow Magnetteers,
I as well as many of our members have been overwhelmed with the volume of
email (250) that has been exchanged since the migrating to the new listserv
(2 weeks ago). I am contacting the list to make several proposals as to how
to change how the list polices itself. I believe that all of the issues
that many of us have with the list can be solved with a little more self
management and changes to our (the group and individual) preferences. With
all due respect to the members, I am going to be frank. But be mindful that
my frankness is intended to serve our online community, not insult.

I know that most of us simply lurk on the list and others post multiple
times a day. According to Allen B there are 111 people on the list. By my
count less than 20 post every week and make up well over half the volume.
The list is also not growing because people leave the list (for various
reasons) at just about (4-5 per year) the same rate that they join. I think
whatever your involvement, we are all equally valued. I also think that the
recent increase of people leaving the group is unacceptable. We should want
to grow the group. For now the list behaves more like a forum/chat room.
Which maybe an indication as to where we should divert the current
membership. I would also like to recommend using the Magnette forum on MG
Experience as an additional resource (

First and foremost, the reply all option should be changed to reply to
sender. I understand that the arguments against using this option are that
"this is how it has always been" and "the recipient should use the delete
option to manage their inbox". I think these two arguments undermine our
community by placing individual wants ahead of the group's. As more people
are added to the group (especially younger more "netiquette" savvy members)
the number of people collectively reading and writing emails increases and
this is a generally good thing. But the volume of unwanted, less valued
emails also increases. This is especially true of emails that fall outside
of proper "netiquette" guidelines (see below Etiquette Proposal for the
specifics). As demonstrated in the past two weeks well more than half of
the emails fall outside of these guidelines. Further, the sender should
manage their messages not the group. If a sender sends a message addressed
to an individual but they reply to the group then 109 of us have to review
the message, select the message and delete (three simple clicks of the
mouse right?). But collectively that adds up to over 6,500 reviews
individual clicks per week, 27,000/month and 350,000/year. If the default
reply button was switched to reply to sender then and the replyer wanted to
reply to the group (reply all) it would require 1 click per message. The
current setting is very very resource intensive and wastes a lot of the
members' time.

I personally don't delete messages because I like to use this list as a
reference when addressing questions with my Magnette. But the volume of
useless content is so overwhelming it makes it difficult to search for any
specific question. There is also the auto response (vacation reply) problem
which in the current setting will message the entire group for each and
every email sent.

In addition to the above proposal I would like to propose a set of rules
and etiquette guidelines for member to follow on their own accord. If we
can adopt this approach individually then I believe our over all experience
will improve with the list and subsequently grow our membership. These are
a plagiarized amalgamation of rules and etiquette I have found on the web.
Please feel free to suggest amendments and additions.

*Proposed rules:*

Do not intimidate, challenge or attack others. List discussions are meant
to stimulate conversation not to generate conflict or unease. All members
have a right and responsibility to interact with the list in a positive way.

Do extend the same personal and/or professional courtesies in your
electronic communication as you would in non-electronic exchanges. As
general rule if you wouldn't say it to someone’s face you shouldn't include
it in your message.

All defamatory, abusive, profane, threatening, offensive, or illegal
materials are strictly prohibited. As a rule, if you wouldn't say something
in front of your Grandmother then you probably shouldn't post it on the

Do not distribute any SPAM; solicitation, jokes, chain letters, petitions
for signatures, or letters relating to pyramid schemes, missing persons or
once-in-a-lifetime deals. Generally don’t “forward” outside emails to the
entire list.

Do not share names, email addresses, contact and/or personal information
about members outside of the Magnette listserv. In confidence, we have
stipulated what we wish share within the group when we joined

Do not share anything that you would not want the world to see or that you
would not want anyone to know came from you.

Do not share solicited or unsolicited commercial or political messages to
the group. But if a member or members have requested information then *
directly* provide that member(s) (not the entire list) with the pertinent
information of information, products and services that you believe will
help them.

*Proposed etiquette: *

For new posts, state concisely and clearly the specific topic of the
comments in the subject line. For replies to original post make sure your
reply includes “Re: subject” format. This allows members to respond more
appropriately to your posting and makes it easier for members to search the
archives by subject.

Only send a message to the entire list when it contains information that
everyone can benefit from. Postings to the listserv should address the
readership at large rather than individuals specifically. If a discussion
develops into an exchange between two parties, the conversation should move
to private e-mail immediately.

Send personal messages such as "please send me information", “thanks for
the information", "me, too", “welcome”, “I understand” or “wow!...” to
individuals--not to the entire list. In fact, if you start you message
addressed to an individual it most likely should not be sent to the entire

Message length should be kept to a minimum or warn recipients in the
subject line that the body will be long by including the words, "Long
Message." Start you message with a “get to the point” summary of where
you’re going in the message. Don’t beat around the bush.

Post only about MG Magnettes. Stay on the topic of the email
thread.Off-topic comments, questions, etc. are not appropriate. As
“topicality” is
to some extent in the eye of the beholder, there is considerable leeway
under this guideline and greater responsibility placed on members to
respect the need to have some coherent focus for the list.

Because we lose verbal and gestural clues when communicating via e-mail,
some special considerations apply to listservs. Even the best authors have
difficulty coming off as sarcastic in textual form.  Avoid “flaming”
emotional responses and in particular avoid terms (including swearing) that
could offend precisely because of the absence of verbal and gestural clues.
Only correct another member in a private message and be polite.

It is particularly important to wait before ever replying to an e-mail that
makes you angry or offended. Unlike a regular letter, it’s very easy to
type something out in anger and hit “send” without thinking through how
what you’re saying will be interpreted. If something gets you emotionally
upset on the list, please do not reply immediately. If you do feel
compelled to respond, direct your response to the person privately and not
to the entire listserv. A Klingon proverb says, “Revenge is a dish best
served cold” (so take time to cool off before sending a response). Chances
are that what’s involved is just a misunderstanding or an e-mail typed out
late at night when the person wasn't thinking clearly. Patience,
generosity, and good humor can go a long way towards a happy listserv.

Use your listservs as the powerful resource they are meant to be. Your
ideas are important. Just because you think everyone knows something
doesn’t mean they do. And, in return - you be sure to jump right in! Here
is your chance to help a friend and get a lively discussion going.

Do not send administrative messages; such as remove me from the list,
through the listserve. Instead, use the Web interface to change your
settings or to remove yourself from a list. If you are changing e-mail
addresses, you do not need to remove yourself from the list and rejoin
under your new e-mail address. Simply change your settings.

If the amount of mail from any particular list becomes cumbersome, rather
than leaving that list,consider receiving the digest form of the list.
Instead of getting each email individually, you will receive a summary
email at the end of each day. Individual subscribers need to request this
function directly for each listserv list to which they are subscribed. -
See more at: http://autox.team.net/mailman/options/zmagnette

Thanks for your time and consideration,
James C. Rogers
Email-chewbaca111 at gmail.com
Phone- 706 206 7986
Physical-65 McDade St. Asheville, NC 28806
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