LINCOLN-L ArchivesArchiver > LINCOLN > 2004-09 > 1094658057
From: "Karima" <>
Subject: RootsWeb Mailing Lists: Staying On-Topic
Date: Wed, 8 Sep 2004 10:45:12 -0500
Dear List Members,
Following is an article from RootsWeb Review concerning "off topic"
messages. Please take time to read it. It will help you understand why
list administrators (not only this one :-) try to keep "off topic" messages
off the list.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
You can subscribe to RootsWeb Review (which is free) at:
RootsWeb Review: RootsWeb's Weekly E-zine
8 September 2004, Vol. 7, No. 36
(c) 1998-2004 RootsWeb.com, Inc. http://www.rootsweb.com/
RootsWeb Mailing Lists: Staying On-Topic
If you subscribe to one or more of the RootsWeb mailing lists that cover
more than 28,400 surnames, localities, and genealogy-related topics, you
probably realize that each of these lists was created to serve a specific
topic of discussion.
Genealogical discussion concerning your CLAPSADDLE (KLEBSATTEL) family in
Germany would not be a suitable topic of discussion on a list devoted the
USA Oregon Trail Pioneers, for instance. A request for a lookup in a
Philadelphia city directory would be off-topic on a list devoted to Welsh
Most of us recognize the extremes that are obviously off-topic, but with
genealogical matters, it is not always so clear-cut. Some discussion topics
can overlap into another area -- for instance, your CLAPSADDLEs might have
immigrated to Sidney, Australia, opening up a new geographic area into the
discussion. They might have married into the MORSE family, thus introducing
a new surname into a thread or they might have joined an obscure religious
sect about which you'd like to learn more.
Should you continue the discussion on the original list or move the topic to
a different list devoted to the newly broached subjects? It depends.
Sometimes discussions on one list reach the point where answers and
information can better be obtained on another list -- or the expanding
discussion is considered off-topic by the list administrator.
RootsWeb list admins have a great deal of leeway as to what they will allow
on their lists -- within the bounds of the topic for which the list was
created. An admin cannot alter the basic topic of the list and must adhere
to the RootsWeb AUP (Acceptable Use Policy). Beyond the basics though, some
admins permit chit-chat, while others prefer to limit discussion to serious
genealogical exchanges. Some allow a thread of discussion to veer off-topic
a bit, while others put a stop to any thread that crosses over into another
realm of discussion.
How are you to know when you subscribe to a list what will be permitted on
that specific list and what will result in your receiving an admonishment
from the list admin for an infraction? How can you prevent being removed
from a mailing list or having your posts to the list moderated?
1. Start by reading the text of the Welcome messages for each list when you
receive it upon initially subscribing. Many admins customize the welcome
text to explain the specific rules for that list.
2. Take a few minutes to stroll through the recent archives for the list,
located here: http://archiver.rootsweb.com/ Type in the list name to access
the browseable archives for the list. Get a feel for the type of discussion
permitted on the list.
3. Lurk on a list before posting a query or data so you can observe the type
of discussion that is acceptable on the list.
4. Read taglines the list admin may attach to the list messages that spell
out what is and isn't permitted on that list.
5. Never assume that a list admin will welcome any off-topic post or will
permit virus warnings, hoaxes, chain letters, jokes, political- or
religious-focused messages. Mailing lists have an international audience,
even though they may be focused on a specific locality. Your cousins in
Scotland could care less about your American political views and
genealogical mailing lists are not the proper forum for such matters. Don't
assume that you are exempt from the rules spelled out for a list -- they
apply to all.
6. If ever in doubt, before posting your message, drop a private note to the
list admin and ask whether it is acceptable. You can contact any RootsWeb
list admin by writing to: replacing the generic
word LISTNAME with the actual name of the list.
If worst comes to worst and you find yourself on the receiving end of a
private e-mail from a list administrator letting you know that a post you
made to a list was not acceptable; or, heaven forbid, the admin feels it
necessary to post a public notice to the list putting an end to a topic you
started -- don't interpret the admin's reaction as a personal attack. Don't
respond to the list or the admin with an angry ill-thought-out reply or
retort. Consider that the admin is merely doing the best he or she can do to
maintain order and keep the list on track. A public response by an admin
isn't aimed at embarrassing you, but such may be necessary to nip an
off-topic (or otherwise improper) thread in the bud before it gets out of
hand. On busy lists, this can happen very quickly.
Most admins will forgive a one-time lapse of judgment or mistake from a list
member who learns from the experience and apologizes. However, most admins
do not take kindly to an angry or threatening reply from someone who clearly
hasn't learned from his error and who most likely will offend again.
List administrators are volunteers who try to provide and maintain an
orderly and usable resource for genealogical discussions. They do the best
they can under sometimes difficult circumstances. Cooperation, not
confrontation, is the key to successful use of mailing lists.
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|RootsWeb Mailing Lists: Staying On-Topic by "Karima" <>|