Footbag FAQ: E-mail Opt In/Out

Frequently-Asked Questions

OLD: What are the general policies for posting to the announcements list?


Please Note: This section is out of date. We no longer host a mailing list discussion board. Everything is now part of the Forum and you can read the rules for posting to the forum at http://www.footbag.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=12.


If you read this information and understand it, you're likely to have no problems getting your posts to go through. But of course, this FAQ entry can't account for every possible situation, so use your best judgment.

Below are the top 11 list policies on footbag.org. Scroll down to see each one described in detail:


(1) No advertisements:

Don't even think of blatantly advertising for products or services for your own personal gain, or for that of anyone else. It's fine to edify and inform people of products, rate them and discuss them, etc., but it becomes a problem if it turns into a formal endorsement or advertisement. I run this service (with lots of help), under the auspices of a non-profit corporation, and with resources that cost me over $150 a month at the current rate. I will not have the list turn into a marketplace. I will not be responsible for transactions that go bad as a result of a member of my website or this e-mail list entering into any financial interaction with any other player or member.

Repetitive, "subliminal" ads are NOT okay. Please just be *honest* and if a discussion comes up that involves your website or your products or services, feel free to discuss it openly. But do not annoy list members with constant mentions of your favorite websites or companies.


(2) No HTML mail ("rich text" in Hotmail, default in AOL 6.0, Outlook):

Please (PLEASE) don't use HTML mail (ever). Turn it off immediately, once and for all.

HTML mail is stupid in general, but especially problematic for the footbag discussion lists. HTML was not designed to be used for e-mail, and many e-mail programs do not handle it correctly.

More importantly, fully half of our members are on the digest version of the list, which puts all mail in-line into a huge message every day and mails it to them, and HTML mail simply doesn't work (it looks like garbage to non-computer geeks). I personally hate the digest and am thinking about killing it because of all the problems it causes. But since we still have so many people using it, please respect them and only post *plain text*. Otherwise, the digest will be completely illegible.

If you post HTML, the moderator may ignore you, but usually will reply with a BOUNCE message to tell you to fix it. But you have to figure out how. The moderator can't spend the time to teach everyone how to use e-mail.

You people on AOL 6.0, please call AOL and complain and/or ask them how to disable HTML for your outgoing mail.

Hotmail users need to always make sure the "rich text format" checkbox on your "compose" screen is *UNCHECKED*. (Mac users on Hotmail don't have to worry. It does the right thing.) Never send mail to the list in "rich text".

Plain text means e-mail with absolutely no mark-up -- no bold-facing, no underlining, no font changes, nothing. Just plain, simple, text.


(3) Rejection:

Expect your post to be rejected if you haven't read the policies here and are not adhering to them.

If you are rejected (with a "BOUNCE" message), DO NOT argue with the moderator. Try to understand the issue, and feel free to offer a compromise, but do *NOT* argue. It serves no purpose but to create animosity. The moderator is simply trying to help keep the conversation on topic and within the expectations of the bulk of the list's membership, to keep this forum as efficient and informational as possible. This is not a free-for-all.

When the moderator rejects a posting it is *not* personal, and you should not treat it that way nor should you make it that way by arguing with the moderator.

We no longer guarantee to write e-mails explaining the reasons for rejecting posts. It just becomes too much of a burden to get into a discussion with every person. If your message is not suitable for the list, it simply won't show up. For newer members, we'll still give some feedback to help you understand the guidelines because they are not all clearly documented.

For you regulars who keep getting bounced, and you know who you are, sorry but if your message doesn't show up and you see other messages showing up with a send date after yours, that means it was rejected.

If you don't like this new policy or any of the policies we're going to begin enforcing, we urge you to go start your own list.


(4) Thinking:

Please don't reply willy-nilly to posts on the list. Think it out, decide whether or not you want to post the message to the entire list or just to a person you're talking to. And then, carefully consider whether your message will be rejected. It wastes the moderator's time and yours if you post a message that will be rejected. And you know who you are, those of you who have the same types of posts rejected over and over again, so please cool it.


(5) Signatures and From lines:

Use your real full name (first and last) in the From: line of your outgoing e-mail (you must configure this in your mail preferences). Use proper capitalization in your name. (E.g., if your name is John Smith, put John Smith in your name setting on your e-mail program; do *not* put "john smith".)

ONLY users of AOL will be allowed to leave their names off the From: header because many AOL users can't set this up. But all AOL users *must* put their full name in the signature. Not just first name. Both names. No exceptions. With proper capitalization. ("Proper capitalization" does NOT mean ALL-CAPS. It means *proper* capitalization. Everyone should have learned this in second grade. If you are not old enough to have gone to second grade, you are not allowed to post to the list.)

Again, to be clear, messages like this:

     From: "Sarah Chen" 
     To: footbag@list.footbag.org
     Subject: Re: [footbag] Why Hacky Sack is the worst footbag manufacturer
*will* be accepted, whereas messages like this:
     From: "A goofy hacker" 
     To: footbag@list.footbag.org
     Cc: marshall@yahoo.com, bill@excite.com, fred@poly.edu
     Subject: what he said
will *NEVER* be accepted. :-)


(6) Read up before posting:

Do not post any messages to the list until you're *completely* caught up! That means, before you post a single message, read *all* the mail on the list that has arrived since you last read mail. Then, reply to the thread(s) you have replies for, and in some cases take the opportunity to reply to multiple messages on the *same thread* in the *same message*. Don't rapid-fire 6 messages on the same thread the same night, replying to everyone else's posts. That's just a pain for everyone. But be warned if you post a single reply to multiple different threads (see 9 below), you will be rejected.


(7) Don't be lazy:

a. Replying -- Don't include the entire message you're replying to in your post. Cut it down to just the bit you're actually referring to, to give folks context (in fact, this is requested, see 9 below).

b. Posting -- Don't post questions that you can easily find the answer to yourself. Don't ask me or anyone else either, before you check the website. The best thing to do before you begin posting is to read *everything* at http://www.footbag.org/faq (F.A.Q. stands for "frequently-asked questions"), as well as on the freestyle section at http://www.footbag.org/freestyle -- and of course the footbag.org website is the repository for most of the information people frequently want relating to footbag. For example, don't post "what kind of shoe do people use?" or "what kind of footbag do people use?", and especially not "what kind of music do people listen to when they play?" The first two are easily answered by reading the information online; the third is just plain annoying.


(8) Give context for follow-up messages:

Similarly, don't reply without giving context! Always use the same subject line as the thing to which you're replying, and include a snippet of the specific point to which you're replying (and not the whole message, please). Use the *REPLY* function of your mail program, which will help you. Don't manually type Subject: lines because you'll probably get it wrong. For the threading feature of many people's mail readers to work properly, the subject lines have to be exactly right. Otherwise, if you randomly change the subject line every time you post, nobody can keep track of the conversation. Especially not a year from now when they're perusing the archives. (Has everyone seen the archives? It helps a lot to do that to get some idea why this matters. http://list.footbag.org/ )


(9) Stick to one thread at a time:

Don't combine two threads into one. Keep them separate so people can follow the various conversations (see 8 above). Use your reply button/command to reply to messages on the list, so that the Subject: header is correctly reformatted to keep threads together as described above.


(10) Keep your e-mail address up to date:

Don't post to the list from an e-mail address in the From: line that is not subscribed to the list. If you change e-mail addresses, you must update your list membership (see http://list.footbag.org/).

There is an exception however. If you join the lists using your @footbag.org address, we will allow you to post from your private e-mail address as long as it matches what's in your member profile. So be sure to keep your member profile up to date.


(11) Post to list addresses only when necessary:

Don't write the list itself when you can write a more specific address.

a. If you want to talk to someone and you can't remember their address, don't post to the list saying, "Hey, so-and-so, if you're out there, write me." The member directory at http://www.footbag.org/members/ is your best source of contact information, and/or the list archives which show the e-mail address of everyone posting (at http://list.footbag.org/).

b. If you want to unsubscribe or have an administrative question regarding the list, for goodness' sake just ask the administrator (me) directly. If people don't know my e-mail address by now, ... Also, don't be afraid that Allan or I will bite your head off. Just expect it, and it won't hurt so much. :-)

c. If you are replying to a message, never send your mail without looking back over it, seeing if the freestyle list is cc'ed or not, and only cc it if you are really sure! Many messages can just go privately and don't need to go to the list. Consider using private e-mail to follow up public posts, as opposed to completely open conversations. (Visualize it this way: every time you post to the freestyle list, you're walking up to the podium in a large auditorium and seizing the microphone. Vs. just walking over to someone who has just spoken over the microphone and continuing a private conversation on the sidelines.)


These are not the only rules, but the most important ones. We reserve the right to refuse to post messages for any reason. Don't take this the wrong way, but if you're not happy with how we moderate this discussion group, feel free to create your own.

Entry last updated by Steve Goldberg on 10-Feb-2005.
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