Email List Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the purpose of the FLGBTQC email list?

This email list is a way for FLGBTQC Friends and supporters to stay in touch with each other between gatherings. It is, to use John Calvi's analogy, a way for us to gather at the community store to exchange news, gossip, spiritual journeys, ask for prayers and guidance, and to do FLGBTQC business in an informal way. Although the list is informal and unmoderated, there are some rules of etiquette. Some of the rules pertain to any email list, and some of the rules are peculiar to this list.

2. What are the general rules of etiquette on any email list?

Messages sent to the email list address (which is private) go out to everyone on the email list. As such you may be tempted to treat them as public messages. They are not public messages! You should treat them as private messages sent out to all subscribers. That means you should respect the privacy and integrity of the person who sent the message. You should not quote from, forward, or reprint any message on a email list without first getting permission from the person who wrote the message.

3. Any other general rules?

It is awfully easy to hit the reply button without first seasoning your reply, especially when replying to a message which has upset or disturbed you. This creates two problems. First, remember that your reply is being sent to everyone. If you say something which is ill- considered, it will be seen by everyone. If your response is more appropriately done in private email and not for everyone's eyes, then send it to the private address of the message sender. Secondly, it is awfully easy to forget that this medium is an awful way to communicate, usually. There are none of the nuances of face-to-face communication. What is a joke to me may terribly offend someone else who doesn't understand it is a joke. And as a medium, it seems often to highlight our own lack of reasoned discourse. People say things on email lists they would never say face-to-face to a friend! Road rage and internet rage have a common foundation!

4. What is the most important general rule, then?

Don't hit the reply button without first asking: 1, am I holding the sender of the original message in the light; 2, is this an appropriate message for everyone to see or would this best be sent to the individual who sent the original message; 3, am I the best person to respond to this message and do I have something uniquely my own to add to this message thread? This is not an electronic Meeting for Worship, but we try to speak from our center and hold each other in the Light. No subject per se is off topic if treated in a spiritual way and reflected with love. As in Meeting for Worship with Concern for Business, there is no need to second, applaud or respond to everything everyone says. If someone speaks your mind, once is enough; just send them a private affirmation.

5. Are there any other rules about replying to someone's message?

In general don't copy a person's entire message when you are responding to it; just make a reference or quote or cut and paste in the most significant paragraph, if indeed you are moved to respond. This will keep the size of email messages down. Remember that there are those who have limited email storage capacity and your email which just says "I agree!" might be very long if you quoted someone else's message verbatim. Also, as in Meeting for Worship, ask yourself if you really need to send that reply, or would a simple private message of support to the sender be more appropriate. Remember that not everything needs to be commented on by everyone! On the other hand, many of us have needed the messages of support which have come through the email list.

6. Should I include signature lines in my message?

Signature lines are lines that identify who you are. Some folks email programs don't list the address, or list only the list address and not the sender's address. Try to add a line or two to your message with your name and location!

7. What rules are peculiar to this email list?

When this email list was originally set up confidentiality was a big issue. While most email lists allow you to get a listing of subscribers, you can not get such a listing on this email list. The (Email List Manager) is the only person who may subscribe new members or obtain a listing of all members.

8. Any other rules peculiar to this email list?

While the temptation to debate and criticize is strong and usually productive, it is not the purpose of this email list. There are other Quaker email lists where you may debate the finer points of Quaker theology and life to your heart's content. But you can expect to be eldered if you do that here. Think of this email list as a form of Quaker dialogue. We do not debate here. Most of the things you post should clearly communicate who *you* are, and should not comment on someone else's ideas or life. Share what has been true for you, with as much personal detail as you have the courage to muster. Think about this email list as a heart circle, where we share what is in our hearts and not what is in our heads. One person's message may spark something in your heart. Respond! Another person's message may spark some ideas in your head. Keep silent and perhaps send them a personal message asking for clarification! Poems, stories, life's journeys are meant to be shared, not criticized or clarified. If you don't understand a message, send that person a private email, but only after you've asked yourself if you really do need to clarify or to criticize.

9. How do I send a message to everyone on the list?

Remember that this email list is like a community bulletin board, or a community campfire. Whatever you say gets sent out to everyone when you send your message to the list or when you hit your reply button. Don't use your reply button without first asking if you want your message to go out to everyone! If you want your message to be private, then look up at the header of the message you want to respond to and there you will find the sender's email address. If you don't find the person's email address, check your mailing program. There is usually an option that needs to be toggled in order to see the full email header with that person's email address. Most mailing programs default to a short header, which omits the senders email address.

10. Do I have to unsubscribe when I go on vacation so that messages don't build up while I'm gone?

If you wish to unsubscribe, or to simply keep messages from coming to you while you are on vacation, there are commands you send to the automated list server's address (not the list itself!). If you need these instructions, please contact the Email List Manager.

11. What do I do if I'm having problems sending or receiving messages?

Send a private message to the Email List Manager. He'll do as much as he can to help resolve the problem. Be prepared though to tell me what email program you're using, who your service provider is, and what specific error messages you are getting.

12. Sometimes when I send a message I get an error message back. Should I be concerned?

Always forward a copy of any error messages to the Email List Manager. Usually it's because someone's address is no longer working, or has temporarily quit working. He will follow up those errors and attempt to contact the person to find out what is going on. If you yourself are unable to send a message, make sure you are sending your message from the same address with which you are subscribed, otherwise your message will be rejected for security reasons.

You can only send email to the list from the address you subscribed with. If you change your email address, you will need to tell the Email List Manager.

13. Is this a moderated or an unmoderated email list?

While this email list began as a moderated email list (messages were first sent to the list manager and then out to everyone), this email list has been for a long time now unmoderated. All messages are sent out to everyone as soon as they are received. The list manager (Email List Manager) makes no decisions about how this list operates without first seasoning things with the clerks of FLGBTQC, and usually brought to Meetings for Business at gatherings. Please do not send comments about how the list is run to the email list. If you have concerns, send them to the clerks and the list manager so they can be brought to Meeting for Business to be discussed with everyone there. This is not a public email list. It is an extension of gatherings and any changes in the way it operates should be made at gatherings.

14. Any other questions?

Send comments, concerns, and any other questions to the Email List Manager.