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Constituent and Discussion Group Participation Guidelines
EDUCAUSE provides Constituent and Discussion Group listservs on focused IT topics to support dialogue among members of the higher education IT community. Groups use an open, self-subscription protocol to encourage wide participation. Subscribers benefit from responsive interpersonal connections that frame a wealth of professional experience and resources.
These participation guidelines are intended to maintain the professional focus and educational value of subscriber interactions. The guidelines reflect the wishes of the primary subscriber base—EDUCAUSE institutional members. Your observance of them will enhance the quality of the experience for all.
Queries and dialogue should be focused on leadership, managerial, and/or technical issues and conducted in a courteous, professional tone.
- List discussions are archived and fully searchable. Before posting a query, you may want to search the group archive to catch up on past discussions. NOTE: Postings to Constituent and Discussion Group listservs are indexed and archived in a publicly searchable format in keeping with the association's commitment to open sharing of ideas, issues, and practices involving information technology in higher education. This allows quick review of past discussions.
- Because topical threads on Constituent and Discussion Group listservs are archived discussion resources and part of the EDUCAUSE content repository, those who initiate a thread may not retroactively determine whether or not it will remain in the searchable repository nor to selectively edit a particular posting.
- All postings should be signed with the subscriber's name, institutional/organizational/corporate affiliation, and e-mail address. We do not recommend the use of vCards or other attachments.
- Postings should not be written in all-capital letters or classified as "Important."
- Personal messages should be sent directly to an individual's e-mail address, not to the list.
Remember: When you use the REPLY function, you are replying to the entire list. Check the TO field one more time before you SEND!
Because Constituent and Discussion Group lists are openly subscribed, some confusion may arise about what is acceptable to the group. Below are guidelines addressing areas of concern that have surfaced in the past, with references to alternative EDUCAUSE resources that may serve your needs.
Members may occasionally use Constituent and Discussion Groups for announcements of noncommercial conferences, publications, and other resources of general interest to other subscribers. The subject line should clearly identify the topic of the message; the message body should be kept short and should contain contact information for more details. The preferred medium for announcements of conferences is the EDUCAUSE Events Calendar.
Endorsements are acceptable if made in the context of a request for information or sharing of an experience. When the endorsement comes from a representative of a corporate member, any mention of company products or services should be in the context of a reasonable answer to a question posed by another subscriber and should not be blatantly commercial; such postings should include the identifying signature of the person posting the message.
EDUCAUSE maintains a Job Opportunities web resource to which members may post job openings; all interested parties are welcome to browse the listings. Most list participants find job postings to the list intrusive, and we discourage such practice.
Media professionals are welcome to subscribe to stay informed of the latest campus IT issues. Interaction on the list should be in the spirit of the educational nature of the groups, with these media-specific guidelines:
- Media representatives are welcome to pose questions and to participate in discussions intended for the Constituent and Discussion Groups subscriber community. They may NOT, however, ask questions or invite separate follow-up to the full list expressly for the purpose of soliciting contributors to pending articles or other editorial content. Out of respect for the purpose of Constituent and Discussion Groups, EDUCAUSE staff do not solicit input to develop content or quotes for its own publications, and we expect the same consideration from our media or corporate representatives. NOTE: This guideline does not preclude media or corporate representatives from following up directly with individual subscribers who post to a list.
- All postings to a Constituent or Discussion Group list by a media representative should clearly identify the representative's media status and affiliation, i.e., not just through a signature block.
- No posting to a Constituent or Discussion Group list may be quoted without the explicit consent of the poster. Such consent should be requested off-list and may be established with an email to that effect from the author. If a posting is quoted without the author's express consent, the person in error will be asked to refrain from repeating that mistake in the future. Any subsequent failure to follow these provisions will result in termination of the person's listserv access for a period to be determined on a case-by-case basis.
- When group content is quoted or referred to in an article, or when a story is based in whole or in part on group discussions, media representatives are requested to note that the source was an EDUCAUSE Constituent or Discussion Group list.
Promotional Messages and Advertising
EDUCAUSE Constituent and Discussion Groups are educational in nature and not intended for promotional announcements, advertising, product-related press releases, or other commercial use. Please note that unsolicited commercial communications to constituent group participants as a result of postings to a Constituent or Discussion list violate the promotional messages and advertising provisions of these guidelines and may result in the loss of access to the listserv in question.
Informal professional opinion or use surveys are acceptable but should be brief and should encourage off-line responses. In keeping with the educational spirit of the group, you are encouraged to share a synopsis of any information you gather.
Common Sense Rules
Obscenity or profanity and inflammatory language are not acceptable, nor is the use of the lists to conduct or forward contests, pyramid schemes, or chain letters. If you as a subscriber are concerned that such a communication has occurred, you are welcome to direct your complaint or protest directly to the offending subscriber, to the volunteer group leader for comment, and/or to EDUCAUSE staff for appropriate action. Please do so through private correspondence, rather than aggravating the situation by focusing group discussion on it.
The opinions expressed in list discussions are those of individual subscribers and are not necessarily those of their institutions or companies. EDUCAUSE as an association neither expresses an opinion about nor endorses products or services, and is not responsible for the opinions expressed on any of the discussion lists it supports.
EDUCAUSE Staff Oversight
Discussions are monitored by EDUCAUSE staff and the volunteer EDUCAUSE member group leader for adherence to the guidelines. Our experience has been that blatantly inappropriate intrusion on the lists is rare. Subscribers who operate outside of the guidelines will receive a cautionary notice from EDUCAUSE. Individuals who continue to disregard and violate the guidelines may be blocked from subsequent participation.
For more information about EDUCAUSE Constituent and Discussion Group participation, please contact us at email@example.com.