Montgomery Bar Association Listserv Policy
Adopted June 7, 2011
1. MBA Listservs are for Bar Association business only. Personal messages and announcements, business messages, and announcements for outside programs and events, whether profit or nonprofit, are not allowed.
2. Each committee, section and task force may send one message per bar year to the entire membership. These must be presented to the executive director or her designee for review and distribution.
3. Committee chairs will be advised at the time of their appointment to create a header for their announcements to the effect: THIS IS A LISTSERV MESSAGE. DO NOT CLICK REPLY@ OR REPLY ALL@ BECAUSE EITHER WILL SEND YOUR MESSAGE TO THE ENTIRE LIST. TO REGISTER FOR THE EVENT CLICK THE LINK BELOW. TO REPLY TO THE SENDER SEND AN EMAIL TO [insert sender's email address].
4. These policies, and the netiquette document provided by Ellen Freedman, CLM, will be made part of the Officers, Director and Committee Chair Handbook.
Report of the Listserv Task Force
The MBA Listserv Task Force met on May 19, 2011. Present were Chair Donald J. Martin, and members Marie Patterson, Jane Fisher, John Howland, Nancy Paul and George Cardenas. The Task Force considered George Cardenas' report about the mechanics of the listserv and information assembled by Jane Fisher about listservs and netiquette.
The Task Force concluded unanimously that the MBA's current policy limiting listserv messages to Bar Association business only should be maintained, in order to ensure the messages are read, and bar business is not lost amidst personal messages. Although some private messages inform possibly interested persons of worthwhile events, the importance to MBA communication of having bar messages read outweighs any value promotion of non-bar interests and events may have.
Committees, sections and task forces may have events worthy of publicizing to the entire membership, but, again to maintain listservs as the MBA's primary communication device, each will be limited to one message per bar year to the entire membership, not part of the general activity and CLE announcement lists. To ensure appropriateness, these must be approved by the Executive Director or her designee, and can only be sent by staff.
The Task Force discussed the problem of replies to the entire list, which occur whenever the recipient clicks Reply@ or Reply All@. Although separate discussion lists and announcement lists were considered, the committees and sections that use an explanatory header have significantly fewer individual responses. Therefore, at this time, the chairs will be encouraged to use a header such as the one described in paragraph 4 before exploring an expensive and possibly confusing division of the types of lists. The header instruction will be included with the letters appointing committee chairs, and the policies and netiquette document will be part of the Officer, Director and Committee Chair Handbook.
Adopted by the Executive Committee acting as the Board of Directors: July 20, 2011
ADMINISTRATION PROBLEMS If you believe that there is a technical problem with the listserv, do not post to the listserv. Send a private post to firstname.lastname@example.org. Montgomery Bar Association IT Department or call (610) 279-9660 Ext. 203.
Do not post queries or information, and refrain from any discussion which may provide the basis for an inference that the members agreed to take action relating to prices, production, allocation of markets, or any other matter having a market effect. Examples of topics which should not be discussed include current or future billing rates, fees,
disbursement charges or other items which would be construed as "price", fair profit, billing rate, or wage level, current billing or fee procedures, imposition of credit terms. Do not post regarding refusing to deal with anyone because of his/her pricing or fees. There is no organization too small or too localized to escape the possibility of a civil or criminal antitrust suit, and the penalties for violating federal or state antitrust laws are severe. The government's attitude toward professional associations requires professional association members, as well as professional associations themselves, to at all times conduct their business openly and avoid any semblance of activity which might lead to the belief that the association members had agreed, even informally, to something that could have an effect on prices, fees or competition.
Use a subject that adequately introduces the topic of your message, so people can quickly determine whether or not they will find it of interest. If you are changing the topic of a previous post you respond to, you should change the subject line of the post.
Attachments should not be sent to the listserv unless specifically requested, and then only with a clear subject line which indicates what the attachment is and that it's legitimate. Smart listserv participants will automatically delete attachments, as this is how viruses are spread on listservs.
If you will be away from the office and using an e-mail auto-responder in your absence, you should suspend your participation in the listserv until your return. (See unsubscribe and subscribe directions below.)
CHANGING EMAIL ADDRESS If you CHANGE email addresses, contact the MBA Membership department or send an email to email@example.com for help.
TO UNSUBSCRIBE: Send an email to LISTSERV@LISTSERV.MONTGOMERYBAR.NET and include on the body of the email SIGNOFF and the name of the LIST. Leave Subject line blank. Or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org requesting to opt out of the listserv.
Not everyone's email software can handle HTML, embedded formatting, or email letterhead. It produces lots of garbage in the post they receive. Whenever possible refrain from using colored backgrounds or "letterhead" for your emails posted to the listserv.
PERSONAL ATTACKS (FLAMES) or FALSE INFORMATION
Do not post mean-spirited, disparaging, or contentious remarks about other people. Do not post information which you know to be false or misleading.
Don't post personal messages to the listserv. Send them privately off list. These include such things as congratulatory or thank you notes, updates on family events, jokes, and so forth.
Don't not use the list for mass invitations to participate, use or register with the sender’s (or other’s) social networking sites.
You should ask permission of an author before you print and distribute, forward, or otherwise quote the contents of their post, unless it is simply included in your responding post.
RESPONDING TO POSTS
Using the REPLY icon on any message received from a LISTSERV group, will send a copy of your response to all subscribers on the list.
Use the FORWARD icon if you would like to post or respond to a specific individual with any personal information not relevant to the general audience, including responses confirming your attendance to events.
Emails written in all caps are interpreted as "shouting". Use upper/lower case type in your posts. (Spell check doesn't hurt either <g>!) The use of a row of symbols such as *&!@*^& denotes cursing and should not be included in your posts. To express emotions there are a number of standard conventions. To show a word as_underlined_ just precede and follow it with an underline. To show a word as <b> bold-cd <b> you can precede and follow it with the "b" in brackets. You can occasionally show a word in ALL CAPS for emphasis.
Happiness or sarcasm is shown with the <g> which denotes a grin. Since many of the older email packages will not receive the formatting you put into your email, you may want to include these conventions as well.
You should "sign" each email with at least your full name and telephone number. Autosignatures make this an automatic process. If you use an AutoSignature, you should keep its length to under 7 - 10 lines. Do not attach your vcard as part of your AutoSignature, as viruses can attach themselves to vcards.
SUBSCRIBING TO THE LISTSERV
One must first be a MEMBER of the listserv in order to post, and receive replies. And those who join SHOULD be an attorney, and a MEMBER of the MBA or their Committees or Sections. For those who meet the criteria and wish to join the listserv, all they need to do is send an email from the subscribing email address (home or office) to email@example.com.
Viruses are destructive, both in terms of the damage they can do to computers, and in terms of lost billable time trying to get one's computer back up and running. For this reason, participants of listservs have an extra responsibility to their fellow attorneys to employ a virus detection package, and to regularly update the virus definitions, so it continues to provide adequate protection. If you discover you have a virus on your computer, you should assume it may have sent itself out to others on the listserv. You should immediately contact someone else on the listserv by telephone and ask them to post a warning not to open any emails with attachments sent under your name.
Ellen Freedman, CLM
Law Practice Management Coordinator
Pennsylvania Bar Association
Phone: 800-932-0311 x2228