Use your common sense and the general rules you would use in any correspondence. Some specific points:
- Provide a SPECIFIC subject line for your message, e.g., not HELP! but rather: DVD CATALOGING QUESTION; not JOB POSTING but MEDIA CATALOGER NEEDED IN CALIFORNIA PUBLIC LIBRARY
- Include your signature at the end of your message, giving at least your name and affiliation and e-mail address. While the poster's name may appear in the FROM line of the header on messages you receive, that does not mean that everyone else's mailer works in the same way; some institutional implementations give only minimal header information, showing the listname but not the name of the poster.
- Be sure to use the appropriate address. Be careful not to send a message to the OLAC-L when you intended to reply only to the individual who posted a message, or a command intended for LISTSERV to the OLAC-L. As a corollary, when replying to a survey, send it to the original poster, not to the OLAC-L.
- Do not post anything you would not be willing to see on the front page of your local newspaper.
- When replying to a message provide a BRIEF context to your answer. Avoid the extremes of quoting the entire message or saying nothing about the original message. Either quote a few relevant sentences or paraphrase the essential bits of the part of the question you are answering.
- Do NOT include attachments of any kind in messages: uuencode, HTML, etc. They can double or triple the length of a message and some subscribers have mail systems that cannot accept them. TURN OFF HTML when using a web browser or one of the MS products for e-mail.
- Do not repost on the OLAC-L messages you have received via another list unless you have obtained the permission of the poster of the original message and it is clearly and directly relevant to OLAC. If in doubt about the appropriateness of a particular message consult the listowner.
- Do not forward messages about viruses to the OLAC-L. Your intention would be good but the chances are that you would be disseminating a hoax. Instead, send the message to the listowner and let her evaluate the so-called virus.
- Do NOT use a mailer option that automatically generates an acknowledgment of receipt message to be sent to the poster of every mail message that you receive. If your system provides it, disable it. Failure to do so may result in the listowner deleting your subscription.
- Before you turn on one of the so-called "vacation" packages (i.e., software that generates an "I am out of the office" response to all mail messages that you receive) SET YOUR SUBSCRIPTION TO THE OLAC-L AND ALL YOUR OTHER LISTS to NOMAIL. If you fail to do so the listowner is likely to do so for you. If you repeat this offense after being warned your subscription to the OLAC-L will be deleted.
- Be careful of your spelling and grammar. Your message is going out to over 700 people, some of whom may be your future employers!
- Do not use all upper case letters for your message. That is the e-mail equivalent of shouting.
- Stay within the scope of the OLAC-L. Messages related to other aspects of librarianship or otherwise unrelated to audiovisual cataloging should be avoided or posted very rarely.
- Do not make personal attacks on others. Personal attacks can be insults (including implied ones) or making fun of the postings of others. None of that can be condoned, no matter what you may think of other posters' command of English, their knowledge of cataloging, the vagueness of their questions, their logic, etc. Do not treat others in a way that you yourself would not care to be treated.
- Some types of messages are utterly forbidden. Examples of forbidden messages are chain letters, pyramid schemes, etc. Posting of such messages could subject the poster to being unsubscribed from the OLAC-L. If not this, the posters will be set to REVIEW so that their future messages will be previewed by the listowner before being distributed.