Here are just a few points to help things to run smoothly. Please take the time to read through and bear the guidelines in mind when you post to the list.

It is essential that all members follow the guidelines wherever possible.

No one will bawl you out if you make a few mistakes, as we all do sometimes. However, frequent abuses will have to be stopped. If you disagree with any of the points below, or would like to make an addition, please let me know.

If you decide to unsubscribe from the list, either temporarily or permanently, send a message to listserv@listserv.heanet.ie with the word “unsubscribe” in the message header (without the inverted commas).

Many thanks to Conor McMahon, list owner of the Raindogs Tom Waits discussion list for providing the basis of these guidelines, and for demonstrating how to run a good list.

1) Consider where your message should be going

Don’t reply to the full list when your reply is intended for, or of interest to, only one particular subscriber. Reply privately instead. If your reply is likely to stimulate further discussion, then feel free to send it to the list.

Always check the destinations of messages before sending as embarrasing mistakes can easily be made.

2) Do not quote entire messages in replies

If your reply is destined for the entire list, quote only the portion of the original message that your own message relates to or is furthering.

Don’t ever quote back entire messages, and always edit out the original headers and signature.

On a busy list messages can very quickly grow to ridiculous sizes if people include the full text of messages in their replies. This can get extremely annoying for people on slow connections, and can make your message much harder to read for everyone else.

If you want people to read your message, make it easy for them. If you’re not bothered about people reading your message then don’t send it.

3) Keep your signature short

Ensure your signature is not needlessly long or elaborate and never quote other members’ signatures in your replies.

4) It’s a spam-free list

Spam will not be tolerated at all. Offenders will first be moaned at and then booted from the list if they continue. A complaint will also be sent to the abuse department at the offender’s ISP.

Obviously one-off posts informing members about events or products which would be of genuine interest to other list members are unlikely be considered to be spam.

5) Update your message ‘subject’

Try to keep subject lines up to date – if you digress significantly from the original post when replying, a new subject line will make things much clearer.

6) No overposting

Don’t over-post or post needlessly. Unless you are Don Van Vliet, list members are unlikely to want to know your every thought. Be selective about the messages you send to the list – always reconsider before hitting the send button.

7) Combine your posts

Try to avoid sending a string of posts where your comments can all be combined in one message, if at all possible. We do not want to flood anybody’s mailbox, no matter how valid your comments.

8) No attachments

Don’t ever send attachments or enclosures (pictures, documents, programs – any binary data, basically) to the list. Never force people to download something that they may not want.

If you have a file you would like to make available to list subscribers, advertise its availability in an e-mail and invite subscribers to contact you directly (off the list) for a copy. Alternatively you can put the item on your web-site, if you have one, and simply post the URL.

9) No html or ‘rich text’ in messages

Don’t employ any HTML, or similar coding in your postings to the list. The use of any sort of enhanced text or graphics, or anything that cannot be rendered in the most basic text-based mail client is strongly advised against as it can cause problems for some subscribers.

In Outlook you can specify that the Fire Party should only receive ‘plain text’ messages, even if you commonly use rich text for other addresses. Simply make an entry for the Fire Party in your Outlook Contacts and check the box marked ‘Send using plain text.’

10) No abusive messages

Abusive messages will not be tolerated on the list. Healthy and lively debate is certainly welcome, but if you disagree with what someone has said, keep it friendly please. Any sender of threatening or abusive messages will be dealt with in the same way as senders of spam (see point 4 above).

11) Prejudice is not welcome

Prejudice based upon sexuality, gender, race, class, disability or religion is entirely unwelcome. Homophobia, racism or sexism will not be tolerated.

12) Use the archives

The chances are your question has already been asked and answered many times over before your subscribed. Try to avoid constantly bringing up old topics by checking the list archives and other resources.

13) Don’t send administrative queries to the list

Always send administrative queries to me (graham@beefheart.com) and never to the list itself.

14) Enjoy yourself

The list can be great fun, do make the most of it.

Useful addresses:

(a) Netiquette / General guidelines for email use and the reasons why we employ them.

(b) The Fire Party Archives: 2006 onwards and pre-2006 archives are available.

(c) Archaic Faces Frenzy (info about Fire Party members, drop Ben a line to be included)

(d) Fire Party Musicians Index (hosted and maintained by Benjamin Horrendous) – details about those on the list who have CDs of original music available to trade, or mp3s on the web to download.

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