Ground Rules for the Main NCDD Discussion List    

NCDD’s main email discussion list is a popular resource for practitioners, scholars, activists and students of dialogue and deliberation. As of January 2010, over 1,000 subscribers use this list for networking, information-sharing, and discussing key issues facing our community of practice. This discussion list is NCDD members’ primary means of communicating directly with one another, and with others in the D&D community. Non-members are welcome to subscribe to this list.

We’ve found that when subscribers adhere to the following guidelines we’re able to keep the list useful for people, without it becoming overbearing. Please read these over before posting or replying to the list. The moderator may choose not to approve messages that break one or more of these ground rules.

  1. Try not to send more than one message to the list each day, and not more than several each week. This prevents individuals from dominating the list.
  2. Keep your messages relevant to dialogue and deliberation. If it’s not immediately apparent that your message is relevant to D&D, you need to explain in your message why you think it is relevant.
  3. Direct your message to the subscribers of the list. If you forward an announcement, quote an article, etc., add an introduction to the beginning of your message that explains why you thought people would be interested, asks for feedback, etc. People should know why you’re sending them a message.
  4. If your message is directed at an individual and useful primarily to that individual, do not send your message to the entire list. Instead of clicking “reply all,” which sends your message to the whole list, just click “reply.”(Note: the moderator reserves the right to reject or ask you to reframe posts which seem overly confrontational towards another person on the list, since we are fostering a supportive, respectful community of practice.)
  5. If you ask the list for advice and get a variety of good responses off-list, take the time to compile the responses and share them with the list. We’d greatly appreciate that!
  6. Identify yourself. Include your name, organization, and where you’re from when you send a message to the list. This will help us get to know each other a little better. If you are a member of NCDD, you can also include a link to your profile on the members network!
  7. If you are responding to a listserv thread (a series of posts), delete all but latest post (or two) that you’re responding to. Otherwise, those who are subscribed to the daily digest will have to scroll through all the previous replies before getting to the next message. When the list gets busy, this can get quite tedious and redundant.
  8. This goes without saying, but please stay civil and treat other subscribers with respect. Model good dialogue behavior and refrain from name-calling, making unwarranted assumptions about people, and making sweeping statements about individuals or groups of people without backing them up with facts and data. If you’re unclear about why someone said something or thinks/feels a certain way, ask them.
  9. Refrain from sending regularly published updates/newsletters to the list. If you or your organization send out updates of your work, you can send one of these announcements to the list every once in a while (no more than twice a year), and include instructions for subscribing. Then those who are interested can keep updated on your work.  If you send frequent announcements about trainings, events, publications, etc. to the list, the moderator may ask you to send a general announcement asking people to sign up for your updates directly in this case as well.
  10. Do not use the discussion list to raise funds for your organization or program. You can send periodic messages about trainings and other services that charge a fee, but do not ask list members to donate to your efforts.

Also, a point of clarification to those who want to start conversations on the list about issues that are ripe for dialogue…

The list is not intended as a forum for “online dialogue” about specific issues (the ins-and-outs of global warming, for example). With over 1,000 subscribers and very light moderation, the listserv is not the place to have productive discussions about specific issues like racism, gay marriage or climate change.

If you really want to delve into a specific social or policy issues with other NCDDers and there is enough interest from others on the list in doing that, we can set up another listserv specifically on that issue. Someone from the group will need to be willing to serve as list moderator. You may also want to look into using other forms of technology that are specifically designed for online dialogue and online deliberation.

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