Task Force on Listserv Guidelines


CALA LISTSERV Rules and Etiquette

(May 30, 2012)

The CALA Board of Directors adopted the following guidelines for all listservs associated with the CALA Board, including CALALIST and chapter listservs.

Listserv Rules:

The CALAlist and its chapter lists are open to all interested individuals.  You DO NOT need to be a CALA member to subscribe.

If you subscribe or use the CALALIST, you agree that you have read and will follow the rules and guidelines set for this peer discussion group. You also agree to reserve list discussions and announcements for topics best suited to the medium.

As with any community, there are guidelines governing behavior on the listservs. For instance, libeling others, selling, and marketing are not permissible. Please take a moment to acquaint yourself with these important guidelines. If you have questions, contact the list administrator noted in your welcome instructions. The CALA listserv administrator reserves the right to deny, suspend or terminate subscriptions for any person who violates these rules or etiquette.

  • Do not collect names or email addresses, also known as "harvesting", to be used for contacting any list subscriber outside of the listserv.
  • Do extend the same professional courtesies in your electronic communication as you would in non-electronic exchanges.
  • Do not challenge or attack others. The discussions on the lists are meant to stimulate conversations/dialogues, not to create contention.
  • Do not post commercial messages or solicitations of any kind whether on behalf of an individual or entity.
  • Do not send repetitive messages. The cyberspace term for this unacceptable practice is spamming.
  • Exercise professional judgment in your comments. Information posted on the lists is available for all to see, and comments are subject to libel and slander laws.
  • All defamatory, abusive, profane, threatening, offensive, or illegal materials are strictly prohibited.
  • Do not post anything in a message that you would not want the world to see or that you would not want anyone to know that it came from you. Please carefully note all items listed in the disclaimer and legal rules below, particularly regarding the copyright ownership of information posted to the list. Remember that list participants have the right to reproduce postings to this list.
  • Send messages only to the most appropriate list(s)
  • Do not use the list to campaign for candidates in CALA and ALA elections, at the national or chapter levels.

Disclaimer and legal rules

The CALA Board of Directors provides hosting for these listservs and accepts no responsibility for the opinions and information posted on this site.

In the event of any inappropriate postings, the CALA listserv administrator will take appropriate action.

The CALA listserv administrator reserves the right to terminate access to any user or list manager who does not abide by these guidelines.


  • Include a signature tag on all messages. Include your name, affiliation, location, and e-mail address.
  • State concisely and clearly the specific topic of the comments in the subject line. This allows members to respond more appropriately to your posting and makes it easier for members to search the archives by subject.
  • Include only relevant portions of the original message in your reply, delete any header information, and put your response before the original posting.
  • Only send a message to the entire list (Reply to All) when it contains information that everyone can benefit from.
  • Send messages such as "thanks for the information", "me, too", or “congratulations” etc. to individuals--not to the entire list. Do this by using your e-mail application's forwarding option and typing in or cutting and pasting in the e-mail address of the individual to whom you want to respond.
  • Do not send administrative messages such as “remove me from the list” through the listserv. Instead, use the Web interface at http://lists.cala-web.org/listinfo.cgi to change your settings or to remove yourself from a list. If you want to change your e-mail address, you do not need to remove yourself from the list and rejoin under your new e-mail address. Simply change your settings.
  • Warn other list subscribers of lengthy messages either in the subject line or at the beginning of the message body with a line that says "Long Message."

About List Administrators, a.k.a. "Owners"

While CALA Board is ultimately responsible for CALA list, it is the duty and privilege of the list administrator to monitor the list and enforce its rules on a daily basis. 

Mailing lists are administered by one or more administrators, referred to in listserv jargon as "owners." The term owner is not used in the traditional sense of the word but simply conveys responsibility for operation of the list. List owners can set a wide range of subscription and posting policies and also have the option of moderating all messages submitted to the list. The privileges and responsibilities of "ownership" include:

  • Deciding on who can or cannot subscribe to the list
  • Adding or removing subscribers
  • Approving or rejecting subscription and unsubscription requests
  • Deciding on who can or cannot post messages to the list
  • Approving or rejecting messages to be posted
  • Editing submitted messages before they are posted
  • Configuring other listserv functions and options

List ownership is a privileged standing and should be undertaken responsibly and in keeping with professional norms. Just as users agree to follow the rules and guidelines for listservs, so too should the list owner when partaking in the discussion.

List Moderator(s)

One or more list moderators can also be assigned to share some of the responsibilities of the list administrator:

  • Approving or rejecting subscription and unsubscription requests
  • Approving or rejecting messages to be posted.