Posting guidelines

Posting guidelines for the UK Tree Care mailing list

Contents

Why we have Posting Guidelines

Email discussion groups like the UKTC are not like real life. Email is a harsh medium. It cannot convey the subtleties and nuances of body language or tone of voice. It is easy to misunderstand or be misunderstood. It can also be impersonal and makes it easier to be rude or confrontational in a way which we would not be if the person we were addressing were stood in front of us. All this can make internet discussion groups seem like intimidating and unfriendly places to some users.

We don’t want the UKTC to be like that. We want everyone to feel welcome and to feel that their point of view is valued and respected. The Posting Guidelines exist to help make the UKTC a friendly place, and to help you to understand some of the things that you can do to make the list run more smoothly and remain on the right side of the law.

Read and adhere to the terms of use

These posting guidelines go hand in hand with the UKTC's Terms of Use. You should make sure that you are familiar with these and adhere to them at all times. The main points are reproduced below:

  • You must be polite at all times
  • You must not use profane language
  • You should keep posts ‘on topic’
  • You must not use the UKTC for advertising, other than by purchasing an advertising package
  • You must not post anonymously or pretend to be someone else
  • You must not infringe copyright by posting other people’s writing, images or other work
  • You must not post in a way that is illegal
  • You should ensure your posts comply with the UKTC’s “Posting guidelines”
  • You agree to any posts you send being made available publicly in the list’s archive

Stay on topic

The UKTC is a forum for discussion of issues relating to tree care. Please keep your posts on topic.

Be polite

Please be polite when posting to the UKTC and respect others points of view and differing levels of knowledge. The intention of the list is the dissemination of tree related knowledge for the mutual benefit of members. It should provide for informed debate and not be a forum for bickering.

The standard of courtesy expected includes, but is not limited to:

  • you may not insult or slander others
  • you may not deliberately bait other subscribers or act in any way that could be construed as being ‘troll’ like (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_(Internet))
  • you may not send messages that are harassing, offensive, abusive, racist or obscene
  • you may not send messages that promote discrimination, violence or hatred for any reason

Remember that whilst you might ‘gently rib’ someone in person with a smile, a wink or a not too serious tone of voice, those details are lost in email. Whilst good-natured banter is not outlawed, you should be sensitive to the possibility that your remarks might be taken more to heart than was intended.

The UKTC is not the place to play out personal disputes between members. If your message is addressed to one person, or a small group of people, think carefully about whether it is appropriate to be posting it to a public forum.

These guidelines are specifically not intended to stifle healthy debate, but to ensure that the debate takes place in a courteous and professional way. It is quite acceptable to disagree with someone but you are expected to express that disagreement respectfully.

Language

Treat the UKTC as a family event. Remember, the archive is available publicly and there is no age limit on who may subscribe. It is not appropriate to swear or use foul language.

Copyright

Please do not post anything to the UKTC which infringes copyright. Except in the limited circumstances given below, what you post should be your own work. Remember that copyright exists in all written work from the moment it is written. It does not have to declare that it is copyright and there is no process which has to be gone through to register something as copyright.

You may post copyright material only if you have explicitly obtained the permission of the copyright holder. If you have such permission, you should clearly state so in your post. Sometimes authors place their work in the pubic domain or release it under a permissive licences such as the Creative Commons license. Make absolutely sure that you understand such licences before posting material released under them to the UKTC.

There are a number of exceptions to copyright law, the most important from the point of view of the UKTC being the fair dealing exception for criticism and review. This allows you to reproduce small sections of work for the purpose of criticism and review providing you give adequate acknowledgement. There are many good articles on copyright available on the Internet—if you are in doubt take a look at them.

If you are posting material produced by somebody else which has been released under a licence that does not require attribution or acknowledgement you should still, as a matter of courtesy and good practice, acknowledge the original author.

Avoid HTML formatted messages

The use of HTML formatted messages is strongly discouraged on the UKTC. HTML messages take up considerably more resources in terms of both bandwidth and disk storage space. Furthermore, the UKTC has members who use email software that does not understand HTML or who are on corporate systems that do not accept HTML because of its vulnerability to viruses.

HTML parts may be automatically removed from messages posted to the list.

Replying

Pick your recipient carefully

Think carefully about who you are sending your reply to. By default replies will be sent to the whole list. This is often appropriate. Everyone has seen the question, they are probably all interested in the answer too. But sometimes it may be appropriate to just email the original poster, rather than the whole list. Don’t clog up everybody’s inbox when an email to one person would have done just as well.

Trim quoted text

When replying to messages you should quote only enough of the original message to place your reply in context. Quoting the whole of the original message makes unnecessary use of resources (yours, the system’s and that of every one on the list) and makes messages difficult to read. Reading digests (compilations of a whole days posts) is particularly difficult and tedious when every message quotes the whole of the previous message.

Remember, subscribers to the list will have seen the original message. Don’t be lazy—trim it.

Sending attachments

Attachments such as photographs and PDF documents can often be very useful and may be sent through the UKTC. However, sending large files can put a big strain on the server’s resources. Email is not designed to transmit large files. You should ensure that attached files are no bigger than necessary for viewing on screen. Messages that are unreasonably large may be rejected.

You can find help on getting images to a suitable size at http://www.tree-care.info/uktc/howto/sendimg. There is also a tool there to help you resize your images.

If you can’t get attachments to a reasonable size then you should place them on a file storage web site such as http://www.mediafire.com/ and post a link to the UKTC.

Long URLs

Sometimes you may want to post a link to an interesting website that you have found. Long web addresses often cause problems in email because they get chopped up and line wrapped. If you want to post a long web address use one of the free URL shortening services such as http://tinyurl.com or http://tr.im

Changes to the Posting Guidelines

The posting guidelines are intended to be a dynamic document, to evolve in the light of experience. They will be updated from time to time and you should check on the website from time to time for updates.

Last updated: 1 November 2016