ATCA Listserv Rules and Guidelines

The Basic Rules:

The ATCA Board of Directors, Officers and other participants have had many discussions regarding how to address “off topic” and otherwise, unwanted emails posted to the ATCA list.  The Board has decided that the best approach is to have some simple rules, the enforcement of which, will be under the discretion of the Board and anyone the Board appoints to monitor the list. 

1) The list was developed to enhance our telephone collecting experience.  Off Topic comments to the list dealing with politics, religion or other inflammatory subjects are no longer welcomed. 

2) Posting potentially offensive or inflammatory comments to the list is not permitted.  Please, our list is not a forum for political, religious or other debates where individual’s passions become inflamed.

Posting to the ATCA Listserv

Before clicking on reply-to-all or the list address, think about whether your post will benefit many subscribers, only the person you are responding to, or needs to be seen only by the listowners, and send it according:

If your message will benefit many on the list, send it to the list. Use “reply all ” and remove the sender’s address.

If your response will be of interest mainly to the person you are responding to, use “reply”.  Remember, posting a message to the list members is like making an announcement on a loud speaker.  Do you want many to see your message or just the person who wrote the message you are replying to.

If your message only needs to be seen by the listowner, send it to webmaster @

Please do not respond on the list to mail that was sent privately to you. There are several ways to tell if the post was sent from the list or privately:

On most readers (AOL 7.0 has apparently eliminated this) Reply-all will bring up both the list address and the sender address. Reply will bring up only the sender address even if it came from the list. If Reply-all only brings up the sender’s address the post was probably private.

A person sending something privately might remove the [ATCA] in the header. But they might not, so this is only a way to tell if the post once did come through the list. However, if it isn’t there then the post came privately.

A sender might use the extra step of putting ‘PRIVATE’ in the header or on the first line of the mail.

The most important thing to do is pay attention. People who have been burned by others carelessly posting their private details to the list may be very reluctant to respond the next time someone needs help. Look at what was sent to you. Is it likely that the sender wanted personal details posted and archived?

Please use the same care and consideration for others that you want them to use for you.

List Privacy

Anything sent to the list (with the exception of jokes that have already been forwarded all over the Internet) is considered private and is not to be shared with non-listmembers without obtaining the consent of everyone quoted or referred to in that post. No posts may be sent to another list or shared off the list unless everyone referred to the in post, whether directly or indirectly, gives permission.

This is to protect your privacy, as well as that of everyone else on the list. Members may not feel safe about posting if they feel their posts or their situations may be used outside of the list. If you have explicit permission from everyone quoted or referred to (even if only their situation is discussed) to forward posts, remove all identifying list headers before passing them on.

If someone writes to you privately, that post is not to be forwarded or replied to on the list without permission from the author. Willful violation of the privacy guidelines is grounds for removal from the list.

Posting Guidelines


It is fine to disagree with what someone has written, but personal attacks are out. There is a big difference between writing:

“I disagree with what you are doing to that phone because…”


“You are such a jerk and a worthless human being to have written…”

Sending abusive, threatening, or flame mail to the list will result in disciplinary action.

Think before you speak (lurk before you post)

If you don’t, the readers may think you are stupid and/or thoughtless, not to mention all kinds of other bad things. When you first join the ATCA listserv, read a few days worth of posts. Get a sense of who the people are. If possible, search the archives to see if your questions have already been answered in the past. If not, then go ahead and post.

Respect the Culture

Poor manners are not respected on the list. Always be civil, don’t use profanity. Don’t be lewd, abrasive, argumentative, or rude.

Stay on Topic

Please, this is not a forum for political, religious or other debates where individual’s passions become inflamed.

We must also be mindful of needlessly using listserv archive space.


Adhere to the same high standards (or higher) of behavior online that you follow in real life. In real life, most people are fairly polite and law abiding. The same rules of behavior are expected on the ATCA listserv.

No @#$%^&@*$#%^ Profanity

The ATCA listserv is not your personal toilet. Many people are offended by swearing. There are some servers that reject emails with standard “objectionable” language.  These rejected messages are then sent back to the list manager.  He has even received rejected messages from some servers because someone was selling a telephone repairman’s “butt-set”

Attachments and formatting

Do not send attachments or embedded pictures to the list. 

Send messages in plain text. Turn off HTML, rich-text, and anything else on your reader. Many listmembers have readers that cannot handle these formats and a two-line message becomes 30 lines of garbage. It also takes up more room in ourĀ  archive space.

In an effort to keep out some of the nastier email viruses, we have a line limit of 125. If your post is longer than that you will need to split it into two or more parts. If a post that is well under 125 lines is sent back by the listserv for being too long, then you may have a virus.

Use both upper and lower case in your posts. Typing in only one case is difficult to read. All uppercase, in particular, IS GENERALLY READ AS SHOUTING.

Cross posting

Do not cross post, X-to:, or cc: messages sent to the list to other lists or non-listmembers. Send separate copies if you want the info to appear on other lists.   See List Privacy above.

Replies, Quoting and “Me, too”

Reduce quoting to the absolute minimum to get the meaning of the post across. Quoting a 20-line post and adding only “I agree” serves only to take up more space in the archives and clog listmembers’ mailboxes. Do quote enough so that people know what you are referring to, and delete the rest. Keep the quotes under 5 lines. Do not forward posts unless you can delete all header and forwarding information first. If you can’t edit a forwarded post, create a new post and paste the information there. And think carefully about whether your response needs to be seen by the hundreds of people subscribed to the ATCA Listserv. “I agree”, “Congratulations”, and “My sympathies” type posts, as well as others that add no new information to the discussion, should be sent privately. If you like someone else’s post, compliment them via private email. Because space is at a premium, we have been asked by our hosts to set subscribers to review if they are unable or unwilling to edit their posts.

It is bad netiquette, for example, to quote a 50 line message with only a few words of original text. It is also bad form to fail to quote a message on which you are commenting. We realize that there are some systems where the only option is to quote all of the post (including headers, which tend to really mess up the listserv software and then bounce) or none of the post. In that case, don’t quote, but do include something like:

“In response to John Doe’s post about stripping the finish off of his coffin phone with battery acid, I feel that…”

Sig files and personal info

Also in the interests of space, whittle down large sig files. There is no reason to post a sig file of more than three lines to the list, especially if you post frequently. And, in the interests of your own safety, don’t post info such as addresses and phone numbers to the list. Everything is archived, and someone may pull this info with less than noble intentions.

What is that [ATCA] that I see on every post? And should I be putting it in my posts?

The Listserv automatically inserts a [ATCA] in the subject line of all new posts to the list so you know this is a listserv message. If the post is a reply, and already has the [ATCA], the Listserv will not add another one. If someone manually adds the [ATCA], the Listserv will add another one. In other words, don’t do anything. The Listserv takes care of this for you.

Virus Warnings, Hoaxes, Etc.

This is a free service offered by Oxcart Software. If a well-meaning person sends you a hoax alert, you can forward it to a special address at An automated service will identify all the individuals who received the alert and will reply to each one of them with information about hoaxes.


Anyone who uses a whitelist (a spam filter where posters must confirm that they are not spammers before you will receive their mail) to filter their mail must set their ATCA listserv subscription to DIGEST or INDEX. It is not fair to expect everyone who posts to the list to have to confirm that they are not a spammer. Also, please be aware that you will miss many private replies when people don’t want to jump through hoops to contact you.

Whitelisting is not a recommended way of filtering mail when people are subscribed to large lists. It places too much of a burden on other members.

Thank you for your attention to this.

Chuck Eby
listowner, ATCA

& the ATCA Board of Directors