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Appendix P. Sample Policy and Usage Statement

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Sample policy


Mailing list Policy and Usage Statements can be structured in any number of ways, so this sample is offered merely as a jumping off point. The Policy and Usage Statement fields in the Add a Mailing List and Edit a Mailing List tools will accept up to 8000 characters in plain text or HTML format. You are welcome to copy this statement and modified it for your mailing list.


You will want to modify this statement to tailor it to your list unless hyphenation in the English language happens to be your list topic (although you may want to leave in the parts about the use of semicolons being disallowed).

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Sample policy


Welcome. By providing this service, we hope to foster an open and interactive forum where our community can explore the intricacies of English hyphenation rules. Note that this forum observes the McGaughey Protocol: the creation of a sentence that appears to require a semicolon in order to render the sentence meaningful should not be taken as a rationale for the use of semicolons, but should instead be taken as an indication that your sentence requires restructuring. Use of semicolons is deprecated in the community served by this forum and will not be tolerated in messages submitted to the list for posting. Other than this restriction, all on-topic posts are accepted. In consideration of other members of the community, please read this entire document, refrain from the use of semicolons and observe suggestions on posting before sending messages to this list.

What is the topic or purpose of this list?

This forum was created to discuss the proper use of hyphens in the English language. Semicolons are off-topic for this forum.

Who can post?

Subscribers can post directly to the list, but public posts are moderated.

How do I post?

Before posting to the mailing list, please browse the archives for topics that may have already been discussed. When posts are made to the mailing list, they are distributed to all subscribers of the list and archived. Be sure your post will be of interest to more than one or two other mailing list users and observe netiquette. Remember, your posts help shape your reputation in the community served by this mailing list.

What is proper netiquette for this list?

List newcomers should monitor the list for a while before submitting messages to be posted. This is called lurking. Lurking is a good way to familiarize yourself with the list community and the ongoing conversation being conducted through the list.


An email containing harsh criticism or a personal attack on another user is considered a flame. Some users make a practice of responding to newbies who inadvertently breach netiquette or individuals who do not share their views with flames in a pathetic effort to assert superiority. Any user repeatedly posting flames may be barred from the list.

Spam and employment solicitations

Advertising, marketing and self-promotion in all forms are disallowed. Subscribers who attempt to distribute spam email will be permanently unsubscribed from this list.

Overly long posts

Most excessively long posts are the result of including the entire contents of a post to which you are responding. If you need to quote certain parts of the original post, only include those parts necessary to put your comments in context. In an era when the sheer volume of email saps time that would be better spent on other tasks, long email is generally considered bad form.

Long email seldom serve their purpose anyway. If the subject is complex or emotionally charged, it's better to take the conversation offline and handle it via phone or in person. Email is notorious for it's inability to convey emotional tone and the longer and more complex the email is, the more possibility someone may take exception to some part of the contents.

Offensive language

This community observes the McGaughey Protocol: any post is acceptable providing it is interesting, but the use of semicolons is expressly prohibited. Subscribers who attempt to post messages containing semicolons will be permanently unsubscribed from this list.

General rule-of-thumb

Always assume your email is public. Your email may travel through insecure servers where it can be read by random sysadmins, hackers and government agents (your own and others). Think twice before saying anything you might regret later. Once sent, an email takes on a life of its own, it may be forwarded to any number of people, posted to mailing lists and added to archives that may still be publicly accessible twenty years from now.

What will get me removed from this list?
Bounced email

Users whose email bounce repeatedly are automatically unsubscribed. It is your responsibility to resubscribe with a valid email address.

List policy infractions

Users who attempt to post messages that are off-topic for this list, contain semicolons or spam may be permanently removed from the list.

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