Discussion List Policies and Procedures

Policy  |  Guidelines  |  List Moderation

At the YALSA Board of Directors meetings at ALA’s 2004 Annual Meeting, the following policy and guidelines for participation were adopted in connection with the establishment and maintenance of all YALSA electronic discussion lists. All listserv subscribers are expected to adhere to the policies and guidelines below at all times. Failure to do so could result in being removed from the list(s). (Revised June 2005)

Posting Policy

  • All messages should relate to the general topic of the particular list.
  • Only subscribers to a list may post on the list.
  • Solicitations (for contributors, authors, content, etc.) and advertisements for non-YALSA publications/products and other commercial purposes are not permitted. However, a simple statement that offers more information on a service or product is tolerated if it accompanies a substantive message about a subject directly related to the discussion.
  • Announcements of conferences, workshops, new publications, and position openings appropriate to the topic of the list are allowed.
  • Virus warnings (not bug reports) are strongly discouraged, and ONLY official CERT or CIAC advisories are acceptable. In addition, before forwarding any virus information you may wish to check Internet Hoaxes and Virus Hoaxes for hoax information and how to spot hoaxes.
  • Attachments may be included in an email however they should not be larger than 40KB.
  • Posting of defamatory and/or offensive material is strictly prohibited, including but not limited to hate-speech, name-calling and personal insults.
  • Any messages posted about YALSA committee business must be sent by the appropriate committee chair.   List members must not send postings that suggest the message is being sent with the approval or under the auspices of a particular YALSA Committee.
  • All postings must be free of copyright restrictions that limit distribution. For example, posting a significant amount of a copyrighted work verbatim requires the permission of the copyright holder. To verify that such permission was obtained, all postings of this nature must include a statement that this is the case.
  • List subscribers may not under any circumstance use the list to post messages that encourage or call for a boycott of any company. Federal antitrust laws prohibit ALA/YALSA as an organization from organizing, participating in or encouraging a boycott.  This is enforced by criminal code (not tax code) and applies to a variety of organizations, including associations and not-for-profits.  
  • List subscribers may not under any circumstance use the list to post messages that support or oppose any political candidate at the local, state or federal level. IRS tax code strictly prohibits ALA/YALSA as a 501c3 not-for-profit organization from lobbying for or against any political candidate.
  • The YALSA Executive Committee has the right to remove members of the list who fail to participate as required by the policies stated in this document.
  • YALSA retains the right to use posted materials in other formats.
  • YALSA disclaims all warranties, guarantees, and liability for damages.

Guidelines for Participation

The following guidelines are offered as advice on how to best participate in this discussion list in a manner that will both contribute to the experience of all readers and also reflect well on you.


  • Say something substantial. Simply saying "I agree" (in so many words) or "I disagree" (in so many words) does not meet this guideline. Specific technical questions are, however, quite appropriate, as are brief answers to such questions.
  • Say something new. Mere redundancy will not convince an opponent of their error. Explaining the same argument differently in an attempt to make them see the light has not been proven to be an effective strategy.
  • Be careful with the "Reply" command. If you mean to reply only to the poster, address a new message to the individual's email address, do not reply directly to the discussion list message.
  • Take "conversations" off the list. When list interaction becomes two-sided (two individuals trading comments or arguments) it is a sign that you should take the discussion off the list and correspond with that person directly. If the discussion was of interest to the general membership you will see others posting on the topic as well.
  • Agree to disagree. The likelihood of convincing someone to change a strongly held opinion is nil. State your case, but give up on the idea of converting the heathen.
  • Be civil. Treat others the way you wish to be treated.
  • Respect the rights of others. An electronic discussion is a commons. Your right to post ends at the right of others to not be insulted, badgered, or to have their time needlessly wasted.

List Moderation

  • Lists are not moderated; however, to report a violation of policies and procedures, please contact Anna Lam, YALSA Communications Specialist, at alam@ala.org or 312.280.5849
  • Any listserv that is inactive for 12 months will be sunset
  • Only staff or current personal members may be owners/administrators of listservs