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Lists Main
In This Section
Basic Definitions
Terms and Conditions
List FAQ
List Policy
Dispute Resolution

Email Lists
Sierra Club Email List Policy

  1. List Approval: Approval for the creation of a list is granted to a list sponsor by the Organizational Effectiveness Committee (OE!) (or designees) following a review of the list charter to ensure that the new list does not duplicate an existing list and that required documentation is provided for potential subscribers. This committee will also encourage the dropping of unused or underutilized lists and the consolidation of lists with similar purposes.

  2. List Charter and Creation: Each Club email list must have a charter defined by the list sponsor. The OE! and/or Information & Communication Systems (ICS) department will work with the list sponsor to understand and choose the list configuration options best suited to the charter. Assistance will also be provided in drafting required documents. The list sponsor has the right and, if requested, the responsibility to make changes to a list's configuration. If the changes made are deemed significant, the owner may be asked to get approval from the list sponsor. Also, certain list configuration possibilities may not be compatible with or physically supportable by the Club's network or computer installation. For example, certain open subscription and send options will not be permitted due to the unnecessary exposure of the system to abuse.

    The list charter will be sent to all new subscribers as part of the subscription procedure. The following information from the list charter will also be available via email to prospective subscribers, whether or not they qualify to subscribe: the purpose of the list, whether the list is unmoderated or moderated, whether Sierra Club membership is required to subscribe, whether list owner approval is required to subscribe, whether subscription to the list is required in order to post messages on the list, to whom the list of subscribers may be revealed, and who can retrieve messages posted to the list. Changes to the charter must be announced to all list subscribers.

  3. List Participant Qualification: If Sierra Club membership is required to subscribe to a list, and if a subscription request is rejected due to a computer error or an out-of-date database, the list owner will subscribe a member who provides a fax or photocopy of a valid Sierra Club membership card. If list owner approval is required to subscribe, the list charter shall contain an explanation of who is eligible.

  4. List Owner Rights and Responsibilities: In addition to list creation and charter responsibilities, the list owner is responsible for managing subscriptions to their lists. The list owner is also responsible for maintaining an orderly discussion and reminding subscribers when they stray from the charter of the list.

    List owners may take appropriate steps to maintain order on their lists. This may include prohibiting subscribers from posting or even removing subscribers from the list. Except in the most extreme cases, such action shall only be taken after multiple warnings have been ignored by the subscriber of her/his violations of the list's charter, the Sierra Club's Code of Conduct or the norms of the list. Owners' actions may be appealed to the list sponsor and, thence, to the OE!. On restricted subscription lists, owners are not obligated to forward inappropriate messages from non-subscribers.

    A list charter may stipulate specification of a topic for all messages. Such lists are not considered to be moderated lists. The list owner (or designated list topic "editor") can reject a message without a topic, but cannot add or modify the topic. A subscriber may be censured for repeatedly ignoring the topic requirement.

    In cases of extremely high subscriber numbers, high message volume, large message size, or large archive size, the list owner will work as necessary with ICS staff to deal with operational concerns.

  5. Email Address Availability: Email addresses of list subscribers will be made available to others as permitted by each list's charter. The use of email addresses is subject to the same rules governing the use of printed and electronic member lists. Accordingly, lists of email addresses derived from Sierra Club lists are authorized to be used only for Sierra Club matters.

  6. Email-on-Demand Documents: Approval to install documents available for email on demand is granted by the head of the sponsoring entity followed by a review by the ICS List Server Administrator and/or Information Manager (or designees) to ensure that the new document does not duplicate existing documents. Documents relevant to a specific list will be associated with that list; documents of a broader interest will be made available as required. For list-specific documents, approval may be given after posting by periodic review; for general distribution documents, approval must be given prior to posting. Dropping of unused, underutilized or obsolete documents will be encouraged.

    Any limits on the maximum number, maximum size, or total size of all documents will be established in the future after the usage patterns and technical issues are better understood.

  7. Advertising: In general, and unless otherwise permitted by a list's charter, advertising of commercial products and services on Sierra Club-sponsored lists is prohibited. Prior approval of the list owner is required before posting any message containing a direct solicitation for money. The list owner(s) and sponsor, jointly, shall be the final arbitrator of what constitutes advertising on their list. A list's sponsor may restrict access to the list by repeated violators. Information on conferences, outings and other activities related to the purpose of the list or resource materials useful to the subscribers should generally not be considered advertising.

  8. Questions and Concerns: Questions and concerns with the set-up and management of specific lists should be directed to the list owner. If issues remain unresolved, these questions and concerns should be raised with the chair of the sponsoring entity or department head. General questions about establishing discussion lists should be directed to the Chair of the Information Technology Committee.

  9. Conduct Standard: Discussion list conduct is governed by the Sierra Club Code of Conduct and the charter of the list.

Appendix - List Naming Convention

To facilitate easy location of appropriate lists by users and to maintain an orderly structure of the many lists to come, guidelines have been set for naming lists on the Club's list server. When a list sponsor requests a list, the sponsor and the OE! (or designee) will determine a name for the list as follows: List names should generally be no more than 20 characters long so that they need not be truncated when shown on some lists. They will "work" however, with lengths up to 32 characters. (But remember that few can type 32 characters in a row correctly, so shorter names are advantageous.) Dashes count as characters and can appear anywhere within the name. Each list name will begin with the sponsoring entity's name or abbreviation.
Reserved initial abbreviations are listed below:

  • BOD Board of Directors
  • CCL Council of Club Leaders
  • CE Communication and Education Governance Committee
  • COMMONS Lists maintained on the Club's list server that are co-sponsored with other organizations*
  • CONS Conservation Governance Committee
  • FIN Finance Governance Committee
  • HELP4 Lists maintained to help members with topical problems
  • HQ Staff lists open to volunteers
  • MDV Membership and Development Governance Committee
  • OA Outdoor Activities Governance Committee
  • OE Organization Effectiveness Governance Committee

Occasionally, a list will provide a service that does not fit into the naming scheme for initial prefixes. The OE! (or designees) will determine the need for exceptions on a case-by-case basis. Examples include MEMBER-DIRECTORY and NEW-SC-LISTS.

Each chapter will determine an initial prefix to be used for all of its lists and those of its sub-entities. Additional prefix names will be reserved for use by the assigned entity once they are put into use.

* For details of the intended use of this prefix, send email to:
with the command: GET COMMONS.DEFINITION

Edition 1a - November 3, 1996
Revisions: 09/08/97, Dave Simon, Changes to Abbreviation Appendix (CCL, HQ)

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