Guidelines for LWVUS/LWUEF Sponsored Online Discussion Lists
The purpose of an LWVUS/LWVEF-sponsored discussion list is to promote the mission and goals of the League by facilitating the exchange of information among members and among the levels of League. In deciding whether or not to establish a list, the board shall consider the following criteria:
- the list will further an LWVUS/LWVEF organizational or program priority, and/or the subject of the list is a priority for a significant number of members and state and local Leagues (as measured by the number of subscribers and messages sent to the list), and
- at least two qualified list moderators have been identified, and
- organizational resources are available to support the list.
A League wishing to propose a new discussion list should submit a request to the LWVUS/LWVEF board, providing the following information:
- the topic and purpose of the list,
- evidence that the topic is a priority to a significant number of members and Leagues, and
- the names and qualifications of two League members who could serve as the list moderators.
Electronic and email lists are generally of four kinds: (1) Announcement lists that cannot be replied to by members such as the Leaders’ Update, (2) lists related to League leadership roles, such as the Voter Service list, (3) advocacy lists for discussion of issues, and (4) temporary lists, such as for convention preparation or a study. The LWVUS Board may establish or close lists according to the above criteria. Additionally, advocacy lists shall be established for the four major issues groups identified in Impact on Issues. The Board may establish other advocacy discussion lists for issues that the Board has voted as primary priorities.
Rules and Norms of LWVUS/LWVEF-Sponsored Lists
- List participants must be League members and shall identify themselves by name and League name and state on all postings. Participants are also requested to identify their League role.
- Messages must be nonpartisan, not derogatory, not inflammatory, and nondiscriminatory.
- Messages must be related to the subject of the list and must be consistent with the mission and goals of the LWVUS/LWVEF.
- List participants are encouraged to make use of the information gained from the list to take action in their own names.
- With the exception of LWVUS calls to action posted by a list moderator, an authorized staff member, or an LWVUS board member, no information on the list may be interpreted to be a request to take action. A state or local League wishing to take action at the federal level must consult with the LWVUS as provided in the LWVUS policy, “Criteria for Approving Requests for Action.”
A list moderator may be a member of the LWVUS Board, related staff, or another member approved by the LWVUS Board. Each moderator must be trained before any list goes into operation. The training will include technical information and discussion leading techniques. Her/his responsibilities shall include:
- developing a welcome letter, based on a standard letter format for all lists, setting forth the parameters of the topics(s) to be discussed, listing “rules and norms” and instructions on how to subscribe and unsubscribe to the list, “digest” the list or read mail via the web.
- posting information to the list about LWVUS/LWVEF activities related to the subject of the list;
- relaying information from the list to the board and staff, as appropriate;
- encouraging list participants to observe the rules and norms of the list; the moderator has the right to set any participant’s submissions on pre-approval for violation of the rules and norms;
- removing from the list any participant who has been warned but repeatedly disregards the rules and norms of the list; and
- forwarding questions to appropriate LWVUS board member(s) or staff.
An appropriate board committee should recommend replacements for a moderator position, which the LWVUS Board must then approve.
The List Administrator
The List Administrator may be an LWVUS/LWVEF staff member or may be a League member appointed by the LWVUS Board. Her/his responsibility is to assist list moderators and list subscribers with technical problems. She/he may refer any unresolved questions to the members of the LWVUS board member or staff assigned to help with list problems.
LWVUS Board Participation on Lists
Board members may subscribe to a list and may participate as individuals and may respond to questions that relate to their board assignments. They should indicate if they are speaking as individuals or reflecting the sense of the board. A board member will be assigned to monitor each list. Ideally, questions for the board should be communicated directly to the board so that the list maintains its function as a means to share