Child_Lit List Serve: Guidelines

Adapted from Susan Stan,

Please carefully read through the following instructions and user guidelines:

  1. Before subscribing read information about the list serve and consider the purpose of the list. In order to subscribe you will need your full e-mail address including extensions, in my case Under Subscription Options, you can choose whether you'd like to receive e-mails or not. Since it's a very active list I would opt out and simply use the archive

  2. When you have successfully subscribed, you will receive a "Welcome to Child_Lit" message (the same information that appears on the Child_Lit home page). READ this message so that you understand the focus of the list and how to send messages, and SAVE the message (if possible, print it out in addition to saving it electronically) so that you that can sign off without problems (easier said than done). 

  3. Monitor the list messages during the month of September before posting a contribution. (This is known as lurking.) Lurking will give you a feel for the "list culture"-what's appropriate and what's not appropriate.  Even if you count yourself among the net savvy you may find online excerpts of Netiquette by Virginia Shea useful.

  4. If you have a topic to raise or a question to ask, first look through the archives to see if your topic or question has been discussed in the past. Because the same topics appear with regularity as new people subscribe and ask the same "old" questions, longtime subscribers tend to skip messages or ignore questions when they are asked for the fourth, fifth, and twenty-fifth time. Thus your question, while important, might elicit a poor response, and you might do better to look for the topic in the Child_Lit archives. Child_Lit does not yet have a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) feature, which serves to alleviate this problem on other listservs. 

  5. The first time you send a message, include a brief introduction of yourself (or add it under your name to explain your connection, e.g., "Grad student, English Education" or "English major." (On some email programs, this information can be configured as an automatic signature.) 

  6. Every time you send a message, include your name and email address (again, this can be included in a signature file). Some subscribers' software programs for reading email do not automatically show the sender's name or address, which means they will not be able to identify who sent the message or to what address they can reply unless you include this information in the body of your message. 

  7. If your reply function automatically copies the original message to which you are replying, snip all parts that are not absolutely necessary. What you have to say should appear on the screen so that readers do not have to scroll down to find your comments before they make the decision to read or delete. 

  8. When replying to a question, consider whether your information might be of general interest (for instance, your response to the book under discussion) or primarily of interest only to the asker (the name of your second-grade class's favorite read-aloud) and direct your message appropriately. 

  9. When posing a question intended to build a list (e.g., suggestions for tried-and-true books for reading aloud to second-graders), request that responses be sent privately to you and offer to distribute the finished bibliography to the entire list. 

  10. If you are replying privately to a message, make it a habit to check that the address in the "To" line belongs to the intended recipient and not to Child_Lit. Some people have been unspeakably embarrassed when their personal messages (their real thoughts about other participants or their chatty notes about life since grad school) have been distributed for all to see. 

  11. Provide enough contextual information in the questions you pose to be sure others understand that you have thought through the various elements of the question and/or "done your own homework." For instance, if asking for books on a certain topic, name the ones you have already found. This gives direction to your question and avoids duplication. It also gives you credibility. If you are posing a theoretical question or asking for opinions, discuss your terms or give examples to ground your question. If you rely on generalities, you may receive a response like the following (an actual exchange, with names changed): 
  • Message #1: There have been several books written that use foul language and graphic scenes. I was wondering if any of you would ever use these in your classroom, and under what circumstances? 
    Sally V. 

  • Message #2:  Sally: It would be more helpful if you told us what books you are writing about and what specific language and scenes you are referring to in your message. Individuals have very different definitions for "foul" language and "graphic" scenes. I, as a respondent, have no frame of reference since you did not offer one. Kay 

12. Citing the list serve: Child_Lit's policy regarding the use of opinions and information found in its discussions, whether current or archived, is that the poster should first be consulted for permission. If permission is granted, Janice Walker's Style Sheet provides a guide to citation forms for those who follow the MLA style.