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Manager Guide: Sample FAQ

A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) is an introduction to the list and a list of questions and answers. It should include information about how to get on the list, get off the list, and post to the list. It should state if the list is open, closed, or moderated. It should describe the purpose of the list, who the list managers are, who the moderators are (if any), the organization the list is connected with (if any), and guidelines for topics.

Below is a sample FAQ for a UUA mailing list (formatted for plain text). New List Managers may want to lift material from this page for the info and welcome messages for their lists. Replace [[listname]] and other information in brackets "[[ ]]" with information specific to your list. If your listname ends with -l it's a good idea to capitalize the L, so that people don't think it's a one. For example, type UUA-L rather than UUA-l. 

---HOW TO SUBSCRIBE---

To subscribe to this list, go to http://lists.uua.org/mailman/listinfo/[[listname]]

1. Fill out the form with your email address and a password that you choose.
(This password provides only mild security, but should prevent others from messing with your subscription. *Do not use a valuable password* as it will occasionally be emailed back to you in unencoded text.)

2. Choose whether you'd like to receive messages individually or in a daily batch ("digest").

3. Click the "Subscribe" button.

For most UUA lists, you'll receive a message by email asking you to confirm your subscription (to make sure that some prankster didn't sign you up). Reply to that message and you're in! In most email programs, just click Reply and then Send. (Read the message for specific instructions.)

Finally, you'll get a welcome message from the mailing list you just joined. Be sure to save this welcome message! Not only does it have useful information about the list, including the rules about participating, but it also contains instructions for how to get off the list if you decide to do so later.

---HOW TO SIGN OFF---

You may unsubscribe or signoff from a UUA email list by going to http://lists.uua.org/mailman/options/[[listname]]. Enter your email address and list password to log in, then click the "Unsubscribe" button. A confirmation email will be sent to you. Follow the instructions in that email, and your address will be removed from the list.

---HOW TO CONTACT THE LIST MANAGERS---

If you have a problem or question about this list or about your subscription, write to the managers at [[listname]]-owner@lists.uua.org.

---WHAT TO POST---

If it is about [[subject]] and of general interest, post it.

If it is about [[subject]] and original and humorous, post it.

Here are some sample topics: [[Insert some topics appropriate to your list.]]

---WHAT NOT TO POST---

If it doesn't clearly and directly relate to [[subject]], don't post it.

If it continues an irrelevant thread in any way (rebuttal, rebuke, rerun, revision, remark), don't post it.

If it is a personal message to a single subscriber, don't post it. Even if mail to that person bounces.

In replies, delete all extraneous text and quote only what's relevant to your message. Subscribers don't need to keep getting additional copies of previous messages.

If you aren't sure, don't post it.

If it is something cute, interesting, or funny that you found on the Internet (e.g. Dr. Seuss on Tech Writing, press release about Microsoft God, origin of spam), don't post it. Most readers have seen it already.

Here are some topics to avoid: [[Insert some topics not appropriate to your list.]]

---OTHER---

When replying to a message, be sure to check your "To:" field; some lists are set up so that replies are sent to the entire list, and some are set up to reply privately by default. Be sure you're sending your message to the right address!

Check your facts on anything you post. Do not under any circumstances post virus warnings or anything else designed to be "forwarded to everyone you know" to this list.

Do not attach documents to the list messages, unless your list is specifically configured to accept attachments (most UUA lists will strip attachments to make sure that viruses are not transmitted to our members).

Do not directly attack anyone for anything on the list. Take issue with ideas, not personalities, and do NOT point out grammatical, spelling, or usage errors. This forum is not the place to exercise editorial frustration.

Direct all comments or suggestions about the list or this message to the list manager at [[listname]]-owner@lists.uua.org.

---MORE HELP---

See the UUA Email List Subscriber Guide (UUA.org/lists/subscriberguide).

Thanks to Eric J. Ray, TECHWR-L Listowner, for some of this material.

For more information contact web @ uua.org.

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Thursday, April 21, 2011.

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