Discussion Groups Policies

Following are some important policies that apply to any mailing lists hosted by the AYA. Please visit to review the complete Terms and Conditions/Terms of Use for discussion groups and other services that are considered part of the Yale University Online Alumni Community.

1. Neither the AYA nor Yale University is responsible for the content posted to discussion groups, and will not routinely monitor content. For this reason, it is essential that the subscribers report any abuses or misuse of the discussion groups to the AYA. AYA and Yale reserve the right to reorganize or delete any postings from a list's archives, or to add or remove mailing lists in its sole discretion.

2. Distribution/posting of obscene or vulgar materials or use of obscene or vulgar language, posting of graphically violent materials, or use of disrespectful, abusive, defamatory, profane, or threatening language of any kind, will constitute a violation of these policies. Users shall refrain from addressing personal matters (e.g., personal criticisms, communications sent personally to/from members of the community that were not intended for posting to subscribers of these services, etc.) within the "open forum*" of the services that comprise the Yale University Online Alumni Community. Determination of whether specific postings violate these policies shall be at the sole discretion of the AYA.

3. Users shall also not upload, transmit, distribute or otherwise publish any materials containing a virus or any other harmful component.

4. AYA/Yale University may deny further access to these services to those who engage in these or similar practices. The AYA reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to expel a user and deny further access to this and all other services in the Yale University Online Alumni Community.

5. Messages sent to discussion groups must be less than 500 kilobytes.

6. Messages to discussion groups may have up to ten (10) recipients in the "To:" and "Cc:" fields, combined. No recipients may be in the "Bcc:" field.


Visit for a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to AYA-hosted mailing lists.

* Membership in the Yale University Online Alumni Community (a password-protected suite of online services) is offered to Yale University alumni. In this context, “open forum” is intended to imply non-private (i.e., one-to-many) communications/postings among the forum of authorized Yale University Online Alumni Community members.

Discussion Groups Etiquette

Following are some tips and guidelines for making your mailing list more productive and enjoyable.

1. Remember you are interacting with people.

Because you only see letters stringing across a screen, it is easy to forget or ignore that a person sits on the other side of the network. This can tempt people to excess verbal boldness or emotional explosions, leaving readers angry and hurt. Over the Internet, you should consider yourself as having a face-to-face conversation with someone in a crowded room. Cursing and raw abuse are not appropriate. Keep debate civil, and keep it a debate, not a slanderous brawl. Always remember behind every e-mail address is another person.

2. Differentiate between public and private messages.

a. Discussion groups is public space. Personal messages, such as criticism of a person's writing style or new scarf should be sent to that person only. To broadcast such messages on the discussion groups can embarrass and anger. Messages for everyone on the list go to listname@host address. Questions about how the list works (e.g., "How do I use Digest mode?" and "How do I find out who else is subscribed to this list?") can generally be answered by logging into your Members' Option section. General questions regarding the AYA lists should be directed to

b. From time-to-time, you may find that a posting is particularly well written or offers a perspective that others you know who are not subscribed to the list might enjoy. Many who post to the list expect that their message will distributed to list subscribers only. If you would like to share a list posting with someone not subscribed to the list, it is common courtesy and best practice to first contact the author privately to ask permission to distribute the message beyond the list subscribers.

3. Make subject lines descriptive.

People should have a flavor of the message from glancing at the subject line. "Hello," is not as good as, "Changes in Reunion Schedule."

4. Edit the original message in your replies.

When replying to a message, re-send a few summarizing lines of the original message so the reader will know immediately what matter you are addressing. The user who receives dozens of messages a day can easily forget what he wrote a couple days before. However, do not re-send the entire original message, especially if long, as it might be unwanted by the receiver, and an unnecessary burden for servers.

5. Sign your postings.

It is good practice to include a few lines at the end of your message indicating your name and e-mail address as some mail programs do not automatically display such information. And it is best to keep such electronic signatures reasonably short.

6. Be brief.

Say your say succinctly. It will have a greater impact and more people will read it.

7. Write clearly and logically.

Simplicity of expression usually is best. Sudden poetic bursts intended to "impress" usually do not impress, and may bother the reader.

8. Be prudent with speculation.

On the Internet, rumor can grow extravagant and spread like fire. Remarks beginning with, "I have a feeling that . . ." or, "I think that . . ." are usually suspect.

9. Be cautious with humor and sarcasm.

Typed language is naturally colder than spoken language, because it is stripped of voice inflections and body language. Quite easily, humor can be taken as insult, especially if subtle. Some users prefer to use symbols that hint at tone, such as the smiley face: :-) It is safest to frankly note satirical messages.

10. Discussion groups are as good, and only as good, as the subscribers make them.

Discussion groups work best when intelligent people bring fresh knowledge and ideas to the table. New ideas can stimulate discussion. Trivial or inane comments often kill discussion. Write meaty, thoughtful things and everyone will benefit from the list.