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Ezine, Discussion and Announcement List Etiquette

By Shelley Lowery
Posted Sunday, August 15, 2004

The information super highway, countless intertwining roads of information all merging into one massive freeway. That's
the Internet. Just about any form of information you could ever want, right at your fingertips.

The Internet is far more than just websites. Information is delivered via email, downloads, newsgroups and forums just
to name a few. In addition, there are literally thousands of ezines, discussion groups and announcement lists.

These groups are composed of individuals who either receive information in the form of a publication or share information with a group. Although these lists can provide you with a wealth of information, they can be very time consuming for the owners. With that in mind, this article will provide you with some basic list etiquette guidelines.


Ezines, also known as email magazines, online publications and electronic newsletters, are simply newsletters available via email and/or online.

Subscribers sign up to receive a publication and may unsubscribe at any time. This publication may be delivered
to your email daily, weekly, biweekly or monthly.

Discussion Groups

Discussion groups are groups of individuals who have signed up to participate in group discussions. This type of group
delivers messages to your email each time a member posts. When you reply to a message, it will be delivered to the
entire group.

Announcement Lists

Announcement lists enable members to sign up to receive and post announcements in regard to a specific subject.
This type of group may deliver messages as they are posted or you may receive a certain number of the messages at one time.

Forums/Message Boards

Forums or message boards are online threaded discussion groups in which messages are displayed on web pages.
Some forums require you to register in order to become a member, while others require no registration.


Most types of discussion groups, announcement lists and forums will have one or more moderators. Moderators make
sure that posts are appropriate and try to prevent spammers from posting.

Posting Guidelines

No matter what type of list or group you join, each will have its own set of posting guidelines. Make sure you always
review the guidelines and double-check your post prior to submission. Not only will your message get posted more
quickly, but it will also save the moderator a great deal of time.

When posting or replying to posts, make sure that you stay on topic. If you're posting to a group that focuses on "Ezines," you wouldn't want to post a question or information about "Gardening." In addition, always be very tactful. Everyone is there to learn and share information. There is absolutely no reason to hurt someone's feeling by publicly humiliating them or being rude. Keep in mind, there is a human being with feelings behind each post.

When posting to an announcement group, make sure you follow the posting guidelines. Not only will this save the list
owner a great deal of time, but it will also prevent you from having to repost your message when it gets rejected.

In addition to following the guidelines, make sure that you don't post your message more than once. Announcement lists receive many submissions and only send out a certain number of posts each day. It may take up to a week or longer before your message is approved. Reposting only serves to delay the process even longer.


In order to remove yourself or unsubscribe from an ezine, discussion group or announcement list, you must follow the
instructions for each individual publication. Some lists will provide a link that will instantly remove your email address.
Others will require you to send an email message to remove yourself. However, you MUST send the unsubscribe email
message from the same address you used to subscribe.

Many times, subscribers may use an email address that redirects to their main email account. When they try to remove themselves from a list, they can't remember which address they used to subscribe. This causes them to become frustrated and take their anger out on the list owner. There is no way for a list owner to determine what email address a subscriber used to subscribe to the list. However, there is a way you can locate the address yourself and save
yourself and the list owner a great deal of frustration.

If you're using Outlook:
Under the "View" menu, select "Message header" or "Source."

If you're using Eudora:
Click on the "Bla bla" button.

By viewing the message headers, you can determine what email address the message was sent to. This is the email
address you used to subscribe to the group. Your unsubscribe message MUST come from this address in order to locate it within the database.


Professional list owners will NEVER add your email address to their database without your knowledge. Most of the time, if you're receiving their publication, you subscribed and may have forgotten. Keep in mind, the keyword is "Professional" list owners. There are many list owners that use unethical means of obtaining email addresses.

Before making a "SPAM" complaint, it is VERY important that you understand the consequences. NEVER make a SPAM complaint unless you are absolutely positive that it is, in fact, SPAM. It is much better to delete one hundred potential SPAM messages than to wrongly accuse one innocent publisher of SPAM. What you probably don't realize is that when you make a SPAM complaint about a publication, your complaint also affects advertisers and article writers that have no affiliation with the publication. One SPAM complaint can cost an innocent publisher, advertiser and writer their entire business. It's just not worth it.


Although many ezines will allow you to purchase advertising, discussion groups, announcement lists and forums DO NOT allow blatant advertising. This is considered SPAM and will probably get you immediately removed. Most groups will allow you to include your signature. Make sure you review the guidelines prior to posting.

If we all work together and follow a few simple guidelines, we can make the Internet a better place for us all.

About the Author:
Shelley Lowery is the author of Ebooks: A Complete Guide to Self-Publishing. Stop by and download a free copy. It is jam-packed with valuable information and will teach you everything you'll need to know to create a professional ebook. (


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