What is your policy on off-topic (OT) messages on the Yahoo! group?
Off-topic posts have always been allowed on the Yahoo! group and have never proved to be a problem. However, members should keep the following guidelines in mind:
- Messages that are off-topic should be marked as "OT" in the subject heading. For example, "OT: New Star Trek Movie." If an on-topic thread diverges off-topic, please add the "OT" label to the subject heading. For example, if an on-topic discussion of Huan the Hound becomes an off-topic discussion about your cute new puppy Fido, then please change the heading from "Huan the Hound" to "OT: My Cute Puppy Fido" or "OT: My Cute Puppy Fido (was Huan the Hound)."
- Off-topic conversations between a few members should be moved to their private email accounts. If lots of members are chiming in and enjoying the OT discussion, feel free to keep it on the list. But if you and one other person are writing back and forth about something off-topic, please be respectful of your fellow group members (and their inboxes!) and move the discussion to private email.
- Use your discretion in making OT posts. This group is not a personal blog, and while sharing personal experiences can be valuable in any discussion of writing, if you are making weekly OT posts about topics that have nothing to do with the purposes of SWG, then you might want to consider getting a LiveJournal account instead. And making a single OT post to invite your fellow SWG members to friend you over there.
We are liberal with regard to OT posts on the Yahoo! group because they rarely happen and are not abused. It is our belief that a writers' group does not benefit from draconian attempts to keep people focused solely on writing; our stories are based on life and sometimes includes topics that one wouldn't expect on a Tolkien list. We'd like to continue taking advantage of this if at all possible.
However, we need members' cooperation to make this possible. Please use your best discretion when making OT posts. Ask yourself if there is a good chance that someone on SWG will be interested in what you're posting. Also consider how often you have veered off-topic in the past. Group members can quickly become frustrated with the one or two individuals who are always chiming in with something off-topic and of little interest to the majority of the group.
If we feel that OT privileges are being abused by a few, then we will address this issue privately. If it becomes a problem to the extent that members are complaining, quitting, or changing their settings to avoid the deluge of OT posts, then we will remove the "OT privilege" entirely. So please, again, use good discretion in this.
Last updated 29 May 2008.