Green Party of Canada
Electronic Mail List and Online Forum
Code of Conduct and Moderator Guidelines
Adopted by Federal Council on August 15, 2004.
In order to participate in any of the party's electronic mail lists or online forums, I agree to the following terms and conditions: (Please print out or save a copy of this and keep if for reference.)
1. I agree that if I contravene any of the policies in this document, my participation in the email list or online forum can be limited, suspended, or revoked by the moderator(s) or manager(s) of that list or forum.
2. I agree that I am personally responsible for my postings. Specifically, I agree that I will not libel, slander, or defame any person, and I agree that I will not use language that demeans others individually or as part of an identifiable group (i.e. language that is racist, sexist, or other personally derogatory language).
3. I agree I will not post anything that is of a confidential nature such as information about any party members' personal lives, any discussions or materials from an in camera meeting or discussion, or any contact information for another person without the permission of that person.
4. I understand that there are, or have been, codes of conduct which operate in society at large, such as those documented in Emily Post, Miss Manners, Roberts Rules of Order, and widely used on the Internet under the general heading of "netiquette". I agree that as a compassionate political party we should operate individually and collectively by a set of standards less likely, rather than more likely, to cause personal hurt and offence to others than those standards of mainstream society or the Internet.
5. I agree that I will provide my name and my email address within the text of the message to ensure that readers know who authored the message.
6. I agree not to send messages to the whole list when replying to an individual. In other words, before sending a message I will ask myself whether the whole list needs to read it.
7. I agree that if I find a posting personally upsetting that, where feasible, I will check with the poster to receive clarification before responding.
8. I agree I will respect the right of others to express opinions I do not agree with, even if I am completely opposed to the opinion.
Other Basic Guidelines
9. Try to make sure subject lines reflect the content of the message. Often, messages will veer away from their original train of thought. The subject lines allow other participants to quickly skim the list for messages that interest them or to find a message they once read. Ideally, we would address our minds to all the topics, but realistically we cannot expect everyone to do so all the time, and the courtesy of clear subject headings is appreciated.
10. Try to keep postings relevant to the thread of the discussion and stay on topic. When responding, include the minimum needed of previous messages to make sense (<snip> them once you've quoted enough to remind readers what you are responding to) and do not post dittos (replies simply saying "I agree"). If a thread (a discussion topic) stops being relevant to the list, please continue the discussion via private email. Remember that some on the list may be paying long distance and usage fees by the minute.
11. If you're not interested in a subject, delete the message or don't read it. If you think something is inappropriate for the list, ask for input from others or discuss it off-list with the list or forum's moderator(s) or manager(s). Do not "flame" your fellow list or forum members.
12. We request that no file attachments be sent to any of the lists. There are many reasons for this, including size (i.e. not everyone has a huge mailbox), compatibility (not everyone uses the same computers or software, so the same files are not always usable), capability (not everyone is able to receive any type of file attachment or view pictures, and some cannot receive file attachments at all or the total size of emails they receive, including attachments, is limited), and cost (some on the list are paying long distance and usage fees by the minute, and some may have slower equipment). An alternative to file attachments is to upload the file(s) to a web site and quote the file web site address(es) in the email or forum message.
13. It's also a good idea to send email messages in plain text as opposed to rich text, styled text, formatted text, or HTML. Again, there are many reasons for this, one of which being that invisible malicious code can embed itself in non-plain text. It also avoids the weird spacing that sometimes happens when your message is received by a plain text reader, list, or forum. Information on how to make plan text the default setting for your email program can be found on Flora.org: Configuring for Plain Text email sending.
14. To avoid undue misinterpretation we suggest that, in any communication, members observe the above protocols by asking themselves:
a) What is the essential part of my message?
b) Who needs to see or hear it?
c) What medium is the most appropriate for the message?
d) Am I communicating to those who do not need it?
e) Am I using the ease of communicating by email to send ill-thought out messages and superfluous material?
f) Does the absence of face-to-face contact make it easier for me to be careless of the feelings of others and to make hurtful thrusts or harmful asides?
g) Am I being sufficiently aware of the possible leakage of my message beyond those to whom it is addressed?
h) Am I using the absence of others to place my own ego's needs ahead of the collective needs of the Green Party?
i) Does my functionary role or ex-officio role within the Green Party require that I consult others before communicating this message?
j) What kind of a role model am I being for other members and supporters if I communicate my message in its present form?
Breaches of These Rules and Guidelines
15. At the discretion of the moderator(s) or manager(s) of the list or form, breaches of these rules and guidelines may be followed with an on-list or off-list advisory, or upon a serious breach, a suspension from the list(s) or forum(s). Any advisory publicly posted comes with an automatic unlimited probation period, where a repeat of the offence, be it disrespectful language or an inappropriate posting, may be followed by a suspension from the list(s) or forum(s).
16. A suspension is a removal from the list(s) or forum(s), followed by an announcement by the moderator(s) or manager(s) to the list(s) or forum(s) of the action taken, copied to the member removed. The length of time that must pass before the member may be allowed back onto the list(s) or forum(s) shall vary in accordance with the seriousness of the breach and the number of times the person has been previously removed from the list(s) or forum(s):
a) 1st time - one week
b) 2nd time - one month
c) 3rd time and any time thereafter - one year
The removed individual is responsible for taking the initiative of reapplying to the moderator(s) or manager(s) after their suspension period runs out.
17. The moderator(s) or manager(s) may accept other solutions to problems on the list or forum, if they feel it is in the best interest of the list or forum and the person(s) directly involved. For instance, one participant may offer to post the messages of another person for a period and thus screen that other person's messages for possible disrespectful or inappropriate language. This could follow an advisory or a period of suspension.
18. A member's recourse in any situation, is to appeal off-list or off-forum to the moderator(s) or manager(s), then appeal to the committee, chair, or council responsible for the particular list or forum. If the decision of those bodies are not satisfactory, or there is not a decision within a reasonable period of time, you may appeal to the next higher authority who would have authority to deal with the matter, which may be the party's Ombuds and Appeals Committee. The contact information for that committee can be found at http://www.greenparty.ca/ombuds.html. The next higher authority above the Ombuds and Appeals Committee would be the members in general meeting.
The basic values of the Green Party are the result of very long discussions and have stood the test of time as reference points for policy and for our resulting actions. The titles: Ecological Wisdom, Social Justice, Participatory Democracy, Non-violence, Sustainability, and Respect for Diversity speak to the role models we should attempt to be in Canadian society at large.
At the same time we must also be mindful of the fact that the full range of human beings' communications skills includes vocal inflections, as well as facial and body gestures. With the introduction of the phone and radio, we had to re-learn how to understand a message by listening to the tone of the voice that was speaking. With the introduction of film and television, the transportation of human images reappeared in a limited form, subject to the vision and censorship of those who controlled the camera lens.
With email and online forums (like newspapers, books, and other web pages) the subject matter comes in the form of the printed word. Here, interpretation of the message is subject to the imagination of the reader, who may find that certain words, by themselves, have a different meaning than the writer intended.
Please do not let the serious tone of parts of these rules and guidelines intimidate you. We want and need members to feel welcome to actively participate in the various lists and forums, and hope that all the above mentioned protocols promote that. If you have any questions about the list or forum, please feel free to contact the list or forum moderator(s) or manager(s).
Warm thanks for your forthcoming cooperation and participation!