The purpose of the mailing list

(This is based on something I posted to the list in April, 2000, lightly updated.)

Howdy. I just wanted to remind folks that this list is for announcements of specific interest to Boston-area poly communities (e.g., Poly Boston and Family Tree). If it’s not more directly relevant to that group of people than to (say) Boston-area computer geeks, or (non-poly) Boston-area GLBT folks, then it’s probably not appropriate here.

Obviously, the clearest kind of appropriate posting is the announcement of events specifically for Boston-area poly people, like discussions and (specifically poly) cafe nights. Stuff like announcements (not discussion) relating to Poly Boston’s participation in Pride is also appropriate.

As a slightly more arguable example, a job announcement for a job at a place that a Poly Boston member works at is probably somewhat relevant, because members of that community might particularly like to work at a place somebody they know works. It’s pretty tangential to the poly thing (although it helps if the job is one where it’s OK to be out as poly), but it’s of particular interest to members of the Poly Boston community (and it’s Boston-specific).

An announcement of a play that somebody in Family Tree is in might be appropriate even if it isn’t specifically a poly event, since people in the community might be particularly interested in an event that another member of the community is involved in. (If somebody says, ‘Hey, let’s get a poly contingent to go see The Importance of Being Earnest’, then it’s no longer even a judgement call.)

An announcement asking Massachusetts citizens to call their state representatives by a certain date to comment on a certain piece of legislation that specifically affects poly people would also be appropriate — it’s geographically specific, and it’s poly-specific.

There are a couple of cases I’m not quite so sure about. One is general announcements that are specifically poly but not geographically specific to Boston (and environs) — for instance, an announcement of the resolution of the Divilbiss custody battle. Another is announcements of events in the general Boston area that are specific to other sexual/affectional minority groups (sorry; I couldn’t come up with a better phrase than that), like Biversity events, Youth Pride, and so forth. I can see arguments made on both sides — on the one hand, members of this community are likely to have a particular interest in those things, but on the other hand, there are other better venues for them. (People interested in Biversity events can subscribe to the Biversity mailing list, and people interested in nationwide poly activism can subscribe to the polyactive or poly mailing lists. Info about that stuff is at, by the way.) In any case, those kinds of postings haven’t been frequent enough in my opinion to be a problem so far.

However, there are some kinds of announcements that are definitely not appropriate, because they don’t pass the ‘specific interest to members of this community, as distinct from others’ test. News of non-poly-related stuff elsewhere in the country definitely falls into that category, even if it’s somehow related to relationships and/or sexuality (such as a news story about risks of Viagra, or about a movie star who’s bisexual). And news of events in Boston that don’t have any particular connection to Boston-area poly people is also not appropriate (such as the news that some fabric store that doesn’t have any particular poly connections is closing, or about a fundraiser for aid to Chechen refugees, unless somebody in the poly community is actively involved). There are other lists that would be more suited to these sorts of announcements or news items.

[Commercial email is not appropriate on the <announce> list. Contact me if you have any questions about whether something counts as commercial email. If it has a genuine connection to the Poly Boston community, it might be acceptable on the <chat> list. For instance, if you’re a regular attendee at Poly Boston events, and you also happen to be a real estate agent, and you’re hosting an open house at a big house that would be suitable for a poly family, that might be appropriate on the <chat> list but certainly not on the <announce> list.]

Also, there’s a companion list to this list, the <> list, whose charter is much less stringent. As the name implies, things posted to that list don’t even have to be announcements. So if you want to announce or talk about things that aren’t specifically Boston-area poly issues (but you want to talk about them with other Boston-area poly folk), you may want to subscribe to that list.

IMPORTANT: You should never send anything to both the <announce> and <chat> lists. Everybody who’s on <chat> should also be on <announce> (the chat list is an adjunct to the announcements list), so if you send to both, everybody on <chat> will get two copies. And anyway, if you’re considering sending something to <chat>, that’s a hint that it’s not appropriate for <announce>. :-)

Sorry for the length of this.


-Jay, list Grand High Pooh-Bear