WHHNA-List Policies

For the Google Group whhna-list@whhna.org

These revised policies were adopted by the WHHNA Board in March 2018

Sec. 1    Introduction

The Watts-Hospital Hillandale Neighborhood Association (WHHNA) Board of Directors (“the Board”) recognizes the significant value and duty the WHHNA mailing list (“the list”) performs for our neighborhood. It is critical that the list continues to function as a tool for disseminating information and providing a common communication platform for all members of our neighborhood.

The Board has adopted a mission statement and guidelines for posting to the list and moderating posts. Board members and appointed moderators moderate posts based on content.

Any list member who feels they cannot agree to these policies will be asked to remove themselves from the list. Staying on the list is tantamount to agreeing to follow these policies.

Sec. 2    Mission Statement

The list exists to provide a safe place for the Board, WHHNA members (“neighbors”), and members of the at-large Watts Hospital-Hillandale neighborhood community to share and discuss pertinent, valuable, and neighborhood-focused ideas and messages. The list provides a communication tool to members to fulfill the purpose of the WHHNA. As such, members should feel welcome to post calm, cogent, different viewpoints on topics that affect our neighborhood without fear of being bullied, harassed, threatened, or insulted. Neighbors will take priority over list members who are not neighbors.

List members may receive email from and post to the list and can post to the list. When evaluating questionable postings, priority will be given to members who reside in the neighborhood over members from outside our the neighborhood. See the Proximity Rule.

Sec. 3    Civility Rule

Every post to the list shall be civil and courteous. Every post shall be correct or truthful to the poster’s reasonable knowledge and belief. Every post shall exhibit good manners and form. Bullying, public shaming, ad hominem attacks, harassment, trolling, and coarse or offensive language will not be tolerated. Posts which are deceptive, or which have the capacity to deceive, are not allowed. In addition, members should assume good intent. Silence or not responding to certain topics or points does not imply agreement or consent

Sec. 4    Public vs. Private

Posts to the list should be appropriate for a general audience and suitable for public discussions. Posts that should be private or personal among a limited number of persons or persons who share an affinity not general to the neighborhood are not allowed.

Sec. 5    Proximity Rule

The mission of the list places a strong focus on our neighborhood. In practice, posts about our neighborhood or by neighbors will take precedence. The more unique and specific to our neighborhood, the more appropriate the post. A moderator will use the proximity rule when deciding whether a post or poster merits moderation or other intervention.

Sec. 6    Monopolizing the List

Discussions with frequent or numerous posts can monopolize the list and overwhelm other, proper posts. These discussions will likely draw the attention of a moderator and may be limited or controlled through moderation. Per the Proximity Rule, the closer a post is to the mission of the list, the more latitude the ensuing conversation will have. Examples of such conversation topics are cankerworms, Halloween trick-or-treater counts, and W Club traffic calming efforts.

Sec. 7    Who Can be a Member of the List?

7.1         Anyone may be a member. A member of the list does not also have to be a member of the WHHNA.

7.2         List members may receive email from and post to the list. When evaluating questionable postings, priority will be given to members who reside in the neighborhood over members from outside the neighborhood. See the Proximity Rule.

7.3         The Board does not allow anonymous list membership and posts from persons who have concealed their identities.

Section 8   Proper Topics

Every topic suitable for public discussion may be the subject of a post,  but posts should be consistent with the mission of the list in some way. Examples include curb alerts, announcements about events in the neighborhood, safety concerns, and upcoming NC legislation that could directly affect our neighborhood.

8.1         Members can post about political issues. There are many political issues that directly affect our neighborhood. For example, House Bill 201 eliminated the zoning protest petition, so discussing how and why it’s good or bad for the neighborhood benefited members. Members can engage in political conversations that affect our neighborhood only indirectly, such as discussions about presidential candidates, , but these discussions should remain brief and largely innocuous.

8.2         The Board allows commercial posts but on a limited basis only. The list is a non-commercial list. The Board welcomes neighborhood businesses (see the Proximity Rule) to post once each calendar month and gives leeway to new businesses or businesses promoting a special event of particular interest to the neighborhood. If a member makes a commercial post, or one that appears to be commercial, a moderator will likely remind the member of the once-a-month guideline.

Section 9            Prior Review and Moderation

9.1         A moderator can review any post before it goes public. Any post that does not adhere to these list policies may be the subject of moderation. Moderation may take the form of a private or public warning. Moderators may refuse to permit a post which violates the letter or spirit of these list policies. Moderators may temporarily suspend a member’s right to post. Moderators may remove or expel a member from the list on an indefinite or permanent basis.

9.2         What Topics Will Attract the Attention of a Moderator?

Members should understand that posts may appear innocuous but offend other members. A moderator will use the content and apparent intent of a post to judge whether a given post or series of posts is worthy of further scrutiny.

Members should expect a moderator to step in quickly when a post fails to adhere to one of the guidelines. A moderator will likely first email the offending poster explaining that a specific post or recent collection of posts is attracting the attention of the moderator. The moderator will likely ask the offending poster to follow these posting guidelines. Continuing to post without adhering to the guidelines will trigger further moderation. In some cases, an offending poster may be moderated immediately and without warning.

Members who send private emails that bully, shame, attack, harass, or troll other members may be removed from the list. Any member that receives unwanted private email from another member, including private responses to public posts, should contact a Board member.

The Board assumes new members who immediately comment on an ongoing, controversial topic are trolls and will make an immediate moderating action.

9.3         What a Moderated Member Can Expect

A moderator will explain, typically in private email, that an offending poster’s account has been moderated and the reason. The default moderation period is two weeks. After two weeks without further moderation, a moderator will return the offending poster’s membership to normal status. A moderated member may petition the Board to reduce the moderation period.

Moderated members may continue to post, but a moderator will review each post before it goes public. If a moderator deems a member’s display name or email address as inappropriate, the member cannot post until they make the display name or email address appropriate. If the member doesn’t change the name or email address within two weeks, a moderator will remove the account from the list.

Please remember that moderators and the Board are volunteer positions, so an immediate response may not always be possible.

9.4         What an Offended Member Can Do

Board strongly urges any offended member to refrain from firing off an emotional, shame-filled missive. Offended members should contact a moderator and explain how and why they’ve been offended.

Members can reach a moderator here:
https://groups.google.com/a/whhna.org/forum/#!contactowner/whhna-list or you can email them at whhna-list+owners@whhna.org.

9.5         What Moderators Can Do

Moderators cannot post on the behalf of others except in extreme circumstances (emergency health and safety, for example).

Moderators should engage in conversation early. Offending and offended members often calm down when moderators make their presence known.

Moderators can remind members that posts to the list should follow these guidelines. Moderators should consider posting these guidelines to the list on a regular basis.

Moderators should respond to moderated posts quickly (within hours if possible); the Board doesn’t intend for moderation to be punishment but instead protective.

Moderators should respond to requests to change mail delivery options, subscriptions, or un-subscriptions as quickly as possible and can point members to online help when necessary. If a member has already tried online help, moderators should make the change for them.

Moderators can place the entire list on moderation when members are keeping alive or reviving a topic that a moderator has previously addressed. This typically occurs when members catching up on email see an offensive post for the first time several days after resolution or moderation.