Community Guidelnes For Conducting Great Oak Business Via Email

Process 2009-12-14


Guidelines for Email use - for all uses (social/personal, community business, etc).


In 2008, community members were seeing emails that were
close to flaming or that seemed to lead to conflict rather than
fruitful discussion. The Conflict Resolution Committee, (CRC), brought
a discussion to the community and community members agreed that
guidelines for using email would be useful, both for conducting GO
business and for social and request types of email.

In November 2008 we consensed on an agreement for using email to conduct
Great Oak business. In December 2009 we added a new segment to the beginning of the agreement about all kinds of email and agreed to combine them into one revised Great Oak Email Etiquette Agreement.



* Before you send or reply to an e-mail, determine the appropriate
recipients; use go-talk only for messages that pertain to the entire

* Refrain from sending an email when you are clearly upset. Either
wait to hit the send button, or ask for outside input before you hit
the send button.

* Anyone can gently suggest that an email thread be moved offline or
off of GO-Talk


* Use the phone or personal contact for emergencies, not email!

* Email is not a decision-making vehicle.

* Email is not a substitute for face-to-face communication

* The convener or appointed committee member will be responsible for bringing pertinent email threads from GO-Talk to committee meeting minutes and/or meetings.

* Anyone can suggest that an email thread be moved off of GO-Talk to an appropriate committee. Reasons for taking a discussion off-line or to a committee include:

--The tone of emails becomes judgemental, impatient or rude, particularly if directed at individuals

--Multi-person discussion thread narrows to a couple people

--Conversation slides toward decision on email

--Content is not pertinent to whole community


* All non-emergency or non-time-critical decisions will get made at committee meetings, not via email. This is not meant to shut down committee discussions on email, but to ensure that decisions get put into committee minutes.

* Do not use minutes emailed to the group as a substitute for personal contact regarding assignment of tasks

*If a discussion is taken off "talk", and community members are interested
or concerned, community members are encouraged to follow up with the
relevant committee or persons involved in the thread.


* When you send an email to a committee, be clear about your purpose.

--Are you asking for specific action, or passing along information?

--Do you want a response?

* Don't expect a response within 24 hours. Response time will vary by committee. Committees and individuals receive varying amounts of email traffic, and use email with varying frequency.

*An appointed committee member will be responsible for monitoring and responding to committee emails, and for bringing appropriate emails to committee meeting agendas. Responses to emails should include some time frame, for example the date of the meeting at which it will be discussed.

* Community members who initiate communication with a committee will take responsibility for gently following up with committee members, in person or with another email. Community members are also expected to take responsibility for the follow up by reading minutes from meetings.

*Please note that all committee email lists (except CRC) have members that don't regularly contribute, and are not on the committee.

*Please note that all emails to go-talk and to committee lists (except CRC) are publicly archived.


First version of the agreement was discussed in community meeting 2008-10-01 and 2008-11-05.
The updated agreement was discussed on 11/16/2009 and 12/14/2009.
7/8/18 Minor change made, see process notes.

Process Comments:

The first version of this agreement was passed in 11/5/2009, with no standasides. In December 2009 it was consensed on again, adding the three initial bullets to cover all email, not just business email. No standasides.
Another change was consensed on by the community, first discussed 6/20/16 and agreed 7/18/16. "If a discussion is taken off "talk", and community members are interested or concerned, community members are encouraged to follow up with the
relevant committee or persons involved in the thread."