Updated Percy-L Guidelines (Please Read)

Henry P. Mills wpercy1 at mail.ibiblio.org
Tue Nov 13 09:10:47 EST 2001

Dear Percy-L:

With the new list service in operation, the time is good for revisiting the
Percy-L guidelines, which have now been updated. Please take a few minutes
to review the guidelines and save this document for future reference.

In particular, I call your attention to Parts IV and V, most notably the
new "special considerations" section at the end of IV. Both sections
provide an overview of communal responsibilities and suggestions for
improving the quality of discussion for list members. If all members will
take the time to review and put to use the Percy-L guidelines as follows,
we all stand to benefit from the base they provide for our discussion and
our community.

As usual, please send any questions or comments you may have to:
<wpercy1 at ibiblio.org>. The online version of the guidelines is available at


Henry Mills
Director, The Walker Percy Project


New Users: Please read and save for future reference.

(I) How to Join Percy-L
(II) How do a Keyword Search of the Archives
(III) Basic Percy-L Instructions
(IV) Percy-L Policies
(V) Posting Tips


(I) To join Percy-L:

Send an e-mail to <subscribe-percy-l at franklin.oit.unc.edu> with the
following line in the body:

     subscribe PERCY-L YourFirstName YourLastName

Further information will be automatically forwarded to you.


(II) To do a KEYWORD Search of the Percy-L Hypermail Archives:

   Go to: http://www.ibiblio.org/wpercy/search.html


(III) Basic Percy-L Instructions (for list subscribers only)

1) Send email messages for group viewing to: <percy-l at franklin.oit.unc.edu>

2) Send administrative concerns to the list manager: <wpercy1 at ibiblio.org>

3) You may leave the list at any time by clicking on the "List-Unsubscribe"
link found in the header of messages you receive. Each subscriber is given
a separate subscriber number that is embedded in the unsubscribe link.

4) To re-subscribe to PERCY-L, simply click on the "List-Subscribe" link in
the email header of a list message you received, or send an email to:
<subscribe-percy-l at franklin.oit.unc.edu>.

5) All messages are archived at the following address:


(IV) Percy-L Policies

The Percy-L forum is open to the discussion of all topics pertaining to the
work and thought of the American novelist and philosopher Walker Percy.
Students, general readers, and scholars are all welcome, as well as simply
the curious. There is no standing agenda for the list except the promotion
of commentary of the sort which one would expect from people with a special
interest in Percy. As such, the list will remain unmoderated unless some
future reason requires it. A diverse range of critical perspectives is
therefore welcomed, if not encouraged, as long as the manner and method of
expression are responsible to and respectful of the parties to whom they
are addressed.

Please consider introducing yourself to the other mailing list users even
if you plan to participate only as an observer. The more we all know what
our various interests are, the more likely it is that someone will address
them in some way. Then, too, even though the mailing list is first of all a
means of communication, it will also hopefully develop into a growing
community resource, only to become all the more valuable the more we
contribute useful information to it and establish connections with each

You should feel free to introduce a new topic for discussion or to respond
to an existing "thread" or line of thought already in process at any time,
as you see fit. This medium of communication takes multiple "threads" of
discourse to be a given: anyone can enter into the discussion at any time,
just as those already involved in it can pay as much or as little attention
to whatever is of interest to them. Needless to say, both patience and
tolerance are encouraged in all matters related to the mailing list, for
electronic discussion of this sort is fraught with the potential for
misunderstanding, even as it provides for new channels of discussion.

If no one responds to your posts, you should not assume that it is because
of a lack of interest, or that your post is perceived as unimportant.
Frequently, the interested reader just doesn't have time to respond, and
few of us have time to answer more than a small percentage of the ones that
are of interest to us in any case. Therefore, pose your questions and
comments well by your own standards, and remind yourself that, even if
there is no overt response, what you have said or asked will be read by a
large body of people. And who is to say in what way ripples may occur? If
overt response is important to you, then wait a month or so and try your
query again.

In replying to posted topics, you should provide a beginning line in the
message itself in which you indicate to whom you are replying and about
what (brevity is encouraged when it comes to quoting). For the same reason,
you should also have a closing signature line or block in all of your
messages that identifies who you are. How much information you wish to
provide about yourself is up to you, but the participants need enough
information about your identity to keep track of the conversational flow.

Group discussions are not meant to be exclusively personal, and when people
reply to others individually and address them as such, this does not mean
that the discussion has become "personal" in the sense that it would best
be conducted off-list. In other words, the personal and the private are
considered to be separate in a listserv environment. Rather, the question
at hand is whether the discussion concerns topics of broader interest to
the purposes of the mailing list as a whole. It is therefore more than
acceptable to pursue special interests in public electronic-based
discussions of this sort as long as there is nothing exclusive of others in
it, either explicitly or in tone. However, if you have any problems about
topics being posted or in connection with the receipt or posting of your
own messages, please contact the list manager.

In order to maintain the smooth flow of discussion as well as be mindful of
several technical considerations related to Percy-L, please observe the

1. Avoid introducing political topics, unless they directly bear on or are
explicitly related to Percy and his thought. This rule does not exclude
current events from discussion, but merely underscores that this is a
listserv dedicated to Percy topics.

2. Please do not forward outside announcements through the list unless a
case can be made for a direct connection to Percy and the interests of
those who have joined the list. If in doubt, contact the list manager at
<wpercy1 at ibiblio.org>.

1) Please send all messages through the listserv as plain text messages
rather than HTML-encoded. Not everyone's email client supports HTML-encoded
messages and further they cause a conflict with the list's archiving
system. For this reason, messages sent through the list in HTML format will
not be archived. Check the preference settings on your specific email
client to determine in what format your messages are being sent. (If you
have the option of adding bold, italics, or font size to your email text,
you are using HTML-encoded email.) This same rule barring HTML-encoded
emails also applies to external HTML documents you place in your email
messages. Do not paste these as HTML, but rather as text.

2) Please do not send images through the listserv. If you wish for members
to see a particular image, place it on a website and then direct the
members of the list to it with a URL included in your message. Since some
members use a dial-up connection, this tactic provides users with the
option of viewing the image, and hence will limit frustration with download
times associated with the list.

3) Lastly, please do not forward any large attachments through the list.
This rule also limits member frustration with download times. If you have a
particular document to share that relates to Percy, please make certain
that its size is no more than 100kb. Also, be mindful of sending the
document in a format that will be readily accessible by all, for instance,
Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF. Alternatively, you can cut-and-paste the
contents of your document directly into the body of the email. Since this
method presents the document in a text-only format, the size of the
document will be considerably smaller.


(V) Posting tips to help message archiving for future readers

1) Please quote messages you are replying to sparingly, using your cut,
paste, and delete functions. A "reader-friendly" message has a better
chance of being responded to.

2) Avoid short, personal comments along the lines of "I agree," etc. that
do not significantly advance Percy-content discussion. These would best be
submitted solely to the person they are intended for rather than to the
listserv address (i.e., the entire group). Please be mindful of the time of
the list members--many, in fact, belong to multiple mailing lists--by only
submitting posts that in some shape or form better the interests of the
entire community.

3) Always fill in the "subject" box of your email to help readers identify
your topic of discussion.

4) Remember that if you use the "reply" command to a message you have
received through the list, your message will be distributed publicly to all
members of the list. In contrast, if you want to have private
correspondence with someone who has sent a message through the list, you
must create a "new" e-mail and address it specifically to him or her lest
the entire list read your message.

5) To help individual members of the Percy-L community follow the context
of your comments, strive to be mindful of your use of quoting and quote
identification methods. For example, consider beginning responses as

At 06:18 PM 9/17/96 -0600, Binx Bolling wrote:
>I am on a search!

Then add your own comments about the text in question (i.e., Binx's
search). In turn, if you add other quotes to your message from multiple
posts, repeat the process so it is clear where the material came from. As
always, the better crafted and referenced your message, the more likely it
will generate thoughtful response from the community.


Send questions or comments about this document to:
wpercy1 at ibiblio.org
Henry P. Mills
Last revised: 10/01

More information about the Percy-L mailing list