We are now over 3000 members strong!
In order not to become overwhelmed from our success and have us all drown in excessive emails, here are some important posting guidelines and helpful tips to manage the email flow.
1. Decency, kindness, empathy, and respect for fellow residents is expected in all communication on the PVForum. Rudeness, misinformation, personal attacks, drunken rants, poor judgment, racist voices, white supremacy voices, propaganda, fear-mongering, and toxic rants are not allowed on the PVForum. Individuals will be placed on moderated status who send inappropriate messages to the PVForum or in response to a post. If they continue to attempt to post inappropriately, they will be removed. (It’s very sad that I’ve actually had to add this new guidance.)
2. To send a message to the PVForum, please address the message to email@example.com. All messages must include a helpful, approved #Hashtag in the subject line along with their subject.
3. Posting requirements: At least one approved #hashtag will be required in the subject line with EVERY POST. You can use more than one #hashtag in your subject line if you want. Be careful not to includes any spaces in the #hashtag or additional punctuation. A full list of the approved #hashtags, can be found on the PVForum.us website homepage.
You must use one the following for the listed situations:
· #ForSale All emails containing items for sale.
· #ISO All emails seeking items or services.
Please indicate what you are seeking in the subject line.
· #Received When you find the item or service you are seeking
· #Offer or #Service When you are offering a service.
· #Free All emails offering freebies
· #Taken When an item you offered for free or for sale has been taken.
· #Event All emails with details about a local event
· #Referral All emails with a referral for a service provider.
Please indicate the type of referral in the subject line.
· #Summary All emails with a summary from an info request
· #News All emails with news
· #Charity All emails soliciting or information about a charity
· #Thanks Emails with only thanks in them (Better to provide a #summary)
4. Try to avoid using Reply All or Reply to Group. Before hitting “Reply All” or “Reply to Group” consider whether 3000+ people really need to get your message. Does it deserve having 3000+ people hitting the delete button? Or is the message really only meant for one person or a limited few? In many cases, the answer is the latter. Please resist hitting “Reply All” and stick to just “Reply.” As your moderator, I may let you know privately if your message would have been better sent to an individual and not the entire PV Forum.
5. When you respond to another’s query, please reply privately and directly to the questioner unless you truly feel all 3000 of us would benefit greatly from your wisdom and advice ;) I’m sure your information is very useful and valuable but probably not relevant to all 3000 of us today. Usually, most of the members do NOT need to see your answer. They can wait for the summary or search the archives or can contact the questioner directly themselves for the answers they have received.
6. As always, we hope that members will limit themselves to polite queries, helpful information, and respectful statements of their opinions. Count to at least 6 seconds (the time it takes for your brain to catch up with your emotions) before you hit that “SEND” button in response to some irritating comment of a neighbor ;)
7. Do you need to make a change to your membership? Do NOT send an email to everyone at main@PVForum.us . Save these guidelines in a folder so you can refer to it when needed. You can take care of many membership issues yourself by going to your account https://pvforum.us . You just need your email address to log in. There are helpful FAQ and help files online at groups.io as well. https://groups.io/static/help
8. You can obtain a list of helpful emails to manage your account by sending a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The system will email you back shortly with a list of helpful emails to manage your account automatically.
9. If you need direct help from the PVForum moderator, please send a private message to email@example.com
10. Before sending a message to the entire PVForum inquiring about the best handyman, gardener, donation site, etc., please first search the message archives at the PVForum homepage at: https://pvforum.us. Log in with your email account and search messages. If you are new to the PVForum, please do this. I see many requests for identical information posted within a few weeks (or days!) of each other.
11. If you need new or updated information, by all means, query the group. In your email, ask members to send their answers directly and privately to you without copying the entire group. Be sure to include a #ISO in the subject line so everyone knows the purpose of your message.
12. Please create a summary of all the answers you have received by compiling all the responses (without the responders’ names) into one email, then send it to the PVForum with #Summary so everyone can benefit from our collective wisdom. Unless someone specifically requested that you not include the information they are providing, just cut and paste the responses from the emails you’ve received into one email, leaving off the responders’ names and send it back to the PVForum with #Summary and the subject.
One of the responsibilities of belonging to the group is that if you use the resource to obtain information from the collective wisdom of the group, you share that collective wisdom back to the group. That way the wisdom is stored in the group's searchable database for everyone's use which in turn helps cut down on email traffic and repetitive requests for the same information.
13. If you wish to include someone’s personal information in an email (e.g. the person who picked up something you were selling or in your summary), please be sure you check with that person first to get their okay to include their name. Otherwise leave their name and contact info off.
14. If you would like to send a “Thank you” to the entire PVForum, please include a #summary of the answers you received. Otherwise consider refraining unless you are providing new information. We all like hearing thank you’s (and wish we heard them more often from our children), but most of us would prefer not to have to spend that extra 2 seconds hitting delete for no new information.
15. Selling something, offering a class, promoting an event? After the third notice, chances are you have reached all the interested parties on the PVForum. Resist sending another reminder unless you feel it really is critically important and provides new information. #Service, #Class, # Event
16. Local business owners: People in Portola Valley love to support local businesses and want to hear about the services offered in town. However, residents will not feel so accommodating if you promote your business ad nauseum on the PVForum. Please limit yourself to approximately one message per month unless you have something new to tell the PVForum; then only one additional message for the quarter. You will also find that referrals that your clients post independently to the PVForum will generate much more business than self-promotion. #Service, #Offer
17. Please consider including your actual name in your post. Not everyone’s email address is descriptive. All members are neighbors, so you should feel comfortable sharing your name. If your post is something you don’t feel comfortable attaching your name to, please evaluate carefully if you should actually be sending it to a public forum where the information will reside permanently. How people behave online says a lot about their character. Project your best self.
18. If you are giving something away for free, please do NOT just post your address and tell everyone to come on by with #FREE. It would be better if you reveal the address only to the people who respond. That way people avoid driving all the way over to your house to find the item already taken. Also, you avoid having a “helpful” neighbor forward your note to someone outside of Portola Valley who may come by and help themselves not only to your free item but other possessions on your front porch. If the item has been taken, please be sure to update the PVForum ASAP, #TAKEN.
19. Would you like to tell us about your favorite charity? Feel free to do so once. Do you have a lot of charities you wish to promote? Please put them in one email. #Charity
20. Please do not attach very large pictures or files to your emails. Pictures sent to the PVForum will be automatically resized smaller for computer viewing. Pictures seen on the computer do not need to be high-resolution. They can be 100 kb jpegs. If you want to send the PVForum a high-resolution picture, either upload it to the PVForum files section or to a photosharing site and provide the link.
21. If you would like to share many photos with the PVForum, please use the free photoarchives at the PVForum homepage, https://PVForum.us . Just log into the PVForum home page and click on Photo and then create a New Album.
22. After all these tips, are you still going to “Reply All”? Please consider at least trimming the email thread to the essentials. People on Digest have to wade through several renditions of the same message many times.
23. Personally, I like the “quirky” comments that some members share with the community. I think it gives our Town character and actually can brighten my day. Not everyone agrees with everyone. This is Portola Valley, after all, and we’re all different. To continue to allow quirky comments and interesting personal reflections without overwhelming the system, I suggest the following: If you agree with the comment and really have no new information to add, don’t send a note to the entire PVForum to let us know you agree. Perhaps send a note to the original commenter instead (who can summarize in one email the responses they receive.) Or try holding your hand to your heart and shape your fingers into a “C” for “Connection” and then go on about your day feeling happy that you had a positive connection with a neighbor :)
24. Are you finding yourself overwhelmed with the quantity of emails form the PVForum? Sign up to receive the Full DIGEST. You’ll get one email of up to 12 messages sent during the previous 24 hours. You can make changes to your PVForum account by going to PVForum.us and logging in with your email, going to Manage my account, choose PVForum, and then choose Subscription. You can also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org . Note that if you are signed up for this, you will likely miss out on various hot Freebies offered. Also note that if you send a message to the PVForum, it will NOT show up in your inbox until you get your Digest at night. You can always check the PVForum homepage on at pvforum.us to be sure your message arrived at the group, however.
25. Groups.io also offers the ability to mute threads based on #Hashtags. Each time a message comes in with a #hashtag you wish to mute, use the mute link at the bottom of the message. You will no longer receive emails with that #hashtag. Those messages will also not show up in your digest if you are subscribed to that digest. To make changes or reactivate receiving a #hashtag, log into your account at PVForum.us. Under Subscription, choose Advanced and then delete muted #hashtags.
26. Do you prefer not to get any mail but want to reserve the right to send in a query or comment at some point? Sign up for “No mail” by sending an email to email@example.com. That way you stay a member, can always search the archives or post a note when you want, but don’t have to deal with the overuse of your delete button on a daily basis. This is also a good way to deal with times when you are on vacation. When you return, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for individual messages or to email@example.com for the digest version to restart.
27. Even after reading all these helpful tips, did you screw up and still send a message by mistake to the entire PVForum which shouldn’t have gone there? Please do NOT compound the problem by sending another email to let everyone know you sent the first email in error. That just requires all 3000 of us to delete TWO messages and requires me to send you a reminder notice (or two.)
28. After all these tips, are you still about to hit “Reply All” and send a message to the entire PVForum? Take a deep breath and consider again if you think there will be enough people on the PVForum who will find the information useful or interesting or can help you. If yes, then go for it!
29. Did you get an email that contains information that seems “too good to be true” or sounds just too outrageous? Check out Snopes.com first to see if you’ve received an urban legend or chain mail letter before forwarding the message. Please don’t send these types of messages or fake news to the PVForum.
30. Do you have a question about some non-PV related thing? Try looking it up first on Google, Bing, or Yahoo. The internet contains a wealth of information, definitions, and recommendations for every topic imaginable. Consider not using the 3000+ members of the PVForum as your personal reference guide or dictionary. But if you think the various experts on PVForum could help you with a question, then go for it. We’ve got native plant specialists, VCs, world class geologists, authors, and probably a few Nobel laureates too!
31. For those who made it this far: Congratulations! You are now trained to be a PVForum moderator!