And that visibility which makes us most vulnerable
is that which is the source of our greatest strength."
-- Audre Lourde
The Netiquette serves as the constitution or "glue" of the community. It
was hammered out by a dozen or so of the original list members; designed to
avoid some of the common pitfalls of other lists and to make MadGrrls a
singular and welcoming community. It really doesn't ask much from us, and
gives us a framework in which to feel safe, supported and free to be who we
Many of us have had unpleasant experiences on other lists. Experiences of being silenced in some way: whether it was being forced to trigger the "hard stuff" we were working through or flamed for disagreement with ideas. The MadGrrls Netiquette was designed to free us from those sorts of constraints.
MadGrrls *is* singular in its political diversity. Here you will find women who believe in the biological basis of mental illness peacefully coexisting with other members who emphatically do not. Political conservatives, liberals, anarchists, and people with no interest in politics at all belong to and contribute to the list in ways that reflect these diverse viewpoints while expressing themselves in ways that are respectful of each other and of the MadGrrls community. There is usually peace on the list about these issues. Our goal is not the peace of silence; but the peace of a consensus that we own our words in a way that seeks to not-offend and not-inflame.
Please use cut and paste as much as possible. This is technologically economical , helpful, and spares readers having to look at long texts before getting to "the point".
If you are sending a long text, please identify it as such in the subject line with the word "LONG" (without quotes).
Please change the subject line when the "thread" or topic changes.
Many women have in common the experience of being told to be "nice". In the MADGRRLS list, we don't particularly care if you are being "nice" or not...but we do care about *how* you say things:
"That's a stupid idea" - not "nice" but okay (also not recommended)
"You are stupid for thinking that" - not "nice" and *not* okay (and likely to be hurtful)
Capital letters are perceived as SHOUTING by this community. To place emphasis, it is recommended that you use *asterisks* or _lines_ to let folks know what words you are pointing out.
Your *goat* doesn't have to get *got*: by this we mean that it is sometimes useful not to respond immediately to posts that trigger strong feelings. In general, someone else will say something that comes close to what you would have, or you'll find that letting your feelings settle down for a while actually helps you to be more clear in your response. And remember, "delete" is also your friend.
The prevailing wisdom insists that we should not put anything on a list that we would not want on a billboard in the town square. And while that is somewhat of an exaggeration, it takes a concerted effort by all of us to make sure that people do not come to feel that their privacy has been compromised. Do not, under any circumstances, forward or quote from any private mail, including other Madness-related list mail, you receive without having gotten the original author's express permission to do so. Please remember that MadGrrls list mail is considered to be private. Please follow the same guidelines for reposting and quoting that you use for private correspondence.
Please do not forward anything to the list without the express written consent of the original author, unless it is clear that the material is intended for public distribution. Please cite sources for brief quotes from books and other text materials, and please list the URL or other address for web-based material.
Please do not cross post. If you are writing about something that properly belongs on more than one list, send each recipient a separate message. This will both allow the threads to develop separately and reduce confusion on the lists. This is especially important if you subscribe to more than one of the Madness family of lists.
It is suggested that emoticons and abbreviations are useful ways of enhancing the text-based nature of this medium. IMHO (In My Humble Opinion), IMO (In My Opinion), BTW (By The Way), GMTA (Great Minds Think Alike), LOL (Laughing Out Loud), ROFL (Rolling On Floor - Laughing) have their place. :), or a smiley, can go a long way in diffusing something that might be perceived as sarcasm. A <g> (grin) can also do the same trick. Sad face :( is another "punctuation" that enriches text. A wink ;-) says volumes. Here's a rose for all of you new MADGRRLS: @>---->------. We're glad you are here.
Here's how they'll be handled.
Flame wars are to be taken off list in order that the whole list conversation not be disturbed. List members engaged in a flame war may ask the owners for assistance, however the owners will decide on a case-by-case basis the extent of their involvement.
Private warnings will be issued to members who are creating a disturbance of list conversations. Some examples are:
"Your language is offensive - destructive to the mission"
"Your remarks are inflammatory - destructive to the culture"
After three private warnings regarding disruption to the list within the same time period, and they don't have to be about the same thread, exclusion will be proposed. Once exclusion is proposed, the entire list will be notified that a member may be leaving. This is not intended to embarrass the member who is having difficulty, rather it is to keep the safety level on the list so that members are aware the situation is being dealt with.
Members are requested to be scrupulous with respect to privacy of mail. Members must also protect the confidentiality of the email addresses and identities of those on list and not in any way give them out to others without permission. In the event of a member forwarding correspondence or revealing an email address without permission of another member, a warning may be issued. Member response to the warning will dictate the next step. If it appears that a member is having difficulty posting according to these guidelines, she may be set to review by the owners. This is not done as punishment, but rather to assist members as they learn the basics of netiquette. Habitual forwarding of MadGrrls mail without permission is cause for unsubscription.
The use of the MadGrrls list for research is expressly forbidden. Members interested in doing research with the MadGrrls list membership should contact the owners to evaluate the need for the development of a special topic for their project. Projects will be approved on a case-by-case basis. You can, of course, announce research projects with which you are involved with to the list, and invite MadGrrls members to participate in another forum.
5/ The Unanticipated
We have learned over time that the unanticipated happens regularly (in fact, we have come to anticipate it). While we hope that the netiquette covers most situations, the owners may depart from these processes while the new situation is under consideration. If an unanticipated situation cannot be remedied any other way, the "offending" member may be unsubscribed by the owners.
6/ Bottom Line
The decision of the owners is final.
In order to make decisions regarding the maintenance of the MadGrrls List community, the owners must be able to communicate with one another. Therefore, any correspondence pertaining to the MadGrrls List may be shared among the owners. Members who contact one owner should expect that their mail will be shared and discussed among the owners, and should also expect that the owners will guard the privacy of the contents of the mail by reserving it to ourselves. To reach us easily and through one address (thereby eliminating the need for forwarding and offering the best privacy protection), please direct mail containing owner concerns to email@example.com.
It is not our intention to control, exert power, censor or exclude anyone. As listowners, we have a substantial investment of time and energy in what we think is an important forum, and our time and energy just will not support protracted periods of nastiness, abuse, or maliciousness on the list. The purpose of this guide is to assist you in maximizing your participation on the MADGRRLS list. Please direct your comments to the owners:
Kathryn McNulty & Sara Clarke
Updated 12 January 2006
The following is the welcome message all members receive upon being added to the list:
Welcome to MADGRRLS, a discussion vehicle for women who have moodswings, fears, voices and visions (Women Who...) This list is a forum for women to share our lives, analyze our experience from a feminist perspective, and make new meaning from the infinite variety contained in the process of being a "Woman Who..." The list culture is inclusive, connected, and respectful of person and process.
Participation in MADGRRLS is by subscription only, and subscription is by owner. The list archives are private in order to promote a sense of safety and define the forum as the confidential space that was intended by its creation. Each new member is required to introduce themselves to the list within a few weeks of signing on. Ideally, your introductory post should precede any substantive post to the list, but we realize that this is not always possible and remain flexible about this request.
Please refer to the list netiquette and problem solving steps as outlined in the MADGRRLS guide. The privacy of list correspondence is of crucial value to the formation of the list. If you are unclear about issues such as forwarding or cross-posting, please contact the owners for clarification in advance of submitting a questionable post.
In order to make the list a *safe* place for its participants, there are a few things we'd like to share with you:
First, you *own* your words. In this "narrow-bandwidth" medium of E-mail it is very difficult, at times, to understand one another satisfactorily. If you find you have been misunderstood, please take the time to clarify what you originally intended to say. The use of emoticons (smileys :), grins <g> or <grin> , sad faces :( ) can be somewhat helpful with this. But understand that what you "say" through this medium will go out to all the women on the list, and although we have many things in common, we each have different sensitivities, different experiences and different perspectives. Many a "flame war" has been started over a simple misunderstanding. Our hope is to minimize this kind of chaos.
Second, you are responsible for staying in touch with your own "personal cost". By this we mean you must consider what it will feel like to be disagreed with, or to have people you respect go off in a direction different from your own, or to feel as if your words have fallen into a vacuum. You must place your own comfort first, have an awareness of and an appreciation for what it will "cost" you to share yourself. A suggestion is that you start joining in the list conversation from the level of your greatest comfort, and after some time and experience, if you wish to share the more vulnerable parts of yourself, then do so.
The owners of this list do *not* moderate the discussion, but will step in if a situation requires intervention or is requested to do so by a participant.
The owners of this list are available for on-going clarification of list activities. Please don't hesitate to write to us at
To send mail to The MadGrrls List, address it to:
Welcome, MADGRRL. We look forward to hearing from you !!
Kathryn McNulty & Sara Clarke
Updated 12 January 2006