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Jenny Levine (staff)'s picture

User Guidelines

ALA Connect is a site where members of ALA meet and mingle virtually, discuss library-related topics and issues, share ideas, collaborate in communities, and come together to do the work of the Association. The way you interact in ALA Connect will shape the communities and determine the success of your group(s), and result in an overall positive or negative experience for all participants. We ask that all participants understand and observe the following guidelines. They were developed to foster frank dialogue, mutual respect, and a sense of community among all ALA members participating in ALA Connect.

Engage in a professional, congenial dialogue. Please realize that *thousands* of people may eventually see the messages you post on ALA Connect. They may include individuals you know, patrons, coworkers, or someone you may employ, or seek employment from, in the future. Information posted impulsively or without regard for accuracy may come back to haunt you. Remember you are responsible and liable for the words you post on ALA Connect.

Foster useful, dynamic discussions. We encourage frank and thoughtful dialogue. When posting, please keep your comments consistent with the subject and purpose of the conversation. Deliberate disruption -- such as consistent off-topic commentary -- will not be tolerated. Posts and/or entire conversations that are abusive or disruptive in nature will be removed. This is not the place for vulgar or explicit language. This is also not the place to sell products or services, or forward a personal agenda. Communicate with your peers on Connect the way you would with your coworkers.

Please also note that political speech that endorses or otherwise promotes one candidate over another in an election year is not allowed on ALA Connect due to IRS restrictions for tax-exempt organizations. For more about this issue, please see this post about Election Year speech.

Fashion a community that works for you. Connect gives participants endless opportunities to get involved... or to hang back and just take it all in. If you're going to create a community, make sure you give it a meaningful name and mission statement, so others who are interested in your topic know that this is the group for them. Give your message posts accurate subject line descriptors. This will enable members to easily follow and find discussion threads that interest them. Help others find you by keeping your personal profile updated. However, respect the privacy of others, as well as your own. "Lurking" is OK. Sometimes you will want to read what the community is doing before you jump into the discussion.

Play nice with others. Welcome new members as you would want to be welcomed. Make sure conversations are inclusive. Disturbance of the general peace and personal insults and attacks are inappropriate, as is using profanity or expressions of obscenity, sexism, racism, and other types of prejudice. We encourage spirited discussion and debate, but remember that disagreeing with an idea is different from attacking an individual.

Respect the role of community moderators. Help the moderator ensure that all are following the spirit of these guidelines. All members of Connect are responsible for doing their part to foster an open and inviting community. If you see inaccurate, off-topic, or disruptive posts, you should report it to the moderator.

Don't post ads or commercial solicitations. ALA Connect is a professional community where you can escape the blinking ads and come-ons on other networking sites. If you'd like to post a job ad through ALA, we welcome your participation in our JobList site. If you encounter commercial content on Connect, please contact us to report it.

ALA respects freedom of expression. ALA will not censor or edit messages and content contributed to the site, unless it violates these user guidelines. Violation of the user guidelines, particularly in regards to the use of profane or hateful language, selling a product or service, or disrespecting other members, is grounds for having access to ALA Connect revoked.

Observe basic netiquette:

  • Don't type in all capital letters. It reads like screaming. Use bold or italics to emphasize a word.
  • Respect the privacy of others, as well as your own.
  • Be yourself (i.e. don't pretend to be someone else online).
  • Avoid unsolicited or repetitive attempts to communicate, especially should the receiver not respond, or request that you cease. In person, you might say excuse me, or some appropriate introduction before interrupting, or before speaking to a stranger. Consider doing the same for online, email, and conversations.Remember there are human beings with feelings who read your messages.
  • Please be *very* cautious about using sarcasm and humor. Without nonverbal cues and voice tone, "subtle" humor can easily be interpreted as searing sarcasm.
  • In the online environment, words can be misread without facial and verbal cues to convey emotions. Use your words, or emoticons, to convey emotion.
  • Don't use the "Send [name] a message" feature on member profiles to spam or harass another member. You can lose your access to ALA Connect for this type of behavior.
  • You must have copyright rights to content you contribute to the site. It is your responsibility to obtain permission for any material you post to Connect for which you do not already own the rights. Posting copyrighted content without the owner's permission is grounds for having your access to ALA Connect revoked.

Thanks for participating in Connect. We welcome your feedback at any time.