We are aiming to strike the balance between information, accountability and privacy, so members may log in with an abbreviated version of their name and membership number (see login details). This will give some accountability while not broadcasting full names. Please read the guidelines below, and report any unhelpful behaviour to the admin team. Many thanks

Guidelines for commenting on the Bristol NUJ forum

There is a temptation with email to express things to the forum, behind the safety of a computer screen, that would be considered unhelpful and offensive in a live group situation. These guidelines have been borrowed from the Bristol Co-Housing list to make sure this doesn’t happen.

A mailing list is no more than what the users make of it, and it’s up to us to make this list, and the group as a whole, a friendly and welcoming place. Aggressive and accusatory language upsets people and can put the best, most sensitive people off being part of the group. This is the last thing we want. When disputes between individuals spill out into the group as a whole everyone who cares about the group’s aims is dragged in and suffers, so we must do our very best not to let this happen.

  • Don’t assume others are the same as you. Please avoid comments that can directly make others feel excluded or marginalised, please avoid these and aim to be as inclusive as possible of all list members. Don’t jump to conclusions about other peoples text. Be diplomatic. You never know who may read your words…nor do you know when they may read them.
  • Pick your words carefully: people can’t see your facial expression or your gestures, and can only judge your intentions from what you write. Consider whether what you have written can be misinterpreted, and whether that is something you wish to have happen. Choose different words to reduce the risk of that happening. In fact be aware of irony, humor and satire, please remember this is an international list.
  • Never use abusive or vulgar language or make prejudicial comments.
  • Subtlety is not communicated well in written form, especially over a computer. Remember, most people who will read your posting do not know you. This applies to humour as well. Smileys 🙂 frowns 🙁 and winks 😉 can help to avoid confusion. If you don’t understand an emoticon such as , OTOH, FWIW, etc – then ask, somebody will always do their best to help.
  • If someone is upset by what you write, a prompt apology or polite & friendly clarification about what you really meant can help to stop a minor disagreement, misunderstanding or unintended offence turning into a row.
  • If you are upset by what someone else has written, try to remember that they probably didn’t mean to cause offence. Don’t interpret disagreement as an attack.
  • Try reading the message again, imagining it being said in a different tone of voice from the one you initially heard – this can often help to see what someone else really meant and that what you took as an insult or attack could merely have been a bad choice of words. Always try to give others the benefit of the doubt. If you are offended by something ask yourself if the other person is being serious. Remember that people make mistakes, and so do you. Ask for clarification (or suggest corrections) gently — via mail.
  • If you feel angry or upset about something, it may be helpful to take a break before actually sending a message that might hurt or offend others: it gives you time to change the tone if necessary 🙂 Even if you feel you are 100% correct and justified, it is a bad idea to post while you feel angry or upset about something. Writing it down can help get rid of the anger and make you feel better but in those cases it is usually a good idea to go have a cup of tea or coffee or just do something else for a while before posting.
  • If someone is going through a bad patch, something which you meant quite innocently can touch a nerve and they can be hurt by it.
  • Do realize that other people may be joking. Sometimes it is difficult to tell the difference between serious statements and satire or sarcasm even among friends.
  • Nobody has a monopoly on truth and you may well find that others disagree with you or hold different opinions from yours. Disagreement is healthy and provides an opportunity for an open-minded exchange of views, not an excuse for abuse.
  • Own your own words and feelings. Saying, for example, that “I hate wigs on QC’s, because they make me feel silly” can be a great way of starting a discussion, but writing “Judges who wear wigs are silly” can be taken as an attack on others.
  • Just before you post your article, re-read it. This will ensure that you actually wrote what you intended to write.
  • Above all, remember you’re among friends! Please be as nice to your email friends as you would be to those you meet in person, and be as tolerant of their mistakes as you would like them to be of yours! Be considerate towards others
  • You may from time to receive E-Mails from the list that are of no interest to you. Rather than replying to the list that you are ‘not interested’ it is better to delete the E-Mail from your in-box and delete it from your mind – remember that sender thought it was important enough to send and it may be very important to some members of the group who may be a different stage from you.


Flaming occurs when you send a message that provokes an angry, and often nasty, response. When others join in, a full-fledged flame-fest ensues. Don’ t entice a flame and don t participate in flame-fests. Even though a quick angry emotional reply is very natural because it is likely all you will get in return is another flame or insulting email messages by reply. When these sorts of messages start to fly back and forth, this is known as a flame war.

Many a good newsgroup or email mailing list has died because of a flame war between a few people. Generally, few people want to read something full of insults!

Quoting messages

If you’re following up, summarize your understanding of the previous posting, or quote enough of the original to be understandable. Please do not resend the entire post, we have all received it before. One of the most annoying habits that some posters have is to quote the original in its entirety, and then add one or two lines of their own at the end. If you are specifically replying to a point in a previous message it is often a good idea to quote the specific part of the original message. This gives greater context to your responses to the sender’s comments or queries. Be concise (;-). If you’re quoting outside sources, give references. Define acronyms and obscure terms.

Though you are posting for the best not pass along warnings about Internet viruses or any other threat without first checking with the Virus Hoaxes and NetLore page or Symantec Corporation Virus Hoaxes page.