Unitarian Universalist Ministers of Canada
The Canadian chapter of the
Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association
UUMOC Chat and Announce Policies
AS APPROVED 21 May 2008
Communications Among Ministers
Any e-mail communication policy is a subset of the UUMA Guidelines, and all of the following guidelines should be looked at in that context. As an example, it is understood that in all communications we commit ourselves to sustain a respect for the ministry. We will refrain from private as well as public words or actions degrading to the ministry, or destructive of congregational life.
The purpose of UUMOC Announce
UUMOC announce will be a list of every member of UUMOC for whom we have an up-to-date e-mail. It will be used to send out announcements only to every member. This list will not be interactive. The moderator will post all announcements..
The purpose UUMOC Chat
As ministers and ministerial students we need to be able to communicate with each other in a timely way. We like to keep in touch and share ideas to support our ministries and our larger ministry. We also may want to use the chat to develop public positions as a professional body representing ministers in Canada. For these reasons, all members are strongly encouraged to join the chat.
We note from the feedback we received that some ministers want the chat to be warm, welcoming, and “chatty” whereas others want it to be an efficient announcement system with the fewer e-mails the better. The following suggestions are designed to allow both purposes to be met. Note protocols below.
As with all communications among ministers, the basic principle of the chat is that all conversations are confidential among the people on the chat, and no communication should be shared more widely without the direct permission of the person(s) sending the communication. Think twice before hitting the forward button.
Members should note that even with our confidentiality rules, some types of information should not be shared on e-mail. E-mail can be read by other people in cyberspace and it is not the most secure form of communication.
If any member wishes to post an item to the chat that they would like to be distributed more widely including to lay people, they should put the words FOR DISTRIBUTION in the subject (“re”) line. This might include notices about conferences, UUA trainings, Interfaith events of national significance, and opportunities for social action.
Developing Positions On Chat
If a discussion on an issue for the purposes of developing a position is desired, send the invitation to discuss to the moderator for posting on UUMOC Announce and post the item to UUMOC chat. Anyone who wishes to participate in the discussion should join the chat for the duration. If someone does not have e-mail and wishes to participate, they should work through a buddy.
Members are reminded to use the same principles with e-mail that they would use in any other conversation: to treat each other with respect, to presume best intention in all of our interactions, and our need to recall each other to our best selves, speaking directly with any person with whom we have an issue. Above all, let us remember the limits of e-mail, particularly as deadlines approach or when there are personal or relational issues, and pick up the phone.
Many of us feel overwhelmed with the amount of e-mail we receive. An effective way to handle UUMOC Chat is to create a folder and direct your e-mail system to put all mail with UUMOC in the subject line in that folder. Then you can read what you want and leave the rest. To reduce e-mail, we will set our list so that if you choose “reply” your message will only go only to the individual who posted. If you wish to reply to the whole list, use “reply all.” Let’s find the middle ground between announce only and friendly chat.
- The most important thing with email is to be mindful: to think of who is receiving it, how it might affect them, waiting 24 hrs because speed can be a danger as well as a virtue
- The subject line (“re”) should clearly identify the topic. If you are changing the topic, change the subject line accordingly.
- If your deadline is urgent, please put “REPLY BY DATE” in the subject line.
- If the e-mail is for wider distribution include “FOR DISTRIBUTION” in the subject line. Emails may also be sent to UUMOC ANNOUNCE for wider distribution. To sign up go to the officers' page.
- Use one message for one concept or idea.
- For the benefit of those who take the e-mail in digest, remove the rest of the conversation and include only a few lines from previous e-mails to make clear to what you are referring.
- Use separate e-mails to update one another on personal matters
- Make your e-mails concise and thoughtful. Too long is hard to read.
- Allow for reasonable response time from people.
- The UUA removes all attachments from lists in order to protect us from viruses. If you have a document to send, send it in the body of the e-mail or contact List moderator, Julie Stoneberg, to send attachments to the full membership list. It may be helpful to send in both Word and RTF formats (or .pdf). (Phone and alert the list moderator that you are doing this.)