[Ken Kifer's Bike Pages]
ARTICLE: Bicycling Advocacy -- The Newslist
In order to have a newslist where advocacy issues can be discussed openly and freely without fear of attack or ridicule, Bicycling Advocacy was formed. Here is information about that group.

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Bicycling Advocacy -- The Newslist

I decided to start Bicycling Advocacy due to bad experiences in another newslist which I had thought was an advocacy group. They told me that if I wanted to advocate bicycling that I should go elsewhere -- so I did.

There are two ways to join and adjust your membership. First, you can go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bicyclingadvocacy and join there. After joining, you need to make a decision about how you wish to receive messages. There are three ways to do so. The first is to have the messages sent to you individually. The second is to have them all sent to you together as one message, called a digest, once a day. The third is to visit the Yahoogroups webpage and read them there. Some people have been unable to find the place to change messages. Go to the Yahoo webpage, sign in, and after the page comes back, right under where you signed in in the right column is "Edit my Membership." Click on that, and you will go to the page where you can make these selections.

Second, Yahoogroups also allows you to join or to change the way you receive your mail without having to visit the webpage. If you join or make changes in this fashion, you will receive an email message from Yahoo which you must reply to before the change will take effect. You can either copy the information below or, if you use the mail program associated with your browser, you can click on the appropriate link (NOTE: I have not tested each of these by mailing it to Yahoo; if one should not work, please let me know by clicking the link next to a mailbox on this page or by mailing me at kenkifer@kenkifer.com):

Subscribe:  bicyclingadvocacy-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
Unsubscribe:  bicyclingadvocacy-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
Digest Mode:  bicyclingadvocacy-digest@yahoogroups.com
Website Access/Hold Mode:  bicyclingadvocacy-nomail@yahoogroups.com
Normal Mode:  bicyclingadvocacy-normal@yahoogroups.com

The purpose of this group is to discuss bicycling advocacy and issues. We need to discuss how to get more people bicycling, and we need to discuss the problems that prevent them from doing so. (NOTE: The lack of detail about what to discuss is deliberate. A broader discussion will probably be more interesting and lead to more ideas than a narrow one.) While this group will promote bicycling as transportation, all people who ride bicycles on a regular basis are welcome, and all kinds of bicycling are considered desirable. Members are asked to:

1) Keep messages to the point and only as long as necessary to make that point.

This rule does not mean that long messages are forbidden provided that there is justification for the length. However, a newslist is not the right place to post lengthy documents; the purpose here is discussion. Put them on a webpage somewhere and give us a URL instead. Use economy when you write your messages and only write at length when good reason exists.

2) Have something to say whenever posting (avoid "me too!" messages).

This newslist is not a chat group either. People don't wish to receive large numbers of very short messages. Some people like to quote long messages and then say "That's how I feel too." Instead, take some time and express how you feel. There's no rush in posting, and it's not necessary to reply to every message.

3) Don't quote everything that was previously said. Short quotes are fine.

When commenting on what someone else was saying, it is not necessary to quote the entire thing because we all received a copy of it also. Quote the section of the previous message which you wish to respond to or just refer to what the other person was saying, "I don't agree with the statement made by John Doe about bicycling in school zones."

4) Don't quote extensively material from elsewhere. Provide a URL with short quotes or a summary instead.

Pasting material from web pages into a newslist is actually a copyright violation and is against Yahoogroups terms of service. Provide the URL for the information (include the "http://" too, so people can click on the link) and explain what the link is about. It's OK to use short quotes if those would be helpful.

5) Don't wander extensively off topic. A small amount of straying is no sin.

I think too strict a rule against wandering off topic is a bad idea as somewhat off-topic information is often very interesting and helpful. On the other hand, getting far off the topic and staying there, especially when posting long messages, is a good way to drive away members.

6) Be polite to other members and to be considerate of their feelings.

This is an extremely important rule. No one wishes to be insulted or to be treated badly. It is fine to say that you disagree, that you don't understand the other person's explanation, and so on. Insulting other people does not prove that you are right and that they are wrong anyway.

7) Try to understand what the other person is saying and to ask questions if necessary.

Quite often the disagreement is solely because the two people are not understanding each other anyway. For instance, in a recent discussion, I said that a 15 mph speed limit was reasonable on residential roads. The other person felt that 15 mph is unreasonable while 35 mph is reasonable, but he mentioned that his street was 35 feet wide (residential streets in Alabama are less than 15 feet high). Well, if we both hadn't been assuming that all streets were like our streets, we might have understood one another better.

8) Never put words in the other person's mouth.

One person I know is very bad about telling everyone what you said and always getting it wrong. Much better behavior is to quote the person's exact statement, to ask the person what was intended, or to argue against a point of view without assuming that you are stating the other person's point of view.

9) Never assume that you know it all.

There are a lot of experts and Cliff Haven's out there. Some are highly knowledgeable, but they sometimes fall into the trap of assuming that they know things that they don't know about. People prefer to communicate with fellow human beings. A little humility goes a long ways. If I make a mistake, I hope others will point it out.

10) Avoid rants and attacks.

If you're having a bad hair day, don't take it out on us! Go for a bike ride instead. If someone has made you angry, be sure to cool off before answering. It is OK to say that a message has made you angry and to explain why, but use "I" messages rather than "you" messages. Example of each: "You message": Your statement that bicycles shouldn't be allowed on ski slopes during the winter is absolutely stupid! "I message": I am upset by your statement that bicycles shouldn't be allowed on ski slopes during the winter because I work at a winter resort, and we use bicycles every day."

11) Try to make this group worthwhile.

Do whatever you can to make this group interesting, profitable, and entertaining to others. If everyone just waits for someone else to do something, nothing will happen. Remember that we are all just human beings. We each have something to contribute to the world, and we each have weaknesses as well.

12) Try to use what you learn from here elsewhere.

I hope that people will come up with some good ideas and suggestions. We each won't be able to follow all of the suggestions, of course, but we can apply those that will work in our own lives.

13) Keep everyone informed of news and events related to bicycling advocacy.

One of the great features of a group of people like this is that we all have different contacts elsewhere. Let's pass it around.

14) Change your subject headings to reflect the topic actually being discussed.

This is minor but useful to someone wanting to hunt for some information. I don't know what you do with old messages, but I save all of mine, so I can use them as a reference later on.

NOTE: There are some additional rules provided by Yahoogroups which also apply.

I hope you will see this as your newslist, that everybody will see this as their newlist, and that we will all pull together to make it a better one. If you have problems with the group, please write to me or the moderator (to be announced) or post it to the list.


Bicycling Advocacy and Issues  The home page for this newslist.

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