This ‘acceptable use policy’ applies primarily to the the email forum provided to members. However, some concepts are applicable to wider aspects of website use.
On one level (perhaps the regulatory one), this should be common sense. On another (possibly more to do with social skills), given the fact that the behaviour of some members has, in the past, served to discourage others from contributing, it may not be. So let’s start with the obvious stuff:
Responsible use of the list (Common sense)
The list is subject to the normal laws of the land and therefore cannot be used to distribute, or otherwise link to, material that is illegal, obscene or defamatory. It should not be used to distribute, or link to, material that is likely to cause offence or bring the CPHC into disrepute. The CPHC has no day-to-day editorial control over list use or external content so responsibility, at least morally, rests with the individual introducing such material and this extends to the security (e.g. freedom from malware) of content and linked content. Similarly, the individual must assume responsibility for adherence to copyright and other IP constraints. The CPHC cannot offer protection to anyone posting material in violation of established regulations. Individuals should make no attempt to disguise their identities while subscribing to the list or use the list to collect email addresses for any external activity. While it’s entirely appropriate to bring news, issues and events of interest to the attention of other members, material relating solely to the interests of the individual or their university is discouraged. A separate distribution list is available for the promotion of conferences, courses, vacancies, etc. All that said, the CPHC cannot accept liability for any content distributed through the list, the accuracy, or otherwise, of any information within this content or any result of reliance upon this information.
Considerate use of the list (Courtesy)
This is somewhat harder and the boundaries less clear. However, a guiding consideration might be that only a small fraction of the CPHC’s membership currently contributes material to the list; why might this be? Perhaps, when about to post to the list, the essential question, rather than, ‘What do I have to say for myself?’ should be, ‘Is what I’m contributing going to make individuals glad to be on the distribution list and more likely to contribute themselves … or not?’ So, while debate, opinion, and differences of opinion are to be encouraged, few want to be spectators to ‘pontificating professors’ duelling via email or airing long-standing personal grievances. A combination of consideration and courtesy is needed and some self-abstraction may be useful. For example, if a particular dialogue becomes protracted, particularly as the number of contributors dwindles, it may be wise to consider whether the material itself is still of general interest or egos and reputations merely being supported or defended.