GENEALOGY-DNA-L ArchivesArchiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2003-05 > 1052165070
From: Lauren Boyd <>
Subject: [DNA] "How to win friends and influence List Admins"
Date: Mon, 05 May 2003 13:08:40 -0700
Dear fellow listers:
I hear a lot of scuttlebutt from my fellow list admins re the "enthusiastic" [uh, my word,
not theirs] DNA posters. :) Many
perceive any message re the projects as spam and as commercial
messages -- against Rootsweb's AUP. Of course, some of you, in your enthusiasm, get off
on the wrong foot with the admins and seemingly
it becomes a downhill slide from there..... Let's try as a group
to change that perception.
I have some suggestions. Please -- bear in mind--- this is *not* an
official message from Rootsweb in any regard. I am not a staff person
and do not pretend to "represent them." So if you happen to share this
message, share the whole thing. And for goodness sake, don't post it
to the lists! ;)
If you don't want to be treated as a spammer, don't act like one!
Don't join a list and immediately send a post re the DNA Project that
is your interest. For many admins, joining and posting *immediately*
sends up red flags. Not all, but many.
Don't cc a bunch of lists with your message.
Don't bcc a bunch of lists with your message.
Don't join, post and unsubscribe. This really sends red flags!
Don't "hit and run".
READ the Welcome Message and understand the guidelines for *each*
list -- they generally are different. You do *not* want to alienate
the List Admin -- not right off the bat. <g> Um, this is probably
a good suggestion for all the lists you belong to at Rootsweb. ;)
Engender a good relationship with the List Administrator whenever
possible. It is much easier to work with someone you "know." And
remember -- they make the list rules! After reading the guidelines
in the Welcome message, it may behoove you to ask the List Admin
if it is "ok" to post your DNA message. Discuss, don't argue.
Be sure that your message has content beyond just announcing the DNA Project -- it should
be drafted specifically for the list you are
posting to and contain something that pertains to *that* list.
Be especially careful when posting to LOCALITY lists for SURNAME projects.
Make mention of the particular family or branches in the area that you would like to be in
contact with "or any others of that surname". If
the locality has a high concentration of those of your surname in the
area, make mention of it -- don't leave that important detail out!
Don't send messages to every LOCALITY that you can think of. Blanket
posts are looked at as spam. They could also get you globally rejected
from Rootsweb's resources. If you know your surname folks were in a
LOCALITY in general -- like California or France, but not a specific
area, like San Francisco or Paris or the county they are in, then look
for a generic list for the entire state or country to post to. Do not
send blanket posts to each county or shire or city listed for the LOCALITY.
Believe me when I say that the Admins spread the word that so and so is
posting DNA messages to all the lists. :)
In all instances, if you can work your announcement into a query message
rather than a strict and straightforward announcement, it will be better
received. This is not to mean that one should make all their related
surname queries into Surname DNA Project announcements! That does not
go over well either -- it is overkill.
It would (probably) also help to mention in your announcement that the
Project is an all volunteer effort and not a commercial venture. Many
List Admins are confused about this and perceive the projects to be
commercial ventures instituted by the various labs, rather than supported
and "catered" to by the DNA services and labs. They think it is the
labs' sneaky way of making a buck off the backs of genealogists.
DO NOT MENTION THE EXACT COSTS in your messages. Say you can provide
this information by private email or provide the link to your PROJECT
web site that explains this detail. I mention this as it is one of
the guidelines given to me when I began my DNA lists that I admin.
(no costs, no marketing messages)
DON'T SOLICIT CONTRIBUTIONS OF FUNDS to help pay other's costs of
participation --- not with any specificity onlist. I have seen posts
of this nature. Any interested in sponsoring a participant can contact
the Project Manager privately to discuss if this may be accomplished. I would nip any such
discussions in the bud and take them private. This information should be presented via
other resources, such as the project web site.
Do *not* put the "lab" (service) address, such as www.ftdna.com under
your signature, which implies you are part of their staff! This leads
others to perceive your message as a commercial post.
Do, when referring to the "lab" (service) include the link to join
the project AND the FAQ page.
If there is a (surname)-DNA-L to compliment your project, make mention
that those interested in a deeper discussion of genetic genealogy for this
surname are welcome and encouraged to join and continue the conversation.
Don't be in such a rush to get the word out that you read your now
posted message and say .... If only I.... On some lists you may have
only one opportunity to announce your project before being moderated or
Take your time to ensure you are creating a quality message.
Check your grammar and spelling --- you want to put best foot forward for
Keep a cool head when responding to the List Admin when admonished re
"commercial posts". Don't take them personally. Most admins are nice
folks like yourself, but may not be as interested or informed as you are
about DNA and genealogy. Some "don't believe in it". And for those, you
may never "win the argument" -- so don't linger in one. Remember you catch
more flies with honey...
For working in UPDATES re your project and trying to drum up more participants -- which
all projects need to do, be just as careful
in your message composition and where you target to send them.
Be cognizant that many listers don't give a fig re DNA and many just
plain don't want to read about it.
Don't post weekly updates re your project. It is too frequent
for Surname or Locality lists. If there are no juicy details
to share, try to keep your posts to monthly or quarterly so
the List Admin does not have to deal with complaints from listers
who don't share your DNA interest. Maybe even ask the Admin
to help you figure out how frequently the list could stand reminders
about the project. They may be willing to add a tagline directing
folks to your project or to contact you for information re the
DNA project. This would work for Surname lists, but not really
for Locality lists.
Post when there is something juicy to report and make it enticing!
Focus on the genealogy aspect -- and gently insert that it is thanks
to the DNA Project that this connection was made. Share the excitement.
And the project contact info again <g>.
Don't breach confidentiality -- this scares some folks. If the DNA
participants openly state they are part of the project then go ahead
and say so and so and so and so matched and this provides a link between
this line and that which had a brick wall and said they are willing
to share data. If the participants prefer to remain nameless, you can share in a more
general sense and still credit the project for making a cousin connection.
Post messages that have nothing to do with DNA -- participate in the
list. Let listers get familiar with you.
Once a related DNA list has been established for the surname, encourage
listers and project participants to join you there for an active discussion. Work *with*
the surname list admin on this issue. Many,
I am sure, would add a tagline encouraging those interested in discussion
of genetic genealogy for that surname to join the DNA related list.
Some might even be open to a quarterly FAQ to be posted re the project.
Do not send full reports on the project to the surname list --
send a teaser and an invitation to join the discussion and read
more on the related DNA list. This will help grow the project's
discussion list, grow the project participant list, and keep the main
surname list subscribers from complaining or tuning out your messages ---
deleting on sight, or unsubscribing from the Surname list. It will also
encourage those interested to not hold back their comments and
contributions, but to take them to the related DNA list where they
know the majority *is* interested in the topic.
Contribute actively to the Surname-DNA lists and help build traffic
and interest -- it will serve your project in the long run.
Be aware of the "gatewayed" lists. If the lists you subscribe to have
a corresponding board and the posts from that board also go to the list,
you may want to post via the Board. This way your message also hits the
audience that does not subscribe to the list. You must be more careful
when posting to boards. They have very strict rules when it comes to
commercial posts. And as I said -- many admins perceive that any DNA
project posts are commercial posts. I encourage you to include mention
that the Project is an all volunteer effort and is not a commercial entity.
Perhaps even stating that the Project does not handle or receive any funds
for coordinating participants DNA results.
Board Admins can and must remove posts that are in violation of
Rootsweb/Ancestry/MyFamily.com's AUP. However, if an admin perceives
your DNA project post as "commercial", and if the board is gatewayed to
a list, your post will be archived in the list archives, even if removed
from the corresponding board. If an admin removes your carefully worded
post from a board, and IF it is not in violation of the AUP, you can
tactfully request it be restored. IF the admin says no, you can ask
the Help Desk for a determination and to have the post restored to
the board. Don't engender an argument.
When I had my DNA lists approved, I requested corresponding boards to
compliment them. Rootsweb's response was that the SURNAME boards already
existed and therefore there was an existing avenue to discuss all things relative to the
surname. They will not set up duplicative boards.
[not an exact quote] So long as you do not post a message that is
contrary to the AUP, there is nothing to say you cannot post messages re the DNA projects
on the boards. Again -- be careful in your composition
and be a stickler for following the AUP re commercial posts.
Signature lines: some comments
If you are aware that a particular list has had some strife related
to DNA announcements, do your best to not add fuel to the fire.... like
don't use signature lines like "Supporter of DNA Projects" that could
be construed as continuing an argument.
Keep your signature line to 4 lines or less, per Netiquette.
Perhaps turn off your signature file when it does not apply to the
venue or message you are sending. Listers may be aware you are the
DNA project manager for a given surname. It may be more appropriate
to use the signature reflecting this on a more selective basis. Those
receiving Digest mode messages get bombarded with repetitive and long
Don't include your signature line if it is longer than your message!
Inform your project participants that may share your enthusiasm of
spreading the word about the project that there is a right way and
a wrong way to do so --- share pointers with them that will put
best foot forward for the project rather than engender complaints.
You don't want all your efforts to build good relations hindered by
someone's blunder --- even though well intended.
When asking others to "spread the word" remind them of guidelines
that will engender a good reception of the news.
Well, I am sure that I left some gem out of these suggestions, but
this should get you a bit farther with some admins than you may have
Any starting new projects or wanting to announce an oldie on the
occasional basis, may make such announcements on my DNA lists. You
never know who is reading them or the archives that may have an interest
in yours. Those with Scottish Surname Projects are especially invited
to join and post information on the Scot-DNA list.
Also--- as the Surname DNA lists are growing in volume, I would be
interested in what now exists. They do not seem to be categorized
on their own yet, but may be buried in the listing of surname lists.
OR -- does someone have a link to a site that lists them?
I will now kick the soapbox back under the desk.
Admin for: , ,
and other non-DNA lists and boards
|[DNA] "How to win friends and influence List Admins" by Lauren Boyd <>|