Code of Conduct
Our goal for the EFA Discussion List is to provide a respectful, friendly environment where editorial professionals can connect with one another, ask questions, and share ideas and feedback. It is a place for professional learning, support, collaboration, and brainstorming, and we welcome both new and longtime editorial freelancers.
By participating in this Discussion List, you are agreeing to this Code of Conduct as well as the EFA’s Anti-Harassment Policy
● Be respectful. We expect Discussion List members to be respectful, professional, polite, and considerate at all times.
● Be welcoming. Remember back to when you were a brand-new freelancer and be welcoming to new members and those just getting started. Just because these members are new doesn’t mean they don’t have valuable ideas to contribute. Make them feel welcome!
● Improve the discussion. Before posting, take a moment to consider whether your post is helpful and relevant to the conversation. Out of respect for members’ time and attention, refrain from posting redundant information, posting excessively, or writing extremely long posts. Topics unrelated to your work should use the #CHAT hashtag.
● Stay on topic. Instead of taking an existing topic in a radically different direction, please open a new thread. This helps keep threads organized by making sure the discussion matches the subject line and hashtag(s).
● Keep responses focused. If a member posts a specific question, responses should focus on that question and, whenever possible, contain a link to or mention of an authoritative source (style guide, etc.). Subjective responses (“I would do it this way”) without authoritative support are discouraged. In addition, if a member asks for responses only from those experienced in a particular field, honor the member’s request by responding only if you have such experience.
● Respect others’ privacy. Don’t share sensitive or personal information about others, including clients and their projects. Respect everyone’s right to privacy.
● Don’t be a grammar snob. Please do not correct your fellow freelancers’ spelling, grammar, or usage. The focus of the List should remain on the ideas expressed.
● Include your name in your posts. To build a healthy online community that prioritizes professionalism, transparency, and collegiality, we require that you use your name in your posts (rather than a username or simply your company name).
● Help keep the list tidy. Follow these three simple guidelines to keep the Discussion List organized and clean:
- Include the correct hashtag (if you don’t, the message will bounce back).
- Add a clear and specific subject to your message. (Don’t post a message using only a hashtag in the subject line.)
- Quote only the relevant material when replying to a post. (If you’re on digest, remove the digest below your message first.)
Questions on how to use the List or search the archives? Please visit our FAQ page.
● Hate speech and discrimination. We do not tolerate speech that attacks a person or group of people on the basis of who they are, or communications or comments that are insulting, degrading, aggressive, or threatening, including but not limited to those based on race, color, culture, religion or no religion, gender identity, gender expression, age, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, citizenship, education, ability, health, neurotype, marital/parental status, political beliefs, socio-economic background, sexual orientation, and/or military status.
● Personal attacks, bullying, harassment, or abuse. We do not tolerate personal attacks, bullying, harassment, abuse, or any repeated or habitual intimidation or badgering. This includes sending, posting, or sharing false or defamatory content about someone else.
Discussion List members have diverse opinions and perspectives, and it’s okay to disagree with something by making a reasoned counter-argument that improves the discussion. However, do not attack, abuse, or be rude to a colleague on the List—this includes insults and name-calling. Also avoid responding to a post’s tone instead of its content.
Remember that what you consider teasing or kidding may be perceived as insulting, aggressive, degrading, or threatening by someone else. It’s best practice to avoid snark, sarcasm, and jokes you might hear in a bar or locker room.
● Sexually suggestive or explicit content and profanity. This is a professional community. Verbal, written, and nonverbal comments or communications or actions that are sexually graphic or sexually suggestive may constitute harassment. Avoid using profanity and vulgar language. If Merriam-Webster online notes that a word is “vulgar” or “sometimes vulgar,” it’s almost always best not to use the word.
● Threats. We do not tolerate threatening remarks or aggressive or hostile behavior. In extraordinary cases, we may report threats of violence to law enforcement.
● Spam. Content that we deem spam will be removed.
● Advertising. Advertising is not allowed, with the exception of brief one-time announcements directly relevant to a member—the publication of a member’s book or article, for instance. Reports on products, services, books, websites, etc. by members who have no financial stake in them are not considered advertising and are welcome.
● Copyrighted content. As editorial professionals, we need to be particularly vigilant regarding copyright violations. Do not post copyrighted material beyond accepted fair use.
For security reasons, attachments are not permitted on this list. If you post a message with an attachment, it will be stripped off.
One-time postings about legitimate, professional-quality jobs or opportunities are acceptable (use the #BIZ hashtag). However, if you or a colleague wish to hire an EFA member, please post the job on the EFA Job List.
When in doubt, please contact the community managers before posting.
What Discussion List Members Can Do
● If you see content that breaks our rules, contact us. Our community managers will evaluate each reported post and educate members about our rules. You can opt to disengage by not replying or by muting the channel or the individual thread. Please do not reply to the entire list if you’re trying to notify a community manager of a potential problem.
What Discussion List Community Managers Can Do
● Signature Line Rules have been established to promote professionalism and collegiality. If a signature does not fit the guidelines, we reserve the right to truncate or revise your signature at our discretion. If we do alter your signature, we will notify you so that you have the opportunity to create a signature that fits the established parameters. We recognize that most signature violations are unintentional; training materials are available; please use them.
● Community managers will review each situation on a case-by-case basis, tailoring our response to meet the needs of the situation. We will investigate and respond as appropriate, using this Code of Conduct to guide our decision.
Actions we may take include, but are not limited to:
- Formal warning
- Closing of threads
- Moderation (requiring a member’s messages to be approved by a community manager before they’re posted)
- Content removal
- Suspension or removal from the Discussion List
- Revoking EFA membership in accordance with EFA bylaws.
Other than in exceptional circumstances, everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt. At the time of a member’s first violation of the Code of Conduct (CoC), for example, excessive advertising, our community managers will send a friendly warning off-list explaining how their post was in violation. After that, we follow a three-strike rule regarding members who violate the CoC:
- Strike one: The member is placed on moderation for 30 days and will be informed of their new status. Individuals in moderation will have all posts approved by community managers, so posts will be delayed or possibly rejected.
- Strike two: The member is again placed on moderation for 30 days and informed of their moderation status and that the next time they violate the CoC, they will be removed from the Discussion List.
- Strike three: The member will be removed from the Discussion List. They will not be able to post or read the archives. They may apply for reinstatement pending an administrative review after six months, should they request this.
An exception to this process would be egregious conduct deemed by the Board of Governors (and/or outlined in the bylaws) to result in immediate expulsion from the list and/or the organization.
The Discussion List and its archives are open to members only and members are forbidden to share messages posted to the Discussion List with anyone who is not a member of the EFA. Bear in mind, though, there is always the chance that a message will be forwarded in violation of this Code of Conduct. No internet message is truly private, so be circumspect, especially when discussing clients.
To use this service, you agree to abide by our Anti-Harassment Policy.
The EFA retains full discretion to remove any content or impose sanctions for activity that the community manager(s), acting in good faith, deem unlawful, offensive, threatening, libelous, defamatory, pornographic, obscene, or otherwise objectionable or that violates any party’s intellectual property. This Code of Conduct describes when we will exercise that discretion.
The Board of Governors reviews this document regularly. This Code of Conduct was last updated on February 1, 2022. Members may submit feedback on the Code of Conduct here.
Subscribing to the Discussion List
In My Account > Profile Editor, check "Yes" next to "Subscribe to the EFA Discussion List" to indicate that you’d like to join.
Look for an email from Groups.io within three business days. The invitation email will allow you to join either by replying via email or by clicking a link within the body of the email. If you accept the invitation by replying via email, your preferences will be automatically set to receive each individual message, while accepting via the link allows you to set your email preferences differently. If your invitation does not arrive, check your spam or junk folder and consider whitelisting the EFA's Groups.io email address: EFADiscussionList@EFAGroups.groups.io. If you still don’t find your invitation, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can remain a member of the Discussion List as long as you are an active member of the EFA and using the primary or alternate email address in your EFA Profile Editor. Lapsed members will be removed from the Discussion List.
Logging in to Groups.io
You may need to log in to the Discussion List on Groups.io, for example to change your email delivery settings, read messages, access the technical FAQ, or search the messages archive. If you have previously created an account with Groups.io, use its login information at: https://efagroups.groups.io/g/EFADiscussionList. This login information is not the same as your EFA username and password.
You can also log in without setting a password for Groups.io. Go to: https://efagroups.groups.io/g/EFADiscussionList and click on “Email me a link to log in.” Enter the email address associated with your Discussion List subscription. You can use this link to log in for 24 hours. Once you click the link and log in, click on “Your Groups” in the upper left, then click on “Editorial Freelancers Association Discussion List.”
A series of short videos have been created to help users navigate the Discussion List. Watch them on YouTube.
Please visit our FAQ page.