COMMUNITY DISCUSSION LISTS

"Has anyone seen our dog?"
"I'm not so sure about the new zoning regulation for the village - let me tell you about my concerns..."
"Wanted: young person to help us rake leaves. We'll pay $9/hour, and will need help this coming Saturday afternoon..."

These are the kinds of messages you can find in a community discussion list. Vital Communities encourages community engagement through local community discussion lists that allow members of a community to post and respond to messages about their town. This service is provided free to communities in the Upper Valley by Vital Communities. For many years, these lists have been managed by ValleyNet, but as of February 1, 2014, the management has been passed to Vital Communities as ValleyNet focuses their efforts on ECFiber. You can read more about this here.

How do the community discussion lists work?
Community discussion lists allow members of a community to post and respond to messages about town events, notices about town government, questions for the school board, recycling announcements, items for sale, questions about lost or found pets, etc. It's a great way to keep up with what's happening in your town. When you subscribe to a discussion list, you will receive an email digest with postings from your neighbors on a daily basis. (You may also change your settings to receive emails as they are posted). Subscribers may also post to the discussion list by emailing to a particular address (these instructions will be given to you when you subscribe and are located at the top of the digest each day as a reminder). Each discussion group has a volunteer from the community that is available to answer questions and to help the subscribers follow the posting guidelines.
These are not "official" town discussion lists, but community town discussions. The lists are set up and managed by volunteer residents from the community not by the town government. Vital Communities works with these administrators to facilitate the overall process. The intent is to keep the discussions on and about each town. A post that concerns more than one town, should be posted on the Upper Valley Discussion List.
Upper Valley Discussion List vs Town Discussion Lists
The Upper Valley Discussion List is a forum for addressing items of interest to the entire Upper Valley. This region-wide list allows Upper Valley residents to share events or items of interest that might be relevant to multiple towns. For example, an Upper Valley event like Flavors of the Valley, or an office space for rent should be posted in the Upper Valley Discussion List, whereas minutes from a town meeting or the opening of a town skating rink should be posted on the Town Discussion List.
How will the transition to Vital Communities affect current subscribers?
Current subscribers should not see much of a difference. The only change they might notice is a reference to Vital Communities in the text at the bottom of their daily digest. Later on in the year, we will be changing the list addresses and we will notify subscribers of any actions they might need to take at that time.
Which towns already have discussion lists?
Current discussion lists.
How to subscribe to a Discussion List?
Click on the name of the discussion list you are interested in joining on this page. Once you are on the community discussion list home page, click on the link to subscribe on the left side of the page.
How do I set up a list for my town?
To set up a discussion list in your town, you will need to find one person to agree to be the administrator for the list. This person will help local residents get the most from this service by helping them to get signed up, answer any questions about the list and help subscribers follow the posting guidelines. If you are interested in helping to develop a community discussion discussion list for your town, contact stacey@vitalcommunities.org for more information.
Posting Guidelines
Keep it local
The intent is to keep the discussion on and about the town. The issue doesn't need to be unique to the town, but it must be specific to the town. For example, discussion of legislation in Concord/Montpelier or Washington is OK if it addresses a town issue and discussion of national or state issues in the context of a warned town meeting resolution is OK.
While anyone is welcome to subscribe to and read these discussions, we ask that only residents, representatives of town government, and representatives of organizations and businesses located in the town post to the list associated with their town. It is not a venue for general announcements about Upper Valley events from those not connected with the town, these items should be posted to the Upper Valley Discussion List.
Subscribers who regularly post to multiple lists will be warned and eventually suspended. Please use the Upper Valley Discussion List for items that might be appropriate for multiple towns.
Keep it Civil
Postings must be civil and respectful to other list members. No abusive or threatening postings will be allowed. Anyone engaging in what the administration of Vital Communities considers to be abusive language or threats directed towards another list member may have posting privileges revoked.
It is inappropriate to post the content of any private correspondence to or from a list member without the express permission of all correspondents involved.
No anonymous posts
If your first and last name are not obvious from your email address, please sign your post.
Limit Commercial Postings
Occasional announcements from businesses in town are OK (for example, a new business in town, a new product available at the general store, or a one-time listing from a new baby sitter). In no case should any business (small or large) use the discussion list for ongoing business promotion. Posting commercial announcements more often than monthly may annoy your neighbors and bring a warning from the list administrator.
Keep it Relevant
In order to keep the discussion list useful and dynamic, there should be no forwarding of content that has already appeared elsewhere. If an article has appeared on the web that would be appropriate to reference in the context of a discussion, simply summarize your point and link to the source. Copyrighted content should not be posted.
The administration of Vital Communities reserves the right to warn, suspend, or permanently exclude any list subscriber for any abuse or infringement of these list rules and guidelines.
Legal Disclaimer
Vital Communities does not control and assumes no legal or editorial responsibility for any content distributed through the community discussion lists. Content is generated by individual subscribers, who each bear responsibility for their individual postings. Content posted to the discussion lists is automatically distributed to the subscribers and Vital Communities cannot retract or modify any such content before it is sent to subscribers. All historical content is publicly accessible in the archives (Vital Communities can remove content from the archives after the fact upon request from the original poster). Volunteer individual discussion list administrators in each town are responsible for post-facto monitoring of the content of a town discussion list and may, at their own discretion, issue private warnings to individual subscribers or public guidelines to the entire discussion list if, in their sole judgment, any of the Posting Guidelines or General Rules are repeatedly violated.
Questions?
For more information, feel free to email Stacey or call 802-291-9100 ext 102.