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 email 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. You can support this service by making a donation here. These lists were started and managed for many years by ValleyNet, but management was passed to Vital Communities as of February 2014. 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 email 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.

Which towns already have discussion lists?

Click here to see the towns that currently have Vital Communities discussion lists.

How do I 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 list for your town, contact for more information.

How do I post a message to my list?

Simply email {listname}, where {listname} is the name of your list (e.g. Norwich, Hanover, Bradford, etc.)

My message was rejected because of an attachment - why?

The lists rejects submissions with file attachments, including images and other documents. If your submission is rejected with this error but you have not attached anything to your message, the explanation is usually that your message contains something like a background pattern or a signature with some graphic such as a Twitter, Facebook, or corporate logo. If your message has any of these, the listserv will treat them as attachments. Please try sending your message without the pattern or the signature.

How can I receive the list as a single digest (or a single email)?

You can receive the discussion list as a single digest each day or multiple emails as posts are made (note: the upper valley list is only available as a single digest). Here are the directions on how you can change back and forth between these options.

  1. Go to the VC groups list page <>
  2. Click on your list(s) of interest e.g. “” <>
  1. In the UPPER LEFT corner, click on “New Login/Password Reset”
  2. Enter the email address you’ve used for your subscriptions
  3. You will be sent an email with login information.
  4. In the UPPER RIGHT on the home page of your list of choice e.g.<> enter your username and password.
  1. On the middle-left of the refreshed page, now click on “Subscriber Options”
  2. Next to “reception mode” you’ll see a little arrow; click it and look for “standard.” Select that, then click the “Update” button


  1. To return to digest mode, follow these instructions starting at (4) but select “digestsingle”

Who can read postings on my town discussion list?

Email listservs, including these discussion lists, are open to the public. They are not private groups. Emails sent to a town list are available immediately, and anyone, anywhere, can see anything that is sent to this list (non-subscribers can view postings on the archive page). This means that the public, including third-party services, can see and share whatever is sent to the lists.

July 1- October 1 Transition FAQ

What is this all about?

On July 1, 2015, the email addresses of the Vital Communities town discussion lists (“listservs”) changed from to The word listname stands for the name of the list, such as “uppervalley,” “hanover,” “norwich,” and all the other lists provided by Vital Communities.

Why is Vital Communities making this change?

In January 2014, ValleyNet turned the community discussion lists over to Vital Communities. Since then Vital Communities has administered and financially supported the lists. Changing the email addresses of the lists completes this process.

Do I have to resubscribe to the renamed lists?

No. All your subscriptions, including their individual settings, will automatically be converted.

Will the renamed community discussion lists look or function differently?

The renamed lists will function exactly as they did before. Only their email addresses – their names – will change. Where you used to see “” in an address or in text in the footer of messages, you will now see “”

What do I have to do differently to read postings on the renamed lists?

For the majority of subscribers the answer is: nothing. List postings, received individually or as digests, will appear in your inbox just as they always have. You can reply to messages just as before, either using your “Reply” button for individual messages or with the “Reply to sender” or “Reply to list” links at the end of each message in a digest. Even the links at the end of a posting or digest – the links that let you unsubscribe or check the list’s guidelines – will magically be updated to use the new names.

What do I have to do differently to post to the renamed lists?

After July 1, subscribers who post messages to a list (as opposed to just reading them) will want to start using the list’s new email address. For example, where today you post to the Mascoma list by sending your message to, after July 1 you will start sending it to Also, after July 1, if you want to visit the list’s website, perhaps to look at the archives, review the guidelines, or change your subscription options, you will want to start using the website’s new address. For example, to review the guidelines for the Royalton list, today you would go to After July 1, you would go to In every case, the addresses and websites are the same except that “” gets changed to “”

What if I forget and use the old address after July 1?

For several months after July 1, email messages and website visits using the name will automatically be rerouted to the new address. The rerouting will end on October 1, giving you plenty of time to get used to using the new name. Vital Communities list managers will also be sending out reminders during this grace period.

I have told my spam filter to allow messages from the lists. What do I need to do?

Mail systems sometimes think discussion list messages are spam and route them to a junk mail folder or even delete them from your inbox. If you have overridden this by telling your spam filter to allow messages from “” (sometimes called “whitelisting”), then sometime before July 1 you will want to create an additional whitelist entry for That way you’ll be sure to receive list messages both before and after the transition. After July 1, when you are sure everything is working, you can remove the old whitelist entry if you want to.

I use a mail filter for discussion list messages. What do I need to do?

If you have created a mail filter, perhaps to direct list messages into their own folder, you will want to update that filter to reflect the new email addresses that will appear in the lists after July 1. For example, if you currently direct any incoming email from a “” address to a special folder, you will want to change the filter to use “” The easiest thing to do might be to create a new filter now for the new name; then you can remove the old filter after July 1.

Who do I contact if I have questions or if something doesn’t work right after July 1?

First, check this FAQ and the information page for your list. After July 1 it’s at Beyond that, if you have questions or need help with the discussion lists, contact your list manager. Their email address is, or, after July 1, Again, listname stands for the name of whatever list you need help with – “thetford,” “lebanon,” or any of the Vital Communities lists. And you can always contact Stacey Glazer, the Vital Communities manager for community discussion lists, at

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.

Support the Discussion Lists

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.

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