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ACBS Listerv guidelines

The purpose of this page is to outline what is necessary for ACBS group participation. Please consider this document a set of general principles for how we each need to behave in order for the list to be functional, useful, and rewarding.

This email has two sections – the short summary to give you a quick idea of the expectations and also a longer explanation for you to consult if you are uncertain and need more detail.

The summary:

1. Please be mindful of the other people on the list. Post thoughtfully and occasionally. Some listservs have a lot of posts and wider subscriber lists and their administrators may ask that you post no more than an average of once a day. Take perspective before you post. Think about who might read your post – their precious time, their vulnerabilities. Post inclusive content that invites engagement from those of diverse race, national or ethnic origin, religion, sexual orientation, age, political affiliation, or mental or physical disability. Be courageous, curious and compassionate in your posts.

2. If two people get into a heated debate, please take the discussion backchannel or contact the moderators to help. Moderators do not intervene but may post clarifications of the general guidelines from time to time. Try and ask yourself if the debate is fueled by a value you've chosen freely (e.g., being helpful to others, sharing scientific findings in accessible language for new members of the community) or by something more automatic (e.g., the urge to look good, to be right, to sound scientific, etc.).

3. ACBS lists are not confidential. If you are writing about a clinical issue, make sure you omit any information that would make that person identifiable.

4. Question and challenge but in a way that is respectful of others’ points of view.

5. As a general guideline, ACBS listservs are meant to facilitate discussions related to contextual behavior science, practice, and contextual philosophy of science. When you post, remember the overall vision of ACBS – the alleviation of human suffering and the advancement of human well-being through research and practice grounded in contextual behavioral science. Ask yourself whether your post is aligned with that purpose.

6. If you have a problem, see if you can work it out with the person yourself. If that doesn’t work, then feel free to contact the volunteer moderators of your group’s listserv. When moderators offer guidance to you backchannel, please comply with the request. If you have concerns about the guidance you have received, you may contact the ACBS Listservs Lead Moderator, Yukie, here.

7. If the moderating team has asked you on more than one occasion to try writing with a different tone or to take an argument offline and the request has been ignored, you may temporarily lose the privilege of posting until we can discuss the matter with you.

8. You may give a one-time post to market for-profit trainings and books you produced. You are welcome to post about free materials that could be beneficial to the community.

9. Add your voice to the discussion. Your contribution will add to the richness of this community.

The longer version:

All of the ACBS lists have a culture of openness, respect, and self-criticism. Most of us at times want to show off or to agree with respected members of the community, and sometimes we like to argue and point out the weakness in others’ arguments. This list is not a good place for these behaviors. Instead, we ask that you find humble ways to state your points of view and disagree when you wish to do so with respect and care for others.

Some professional lists are prone to negative, harsh language. Instead, we ask our contributors to find gentle, but firm ways to make their views known. Please keep comments friendly, even when responding to others’ criticisms.

All ACBS listservs are consciously linked to the ACBS mission and vision. We are working together the alleviate human suffering and for the advancement of human well-being through research and practice grounded in contextual behavioral science. Some readers in your list serv group may not (yet!) be invested in that vision and may simply be interested in learning about CBS and the ACT model. If this is you, you are welcome here! We simply ask that you consider our broader aim, which is important to us as a community. Orienting ourselves to a scientific approach to psychology involves but is not limited to ACT. So, we ask that you attend to the philosophical and experimental discussions with equal interest to the technological therapy discussions.

The moderator or moderating team for your listserv is responsible for observing interactions on the list and giving gentle reminders to people periodically about the spirit of the list and the rules we all agree to abide by. At times, the team may notice that the list is ready to move on from an issue and ask individuals to take their conversation back channel. If the moderating team has asked you on more than one occasion to try writing with a different tone or to take an argument offline and the request has been ignored, you may temporarily lose the privilege of posting until we can discuss the matter with you. Repeated disregard of moderator feedback may result in extensive or permanent suspension from posting on an ACBS listserv or forum. ACBS reserves the right to suspend ACBS listserv posting privileges at any time.

Take personal responsibility for your group’s electronic discussion board. It is here for all members of your group and we need to work together to keep it going in the right direction. Give more than you get and try to help others. If you notice that members of the list are ready to move on from an issue, please let it go.

The current moderator or moderators for this list will let you know periodically who they are. You are welcome to contact them if you have a concern and please remember that they are busy people, so if you are concerned about behavior on the list, see if you can sort out the problem yourself with a gentle back channel contact before you contact the moderators.

Anything you post to your list, even small local regions, may go to people all around the world. Please remember that. Participate, but note that “Reply” goes to the whole list, not just to the sender! (This is different than many email programs in which “reply” goes to the sender and only “reply all” goes to everyone. Many of us have sent a personal note to someone by hitting “reply” only to find that thousands of people received it… Oops! To avoid messes like that and to email someone in particular, please highlight their email address and paste it into your “to” field in order to back channel message them.

Irrelevant comments, distractions, jokes, and so on would overwhelm the list and fill inboxes with junk, so be mindful of this tool and its purpose when you post stuff.

Some of us who have posted often in the past have inventoried our posting behavior and found we sometimes wrote because it draws attention to ourselves rather than because we had something important to say. We now find it useful to ask ourselves before we post, “Am I just drawing attention to myself or is this helpful to others?” If it is, post your comment. If not, please consider just letting it go without a reply.

Conversely, if you never post -- perhaps fearing you "have nothing to say" -- see if this is what you want to be about.

If two people get involved in a heated debate, we would ask that you take that discussion backchannel and correspond privately.

Problems in tone, frequency, or content happen with any members. But if you are new to the list, we suggest take some time, observe others’ posting behavior for a while, and get a feel for the culture.

When you find yourself in a disagreement related to science and practice, maintain a civil tone. Ask a colleague or moderator to look over your post before submitting it if you are feeling dysregulated or you have any sense that someone might take offense at the way you are writing. It is very often good practice to write with qualifiers that express humility and understanding that yours are not the only points of view. “One way of seeing this is…” and “An issue to consider is…” are ways of qualifying your written speech in an online forum to make room for other perspectives.

Most of these suggestions are merely that – suggestions. But we are committed to the spirit behind these suggestions, and we ask you to consider the spirit in which these guidelines have been written. Spam (direct marketing for non-ACBS purposes) is never acceptable. Neither are posts that include violent content, or content with hostility to others’ race, national or ethnic origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, political affiliation, or mental or physical disability. Note that jokes can be offensive to others even if you don’t mean them to be, so consider asking someone else to look at your material before posting something that could be questionable.

If you are looking for help with personal matters, then we invite you to join the “ACT for the Public” list. Posting to solicit personal therapeutic suggestions is not appropriate here.

If you have no formal training but are interested in entering this field at some time in the future, you are welcome here, though we ask that you please visit the ACBS website and search for appropriate training resources. The list is a great place to build on your already existing professional foundations in behavior therapy or behaviorism.

Listserv communications that offer constructively critical scientific views are welcome and encouraged. But posting for the purpose of a) promoting ACT in a way that is disparaging of other approaches or b) denigrating ACT without offering helpful ways to improve the science are both inappropriate and could result in our contacting you with suggestions for other venues in which to participate. If you receive repeated requests of this sort, you may temporarily lose the privilege of posting until we can discuss the matter with you.

In summary, please remember to be compassionate and mindful in your posts. We encourage courageous questioning of ideas but aim for a spirit of curiosity and humility. And fun! Together we are creating something that makes a difference, for our science, for our professions, for ourselves, and most of all for the people we serve.

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