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Listserv Rules

PPA Listserv Rules as of June 2016

The American Psychological Association has provided the resources, including the hardware, software, and technical assistance, without charge as a public service. This forum is available only to members of the Pennsylvania Psychological Association. Non-members will be unsubscribed.

Subscription to the PPA listserv is a privilege, contingent on the observation of the list rules. Messages are not reviewed before they are posted and so PPA does not take responsibility for the content of the emails posted to this list. However, individual list members are responsible to the interests of the majority of the list members, to APA (the list owner), as well as to other governing bodies for any misuse of the list. On behalf of these interests, the Electronic Media Coordination Committee (EMCC) may take action to remedy posts that come to its attention that appear to violate listserv rules.

The EMCC provides guidelines to members on how to use the list. It also monitors postings to the list. To meet its obligation to oversee the appropriate use of the PPA listserv, consequences are administered by the EMCC when there are infractions of the rules. EMCC corrective actions primarily include sending educational emails to the list and individual members, but it may also restrict access to the list or remove members from the list. While every effort has been made to outline the guidelines and expectations of conduct on this list, all consequences may be administered by the EMCC in the event that a list member uses list access to engage in unanticipated harmful activity.


Rule 1--Legal Use of the Listserv:  Do not use the forum for illegal purposes, including, but not limited to, defamation, violation of intellectual property laws, antitrust or unfair competition laws or criminal laws. 

a. Copyright - Referring to an article or news item with typical reference citations, providing a brief quote, or offering a link to legitimate online published content is permissible; list members should not post a full-text version of published material to the listserv. Not infrequently a list member wants to tell others about an article or news item related to the issues discussed on the list. However, sending the entire article to the list, without the permission of the author or publisher, results in a prima facie case of copyright violation. While there can be defenses to a claim of copyright infringement where the purpose of copying is clearly not for commercial purposes (e.g. “fair use” or academic teaching exceptions), those defenses are complicated, have been construed differently in different jurisdictions and are not necessarily applicable to listserv distribution.

b. Antitrust concerns – APA and PPA by their nature are subject to antitrust issues. Discussions about rates charged, efforts to exert collective pressure on payors, terms of contracts with insurance companies, internship salaries, etc, all are prohibited. The antitrust laws are broad and complex but on a very basic level they operate to prohibit and even in some cases criminalize certain anticompetitive agreements between competitors. Professional associations like APA and PPA are almost by definition a group of competitors that has come together to pursue common interests. Where those common interests involve agreements on such terms of competition as rates charged, salaries paid, standards applicable to members of the profession, and other issues of the marketplace, the antitrust laws apply. Listservs provide a written record of statements that can create an antitrust risk even when there is no anti-competitive intent.

Rule 2--Disruptive Use:  Do not intentionally interfere with or disrupt other forum members, network services, or network equipment. Commercial use is prohibited, as is distribution of unsolicited advertising, chain letters, propagation of computer worms or viruses, and use of the network to make unauthorized entry into any other machine accessible via the Forum.

Rule 3--Respectful Discourse:  Psychologists demonstrate respect for all persons, including their professional colleagues. From time to time discussions on this list may reflect differences of opinion and raise strong feelings. List participants are careful to exercise restraint in all postings. They respond to the subject matter and content of postings and do not cast aspersions or make any disparaging or disrespectful references to the person or to the character of the author of list posts or of persons cited in these posting or to any other list member. This collegial practice is exercised both in postings to the list and in back-channel communications resulting from list discussions. 

Rule 4--Content of Postings: Communications should be oriented towards increasing the knowledge base and connections between Pennsylvania psychologists. The Listserv is a forum for sharing information and community building around psychology. Postings should pertain to psychologists and psychological issues, and not to standards of other professions, such as counselors or psychiatrists, or issues unrelated to psychology. Advocating for candidates for APA or PPA offices or those of any of their divisions, or for or against proposals before APA is permitted. Any other form of electioneering, posts endorsing or opposing any political candidate, lobbying and messages exhorting Listserv members to advocate for issues that are not related to PPA's or APA's current agenda, such as the minimum wage, Amnesty International or other concerns, are not to be placed on PPA's Listserv, no matter how worthy the cause. Such posts jeopardize the tax exempt status of both PPA and APA.

Rule 5—Announcements: The Listserv is not for commercial purposes. "Commercial" on the listserv refers to communications in which the primary purpose appears to be to advance the business or financial interests of any person or entity, or otherwise to promote a financial transaction for the benefit of the author directly or indirectly.  Announcements described below are acceptable as they serve to benefit the public and PPA members with less purpose on the financial benefit of the poster. (If uncertain, a posting can be forwarded to the EMCC for clarification.)

a. Job postings and special work opportunities are acceptable (once per quarter with a maximum length of 100 words and without announcement of salary, plus list geographic location in subject heading).

b. Book publications by members may be announced one time on the listserv (100 word limit). 

c. PPA Continuing Education:  Only PPA staff or designee may post PPA, PPA-cosponsored or Regional Psychological Association CE announcements to the listserv.

d. Calls for Papers:  Members may announce a "call for papers" for PPA and non-PPA conferences on the listserv.

e. Free/low cost mental health services:  Announcements of free or low cost mental health services (such as support groups and university counseling centers) in which the primary intent of the post is service and not commercial.  Posts should be limited to once a year and the subject line of the post should provide specific information about the geographic location.

f. Publications and Product Reviews:  Members may review professional products (e.g., test equipment, EHRs), the publication of a book, training material, blog and the like, provided that: 1) there is only one post for each service or product; 2) the post provides factual and not commercial information; and 3) the post relates directly to the practice of psychology.

g.Prohibited postings include advertisements for non-PPA events or Continuing Education workshops, notices regarding rental of office space, solicitations to secure work or internships, ads for products or services, excessive signature lines and e-mail adornments promoting books and other commercial interests, or direct solicitations of listserv members to purchase products or services.  PPA offers classified sections on its website and other forums that can accommodate most of these needs. 

Rule 6--New Listserv Member Introductions:  New members to the listserv are encouraged to introduce themselves (i.e., their background, specialties, and interests).  This must be presented by the new member and with a 100 word limit.

Rule 7--Requests for Research Subjects: Requests are permitted on the listserv when the research is being conducted and posted by a PPA member. Requests may be posted up to two times for any given study. Subject lines of postings should begin: “Research Participation Request.”

GUIDELINES for Listserv Posts

Nothing about a listserv posting is private. Hence, the following guidelines are offered:

Be circumspect. Consider the possible legitimacy and consequences of your message before posting it for this audience of hundreds of psychologists. (Remaining mindful of the aforementioned rules will assist you in this regard.)

Wait before posting a message that you have composed in an aroused emotional state or have a colleague review it for compliance with list rules.

Do not post anything about yourself, your patients, or others that you would not want to see published on the front page of your local newspaper. In order to protect patient privacy, if posting about a situation with a patient, including searching for a therapist, refer only to the proximal region (e.g., Pittsburgh area rather than a specific town), a general age (e.g., elementary school age rather than 9 year old), and avoid specific identifiers (e.g., he is a professor of archeology).

Members of the EMCC are available to advise you on your posts. If there is a question regarding what is appropriate to post or how to respond to an email or a previous post, list members may contact a member of the EMCC or the PPA List Administrator (Iva Brimmer, for assistance.

If the EMCC is made aware that there are harassing or bullying backchannel communications/e-mails that result from list posts, the member posting such backchannel/private emails may be subject to the same procedures and consequences (including suspension) by the EMCC that apply to public listserv postings.

If you want more privacy to consult or discuss, join a more private, moderated list (e.g., PSYUSA), use one-to-one messaging, set a group within an online service (e.g., Google or Yahoo), or employ other more private and controlled methods.


1) Friendly Reminders: Upon a minor infraction or breach of list serve protocols a friendly reminder may be sent by the chair of the EMCC or his or her designee directly to the violator, with an explanation. No further consequence is incurred. A pattern of minor infractions may instigate a warning.

2) Warnings: In the case of a more significant or clear cut violation, a warning will be issued by the chair of the EMCC or his or her designee. He or she will inform the violator of the nature of the violation and will offer assistance in understanding the rules and the nature of the violation. While most violations will receive only warnings, violations that are deemed to be harmful to the list, to the PPA, or to a particular list member may, after committee discussion and a majority vote, result in immediate monitoring or suspension.

3) Monitoring: In the case of subsequent violations rising to the level of additional warnings, the chair of the EMCC or his or her designee will inform the violator of the nature of the violation. The person may have his or her postings to the list monitored for appropriateness by a member of the EMCC for a period to be decided by the committee. Questionable postings will not be placed on the list. The committee may also chose to move directly to a suspension in the case of an obvious, willful and harmful neglect of the rules. This will be decided by a vote in the committee.

4) Suspensions: Use of the listserv is considered a privilege and not a right of PPA membership and therefore posters who violate legal constraints and the welfare of other members may have their participation restricted or denied. Upon additional infractions (or after a single egregious violation) the member may be suspended from the list. The length of the suspension will be proposed by the chair and decided by a majority vote on the committee on the basis of the member's response to this discussion, taking into consideration the length of time between infractions as well as their harmfulness. Typical suspensions are for 6 months but may range from as little as the time it takes to reach a decision to as long as indefinite. At the conclusion of a suspension the PPA member will be eligible to re-subscribe. In the very rare case of an indefinite suspension the member may appeal the decision to a new committee as frequently as every two years.

We welcome you to this Forum and look forward to your introduction and participation. If you have any questions or comments, please contact:

Iva Brimmer

PPA List Administrator

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