Rules of the road for ASMP’s online communities

Online courtesy is mostly a matter of common sense, plus lots of forbearance and thinking twice before you post. The following rules, distilled from long experience, set a minimum threshold of good online behavior.

In short: Be useful, be specific, be nice.

By posting any message to any of ASMP’s online communities or by subscribing to its digests, you indicate your acceptance and agreement to abide by these rules. (Note: The rules are subject to change at any time, without notice — but it’s something we very rarely do.)

If you have any questions, complaints, or suggestions for the improvement of the forum, contact the moderators off-line, via email — not on the public forum.

Pricing Recommendations: Because ASMP is a trade organization (and not, for instance, a union), we cannot make or allow recommendations on pricing, which can be construed as price-fixing, which is illegal. It is perfectly alright, however, to state what you have charged in the past in similar situations, and to be as specific as you like — but do not suggest what you yourself would charge, or suggest what anyone else should charge, in response to any questions about pricing.

Your participation in the forum signifies your acceptance of all of the terms and conditions below.

Stick to business. ASMP online communities are about professional photography.

Subscriptions, Membership And Subject Matter
Limit your posts to topics directly related to the business of photography and the specific interest area of the community. When in doubt, ask a moderator.

All subscriptions to and membership in ASMP online communities are subject to the discretion of the moderators and can be limited or revoked at any time, for any reason. Moderators may, at their discretion, close threads that don’t pertain to the community’s interest area or that otherwise violate the rules. Due to federal antitrust regulations, please refrain from posting or requesting specific pricing recommendations.

If you have concerns regarding ASMP policies, please contact members of the staff, the national board, your local board, or the moderators with suggestions or to have questions answered. Contact information is on ASMP’s web site.

Your suggestions are encouraged and appreciated.

ASMP is a thought leader in the photography industry, and because there are many participants in ASMP online communities who are not members of the organization, posting about internal ASMP policies within these public groups can create an atmosphere that is not conducive to education and discussion.

Again, ASMP welcomes constructive suggestions for the improvement of the organization. However, subscribers (members or not) join online communities to discuss topics in specific areas and may resent the injection of ASMP politics into the conversations. Inappropriate posts on these topics will be removed and may result in the loss of posting privileges or revocation of the writer’s subscription.

Always sign posts with your full name. Your fellow readers want to know who you are.

No Anonymous Posts
ASMP’s online communities are professional discussion groups. Sign your posts with your full name. Anonymous posts and posts using assumed or business names are prohibited.

Joining groups. Requirements for memberships and subscriptions to ASMP Groups vary

Joining Groups
You must apply to each ASMP group you wish to join, and all applications are reviewed by the moderators. Some groups are open to anyone, and some are restricted to ASMP members only.

LinkedIn: Applications may be rejected for a number of reasons, including but not limited to: incomplete profiles, missing profile pictures, inaccurate information, having zero connections, spamming, or advertising.

Yahoo: Some of our groups are hosted by Yahoo and, in these groups, an effective way of identifying yourself is via the Yahoo profile information. To reach your profile, use this link, or log into Yahoo and use its links. Edit your profile by clicking on “Edit” next to your Yahoo ID. On the next screen, select “Edit Profile Information”. Don’t forget to “Save Changes” at the bottom.

For other systems, you may wish to configure your email program to automatically append a “signature” at the end of each message you send. By custom, a signature is no more than 4 lines (up to 70 characters wide) and contains your name and contact information.

Format your replies for clarity. For instance, if you include a quote from an earlier message, keep it short, and be sure to include the author’s name. Remove all but the relevant part of the quote and remove the digest footers. Trim your posts!

How To Format Your Replies
If you are replying to a message in an existing message thread, consider adding a short quote from the message so that other members will understand exactly what you are responding to. When quoting from previous messages, place the quote above your message, and type the author’s name above the quote. To distinguish your reply from the quote, you can also use the “>” symbol at the start of the quote. No Excessive Or Misleading Quoting Trim your posts! If you include a quote in your message, there is rarely a need to include the entire qupote. Be selective, and keep your quotes short. Be fair — try not to quote in such a way as to change the intent of the author’s words. Where you remove entire sentences, indicate an edit like this: >snip< and where you remove the beginning or ending of a sentence, use … (ellipses).

If you are posting to a forum through its web interface, we recommend using the Preview function to see your post as others will see it — and to make sure there are no mistakes.

Creating An Appropriate Subject Line
If you receive messages in Digest form, when replying, remove the digest information in the subject line. It’s important to maintain the same subject wording in your response — otherwise it may not turn up in searches in the archive, and may make it impossible for people’s responses to your posts to be searchable as well.

When starting a new thread, create a concise subject line that accurately describes the subject matter of the thread. When replying to a message in an existing thread, do not change or reword the subject line unless you intend to change the direction of the thread significantly. When posting a message that is an offshoot of an existing thread, add a forward slash / to the existing thread and add a short description of the new subject. This will facilitate searching of our archives in the future.

If you are sharing a link, please include commentary on why you think the link is valuable to the group. Please do not post the link without a comment. Please use link-shortening services like to streamline the message board and reduce clutter.

Never post to a closed thread.

Posting To Closed Threads
Do not post to closed threads. Posting to closed threads may result in the loss of posting privileges. If you wish to reply to a closed thread, please contact the individual directly off-line by private email. Only moderators may close threads.

Stay on topic. Write about the subject in the Subject line; otherwise please start a new topic with a new name.

Stay On Topic Your posts should be pertinent to the subject title in the thread. If not, start a new thread with an appropriate subject line. Threads that drift away from the stated subject line will be closed or renamed by the moderators. This also helps to insure accurate, searchable archives.

If the moderators feel that your comment warrants a new thread they may remove your post and ask you to start a new thread.

No personal attacks.

Stick To The Issues. No Personal Attacks
Your messages may not include personal or professional attacks, unsolicited critiques, ad hominem attacks, profanity, and racist, sexist, or defamatory statements. Posting such statements may result in the immediate loss of posting privileges. You may of course debate points with intensity and voice alternative perspectives, but stick to the issue at hand. In short, your messages must be respectful of others and the organization.

There is zero tolerance for personal attacks on the forum. Violating this policy may result in your immediate removal from the community.

Respect the moderators. Complaints, suggestions or questions should be sent to the group moderator directly, in a private email.

Practice Self-Moderation & Respect The Moderators
Most ASMP communities are “self-moderated” discussion groups. Your messages will not be reviewed by moderators before distribution to all members. Participants are expected to exercise self control by moderating themselves. Moderators have the authority to put you on post-moderation status, no-post status, or remove you from the group entirely. It is the responsibility of moderators to ensure that our discussions continue without disruptions or distractions as laid out in these rules.

If your posting status has been altered or you have been removed from the group, you may contact the moderators via email. They will review your request for reinstatement and may reinstate you to the group immediately, reinstate you after a cooling-off period, or uphold the removal from the group. Moderator decisions are final.

If you disagree with the way your group is being moderated, or have an issue that you feel needs moderation, bring it to the attention of one of the moderators off-line. Then, if the issue needs to be brought before the group, a moderator will do it for you.

Handling Personal Conflicts Off-Line

If you have a concern about the nature or tone of the content of a post in an online community, or if you are offended or irritated by something included in a post, or if you simply have a personal problem with another member, make an attempt to resolve the matter by sending a polite, respectful, private, off-line message directly to the offending party, or contact an moderator and describe your concerns. Handle it off-line, not on-line. As a general rule, if your message does not serve to inquire about, educate, or inform other professionals on the business of professionals, don’t post it — handle it off-line.

Get permission before reproducing any posts. You need permission from the original author before reposting their material.

Reproduction Or Forwarding Of Posts
To facilitate open and sincere discussion, all messages posted in ASMP forums are private and confidential, in the sense that they are reserved for viewing by group members only. You may store or print out posts for your personal reference. However, posts may not be copied, quoted, reproduced, or otherwise distributed off-list to third parties or to other discussion groups without the advance permission of both the author and a group moderator. Remember: posts are generally the copyrighted works of their authors. Please give them the same respect that you want others to give to your photographs. If you do receive permission from moderator and author, you must credit both the forum and the author when distributing or reproducing quotes. Unauthorized distribution of posts will result in the permanent termination of your subscription.

No cross-posting.

Cross Posting Is Not Allowed
Messages posted to one group may not be posted to other discussion groups without permission of both a moderator and the author of the message.

Announcements of events, programs, services, products, or items-for-sale must first be reviewed by the moderators.

Announcements Of Events, Programs, Services, Products
Do not post announcements regarding events, services, or products. Instead, send your announcement to a moderator, who will examine it on a case-by-case basis. If it is approved, the moderator will post it to the forum.

The moderators have discretion and authority in admitting or denying announcements within a community at any time, for any reason. For more details, contact a moderator.

No advertising is allowed, not even in your signature or message footer.

Advertisements In Messages, Footers Or Signatures
Your messages, footers, and signatures may not contain anything that solicits group members to use or purchase your services or products, or attend events in which you are participating.

Your footer may contain: your name, title, business name, address, phone, email address, URL, professional affiliations, and any other information that could not possibly be perceived, by anyone, as a solicitation of photographers.

Moderators have the last word.

The Authority Of The Moderators
ASMP’s moderators monitor each discussion group and are charged with ensuring that the group’s members collectively receive maximum benefit from their participation in the group. Moderators have the authority in their sole discretion to moderate discussion by closing threads, renaming threads, starting threads, and deleting threads.

In the event any rules are violated, moderators have the authority to sanction members by placing members on “moderated status,” removing posting privileges, or removing a member from the group entirely. Depending on the nature of the violation, moderators may issue a warning before taking action.

If you would like to volunteer to help moderate an ASMP community, please contact the existing moderators.

Concerns With Moderators
If you have a problem or concern regarding the action or inaction of one of our moderators, address the issue off-line with a private email message to the moderator involved, respectfully stating the problem and requesting a response. If the moderator does not reply within 48 hours or does not address the problem to your satisfaction, then send a private, off-line email message to the committee person designated by the National Board as having oversight of our forums and listservs, or to ASMP’s board chair. (Committee assignments and board chairs change from time to time, and are listed on this page.

ASMP moderators are professionals like you who are volunteers. In the event that you have a complaint or comment about a moderator’s actions, do not post your complaint to the forum. Posting complaints about moderators or their actions to the forum is not allowed and may result in the immediate and permanent loss of posting privileges.

Opinions belong to each poster.

Messages appearing in ASMP online discussions often include hypothetical examples and scenarios. Such messages are the opinions of individual members, and are not approved, adopted, or endorsed by the ASMP. Group members who post messages assume sole responsibility for the content of their posts, and agree to hold the ASMP and its staff and volunteers harmless from any liability related to messages posted on ASMP servers. Though the moderators make every attempt to monitor the discussions, they may or may not review all messages and are not responsible for controlling the content of messages or delivering warnings with regard to content.The failure of a moderator to respond to a message does not indicate the moderator’s or ASMP’s approval of such content.

ASMP does not recommend, set, or enforce pricing standards for its members. Messages posted by ASMP volunteers or staff are personal opinions and do not represent the recommendation or position of the ASMP. Messages are not intended for distribution outside of the group, and are copyrighted by the author and by each group.

Play By The Rules
If you do not agree with the above rules, do not post messages in ASMP’s online communities. You may either participate on a “read only” basis or you may unsubscribe. (Each forum system — Yahoo, LinkedIn, or an internal system — works a bit differently, but all of them routinely publish their method for unsubscribing.)

Your continued subscription to a discussion group or your contribution of messages to the group signifies your acceptance and agreement to abide by all of the above terms and the direction of the moderators.