Acceptable Use Policy for Mailing List

History and Function

The SIGCIS mailing list was founded in 2004 by Thomas Haigh, based on the email addresses of a small group of colleagues who participated in that year’s annual SIGCIS Workshop (now known as the SIGCIS Conference). It became the official SIGCIS mailing list shortly thereafter, welcoming not only those who participated in the annual workshops but also individuals with an interest in the history of computing and information science more generally.

Today, there are more than 550 subscribers to the list, broadly varied in both profession experience and intellectual tradition. Our community includes academics and scholars from the history of technology/science, media studies, library science, computer science, critical race and gender studies and countless allied disciplines, as well as engineers, museum curators, librarians, journalists, computing history enthusiasts and more.

In August 2017, the Executive Committee of SIGCIS introduced volunteer-based moderation to the list. In order to affirm the group’s commitment to inclusive policies that support our diverse membership, the Committee also revised and expanded our statement of community standards and expectations and our acceptable use policy.

SIGCIS members are encouraged to use our email list to transmit news and announcements. All subscribers to the list should be aware of the following:

  • All messages sent to the list are publicly archived. Conversation on the list is never closed or private.
  • The list relays a copy of any email message sent to it to all SIGCIS members.
  • Any registered SIGCIS member can send a message to this list. If the email account used to send the message is subscribed to the list, the message will be automatically forwarded to all subscribers without the need for moderator approval, except as outlined below.

Community Standards and Expectations

Subscribing to the list constitutes your understanding that participation in the SIGCIS community is conditional upon abiding by the Community Standards and Expectations. The moderators or the listserv manager have the authority to suspend listserv privileges (temporarily or permanently) to members who do not abide by these standards and expectations.

1) SIGCIS is an inclusive community: We recognize and value the fact that our community is intellectually and socially diverse, and we welcome the breadth of identities, backgrounds, and disciplinary perspectives that our community brings together.

2) SIGCIS does not tolerate oppressive behavior: Unacceptable behaviors include, but are not limited to, objectification, online or off-line harassment, and stereotyping or discriminating based on gender, race, class, national origin, religion, or professional affiliation and background.

3) SIGCIS values respect and healthy disagreement: In the spirit of fostering productive and respective dialogue, we expect members to follow the guidelines below when posting to the listserv:

  • Embrace our social diversity: Remain open to the possibility that an enlightening thought can come from anyone in our list, regardless of their identity and background.
  • Embrace our methodological diversity: When discussing scholarly traditions with which you are inexperienced, aim to learn from the discussion, and not to dismiss or attack the tradition or its methods.
  • Discuss ideas, not individual members: Focus on discussing the merits of an idea in the terms in which its author offers it. Refrain from critiquing authors’ ideas by attacking their character, their professional credentials, or the validity of their discipline’s methods.
  • Offer constructive criticism: Offer criticism meant to further an author’s vision for a work, not to tear it down or dismiss it. Forms of unacceptable criticism include those intended to dismiss individuals and their work, negate the contribution of an individual or group, or attack an individual on a public stage.
  • Respect other members’ time: Remember that our listserv exchanges are publicly archived, and that we each receive every email you send. Refrain from posting repeatedly over a short period of time, and consider moving extended discussions with other members to a private email exchange.

Acceptable Topics

The following topics are suitable for posting to the list:

  • Announcements of scholarly interest to the group, such as significant publications (books, articles, journal issues, reviews, etc) or new resources (archival collections, web sites, reference guides, digital libraries).
  • Calls for Papers for scholarly or historically-oriented events, registration reminders, or solicitations for panel or paper collaborators.
  • Appeals for answers to specific research questions or brief comments related to a relevant topic raised on the list.
  • Public or ticketed events related to the history of information technology, including exhibitions, workshops, screenings, etc.
  • Job postings related to the history of computing or information technology, academic or otherwise.
  • Grants, awards and fellowship opportunities, including both initial posting and announcement of winners.
  • Announcements relevant to SHOT or SIGCIS itself, such as meetings, calls for volunteers, elections, and other administrative business, as well as requests to share rooms or pool transport.

Restricted Topics

The moderators or the listserv manager have the authority to suspend listserv privileges (temporarily or permanently) to members who send messages that fall into the categories below.

  • Messages in violation of the community standards and expectations.
  • Any messages seeking to buy, sell, exchange or obtain valuations for computer hardware or software.
  • Commercial solicitations, even if related to the history of information technology. This includes offers for promotional copies of books made after the book’s initial announcement to the list by its publisher or authors.
  • Any message with an attachment of more than 100 KB will be blocked automatically. If you want to distribute a larger file, such as a picture or piece of research, please upload it to the web somewhere and forward a URL to the list.
  • Anything sent automatically from another email list. Individuals may forward specific messages of interest from their own user accounts. The SIGCIS list should never be subscribed to any other email list directly.


Revised by unanimous affirmation of the SIGCIS Officers in August 2017