Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2000 05:45:43 -0500 From: Larry Moss <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Monthly Posting: Frequently Asked Questions about balloons Mini Frequently Asked Questions List related to balloons on the net Read and save the following information. Last updated 13 April 1999 _________________________________________________________________ Contents 1. What is this document and where can I get the current version? 2. What are all of the balloon mailing lists and what are they all about? 3. OK, I'm convinced I want to join the lists. How can I get on? What do I need to learn first? Is there a fee to subscribe? 4. How do I post a message so it's seen by everyone? 5. Why do I have to be subscribed to the list for 4 days before I can post? 6. I no longer wish to be on the mailing list that I've signed up for. What should I do? 7. There's too much mail. How can I switch to the digest form of the list? 8. How can I change my e-mail address on the lists? 9. I've heard that all of the balloon information I ever wanted can be found on the web. Where is it? 10. What should be posted to the mailing lists? 11. I read that I can be removed from a mailing list if I don't follow the rules. Do people really get removed from the list, and under what circumstances? 12. I was on the mailing list, but I haven't received anything in a long time. What happened? 13. What can I do if I have a problem with the mailing list or web pages? 14. How can I locate other balloon folks in my area or in areas that I visit? 15. Is this list affiliated with any balloon manufacturers or other balloon-related organizations? 16. Who's responsible for maintaining this stuff? 17. How can I support Balloon HQ? 18. Who owns the content of the BHQ site and mailing lists? _________________________________________________________________ 1. What is this document and where can I get the current version? This document covers some basic information about balloon information on the net. The current version of this document can be found on the web at http://www.balloonhq.com/faq.html, on the 12th of each month is is sent to each of the balloon twister and balloon decorator mailing lists, and it is sent automatically to all new list subscribers. This document is not intended to be a comprehensive guide to balloons. That can be found in the "Guide to Balloons and Ballooning" on the web pages mentioned below. The purpose of this document is to help you find information about balloons. If you have a question about balloons or balloon related services on the net, look at the Guide before sending your questions to the maintainers of this document or members of the mailing lists. 2. What are all of the balloon mailing lists and what are they all about? These unmoderated mailing lists have been established to bring balloon entertainers and decorators together for the discussion of balloon entertaining and decorating, or anything else related to toy and decorative balloons (as opposed to hot air balloons). Anyone with an interest in balloon twisting, balloon entertaining, or the commercial balloon business is welcome to join. Topics range from new balloons, bouquets, and sculptures, to the materials, tools and detailed techniques used to create them. Exchange of new themes, ideas, balloon book reviews, suggestions and tips is encouraged. Other welcome subjects include products you'd like to see, certification issues, conventions, problems (both gripes and solutions!) encountered in the balloon business, etc. If you have a question about ballooning, don't hesitate to ask it here - you'll get plenty of answers! The lists consist of people at many levels, so there is likely to be someone that can answer your questions or benefit from your suggestions. Feel free to write a paragraph or two introducing yourself to the other list members when you subscribe. The lists: + email@example.com This list is made up of balloon twisters that make whatever they can out of long skinny balloons. Discussions are usually focussed on twisting latex balloons, but this is hardly a rule. + firstname.lastname@example.org This is set up primarily for balloon decorators and retail balloon shops. These are people that use primarily round balloons for filling large rooms or use round and foil balloons for table and delivery arrangements. + email@example.com This list is used to discuss legal issues related to the balloon industry. Specifically, it was created to discuss the issue of the SDS patent and how it effects balloon professionals. The other lists were created solely for the purpose of promoting balloon art. This list was created as a forum for more controversial topics. The SDS debate that started this whole thing has been settled, so the list has been quiet for some time. The list has not been shut down, only because some other legal issue effecting the balloon industry is bound to come up and this is the best place to discuss it. The balloon and balloondeco lists exist in two forms: 1. The email reflector form All email sent to the mailing list gets forwarded immediately to all those subscribed in this form. 2. The digest form All email sent to the mailing list gets concatenated together into one message which is then sent out _once_ a day to all those subscribed in this form. On high traffic days the concatenated digest may "fill up" to its maximum allowable size. When that happens, the digest is sent out early. So at the very least, there will be a digest each day as long as there is some mail. The sdslegal list only exists as an email reflector. 3. OK, I'm convinced I want to join the lists. How can I get on? What do I need to learn first? Is there a fee to subscribe? First decide which list(s) you want to be on. That's entirely up to you. There's no qualifying exam or application process to restrict membership. You don't need to have any background as a twister or decorator to join any list or to take part in discussions. Most importantly, this is a free service. The folks running it are not opposed to receiving monetary contributions. In fact, contributions of any sort are greatly appreciated so we can keep this going, but you are not obligated to send anything. How to subscribe to the email reflector form of the list: Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the word "subscribe" on the subject line to join the sculpting list. Send an email to email@example.com with the word "subscribe" on the subject line to join the decorating list. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the word "subscribe" on the subject line to join the sdslegal list. How to subscribe to the digest form of the list: Send an email to email@example.com with the word "subscribe" on the subject line for the sculpting list. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the word "subscribe" on the subject line for the decorating list. Subscribing is handled by an automated emailing list manager (procmail/smartlist). You will be sent return notification that you subscribed, as the mini-FAQ list with answers. Note: If you are confused about the subscription process, you may use the experimental web interface for subscribing and unsubscribing at http://www.balloonhq.com/subscribe.html 4. How do I post a message so it's seen by everyone? All mail sent to email@example.com will be distributed to everyone on the twister's list, provided you are subscribed to the list (in either reflector or digest form) and have been subscribed for at least 4 days. All mail sent to firstname.lastname@example.org will be distributed to everyone on the decorator's list, provided you are subscribed to the list (in either reflector or digest form) and have been subscribed for at least 4 days. All mail sent to email@example.com will be distributed to everyone on the sds-legal list, provided you are subscribed to the list (in either reflector or digest form) and have been subscribed for at least 4 days. 5. Why do I have to be subscribed to the list for 4 days before I can post? While we feel that everyone has a voice worth hearing and we do want everyone to contribute to discussions, it is not unusual for new subscribers to jump into discussions without being aware of common list etiquette. We just want you to be around long enough to get a feel for discussions before jumping in. The list administrator is sometimes placed in a funny position of having to point out to new subscribers that they have posted something improper. We hope that in 4 days time you are able to become familiar with the list and the types of discussions we have. 6. I no longer wish to be on the mailing list that I've signed up for. what should I do? Let's start by telling you what not to do. Do not send mail to the mailing list address asking hundreds of people to unsubscribe you. Most of the people that read that mail can't help you. Those that can help, won't. There's an automated way of unsubscribing that makes life easier for the list administrator. Only if you run into a problem should you ask the list administrator to help you. The list administrator will help if he can, but he's often unable to respond quickly. How to UN-subscribe from the email reflector form of the list: Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the word "unsubscribe" on the subject line to unsubscribe from the sculpting list. Send an email to email@example.com with the word "unsubscribe" on the subject line to unsubscribe from the decorating list. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the word "unsubscribe" on the subject line to unsubscribe from the sdslegal list. How to UN-subscribe from the digest form of the list: Send an email to email@example.com with the word "unsubscribe" on the subject line to unsubscribe from the sculpting list. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the word "unsubscribe" on the subject line to unsubscribe from the decorating list. Unsubscribing is handled by an automated emailing list manager (procmail/smartlist). You will be sent return notification that you unsubscribed. Make sure you unsubscribe this way so you don't waste Larry's time!!!! If you try to unsubscribe and get a message back that your address could not be found, please make sure you sent your request to the proper address listed above. (ie, were you getting the email reflector form or the digest form of the list?) Note: If you are confused about the unsubscription process, you may use the experimental web interface for subscribing and unsubscribing at http://www.balloonhq.com/subscribe.html 7. There's too much mail. How can I switch to the digest form of the list? (This question only applies to the balloon and balloon deco lists.) If you receive the non-digest form of the list and you find that messages from this list are filling your mailbox and becoming a distraction during the day, you may wish to receive the mailings in "digest" form. To change the way you receive the mail: 1. Unsubscribe from the email reflector form of the list. 2. Subscribe to the digest form of the list. 8. How can I change my e-mail address on the lists? Unsubscribe from the list using your old address. Then resubscribe to the list from your new address. 9. I've heard that all of the balloon information I ever wanted can be found on the web. Where is it? http://www.balloonhq.com/ The Guide to Balloons and Ballooning at that location has a very heavy emphasis twisting, but there is more info being added about other aspects of ballooning all the time. Feel free to write more material on any aspect of ballooning that you like. We want this to be the most comprehensive collection of material on balloons around. Of course, to be useful, you have to use it. When possible, check the archive and Guide before asking a general question that may already have been answered. With everyone's help, much of the material is being rewritten more clearly. It just takes time and help from lots of people. If you want to contribute something to the Guide, get in touch with Mark (mbalzer@BalloonHQ.com) first. Editorial decisions are made by Mark, Larry and Sheena, but Mark has taken over most of that now, and you'll probably get an answer from Mark faster than from Larry. 10. What should be posted to the mailing lists? Before answering that question, we would like to make it clear that these mailing lists are not moderated or in any way censored. Aside from the fact that we want these lists to become a powerful clearing-house for balloon discussion and information sharing, censoring material would require far more work than we care to put into it. For this reason, we ask that everyone become familiar with and cooperate with the rules below. Let's start by telling you what not to post to the mailing lists. Items not relating to balloons + Posts must have something to do with balloons!!! There are other Internet services available for discussions on non-balloon topics. Those who have to pay for their email messages and connect time DO NOT appreciate the non-balloon clutter. Anyone that consistently posts non-balloon content will be removed from the list. + Think of it this way: When you want a book on how to do a specific task, do you go to the library and read every book on the shelf until you get to the one you want? No, of course not - you go to the card catalog and then to the book you want. o By analogy, people read this list because they've gone to the card catalog, looked under balloons, gone to this shelf and pulled out this mailing list. They don't want to find cookbook ads, computer info, "Possible New Virus!" warnings, etc. If they wanted those things, they'd go to a different shelf. o If you are new to computers, Usenet and the Internet, and can't find the "book" you want, don't waste everyone's time asking the balloon list... Go ask the librarian for help!!!!! One sentence messages without mention of balloons ("Me too!", "I agree", "Wonderful!!!", "Good luck", "Keep me posted" or "Thanks for the advice, I'll try it") + Please, no more one sentence "me too" posts to the lists. Every message is archived, not matter how trivial. Editing the archives would be too much work. The scientist in me also says that modifying an archive to eliminate extra stuff would be lying. Consider that several hundred people may receive a note with nothing but "me too" in it. That's a waste of net bandwidth, and just plain silly. Personal replies without mention of balloons ("send me a catalog too" or "fax me a picture") + Personal replies (without mention of balloons) meant for one person shouldn't be sent to the lists either. Please be careful about that. Different mail software handles replies differently. In accordance with standards, most mailers will by default send a reply to the original sender, not to the list. But be careful. If your mailer defaults to sending replies to the list, watch out what you post. If you want something that has been offered, send your request directly to the person that offered it. Copyrighted material for which you have not been given explicit permission to post. + Someone put a lot of effort into whatever it is you want to share. That material is the creator's to sell, give away, keep to themselves or throw out. The list maintainer will not take any responsibility for things posted without permission. Individual posters are fully responsible for what they distribute to the list membership. Suggested prices for various types of jobs + While we want people to share whatever information and advice they have, there are some limitations on what can legally be discussed. In an industry forum, it is not permissable to discuss appropriate prices for jobs. Talking between companies and comparing prices may be the most innocent of pastimes, however it can surely be misconstrued as price-fixing. This is against US federal law. The last thing we need as an industry is Uncle Sam looking over our shoulders. So......play fair and decide your own price. Base it on your companies cost, needs and your overhead. So what can you post to the mailing lists? Balloon-related questions + A lot of work has gone into developing the web pages. So please, USE THEM!!! READ THEM!!! CHECK THEM FIRST BEFORE ASKING A QUESTION!!! We spend hours compiling answers to common questions and putting them in the Guide, and we get frustrated when the same questions repeatedly come up. If you have questions about something that wasn't clear in the web pages, post about it and someone will clarify it. That clarification will make its way into the web pages. If you even indicate that you were looking for something that you couldn't find, we'll do our best to straighten things out and add the correct links to simplify your searches. + It is not unusual for the lists to be quiet for periods of time. Please, don't let that stop you from asking questions or bringing up ideas when you first subscribe (but AFTER you read the Guide). Subscribers on these mailing lists run the gamut from rank beginners to the biggest names in the balloon twisting and decorating business, so there is always someone who can answer your questions or benefit from your suggestions. In your first post to the list, you may wish to introduce yourself, let us all know what your level is and any other interesting facts there are to know about you. Balloon-related answers and comments. + When someone asks a question on this list, it's probably a concern that many of us share. We're happy to add everyone's good ideas to the Guide, but *we* need to read them before we can do so. So everyone, please o post your balloon-related answers and ideas to the mailing list instead of just replying to the person who asked the question! o And if you ask a question and get a bunch of good ideas via private email, please post a summary so we can all learn from each other. + Please, be concise with your posts. Don't run at the mouth. Be complete, but make sure that what you say is worth reading. Basically, think of everything you say as being published. + Anything with a connection to balloons and/or the balloon business is fine (except outright advertising). Announcements of new balloon products or balloon services But please, no advertising hype. You can send a note saying, This item is now available to solve that problem. Contact me privately at email@example.com for more info." Surveys But PLEASE don't initiate surveys asking people to respond to the mailing list. If you want to take a survey in order to... sdkjfhgosdh for instance, one person should write an email like this: I want your opinions on sdkjfhgosdh. If you have a favorite sdkjfhgosdh, email me about it privately at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please do not post your opinions directly to the mailing list. When I get all the responses, I will summarize them and post the summary back to the list. Thanks. Other Other information about what can legally/ethically be posted is available on the web pages. If you are unsure about whether or not you should post something, please look there. Finally, if you disagree with any of this, let me (Larry) know, but please don't send me insulting mail for trying to run a free list. I have other things I can be doing with my time. Also, if you want me to listen to you and you're an English speaker, please write in coherent sentences. If English isn't your first language, I can accept that you may have difficulty, and I appreciate the fact that you're trying to speak my language. I will do my best to be patient. I just have a hard time believing this is the case with most of the mail I receive. 11. I read that I can be removed from a mailing list if I don't follow the rules. Do people really get removed from the list, and under what circumstances? It is VERY unusual for someone to be removed from one of these lists by the mailing list administrator, but under certain circumstances it can happen. A person will never be removed without first being contacted individually (never publicly) and notified of their inappropriate posting. Only after repeat offenses will someone be removed. Rather than remove someone from the list, we prefer to educate them on proper use of the list and allow them to take part in future discussions. There is a document that outlines all of the rules of these lists that is sent out at the same time as this document on the 12th of each month and is sent to all new subscribers. It can be found on the web at http://www.balloonhq.com/rules.html. Further guidelines describing what content is expected on these lists is included above, in this document. In order for a person to be removed, the complete BHQ staff (Mark, Sheena, and Larry) must agree that it's the appropriate action. In most cases, we don't even consider removing someone for a violation of rules unless other list subscribers send in complaints about misuse of the list first. In other words, we are serious about the rules and maintaining a constructive forum for discussions, but we know that what's appropriate will evolve over time as list membership changes. We do our best to keep these services running in the fashion that our subscribers would like to see. We try hard to not dictate what can be said. These lists are run by you, the subscribers, as much as it is by us, the administrators. We need to hear both postive and negative comments from you regarding list content. 12. I was on the mailing list, but I haven't received anything in a long time. What happened? Have I missed anything? Every so often mail delivery problems occur. This is sometimes the result of a network problem. Other times your service provider may refuse to deliver mail to you. In some cases your email address may even change because of something your ISP has done without informing you. If for any reason your email is undeliverable for several days, you are automatically removed from the mailing list. You can subscribe again as soon as the problem is corrected. The easiest way to tell if you have been unsubscribed from the list is to do the following: + check the date on the last balloon email you received. + go to the Balloon HQ web site. + click on the archive of the list that you are subscribed to. + see if the archive contains messages dated after the last balloon email you received. If the archive contains messages that you never received, you have probably been automatically removed and will need to resubscribe. 13. What can I do if I have a problem with the mailing list or web pages? How to get help with a question/problem related to the list: Send your question via email to: email@example.com or, firstname.lastname@example.org. Anything sent there will be read by one of the administrators. We do our best to get to it fairly quickly. If you prefer, you can send mail directly to BHQemail@example.com. The latter address will go directly to the responsible admin. That person may vary over time, depending on the workload of the usual administrator. Reporting web page problems: When you report problems accessing web pages, please give the following information: + The URL you used to access the page that has the problem. + The link you followed to get there. (the previous page you were at and what you clicked on.) + If appropriate, the error you received. Just saying, "it didn't work," doesn't help. + If you can, send me the time you did it and the name of the machine you connected from. I can sometimes find errors by looking through log files. If you give me this information it makes my job easier. If the problem is that the information you are viewing is outdated, reload the page. With some browsers you may need to flush you cache to get everything to reload. 14. How can I locate other balloon folks in my area or in areas that I visit? There is a directory on the Balloon HQ web site. This directory is intended for professional and amateur balloon workers and suppliers. There is no cost to be listed in or to use the directory. 15. Is this list affiliated with any balloon manufacturers or other balloon-related organizations? Balloon HQ is run by people who simply love balloons. Unfortunately, a love of balloons does not pay the expenses associated with providing free mailing list and web page services. To meet these expenses and to provide compensation for the work of maintaining the lists and updating the web pages, Balloon HQ accepts financial support from sponsors. A number of businesses currently support Balloon HQ. However, the maintainers of BHQ will not limit discussion topics or information sharing for the express benefit of any sponsor. So, while other individuals and organizations do support BHQ (and we are grateful for that help), BHQ is run independently of all other balloon organizations. For a directory of current sponsors, please refer to http://www.balloonhq.com/sponsor/ 16. Who's responsible for maintaining this stuff? The Balloon HQ web site and associated mailing lists are owned and operated by Balloon HQ, LLC. Balloon HQ, LLC was created for the sole purpose of providing online resources for the balloon industry. The partners in Balloon HQ, LLC are Larry Moss (firstname.lastname@example.org), Mark Balzer (mbalzer@BalloonHQ.com), and Sheena Beaverson (email@example.com). Many volunteers and contributors have made these resources what they are today. http://www.balloonhq.com/faq/contributors.html contains a complete list of those contributors. Special thanks goes to David Graves (firstname.lastname@example.org) for the many hours he has contributed as a volunteer on the photo section of the web site. 17. How can I support Balloon HQ? Donations are greatly appreciated to help keep this running. The maintainers put a lot of work into keeping things going. Give what you feel is appropriate based on the value of this resource. The most important thing to do is share your ideas. Contribute whatever information you can. That's how Balloon HQ got to be as big as it has. Material contributions can be sent to: Larry Moss PO Box 23523 Rochester, NY 14692 Visit http://www.balloonhq.com/contrib.html for more information on contributing and why we ask for the support of each user. 18. Who owns the content of the BHQ site and mailing lists? The site as a whole is copyright Balloon HQ, LLC. All material found within the Balloon HQ web site contains an implicit copyright from the original creator unless that party has explicitly stated that his/her contribution is in the public domain. In the case of materials found within the archives of the Balloon HQ mailing lists, the term original creator refers to the author of that message. In all other instances, unless stated otherwise, original creator refers to Balloon HQ, LLC. All material included here may be viewed and/or copied for personal use, but may not be reproduced for distribution without the consent of the author and/or site maintainers.