Multi Family Therapy Journal Club GENERAL GUIDELINES
These guidelines are for the general code of conduct. They are from the AFT Lists Guidelines adopted by Multi FT Journal Club too
THE AFT LISTS There are now many AFT Lists hosted by Google Groups. They are all managed by AFT, the Association for Family Therapy and Systemic Practice in the UK. The main AFT List, and one or two others, are open lists for anyone interested in family therapy and systemic practice of any kind. They are intended primarily but not exclusively for AFT members and for the UK. Other AFT Lists are more exclusively for AFT Members. It is assumed that, by joining an AFT List, you agree to be bound by these Guidelines.
The AFT Lists are Owned by AFT, Managed by a General Manager (Nick Child) and other Assistant Managers, guided by a Focus Group of AFT Board Members. These Guidelines are drawn up as if for the main AFT List, but they are also applicable to all AFT Lists, with appropriate variation of the details. Some repetition is unavoidable in the Guidelines. In these Guidelines, "member" generally means member of a Google Group, not necessarily a member of AFT, the organisation, though most will also be an AFT member too.
AFT also shares the management of the Multi FT Journal Club Google Group. These guidelines have also been adopted by MFTJC (again with appropriate details changed). Because of a glitch, these were correct in June 2007. The more up-to-date versions got lost without back-up. They contained more of the legal rights and responsibilites of internet publication - yes, your are the author of what you can instantly send out in an email; it may be easier than thinking, but it makes you responsible for what you say - and that makes us responsible for it too as the publishers. Apologies too that the easy link click function to sub-sections got lost too.
GUIDELINES FOR THE AFT LIST ON GOOGLE GROUPS (GG) For technical things, it's often easier to just go and try things out rather than try to take in written instructions like these. There are also important non-technical guidelines below too. Please feedback corrections and improvements to these Guidelines. Send them, not to the List, but direct to me, the List Manager at: email@example.com
CONTENTS INTRO THE BRIEFEST GUIDELINE FAQs YOU MIGHT ASK STARTING ON THE AFT LIST GOOD BEHAVIOUR IN EMAILING > 1. Choose to Reply to One OR All > 2. Start a NEW Topic with a NEW Email > 3. Keep to a Topic by REPLYING to a Previous Email ABOUT That Topic; Reduce Mass Quotes > 4. Don't Continue AND Start Topics in the Same Email > 5. Why?! + One Reason to Save An AFT List Email > 6. Further Self-Editing Guidance > 7. Be Responsible > 8. "Smoke" and "Fire" - Conflict and Complaints
> 9. Sustaining a Positive List Culture > 10. Clinical Material > 11. Introduce Yourself > 12. Politics and Petitions
CUTTING DOWN ON EMAILS FOR HOLIDAYS OR FOREVER CHANGING EMAILS PRIVACY AND CONFIDENTIALITY GOOGLE'S ADVERTISING ADVERTISING ON THE AFT LIST OTHER AFT LISTS
INTRO The web home page for the AFT List is: http://groups.google.com/group/AFTList The AFT List on GG continues as primarily an email list. All the other things you are ever going to need to do, members can do for yourself from the AFT List home page. For technical things, it may be easier to just go there and follow your nose, rather than read all this stuff.
THE BRIEFEST GUIDELINE All key links are on the bottom of all emails from AFT GGs. The simplest way to join the AFT List is to send an empty email to: AFTListfirstname.lastname@example.org
That leads you (with or without going to the home page) to become a member and then get and send emails to the AFT List. You can also join and get many other goodies at the internet home page for the AFT List at: http://groups.google.com/group/AFTList Click on all the links there to do what they offer you. It's simpler than further directions here.
Once you're a member, you don't need the website to take part. To start a new topic, send a fresh email to: AFTList@googlegroups.com
Everyone on the list will automatically be sent your email. To continue a discussion of AFT List emails you receive, click Reply to the relevant email on your computer's email system to make your response - your Reply will go to all members.
The briefest guideline to the content of what you write, even when discussing differences robustly, is to be respectful towards everyone and anyone. Emails don't convey the paralinguistic things that tell your listener of your personal warmth, caring or humourous qualities.
FAQs YOU MIGHT ASK Please go to the Home Page as well (as above) and see if "even you" can find your own way to do things there. You may kick yourself for not discovering all Google's goodies from the start, and it is much clearer than the average website to understand. Finally, if you really do have to ask me a FAQ, please email me at email@example.com - please do not send a FAQ email to the AFT List address because it will go to everyone and they'll go "Doh! what a numpty!" or suchlike, where I'll be all sweetness and light and helpfulness . . . but only if you've first had a bit of a go yourself. GG of course has its own FAQ pages too. Go to http://www.groups.google.com/support for help for these and more.
MORE ON STARTING ON THE AFT LIST You are signed/signing up for a primarily email service. But - since your List Manager isn't going to be happy to do it for you - please learn and do these simple steps for yourself on the home page website. For your holiday leave requests or unsubscribing and other useful services, please find out sooner rather than later. That means keep reading these guidelines below, and/or go to our home page: http://groups.google.com/group/AFTList
If you were added or invited by me or other members, then - apart from the important points mentioned above and below - emailing will be all you need to continue to do to remain an active member of the AFT List. Otherwise new members must follow the instructions above to join: It helps to know that there's two boundaries to gaining access or membership if you're totally new to it all. The boundaries are: 1. To Google Groups in general. 2. To the AFT List, or any other of the GG groups, in particular.
Someone else may have invited or added you to the AFT List. If so, you got in to the second "inner" AFT List sanctum without going through the usual GG home page front door first. As long as you just email, you're a member of the AFT List group on GG and there's no problem. Emailing is like having phone contact with one room in the GG mansion If you want to actually visit the AFT List room, you need to go through the main GG website front door and pass the main reception desk before you can get into the room you want to visit.
So, to do anything on the home page - including even read the members-only AFT List page that you may already have been an inner member of and may already have received the emails that are also archived there - you have to Join/register with Google Groups, just the once at the start. And you have to Sign in every time you visit. As described above, when you first visit, go through the options to 1. "Create an account" and 2. "Sign in". You have to join GG first before you can ever Sign in. You only Join once; you Sign In every time you visit. For joining GG, you need the usual - email address and a your own choice of secret password - plus there's a "word verification" test to secure your Google account, a test that only a real human being can get past (ie no spammer system can do it). You do not give any other personal details at all. Then 3. "Join/apply for membership of this group". You won't need to do 3. if you're already a member under the email address you've just joined and signed in with. You'll know if you are already a member of the AFT List because you'll have got an email from GG telling you.
Once you're a member, you can click on "Edit my membership". Click that and you can choose No Email or One Email options when you want to (eg going on holidays) - click "Save these settings" when you're happy with your choice.
So to summarise: a total newcomer will have all three stages to do at the home page; a member already making a first visit to the website will have two stages to do; and a revisiting member only has the one, ie Signing in to GG, to do each and every time. You can belong to and access lots of different GGs and other things with only the one Joining up and Signing in with GG.
Note that being a GG member and signing in to GG does not give any of the millions of others who join GG that immediate access to the AFT List - only AFT List members will get in or read what's there. On the other hand, note that there's no bar at all on who chooses to join to be a member of the AFT List (see Privacy and Confidentiality below).
Any member of the AFT List may Invite or Add others to the List from the home page options evident there. But best to send them the "AFTListfirstname.lastname@example.org" email address - that way they get a better welcome and introduction.
Before you head off the home page to your day to day email contact, look and note that the AFT List home page website is a neat and quick way to see and read past and current topics- hopefully well-archived (see below). If you're new, the home page is the only way to see previous discussions, and it's the only way to download earlier attachments sent round. Note that here on the home page you can also post replies, or start new topics if you want to. Importantly, and only here, you can search the AFT List archive easily for any email/ topic/ word/ name/ date/ attachment etc, using Google's famous instant search engine.
So now there's almost no need for anyone to keep any copies of AFT List Emails, or attachments even. Attachments are generally accepted by GG in emails you send in. Google will have the highest standards of virus control - short of bird flu detection! You can quickly locate previously sent attachments on the website archive or the Files page - and then a single click on the icon will download it to your computer desktop. Now you won't need to send those requests round asking for copies of past emails or attachments that you've lost. Go and ask Google to find them from our home page - a Google search of the AFT List is your best and quickest bet for finding anything. In summary then, the AFT List home page on GG is not an essential, but it's worth a visit.
GOOD BEHAVIOUR IN EMAILING To repeat, once you're joined, you are probably not going to visit the website much. You will be able to follow discussions by reading the emails sent out, and you can reply to those, or start a new topic by email too. The Group email address to put in your address book is: AFTList@googlegroups.com
It's set up so that every email you send to that address will automatically be sent to everyone on the List. If you click "Reply" to a List email, your reply will go to that address, and so it will go to everyone on the List. And all of these emails will be saved on the website archive too.
By posting on the list it is assumed that you licence the list owner to publish your copyright material (yes it is automatically copyright to you), and to give free permission for any member of the list, now or in the future, to read what you wrote and for anyone to quote it, or parts of it, back to the list. Quoting off the list should be done with the writer's permission with proper citation of the author, and of the list itself (as the publication source). So:
1. Choose to Reply to One OR All Think: Is your email reply really needing to go to everyone? If you only need to let an individual know briefly that you got or liked what they wrote, then please find out how your own email system will let you reply to her or him alone. Please use that option when it's called for. Or maybe it's a more special interest discussion you're having with one or two others only - so set up your own very small private email group for that discussion off GG. Please get into the habit of making that distinction of sending your reply to one OR all of us.
2. Start a NEW Topic with a NEW Email If you're wanting to start a new topic, open a NEW email on your system and put AFTList@googlegroups.com into the Send box. Don't do it by replying to an email sent to you from under an old topic. If you reply to an AFT List email, whatever you put in the Subject box, it will go under the old topic in the archives. GG computers don't go by titles - they think they know best where things should be filed and archived. If you are starting a new topic, choose an apt title in the subject box since that becomes the prominent name on all following emails, and also in the archive.
3. Keep to a Topic by REPLYING to a Previous Email ABOUT That Topic; Reduce Mass Quotes It follows that, if you don't want to start a new topic, then make sure you do reply within the topic you're discussing. Reply to a previous email with that topic's name or content in it. Amend the subject title if you want, but it will still get archived into the correct established heading and discussion "thread" on the website with your new title as a sub-heading there.
Many email systems automatically quote the whole of the email you are replying to. Members of an email list will already have all got and read the quoted email. They are unlikely to read it again. They may well need a short reminding quote to link the discussion to the point it arises from. Three options are: • Find out how to reset the preferences in your email system to not automatically copy it all • Before typing into your reply, it may be enough to (highlight all and as you begin typing thereby to) delete the full quote already included in your reply. • Best would be, before deleting all of it, highlight a select line or paragraph and copy it (control+C); paste it in as a brief quote to remind people where your thoughts link to in the earlier email.
4. Don't Continue AND Start Topics in the Same Email Don't write in the same email: "I agree, home visits are really important in order to include the family pet in the session. By the way, has anyone got a reference on the use of medication as an adjunct to paradoxical interventions?" The first sentence is an ongoing topic reply (para 3). The second sentence is a new topic needing you to open a separate fresh new email (para 2).
5. Why?! + One Reason to Save An AFT List Email What's the point of these fiddly but obvious directions? Point 1 is to prevent unnecessary numbers of emails cluttering inboxes and the archives. Points 2, 3 and 4 won't matter to you personally if all you ever do is receive and send emails. But if you don't follow these natural rules, we will have a disorganised and less effective website archive for your own or other people's later reading and searching there. Your List Manager will not be untangling webs of discussion that you have weaved together. Point 3 would be one reason to save a copy, or simply leave it in your Inbox, of an occasional email about a Topic that you are likely to want to respond to, so that you can use the saved email to Reply to at a later date and keep things in order in the web archive. Alternatively, you could also go to the website and post your Reply there, clicking on "Reply" under the appropriate Topic and discussion items.
So, in summary, please help keep our archives well-ordered by following these rules of good email behaviour. Some day others - and maybe you too - will be glad you did.
6. Further Self-Editing Guidance An email list has features that are similar and different to several other modes of communication in a community - it is a bit like ordinary conversation, both one-to-one or group discussions; like writing letters (with copies); like phone-calls (lively, but limited non-verbal communication); and like publications or journalism. It can help to think of an email list as a community newspaper, but one where everyone is both a reader as well as an editor. You are an editor of your own emails in more than just the sense of deciding what you yourself want to say. You are also an editor of what you might decide was best if you were an editor of the list's overall quantity and quality and culture. There is no overall editor, so the job has been implicitly dispersed to everyone. Social meta-awareness takes more imaginative editing skill with email lists of hundreds of invisible participants than it does in ordinary conversations.
Generally, remember you're emailing a large and varied group, even if we have a core of common interest. Most people have limited time and energy for an email list, however valued it also may be. Perhaps, to engage most readers, you will want to write shorter, good-humoured, easy to read, focused emails with a catchy point or story. Good one-liners are welcome. Humour (NC thinks) is welcome but difficult. It's trebly difficult here because 1. family therapy can be a rather serious and sensitive matter, 2. there cannot be easily free and direct description of our kind of work in this kind of medium so we end up in cool abstractions quite a lot, and 3. typed words always fail to convey playfulness and non-verbal communication well. So if you give humour a go, be thoughtful about how others might read it; and use "emoticons" such as :-) or ;-) to indicate your tone and intentions. On the other hand, don't be shy of having what seems like a private two-person discussion "on stage" on the List, if you judge that it's good quality stuff. They can be the best, as such discussions can be at real events with large audiences listening.
Like community newspapers, a few people have lots to say. Many enjoy reading what others write - be that a lot or a little - without contributing much or at all themselves. For others, one or two dominating tones, themes, or voices make for a turn off from both reading or contributing. The "local newspaper" may go straight into the "bin".
If you contribute a lot, think about slowing down - you can find out if you are in our "top ten" on http://groups.google.com/group/AFTList/about (Signing In to GG first, of course). For lengthier, more complex, and more serious debates, there may be a place for checking if there's a smaller sub-set of you that would be better taking your fuller discussions into a more privately run e-group or list of your own by emailing with copies those individual email addresses, and then using the "Reply All" option on your email system as you continue your discussion. Anyone can easily start a Google Group of their own for any reason they like - click on "My Groups" on Home Page and select "Create a group". If you give it the name of AFT though, you need to have it OK'ed by AFT. If you don't usually contribute, think about saying something more - anything that confirms, contradicts, diversifies, enriches, re-directs, or balances our AFT List community culture.
Finally, remember, as a reader, that if you want fewer emails, you don't have to unsubscribe. There are other options - No Email and One Email per Day - if you get into your personal options on the home page. See other Guidelines for details.
7. Be Responsible It is normal in internet chatting to use disguising nicknames. This anonymity and "freedom of speech" can breed awful irresponsibility and nastiness. It is our strongly contrasting systemic culture on the AFT lists to own our own name and individuality so as to cultivate responsible authority for our own contributions, as well as responsible interest and respect for everyone else's individuality and contributions too. You can't know everyone's particular life experiences, values and sensitivities but you can write in a way that conveys more rather than less consideration for that amazing invisible and inaudible breadth of our readership on the list. At least, and especially if your name isn't in your email address, putting one or two context markers in often enough can help others frame what you're saying better - like naming what and where you are in the "real" world. No post-modern essays now! Just something like: Nick Child Family Therapist Edinburgh
8. "Smoke" and "Fire" - Conflict and Complaints It's good for AFT and the AFT List to have a wide mix of people contributing. Differences of opinion should be aired. Professionals need to let off steam just like anyone else. But differences can be aired - especially by professionals - without becoming insulting and demeaning. We value "minds exchanging" rather than "minds dogmatising or rehearsing". Disrespect and intimidation on the List is disturbing to others and off-putting to potential new members. In the UK at least, as elaborated in anti-discriminatory and socially inclusive practice, we aim to respect individuals and their differences, not to attack them. In UK mainstream organisations, there is explicit zero tolerance of abuse towards clients and staff (verbal, physical or otherwise). That is the clear standard for behaviour on the AFT Lists, and it applies to non UK members as well.
If people break these standards by insult or intimidation ("fire"), then their offending emails will be promptly kept off-list by moderating them. The Manager will contact the person to discuss how to return them to full participation. It is the right and obligation of AFT, through the Manager of the AFT lists (contact email@example.com), as the publisher to take further steps, even legal action, against serious offenders. Where disagreement and disrespect are not such clear cut matters of insult or intimidation ("smoke"), the AFT List Focus Group will consider an appropriate response. The Focus Group includes the List Manager and designated AFT Board members and officers.
AFT provides a reasonable, but not totally comprehensive, responsibility and back up to the management of the email lists. Google is safe technically, and we are a safe set of people too. But AFT, the Focus Group, and the List Managers cannot accept liability for personal or technical damage caused to members through its email lists, nor for inevitable delay in responding or repairing things during periods when unpaid key staff are not immediately available.
9. Sustaining a Positive List Culture
As a result of being open to anyone in the world interested in joining, the AFT List sometimes has to stretch its considerable patience and determination to be systemic and inclusive. As is normal in email lists of all kinds, this stretching can go beyond acceptable limits even when no member has technically breached guidelines, eg by directly offensive emails.
A common view is: "it's just an email; if you don't want to read it, delete it". On the AFT List, in contrast, we do not want to receive emails that we avoid opening for fear of being unnecessarily preached or shouted at. It goes with being systemic that we want to open our emails, that is, to be open to consider and respond to any communication within a system - especially in the AFT List which we expect to be welcoming and alongside us. Along with this goes a collective responsibility to take seriously any serious issues raised. Sometimes people have girded themselves up to contribute something, and then no one replies!.
Challenge and criticism is welcome, but there should be no need to to loudly demand or attack individuals, FT or AFT. Being a member of the AFT List means you are already "inside" the front door, not yelling from the street or hammering on the door of the institution. You have the attention of the field and the organisation at all levels. We value speaking in an ordinary voice and intend that this will bring greater attention and constructive discussion to bear on making progress.
In contrast, the kinds of nonspecific infringement that can contribute to a significant deterioration in quality of the list discussions include:
high number, frequency or length of emails tending to repetitive themes and monologues;
an absolute and righteous stance of superior cultural or ethical sensitivity which repeatedly undermines the aim of the list as a good conversational space:
a sustained disrespect for other people on the list, including a lack of interest in the comments of those who post less frequently
an attitude or approach that may be relevant or acceptable in a different country, profession, culture or email list but does not fit with our core needs in the UK, AFT and Family Therapy/Systemic Practitioner membership on the AFT List.
further contributions that tend towards escalating symmetrical exchanges are off-putting to most list members and work against our collective interest in dialogue, family therapy and AFT. Those who wish to engage in such exchanges are advised to do so off the AFT List.
We hope that clarifying our aims and values is enough to achieve them. Otherwise there may be situations where the list moderator has to intervene and act to ensure a positive list culture is maintained. As usual, the member/s concerned will be contacted and a careful process followed that may result in Moderation and Unsubscribing them; these steps will be publicly announced so as to reduce covert censorship, to allow people to comment or protest, to contact the expelled person, and to start a new list. Alternative email lists can easily be set up by those who want to attract other kinds of group to share views with.
In summary, the AFT List may be open to all but, when it comes down to it, it remains "our" list, not anyone and everyone's if they disrespect it or "us". The AFT Lists Team (on behalf of AFT) prefers this solution to the alternative - that is, to have a strictly "members only" criterion; we prefer the benefits of inclusivity and therefore need to develop more sophisticated guidelines to enable this openness.
10. Clinical Material As well as respect for the others on the list, we cultivate a respect for our clients. Clinical accounts are extremely valuable in bringing to life the work that we all share and wish to develop through this list. Different clinicians have different ways of doing this, but we all aim to be positively respectful of all our clients here as in our practice. Indeed a systemic approach is characterised by including an understanding rather than an attack on all people involved in human systems. We do not respect and understand just for defensive reasons (see para on Confidentiality below). Even if you take steps to disguise the clients you are talking about, or get their informed consent for publication of their stories, we value language that honours their experience, explanation and struggles. The best guide might be to "write as you would be written about". Ask yourself "If this were me, how would I like my personal difficulties and attempts to solve them to be described".
Sometimes a List is used to ask for a therapist for clients "in the X area". You are doing them a favour, you should of course leave out names and addresses, and you may not personally know them. But (therefore) you must take greater care not to put in information that might well go into a referral letter but should certainly not be shared (and archived) within a large unknown readership such as an email list. Save the details for careful confidential sharing when you have identified a potential particular therapist. Emails of all kinds are not entirely safe and should still not include identifying or personal information in them. See Privacy and Confidentiality below.
11. Introduce Yourself Google's joining question allows these Guidelines to be supplied to a new member. And to invite them to briefly introduce themselves to the list as they join - who, where, what their job is, and their FT related interests might be. The members list and individual information enables us to know who the people in the group are (a photograph even). All members are encouraged to add some more information about themselves there, via the home page - click on "Profile" at the top and "edit" your entry.
12. Politics and Petitions
The AFT List is a great resource for a wide variety of information and action. From time to time members want to use it for purposes that go wider than therapy or the politics relevant to therapy. But some systemic therapists do not like the partiality of politics - clinical work is equally about the micro-politics of family life but constructive impartiality is easier there. This results in some members of the AFT List welcoming the discussion of political issues while others don't. An AFT List guideline on this seems necessary then; it has to be a "political" balance between different "groupings" on the list.
As long as those who make a political point on the List, or who send round a petition, are respectful, clear and relatively brief - and those who disagree respond similarly - then each can say their piece, and the list moves on to other things. It is not systemic to be too stifling. We aim to retain a respect and balance that ensures that members continue to engage and value the List as a whole with its professional core role protected. Discussing political issues need be no different to discussing other issues raised - we value "minds exchanging" rather than "minds dogmatising or rehearsing".
It can be more powerful for the members of the list to share these responsibilities, rather than just coming from the list managers "above". It is best for individuals to take responsibility for carefully launching their own concern, and also for responding to the discussion that follows. It might help those initiating to be clear in their first email whether they are simply informing the List to recruit sympathy and support for the cause, or whether they are inviting a broader political and systemic discussion of the general or the particular. It may help if the initiator takes responsibility for rounding up various themes to wrap up the discussion as it ends.
CUTTING DOWN ON AFT LIST EMAILS FOR HOLIDAYS OR FOREVER If you can't stand it any more, you can now Unsubscribe simply by clicking and sending an email to the email address provided at the bottom of all list emails. But please consider clicking on the link to the home page for other options to control how you get emails: http://groups.google.com/group/AFTList
If you have never got yourself joined with a GG account, you need to do that before getting in. You're already an emailing member of the AFT list, but that doesn't make you a member of Google Groups (GG) websites in general. So, if you haven't already done it, in this order, click and follow instructions to 1. "Create an account" and 2. "Sign In". You join GG just once. You "Sign in" every visit - giving access to your GGroups. (The commonest problem is that you've got more than one email address and you're using a different one than Google Groups knows about.) Then, to change your email delivery choice, 3. click on "Edit my membership". Apart from "Unsubscribe" at the bottom, the other options you can change to are: • No Email - I will read this group on the web • Abridged Email (No more than 1 email per day) - Get a summary of new activity each day • Digest Email (Approximately 1 email per day) - Get up to 25 full new messages bundled into a single email
You might choose No Email or Abridged Email when you are on holiday - and switch back to normal Email on your return. When you've selected what you want, do remember 4. to click on "Save these settings". Of course, if you do choose "Unsubscribe", you can always easily join up again in future.
CHANGING EMAILS THE HARD WAY: It is possible that you remember when changing from one email to another to change your Google membership (for each and every Group you are a member of) by the email option. From the old email address, click at the bottom of any email on the "unsubscribe" email and send it. Then, from your new email address, perhaps re-using that Google email address and removing the "un" from it, send a "subscribe" email to join again.
THE EASY WAY: But changing emails is most easily done online with the Google Groups home page Sign In page: https://www.google.com/groups/signin?cd=US&hl=en&ssip=1&_done=http%3A%2F%2Fgroups-beta.google.com%2F Sign into your GG account entering your old email address and your old password. If you have never got yourself a GG account under this old email address, you need to do that now - doesn't take too long after clicking on Create an Account. Then click on "My Account" at the top right of the screen. Under "Personal Information" on the left side, click on "Change email". Change the email to your new one and click "Save email". Unless you also want to (similarly) change your password on Google, the previous password continues for your account with the new email address - it's still the same account; you've merely changed the email address it knows you by. In one move, this changes all the Google Groups that you are on with that old email address, to the new one. Some people have more than one email and use different ones for different lists. In effect Google doesn't know you are the same user, so each email address you use has to be treated as if you were another person - that is, Create an Account for each of your emails. If you want to keep it that way and change the email you use on only one or two GGs that you belong to, then you need to unsubscribe and re-subscribe - by email (as above) or on the GG's home page - separately for each GGroup.
So you cannot know who is reading what you write, or even sending it elsewhere, however well you know some of the others on the AFT List. Anyone at all who hears about the AFT List could simply join without any qualification or impediment. Unlikely, but it's certainly possible. One way to think of it is that, while the AFT List is the opposite in some ways of a proper FT book in a bookshop or library, it has the same kind of theoretically total access to anyone, along with a limited likelihood of anyone outside the field actually opening our covers.
As soon as something obviously untoward happens with a member who we decide is not using this forum appropriately, of course we can and will take immediate steps. These include moderating emails, contacting the people concerned, deleting emails from the archive, and ultimately - though we would always try to find a more systemic resolution - banning a person/email address from joining again. But they could then rejoin with another email address. So, what we say in our emails on the AFT List at any time can be fairly easily (and silently) read and used by a client or others who possibly have other motives than our own. There are ways to make a List much more secure from inappropriate outsiders, but we could not do them for technical and for limited "man"power reasons.
In summary, please be aware of the limits of trust and confidentiality when you write to the AFT List, even though it is generally very likely to remain as safe as we are used to. In particular, of course, take care if and when you describe anything to do with clients and families you see, to make sure they wouldn't recognise or mind what you write about them. More restricted membership AFT GGroups are much safer still, and yet can never be 100% safe.
GOOGLE'S ADVERTISING You'll see - on the website only, never in emails - some discreet links and advertising that Google lines up for us. Their intelligent search engines come up with appropriate links, as well as some amusing mistakes. The link to my SPNetwork (another GG) is not a sponsored ad - and it is Google's automated doing, not mine. The positive slant on the ads is as follows. Google have to make a living from somewhere to provide the service - we're not going to pay for it, so someone has to (now we don't have a Chris Evans anyway); their adverts are minimally intrusive; what they're doing is highly congruent with our own values and methods of creatively opening up thinking and links to other related systems; and finally, it is far better that our therapy is supported financially like this than by drug company funds or other ethically dubious enterprises, isn't it?!
ADVERTISING ON THE AFT LIST The internet is meant to be free and easy to channel discussion and information members want to hear about. This includes advertisements here for events, books, courses and jobs. We're nowhere near the level of advertising on the AFT List being ill-considered or spam. Adverts create a virtuous circle by making a publication more useful and so attracting readers - even if the readers may not read the ads.
If you are organising an event on a limited or absent budget, or need short notice advertising, please use the AFT List freely. In addition, if you're not already an AFT Branch, consider becoming one to get more of AFT's free advertising in Context and other help with events and advertising - there's even some budget and risk coverage available.
If you're a bigger outfit than that, please remember that there are important reasons for advertisers not to rely on email advertising alone. Advertise in Context as well as here to reach a wider audience. Another consideration for those non-AFT organisations that are expecting to make money out of their event: please remember that without some money coming in from somewhere there would be no professions or professional organisations or email lists to use. So please would such advertisers remember that, while running the AFT List itself may be nearly cost free in itself, there is no such thing as a free lunch. The likes of Google is only free because it charges advertisers for the service (even if we never see the advertising in our emails).
So especially if bigger organisers have not paid for an advert in Context, it would help if you remember to consider a moral obligation. Maybe you can try to match the publicity the AFT List provides for your event by publicising AFT events through your networks. Or perhaps cross AFT's palm with a bit of silver when advertising on the List, to help ensure that AFT remains happy to help. AFT is a charity that doesn't usually fund-raise through donations. But there's an option. More information about how to do this from Sue Kennedy at the AFT office at "firstname.lastname@example.org"
OTHER AFT LISTS If you liked this one - as they say - there are some other lists you might like to join. The principles in this Guideline should be generally applied to all AFT email lists. Some AFT Lists are open to anyone interested to join, while others are more restricted.
For the public ones go to: http://aft.org.uk/about/emaillists.asp
For the restricted ones, go to the Members section of: http://www.aft.org.uk
In conclusion, use and enjoy this amazing modern miracle of communication and systemic practice.
Nick Child AFT Lists General Manager June 2008 (but interim editions and the few updated sections have been lost)