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Chapter 1

A Brief History

By mid 1996 the HTML Writers Guild had grown to over 15,000 members. As enrollment in HWG grew, so did the volume of mail on their mailing lists. It was quickly becoming evident that some sort of control was necessary to maintain the quality and effectiveness of the lists and to protect the HWG from liability. Thus the Governing Board (GB) created a charter for a "monitoring" or "list moming" system.

The primary goal of the program, as outlined by Roxanne Reid-Bennett would be to "watch the conversations that occur on the list, close down off-topic conversations, provide an official contact point for people who need information but don't know where to get it, help in compiling a content FAQ for the list, and, in general, be shepherds of the list to make sure that the content stays high and the noise level stays low." A program manager was chosen, a GB contact was named, and the call for volunteers went out in early May of that year. The unbridled, enthusiastic hand raising of one volunteer, Tammy Scroggs to name names, got this response from Rox --- "Silly person, volunteering in public, it takes us time sometimes... but eventually - if one of us was paying attention - we find you. Would you be interested in........"

On May 26, 1996, Brian "-Lurch-" Catlin, newly designated Manager of the List Moms Team, first contacted his naive recruits. Initially there were the "Fab 6" (the identities of these few brave souls has been lost in the mists of time and a hard drive crash on -Lurch-'s computer) about one LG per list. At this point the program was merely an idea, the method of execution being left for the team to determine. Over the next couple of weeks many things were decided that would forever affect the personality of the team. Penultimate among these was the decision to abandon the title of List Mom (being called Mom made some of the guys a little nervous). Offered for final consideration were List: Mom, Ogre, Chair, Assistant, Tech, Manifestos, Instructors, Supervisors, Buddy, Aide, Supporter, Guide, Shepherd, and Director. Prominently missing from the list were Jack-booted List Nazi, List Tyrant, and Dictatorial Twit. -Lurch- judiciously narrowed the field for us and when the voting was done & #34;List Mom" was forever changed transformed to "List Guide". Except for on our communications/archive list, which we obviously never got around to changing the name of. You can decide for yourself whether the proper choice was made.

Along with our new name, we also received instructions for acquiring first edition, hot off the press copies of the brand spanking new Netiquette Guide, List Guide SOP and our final list assignments. Rox prognosticated "some *major* griping during the first couple of weeks." Little did she know it would last so long or that Kynn would wind up on the Governing Board.

The program went active on July 11, 1996 with 22 Guides , a List Manager, and a GB Contact assigned to 10 lists. In the beginning, some lists weren't quite functional (actually some of them didn't even have a home yet) and one of the existing lists was already staring death in the face; but, there you have it. On that fateful day the subscribers to hwg-basics, -business, and -main became the first to be guided by our illustrious crew. Guides assigned to the future hwg-webapps, -newtech, -design, -servers and -critique sat back and watched in awe as their brave compatriots went off to do netiquette battle, with the heartfelt words of one Steve Cherrier ringing in their ears, "Hope everybody has fun with this." The early days were quite a trial for our ragged little band of warriors, list guides were dropping like flies - some never made it to their first post. It was an ugly sight.

The rest is history ---- or at least archived at hwg-lmoms@tara-lu.com

Since then, the number of lists has increased and the number of members has tripled. Like the Net, the future looks to have more rapid growth and changes in store. We have developed this manual to assist in that growth.

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