ROTI Netiquette

How to behave online!

The Rotary International Fellowship of Rotarians on the Internet (ROTI) has developed these email etiquette guidelines for the benefit of its members when using the ROTI List Service or any Internet email service.

Subject of Email

To assist everyone in deleting unwanted email and in finding email they have saved, please use the following subject heading prefixes followed by specific subject information:

  • ROTARY: Email of general interest to Rotarians
    Example - ROTARY : Rotary International Newsbasket #NNN
  • ROTI: Email of general interest to ROTI Fellowship members
    Example - ROTI : ROTI Newsbasket now online
  • BANTER: Light-hearted chatting for entertainment only
    Example - BANTER : Joke of the week

Please do not use a listserver for ongoing personal conversations which could be done privately. Don't make everyone on the listserver read and delete your private email unnecessarily.

Content of Email

Remember ROTI is a Rotary Fellowship of Rotarians and Rotaractors. We are here to enjoy each others fellowship and promote the Object of Rotary:

  1. The development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service.
  2. High ethical standards in business and professions; the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations, and the dignifying of each Rotarian's occupation as an opportunity to serve society.
  3. The application of the ideal of service in each Rotarian's personal, business, and community life.
  4. The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.

Always apply the Rotary Four-Way Test:

  1. Is it the truth?
  2. Is it fair to all concerned?
  3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
  4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Consider the audience: thousands of Rotarians from around the world with different native languages, cultures, religions, and customs. Many of these Rotarians are using their second or third languages. Differences in expression and interpretation are inevitable.

Respect the rights of others to hold different opinions. Be tolerant, understanding, and polite as if meeting face to face at Rotary.

  • It is fine to express a different view as your own, but please do it without personally attacking those with different views.
  • If an email offends you or makes you uncomfortable, it may simply be due to the limitations of text-only email. During face to face communication, often over 50% of the message is through body language, facial expression, and tone as opposed to just the words spoken.
  • You may want to send the originator of the message a private email expressing your interpretation and ask for further clarification of their intended message. If a posting makes one angry, it is often better to wait for a day before replying. Remember, one can't unsay something one has uttered too hastily.

Follow the Ten Commandments of Email and the Core Rules of Netiquette.

When replying to messages on a listserve:

  • Please place your message at the top rather than at the end.
  • Please don't send "Me too" and "I agree" confirmation messages which don't really add to the discussion. If a vote is required, everyone will be notified.
  • Please remove non-pertinent information that everyone has already seen repeatedly.

Solicitation Guidelines

Rotarians On The Internet (ROTI) is not a venue for advertising. No advertising or promotion should be done on the Fellowship for non-Rotary businesses. Mention of a product in response to a query is acceptable.

Rotary entities are welcome to promote their projects. However solicitation for funding is not appropriate. An exchange of concepts and experiences is a welcome part of the ROTI mission, but we are not a venue for funds exchange.

Requests for funding of projects for other Fellowships is not appropriate. However, ROTI may, from time to time, have joint projects with other Fellowships and ROTI project Netiquette rules will apply.

The only requests for cash contributions that are acceptable are those made in pursuit of specific ROTI projects. Even requests for The Rotary Foundation (TRF) donations should not be made unless supporting ROTI projects. Mention of TRF as a possible recipient is appropriate and encouraged.

Only passive fundraising, as approved by the Leadership Council, will be used to cover general operating expenses for ROTI. Techniques, such as "pay for click through", will be used as well as sales of specialty items and memento's at Rotary events.

These restrictions will allow us to fulfill our mission without diversion to other worthy projects that are not mission critical.

If there is a question about confirmation, please request a ruling through To submit a request to the lists when appropriateness is questionable is not "beneficial to all concerned". The Leadership Council will apply "rule of reason" to all requests.


Although you cannot send attachments on our lists, these are good rules to follow in general.

Be sure the attachment you are sending does not contain a virus. The most common method of contracting a computer virus is by executing an unknown program received via email attachment or disk. Emails without attachments do not normally pose a virus threat.

Be sure the attachment you are sending does not violate a copyright.

Be sure the attachment you are sending can be successfully received and used by the person you are planning to send it to:

  • Verify that the receiver's email provider handles attachments. Generally it is not a good idea to send attachments to listserve or newsgroup addresses. They often reject them.
  • Verify that the receiver has the necessary software to be able to use it.
  • If the attachment is large, verify that the receiver has enough disk space or mail quota and is willing to wait for the file download required to receive the attachment. Be aware that some ISPs or email providers have limits on the size of each individual email they will allow (often between 2 and 10 MB).

ROTI Ten Commandments of Email

  1. Include a clear and specific subject line.
  2. Edit any quoted text down to the minimum.
  3. Do not curse, flame, spam, or SHOUT.
  4. Do not send in HTML - our listserve will convert it to plain text anyway.
  5. You cannot send attachments to our listserve.
  6. Do not forward any chain letter.
  7. Sign with your name, home club, district, city, country, and any relevant position held.
  8. Read your message before sending it.
  9. Ponder how the list might react to your message.
  10. Do not send a message that you would find hateful to receive.

Related Pages:


ROTI Netiquette