Discussion Guidelines

Kevin R. Tipple, President & Moderator

Larry W. Chavis, Vice President & Moderator


Your subscription to shortmystery at Groups.io (your SMFS membership) gives you access to the mystery & crime short fiction discussion that goes on there and to all other Society activities.

As with all Society activities, you have the choice to read and post to discussion to the extent you wish.

Your membership only lapses if you unsubscribe or are banned.

If you wish to subscribe or unsubscribe without logging into the Groups.io site, email:

shortmystery+subscribe [at] groups [dot] io

shortmystery+unsubscribe [at] groups [dot] io


Scope of Discussion

Members share insight on reading, writing, revising, submitting, editing, publishing, and promotion.

Any change to Society policy must be motioned for in discussion, seconded, and approved by a simple majority vote in a shortmystery poll created at that time.

Clarifications of current policy may be made by the Officers or blog administrator without a motion.


Reading Discussion

Our discussion is only available to members.

All members can log in to shortmystery to read discussion and use other features.

Once logged in, members can click on Subscription in the left sidebar to set their Email Delivery:

  • Individual Messages - You will receive each message in an individual email.
  • Full-Featured Digest - Group up to 12 messages together as one email instead of being sent individually (rich formatting).
  • Plain Digest - Group up to 12 messages together as one email instead of being sent individually (plain formatting).
  • Daily Summary - A daily summary, delivered in the morning, of the group's messages from the previous day.
  • Special Notices Only - You will only receive special notices from the moderators.
  • No Email - You will receive no emails.

On the same page, you can set your Signature to be appended to Email Posting and/or Web Posting. The SMFS Officers ask that signatures be limited to four lines. Messages with excessive signatures will be moderated and modified before reaching the list.

Posting to Discussion

Members on any setting can post to discussion by emailing

shortmystery [at] groups [dot] io

or by logging in to shortmystery and clicking "New Topic" in the left sidebar or "Reply" on an existing message.

New members begin on moderated status, meaning the president or vice president reviews members' first posts to ensure they are not spammers. After this, members may post without review.

Most email programs automatically quote entire messages when you hit "Reply". In order to keep our messages and digests quickly downloadable for members with varying Internet access speeds, please quote only the specific points to which you are replying. Delete any extraneous text.

Members may share any posts from shortmystery or elsewhere that are clearly indicated for public consumption (For example, those including the phrase "Feel free to forward this to anyone interested"). If a post is not clearly indicated for public consumption, please get the original sender's permission to share it.

Do not post works of fiction, whole or excerpted, to shortmystery. Posting is a form of publishing and may cost you rights as author or violate another author's copyright.

Do not post entire nonfiction articles or interviews to Shortmystery for the same length and copyright concerns. You may instead quote excerpts with attribution, paraphrase, and provide URLs to the full text stored elsewhere.

Do not post automated invitations and other forms of spam to shortmystery, such as those sent to entire address books. If spam is unintentionally sent to the list, an officer deletes it from the web archive as soon as possible and places the sending member's account on moderated status. Unfortunately, by that time, the spam in question will have been sent to Individual Email subscribers and will appear in Daily Digest. There is no way to prevent all spam on shortmystery without placing the entire membership on moderated status, not viable for a list our size.

Members are advised to do all they can to protect their accounts from hackers and spammers. Avoid opening suspicious emails, often with no subject line or "(unknown)". Avoid clicking on suspicious links. If you are hacked, change passwords as soon as possible. Regular posting status is restored when a member's account proves to be spam-free.

Regarding the tone of discussion, the SMFS officers cannot police every phrase that may possibly offend a member. Instead of injecting their sensibilities where they may not be correct or welcome, the officers call on members to take responsibility for the tone and content of their posts, and to use their own judgment regarding whether to reply to others.

However, if a member's posts devolve from reasoned argument to impulsive reaction, that is cause to be placed on moderated status, whereupon the member's posts are subject to approval by an SMFS officer before they reach the list. Moderated members retain all other membership benefits, and their regular posting privilege is returned when a sufficient number of their posts show reasoned argument. Membership benefits are only entirely forfeit when a subscriber unsubscribes or is banned from shortmystery.

If anyone wants an officer's opinion on the tone of posts, feel free to ask off-list. By the same token, before applying moderated status, officers make efforts to defuse potential disputes with a minimum of on-list disruption. They may post general reminders or email members off-list regarding their posts, opening a free and confidential dialogue.

Any off-list email is not bound by shortmystery policy, but any member who maliciously takes off-list email on-list is subject to moderation or ban.


BSP (Blatant Self-Promotion)

Growing the audience for short mystery fiction is important to us, but we discourage BSP's negative connotation—tacky advertising. Like any audience, we're more likely to sample your wares if we get to know you in discussion.

While the list itself isn't well suited to long announcements or ads, members may post such materials (graphics, documents, PDFs, etc.) in shortmystery's Files section. Then, on-list, you may briefly direct others to the Files at their convenience.


Congratulations and Thanks

It's natural to want to congratulate each other's successes or send thanks in turn; however, doing so on-list can grow to disrupt discussion. Consider sending congratulations and thanks off-list for that personal touch.


Service Advisories

The SMFS officers will post notices of downtime to the list if possible. If the list is inaccessible, advisories will be posted to this blog and Twitter @SMFSocy.

If the list seems operational but you aren't receiving our messages or are having difficulty with any features, feel free to contact an officer and we'll look into it.