PIPORG-L's Purpose and Scope

Guidelines for Contributors

PIPORG-L is an electronic mailing list whose members discuss musical, technical and historical aspects of organs of all kinds–classical, theater, electronic, reed, tracker, electropneumatic, mechanical (player, band and fairground, etc.). Stoplists, recitals (past and future), recordings, jobs (wanted and available), restoration hints, news of progress in restoration projects are all interesting. Requests for advice or information are encouraged, and stories of your experiences and knowledge are eagerly consumed. In short, if it is interesting and about organs or organ music, this group would like to hear about it.

That said, contributors are reminded that the list is not intended as a vehicle for casual chatter -- other more suitable venues for this exist elsewhere, as described later. In this same vein, contributors must be willing to stand behind their postings. Just as we require subscribers to provide their real names when subscribing, so must all postings be properly identified as to their authors. Signing a posting with a sobriquet or nom de plume is unacceptable. If you are so uncertain of the merit if a posting as to be unwilling to attach your name to it, then it probably isn't worth submitting. There is no room in this forum for unidentified messages tossed over the transom.

Since its establishment in 1993, the list has had a tradition of friendliness, civility and professionalism in our discussions. While we disagree occasionally — sometimes vehemently — our exchanges are expected to be free of "flames" and personal insult.

To maintain this desired tone and level of discourse, subscription procedures were modified in 1999 so that all new subscribers are admitted without posting privileges (NOPOST status). To graduate to full corresponding membership, subscribers are asked to submit full identifying information about themselves, along with a statement affirming their acceptance of these guidelines. This measure immediately resulted in a gratifying improvement in the quality of our correspondence, an improvement which has held to this day.

This mechanism is obviously circumvented when a corresponding member posts to the list a message originating from an individual without posting privileges. Consequently, this practice is not allowed: do not, for any reason, forward messages to the list from non-members or non-corresponding members. If such an action appears to be justified, forward it instead to one of the list owners who will post it if appropriate.

Topics Suitable for List Discussion:

  1. The organ as musical instrument. This includes electronic organs and other non-percussive keyboard instruments, as well as mechanically-controlled organs (player organs, band and fairground organs, clock organs, etc.) in all settings—concert halls, theaters, churches, residences, even pizza parlors or outdoors. Within this general topic would appear discussions on

    Stoplists should always be clearly labeled as such in the Subject: line of the posting since they are usually lengthy and not of interest to the entire readership. Such postings are much more interesting if they include some narrative explaining why the stoplist has musical, technical or historical significance. They should additionally be sent directly to Herb Huestis who maintains the Osiris public archive of stoplists.

  2. Organ music.

  3. Narrative. Stories and anecdotes whose central topic is organs or organ music. Contributions here must show some evident effort in their writing and be reasonably expected to be of interest to a clear majority of the membership. Topical humor is not excluded but it must have some substance beyond a one-line quip.

  4. Announcements of meetings, workshops, master classes, and the like, and employment announcements (wanted/available). Such announcements should be brief, inviting interested readers to correspond privately for more information.

  5. Commercial announcements and gift offers. Here is where good judgment is essential. The list must not be used as a replacement for the Want Ad Digest or craigslist. On the other hand, there are readers who do want to hear about the availability of new organ CD's or redundant ranks of contra erzählers for sale.

    Restraint must be the guiding principle and brevity the keyword. Include only enough in the announcement to make clear what it is you are offering and provide further information through private inquiry or the poster's web site. While there are instances where repeating the announcement once is appropriate, anything more amounts to spam and must be avoided.

Topics aside, the overriding criterion for acceptability of a posting is that it be of general interest.

Topics Unsuitable for List Discussion

  1. Replies consisting of merely a "me-too" or which otherwise do not significantly advance the content of the thread. In any event, quoting a previous post must be held to an absolute minimum.

  2. Replies containing unnecessary quotation of previously posted material. Quote only enough to provide a context for your reply, or the point(s) your reply addresses. It should seldom be necessary to quote an entire posting, much less (heaven forbid) the entire previous day's digest! If you don't know how to edit the quoted material in your response, learn how to do so before posting.

  3. Complaints about other people's postings. Address your complaints to the list owners if you want them to be heard.

  4. Private messages to other list subscribers. Don't post such messages to the list because you don't know the subscriber's address. Those subscribers who wish to be reachable by others should include their biographies in the list's biography web pages by sending them to the biography editor. Subscribers who have previously submitted their biographies should check to see that the email addresses therein are still current.

  5. Forwards of private correspondence. Network etiquette requires that private email never be reposted in a public forum without explicit consent of the original author.

  6. Church-related problems and/or humor (the minister/choral director/congregation/whatever). Although many subscribers play services, this is not what this list is about. Note that this exclusion is not meant to apply to church organs or organ music.

  7. Choral music. Nor is this list about this topic. To participate in discussions of choral music, join one or both of the lists Choralist, or ChoralTalk. Subscribe to Choralist with mail saying

    subscribe Choralist your name .

    You would proceed similarly for the Choraltalk. Or subscribe via their web page.

  8. Use of bizarre formats and encoded files. Don't post encoded files to the list (base64, uuencode, zip, tar, or otherwise). If you have an encoded picture you think others might like to see, announce this to the list and invite people to ask you directly for it. Graphically encoded text should never be posted to any list unless there is a very special reason for doing so. Run your scanned text through an OCR program or type it in, assuming that you have any right to distribute it at all. (See next item.)

    In the same vein, don't post MIME attachments.

  9. Copyrighted material. Unless you own the rights or have explicit permission from the owner, give a citation and let those who are interested look it up for themselves. Note that brief quotations—a paragraph or two—are ok, but anything much beyond that gets sticky.

  10. General chat activity. PIPORG-L is not a "chat" list. Try pipechat. Send mail saying

    subscribe pipechat your name .

    Or try church-music: send mail that contains nothing in either the message or the subject area.

  11. Virus alerts and the like. While these postings are undoubtedly well-meant, they are off-topic, and almost certainly hoaxes.

    If you are the recipient of such a message from somewhere and think it might possibly have some validity, check it out at http://www.symantec.com/avcenter/index.html or at http://www.ncsa.com/services/consortia/anti-virus/alerthoax.html . General information concerning virus hoaxes and myths can be found at http://www.kumite.com/myths/ or http://www.snopes.com/ .

  12. Gone/back notices ("I'm going on vacation until ..."). The list owners reserve for themselves an exemption from this rule since subscribers often need to write to them about subscription-related problems.

  13. List-mechanics questions ("How do I unsubscribe?"). Write the list owners at PIPORG-L-request@list.uiowa.edu .

  14. And, finally, flames, responses to flames, rants, name-calling and other ad hominem attacks, pipe-vs-electronic food fights and the like. It is possible to carry on a rational pipe-vs-electronic discussion, but in our experience these quickly degenerate into Religious Wars which are of no general interest.
Subscribers who feel a need for discussion of these excluded topics should seek a forum elsewhere. See what's available in the alt.music and rec.music newsgroups hierarchies. Or form your own discussion list. We will be happy to direct you to service providers who can host such lists at modest cost.


With the volume of traffic having grown to what it is at present, the list owners are not able to read every posting that is submitted. They will, however, be attentive to complaints written to them privately about postings that do not meet these criteria. Subscribers who cannot find a way to stay within them will be set to NOPOST.

The list owners have an overriding responsibility to manage the roster in a way that maintains the overall well-being of the list and its membership as a whole as opposed to the needs and desires of any individual member. How that responsibility is to be carried out is determined solely by the owners; subscribers who disagree with the way the list is managed must vote with their feet.

Last modified April 12, 2009.

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Ben Chi me fecit.