Common Electronic Mail Standard

Purpose

WPI's Electronic Mail (E-Mail) system is one of the most used resources of WPI. It processes the messages of the entire WPI community each day. WPI's central electronic mail services are provided by the WPI IT Department. Individual departments may manage their own mail systems. The purpose of this standard is to protect the WPI E-mail system. To that end, the standard explains the following information:

Scope

This standard covers all those who use a WPI E-mail address provided by the WPI IT Department.

An individual department's mail is subject to this standard as it passes through WPI's central processing system.

Please note that several internal E-mail lists have additional standards.

Standard

E-mail is not used to:

Electronic mail is a fast, convenient form of communication. It is easy to send electronic mail to multiple recipients; a message can be sent to many recipients simply by specifying a single list name (i.e., by using a mailing list). However, this ability to send messages to many people makes it easy to misuse the system.

First and foremost, excessive E-mails are never sent, as to do so would bog down the E-mail system which can delay message delivery and ultimately bring the system to a standstill. Users utilize the most optimal way to communicate, which is not always E-mail. For example, class discussions may largely take place on a myWPI discussion board, whereas singular announcements may be sent via an appropriate mailing list. The general rule is: use E-mail to communicate with other specific users, not to broadcast announcements to the user community at large.

This standard is not based on etiquette alone: the mail system simply does not have the capacity to process a very large number of E-mail messages at once. When a user sends out an announcement to a huge list of recipients, the mail servers get overloaded, disks fill up, and staff intervention is required. The overall result is a negative impact on the quality of service provided for all users.

There are approved ways to send large mailings to the WPI community and users should not attempt to make their own methods. Users should contact the CCC Helpdesk for help with using an approved method.

Finally, the proliferation of electronic chain letters is especially abusive of the E-mail system and the network. Chain letters waste valuable computing resources, and may be considered harassment. Creating or forwarding chain letters may subject the sender to university disciplinary proceedings.

Commercial activities are not performed using WPI E-mail systems unless under the supervision of officially recognized campus organizations. In the same way, it is unacceptable to use WPI’s E-mail systems to send bulk commercial messages (SPAM) or to run a personal business.

The university's harassment policy extends to the networked world. For example, sending E-mail or other electronic messages which unreasonably interfere with anyone's education or work at WPI or any other institution, using WPI as a base, may constitute harassment and is in violation of the intended use of the system.

Impersonating other individuals using the WPI E-mail system is forbidden. Also, users should not allow anyone to use their E-mail account. Legitimate community members who do not have an E-mail account or cannot access it may contact the CCC Helpdesk at ext. 5888.

Spammers are constantly trying to gain access to WPI.s e-mail system. Such access would provide them a powerful base from which to send spam. You are responsible for your WPI e-mail account and you must protect it from this illicit use. Never give out your password. WPI IT administrators do not need it and will never ask for it via email or any other mechanism.

If you need to type your username and password into a WPI webpage, be sure your browser is at a WPI.EDU web page and that link is secure. If a page is secure, typically the browser shows a padlock somewhere in the margins; be familiar with this indicator whenever you are entering sensitive information in any web site.More information on spamming and phishing can be found on the Information Security anti-phishing page.

Consequences

Users who abuse E-mail services may have use of those accounts limited. Major violations by students are sent to the WPI Judiciary Committee, which may result in consequences ranging from elimination of E-mail access to suspension or expulsion from the University.

Concerns, Comments, Questions

Please E-mail any concerns, comments, or questions to itsecurity@wpi.edu.

Revisions

This policy is reviewed yearly. Changes are made as necessary.

Revision History

August 19, 2008 - IT approved the standard.

August 10, 2009 - Updated to include anti-phishing language

Maintained by itweb
Last modified: Aug 18, 2009, 11:50 EDT
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