In some companies, the corporate e-mail system becomes a virtual
bulletin board, with workers broadcasting personal messages about
items or services for sale. We wanted to do something other than
just say "no." We wanted to provide a virtual replacement
for the old bulletin board by the water cooler.
The best solution was something quick and simple on the intranet.
We created an on-line "classifieds" application, and gambled
that workers would follow the rules well enough to avoid any significant
first step was to identify the "rules of the road."
You must read, agree with and accept all of the terms and
conditions contained in the User Agreement before you may
you submit an item to Classifieds, your item will be reviewed
by [corporate] administration. If you have provided a valid
email address as part of your submission, you will automatically
be notified when your item has been reviewed and approved
(or not approved).
submitted, an item may not be modified. If modifications
are necessary, the item must be cancelled and a new item
your submission is approved, the item will be visible to
users of Classifieds for a period of two weeks. After two
weeks, the item will automatically expire and will no longer
be visible to users.
after approval, you wish to withdraw an item from Classifieds,
you may cancel an item (that you have submitted) at any
you submit an item to Classifieds, you will be given an
item number. Please keep this number until the item is no
longer listed; you will need it if you wish to cancel the
you have a question about Classifieds, please email [the
intranet mailbox] and your question will be forwarded to
the appropriate person for an answer.
At every visit to Classifieds, the user must "click through"
the user agreement. This is written in as plain language as possible,
and includes all the usual rules and disclaimers. The click-through
screen, with a small portion of the user agreement, is shown below.
initial page for everyone is the search screen.
Any search term(s) may be input, or none. If none, all current items
option is browsing either the For Sale
or the Wanted items (for sale items shown below).
the title of any item (see list above) displays the item
detail (shown below).
is very simple. The current user's corporate e-mail address is displayed
by default, but any other e-mail address may be substituted (shown
submission, the confirmation screen
provides a reminder about the posting process, and a posting ID
number (shown below).
any time, any worker may review the list of his/her pending
items. This is automatically displayed for the current user
new classified listing is reviewed and approved by a designated
person in the Chief Information Officer's office. Each day, this
person receives an automated reminder if there are any items to
be approved. If any items are awaiting approval for more than three
days, an e-mail is sent to a couple more people for follow-up.
approval process is very simple: select an item from the list of
pending postings (shown below), and either approve or deny. If the
posting is not approved, a reason is given and the submitter is
automatically notified at the e-mail address they provided in the
met its objective, providing an outlet for the personal postings
that previously clogged the e-mail system.
have been pretty good about following the rules.
like the tool, using its steadily for several years.
always better to be able to say "here's an alternative"
instead of simply saying "don't do that."
with reasonable rules and a reasonable attitude, the vast majority
of workers will act reasonably.
Posted 11 November 2008