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You Are Hereby Invited to Join The Ekumen:
The Ursula K. Le Guin Online Community!

Greetings, fellow Le Guin reader. You are hereby invited to become a member of
The Ekumen, the Ursula K. Le Guin online community. It's a friendly and lively place to discuss UKL with other fans, students and scholars, by email or Web. If you're interested, please carefully read the info below—it explains the different membership options that are available, how to join, and the guidelines for participation.

If, after reading these instructions (or even during!) you still have questions or experience any problem in subscribing, keep in mind that you can contact me (Dave Awl, the community "owner"—that's Yahoo Groups' terminology, not mine!) for help at any time. My address is:

On the Nature and Purpose of The Ekumen...

The Ekumen is a general discussion group for fans of Ursula K. Le Guin, author of The Left Hand of Darkness, The Lathe of Heaven, A Wizard of Earthsea, The Dispossessed, The Telling, and many more. The group is available for discussion of Le Guin, her work and its themes, including (but not limited to) language, time, gender and narrative; Taoism, feminism, anarcho-syndicalism, anthropology, sociology, poetry, science fiction and fantasy. It should also be a great place to exchange news and info regarding new releases, appearances, etc.

How to Join (Subscribe)

The Ekumen is hosted by the Web-based Yahoo Groups service (formerly eGroups, formerly ONElist), which provides free online communities. You do have to put up with some advertising in the messages and on the Web site, which can sometimes be mildly annoying...but that's life on the net.

To join The Ekumen, click this button:

Click to subscribe to the-ekumen

...and follow the instructions on the Web page. If you don't already have a Yahoo ID you'll need to register, but it's pretty quick and easy. Once you're a Yahoo member, you'll be able to access your own member page ("My Groups") on the site from which you can easily manage your membership and the options related to it. Don't be afraid to consult Yahoo Groups' Help section if you have questions.

How to Leave the Group (Unsubscribe)

To leave the group at any time, go to the Yahoo Groups Web site, at, sign in with your ID and password, and select the "My Groups" link at top right. On the My Groups page, click Edit My Groups. From the resulting page you can modify all your Yahoo Groups settings, including unsubscribing or changing your membership between digest, normal and Web-only mode.

What to Post to the Group
(a.k.a., Rules of the Road)

Please note: The Ekumen is a strictly on-topic list. That means that all posts must somehow pertain to Ursula K. Le Guin and/or her work, and the various subjects directly related to it. This list is not for general or free-form discussion. Example: discussions of Chuang-tze, Thoreau, and Tolkien would be considered on-topic, because they're all discernable influences on UKL's work. But posting general laundry lists of members' favorite books and authors would be considered off-topic and outside the scope of the list.

If you're looking for a list for open discussion, there are plenty of great ones on the net that encourage it: I even manage a couple myself. (Ask me about The Neo-Futurists' lists if you're interested.) But in order to keep traffic at reasonable levels, we ask that discussion on The Ekumen be limited to what's relevant to Le Guin.

The Ekumen is not moderated in an official sense, but the List "Owner" (that's me) reserves the right to step in from time to time to make sure discussion stays on-topic.

Also, while we expect vigorous debate to arise from time to time, we insist that such debate be carried out respectfully. Any viewpoint you want to express is allowable, but you must express it civilly. Please avoid name calling and ad hominem insults in general. If your posts are repeatedly abusive, mean-spirited and disrespectful of other members you may be removed from the list. The following behaviors are expressly and absolutely forbidden: making personal threats, "spoofing" or faking list members' identities; electronic attacks on other members arising from discussions on the list. If I become aware of any such activity, and am unable to resolve matters by banning the responsible individuals from the list, I reserve the right to end the list at any time. (That might sound a bit paranoid, but I have witnessed all of the above-mentioned behaviors on other lists and simply refuse to put up with it on lists I manage.) I hope and expect that, in reality, The Ekumen will be a singularly peaceful, tolerant and cooperative list, and that the above paragraph turns out to be a largely irrelevant formality.

One last note: keep in mind that it's against list etiquette to ever take somebody's private comments to you and post them to the list without that party's permission. It's a breach of privacy, leads to the escalation of flame wars, allows people to misrepresent each other, and turns everybody on the list into unwilling eavesdroppers. If somebody sent it to you, it's for your eyes only unless they tell you otherwise. Period. If the email says "please distribute," of course, then you have permission and it's okay.

How to Post Messages to the Group

Send messages to:

Your message will immediately be distributed to each and every email member on the list (digest members make take a bit longer to receive it, and Web-only members can read it on the site). You must be a member of The Ekumen in order to post messages to it.

KEEP IN MIND that if you hit "reply" in response to a message that comes over the list, your reply will automatically be sent to THE ENTIRE LIST—not just the person who wrote the original message. If you're not careful, this can result in the embarassment of comments intended to be private becoming public, so think before you hit that reply button. If you want to send a private message to one person, you'll need to create a new message without replying, or remove the list's address from the "To" field in the reply, and substitute the address of the individual you wish to reply to.


Archives of The Ekumen are available on the Yahoo Groups site. Just go to The Ekumen's "Main Page" on the Yahoo Groups site, at:

and click on the word "Messages" in the list of links running down the left hand side. You'll be taken to the archive of all the list's most recent mail. The archives are also fully searchable for specific topics!

Delivery Options: The Digest and Web-Only Membership

Note that this list is available in a digest format for those who want to be in on the discussion but can't handle a whole lot of mail. Instead of getting each message posted to the list individually in your mail box, you'll get one "digest" note a day containing all of the messages that have been posted. So you'll still get all the same mail, but there'll be a lot less clutter in your mail box. The down side is that you don't get the posts quite so fast.

Yahoo Groups also allows you the option of Web-only membership: reading the list's mail on the Web page's archives when you choose, rather than having it come to you by email.

To change your delivery options go to the Yahoo Groups web site, at, sign in with your ID and password, and select the "My Groups" page from the tabs at top. On the My Groups page, click Edit My Groups. From the resulting page you can modify all your Yahoo Groups settings, including whether you get the list mail as individual emails, digests, or by reading the Web archives.